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Hey Ambassador Shapiro, we believe in the separation of church and state!

on 16 Comments

The picture is a screen shot of the cover photograph from the Facebook page of Dan Shapiro, the US Ambassador to Israel, as it appeared on February 16, 2016. In this photograph, which Ambassador Shapiro took, the image of the Star of David is clearly outlined by the petals of the flower.

An Open Letter to Ambassador Shapiro

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

With all due respect, as an official of the US government, it seems to me to be highly inappropriate for you to so prominently display a Jewish religious symbol as your Facebook cover photograph.

We Americans are a nation with a long tradition of separation of religion and state. One would hope that you would respect this tradition. Secondly, the Star of David is the national symbol of the self-defined “Jewish State” of Israel. As a Jewish-American US government official posted to Tel Aviv, your Facebook cover photo may give the impression that your Jewishness and/or identification with Israel takes precedence over your obligation to represent US interests in a foreign country which often acts in opposition to the aims and wishes of the US. This is an impression I assume you do not want to communicate.

Maybe it would be better to employ your not inconsiderable photographic talents celebrating and referencing symbols of your own country, the United States.

Yours truly,

Ira “@abushalom” Glunts

 

Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY. His twitter handle is @abushalom

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16 Responses

  1. annie on February 17, 2016, 5:43 pm

    perhaps if he added “US” in front of “Government Official” it would be clear[er] which gov he is working for.

    that said, i would not have noticed that star of david until you pointed it out. now, it’s all i see when i look at the flower. probably not a coincidence.

    • Lillian Rosengarten on February 18, 2016, 11:24 am

      Zionism and Judaism must not be confused . This is difficult because Israel politics likes to interchange Jewish as Zionist. This is false. I see no problem in the Jewish star symbolizing anyones Jewish identification. More important, what is his role as ambassador and can he speak out against the occupation? All other issues seem irrelevant.

      • Lillian Rosengarten on February 18, 2016, 11:26 am

        Please try to stay focused on what is important. Break the Silence. Stop the occupation!

      • annie on February 18, 2016, 12:15 pm

        thanks lillian. i don’t have a problem w/the flower. the only thing i find strange about the image is there doesn’t appear to be any identification associated w/the US. but i’ve been impressed w/shapiro recently. he made a good speech denouncing the settlements.

        i agree w/you, there’s no problem w/a star showing up in nature and symbolizing his faith. in fact it is a beautiful image. i particularly like the star within the star. and i like the triangle in the center and the three petals on the outside containing the inside petals.

      • echinococcus on February 18, 2016, 1:22 pm

        Ms Rosengarten,
        Observing proper as an ambassador of the US, the first nation with an Establishment clause, may also be important.

      • Mooser on February 19, 2016, 9:30 pm

        “Zionism and Judaism must not be confused .”

        That ship has, sadly, sailed. What, for the rest of the world who interacts with us, is the most consequential, most salient thing about Judaism at this time? The thing which might hurt them, or negatively impact them? The only part they may, for their own good, need to know about? That would probably be Zionism.

  2. pabelmont on February 17, 2016, 5:43 pm

    Ha! A rose is a rose is a rose, but perhaps (unlike the flower pictured) its photo doesn’t look like Magen David.

    • John O on February 18, 2016, 9:15 am

      It took me a while to figure out that the flower in question is a Tulip, first cultivated in Iran.

  3. Steve Grover on February 17, 2016, 9:48 pm

    Maybe, they could have an Israel float at the Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena and laugh at y’all trying to boycott it!

    • talknic on February 18, 2016, 1:51 am

      @ Steve Grover

      Pasadena is in the occupied West Bank? WOW!!

  4. Boomer on February 18, 2016, 6:10 am

    re: “. . . your Jewishness and/or identification with Israel takes precedence over your obligation to represent US interests in a foreign country”

    Isn’t that the default assumption for all Jewish government officials of any government? Heck, it’s the default assumption for all members of Congress, regardless of whether they are Jewish or not, isn’t it?

    I don’t find Shapiro’s picture nearly as offensive as the one that Mondoweiss once had of Obama wearing a Star of David lapel pin. I wasn’t sure whether it was photoshopped or was an actual photo of him at some campaign event. Republicans made American flag lapel pins required attire for men in DC and on Fox news after 9/11. It became a statement of pro-war jingoism. That was bad enough. An American president rubbing our nose in his Zionism is worse.

    • John O on February 18, 2016, 8:58 am

      In the early 1960s, I remember my father, a mild-mannered Irishman with no strong political allegiances, reacting with fury at the sight of the then Tory Prime Minister of the UK, Alec Douglas-Home, wearing a tie with a red hand emblazoned on it. The red hand is the symbol of the Loyalist/Protestant community of Northern Ireland, and Home was engaging in what we now call “dog-whistle” politics.

  5. Theo on February 18, 2016, 9:23 am

    Sending a zionist jew to Israel as the ambassador of the USA is about the same as sending a communist to the Sovietunion, both will not represent the interests of their country, but the one of their beliefs.
    How about sending a southern baptist with dark skin and enough guts to remind the israelis of the plight of the african refugees there?

    • echinococcus on February 18, 2016, 1:01 pm

      Do you feel you can take it up with the boss –Obama, the wonder boy whom so many elected just because he’s Black?

      • Theo on February 19, 2016, 11:31 am

        I chat every week with Barack, however we discuss other problems, like the coming WW3 in case we don´t stop meddling in arab lands, like bombing Libya just a few hours ago! In Turkey Erdogan is working very hard to cause an incident that will pull the NATO into a war with Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and others who want a free for all.
        The wonder boy leaves the WH only in the dark, so his shadow will not scare him. He should remind Erdogan that in case Russia hits back, he is on his own, americans will not die to support his egomania.
        As you see, we have more important and dangerous situation in the ME than the P/I conflict! If and when the baloon goes up, the situation in Palestina will be our smallest problem.

  6. Mooser on February 19, 2016, 9:22 pm

    “I chat every week with Barack, however we discuss other problems, like the coming WW3…”

    Do the best you can to give him good advice and counsel through the remaining year of his Presidency. That’s all you, or any other red-blooded, barrel-chested, full-throated, half-cocked, quarter-backed, eighth-of-a-grain American citizen, can do these days.

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