On the February issue:

Betraying the Jews

To the Editor:
Thank you, John Podhoretz, for taking the time to write in such detail what so many of us are feeling (“They’re Coming After Us,” February). The golden age for American Jews is over and the future leaders of our country, educational institutions, and businesses will have been taught by many far-left teachers. Raising the issues, as Podhoretz has done, should ignite discussions on how to respond.
Tristan Cole
New York City

To the Editor:
I am saddened by John Podhoretz’s article on anti-Semitism and by the reality described therein. It is indeed a shock to be confronted by this ancient, yet newly ascendent paradigm.

There are many of us in the evangelical Christian community who strongly support the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Bible-teaching churches, spread across America, teach a love and appreciation for both. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob remains on the throne and reigns supreme, now and forever.

Perhaps the types of churches I have always been a member of need to get more aggressive in outreach and support for our Jewish friends and brethren. I understand the apprehension to Christianity in parts of the Jewish community due to the historic persecution of Jews by the Church. Such persecution is abhorrent to God, and I hope and pray for churches to take a more active approach in standing up for Jews and Israel.
Robert S. Meybohm
Lone Tree, Colorado

To the Editor:
What John Podhoretz describes is betrayal. The reality that Jews are no longer protected by a government that is responsible for protecting them is betrayal. The sense of having “never felt like this before” captures a loss of trust that is the essence of betrayal. The fear and vulnerability that Israelis and Americans now experience are the powerful regressive emotions that come with betrayal.

There are parallels between the psychodynamics of betrayal and the five stages of grief described by Swiss psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance

“Denial” is another word for the incredulity that keeps people in a subjective reality and empowers the enemies of freedom. If we are ever to defeat the haters of America and Israel, we must get through the denial, anger, bargaining, and depression stages and accept the unwelcome reality that our government has betrayed us.
Linda Goudsmit
St. Pete Beach, Florida

To the Editor:
While John Podhoretz’s article chronicles the rise in anti-Semitism in the United States over the past 15 to 20 years and the shocking spike in anti-Semitic violence since October 7, it was nonetheless informative for me and other Canadian Jews who have been living through the same experience here (primarily in our larger cities).

There was, for example, the targeting of Heather Reisman’s flagship bookstore in downtown Toronto in November. Posters accusing Reisman of “funding genocide” were pasted to the bookstore, and red paint was sprayed across the doors and windows. Eleven individuals were arrested in connection with that incident, four of whom are professors, lecturers, or postdoctoral visitors at some of our most esteemed universities. On January 3, a Jewish owned delicatessen named IDF (International Delicatessen Foods) was fire-bombed and defaced with “Free Palestine” graffiti. We, too, here in Canada feel unsafe and share the sentiment of “I have never felt like this before.” Thank you for summarizing this most depressing development in our history. I look forward to reading more of your analysis.
Rochelle Direnfeld
Toronto, Ontario

To the Editor:
After reading John Podhoretz’s article, I’m left wondering what to do when the anti-Semitic liars won’t stop.

I cling to the knowledge that many average Americans do not hold these poisonous views, and we can continue to teach our children what’s right. The events of October 7 were so shocking that when I first read about them, my 6-year-old daughter noticed a change in me and asked what was wrong. I told her that bad people were trying to hurt Jewish people in Israel because they didn’t think the Jewish people should live there anymore. She looked at me confused and said, “But it’s Israel!”

Train your child to follow the right path. If parents and other adults can educate our children to be beyond the reach of the those who seek to lead them into the abyss, we might be able to get out of this.
Aimee Powalisz
Hartford, Wisconsin

Song of Faith

To the Editor:
There are many amazing stories coming out of the war Israel is currently fighting, but the one that Meir Y. Soloveichik tells is special (“The 23rd Song,” February). While a lot of beautiful things were said about Yossi Hershkowitz in the media, I didn’t hear anything about this song. I had hoped that at the end of the article I would be directed to a site where I could hear it. Nevertheless, this was an amazingly touching and even uplifting story. Thank you for sharing it.
Naomi Wiener
Petakh Tikva, Israel

To the Editor:
Meir Y. Soloveichik’s column moved me beyond words and stirred my deepest heartfelt sympathy and love. My love for God’s chosen people has been kindled and kept alive over many decades. As an evangelical Christian, I read about God’s covenant with his beloved people, follow His command to love Him, I embrace His promise to bless those who bless Israel.

I am so very saddened to learn of the death of the beautiful composer whose faithfulness will live through all generations. God bless and keep his dear family and all who mourn his loss.
Jane Hathaway
San Jose, California

To the Editor:
‘The 23rd Song” was one of the most moving and beautiful articles I have ever read in COMMENTARY. May Yossi rest in peace. And may Hashem watch over, protect, and bring home all our soldiers and hostages. And may they be victorious.
Shelley Richman Cohen
Danbury, Connecticut

To the Editor:
Meir Y. Soloveichik’s article expresses such beauty. It offers much wisdom about the Jewish people, hope, and love. It should be shared worldwide as an offering of hope and truth. What unexpected beauty in a story about war.
Shelley Tanen
Colorado Springs, Colorado

To the Editor:
In the weeks and months since October 7, I have heard many stories of heroism and also of unspeakable pain and loss.  Meir Y. Soloveichik’s column on the beautiful encounter between the two musician-soldiers at the edge of death was so well done that reading it struck me as a poetic and deeply touching experience. I will carry it with me.
Esther Altmann
Deerfield Beach, Florida

Meir Y. Soloveichik writes:
I am grateful that many COMMENTARY readers found Yossi Hershkovitz’s story as profoundly moving as I did. Links to several recordings of his composition can now be found at the bottom of my article on COMMENTARY’s website. 

The Rotting Ivies

To the Editor:
In her discussion of the media’s coverage of the resignation of Claudine Gay as Harvard’s president (“Enola Gay, or How the Media Imploded When It Came to Harvard’s President,” February), Christine Rosen rightly condemns the press’s treatment of Gay’s plagiarism and disastrous testimony before Congress. 

But the media’s culpability also extends to their failure to ask a more basic question: Why was Gay at Harvard in the first place? In 2006, she was an associate professor of government at Stanford when Harvard came calling and offered her a position as a full professor. Harvard’s government department was then one of the most distinguished, if not the most distinguished, such department in American academia, and one would have assumed that anyone tendered such an offer would have written at least one or two major books in the field and been on the cutting edge of scholarship. In fact, Gay had authored no books (and still hasn’t), and her scholarly output at Stanford, where she taught for six years, consisted of five articles. I received my Ph.D. in history from Harvard in 1968, and, based on my experience, such an appointment would never have occurred during my years there.  But, of course, that was during an era when intellectual distinction was the major qualification for being appointed to the Harvard faculty.
Edward Shapiro
Boca Raton, Florida

To the Editor:
What bothers me most about Claudine Gay’s moral cretinism and outrageous congressional testimony is that none of it seemed to give pause to her defenders. In fact, they appeared to double their efforts in accusing Gay’s accusers of racism. What’s more, Harvard’s past presidents signed a statement showing support for Gay even as she was exposed.
Judith Hershon
Glen Cove, New York

Christine Rosen writes:
I appreciate Edward Shapiro raising an issue that, as he rightly notes, has been overlooked: how elite institutions vet the scholarly work of their faculty. In times past, rigorous review was required to earn tenure and to rise through the administrative ranks. Before the Claudine Gay scandal, it’s likely many people assumed that was still the case, particularly at elite institutions such as Harvard and Stanford. 

Alas, only after plagiarism charges were leveled did anyone raise the issue of just how thin Gay’s scholarly résumé was. The fact that she had not even published a scholarly book, yet was granted tenure by Stanford, and that her weak scholarly record was sufficient for the Corporation at Harvard to bestow the presidency on her, are signs of how standards have degraded at some universities—or at least, at universities that give more weight to ideological and identity factors over merit. Perhaps, like grade inflation for undergraduates, scholarship inflation for mediocre DEI-endorsed academics is the future of the Ivy League. If so, that’s all the more reason for alumni and prospective students to consider other institutions of higher learning. Or Harvard could simply change its motto from “Veritas” to “Caveat Emptor.”

Judith Hershon is also correct to point out the craven hypocrisy of faculty and former presidents’ support for Claudine Gay. In taking up her cause, they are supporting an academic fraud whose scholarly sin (plagiarism) would, if committed by one of Harvard’s students, likely lead to expulsion. Instead, Gay retains her faculty position and her large salary at Harvard, yet another sign that Harvard cares more for identity politics than the integrity of its faculty’s work (or, in Gay’s case, a lack thereof).

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