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Letters to the Editor

Let’s fight anti-Semitism together

I am responding to the letter published last week (“One-sided blind opposition,” Oct. 12, 2017), by Sam Devinki. As I know Sam to be a strong supporter of the Jewish people and is involved in Jewish community organizations that are the proponents of our people, I write this as a person that appreciates his positive activity and wants him to be aware of some facts that are perhaps unknown to him.

The party of Lincoln is not the same as it was when he was president. Neither is the Democratic party. The Republicans were in the majority of both houses of government in 1924. That was the year that an immigration law restricted the entry of Italians and Jews to the U.S.A. These laws were enforced when Jews tried to escape the Nazis and were not allowed into our country. It made the United States complicit in the slaughter of European Jews.

Jews encountered anti-Semitism that existed in the early days of Jewish presence that restricted where they could live, encountered quotas limiting admissions to universities, did not allow Jewish doctors privileges to hospitals and kept Jews out of city and country clubs.

President Trump declared that there were nice people among the neo-Nazis that paraded in Charlottesville. I was so enraged by that comment as millions of people were killed, including 6 million Jews, by the Nazis during the Holocaust. These neo-Nazis are emulating Nazis who were the worst murderers in our lifetime. What an insult to those who fought and died in World War II. I asked for the president to step down.

I am aware that currently a large majority of Republicans are pro-Israel. The Democratic Party has many of their members sympathetic to the “plight of the Palestinians.” That concerns me and I hope that those Democrats can be convinced to better understand the Palistinian-Israel conflict. As I see the difference between the two parties, Republicans, for the most part, expect people to be self-sufficient. Democrats are more focused on meeting the needs of people, where and when it is needed. 

Finally, Sam, it was Harry Truman, a Democrat, who was the first to recognize the State of Israel. He also enabled Holocaust survivors to resettle in the U.S.A. overcoming opposition to their immigration. Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, risked his place as a congressman by illegally smuggling Jews into Texas. 

Sam, let’s fight anti-Semitism together whenever it occurs, no matter who is in charge.

Sol Koenigsberg

Overland Park, Kansas

Showing true colors

Sam Devinki in his Letter to the Editor, entitled: “One-sided blind opposition,” dated Oct. 12, 2017, presents a totally partisan response to a previous letter entitled: “American Fascism,” published in the Sept. 12, 2017, edition of The Chronicle. His approach of blaming the other side could be attributed to his own political ideology.

Mr. Devinki presents a litany, a la Steve Bannon, of the historical wrongs of the Democrat Party, including slavery; etc.; but similar to the alt-right whom Devinki appears to favor by his comments and tone, he leaves out one important fact; i.e.; the issues that he attributes to the Democrats stopped almost 70 years ago, and after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, appear to have been taken up by the Republicans with Nixon and beyond as they developed their southern strategy in the 1970s.

This approach was further documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center in the fact that Trump was the first president to speak at the Values Summit endorsed by the Family Research Council which is nothing more than a hate group seeking to further their agenda by bashing marriage equality, transgender rights and a variety of other despicable causes.

As for myself, I am proud of my Jewish heritage; and I am proud to be a Democrat. I did not reach my choice in the 2016 election in a vacuum, but rather observed one candidate, in particular (the current occupant of the White House), expressing views and opinions that I found offensive and disturbing. I saw personality characteristics on display which truly repulsed and frightened me.

The current occupant of the White House has shown his true colors both during the campaign and especially after the events in Charlottesville and Puerto Rico; and daily when he displays acts and speech that are antithetical to our democracy as well as the values of Judaism which underscore many of our lives.

Judith Kass

Overland Park, Kansas

Help Jews in US territories

As Andi Milens pointed out so forcefully in her article in the Oct. 12 issue of The Chronicle (“Embracing Houston’s Jewish community”), it is important for us to support our fellow Jews who live in areas affected by natural disasters. However, it is not just Houston that needs our help. Unfortunately, our government has focused its attention on helping Americans who live in the states while snubbing those who live in the territories. 

Both Temple Beth Shalom of Puerto Rico and the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas have set up special funds to provide assistance not only for their buildings (the St. Thomas synagogue is a major Jewish landmark), but also for humanitarian aid. Donations can be made online at TBSPR.ORG or SYNAGOGUE.VI. (that’s letters V and I, not number 6). 

Stu Lewis

Prairie Village, Kansas