Anti-Semitism isn't everywhere

I am disappointed that a prominent individual in our community decided to write a letter to the editor that only serves to add divisiveness to our political discussion instead of shedding light on policy differences.

Michael Gillette, a friend for many years, wrote a letter to the editor calling out Virginia Republican Party Chairman Jack Wilson for supposedly anti-Semitic dog whistles when Wilson referenced George Soros and Michael Bloomberg in a statement pertaining to upcoming elections in the Virginia General Assembly. Gillette noted that Soros and Bloomberg are wealthy Jews and made the connection that, therefore, Wilson’s comment was an “age-old anti-Semitic trope(s).” He cited as evidence that neither Soros or Bloomberg is “involved in Virginia politics, neither is in any leadership position within the Democratic Party … etc.”

I am a retired physician in Lynchburg, and there is an old saying when attempting to make a diagnosis: When you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras. Gillette failed to consider readily obtainable, published information to support a more believable alternative explanation to Wilson’s comments prior to pronouncing Wilson’s statement as anti-Semitic.

A very quick Google search elicited the following:

» On March 7, 2019, the Virginia GOP issued a strongly worded statement condemning anti-Semitism which was issued partly in response to the anti-Semitism of Democratic Del. Ibraheem Samirah, and was co-signed by Jack Wilson, U.S. Reps. Denver Riggleman, Morgan Griffith, Wittman and Ben Cline; State Sen. Ryan McDougle and Del. Todd Gilbert.

» A Washington Post article in April 2019 details that a PAC funded by Soros was used to bolster the races of Democratic prosecutors in Northern Virginia.

» A November 30, 2018, article in The New York Times details “How Michael Bloomberg Used His Money to Aid Democratic Victories in the House.” This article details how his money helped win various House districts across the country including the Second and 10th districts in Virginia.

» Michael Bloomberg has been reported to be testing the waters (again) about seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination (New York Magazine, CNBC).

It is important to tone down our collective rhetoric in these hyper-partisan times. At least, when considering a potentially inflammatory comment, think horses, not zebras.

MICHAEL A. OKIN

Lynchburg

Vote for women’s rights Nov. 5

On Oct. 18, the first all-female crew participated in a space walk outside the International Space Station. How ironic that women are equal in space, but still fighting for equality here on Earth.

With women today fully participating in the most daring and risky professions — from spacewalking to firefighting to commercial fishing — understanding why the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has never yet passed is especially difficult. Women prove their equality every single day, often, however, without equal opportunity and pay.

Without the ERA, the U.S. Constitution fails to protect all citizens without regard to sex. The only right specified to women in the Constitution is the right to vote.

On Nov. 5, all of our representatives in Richmond are up for election. I encourage my fellow voters to elect only those who support equal rights for women. I encourage our lawmakers, regardless of party, to vote for women’s equality in support of the ERA. Failure to do so means that our elected officials believe women are not equal to men. I would challenge naysayers to hop aboard the International Space Station and say that to the women who walk in space.

DONNA StCLAIR

Forest

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