February 22, 2012
Letters to the Editor: Hollywood, Israel, Democracy, survivors
The Hollywood-Israel Relationship
I read with interest the cover story “Zionism and the Three-Picture Deal” (Feb. 3). After decades of efforts to engage prominent Hollywood Jewish celebrities and executives for Israel, it is satisfying to feel that the leaders in the industry are becoming more responsive and positive.
While giving kudos to those who were quoted in the article, I was struck by the chronology of how and why things have changed. I would not characterize any of the participants in the Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership’s Master Class as the “B list.” In fact, those who were ready to take a chance on this creative initiative deserve to be acknowledged as willing to identify with Israel when it wasn’t popular.
This year will mark the 64th anniversary of the Jewish state. Some of your readers will remember a previous cover story on the 50th anniversary culminating in an extraordinary show at the Shrine Auditorium featuring an amazing group of performing artists from film, television and music celebrating five decades of our Jewish state. It was one of many successful efforts to engage Hollywood.
Not everything was a “bull’s-eye,” but the process culminating in today’s changing relationship of Hollywood Jews to Israel was the result of hard work of dozens of communal and entertainment leaders. Unlike the article suggests, the process of engagement never ceased. Those who are quoted in the article undoubtedly have contributed to today’s “new” successful relationship to Israel, as did their predecessors.
But let’s not forget that it did not magically occur in a few years nor was it due to a single individual but was part of a collective strategic effort, which needs to continue.
You have to love David Suissa’s insistence that we should accept Israel as a democracy by emphasizing the good and accepting the flaws (“The Liberal Case for Israel,” Feb. 17). Actually, “allowing enormous freedom for people to challenge the system” is only a part of a “democracy.” As a liberal, the part of Webster’s definition of “democracy” that I prefer is ”a principle of equality of rights, opportunity and treatment.” This should apply to all citizens, including non-Orthodox Jews.
Martin J. Weisman
The Media’s Flip, Flop Politics
Marty Kaplan is the first pundit to point out at length the nonsense of today’s mainstream (or rather “mainscream”) media, which covers every flip, flap and flop of presidential contenders (“Political March Madness,” Feb. 17).
It is disturbing how media influences polls, how polls then influence voters, yet voters still do not settle for one candidate. Do we really want our government being decided by the opinions logged on Facebook or fired off on Twitter?
These sound bites are certainly biting away at our political discourse. Indeed, human beings love narratives, and with the expansive amount of technology making up-to-the-minute storytelling even more minute (and ultimately secondary), it is no wonder that the attention spans of many voters hinge and switch so capriciously.
I do see a silver lining to the stormy clouds of political discourse crowding our future election years. Republican strategist Matthew Dowd has pointed out that Super-PAC advertising has whittled down the effect of campaign ads. As the narrative shifts ever so quickly and arbitrarily, individual political hucksters and pundits will forgo the up-to-date follow-up from the mainstream outlets. We will have no choice but to analyze issues for ourselves, for the multiplicity of information will be too daunting for us to accept passively.
Arthur Christopher Schaper
Praise for Survivors Column
I want to personally thank and commend The Journal for bringing Jane Ulman to your staff (“Liselotte Hanock,” Feb. 17). She is a fine journalist. After spending over four hours with my wife, Lotte, gathering personal background about her survival experiences, she put a marvelous article together. Considering the space allocation within which she had to work, Jane captured the very essence of my very wonderful, courageous and loving wife, whose strength and perseverance has made our family strong enough to overcome many of life’s adversities. Jane’s finished product truly reflects her outstanding journalistic talent. The Survivors series is a wonderful addition.
Franklin N. Hanock
An obituary for Norma Katz was published in error in the Feb. 10 issue.
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