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January 25, 2019

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWlSH NEWS, JANUARY 25, 2019 PAGE 5A Llm By Jonathan S. Tobin (JNS)--It may be that supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump and those who back the Israeli government led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are now so closely aligned that the latter have no qualms about the Jewish state being dragged into one of the most contentious American politi- cal debates in living memory. But as much as Trump is popular in Israel for his sup- port of the Jewish state, it's likely that most of its citizens would be just as happy if their border-security policies were left out of the epic struggle over whether America should buildwhat Trump has at times called "a big, beautiful wall" on its southern border. The pro-Israel community already faces challenges from supporters of the BDS move- ment, as well as advocates of intersectional theory that falsely claims that the war against the Jewish state's existence is morally equiva- lent to the struggle for civil rights in the United States. With a Democratic Party increasingly divided about the Middle East, the last thing Israel's supporters need is for its practices to be used as a justification for Trump's demands--demands that created a standoff with congressional Democrats and prompted the current government shutdown. The dispute over whether or not to extend the barriers already in place along large sections of America's southern border is rife with hypocrisy and hyperbole on both sides. Opponents who have sup- ported funding for a barrier in the past--as long as it was not the 45th president asking for it--now deride Trump's insistence on a"wall" as foolish or even immoral. It is equally true that many of Trump's claims about a "crisis" at the border has been more a matter of political expediency than a true "national emergency," which if he were to declare one and use it to get his way would be just as extra-constitutional as President Barack Obama's efforts going around the law to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. Reasonable people can dis- agree about how best to secure the border, but as with every- thing else in contemporary American politics, Trump's involvement turns the argu- ment into one in which both sides feel compelled to defend extreme positions that turn into existential struggles that make compromise impossible. Trump's rhetoric and the ensu- ing responses from those who despise him have turned what ought to be a technical ques- tion what measures canbest secure the border--into an existential political struggle involving positions that are falsely identified as the moral equivalent of good and evil. Nevertheless, some of the extreme rhetoric about barri- ers being ineffective is wrong, and Israel's use of them pro- vides some insight as to how they can be made to work. The plain fact is that the influx of tens of thousands of Africans who entered Israel illegally was ended by the erec- tion of a fence along its border with Egypt. The security bar- rier that runs through parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem separating Palestinian Arab areas, and Israeli towns and neighborhoods, was similarly effective in stopping the wave of suicide bombers that poured into Israeli cities during the war of terrorist attrition known as the Second Intifada, which took more than 1,000 Jewish lives and the lives of many more Arabs. While the Palestinians and their sup- porters call the barrier an "apartheid wall," its erection was an act of self-defense that saved human life. Various kinds of barriers also play a part in separating Israel from terrorist forces in Gaza and Lebanon, as well as the chaos in war-torn Syria. Israel's fences or walls aren't foolproof. Hamas dug tunnels under them in order to facilitate cross-border kid- napping and murder raids. In recent months, the Israel Defense Forces discovered that Hezbollah has been digging its own network of Wall on page 15A By Andrew Silow-Carroll NEW YORK (JTA)--My dad, who grew up in a time and place where his Juda- ism only marked him as an outsider, never really got my professional fascination with all things Jewish. That all changedwhen nearly 20 years ago I got a job with the For- ward, the English-language offspring of the venerable Yiddish daily. He recalled how the For- verts would arrive at his fam- ily's home in New York state's rural Orange County, one of his parents' few links to the bustling Jewish community downstate and a window into a wider world. "My father learned to be American from reading the Forverts," Dad told me. I came to the Forward in its second generation as a revived weekly dedicated to treat- ing its subject matter--the Jews--with the seriousness and curiosity they deserved. Seth Lipsky had reimagined the paper as a quality Jew- ish journalistic enterprise a decade earlier. His successor, J.J. Goidberg, kept that spirit of inquiry alive, and as his managing editor I managed to work with an array of people far more talented than I--I am lucky to call more than a few of them my colleagues to this day. Under Jane Eisner, the Forward remained an in- cubator and farm team for excellence in writing about North American Jewry in the post-immigrant, postmodern and, what some warn omi- nously, is a post-Zionist era. Some of the top Jewish media organizations--including the online magazine Tablet and 70 Faces Media, JTA's parent organization--and at least one national magazine are led by its alumni. The news last night that the Forward, already reduced to a monthly magazine, is stopping its print operations altogether, and that key senior staffers, including Eisner, are being laid off, hit all of us in the industry hard. Personally, many of those let go are my friends. Professionally, it is an ominous sign of the state of Jewish journalism. But you don't have to be a Jewish journalist to bemoan the diminution of a storied news enterprise. Love it or hate it (and many people do), the Forward represents the kind of serious conversation that Jews need to be hav- ing in turbulent times. Its reporters have held Jewish organizations and leaders accountable to the people they serve. Its opinion pages raise important questions that we might otherwise be reluctant to discuss in public, and give voice to those--Jews of color, Mizrachim, women, Jewish "renegades"--who too often are left out of the communal conversation. Most of all, it reminds us to think like adults, and put aside the kitsch and pablum that sometimes defines the Jewish discourse. This week I took part in a Muslim-Jewish dialogue sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. The focus was the media's treatment of our respective groups. I was reminded how lucky we are as Jews to have a mature and robust tradition of communal self-scrutiny. The Muslims in the room represented their communities' critical think- ers, in all senses of that term, and more than a few quietly bemoaned the lack of outlets for an honest and often un- comfortable discussion of the challenges facing them and their coreligionists. Although the Jewish discourse can often be coarse, and the intramural fighting ugly, I am always proud as a Jewish journalist to be in the thick of it. As an industry, Jewish journalism is on the ropes-- weekly newspapers have been shrinking, many dying, for more than a decade, the result of the double jeopardy of eco- nomic and ethnic upheaval. Readers don't expect to pay for the news they consume, and advertisers have fled to a cheaper online space where size is often all that mat- ters. Jewish ethnic ties are famously frayed. The Forward hopes its new digital strategy will help it survive these changes, but ultimately a journalistic enterprise is only as good, and as healthy, as its people. I wish the Forward, its staff and its alumni only good things. The Jewish world needs them. And if you doubt that, or are gloating over the Forward's financial woes, you are arguing for a community that cannot discuss its most pressing issues honestly. You are trusting professional and volunteer stewards of multimillion-dollar nonprof- its--your money, in other words--to police themselves. You are okay with tuning out political and ideological views with which you don't agree. You are trusting the Jewish story to outsiders, and will not have the answers when others confront us with their versions of the truth. The Forverts taught my Jewish immigrant grandpar- ents how to be American. The revived Forward taught all of us how to think Jewishly in an era of assimilation and acculturation. I hope a new Forward, and all of Jewish journalism, can rebound to teach us how to argue with one another, learn from one anotherand love one another. Andrew Silow-Carroll is editor in chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media. By Eric Rozenman (JTA)--Filmmaker Steven Spielberg told NBC News he thinks society must take the possibility of genocide more seriously now than it has in the past generation. In an in- terview marking the 25th an- niversary of"Schindler's List," Spielberg referred to the massacre at Pittsburgh's Tree Letters To The Editor We are a diverse community and we welcome your letters and viewpoints. The views and opinions expressed in the opinion pieces and letters published in The Heri- tage are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Heritage Florida Jewish News or its stag The Heritage reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, content, and accuracy. And respectful of lashon hara, we will not print derogatory statements against any individual. Please limit letters to 250 words. Send letters to P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. Or e-mail to news@ There have been Jewish presidential candidates Dear Editor: In the Dec. 28th edition, Jim Shipley states in his col- umn that "So far, no Jew has run for president." Anyone who is not living under a rock would immediately recognize the error of that statement. Several Jews have run for U.S. president--two in just the last presidential election. How could anyone forget Ber- nie Sanders, who just ran in 2016? Also, Jill Stein was the Green Party nominee in 2016, as well as 2012. In previous elections, Milton Schapp ran in 1976,Arlen Specter in 1996 and Joe Lieberman in 2004. How someone who writes for a newspaper could not be aware of these basic facts is shocking and epitomizes the public's mistrust of the press. Scott Ravede Deltona, FL of Life synagogue and warned that "hate leading to genocide is as possible today as it was during the Holocaust." He was behind the curve. The era of "never again" is ending in Western Europe, fading in North America and never penetrated the Middle East. Relentless demonization of the Jewish state renormal- izes demonization of Jewish people. Examples of post-Nazi genocide and attempted genocide abound, including Muslim Indonesia's seizure of largely Christian East Timor, the auto-genocide perpetrated by Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, suppression of southern Sudan's Christian and animist Darfur region by the government of the Muslim north, the murder of much of Rwanda's Tutsi minority by the Hutu majority and today's oppression by Myanmar's Bu- dhist majority of its Rohingya Muslim minority. Two post-Holocaust mass murders of Jews already have been attempted. In 1948, five invading Arab countries committed to the destruction of the fledgling Jewish state. The United States no sooner became the first nation to recognize Israel than it slapped an arms em- bargo on the region. Though intended to diminish general tensions, in practice the move undercut Israel, since the other side continued to receive British arms and advice. In 1967, Israel preempted a potentially overwhelming attackby Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian forces mobilized on its border. Afterward, the philosopher Eric Hoffer noted that "had [Egyptian Presi- dent Gamal Abdel] Nasser triumphed he would have wiped Israel off the map and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews." Today, Iran builds ballistic missiles and seeks to develop nuclear warheads for them, functionally asserting that "the Holocaust never hap- pened and we intend to fin- ish it." The European Union, smarting at American insis- tence that it reimpose eco- nomic sanctions on Tehran at the expense of trade, has sought away around potential penalties. Nazism obsessed over ra- cially inferior Jews destroy- ing the German people. The accused Pittsburgh murderer fantasized that pro-immi- gration Jews threatened "his people." The man charged with mailing letter bombs to prominent Americans re- portedly wanted "to go back to Hitler times." The U.S. "alt-right"- also described as the"alt-reich"--imagines the Israeli tail wags the American dog. Not entirely dissimilar, leaders of the Women's March movement demand that Jew- ish activists check their white privilege and apologize for the Jews' racist suppression of black and brown people. From medieval allega- tions of "Christ killers" to contemporary indictments Never again on page 15A