Jewish Journal


November 23, 2010

Letters to the Editor: Glenn Beck, Dennis Prager, Domestic Violence


Exposing ‘Secret’ Helps Save Women’s Lives

I cannot overstate the importance of the cover article “The Ugly Secret” in this week’s Jewish Journal (Nov. 19). There is no doubt in my mind that, based on my personal and professional experience with victims of domestic violence, the articles and stories you shared with your readers will literally save women’s lives. Thank you.

Kirby Tepper
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
via e-mail

Thank you for an enlightening article. If this doesn’t open up the community, nothing will. We all appreciate your efforts and your professional integrity. Thank you so much again.

Karen Rosenthal
Director of Shelter Services
Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles
Sherman Oaks

Serious Discussions Should Replace Conservative-Bashing

Rob, you insist on calling Glenn Beck an “anti-Semite,” comparing him to vicious Jew-haters of the past, because he dares to attack George Soros as a “puppet master” (“Beyond Glenn Beck,” Nov. 19). Never mind ADL’s Abe Foxman’s view, that while Beck is sometimes insensitive, he is in the end “a strong supporter of Israel and the Jewish people.” Given Soros’ ideology and actions, Beck would rail against Soros if Soros were an Episcopalian. The attacks on Beck, and Conservatives in general, continue in Michael Tolkin’s article, which reads more like an Ibogaine bad trip than serious journalism (“Conspiracy Theory: Where Does It End?” Nov. 19). He equates conservatives with “vampires” and “zombies,” Tea Partyers with “fascists” who embrace the nefarious plot to incarcerate and “torture” fair-minded Liberals and Progressives in American “secret prisons.” Never mind that Tea Party activists regularly express their strong commitment to economic and personal freedom and a belief that our Constitution limits the power of the Federal Government, to prevent the central government from dominating the lives of individuals. Really Rob, we are better served with serious discussions of real issues, rather than paranoid accusations and name-calling.

Michael Lackner
Los Angeles

I took the liberty to read Ted Koppel’s article. Hilarious stuff [from] Koppel, who in his time epitomized those traits that he is now criticizing in today’s reporters. He has not an inkling of a hint that he had done the same. You, Rob, are not much better (“Beyond Glenn Beck,î Nov. 19). You consider yourself mainstream and for most of the time measure your objectivity by allowing equal access to both sides of an issue, not by evaluating the truth in what your paper reports or posts. You have come to consider NPR (National Palestinian Radio, as we call it) as your role model because they allow every extreme left and anti-American opinion to be posted with no real challenge. That is not true journalism. Neither is your allowing a virulent, unsubstantiated article by Michael Tolkin to be printed in our Jewish Journal ó what a shame.

Ethan Teitler
via e-mail

In his article “Beyond Glenn Beck,” Rob Eshman claimed that “Glenn Beck speaks from what passes for television news in America.î How ignorant and well distorted was that article. Yet, since Robís articles are printed in the Opinion section, and are not considered news, one should respect his point of views for better or for [worse], regardless of if they are well founded or not, true or false. And so is Glenn beckís program. Itís not news but merely a one-hour-a-day opinion show, similar to Robís articles. The difference is that in Glennís case he himself declares his show to be an opinion one, and repeatedly asks his audience not to take his words for granted, but that each viewer should take it upon himself or herself to do their own research on each subject matter, and come to their own conclusion.

It would be nice if Rob would give that same advice to his readers and have the courtesy to print this letter as well.

Danny Bental

I wonder if you could have put out a column titled “Beyond Keith Olbermann.” He is a real disgrace to the human race. At least Beck loves his country. And if you think that Beck is a fool, then what pray tell would you call Marty Kaplan. You know, the leftist college professor who worships America-hater Noam Chomsky, and is good friends with another America-hater and fellow professor Mark Cooper. Is their a bigger fool than Kaplan? I say stop funding NPR until they hire a few more conservatives.

Richard Levine
via e-mail

Rob Eshman’s attack on Glenn Beck is filled with dangerous hyperbole and reflects poorly on Eshman’s reasonable plea for “balance” in the mainstream media. Why can Jewish liberal Alan Dershowitz criticize George Soros for his many anti-Israel pursuits, including his funding of anti-Israel Human Rights Watch, and having had stated that European anti-semitism is a result of the actions of Israel and the United States; but Glenn Beck, a Mormon conservative, has no right to criticize Soros, a well-documented financial manipulator and rabidly anti-American and anti-Israel demagogue. Does being Jewish-in-name-only† protect Soros himself from charges of his own obvious anti-Semitism? Is Glenn Beck, according to Eshman, equivalent to the Nazi rag Der Stuermer, or Father Coughlin, or Louis Farrakhan? It seems “balance” in the media should start at home.

Richard Friedman
Los Angeles

Rob Eshman clearly goes overboard. To call his criticism of George Soros the “verbal equivalent of a Der Stuermer cartoonî is hyperbole in its extreme. Is the left wing so afraid of Beckís political analysis there is no other choice than to parallel him with the likes of the repulsive, vile, degenerate Julius Streicher?

If Eshman really wanted to ferret out anti-Semitism in the American landscape, he should look in his own backyard ó the left wing of the Democratic Party is rampant with the problem.

Eshman says it’s the state of television news that people like Beck can pursue an anti-Semitic course, and “their liberal counter partsî pursue Ö well, something else. He never tells us what they pursue. I guess itís better to forget about the “liberal counterparts.î Eshman is having too good a time discrediting Glenn Beck to the lowest ebb of American politics, accusing him of Jew hatred.

I have a flash for Mr. Eshman. Itís not George Sorosí Jewish background that angers Glenn Beck. It is his politics. And, letís face it, Soros is an intentionally polarizing figure.

He lines up Beck with some of the worst anti-Semites in 20th century American history: Father Coughlin, Lewis Farrakhan, and Pat Buchanan. (Although Iím not sure why Buchanan is in there, he is really anti-Israel, not anti-Semitic, and no more so than some of Eshmanís left-wing friends.) Oh yeah, he, like Beck, sits on the right, and Eshman probably could not think of another prominent right-wing anti-Semite in America today.

If I lined up Salam al-Marayati, someone who has graced the pages of The Jewish Journal from time to time, and I think is admired by Mr. Eshman, with Haj Amin Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Ahmadinejad of Iran, and Farrakhan (I can use him too), would Eshman regard that as a fair comparison?

Eshman uses recent comments from Ted Koppel, who cannot seem to accept that the networks and the once major media outlets are giving way to Fox News and Glenn Beck types. But I see why Eshman included Koppelís ramblings in his piece. It allows him to subliminally, through his Der Stuermer, Father Coughlin references, to paint the Fox News channel, Beckís employer, also as virulently anti-Semitic.

Might as well throw in the whole lot, right?

Koppel has been invited several times to Bill OíReillyís show to discuss his opinions about the change in the industry but has declined each and every time. Maybe that is what Jon Stewart was talking about in Eshmanís piece when he quoted him on “The Rachel Maddow Showî: “Both sides have a way of shutting down debate.î What I canít figure out is how OíReilly is managing to do that when he continues to invite Koppel on to discuss it and why Eshman doesnít seem to mention that fact. Whoís shutting down whom here?

Maybe Eshman can tell us in one of his future enlightened op-eds in The Journal.

Larry Hart
Los Angeles Jewish community examiner

No Settling Settlement Issue

Both former Prime Ministers, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, have repeatedly said that Israel must pull out of the West Bank in order to obtain peace. Both men are former leaders of the rightist Likud party and share similar militaristic backgrounds. What leftist, liberal label would you like to give to them, Mr. Prager?

Martin H. Kodish
Woodland Hills

Mr. Prager, your article is a perfect example of attacking a straw man.

You know as well as we do that the problem with West Bank settlements goes much beyond “construction within existing Jewish communities within or right outside of Jerusalem.” 
You know as well as we all do that today there are more than 300,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem), living in 120 settlements and 95 illegal outposts. 
You know full well that many, if not most of these settlements were intentionally positioned right outside Palestinian towns and villages to deny contiguity for a future Palestinian state in the West Bank. 
Or maybe you don’t.  For people like you, who either refuse to be confused by the facts or who simply don’t know them, my organization developed a new high-tech tool. We call it “Facts on the Ground.” It is an interactive map-application for smartphones and for the Web. It allows anyone, with the touch of a finger or a click of a mouse, to view the settlements as facts on the ground of the West Bank — both the big picture and up-close. 

When you examine this map, you will see what a significant impact settlements have on the geography of the West Bank, how they threaten to render the two-state solution impossible, and how they threaten to condemn Israel to turning into a bi-national state that could not be both Jewish and democratic. You will see why your assertions that settlement construction is a non-issue are simply wrong.

And then there are things that even a map can’t show. Even the best map cannot show the resentment that grows in the hearts of Palestinians with each house built in a settlement. More than one-fifth of these houses are built on land privately owned by Palestinians. And a map can’t show how dishonest Israeli commitments to negotiating future peace with the Palestinians look when — during those negotiations — Israel continues to settle the land that is destined to become the future Palestinian state. Maps don’t show how settlement construction discredits Israel’s Palestinian interlocutors, Palestinian moderates who seek peace. And they don’t show how Jewish settlement construction can only bolster the political fortunes of Palestinian extremists who dismiss negotiations, and instead advocate violence and terrorism. 

Mr. Prager, when was the last time you toured the West Bank? Let me extend an invitation to view for yourself what settlement construction looks like. You will be accompanied by Hagit Ofran, who directs Peace Now’s Settlements Watch project. She is perhaps the world’s leading expert on settlements. Last week she authored a report, which shows that in the last six weeks alone, construction occurred in 1,629 housing units, and 1,116 foundations have been dug in 63 different settlements, 46 of them east [of] the Separation Barrier (in areas that are destined to become the future Palestinian state) and 17 on the western side of it.
West Bank settlements are a tremendous security, economic, political and moral burden to Israel. They are not only an obstacle to peace, but also an obstacle to Israel’s becoming a full and legitimate member of the family of nations. They perpetuate the occupation of the West Bank and therefore fuel the international campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state. 
Settlement construction is not simply a matter of preventing Bubbe from making room for her yingeles in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. You know that. And if you don’t, you should. We are happy to help.

Arthur Stern and Sanford Weiner
Americans for Peace Now Regional Co-Chairs;
David Pine
Americans for Peace Now Regional Director

In “I Wish Settlements Were the Issue” (Nov. 19), Dennis Prager rationalizes that West Bank settlements are not an impediment to peace. How does he reach this conclusion? Simply by stating that the Arabs hate the Jews and Israel and it makes no difference what we do. He further tries to minimize the settlementsí impact by describing their expansion as merely a few additions to individual apartments here and there. Those of us who donít try to delude ourselves realize that the settlements play a more significant role ó both physically and symbolically.

Instead of attempting to explain the effect of the settlements from the Arab point of view, letís take a moment to consider them from Israelís perspective. I think most of us would agree that to envision a future state that includes the West Bank with its 2 million Muslims (added to the 1 million who live in pre-1967 Israel) is untenable in sustaining Israel as a Jewish state. Yet those many millions need a place to live. Do we want to mislead ourselves by believing that they will be content to live under Israeli occupation indefinitely? Or do we really believe that one day they will wake up and decide to move to other Arab countries, as if they had no connection to the land they now live in? Accordingly, the bulk of Israeli and Jewish opinion is that the two-state solution is the only workable outcome. Yet every time a new settlement is built or one is expanded, no matter how meagerly, the possibility of a two-state solution is diminished. How believable can a two-state proposal really be, if day by day another piece of this small territory is removed?

Mr. Prager is correct that the refusal by many Arabs (although, I should add, not by all) to accept the existence of Israel is a major obstacle to a resolution. But we only have to look to Egypt and Jordan, once as vehemently opposed to Israel as the bulk of Palestinians are today, to see that, with a little ìliberalî optimism, this issue can be overcome.†

John Beckmann
Sherman Oaks

Prager claims that the Left is myopic on the difference between good and evil. He correctly points out that Saddam Hussein was an evil tyrant. Prager incorrectly surmises that the Left is sorry to see Hussein off the world stage. If Prager could put his ego aside, he should correctly recall that the United States did not invade Iraq to rid the world of one cruel dictator. The rationale Bush/Cheney gave for the invasion was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This rationale turned out to be a lie. From this misstatement of history, Prager falsely argues that the Left believes that the Israeli expansion of settlements is the sole obstacle to achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This couldnít be further from the truth. The problem, as we see it, is that the expansion of settlements provides the Palestinians with a PR windfall.

Without the settlement issue to hide behind, then the Palestinians would be forced to put up or shut up. That, Mr. Prager, is why we on the Left, are opposed to the expansion of the settlements.

Andrew C. Sigal
Valley Village

Dennis Prager is guilty of rhetorical overkill when he bundles together opposition to the wars in Vietnam and Iraq with opposition to Israel’s military response to Hamas in Gaza.

Does he truly believe that a war against an already impotent Saddam was†worth the death of over 100,000 Iraqis, 4,000 Americans and tens of thousands of wounded and maimed American boys as well as the squandered hundreds of billions of dollars? As for Vietnam, history has already rendered its verdict.

If Israel continues to build settlements at a critical point in peace talks, it sends a signal to the Palestinian Authority that the settlement will be on Israelís terms.

No second party to such “negotiations” wants to operate†under that handicap.

More settlements add up to no settlement.

Leonard Kass
Woodland Hills

The Other Author

The line is, “Life is like a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.” The author is Shakespeare, who is not from New Orleans or even Louisiana (“New Orleans’ Other Lesson,“Nov. 12).

William Faulkner wrote “The Sound and the Fury,” but he is from Mississippi.

So, to whom are you referring?

Skip Nevell
via e-mail

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