Not sure what letter he's reading


To the editor:

(re: “Defining what Zionism truly is,” Sept. 21)

As I read Ed Weintrob’s response to a letter by someone named Peter Wolf, I wondered if I have an evil twin who wrote an antisemitic letter in The Riverdale Press that I hadn’t seen.

He sounds really evil. 

If it was me, my letter had none of the things described, as should be obvious from the fact that nothing I said is quoted. I never said the antisemitic things attributed to me. If I had a thinner skin, I’d call it character assassination — especially since you imply my “slander” shouldn’t be published.

What about your slander of me? OK, I’m fine with publishing it. And frankly, I think you hurt your cause.

I never said nor believe that Israel should be annihilated. I believe in a two-state solution, though it appears that Israel has made that more and more difficult, and the current government does not hide that it is moving toward annexing the West Bank. 

I have no idea of what you mean about spreading lies about Jews. What lies? Specifically. Half of your letter goes into the history of horrors committed against Jews, and I share your condemnation. Are you implying that I agree with them? Are you claiming I am “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel?” Where did I even imply that? 

The logic that criticizing Israel is somehow akin to a notion that Jews drink the blood of Christians is absurd.   

We could debate about whether my criticisms of the Israeli government regarding the Palestinians are accurate or not. OK, I confess to not liking any ethnic/religious states that subjugate others.

But lies about Jews? What specifically? Is a government immune from criticism if its members are from a specific religion or ethnicity? Are all those Jews I cited in a poll who believe that Israel is an apartheid state, antisemites? Are they hiding their view that Jews killed Jesus behind criticism of Israel?    

Are American Jews a marginalized group, as you state? Other surveys — I am trying to keep this short, so not citing details — find Jews to be both the richest and most respected ethnic group in this country. Marginalized? We are not still in the shtetl.  Neither I, nor presumably you, are marginalized.

Applying double standards? I end my letter by saying that given the direction Israel is going, “it should feel at home with its Middle Eastern neighbors in term of ethnic hatred and lack of democracy.” 

Those are the regional Arab states. I also criticize China and Russia for their abominable behavior. As do the human rights organizations who likewise share my criticisms of Israel. Does that imply I am “hiding the endgame” that Russia and China should be annihilated?

I focused on Israel because this newspaper has letters focused on Israel, to which I respond. If The Riverdale Press publishes a letter glorifying the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or China’s genocide against the Uyghurs, I’d be happy to respond. 

However, as a Jew, I feel an ethical obligation to I hold my ethnic brothers and sisters to higher standards, as I did with my fellow Americans regarding Vietnam.  Call it my “country be right” versus my “country/people right or wrong.”

Jews have the reputation of being especially smart, good critical thinkers. Whether the stereotype is true or not, I don’t know, though I kind of enjoy it. 

But letters like yours — which don’t understand or willfully distort those who criticize Israel, for better or worse — are, at best, embarrassing. If you have any comments about what I actually said, I’d be happy to hear them.  If not, zei guzunt.

Peter Wolf

Peter Wolf, Ed Weintrob, The Riverdale Press, slander, antisemitism, antizionism, Israel, Jewish, letter