HomeJune 2022Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

An Open Letter to the Editorial Board of the Harvard Crimson
Your commitment to and promotion of the toxic BDS campaign reveals your bigotry and anti-Semitism
On April 29th, in a breathtaking display of tendentiousness and a misreading of history and fact, you published an editorial in the Harvard Crimson entitled, “In Support of Boycott, Divest, Sanction and a Free Palestine,” an outrageous column replete with slanders against the Jewish state that called for the Harvard community to commit itself to the corrosive BDS campaign against Israel.
You suggested that the editorial was inspired by the April demonstrations and programming of the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee (HCPSC) which, as part of Israeli Apartheid Week, “installed a colorful, multi-panel ‘Wall of Resistance’ in favor of Palestinian freedom and sovereignty.”
Even more importantly, you contended, fallaciously, “The admittedly controversial panels dare the viewer to contend with well-established, if rarely stated, facts [emphasis added].” What are examples of those “well-established facts” you alluded to? One panel announced in capital letters, for example, that “Zionism is: Racism—Settler Colonialism—White Supremacy—Apartheid,” mendacious slurs that echo the UN’s notorious 1975 Resolution 3379 that proclaimed that Zionism is racism.
The puerile accusation of white supremacy against Israel is as grotesque and unhinged as is the oft-repeated claim that Israelis are the new Nazis, committing genocide against the Palestinians, and both are not only counter-factual but are also forms of anti-Semitic expression described in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism.
In justifying your position in this debate, you remarked that “It is our categorical imperative to side with and empower the vulnerable and oppressed.” Really? Does that include Jewish civilians who are being stabbed, rammed with cars, blown up, and showered with rockets in their sleep by the genocidal terrorist organization of Hamas in Gaza and even Arab Israelis?
You wish to single out only Zionism and Jewish self-determination as being singular evils in the world. If you apply a double standard to Israel, holding it up to a standard of behavior not expected or required of any other nation, denying only Jewish self-determination while advancing and being a cheerleader for Palestinian self-determination, that behavior conforms to the IHRA working definition of what, in the contemporary context, can be indicative of anti-Semitism.
You yearn for the “liberation of Palestine” but what do you assume such an event would actually result in? When you carelessly refer to a liberated Palestine are you talking about the West Bank and Gaza, areas that would comprise a new Palestinian state? Or are you really describing and eagerly imagining a liberated Palestine that BDS supporters and their fellow travelers in the Arab world and in the West actually seek, namely, a Palestine which includes, and subsumes, present-day Israel?
Can you not see how your support of this murderous and morally-debased campaign to extirpate Israel, thinly disguised as activism to promote Palestinian self-determination, might not be shared with many of your Harvard peers? And can you not see, finally, that your obsessive focus on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict—with Israel positioned as the perennial oppressor and the Arabs as its perennial victim—reveals your bigotry and even marginal anti-Semitism, despite your protestations to the contrary.
In short, you have given credence to Bertrand Russell’s observation that “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”
—Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., a Freedom Center Journalism Fellow in Academic Free Speech and President Emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of Jew-Hatred Rising: The Perversities of the Campus War Against Israel and Jews.

Colonel Greg Raths: A true friend of the Jewish people
It is not uncommon for non-Jewish politicians to not completely understand Jewish politics. Most often politicians whom are not fully invested in our culture and not completely understanding the complex nature of the Jews, would say or communicate raw messages that we would call or consider as anti-semetic. Though, the message or the individual making such statements may ignorantly not understand what they are actually saying and not be aware how we would take such statements. Remember, if one comment defines a politicians life and career then most all Israeli and American politicians, including the current American president, whom has walked back anti-semetic comments before, would never hold office.
Colonel Greg Raths, a war hero and a longtime local politician of my city, Mission Viejo, California made statements in front of a community event of local Islamic leaders. His statements made ignorantly and raw were indeed inappropriate and from our view very loose. He said openly what many think privately. Unfortunately, the audience could not wait for the event to end to broadcast his comments for the purpose of hurting his campaign and his reputation personally. Further, it was wrong of Greg to say what he did, and has since apologized and realized what he said was not appropriate.
I myself, unlike other rabbinical leaders, I speak up when I see right or wrong. Other local rabbinical leaders hide behind their businesses and do not defend or openly support Torah laws relating to local and national politics. I choose to speak up because our country and nation, including Hashem requires us to make Torah decisions. Raths, a longtime friend of my family, has enjoyed Shabbos by us, attended my sons bar mitzvah in Mission Viejo at Congregation Pirchei Shoshanim, supported our efforts to help local veterans, delivering food to needy holocaust survivors, participated in Jewish holiday events in the community and openly conveyed his love and support for Israel and the Jewish people. I am not advocating that Greg is a perfect man, I as a former Air Force chaplain know what the pilot culture is and the ego that can come from such positions. But, Greg has developed over the last 20 years since his retirement and matured into a solid conservative, a real genuine Trump conservative that loves the USA and Orange County.
Though his comments were inappropriate, I will give him a pass. I took a call from him before Shabbos and we spoke about this issue directly. He honestly wasn’t aware he said anything wrong and I know this to be true. I can say this because I know his heart and the man. The typical detractors are going to enjoy blasting him for it, including the liberal Jewish community, but the reality is those who go after him on this issue would not be voting for him anyways. This I know to be fact and true, he will stand with Israel, support the foreign aid and defense of Israel, support the Jewish communities and Jewish people in the USA, defend the first and second amendments and also continue to hold to total conservative values in any position he holds especially the central Jewish value of supporting life of the unborn child.
—Rabbi Jeff (Ari) Montanari
Congregation Pirchei Shoshanim
Mission Viejo, CA

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