AIPAC is bipartisan

I am writing in response to Alan Mark Levin’s letter to the editor (“AxIPAC must build bridges,” April 7). Mr. Levin’s letter contains several factual errors, insisting that AIPAC is pro-Republican and pro-Likud.

Mr. Levin suggests, “Look at the speaker’s roster. You will see loads of Republicans and only a few Democrats.” Had he taken his own advice, he would have noted that the conference included speeches by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, in addition to House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. We also were addressed by New Jersey’s Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, Democratic Senator Kamala Harris of California, and Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey, as well as by African-American, Christian, Hispanic, and student leaders from both sides of the aisle. There also was a breakout session with the newly elected chair of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez. So it is unmistakably clear that the entire leadership of the Democratic party was well represented, as they are every year.

Last year, during the election cycle, Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden both addressed the conference. Senator Bernie Sanders was invited but declined.

Most importantly, we lobbied on several issues that enjoy bipartisan sponsorship in both the House and the Senate, including fresh non-nuclear sanctions against Iran for its ballistic missile activity, anti-BDS legislation, and foreign aid.

With respect to Israeli politics, Isaac “Bougie” Herzog, leader of the left of center opposition Labor Party and Zionist Union, addressed the conference. And Tzipi Livni was keynote speaker at the AIPAC Northeast Conference in New York City. Both were grateful to AIPAC for its pro-Israel advocacy.

One of the highlights of this year’s conference was the speech by U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Although she happens to be a Republican, her speech was apolitical, focusing on righting the anti-Israel bias at the U.N., a position strongly supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.

It is unfortunate that many in the community are misinformed about AIPAC and its work on behalf of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. Unlike J Street and other leftist groups, AIPAC is unquestionably bipartisan and undoubtedly celebrates diversity and a broad constituency whose main objective is to advocate for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance.

Readers can access all of these speeches and much of the conference at www.aipac.org. I am confident you will develop an appreciation of the bipartisanship and diversity of AIPAC.

Arthur Sinensky

We overlooked Nehru

In your cover story “Finding Home” (April 14), on Jews finding refuge in India, the caption of the top right photo on page 16 missed some remarkably important history. The caption describes the photos as art collector Rudolph von Leyden…”with Indian and non-Indian friends.” The “friend” on the left is Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) the first prime minister of independent India and Mahatma Gandhi’s closest assistant and designated successor in the Indian independence movement.

Sharon L. Mosenkis

Fair Lawn

More Jewish geography

In the Pesach issue of the Standard, you told the Jewish geography story of three gentlemen who turned out to be from the same neighborhood in London (“The Stoke Newington connection,” April 7). Here is my Jewish geography story:

I live in Fort Lee. There is a ballroom dance class in our community center. I had been taking the class for several years and knew a woman in the class only casually. One day, she invited me to her building’s swimming pool, and then we became friends. Her last name is Goldberg — her ex-husband’s name. My mother’s mother’s maiden name also was Goldberg. I thought nothing of it.

My friend has three sons who live in Florida. One came to visit. I offered to drive them to see Liberty State Park and Hoboken. On the way home, I said that my grandmother’s maiden name was Goldberg. He asked me where she was from. I said White Russia. He asked what town she was from. I replied Kelenkawich. (I don’t know if it’s spelled right.). He said that was where his great grandfather was from. “He was shot by the Bolsheviks,” he said. I exclaimed: “That was my grandmother’s brother!!!!!” I was in shock, not really believing this could be true, but my mother, who was alive at the time, confirmed that his grandfather was a son of the murdered relative!!!

Ilana Kantey
Fort Lee

Made-up scandal

After reading an article, “Female Smurf removed from posters in Haredi Orthodox neighborhood in Israel” by Josefin Dolsten on March 28, 2017 on the Jewish Standard’s online edition, I was quite disturbed by what the article said.

This article originally was printed in the Haaretz newspaper, a left-wing leaning media outlet in Israel. Something just didn’t seem right. Why would a company promoting a film put a poster in a charedi Orthodox neighborhood, when clearly it is rare that those living in Bene Brak even own a television or computer, let alone go to see movies in a movie theater? This just seemed absurd.

So I did a little investigating of my own. My niece, Hadassah Schwarz, who works in the media and research department of the Israel Press office in Jerusalem, was given the following information from Benyahu Yom-Tov, a media consultant for the Drug and Alcohol Authority in Israel. Through his job as a media consultant he received the press releases from Forum Film about the Smurf movie. Mr. Yom-Tov was the person who contacted the Bene Brak City Hall to find out whether there were any complaints about the film’s poster for the Smurf movie.

Basically, as my niece explained the situation, this Smurf matter was a public relations stunt done by Forum Films to promote its movie. It appears that the movie sales from the movie were less than expected in Israel. So they came up with a “brilliant” plan. Let’s promote the Smurf movie with the poster of the female Smurfette front and center and place them in Bene Brak. Their thought was that the Bene Brak population would be so angry about this poster that the free publicity they would receive from this would make others outside of Bene Brak go see the movie.

What Haaretz didn’t mention — but Bene Brak City Hall confirmed — was there wasn’t a single complaint from the population that lives in Bene Brak. To further the sham, Forum Film removed the poster with the Smurfette and instead used their other poster with just the three male Smurfs. This caused the media to ride the hate wave and created the headline, as you printed, “Female Smurf removed from posters in Haredi Orthodox neighborhood in Israel.”

I thought you would like to get the truth out about this situation. It’s pretty useless to ask Haaretz to retract the article but I would hope that you would at least publish my letter to the editor in the hope that others will read this and learn the truth.

Dr. Elaine T. Yaffe

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