Letters to the editor January 29

Letters to the editor January 29

American leadership lacking in Paris aftermath

The following thoughts fill my mind in the aftermath of the horrific terrorist slaughter in Paris:

>> It is tragic that our fellow Jews in France are increasingly having to worry about their lives being disrupted or destroyed by the forces of anti-Semitism, the kosher supermarket massacre being the latest in a series of troubling crimes of hate.

>> The light that burned brightly amid the darkness of the attack occurred through an extraordinary Muslim employee of the supermarket: a hero who led Jews to the relative safety of a freezer as the carnage was taking place elsewhere. His selfless actions bring to mind the cherished tenet of our faith: “Whoever saves one life has saved the entire world.” His valor under pressure gives me hope for the future.

>> It is a disgrace and an embarrassment to me as an American that the Obama administration saw fit to send no leader of stature to the massive demonstration in Paris to mourn the victims and to stand up to Islamic fanaticism. This unprecedented event brought together major world leaders as diverse as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but we could not send the president, the vice president, not even the secretary of state? The highest-ranking American who attended was our ambassador to France; it would be laughable if it were not so appalling. The administration sought to justify the unjustifiable, asserting that for a U. S. leader to have attended would have been a “distraction.” I would argue precisely the opposite, that a purported leader of the free and democratic world had a duty to be present and to take an active role in the event. Are we serious about fighting Islamic terror so that we may survive as a free people? Sadly, the answer is not certain to me.

Oren Spiegler

Upper St. Clair

Netanyahu doing his duty in support of world Jewry

On Jan. 15, The Jewish Chronicle published an opinion piece, “What’s next for Israel?” delving into the two recent tragedies that took place in Paris, the first against a satirical magazine where two Muslim terrorists slaughtered 12 people, including the magazine editor and a policeman who happened to be Muslim. The second attack unfolded when a lone Muslim terrorist entered a kosher supermarket and butchered four innocent Jews who were doing their shopping for the ensuing Shabbat.

The first killings avenged a supposed mockery of the prophet Muhammad, but the second seemed to have been done as some kind of sport. The killing of Jews in France has sadly been a regular occurrence there. The French government has been speaking out against the killing of Jews but has been doing next to nothing to stop it.

In light of these tragedies, the Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has asked French Jews to make aliyah to Israel. Netanyahu is not the first Israeli leader to ask world Jewry to come home. It started with Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement. Later, David Ben-Gurion, who is considered the father of modern Israel, regarded the ingathering of Jews to Israel as one of his most important missions. The dedication of time and energy to bring the Yemeni congregation to Israel is the second most important part of Ben-Gurion’s legacy, following only the formation of the State of Israel itself.

Netanyahu is only following in this great tradition and yet, has been condemned by The Chronicle, which labeled his call for French Jews to make aliyah as “crass and cynical.” The newspaper also claims that Netanyahu “elbowed” his way to the front of the march in Paris in support of free speech and condemnation of Muslim terrorism.

Let’s be clear: Netanyahu came to Paris to support the Jewish community in mourning the four innocent Jews who were killed while shopping for Shabbat. Being in Paris, Netanyahu had no choice but to join the demonstration. Being a world leader, he had no choice but to join the world leaders in the front line.

Judah Samet