Hands holding an AIPAC flyer with an image of Donald Trump on it
Outside the AIPAC annual conference in Washington, March 1, 2020. (Photo/JTA-Marvin Joseph-Washington Post via Getty)

AIPAC goes too far; Bat mitzvah memories; Dangers of the French right; etc.

AIPAC has gone too far

I was appalled to read, in an opinion piece in J. by Nathan Wolfson, associate digital director for J Street, that AIPAC is going off the deep end and supporting many “stop the steal” crazy politicians, including Jim Jordan of Ohio (“​​AIPAC’s far-right endorsements show how out of touch they are with American Jews,” March 22).

I have, in the past, not agreed with many of AIPAC’s overly conservative views and policies. I have, however, modestly supported AIPAC because Israel does need a strong, advocating American voice.

Unfortunately, AIPAC has now clearly crossed the line of reasonableness and is going deep down the extremism rabbit hole.

I cannot accept that, by contributing to AIPAC, I would be helping the very politicians I fear are an existential threat to America.

AIPAC justifies its position because it believes support of Israel overrides all other considerations. AIPAC states that IsraeI’s survival is in danger because of threats such as Iran becoming a nuclear power and tunnels being built by Hamas. I understand and share those grave concerns.

I refuse to believe, however, that if I am to support Israel, I must align with politicians who look to destroy our American democracy.

AIPAC’s reasoning is also shortsighted. Jordan and friends may support Israel when they deem it to be to their political advantage, but they would quickly turn away from Israel if they change their minds as to what is in their best political interest.

AIPAC is flirting with the devil. It should discontinue future support and renounce its past support of Jordan and others in the “stop the steal gang.”

If AIPAC refuses to do so, it is not deserving of support from any American concerned about the future of our country.

Irwin Feinberg

First bat mitzvah memories

Re: “San Francisco’s first bat mitzvah in 1947 paved the way for others” (March 29), Judith Kaplan’s and Marilyn Angel’s bat mitzvah ceremonies didn’t open the door just for 12- and 13-year-old girls.

Like most Jewish American girls of that era, my mom, Phoebe Silver, who grew up in Washington, D.C., never had a bat mitzvah ceremony at the traditional age. However, in 1980 she was part of the first adult bat mitzvah class at Congregation Olam Tikvah in Fairfax, Virginia. While Jewish parents have kvelled as their sons have become bar mitzvahs for thousands of years, I had the rare privilege at age 10 of kvelling for my mom as she stood at the bimah and chanted her haftarah portion from the Song of Deborah before her congregation and “became a fountain pen,” as the traditional saying goes.

Stephen A. Silver
San Francisco

Dangers of French far right

Thank you for reprinting the Forward opinion piece by Brad Rothschild, a New York–based documentary filmmaker, on France’s presidential candidate Éric Zemmour (“American Jews ignore a far-right Jewish presidential candidate at their peril,” March 31).

As a French American Jew, born of Moroccan parents, of the same generation and schooling as Zemmour, I could not agree more with the article.

A pedestrian walks past campaign posters for French presidential candidates Eric Zemmour, left, and Marine Le Pen ahead of the first round of the French presidential election in Paris, April 7, 2022. (Photo/JTA-Emmanuel Dunand-AFP via Getty Images)
A pedestrian walks past campaign posters for French presidential candidates Eric Zemmour, left, and Marine Le Pen ahead of the first round of the French presidential election in Paris, April 7, 2022. (Photo/JTA-Emmanuel Dunand-AFP via Getty Images)

He is a frustrated, megalomaniac fascist with Jewish origins who internalized French racist and anti-immigrant values that were very prevalent in ’50s and ’60s France. In the lead up to the French election on April 10, only BHL (French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy) was significantly vocal about the dangers Zemmour represents for us all. I fully concur with the article and hope my fellow Americans will react, as well.

Helene Touizer
San Francisco

Throwing around allegations

Mariyama Scott raised an important issue in regard to Covid mandates and their effect on those with disabilities (“Plea from a disabled Jew: the pandemic isn’t over,” March 18).

However, in her opinion piece, she stated that “our governmental institutions are systemically racist to the core.”

Really? That is quite a powerful yet highly oversimplified contention.

She does not provide any examples of why the government is racist to the core.

Anyway, what does racism have to do with the subject of her essay? There is no need to throw around such provocative allegations. It only detracts from the message she intended to communicate to J. readers.

Mark Gross

Double standards on Israel

Letter writer David Mandel, in his rush to criticize Israel for its citizenship policies, ignored the fact that many countries give priority citizenship status to members of their diaspora (“CA Democrats and Israel,” April 4).

These countries include Ireland, Italy, Finland, Greece, Germany and Poland.

How often do the California Democrats excoriate these countries for their preferential citizenship policies?

To criticize only Israel for doing what many other countries do is pure antisemitism according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition.

Richard Sherman
Margate, Florida

How to remember

For Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, which falls this year on April 28, I often write about the uniqueness of the Holocaust and state that the Holocaust is completely different from other genocides.

This position is controversial to some people. There are those who believe that the only way to preserve the memory of the Holocaust is by making it a universal lesson regarding the tribulations throughout the world.

Whether I am right or wrong, only our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will know.

I predict that, 75 years from when the last of the Holocaust survivors are gone — regardless of Yad Vashem, the U.S. Holocaust Museum, and all the other museums and books — the memory of the Holocaust will not be preserved.

A rose is placed on the Berlin Holocaust Memorial on International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, 2021. (Photo/JTA-Maja Hitij-Getty Images)
A rose is placed on the Berlin Holocaust Memorial on International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, 2021. (Photo/JTA-Maja Hitij-Getty Images)

It will be regarded as just another genocide in the history of genocides.

Unless we preserve the memory of the Holocaust and tie it to Jewish observance and ritual by including the Holocaust in prayer service or, as I have done, creating a Holocaust haggadah, the Holocaust will become a mere date in history.

It has to be tied into a revitalized Judaism to keep it alive.

I, for one, at this point in my life, no longer stress the pain, suffering and horrors of the Holocaust. Today I speak of the importance of learning about the heroic individuals who survived the Holocaust to make better lives for themselves and their families. Many Holocaust survivors have created synagogues, yeshivas and day schools, and still support them financially.

We need to learn about those who resisted the Nazis, not only about the crematoriums.

The memory of the Holocaust will be kept alive by future generations if we have pride in the accomplishments of the survivors and preserve Judaism.

Rabbi Bernhard H. Rosenberg
Edison, New Jersey

J. Readers

J. welcomes letters and comments from our readers. To submit a letter, email it to [email protected].