Letters to the editor: July 4, 2018

Response to Rochester column on liberalism

Martin Rochester’s June 20 column “Here’s why liberalism is not my cup of latte” is one of his many commentaries attacking liberalism. He gives passing criticism of Trump and conservatism before getting to his distorted assertions and main concern that liberalism and the Democratic Party are controlled by extremists represented by Black Lives Matter, Antifa, BDS and “politically correct” students and faculty college campuses.

For example, Rochester conveniently ignores evidence that many Jewish liberals share his criticism of BDS and Starbucks for preventing the Anti-Defamation League from training their employees. He also overlooks the criticism of Tamika Mallory by liberal Jewish women involved in the Women’s March. And where is his evidence that liberal faculty at Harvard are propagandizing students at Harvard? 

Cherry picking evidence from a few famous Harvard faculty does not support his generalizations. The views of conservative students should be respected and not marginalized, but Rochester cites no evidence to support this concern. 

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Against these Trump-like caricatures, Rochester is puzzled by Jewish support for the Democratic Party. He seems unaware that the commitment to social justice and reproductive rights for women, quality medical care for all citizens, along with worries that evangelical Christian influence in the Republican Party is eroding the separation of church and state are among the reasons that Jews support the Democratic Party. 

It would be clarifying to hear Rochester’s defense of the liberalism that abandoned him. It would also be helpful to understand his rationale for his obvious embrace of Trump and the Republican Party and why he thinks Jewish values are more respected in the party controlled by Donald Trump. 

Liberal Jews are alarmed at tolerance from the “left” and “right.” However, Trump’s assaults on democratic institutions and his racial stereotyping are a far more dangerous threat to Jewish values than Harvard faculty and Starbucks coffee.

Dennis Lubeck, Brentwood

A thank you for community’s support

On behalf of St. Louis Friends of Israel, I would like to thank the Jewish Light for the excellent and factual article about our first event as a nonprofit organization. David Baugher did an excellent job in his analysis of our speaker, Bassem Eid. Events like these would not be possible without the help of many people in the Jewish community. We would like to thank the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, United Hebrew Congregation, our acting board of directors, our generous donors, and the many volunteers who helped us promote and staff this event. 

A week ago Thursday night, with standing-room-only capacity, over 175 people came to hear a different and unique voice regarding the conflict in Israel. It is clear from feedback that we received that evening and after the event, that many people in St. Louis want to continue to hear pro-Israel informational and educational speakers. St. Louis Friends of Israel looks forward to providing more opportunities to bring speakers of this caliber to our area.  For more information about our organization, please “like” our “St. Louis Friends of Israel” page on Facebook.

Traci L. Goldstein, Acting President and Co-Founder, St. Louis Friends of Israel