Discovering what really separates


To the editor:

(re: “Myths and realities: Jews and the left,” Jan. 28)

I would like to take issue with Peter Wolf’s Point of View. Seldom have I read so many ideas in one essay that need to be challenged.

First, Judaism is a religion, not a “perspective” that is divisible by “strands” or by reactions to the Holocaust.

In order to understand why anti-Semitism exists, you must know the tenets of Judaism. “Basic humanistic injunctions” are the antithesis of Judaism, since the religion is God-centered.

Second, the assertion that “Jews are not in any meaningful danger in the United States,” and that the right is more dangerous to Jews than the left, are nonsense. The Declaration of Independence states the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is given to each individual by God. This is a Judaic idea.

The left can only gain power if God does not exist. The danger is that, without God, only humans in the form of government can grant or deny rights. There is no left-wing ideology that does not work to expand the power of government to control human agency. That idea is antithetical to Judaism.

Thus, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic. To explain why would be a separate essay. But do you believe that someone could claim to respect the French people or the Italian people while presenting an argument against the existence of France or Italy?

Criticism of Israel’s government or policies is not inherently anti-Semitic. Working to harm the country — as boycott-divestment-sanctions does, for example — is anti-Semitic.

Finally, Peter Wolf ends his Point of View by saying he believes that “the tendency to divide ourselves, tribally, into us and ‘those people’ is perhaps the most tragic aspect of our nature as a species.”

Actually, Judaism has something to say about what really separates humans. It is not race. Not gender. Not tribe. Not class.

What separates humans are values.

Howard Wasserfall

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Howard Wasserfall,