Letters, the Week of May 4, 2017

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Strike at FPRI Below the Belt

I am an acolyte for both ZOA and the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) and happened to be in attendance at the recent public event Steve Feldman and Lee Bender editorialized about and deemed a travesty (“Think Tank’s Hosting of PLO Rep a Grave Assault on Liberty,” April 27). I frequently attend FPRI events, and will be at the upcoming ZOA Advocacy Mission in Washington, D.C., on June 6. Regarding Israel, I am an annual American civilian volunteer with the IDF.

The writers did a double disservice with their narrative. They seriously misinterpreted Sun Tzu’s mission of “know your enemy” and FPRI’s educational mission. The event in question was never meant to be “tell the truth hour.”

They offended my intellect and ability to interpret, as well as my First Amendment rights, with their shrill narrative. But they also offended and insulted the audience in attendance, which was perhaps 80 percent composed of thinking, inquiring and very informed Jewish men and women.

Unfortunately, they insulted Alan Luxenberg, FPRI’s president and a friend of Israel, who moderated the challenging conversation with extreme decorum and professionalism.

But most of all, they shot themselves in the foot by confusing civilian intellectual pursuit with partisan extremism. Their misguided reading of events serves to discredit ZOA as the constructive advocacy force it actually is.

Steve Plotkin | Newtown Square

Iraq’s Jews Were Not Treated With Respect

I was shocked to read of an Iraq “where Jews were respected and all ethnicities were treated with dignity” until 1979 (“Temple’s Muslim Dean of Dentistry Honored by Jewish Dental Fraternity,” April 13).

I was in Baghdad in 1948, when Israel was established as a Jewish state. Jews were taken from their homes at night, tortured and hung in the center square in the morning as Zionists. To leave Iraq, we had to register. My father went to register the family in the evening. He went to his office early the next morning to get his records, but the office was padlocked. When he went to the bank, he found his account was closed by the government.

The law allowed people leaving Iraq to take up to 20 kilograms of clothing and what you were wearing. No money, no jewelry and no other valuables were allowed to leave. Our family was split up, and my teenage brother was left behind for a long time.

An estimated 850,000 Jews were living in the Middle East at the time Israel was established in 1948. Most of us had to leave or, in time, we would have been killed as Zionists. The Islamic State does not kill Jews in Iraq, Libya and other Muslim countries because there are no Jews left.

It is hard for me to accept what a Muslim dentist is telling the Jews in America. Does he think my family was treated with respect and dignity?

Virginia Citron | Wynnewood

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