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We Need More Jewish Power, Not Less

Dear Editor:

“Elie Wiesel once said that the lesson of the Shoah is: “We must believe the threats of our enemies more than the promises of our friends.”

When I hear that Jews are too powerful, my response is, we are not powerful enough. When I hear that AIPAC is too influential a lobby, I say it must become even more influential. When I hear that Jews contribute too much money to support pro-Israel causes, I say we must contribute more.

When I hear that Jews control the media, I ask “Why is so much of the media so anti-Israel?” When I hear that Jews have too much influence on the outcome of elections, I say we need to increase our influence….

No other group is ever accused of having too much power and influence. That false claim – dating back to times and places where Jews had little or no influence – is an anti-Semitic trope that tells us more about the anti-Semites who invoke it than it does about Jews.

History has proven that Jews need more power and influence than other groups to secure their safety. During the 1930s and early 1940s, Jews had morality on their side, but they lacked the power and influence to save six million of their brothers and sisters from systematic murder.

In the Middle East, Israel must have more military power than all of its enemies and potential enemies combined. As Benjamin Netanyahu wisely put it: “If our enemies lay down their arms, there would be peace. If Israel lay down its arms, there would be genocide.”

Elie Wiesel once said that the lesson of the Shoah is: “We must believe the threats of our enemies more than the promises of our friends.” For me, an additional lesson is that Israel and the Jewish people must be more powerful than their enemies.

So if anybody ever complains about Jewish power and influence, remind that person that Jewish power is the best road to peace: that history has proven that Jews without power are vulnerable to the oldest prejudice known to human kind – a prejudice that may abate, as it did for several decades following the Second World War, but will always rears its ugly head as it is now doing in England, France, Eastern Europe, and on the hard left in the United States.

If Jewish power and influence are used in the cause of peace and justice, we should not be ashamed of it. It should be a source of pride.”

Sincerely

Alan Dershowitz


Disgusted by Payday Lenders

Dear Editor,

After reading “Gambino Member Sentenced to 28 Months for Loan Sharking at 54% Interest Rate,” I was happy to see justice but couldn’t help but think about how the interest rates remind me of payday lenders, who get to operate legally.

Of course payday lenders may not come around and break your legs or kill you if you don’t pay, but they will take advantage of the most desperate and trap them in an endless and insurmountable cycle of debt.

Why is it that these payday lenders are allowed to slap customers with APRs that are sometimes around 500 percent! Good luck paying off that interest when you get paid so little at your job that you had to take out the loan in the first place just so you could get some food or take your kid to the doctor.

With that said, of course it’s good that the Gambino loan shark was sentenced, and this is also why legalized gambling is important. It brings us one step closer to trying to eliminate these particularly kinds of dark aspects of the black market, though of course there would still be plenty of incentives to try getting a mafia loan. Little by little, lawmakers and law enforcement can hopefully chip away at organized crime activity in order to weaken these groups and their members.

Sincerely,

Carlina Kahn


Wants Complete Legalization of Recreational Pot

Dear Editor,

Legalize it already. It’s a colossal waste of law enforcement, judicial, and correctional resources to keep locking people up for it, and there’s still a thriving black market that’s never going away. I’m talking about cannabis of course, and while the science around the plant and its effects on humans is only so well understood because of limited studies, it’s pretty clear that it’s far from the societal menace that “Reefer Madness” would have you believe it is.

I was disappointed after reading your article “Some NYS County Execs to Oppose Sale of Recreational Pot.” Have any of these executives met with communities of color, which have been ravaged by the racist war on drugs? Have they spoken with any families of black men who got locked up for years for petty use or sale for the sake of trying to put food on the table, especially when whites use drugs at virtually the same rate but get arrested and charged far less often?

Officials in Rockland, Putnam and Chemung – and the number is said to be growing recently said in statements to Gannett’s Albany bureau that they will put a halt to plans for legal marijuana sales in their home counties if the state passes such a law. They need to meet with more members of the community and hear their voices instead of buying into the fear-mongering.

Officials in Long Island’s Suffolk and Nassau counties have already indicated they plan to ban recreational marijuana sales, despite the havoc that alcohol can wreak through influencing and driving poor decisions, assault, harassment, aggressiveness, drunken driving, domestic abuse, and slow and painful diseases that kill.

We could be adults about cannabis and other drugs by allowing research so that we can have some science to base our decisions off of instead of speculation, fear, and pseudoscience. Maybe cannabis does have some big benefits, but having such a negative attitude makes it harder for this research to happen. And if we find out that some benefits aren’t true, then that’s great too. We would know and be able to move on while also better understanding cannabis and its psychoactive ingredients. And don’t forget about the low-level drug offenders rotting away in prison for no good reason at all, at taxpayer expense while everyone they knew and loved in life grows up without them. Let’s be rational here and do the right thing. Legalize it and take the legislation and oversight seriously so we get it right.

Sincerely,

Gabrielle Holler


Loves Vegan Restaurants

Dear Editor,

Thanks for the article “13 of the Best Vegan Restaurants in Israel” because I not only find it very interesting but have wanted to try more vegetarian and vegan options. I want to up my intake of nutrients from food sources I don’t normally eat, try some different dishes, and eat in a way that’s more environmentally sustainable. So what better way to start on that path by learning about how it’s done best in Tel Aviv? I also am well overdue for an Israel trip and am already watering at the mouth at the thought of visiting these restaurants.

The paper said that Tel Aviv is the top spot for vegan dining in the world. There are even vegan dining tours available that bring you to all the best spots for milk-free gelato or plant-based Mexican food. And the best news is that the roots of this movement are spreading into other cities and towns throughout Israel.

Sincerely,

Devin Reiss

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