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Letters to the Editor: Solidarity rally Sunday to protest anti-Semitism

Solidarity March Jewish Community

People march in solidarity from Foley Square over the Brooklyn Bridge in a rally against anti-Semitism in the Brooklyn borough of New York. 

The increase in anti-Semitic attacks around the world and in the United States is of grave concern to the Jewish community.

Anti-Semitism is nothing new, but the frequency, violence and bravado of these attacks have not been seen in 75 years.

Charleston Jewish Federation gets phone calls daily from our members expressing alarm. They want to know: “Should they be scared? Should they stop wearing apparel, yarmulkes or other items that identify them as Jewish? Are they safe in their synagogues and at Jewish gatherings? What are we doing to stem this growing and insidious epidemic?”

Charleston Jewish Federation takes these concerns and fears very seriously.

As the central umbrella of the Jewish community, we are combating this threat from every angle, with a comprehensive strategy that includes security, education, partnerships with community and religious leaders, and relationships with government officials and law enforcement.

Our initiatives include a security task force, the REMEMBER Program for Holocaust Education and Genocide Awareness, anti-bias training and Holocaust education in our schools, a high school leadership cohort to educate and train teen leaders and social justice initiatives with the community-at-large.

Last Sunday, some 25,000 people, Jews and non-Jews, marched across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York in a “No Hate, No Fear Solidarity Rally” to protest anti-Semitism.

This Sunday, Jan. 12, Charleston Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Charleston will sponsor our own “No Hate, No Fear Solidarity Rally” at 4 p.m. at Synagogue Emanu-El, 5 Windsor Drive, West Ashley.

Many of our community leaders will be speaking, including Mayor John Tecklenburg, Rep. Wendell Gaillard, U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham, Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds, local faith leaders, and others.

We invite the entire community, Jewish and non-Jewish, to join us in solidarity.

Together we will continue to build bridges of understanding.

Together we will conquer anti-Semitism and hate and make the world a peaceful place for all humankind.

EILEEN CHEPENIK

President, Charleston Jewish Federation

ILENE TURBOW

Chairwoman, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Charleston

JUDI CORSARO

CEO, Charleston Jewish Federation

BRANDON FISH

Community Outreach Coordinator, Charleston Jewish Federation

Croghan Spur

Charleston

BRANDON FISH

Community Outreach Coordinator, Charleston Jewish Federation

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Croghan Spur

Charleston

Foreign policy

In 1953, the CIA organized and financed the overthrow of the elected government of Iran because it was too socialist and too friendly with the USSR. The government was replaced with a more “Western friendly” right-wing military dictatorship headed by the Shah of Iran.

The shah was a brutal dictator with a secret police force that tolerated little dissent. After 26 years of oppression, the shah was forced out in 1979 by a popular uprising, leading to the Iran hostage crisis and continuous hostility directed at the U.S. ever since.

Can you blame them? If the USSR had imposed a dictator on us for 26 years after we managed to throw one out, would we say let bygones be bygones and buy their vodka?

Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani is credited with directly or indirectly killing hundreds of our soldiers and citizens. If this is the unfortunate standard, then I wonder how many U.S. admirals and generals could be legitimately targeted in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan on the same basis?

What possible logic makes us think we can interfere in foreign countries and kill their soldiers and citizens and be morally offended when they fight back? Why don’t we just accept the sad truth that the U.S. will kill foreigners any time it suits our country’s objectives, however uninformed, muddled but righteous they may be.

ROBERT BLACKMAN

Yacht Harbor Court

Isle of Palms

Term limits

In a television ad, presidential candidate Tom Steyer promises to support “term limits.”

I believe that by “term limits,” he means limiting the number of times one could run for a particular office and not “term limited” by virtue of being voted out of office. It strikes me that the idea of term limits in this regard is appealing in the abstract, but not so much in the reality.

2020 candidate Tom Steyer talks HBCUs, presidential campaign in SC

As I see it, there are two significant downsides to “term limits” as intended by Mr. Steyer. First, there is a significant learning curve involved in legislating regarding both process and substance.

Knowledge, experience and relationships built over time are necessary to be effective legislators.

While “term limits” would apply to the elected officials, it would not necessarily apply to their legislative staffs. A possible unintended consequence of that circumstance would be that these unelected staffs could become de facto legislators.

Surely, this does not comport with principles of our representative democracy.

Bottom line: The idea of imposing term limits is not as simple as it might seem and may not be as appealing as it sounds.

NEWTON KLEMENTS

Confederate Circle

Charleston

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