Fly Israeli flag with pride
Lois Pearlman suggested not bringing a rainbow version of the Israeli flag to a gay pride march, out of sensitivity to “participants who view it as a symbol of apartheid and oppression” (“To flag or not to flag”). What’s next? Take off your Star of David necklace? Kippahs not welcome? No menorah in your window for Hanukkah so as not to offend your neighbors?
I believe that Ms. Pearlman has the best of motives, but such a move would empower those who believe freedom of speech does not extend to anyone less progressive than themselves.
Israel is not the only country whose symbols have been smeared. Russian propaganda associates the trident-like national seal of Ukraine with Nazis (on account of Ukrainian nationalist movements of the 1940s and today). But in either case, accepting such a characterization means bowing to ignorance and hatred.
Perhaps some of the “out and proud” Zionists at the state Democratic convention (also June 14; kol hakavod to them!) should have asked their fellow delegates to refrain from showing Palestinian flags, which to many Zionists represent terrorism and perfidy. But I know that would have gone over like a lead balloon.
I was once an immigrant, too
I support professor David Biale’s views (“A historian’s perspective: Concentration camps in America?”) I was one of 5,000 babies born in the Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons camp. The British Allied forces liberated Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945. Many of the surviving prisoners stayed, for they had no home or families to return to.
This was my parents’ story. They met, married and had their first child in one of the hospitals that the British built to help the prisoners regain their health and strength. The DP camp offered schools, job training and new beginnings to concentration camp survivors. And then the immigration process began.
The establishment of DP camps all over Europe did not take years or cause arguments among politicians. Why can’t we establish camps that offer facilities at our Southern border? Provide health care and education, keep families together, then offer the right to apply for legal entry to the U.S. or any other country that offers hope, safety and, most of all, opportunity.
During World War II, our country and many others did not allow entry, and we know what happened. My parents immigrated to the U.S. with me as a 2-year-old and built a new life. Let’s give the same opportunity to the immigrants today.
Holocaust’s utter uniqueness
In his op-ed “A historian’s perspective: Concentration camps in America?” David Biale asks: “If the Holocaust is so unique, then what is the point of studying it at all?” The utter uniqueness of the Holocaust is exactly the reason why studying it is essential.
The world knew. The world looked on in silence.
Remember the 1935 Nuremberg Laws and the 1936 Berlin Olympics? In an effort to counter the negative reaction to the Berlin Olympics, which were supposed to be a great moment for Germany, the Nazis temporarily took down anti-Jewish propaganda and did what they could to clean up Germany’s image prior to the games. But many Jewish athletes who either competed prior to 1936 or in the 1936 games themselves would die in concentration camps during the Holocaust. Among them were Ilja Szraibman, a Polish swimmer, and Roman Kantor, a Polish fencer who competed in 1936 and later died in Majdanek.
To return to Biale’s question about why we should study the Holocaust, only people who live with a sense of personal responsibility can prevent the unmitigated madness of the Holocaust from ever happening again. Personal responsibility does not include mouthing uninformed, untrue, Holocaust-trivializing comparisons, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did and has previously demonstrated she is wont to do. Her reactions are the antithesis of personal responsibility.
Thanks for handy-dandy op-ed
Thank you for Shlomi Kofman’s op-ed “Israel, Africa and Tikkum Olam.” I’ve been aware of the many mitzvot coming out of Israel for developing nations, but I think that many people aren’t, so I really appreciated seeing it in a handy-dandy brief op-ed.
Leonard W. Williams
History is repeating itself
In 1948, the U.N. Partition Plan of Palestine was accepted by Israel and rejected by the Arabs, who later became “Palestinians.” Now they’ve done it again, immediately rejecting the economic plan proposed by the Trump administration.
For 70 years, the Palestinian leaders of the PLO, Fatah and Hamas have rejected many peace offers. They have never accepted small benefits, because they didn’t get everything that they wanted. Israel accepted small benefits, and then grew and developed.
The Palestinians wanted a state, but wanted it less than their impossible dream to destroy Israel. Because they couldn’t get both, they got neither. Instead, they have received vast amounts of humanitarian aid from other countries, which they divert to fund their terrorism. The Palestinian leaders blame others for their situation, but in reality the blame is theirs.
Norman G. Licht