Women’s covenant

I had some strange thoughts after reading Michal Lev-Ram’s Jan. 21 column, “Making the cut.” It’s regarding brit milah, and the fact that women don’t have that covenant with God.

It seems to me that women already have covenants with God. Monthly menstruation, monthly PMS, pregnancy and childbirth.

It seems like a way bigger covenant which pervades women in their daily lives, whereas circumcision is a one-time-in a-lifetime quick cut — yes, painful, but nothing to what having your period is every month. And I didn’t even mention the agonies of menopause.

God forbid, we certainly do not need to add female circumcision to our list of covenants, thank you.

H. Steinlauf Norwitt | Petaluma

A ‘positive strategy’

Mitchell Plitnick, of Jewish Voice for Peace, shows that, by complaining that its messaging promotes the idea that “Israel is the besieged party in this conflict,” he has scant knowledge about what BlueStar PR is about (Jan. 21 j.).

From the outset, BlueStar’s designs have focused on Israel’s positive and democratic traditions in order to reach liberals and progressives who have misconceptions about that country. 

Due to the successful media strategies of Palestinians and their supporters, Israel has been unfairly reduced to a uni-dimensional bogeyman with no positive attributes.

In fact, few people born after 1960 remember Israel as the underdog. Therefore, in direct contradiction to Plitnick’s charges, BlueStar has never availed itself of the tired underdog strategies that have worked so well with older Israel supporters in order to reach college students and younger Americans with a more up-to-date message. 

This is not to say that we, at BlueStar, don’t personally feel Israel is under siege. We just don’t believe harping on it can be of any benefit.

Indeed, Plitnick’s lack of ability to see Israel’s predicament even after four years of relentless suicide bombings only strengthens our perception that a positive strategy is the only way to go.

Rolando Cohen | San Francisco
BlueStar PR board of directors

Same history?

Regarding the “American black-Jewish relationship” (Jan. 14 j.), yes, yes, blacks and Jews are related — we have the exact history for thousands of years, all over the world. We all have been attacked, etc.

Blacks and Jews love each other. I believe that, and that we all are close or should be close.

Oh, and you also mentioned some Jews drove South in 1965 to push for civil rights. Did any of you drive with me when we went to where MLK Jr. was, and then to South Carolina to get blacks to sign up to vote?

Carol Sanders Hanig | Lafayette

Hatred as motivator

Allow me to correct your Jan. 14 story about the weakening of the black-Jewish alliance. The Six-Day War had nothing to do with the problem, which happened several years prior to ’67.

The problem was the result of the hate-mongering by black power folks such as Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown and Malcolm X (in his early days). They saw that they needed some group to hate, and thus, in addition to “whitey,” they chose the usual target of hate groups: the Jews.

As Adolf Hitler demonstrated, hatred of a group is a great unifying and motivating factor. As Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, said, “If Germany did not have Jews, we would have had to invent them.” 

Yehuda Sherman | Lafayette

Blind to wreckage?

Ilana Kaufman is wrong virtually about everything in her Jan. 28 letter.

• There’s no such thing as a “synagogue-raised black Jew.”A synagogue is not a nursery where you raise different color Jews. A synagogue is a place where all Jews, no matter what racial background they come from, come to be one with our faith. I hope Kaufman will arrive one day where she considers herself first and foremost a Jew who just happens to be of African descent.

• MLK would have approved the bus No. 19 display on his day, to show that violence is not the way, since he always advocated nonviolence and peaceful protest to settle disputes.

• Kaufman says the only aggression she saw was a single Jew yelling “killers” from his car, and yet she was totally blind to the wreckage of the burned-out bus in which 11 souls of her people lost their lives and scores more were wounded for life.

Zevika Salles | San Francisco

‘Look within’

I am confused by Ilana Kaufman’s Jan. 28 attack on organizers of the rally where the remains of an Israeli civilian bus, blown up by terrorists, was displayed. 

Kaufman correctly notes that Martin Luther King Jr. stood for nonviolence. From everything I have ever heard or read about King, I believe he would have condemned the senseless and heinous tactic of blowing up innocent men, women and children on buses.

After all, even Mahmoud Abbas, a man who once claimed that less than 1 million Jews died in the Holocaust and that Zionists conspired with Nazis, believes that blowing up Israeli buses is wrong.

Furthermore, King was a strong supporter of Israel and very astutely stated that “when people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews, You are talking anti-Semitism.” 

King also stated that “peace for Israel means security.”

Finally, Kaufman lectures “monocular Jews” (whatever that is supposed to mean) to look within. Everything that I have ever learned about Judaism, advises everyone to look within — even leftist Bay Area Jews.

Josh Baker | San Francisco

‘Tortured logic’

I was amazed to read the anti-settler diatribe by Naomi Chazan in the Jan. 21 j.

Chazan, a former Knesset member from the ultra-left Meretz Party, has no belief in God, the Torah or the Covenant, yet has the audacity to paint herself as an upholder of Jewish values.

She repeatedly asserts that humanism is the core principle of Judaism, when in fact humanism is an anti-Jewish ideology that seeks to elevate man above God.

She castigates the settlers as extremists, renegades, anti-democratic, anti-Zionist, even anti-Jewish. Perhaps she never learned that slander is one of the gravest of sins in Judaism.

Through tortured logic, she claims that those who insist on retaining the entire land of Israel are destroying the nation while those who want to surrender large parts of it to the enemy are saving the nation.

In fact, Chazan has it backwards. It’s the ideology of the left, with its weakness and appeasement and disdain for authentic Jewish values, that poses a mortal danger to the Jewish nation.

And ultimately it’s the uncompromising steadfastness of the settlers that will restore Israel to a position of respect in the world, and bring peace and security to all of its citizens.

Martin Wasserman | Sunnyvale

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