A Palestinian flag flying in Gaza City in 2015 (JTA/Photo-Mohammed Abed-AFP-Getty Images)
A Palestinian flag flying in Gaza City in 2015 (JTA/Photo-Mohammed Abed-AFP-Getty Images)

Dems’ support for Israel on the rise; Gaza is a distraction; and proof that this newspaper doesn’t speak Yiddish


Democrats’ support for Israel is actually rising

J. seems to be at pains to show that support of Israel among so-called “progressive” Democrats is falling. But your editorial (“AIPAC efforts toward inclusion”) misquotes a January Pew poll. The poll cited did not measure support of Israel but rather support of Israel vs. the Palestinians. It’s true that a decreasing number of Democrats support Israel when the question is asked that way. However, last week’s Gallup Poll shows overall support for Israel in the U.S. at record-highs across the board, with 74 percent of Americans viewing Israel favorably.

Indeed, support among Democrats for Israel has risen from 42 percent in 2001 to 49 percent today. Rather than Israel failing to win progressive support, some of us middle-of-the-road Democrats are feeling that the progressives’ hard turn to the left is leaving us — and Israel — behind. The loss will be theirs.

Jim Sinkinson, president, Facts and Logic About the Middle East
Oakland


Word ‘bubbe’ is descriptive, not a term of endearment

The article “Local writer plays with hidden identities, impact of silence” by Robert Nagler Miller began, “Ellen Margolis has a thing for older Jewish people, particularly bubbes, the Yiddish term of endearment for grandmothers.”

Actually “bubbe” (plural “bubbes”) is the ordinary Yiddish word for grandmother. Some people may think of that word with affection because we love(d) our grandmothers or have affectionate associations with anything Yiddish. But it’s no more correct to say that “bubbe” is a term of endearment than to say that anything said in Yiddish is humorous.

Mit varemeh grusn (with warm wishes).

Judy Kunofsky, executive director of KlezCalifornia
Berkeley


MLK and Moses both had enduring moral vision

It is fitting that the 50th anniversary of the loss of American civil rights champion Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. coincides with Passover, when Jews recall Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. King was the “American Moses.”

Both saw their peoples suffering from oppression.

Both learned from family members who were religious leaders. Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro (aka, Reuel), was a Midianite priest. Likewise, King’s father and maternal grandfather were ministers.

Moses’ role as the Israelites’ leader through the Ten Plagues and the Exodus parallels that of King through the Montgomery bus boycotts and marches that helped end legally mandated segregation.

They reached the pinnacle of their respective careers while offering an enduring moral vision. Moses handed down to the Israelites the Ten Commandments. King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech offered a vision for an America where his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Both fell short of reaching their “promised lands.” Moses died on Mount Nebo, overlooking the Israelites’ Promised Land of Canaan that he would never enter. Similarly, in his final speech, in 1968, King prophetically hinted that he would not live to see racial equality achieved, but that “I’ve been to the mountaintop. […] And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But […] we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

Finally, King expressly included Jews in his dream of American brotherhood, and he was an avowed Zionist. In 1968, he praised Israel as “a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy.” He added: “Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.”

Stephen A. Silver
San Francisco


Gaza riots a distraction tactic as Israel celebrates 70th year

There is no doubt that the rioting of thousands along the Gaza border with Israel is newsworthy. But let’s have a sense of proportion. This is obviously a stratagem to gain media attention and take attention away from the celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary of independence.

As far as the number killed and injured are concerned, if you can believe the numbers put out by Hamas (terrorist organizations never lie), they pale in comparison to other conflicts going on in the region.

In Afrin, the Kurdish stronghold in northern Syria, the Turkish forces reportedly killed 258 in one day. In eastern Ghouta the Syrian army has killed hundreds of civilians during the current advance, and in Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan the casualty figures are vastly greater.

But, I understand why the focus on the Israel-Palestinian dispute gets so much more media attention — after all who cares if it’s Arabs killing Arabs.

Jack Cohen
Beersheva, Israel


Where’s the outrage when Syrians kill Palestinians?

Once again, the U.N. is in an uproar because Israeli forces killed 17 Gazan Arabs trying to violently force their way into Israel. Ten of the dead have so far been positively identified as Hamas terrorists hiding among civilians. The rest are not just human shields: They’re bait for the international news media, being used to heap wrath on the Jews.

Action Group for Palestinians of Syria, a London-based human rights watchdog monitoring the situation of Arab Palestinian refugees in Syria, reports that 23 were killed there during March 2018 alone. So far the tally of Arab Palestinian dead is 3,685 since the beginning of the Syrian civil war seven years ago. But nobody’s complained to the U.N. about the Syrian government forces and their allies, like Hezbollah and Iran, massacring thousands of Arabs.

It seems that the only time people care about dead Arabs is when they are killed while trying to murder Jews or overrun the Jewish state. President Trump deserves high marks for abandoning the morally repugnant “neutral” Obama approach at the U.N. Neutrality in the face of evil is a losing strategy.

Desmond Tuck
San Mateo

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