Rep. Ilhan Omar at a news conference on prescription drugs at the Capitol, Jan. 10, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Alex Wong-Getty Images)
Rep. Ilhan Omar at a news conference on prescription drugs at the Capitol, Jan. 10, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Alex Wong-Getty Images)

We’re silent on hate crime; Eli Valley is no good; hope in the Negev

J. silent on local hate crime?

On April 1, an “elderly Jewish man” was attacked in a Palo Alto Starbucks. He was called a Nazi and threatened with mob violence. (Editor’s note: He was verbally attacked, according to reports.)

The incident was widely reported as an anti-Semitic incident. It was covered in the San Francisco and San Jose metropolitan papers. The victim was interviewed and appeared on KSFO radio and on three San Francisco TV channels. The audio and videos went viral over the internet and were seen, heard and discussed throughout Israel and worldwide.

Yet not a word on this widely covered incident has appeared so far in J. Is there an explanation for this act of suppression/censorship? Is anyone else curious about this omission?

Stella Filler
Palo Alto

‘Open’ conversations? Ha.

Anti-Semitic cartoonist Eli Valley wants a broad conversation about Jews and most prominent Jewish leaders (“Why Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley is sparking controversy at Stanford”). Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) has a burning desire for “honest conversation” about Jews’ double loyalty and their political influence, and Jewish Voice for Peace is eager to engage the public in an “open conversation” about Jews and Israel.

The common attribute of all these actors is their hostility toward any sort of broadness, honesty and openness. Only those agreeing with them are welcomed to join their “high” thinking. Try to question the premises of their positions, and immediately you will be met with the most loud indignation and accusations of clamping down on the freedom of speech.

Unfortunately, these “conversationalists” appear to have the upper hand over a patient and tolerant resistance. Valley was able to present his Nazi-style cartoons at Stanford University despite the strong opposition from the student body; condemnations of Ms. Omar’s anti-Semitic statements were drowned in the generalities of a congressional resolution disapproving bigotry and racism; and JVP has united with Students for Justice in Palestine in promoting Valley’s “treasures.”

Somehow, only the tiny Jewish state and Jews constituting between .15 and .2 percent of the world population are singled out for vilification under the guise of a broad, honest and open conversation. Nobody has ever heard about demands for a conversation regarding Chinese, Russians, Muslims, Australians, etc.

Millennia of Jewish history, filled with pogroms and persecution, on the one hand, and contributions to the world’s progress, on the other hand, give Jews the right to be treated as equal among the nations, without the mishegas of “conversations.”

Vladimir Kaplan
San Mateo

Other side of airport story

In his recent article, J. reporter Gabe Stutman devoted more than 1,110 words to telling the story of Laura Mandel and her sharp criticism of her experience at the hands of Israel security at Ben Gurion Airport (“In unusual move, Israeli airport security holds local Jewish activist leaving country”).

Well, every story has two sides to it.

At minimum, Mr. Stutman should have asked for a response from the Israel security office rather than take an ardent anti-Israeli story at its face.

For one thing, Israel does have a major security problem with terrorists and their assistants slaughtering Jews because they are Jews.

On the heels of Holocaust Remembrance Day earlier this month, we should all remember that Israel was founded on and is pretty successful at preventing killing Jews. Therefore, security measures are required for the people of Israel.

In addition, in looking at the website of the organization (Abraham Initiatives) on which Mandel sits on the international board of directors, I can see it is full of criticism of Israel. Not even one word about the Arabs throwing stones at the Israeli police when they come to arrest a terrorist or Arab terrorists that slaughter Jewish families or the stated goal of the Palestinian rulers to eliminate Israel or the support of Arab Knesset members supporting these goals.

The article could very well be just another attempt by a representative of Abraham Initiatives to smear Israel at any time.

Isaac Agam
Los Altos

Beacon of hope in the Negev

Rockets rained down on the Negev as Jews all over the world prepared to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut. In the face of evil that seeks to destroy us, this is a perfect moment to reflect instead on a Jewish light unto the world: Aleh Negev, a village in the Negev for the severely disabled.

This is no typical nursing home or hospital. This is a warm community of workers, disabled residents, volunteers and people of all ages, religions and ethnicities coming together. Though initially skeptical before my first visit in 2015, I fell in love with Aleh Negev after spending time with the children and witnessing their happiness and synergistic work and play.

What should have been a depressing experience was in fact quite the opposite.
That paradox has stuck with me as I search to understand what makes Aleh Negev magical.

There is no one reason, but understanding starts by recognizing that Aleh Negev speaks the language of Silicon Valley: Anything is possible. These kids overcome in beautiful ways because Aleh Negev is excellent in every respect, which is not surprising given that its founder is former Maj. Gen. Doron Almog. If you appreciate excellence — whether in arts, sports, writing, whatever — you will appreciate this place.
Aleh Negev is also a place that makes us proud to be Jews.

Right now, Jews are battling hatred on Israel’s frontline. Fight that hatred by shining a light on Aleh Negev. Watch Almog’s TED talk. And let us bring light unto the world, feed our souls and become prouder Jews.

Nicole Lance
Menlo Park

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