Letters, the Week of March 16, 2017

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Rally Criticism Akin to Blaming the Victim

Joshua Runyan’s column downplaying the effectiveness of the March 2 rally (“Action Required to Defeat Anti-Semitism,” March 9), smacked of blaming the victim. I am shocked.

Granted, the Jewish community isn’t perfect, but to put the onus of our security on ourselves is shortsighted and dangerous. To let our self-absorbed president off the hook for nearly ignoring the rise of hate crimes since the election is both irresponsible and, again, dangerous. Since he is allegedly the leader of the free world, nothing to sniff at, don’t you think that a swift and resolute denunciation from him should have been forthcoming, setting an unmistakable tone of intolerance for crimes of hatred in our country?

Suggesting that we Jews need to improve our commitment to our own institutions as a means to improve our own safety lets others of influence off the hook. Very misguided and frightening.

Ruth Laks | Yardley

Trump Bears Responsibility for Not Condemning Anti-Semitism

In Joshua Runyan’s (“Plenty of Blame to Go Around,” March 2), I was concerned about the reference to spiking antisemitism and the president’s actions as being merely correlational.

I agree that the president is not responsible for ordering the kinds of threats, vandalism and violence the Muslim and Jewish communities are experiencing.

Rather, the president has a responsibility to communicate in terms that condemn such hate practices without equivocation and if he does not do this, he as a national leader incurs blame. A president should not use language that creates and/or amplifies phobic reactions against groups of Americans and immigrants.

By failing to address what hate groups do and by religiously profiling and denying entry to immigrants vetted for admission to our country, a president lends credibility to those who would commit hate crimes, either from organized groups or just neighborhood youths, engaged in copycatting.

I respect your concern for maintaining civility and impartiality at a time when name-calling and condemning are all too common, but responsible journalism has a requirement not to excuse as possible chance associations events that may be linked. Instead, it should squarely confront omissions and commissions and help the readership gain insight and new ways for evaluating situations.

Julie Meranze Levitt | Bala Cynwyd

Efforts to Help Muslims Often Backfire

How infuriating it was to see Mark Hetfield’s op-ed “Embracing the Jewish Community’s Refugee Roots,” March 2) equating HIAS’s decision to help current Muslim refugees with its past efforts on behalf of Jewish refugees.

As Israel has learned time and time again, helping Muslims often results in a kick-in-the-teeth (or — a bomb in your clothing, as the recent case of a Muslim woman who thanked the Israeli hospital which saved her life by returning with a bomb under her dress).

Either Hetfield remains deluded as to the true nature of these people — or can’t pass up the $2,000-plus resettlement fee that his organization collects to assist in the resettlement of each individual. Neither explanation is very edifying.

When will Jews learn that there are people (and religions) which will do us harm no matter how helpful we try to be?

David L. Levine | San Francisco

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