Letter: It’s common sense

At a recent meeting in the Chabad Jewish Community Center on Main Street, Rabbi Mintz was asked how one can distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israeli government policies and anti-Semitism masked as government criticism. After all, we cannot read a critic’s mind. I was reminded of Mintsz’s reply when I read yet another vile letter to The Aspen Times (“War crimes, not defense” Jan. 17) suggesting Benjamin Netanyahu should be charged with war crimes for defending his country against months, if not years, of attacks by Gaza-based Hamas, culminating in last summer’s war.

A Google search of the author of that letter reveals no published criticism of Hamas or Hezbollah for violent acts committed against Israel. No criticism of Iran for fomenting war in its neighboring countries and for building a nuclear program expressly to eradicate Israel. No criticism of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria for its beheadings and other barbarisms. No criticism of Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine with Russian troops and arms, seizing parts of Ukraine, killing Ukrainians defending their country and causing the downing of an innocent Malaysian passenger jet. No criticism of North Korean atrocities against its own people. No criticism of Boko Haram for its Nigerian atrocities. No criticism of the Castros for essentially imprisoning an entire country.

But it is easy to find earlier examples of the same author’s similar accusations against Israel for merely defending itself.

So what did Mintz advise about how to tell whether criticism really is directed at government action or at the fact that the government happens to be Jewish? If the critic exhibits an infatuation with finding fault with the Jewish state and the Jewish state alone, it is easy to draw one’s own conclusion.

That isn’t in the Torah or the Talmud. It is common sense.

Maurice Emmer


Letter to the Editor