An open letter

I wrote this open letter to President Michael Schill of Northwestern University. I am disgusted, and I believe all of us who are parents of alumni need to write to these weak panderers — especially when they are Jews.

Dear President Schill,

I am the mother of an NU grad, 2018. A Jewish NU grad. Noah Lisser. Neuroscience major. My son dealt with votes for divestment his freshman year in 2014. Notwithstanding, he found a home at AEpi, Hillel, and Chabad. He traveled to Israel with Hillel. After freshman year he found his Jewish identity at NU and had a wonderful and meaningful experience.

I am ashamed of Northwestern’s actions in negotiating with the hate-spewing protestors. Your agreement capitulating to their demands rewards bad behavior. You reward hate speech at the expense of civil discourse. You may think you have engaged in a thoughtful manner, but you have taught these students that taking over a campus with hateful rhetoric is a path that should be rewarded. What I have seen is shameful and hateful. I cannot believe that the campus that felt so warm and loving despite some ugly discourse has become so deeply angry and hostile. There is no question — it is hostile to Jews and to anyone who doesn’t bow to the pressure of the protestors. You are leaving one tent in the middle of campus to remind everyone of what transpired until the end of May. It is a travesty.

The education my son received is now burdened with this ugliness, and I am ashamed and disgusted that I paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to an institution that is so cowardly that it buckles to the pressure of brainwashed students. You’ve committed to giving a free ride to Palestinian students and to hiring professors with eliminationist agendas. Their agenda is the elimination of the state of Israel. There is no other country on the planet that is subject to such an agenda. Only the Jewish nation. Which speaks volumes toward what this is really about. Jew-hatred and the elimination of Jews. We all know it. You should be ashamed.  This is not education. This is pandering.

You should be ashamed.

Lisa Lisser
Cedar Grove

Mainstream media unfair to Israel

Many years ago, when I was hired as a reporter for the Record, I was told by my regional editor, Eliot Ashare, to be fair and balanced and not to take sides in my news articles. In local news, there were many opportunities to take a biased stance. Those articles were immediately returned, with an admonition to speak to the opposition.

Today, I am sorry to say, that admonition appears to have gone by the wayside. Especially in reporting of the Israel/Hamas conflict.

Daily, no matter the headline, there is an accompanying photo that is negative about the Israelis, showing destruction in Gaza. There is a paucity of articles about what the families of hostages are suffering.

A May 3 article about anti-Israel demonstrations at Drew University is the perfect example. The reporter writes: “While current campus protests are targeting Israel’s military campaign in Gaza that has let more than 34,000 dead, a majority of them women and children, and brought Gaza to the brink of famine, according to the United Nations, some rallies and meetings have been openly threatening to Jews.”

All figures regarding casualties in Gaza are reported by the Hamas-controlled health ministry. It is in their interest to fabricate the numbers to gain international support, as has ben shown by the biased demonstrations at colleges and universities.

There is no proof given that the majority killed were women and children. There is no breakdown indicating how many of that alleged number are Hamas terrorists. There is no proof that the overall number is valid. It simply is in Hamas’s interest to offer up fabricated numbers.

In any war there are civilian casualties. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, hundreds of thousands were killed outright and over time tens of thousands died of radiation. Independent assessments contend that in Hiroshima alone more than 255,000 died. Had the bombs not been dropped, estimates of an invasion of Japan would have taken the lives of millions, mostly civilians.

Any death is a failure to find peace. The kidnapping of Israelis by a terrorist organization and the efforts to destroy that organization will be ongoing. But one-sided reporting of the conflict will only serve to drum up support for Hamas to the detriment of Israel, the nation that was attacked and responded.

Let’s show balanced reported and photos of the ongoing tragedy.

Bob Nesoff
New Milford

What Michelle Obama said

I would just like to correct one thing in the opinion piece by Ari M. Berman (“Missing in Action,” May 3).  Shortly after the October 7th atrocities Michelle Obama said the following, as reported by Elizabeth Rosner in the Messenger:

“‘I’m like all Americans watching the images coming out of the region,’ the former first lady said Sunday during an appearance at New York City’s 92nd Street Y. ‘I can say that, as a mother, I cannot wrap my arms around how people must be feeling. I can’t get the images of those young people who were gunned down attending a music festival because those kids were the age of my daughters.’”

I understand that this may seem inadequate to some people, but to say that she said nothing is incorrect.

Elana Samad

What was so good about 1968?

I appreciate that Rabbi Hammerman acknowledges the connections between today’s college protests and the anti-Vietnam war protests in 1968 in which he took part (“Columbia University in 1968 and 2024,” May 3). But his insistence on seeing himself as having been on the right side of history keeps him from seeing the fuller picture. Both communism AND Islamism are existential threats to our Western way of life.

Why weren’t the protesters in 1968 speaking out against the terrorism of the Viet Cong? If they really cared about saving civilian lives, why not protest for the Viet Cong to surrender, which would have ended the war and saved countless lives, rather than undermining America’s efforts to defend democracy?

It seems that Rabbi Hammerman is connecting a few of the dots, but he’s not taking full responsibility. We have to finally learn the lesson of not listening to naive college students.

Baruch Blum

Is it okay to denounce Jews?

There are no words to describe my disappointment in not only, but especially, the Jewish people in the government, as well as those with platforms to speak out. I cannot wrap my head around their silence when it comes to the antisemitism we are seeing today on so many college campuses. Imagine, if you will, that these protestors were chanting “death to the Blacks, Gays, Transgenders, Hispanics, Asians, etc..” would there be silence? Absolutely not. But, when it comes to Jews, there are all kinds of “excuses.” It seems okay to denounce Jews.

How can this be happening…again? Ironically, Trump, who was called Hitler by many, is speaking out against what is going on. Even Al Sharpton, who never defends a white person, spoke out about the hatred that is being spewed. Robert DeNiro, for example, who never minces words about Trump and speaks out constantly — does he think what is going on is okay? What about Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Rob Reiner, and so many more who have no problem speaking out? Why not speak out against this?

Where is our government? People with a platform are being quiet. Is this because they are worried about losing votes? Just tiptoeing around is not a strong enough denouncement. When we as Jews say “Never Again” do we not mean it? No consequences to bad behavior seems to be the mantra these days. No consequences for stealing, no consequences for illegally entering the United States, and now no consequences for outright antisemitism. I am beside myself at the silence.

I fear for myself, my children and my grandchildren. My parents were Holocaust survivors. My mother is 93 and I am more than upset that she has to see this happening again. I fear for the future of Israel if all of these schools stop having anything to do with that country. The country and people who gave us so many innovations — MRI, the cell phone, vaccines, and so much more. For those who denounce the Jews, give up anything that was invented by a Jew. I could go on and on with my rant, but I think my point is coming through without continuing. If anyone speaks out now, it may be too little, too late, but it’s better than nothing.

Judi Levine
Harrington Park

Recognizing National Police Week

National Police Week — May 12 to May 18 this year — is again upon us, when people throughout the United States will extend special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

While this annual observance is to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we should also salute the members of police agencies serving in our community and in communities across the nation. Recent months have certainly been challenging for all of them. We should be grateful for their ongoing efforts to safeguard and protect our families and property on a daily basis.

When you see a police officer — during Police Week 2024 or any time — please take a moment to say “thank you” and let them know that you value their service and commitment, especially during these trying times. Both you and they will be happy that you did.

Yitz Stern

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