February 7, 2008
Election coverage, CAMERA, illegals, Goldberg, Spinka, Auschwitz
That old joke has no place in your paper (Cover, Feb. 1). Jews, like everyone else, should be voting for who is best for the country; not who is best for the Jews.
In addition to being wrong, it is grist for the mill of anti-Semites.
What is good for the country is good for everyone, including the Jews.
It is important that you printed Andrea Levin's (of CAMERA) piece clarifying the dangerous illusions of Rob Eshman's take on Sabeel, Ateek and All Saints Church ("CAMERA, Sabeel and The Jewish Journal," Feb. 1). Could we get Ms. Levin to take over the job of Editor of the Journal? It would definitely be an act of pikuach nefesh [preservation of life], big time.
I was away and just got around to reading your Jan. 25-31 issue ("Butt Out"). I believe it deserves a Pulitzer Prize. Eshman's gutsy editorial, Gorenberg's golden words and an array of fabulous articles by authors who represent a broad scope of Jewish and non-Jewish thoughts and actions that impact local and global issues. Great job!
Martin J. Weisman
I write to thank Rob Eshman for your "Butt Out" editorial in the Jan. 25 edition of The Journal.
As you have on many occasions before, you have made an eloquent pitch for engaging in dialogue with those with whom we disagree. Sabeel, and the North American Friends of Sabeel may stand for many things that are controversial in the Jewish community, but surely it is the prerogative of All Saints Church to host them and enable us to know -- rather than speculate on -- their position.
The question that is tougher for me is: am I also obligated to listen to the views of CAMERA?
So here we have it. Two blatant Israel bashers (if not outright anti-Semites) are getting together, and Eshman -- being the watchdog of free speech he is -- orders the Jews to "butt out" for daring to speak up! Those pesky CAMERA Jews should shut up, unless of course, they agree with Eshman's worldviews.
I'm ashamed to admit that under the cover of the night, and away from the watchful eyes of The Jewish Journal, I sometimes read CAMERA's forbidden stuff. Please, Mr. Eshman, don't be angry with me.
Come to think of it, CAMERA is terribly needed in here, perhaps now more than ever.
La Canada Flintridge
As you note, there is a threat to Christians in the Middle East from Islamic attacks against them. Downplaying this threat as a Christian problem misses the point that neither Jews nor Christians are acceptable for some in the Islamic world. Ateek and Sabeel are so consumed with their anti-Judaism that they do not see that the seeds of their own destruction are sown with the potential destruction of Israel. Criticizing Israel without criticizing the Palestinians is at the root of CAMERA's objections to the efforts of the liberal churches sponsoring Sabeel.
Samuel M. Edelman
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
The American Jewish University
Illegal aliens are tax consumers ("Immigration: Time to Share the Heavy Lifting," Feb. 1). According to a recent report by State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, member of the California Budget Commission, it costs Californians $10.5 billion a year to educate, medicate and incarcerate illegal aliens.
Aiding and abetting, hiring and exploiting illegal aliens is a federal offense punished by a fine of $3,000 per illegal and six months in prison.
Having spent years living and working in Mexico and witnessing first-hand how they treat strangers, travelers and "illegal aliens" that just happen to make it to the northern border region, and that includes the vast majority of the civilian population, I have no sympathy with their so-called plight here in the U.S. The "good" rabbi may want to rethink his position regarding his desire to play with the American people under the guise of Judaism.
Dr. Leonard I. Antick
I disagree with the notion that we should find a sensible way to give the illegals citizenship. The ones that snuck across our border will have to go home or be sent home. The ones that overstayed their visas will have to come forward and be checked out, fingerprinted, DNA, and made sure [they] haven't committed a crime here, then possibly pay a fine and go to the back of the line.
Should Israel Care?
While it is Israel's prerogative to negotiate Jerusalem's municipal boundaries, Diaspora Jewry should have a right to veto any proposal to relinquish places at the core of Jewish history, namely the Old City, archaeological City of David and Temple Mount ("Why Should Israel Care What We Think About Jerusalem," Jan. 25).
First, if Israel surrendered security control over the Temple Mount, it would leave the safety of visitors there or to the adjoining Western Wall to the mercy of Palestinians who, in the past, have bombarded Jewish worshippers with rocks and boulders at the slightest pretext.
Second, it would undermine the very reason for having a Jewish state in the Middle East. The Temple Mount is not only the holiest site in the world for Jews, but also a singular national symbol and a testament to Israel's historical right to exist.
Finally, it would invite an irreparable archaeological crime and an assault on history itself. Archaeologist Eilat Mazar has reportedly uncovered the foundations of King David's royal palace in the City of David, and the Temple Mount may contain not only the remains of the temples, but also biblical-era archives, temple artifacts, and perhaps even the Ark.
These are not just Israeli concerns -- they are concerns for all Jews. Stephen A. Silver
The Jewish Journal left out the most important perspective of all on the "Jerusalem debate." Namely, the religious perspective. Without the claim that G-d created the world, and gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people, Zionism and any claim to the Land fall away. After all, if G-d didn't give us the Land, then why struggle for it? And if we don't have a right to Yerushalayim, given to the Jews by the Creator of the world, we certainly don't have a right to Tel Aviv, Haifa, etc. etc. etc.
The reason Israel, the State, the People and the Land, continue to exist is only because of the will of G-d. And due to the demographic situation in Israel (among the Jews), the religious Zionists will soon take control of the State and bring back honor to the Israel, and thereby, honor to G-d.
In response to Judith Rubin's letter (Dirty Laundry, Letters, Jan. 25) about the need for The Jewish Journal to be ashamed for putting the Spinka story on the front cover and avoid more shame, I say we deserve this shame. It needs to be out in front for all of us to see, including those of us in the Orthodox community who sometimes look away from our own hypocrisies.
If their own conscience and fear of God does not inspire them to act morally, perhaps the fear of full, front-page exposure will.
I am disturbed by the comments of Nicholas Goldberg, editor of the Los Angeles Times' Op-Ed page ("Q&A with Nicholas Goldberg," Feb. 1). Surely he must realize the power of the printed word, and how it can influence public opinion and concomitant public discourse and actions. If a lie is repeated often enough, people begin to accept it as fact when indeed it is not. The consequences can be dire.
No one would argue against Goldberg's desire to "run the broadest possible range of opinion on a variety of subjects" and to provide balance. However, I think it is irresponsible of any major newspaper, in so doing, to publish statements that are incorrect and may be outright lies -- such as some of the statements from Hamas leaders, Jimmy Carter, and John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. If a lie is repeated often enough, people begin to accept it as fact. It's no different than aiding and abetting the enemy.
Franklin S. Adler writes: "What is unknown is if any of the pilots engaged in the mission of Aug. 20, 1944, to bomb the factories near Auschwitz were even remotely aware of the daily atrocities occurring at Auschwitz" (Letters, Jan. 25).
In the course of the research for my documentary film, "They Looked Away," narrated by Mike Wallace, (which is about the Allies' refusal to bomb Auschwitz), I had the opportunity to interview pilots and crewmembers of U.S. planes that flew over and near Auschwitz in 1944.
Not one of them knew about what was happening in the death camp below. Their superior officers never told them. But that's not the real issue. The significance of the fact that U.S. planes flew so close to Auschwitz (including fighter planes piloted by the all-black Tuskegee Airmen units, as Dr. Rafael Medoff noted in his Jan. 18 Jewish Journal Op-Ed) is that it proves that the Roosevelt administration could have bombed Auschwitz if it wanted to.
For many years, apologists for FDR claimed that U.S. bombers were not able to reach Auschwitz. That myth has been shattered.
Franklin S. Adler (Letters, Jan. 25) raises an interesting question. On the one hand, the Tuskegee Airmen, members of the legendary segregated African American fighter pilot unit of World War II, are said to have had a perfect record of never losing any of the planes they accompanied. On the other hand, Dr.Rafael Medoff (Op-Ed, Jan. 18) wrote that when the Tuskegee Airmen's Mustang planes accompanied bombers that struck oil factories near Auschwitz in 1944, one of the bombers was shot down by the Germans. According to Adler, "either they did (have a perfect record) which makes a portion of (Medoff's) piece false; or they didn't which makes their vaunted reputation a lie."
If Mr. Adler had read Dr. Medoff's article more carefully, he would have seen that Medoff did not write that Tuskegee pilots flew all of the fighter planes accompanying the bomber. He said that Tuskegee pilots flew most of them.
According to David S. Wyman in his book, "The Abandonment of the Jews," Tuskegee Airmen flew 57 of the Mustangs involved, which left 43 piloted by other units.
Until we know exactly which of those Mustangs was to blame for the downing of the bomber, it seems a bit presumptuous of Mr. Adler to disparage the essay by Dr. Medoff, who clearly had nothing but praise for the Tuskegee Airmen.
We should not lose sight of the bigger issue: the U.S. had forces in the field just a few miles from Auschwitz and could have, with minimal additional risk, taken steps to save innocent lives -- but chose to do nothing.
The American Jewish Committee takes great pride in our role in initiating the academic conference and cultural event on Polish-Jewish relations featured Jan. 25 in The Jewish Journal ("Conference Tackles Thorny Jewish-Polish Relationships," Jan. 25).
The idea was conceived at a meeting between AJC, the consulate of Poland and Severyn Ashkenazy, where we discussed the negative views of many Jews toward Poles and what could be done to address the problem. In subsequent planning meetings it was determined that AJC would co-sponsor the conference with others and also host a luncheon for Polish and Jewish leaders to present conference highlights to the community. As part of our ongoing Jewish-Polish effort, last year AJC presented the ambassador of Poland to Israel and the ambassador of Israel to Poland to speak about the positive state of Israeli-Polish relations to AJC members as well as a diverse audience at LMU. In cooperation with our partner organization in Poland, we co-published the book "Difficult Questions in Polish-Jewish Dialogue" and continued our annual missions, which bring Jewish leaders to Poland to experience the renewal of Polish Jewish life, the government's support of Israel and Poland's commitment to honoring its Jewish past.
Director of International Relations
American Jewish Committee
I appreciated this article ("Candidate Profile: Ron Paul," Feb. 1). I would request the author contact HaKohen and have him look up Jesse Ventura from Minnesota. Jesse [was] elected governor when Democrat, Republican and [the] media said no chance Jesse can win.