Letters to the Editor, June 16, 2010

Hatred against Jews continues

I applaud the Light for its special report on “The State of Hate.” Sadly, the report showed that hatred against Jews still flourishes.

The global campaign to delegitimize Israel is simply a new incarnation of anti-Jewish hatred. Phyllis Chesler calls it “The New Anti-Semitism.”

The most recent example is that the world is condemning Israel for using excessive violence against one of the Gaza flotilla ships, even though videos clearly show that the Israeli soldiers were attacked by passengers wielding iron clubs and knives.

Too often, American Jews do not step up to defend Israel when Israel is attacked in the world press. Rabbi Sid Schwartz noted this in his May 26 commentary, citing that fewer and fewer Jewish students identify themselves as Zionists.

Perhaps the reason is because Americans who study anti-Semitism and the Holocaust typically draw entirely different conclusions than their Israeli counterparts. The message most Americans take away from the experience of the Holocaust is one condemning genocide and promoting tolerance. I witnessed this first-hand when I viewed the entries in the St. Louis Holocaust Museum’s 2010 Art and Writing contest.

By contrast, my daughter, Eden Harir’s entry (which won first place in its division and is available at http://bit.ly/bkXx5c) promotes the message that: “The Jewish people persevered – our enemies will never destroy us” and “now we have our own country.” That is a typical Zionist response to the Holocaust and to anti-Jewish hate crimes.

Promoting tolerance is indeed a worthy endeavor. However, it is crucial to realize that there are some people in this world who will always hate Jews (and by extension, Israel) no matter what we do, and we must all be prepared to defend ourselves against false allegations and anti-Israel propaganda.

Galit Lev-Harir


Supporting Israel

I am shocked and saddened by the woeful lack of support your paper has demonstrated so far for Israel in their latest blockade incident.

Looking at the usual worldwide condemnations, regardless of the facts, Israel once again defended herself, using incredible restraint, while the so-called ‘Peace Activists’ attacked her soldiers – whose only job was to inspect the cargo, making sure weapons and ordinance did not arrive into Gaza. It’s stunning the number of media publications and governments worldwide who got it wrong, including our own administration by calling for punitive actions against Israel…and where does your editorial staff stand? No one knows.

I think your silence should be replaced with actual support for their actions and a campaign to educate the St. Louis Jewish community about the actual situation, explaining Turkey’s roles in this orchestrated agitation and clearly define the anti-Israel sentiment and the sources worldwide who want to destroy this democracy.

I know calling out the president will cause you great angst, but frankly his rush to judgment (and that of other world leaders) and lack of understanding of the real forces at work here should give you far greater concern.

Sitting on the fence only shows that your paper is either too afraid to take a stand or too ignorant of the dynamics of the situation.

It is time to stand up and be counted.

Allen Goldberg

Edmond, Okla.