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Jewish Journal

JewishJournal.com

August 17, 2011

Letters to the Editor: Circumcision, Zionism, Breed Street, Dennis Prager

http://www.jewishjournal.com/letters_to_the_editor/article/letters_to_the_editor_circumcision_zionism_breed_street_dennis_prager_20110

Covenant of Circumcision, Explained

As one of a few board-certified pediatric urologists in the country who is also a mohel, I was amazed and amused by the comments from the people who are against circumcision and promoting the alternative brit shalom (“Little-Known Non-cutting Ritual Appeals to Some Who Oppose Circumcision,” Aug. 5).

Brit milah is a covenant with the Almighty, which was signed by our forefather Abraham. It is not a contract that you can alter, delete or amend. This covenant is eternal, and it is not negotiable. If you do not like it, you are not forced to enter into it.

In the 1980s and early ’90s, I performed ritual circumcisions on many refugees from the former Soviet Union in the Cedars-Sinai operating room, in the presence of a rabbi. Many of these men were in their 40s and 50s; a few were in their 60s. They had been denied the right to be circumcised in the Soviet Union. The first thing they wanted to do in the land of freedom was to re-establish their identities as Jews.

The words “brit shalom” appear once in the Torah (Numbers 25:13) to refer to the covenant of peace awarded to Pinchas for his bravery in protecting the covenant between the Almighty and the Jewish people.

Is it not ironic that this term is now being used by opponents of the traditional covenant to describe a ceremony that aims to replace brit milah and nullify Jewish identity?

And isn’t it noteworthy that, a few years ago, when the World Health Organization embarked on a project of mass circumcisions in Africa in an effort to help slow the progression of AIDS, the organization asked the Jewish state to help to carry it out?

K. Bakshandeh, M.D.
Clinical assistant professor of urology USC Keck School of Medicine


Join Them for a Cup of Tea?

The Jewish Journal savagely maligns the Tea Party movement’s core values, both in print and in color. Here are the facts:

Contrary to Rob Eshman’s contentions (“Good Leaders,” Aug. 5), there is nothing illogical about forcing government to consider future obligations in light of paying for current ones. The raising of the debt ceiling over decades without any principled opposition has brought this nation into its current dire fiscal straits.

The Republicans offered a number of budget plans with spending cuts, the Democrats in the Senate none, and Obama just pouted. Only The Wall Street Journal baselessly alleged that the Tea Party took the debt ceiling debate hostage. And what about the Democratically controlled Congress, which rammed through Obamacare against the will of the people?

Hardly “anti-government,” the Tea Party wants the federal government to assume only its constitutionally prescribed powers.

Arthur Christopher Schaper
Torrance


I find it difficult to believe how whole heartily I appreciate and agree with your editorial “Good Leaders.” Having been critical of some of your editorials in the past, this one brought to me a new appreciation for how deeply you analyzed the current situation and came up with an excellent solution. I have been discussing many of the points you brought forth with several of my Jewish friends.

All of them should read your editorial to realize how dangerous it will be to have a Republican-Tea Party election victory in the upcoming elections.

Yael Harlow
via e-mail


Two Ways to View Zionism

David Suissa offers a useful direction for those of us battling disillusionment with an Israel of occupation, intolerance and diplomatic ineptitude (“Fair-weather Zionism,” Aug. 5). The New Israel Fund, which he cites as an example of constructive engagement with Israel, has been vilified by many in the Jewish community as “anti-Zionist.” So have other such groups as Americans for Peace Now and J Street. Perhaps Suissa needs to write a follow-up column on “Blindered Zionism,” a Zionism which sees no imperfections in Israel, stifles the vibrant diversity that Israel’s founding Zionism once represented, and alienates many in the Jewish community from active engagement with Israel.

David Perel
Los Angeles


Seeking Quid Pro Quo for Jews, Arabs

While I know David Myers cares about Israel, he misses the crucial question when he criticizes the deployment of Israeli soldiers, police and border guards to protect Jews living in Hebron (“Where Hope Is to Be Found,” Aug. 5).

Why doesn’t Myers ask, “Why do Jews in Hebron need armed Israeli security forces protection?”

Clearly, without this protection the Jews of Hebron would face certain slaughter. So his solution is to remove all Jews from Hebron. Isn’t this the essential issue? That Jews cannot live where they want, in this case, within Arab lands.

How about a quid pro quo? If Jews cannot live in Hebron safely, then Arabs cannot live in Israel.

Oh, I know that there will be cries of apartheid racism, but why aren’t there cries of apartheid racism when Jews cannot live peacefully in Arab lands?

Paul Nisenbaum
Los Angeles


Religious Freedom Should Extend to All

As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, I was deeply disturbed by your recent articles attacking Tom Cruise’s humanitarian efforts promoting human rights (“Should the Simon Wiesenthal Center honor Tom Cruise?” April 22). I would not have written you but then came across Mr. Jonathan Kirsch’s article “Scientology: Secret No More” (July 22). My parents have always taught us to never forget what happened to the Jewish people but also to do whatever we could so that it would never happen again. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written to protect all of us (all humans on Earth) from the atrocities of World War II. I might not know about Scientology, but everyone has a right to the freedom of religion and without freedom for one religion there is no freedom for any religion to exist. Why is it that it is so easy for us to do to others what had been done to us by Hitler and his henchmen? I mean by this that we go around believing rumors that are not only unfounded, but not even checked out, and all the reporting is done by people with some sort of agenda. Please don’t let my father’s family who perished in Auschwitz be forgotten and in vain. The worst mistake we can make is not to learn from history and repeat it again and again. Thank you for letting me write to you and airing my concerns.

Leah Rose
via e-mail


U.S. Support for Israel

Jews generally support Israel. Americans generally support the United States. However, in each country there are extremists, anarchists, plain psychos and some politicians who are hypercritical of their country or in some cases actually hate their country. The term “support” has varied meanings for different people. For some, “support” means active participation in community and national issues. American support for Israel often is measured in dollars or positive statements from our president and Congress. When critics say that President Obama doesn’t support Israel, they need to define the level of support they expect. I don’t recall President Obama siding with the Palestinian right of return.

In U.S. politics, all GOP candidates and most of the GOP caucus deride President Obama for real or imagined transgressions — such as “he’s not a real American,” “he hates America,” “he’s not one of us,” “tax and spend” and others.

If one listens to Fox News, Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, one would think Idi Amin was our president.

Sol Taylor
Sherman Oaks


Breivik’s Text: Not Serious

Perusing Breivik’s 1500-page “manifesto,” one sees that the text, clearly organized in the English version online, is an unwitting parody of an academic dissertation, culled from the work of many authors, some of them great, like John Stuart Mill, and set out in a wearisomely trite exposition of polemic, notes, bibliography and all. Another “Mein Kampf,” or “philosophical” treatise like Nazi Alfred Rosenberg’s “Myth Of The Twentieth Century.”

Breivik’s foundation is the centuries’ dead sodality of the Templars. Trash, what is built up around it, gleaned from various 20th century middens. It cannot stand the least scrutiny, since much of it is nothing but pseudo-revolutionary rehashing of Western Civ “poli-sci” theorems from right to left and back again. Given Breivik’s hideous action, it may seem important; but serious it is not. One recalls Shakespeare’s troglodyte Caliban, who snarls: “You taught me language; and my profit on’t/Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you. For learning me your language!”

Jascha Kessler
Santa Monica


Any Rabbis Denouncing Syria?

Hi, I was just wondering if there were a coalition of rabbis or any rabbi who condemn what the Syrian government is doing to its citizens. I’m atheist but I’m hoping to find statements from religious leaders in different faiths condemning the violence to make an appeal to the humanity of the Syrian government and its military. I know it sounds crazy but all things are possible.

I look forward to a response either way. Thank you.

Nechesa Morgan
via e-mail


Remembering Breed Street Shul Clergy

I am grateful to read the meaningful Boyle Heights cover story (“Boyle Heights: The Sequel,” July 15). The three articles (including “On Road to Renewal”), neglected to mention important clergy by name. My paternal grandfather, z’l, attended the Breed Street Shul when Rabbi Osher Zilberstein, z’l, officiated. Rebbetzin Reva Zilberstein, z’l, died this year. Dr. Clara (Feige) Zilberstein, their daughter, shared important shul stories when she was my Tanakh teacher at Academy of Jewish Religion, California.

Three decades ago I ran “Joy’s Jewish L.A. Art Tours” and I took busloads of Jews to the shul. In the mid-1980s, Pauline Hirsch, z’l, president, Jewish Historical Society, called me and said, “I see in the press that you are taking people to the shul. How do you do it? I’m unable to get into the shul.”

I gave Pauline my contact info for Rabbi Mordechai Ganzweig, z’l. In 2000 I was sad to learn he had suddenly died at age 48 on 16 Av. This dedicated rav led Congregation Talmud Torah (aka Breed Street Shul) into its final days. He was always available to tour my people through the beautiful shul. The shul’s sweet elderly shomer and minyan gabbai, Mr. Cohen, z’l, proudly let us enter, and allowed me to photograph the shul.

Joy Krauthammer
Northridge


Taking Issue With Sonenshein’s View of the GOP

I have never read a column more in need of a response than Raphael Sonenshein’s piece (“Beyond Raising the Debt Limit: What a Republican Government Would Be Like,” July 22).

Point by point: First, contrary to what Mr. Sonenshein writes, recent GOP gubernatorial victories in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan and several other states have resulted in significant deficit reductions accomplished by cutting profligate spending. They are on their way to balancing their budgets (not “cooking the books” as has been done in California for years) while, at the same time, raising employment. This does not sound like a fiscal crisis to me; it’s called a recovery. For example, Gov. Walker in Wisconsin has put forward legislation requiring teachers to pay just a little for their own retirement, as almost everyone must do, instead of paying nothing themselves and forcing taxpayers to provide teachers with generous free retirement. The dire predictions of doom by the left, particularly in Wisconsin, have not been fulfilled; quite the opposite has happened. Furthermore, the Republican state of Texas, with its sound fiscal policy and balanced budget, is only one of three states that can boast of an increase in jobs since the Obama administration took over.

Second, the GOP is not, contrary again to what Mr. Sonenshein says, against collective bargaining. It is against public sector not private sector collective bargaining. The delight of the Democrats, FDR, did not support and warned vociferously against public sector collective bargaining. Government unions “bargain” with mostly liberal politicians who will gladly give them what they want in return for their votes. And let the people who pay the taxes pay for it. Nice arrangement if you can get away with it. There is no adversarial relationship as with private companies whose management negotiates to restrain excessive union demands. There are exceptions, to be sure, as in the case of GM whose inept management “gave away the store,” but were, of course, bailed out by the government (I mean you and me).

Third, there are few people today, it would appear, who doubt that we are in a severe financial crisis that is only getting worse. Many federal programs must be cut or reduced drastically in order to avoid a national disaster, which apparently is upon us. There is a limit to how much more federal taxes we can extract from the upper-half of society, who pay 97 percent of all federal income tax revenues collected. On average, these taxpayers are paying over half of their income to support federal, state and municipal expenditures. Even when the government demanded more and more tax increases by raising the brackets and/or rates, it did not collect any more — more often it collected less — because people will find ways to either shelter their income or simply stop working. The federal tax revenue averages about 18 percent of GDP no matter at what level rates are set.

Fourth, it is true that the GOP is against wanton abortion practice like what is performed at the federally funded abortion factory, otherwise known as Planned Parenthood.

Fifth and perhaps the most egregious of all and contrary to what Mr. Sonenshein writes, there is, indeed, evidence of voter fraud, as in Minnesota where Al Franken “defeated” incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman by several hundred votes in the much-contested 2008 election. There were reports of uncounted ballots, missing ballots, lost ballots, etc.

Also, a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia was dropped by the DOJ although there was clear evidence and witnesses to the event. Attorney General Eric Holder testified at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing that: you can’t compare this case with what “my people” went through in the South during the ’60s.

Why is it, then, not mandatory to show personal ID in order to vote? I have to show identification every time I go to my health club and my health provider. What’s more basic to a free society than to protect against voter fraud? Why is checking your identity voter disenfranchisement? Mr. Sonenshein’s position is dangerous to our country and absurd.

Sixth, there is much debate whether or not man causes, or if, in fact, there is global warming at this time. This is contrary to what the left would have you believe. The earth undergoes various cycles of warming and cooling. Whether this is a period of warming, cooling, or neutral depends on the length of the cycle under investigation. Whether it has been hot for the last few weeks, or the last few months, or years does not necessarily make for a general warming trend. More than 30,000 scientists have rejected the claim that the earth is undergoing disastrous man-caused global warming. The restrictions to business and expenditures to fight a probable “Don Quixote windmill” would be devastating especially in these difficult times of high unemployment and excessive debt.

Seventh, Mr. Sonenshein complains that recently elected Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has taken over local government through a law giving him the power to appoint administrators to void contracts without any role for the voters. How come Mr. Sonenshein does not complain about the Obama administration appointing czars and officials who, apparently, are usurping the role of the elected Congress?

Eighth, yes, the GOP is in favor, as are most Americans, of repealing Obamacare and replacing it with an efficient and equitable plan that will not bankrupt this nation and result in massive physician departure. As it stands, many physicians will no longer take patients insured by Medicare and Medicaid because it is not profitable. Some even claim they are losing money. Even European social democracies, like Germany and France, are steering away (and warning the United States) from fiscally irresponsible social programs.

And ninth, why didn’t Mr. Sonenshein complain when George W. Bush was called all sorts of names and attacked slanderously, far worse than this president? Recall “Bush the moron,” “Bush lied and people died,” and yes, “Hitler.” Even Hillary Clinton added her two cents worth calling President Bush “Alfred E. Neuman,” the iconic mascot of Mad magazine. Strange, it is only a problem when their man is attacked.

As much as I disagree with Mr. Sonenshein on matters political, which approaches 100 percent, I do not believe he is a stupid man. Why then does he spout such obvious fabrications and nonsense? The reason, I believe, is because Mr. Sonenshein cares more that his party wins than he cares for the truth. I am willing to bet that Mr. Sonenshein does not run his financial affairs as spendthrift as he promotes for the country. I further bet that Mr. Sonenshein is financially rather conservative in not taking on more debt than he can comfortably handle. So why does he and his party advocate for financially irresponsible legislation? The reason is because that’s where the votes are. Understandably, the left caters to its political base — the lower end of the socio-economic class, government workers and, of course, labor unions. These groups enjoy the largess and return the favor with their votes.

Our present economic policy is a Ponzi scheme. The only distinction with traditional Ponzi schemes is that the government’s scheme has a longer time constant.

C.P. Lefkowitz
Rancho Palos Verdes


Who Really Keeps Israel Secure?

David Myers speaks out against “activity, instigated by Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party, [that] threatens to undermine key foundations of Israel’s democratic tradition” (“Where Hope Is to Be Found,” Aug. 5). What exactly does he mean? Yes, Lieberman is openly criticized by groups like Breaking the Silence, who harm the IDF. Myers is a naïve liberal who cries wolf about restrictions on Palestinian movement, but doesn’t care about the safety and security of Israel. I am sure that recent well-organized housing protests in Tel Aviv have outside roots interested in removing Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, which stands strong for Israel security. Myers teaches Jewish history, but he never learned lessons from Jewish history. Just last year 20,000 French Jews emigrated from “civilized” France to Israel. They deeply appreciate the IDF and “extremist settlers” for keeping for the tiny Jewish state secure.

Boris Blansky
West Hollywood


Don’t Support the ‘Blood Libel’ Against Israel

The subject matter I am writing about is not one of this edition’s topics, but it is the underling topic of many of your articles and it surfaces again and again.

This time it reared its ugly face in the exchange between Daniel Sieradski and David Suissa, and I had to wonder what could prop the hurt and the negativity that has crossed the line to sheer lies as to the law and policy of the State of Israel.

Or maybe Daniel got his facts wrong by mistake? Israel did not pass a bill deeming the return of territories presently under Israeli control to Palestinians an act of treason punishable by death. Israel does not have a death penalty and I’m sure that Daniel, as well-versed as he is with what is happening in the region, was well aware that this law was signed into law by Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority.

I’m also wondering what you were thinking when you let this libel slip through.

So why the blood libel against Israel? Why the need to support any and every organization that is working to undermine the legitimacy of the State of Israel?

I have to believe it is all done in good will and with a true desire to help save Israel. Most of my dear friends who are true supporters of the two-state solution, as I once was, see the occupation, as they like to call it, as a corrupting experience for Israel and Israelis. They believe that the country is giving up its democratic values, values that are the core of their existence and belief. But more than anything else they see the poor Palestinians and they cannot stand idly by when their flesh and blood are the ones that are the cause of all this pain and suffering.

It is black and white. It is what we are doing to them and we therefore have to change our ways. We are perceived as the strong, so what’s the big deal if we give in and let them have all that they are asking for. They just want their own country, we know, that’s what we would have wanted ourselves, and then they will leave us alone and we will be able to live with no war and not be responsible for their suffering. And we here in America will be able to look ourselves in the mirror and be assured that we are not responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians. Then the Palestinian suffering will be demoted to the importance equal to that in Sudan and the Congo, Libya, Haiti, Senegal — but it will not be our problem anymore.

We [Israelis] see things a bit differently. We are aware of the corrupting effect of power and occupation and we therefore educate and train our soldiers in an effort to minimize the consequences to the Palestinians as well as to the soldiers themselves.

We hope for a solution and a resolution to the existing status quo. But we have our lives to think about, and the lives of our children and grandchildren and to the future of our people and country.

The past hundred years has taught us that there is another side to this story, another set of desires and expectations. We have trained ourselves to listen and understand those desires and we don’t need to go far out of our way to understand them. They are explicit, terrifying and leave no room for misunderstanding and no room for us as part of the solution. We are asked to wait to be killed, raped and beheaded, in no specific, order so the Palestinians will finally be able to have the only solution they are willing to entertain.

A majority of Israelis have elected in a Democratic fashion to prevent this second possible outcome. While our progressive brothers are concerned for the well-being of our neighbors, we are dealing with the mundane issues of keeping our heads where God placed them. It’s not that we are really bad, we’re simply narcissistic.

Oh yes, we also have that nasty habit of helping the real unfortunate people of the world, those that our progressive brethren can’t bother with, like the Vietnamese boat people, the helpless in Biafra, Haiti, Congo and Sudan, to name just a few. We Israelis have been doing that since the early 1950s, when we were not even sure how to run our own state and while protecting ourselves from attacks from the parents of our current day Palestinians, a long time before we released the West Bank from Jordanian occupation.

Ethan Teitler
Past President, Council of the Israeli Communit
y


Fight Yourself or Society or … Prager?

Dennis Prager never fails to disappoint me (“First Fight Yourself, Then Society,” Aug. 5). I use the word, “disappoint” in the sense that he never deviates from two-dimensional thinking. One side is always superior to the other. Some of us see the lot of the human condition differently. Encompassing the rights of the individual versus the group is a balance we should be constantly striving for.

Dennis Prager says that the teaching of “tikkun olam” (repairing the world) has negative consequences for the individual and society unless one’s first priority is “tikkun atzmi” (repairing of the self). Why are they mutually exclusive?

We are citizens of a nation founded on both principles — the rights of the individual to become all he/she can be, and the work of equality for all remains our narrative. Even as the balance of the individual versus the group has been too heavily weighted in favor of the former at this time.

Finally, I quote Hillel. “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”

Libby Wein
via e-mail


Prager’s incisive attack on “social justice,” best termed “social equality,” is well-considered and much-needed critique on the liberal activists, who demand an equal society masquerading as a just society with changes forced from the outside in, a reversal completely at odds with nature itself, which creates and celebrates difference.

“Judaism believes that the road to a just society is paved by individual character development.” I could not agree more, although I would dispute the very construct of “society.” Just as free markets function best within the guidance of Adam Smith’s metaphorical “invisible hand,” the needs of a diverse community are best served when each individual aligns his being and well-being with a set of accorded instructions — the literal translation of Torah. As everyone seeks his own interests in agreement with accepted rules, everyone benefits, all without any conscious consideration of “society.”

Also, without challenging oneself to live up to the holy standards of the Torah, human beings wallow in moral equivalence, which ultimately exaggerates inequality. No worse example could be offered than the widespread decimation of millions by communism, which [relied] on people’s innate “goodness” to live “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

Arthur Christopher Schaper
Torrance


Dennis Prager’s column, “First Fight Yourelf, Then Society,” makes it impossible to fight society’s inequalities because, according to Prager, we must fight our bad drives (yetzer hara) throughout our lives. Ergo, Mr. Prager, we will never get to the point in our lives when we can battle society’s inequalities, which should be fine with Prager for he wrongly states that social justice “usually means social equality, which is not the same as justice. And it means, more then anything, using the state to redistribute wealth so that equality can be achieved.”

Does Mr. Prager contend that allowing blacks to use the same water fountains as whites is redistributing wealth?

Does Mr. Prager mean that allowing Jews to stay at a hotel of their choice is redistributing wealth?

Does Mr. Prager mean that requiring ramps for the handicapped is redistributing wealth?

Because The Jewish Journal requires 200 words or less for Letters to the Editor this is just a short rebuttal of Mr. Prager’s article, which like most or his articles, is made mostly out of whole cloth.

Leon M. Salter
Los Angeles


That personal responsibility is paramount is undeniably true. Yet again, Dennis’ points are all over the place. To make this normative argument cogent, an anecdote based on personal experience would have sufficed along with his interpretation of Jewish law.

Instead, so much of his argument is just nicely glossed invective against secularism. Why implicitly vilify some minority of powerful Jewish famous individuals? Compare apples and oranges (read: Cuba and USA)? There has got to be a better way to show that social justice is second to character development than by relating the former to the Black Panthers.

When he — seriously? — presumes that more high school graduates in Maryland will know the advantages of wind energy than the Ten Commandments, the argument falls [by] the wayside by raising an underlying issue: America’s alleged broken education system.

So why not try arguing that American education has failed because of its liberal-secular foundation? Maybe Dennis disagrees with brush stroking so broadly.

But really, there’s nothing to complain about because he exonerates himself at the end by reminding us that this is political/social commentary. So I may have just devoted more time writing this critique than he spent on his.

Alex Melamed
Los Angeles


In his latest diatribe, “First Fight Yourself, Then Fight Society,” Dennis Prager attacks the left by ascribing to us a belief system that most of us do not hold, and by using out-dated examples from 40 years ago to support his case, such as it is. In actuality, most of us on the left do not want to redistribute wealth so that everybody will be equal. Communists believe — or believed — this, but the American left today simply wants everyone to have an equal chance. We do not want all people to have the same things or the same amounts of money, but we also do not want to see children uneducated or adults unhoused. What Mr. Prager is doing, perhaps because of his lack of a secular education, is engaging in the logical fallacy of the straw man: ascribing false attributes to an opponent and then demolishing those attributes. Unfortunately, he does not demolish his opponent, because his argument is against a straw man and therefore false.

Mr. Prager then goes on to assert that students cheat because they’ve been taught to seek social justice rather than studying the Torah. Again, because he must not have taken Logic 101 at some point in his miseducation, he fails to understand the logical fallacy in his argument: cum hoc ergo propter hoc. Things, events or ideas may coincide, but coincidence is not cause. Might it not be more logically the case that students cheat because their future is not as certain as ours was and that they know how difficult it will be for them to succeed? I doubt that they cheat because they want wind or solar power.

Before he continues to attack the left, Mr. Prager should try to inform himself of what the left actually believes.

Barbara Kaplan
via e-mail


I have read and listened to Dennis Prager for years and for the first time I agree with his wise words. “To make a better world first I had to fight my flawed nature, not American society.” May I respectfully suggest he continue to “fight” harder with his own “flawed nature.”

Martin Isaacson
Woodland Hills


Headline Became Final Line

“The New Jewess”? “Ahead by a Nose”? Is this a Jewish newspaper or an I’m-not-anti-Semitic, I’m-funny one? Your article (“Ahead by a Nose,” Aug. 12) may have made some good points, but I’ll never know. The title was so revolting that I did not read it. Extra credit: Ask Dennis if this comment makes me one of his hideous, destructive lefties.

Ann Bourman
Los Angeles


One Man’s Common Sense is Another Man’s Ideology

Dear Rob Eshman,

You still don’t get it.

Like a mule, you have willingly allowed yourself to be fitted with sight restrictors that allow you to view the world from a narrow slit.

Most Jews, you included, are knee-jerk liberals. I was one myself, so I know. But many of us are awakening, one at a time, in small groups and hopefully in whole communities.

We get hit over the head with the media distortions and lies that we can personally identify as such, and we can no longer continue to distort the facts to fit our ideology.

Let me give you a few samples from your editorial (“Good Leaders,” Aug. 5).

Jews vote 90 percent Democratic, you say, but there are exceptions. The hero of World War II was Republican and got 40 percent of the Jewish vote. You could not bring yourself to admit that maybe his stature as a hero who helped defeat Nazi Germany might have had a slight effect on Jewish vote. There is an old Jewish saying that from the exceptions you can deduct the rule. Arnold and Riorden are such exceptions—faced with a disaster, even some Jews will come to their senses.

Your five-step solution should be a must for Democrats. It is a model of how the facts are effortlessly twisted and manipulated so they match the ideology you believe in.

As a former Army officer I still remember how we were taught to read maps and use them to navigate in hostile and unfamiliar terrain. The first lesson was to never attempt to force the terrain to match the map. You have been doing just that over and over again, quoting extreme left-wing ideologists like Krugman, Friedman, Stewart and Joe Klein as if they were up there with Moses when God bestowed the Torah on Israel.

Step 1: Democrats have never debated anything in a thoughtful way. They always point to the helpless and downtrodden in society and warn us that they will be hurt by any cuts. They have always played on the Jewish guilty feelings and as a nation that has always wanted to advance and repair the world many, too many, of us follow this mantra like zombies. Republicans have talked about the debt ceiling for over six months but our president has dragged our feet in the belief that the debate will hurt Republicans more and that they will cave in at the end.

And as all of us know, this problem started long ago — stop harping that tune, we all know it by heart. Its time you guys face the music and show us how to make it better — for two whole years you have sounded like a bar mitzvah boy chanting with a broken voice and believing this is the fundamental change He( Obama ) has promised America.

Step 2. Boy, every time I read The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times or go on CNN and MSNBC I feel that the writers or host assume I am stupid. That, Rob, goes for you too. The shallow arguments and thoughtless and baseless accusations that you write … I don’t think you are stupid, why do you not respect my mental abilities in the same way?

Step 3. Don’t compromise. Learn from the Palestinians. Negotiate, allow your adversary to make offers, vote on them. Reject these offers and start from scratch with these rejected offers as the new baseline for negotiations. Claim that your adversary has not budged, let him debate and give in some more and start the whole process again. After a while, most of the bystanders will believe that your adversary is stubborn, sometimes he will start to feel like that himself. After all, you tell a lie again and again and you start to believe in it yourself, sometimes even your victim will start to believe it.

Step 4. What can I say; please refer to the last sentence in number 2.

Step 5. Unlike Democrats and the Liberal media, the right attacks ideas, not individuals. Calling someone stupid in order to not debate the issues is the trademark of new Liberalism. The new trend of calling republicans terrorists while the debate whether Hamas is a terrorist organization is still not settled in the halls of The NewYork Times and other left-leaning and media establishments is at best hypocritical.

Unlike your friends, we don’t want to change the government system, or the constitution.

This is how our system of government works in America: If we feel that government is not doing its job, we criticize and try to get the votes to change it. We don’t want to change the rules of the game, we love them as they are and have been for the past 235 years, give or take. We don’t call on the government or the media to stifle dissenting voices like some Democratic senators and the left-stream (did I just write that?) media.

As the Jewish people all pray from the same book for thousands of years, a key element in their survival as a nation, we believe that adherence to the constitution and the value and moral system it was founded upon is the basic ingredient to our survival as a nation.

Think about it, contemplate the road your gurus are pointing to and compare it to the one we have traveled already.

Ethan Teitler
Sherman Oaks


Mr. Eshman says that for Republicans to garner Jewish votes they need to, among other things, not “let ideology trump common sense.” Yet in that one short paragraph that is exactly what he does. First, he calls those Republicans holding out for the best deal possible “extremists.” Many Americans viewed them as Congressmembers actually watching out for the people’s money. How often does that happen? Then, he says that they held our credit rating hostage to “a hurried, gun-to–the-head negotiation” in order to get what they want. Hurried? Again, a left-wing talking point. The Democrats controlled the House, the Senate and the presidency for two years before this January. Yet, they were somehow unable to pass a budget; even though they had the ability to raise the debt ceiling to whatever level they wanted, they failed to do so. But, as Harry Reid said, “let the Republicans have some buy-in on the debt.”

Then Mr. Eshman concludes the paragraph by saying that linking of the debt ceiling to a debate over future spending defies logic. Another leftist talking point. The average American understands the connection very well, even if Mr. Eshman’s ideology prevents him from seeing it. If we keep passing budgets with large deficits every year, then the debt ceiling will have to go up. So the Republicans were essentially saying: If we raise the debt limit now, we want to do our best to prevent it from happening again and again and again. Defies logic? Actually, common sense.

Mr. Eshman ends his piece with this advice to Republicans if they want to attract a large number of Jewish voters: “Find candidates who promote strong, effective and fiscally sound government that provides security for the nation, opportunity to the entrepreneur and help to the needy.” He cites FDR as his ideal. Ironic that he does not refer to Obama. Is Mr. Eshman conceding that Obama is neither strong nor effective nor fiscally sound; and that he fails to provide security for the nation? Obviously, the amount of our national debt is not an issue for our President. And like the two democratic presidents before him, he is doing his best to slash defense spending. As for FDR, he was not exactly fiscally sound. It has been argued by many that government spending under FDR prolonged the depression. I can only conclude that if Mr. Eshman were serious about these issues, and not just making another leftist talking point, he would be a registered Republican.

Michael Pinchak
Tarzana

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