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Letters for the week of Feb. 17, 2017

Where is Muslim outcry against anti-Jewish acts?

I admire the heartfelt words and actions of Jews eager to show their empathy for Muslim refugees (and Muslims) and their antipathy for Trump’s anti-Muslim ban.

Such sentiments are especially thought-provoking when juxtaposed with John Rothmann’s commentary (“Continued denial of Jews’ ties to Jerusalem is obscene,” Feb. 10). He cited quotes from several Palestinian leaders who passionately but falsely deny any Jewish connection with Jerusalem. They call Israel’s existence illegitimate and incite their youth to kill Jews.

I’m proud that our Jewish tradition demands that we respond to anti-Muslim bans, sentiments and acts. And I wonder what the world would be like if there were a reciprocal Muslim protest against the current rise of anti-Jewish, anti-Israel sentiments and acts.

June Brott, Walnut Creek

Freedoms and fears

In the words of a letter writer to J. (“So you know what’s best for Israel?” Feb. 10), I would gladly “butt out and let the Israelis decide what is best for them” if Sheldon Adelson were to do the same. Though I strongly disagree with Mr. Adelson’s views about what is best for Israel, I believe he has a right to express his views, even though he is not an Israeli citizen.

I do not believe that it is right, however, that Mr. Adelson, a non-Israeli citizen, has been able to use his great wealth to be able to amass control of a large segment of Israeli media and thereby unlevel the playing field of Israeli politics and public opinion. Mr. Adelson has been able to use his great wealth to unapologetically promote his favorite Israeli politician, Benjamin Netanyahu.

As a proud U.S. citizen, I am deeply troubled by many policies and actions of our current president, Donald Trump, another politician whom Mr. Adelson supports. I am very fearful that the future of American democracy under Donald Trump is in grave danger. As a proud Zionist, I likewise am deeply troubled by many policies and actions of the current Israeli government and am deeply fearful that Israel is in grave danger of not being able to remain both a democracy and Jewish state.

Mark Davidow, Glen Ellen

Admit Syrian refugees

As Jews, we know all too well the suffering of war, oppression and hatred. Our people have been refugees over and over, in every time and place. We know what happens when refugees are refused admittance to safe countries, as happened to our people in the 1930s and 1940s, when xenophobia, fear and hatred denied European Jews safe haven.

Today’s refugees are Syrians, almost half a million of whom are displaced from their homes, terrorized by their own government, and victims of internecine hatred. Thousands have been waiting in miserable refugee camps while they have been vetted for up to two years by the U.S. government. Those refugees have already been deemed safe to admit to America.

We call on the American government to admit Syrian refugees. We call on the American people to welcome them.

Tri-Valley Cultural Jews, Pleasanton
Member community of the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations

Trump’s learning curve

The failure to mention Jews or Jewish losses in Trump’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement cannot be defended. But we would be well advised to watch what he does, because saying the right thing is no indication that actually doing the right or smart thing is likely to follow.

Let us hope, for example, that Trump’s Middle East policies and his handling of Iran will help control the fires lit in the Middle East during the Obama administration and which are still raging.

“We came, we saw, he died,” followed by laughter, was the indefensible foreign policy statement of the Obama administration voiced by his secretary of state. Mrs. Clinton had been in politics for decades when she made that statement in 2011; at that time, Libya’s ex-leader Muammar Gaddafi posed no threat, and Libya is now a failed state.

Stupidity abounds in politics. Let us hope Mr. Trump learns more quickly than the previous administration.

Julia Lutch, Davis