Jewish Journal


March 29, 2010

Letters to the Editor: Tea Party Politics, Clinton, Shalhevet


Fair and Balanced?

You should really get a more balanced and perceptive Editor-in-Chief if he thinks the Tea Partyers (“Party Off,” March 26) are more of a danger than the radical left in this country! 

Morrie Amitay
via e-mail

Rob — a very insightful article. I think you might enjoy David Neiwert’s book “The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right”

David’s thoughts are very similar to your own, and he traces how this radical and hateful ideology has infiltrated mainstream political discourse.

Please keep talking about this idea as it is very important to stop the “eliminationist” tactic of dehumanizing those whose views may differ from their own.  It is also important to shed light on those who may be using legitimate political avenues for covering their racist and anti-Semitic agendas. We Jews have a special and important responsibility to recognize this and stop it whenever we can, and your article is a very strong recognition of that.

Gregg A. Martin
Los Angeles

What should raise your “internal homeland defense code” are the actions of our president over the past few weeks. How about the way he treated the Israeli prime minister? Making Mr. Netanyahu come through the back door of the White House like he was a two-bit dictator, no photos, no press present. How about the one-party shove-through of the health care bill (the only thing bipartisan was the opposition)—that doesn’t scare you? What’s next, I don’t know, but last time we Jews faced a government with one-party rule, it didn’t work out so well.

Glenn Roeder
Beverly Hills

Rob Eshman has appallingly twisted and defamed the image of the Tea Party grass-roots movement. Yet he totally ignored the shameful back biting, arm twisting, behind-closed-doors sweetheart deals and pitting Democrats against Democrats, all in the name of a deficit-friendly bill that might yet be proven to be unconstitutional.

Danny Bental

There’s an elephant in the room that many don’t seem to notice.

Despite the open hostility the current U.S. administration is displaying toward Israel and the resulting isolation of Israel in the international community that is the consequence of such unbalanced and biased behavior, the Jewish Journal has chosen to actively seek out hints of anti-Semitism among the Tea Party Patriots. This is fear-mongering of the worst kind and intellectually dishonest. An excerpt from the Tea Party Patriots’ own mission statement reads: “Tea Party Patriots Inc. (TPP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit social welfare organization dedicated to furthering the common good and general welfare of the people of the United States. TPP furthers this goal by educating the public and promoting the principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets. TPP does not condone and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and it will not tolerate comments encouraging any kind of illegal activities.” It further states: “While TPP cannot monitor every statement made on TPP online groups or blogs, individuals are encouraged to report violations of this policy to volunteer@teapartypatriots.org.”

The fact is that the open hostility of the current U.S. administration and even humiliating treatment accorded to the Israeli government is much more troubling and extremely dangerous to Jews all over the world than the Tea Party movement. Sure, there may be some anti-Semites who for some reason feel at home in the Tea Party movement, but that pales in comparison to the systematic anti-Israel (which we all know is the new anti-Semitism) being promulgated around the world, and which the U.S. administration is now leading.

Y. Eilfort
via e-mail

You must be dreaming. Your editorial about the Tea Party people, not only defames the “radical Left” of the ’60s by comparing the two, but also wishes everyone a Happy Pesach because you seem to think the Tea Party has no leaders and, thus, the president’s victory “liberated us from it.”

Check that. You hold out “hope,” you say, that they’ve lost, are gone, and we’re free.

Gee whiz, you dissected “The True Believer,” by Eric Hoffer (a “Jewish” longshoreman, Baruch Hashem!),  about what makes up a mass movement and didn’t learn squat. The TP has a leader. The kind that represents Hoffer’s “deliberate misrepresentation of the facts.”

Or haven’t you seen Fox News in the last nine years?

Maybe not, if you’re the kind of guy that gets “amused” and then “concerned” and then gets aboard a “floatplane to the Yukon” as soon as the going gets too rough. 

Hank Rosenfeld

Mourning, Celebrating Shalhevet

As a parent of three Shalhevet children, two impacted by our beloved school’s closing, I must express my deep personal sense of loss as well as my support for the extraordinary faculty and staff, who worked tirelessly to keep our school afloat (“Shalhevet to Close 3 Schools Because of Financial Woes,” March 26). I have nothing but hakarat hatov (gratitude) to the board and its donors for their great personal sacrifice of time, energy and financial resources. Our children have all benefited from their dedication and leadership.

The sensitivity and maturity expressed by the students in support of our school and all the teachers who have lost their jobs is a testament to the school’s success in building the “just community” on which Shalhevet is based. It is absolutely as special, nurturing and magical a place as people say it is. There is no better fit for our family and we are grateful for every wonderful year we are able to spend here. I hope that the current effort to save Shalhevet is successful.

But even if it is not, we remain committed to returning to a unique and vibrant high school when our children are old enough to attend.

Joni Chroman
Valley Village

Shalhevet is one of our community’s treasures. It provides one of the most unique Jewish educational environments in the country. Throughout its existence, it has produced graduates who are fully prepared to actively engage the “real world” and at the same time are passionate Jews and lovers of Israel.

As the parent of three Shalhevet graduates and the president of the BJE, I want to publicly express my admiration for Shalhevet’s lay leadership. The recent decision to close the middle and elementary schools was, no doubt, difficult (“Shalhevet to Close 3 Schools Because of Financial Woes,” March 26). Clearly, the Shalhevet board knew that its decision would be subject to some criticism and second-guessing. Yet the leadership of the school had the courage and vision to do what was necessary to ensure the survival of Shalhevet High School.

Too often, nonprofit institutions faced with financial difficulties fail to act decisively, hoping for a new donor to walk through the door. I am truly grateful that the leadership of Shalhevet did not sit idly by. Rather, by taking this painful but necessary step, the Shalhevet board has ensured that this wonderful institution will thrive for years to come.

Marc Rohatiner
Los Angeles

Wanting More From Steinem

I usually read the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles with pleasure and admiration, but the interview with Gloria Steinem (March 19) was so very far below par for you, I am quite astonished. Gloria Steinem is a generous person, very modest about what she has done for the women of this country and around the world, and you were fortunate that she so graciously agreed to an interview. What an opportunity to discuss one of the great social movements of our time with one of its most important leaders. But your interviewer squandered her chance. The questions asked were tendentious and confrontational. They rested on false and biased assumptions that feminism is narrow in goals and paltry in achievements, that it is irrelevant to the great masses of the world’s women, and that Gloria Steinem is an aging beauty with no real claim to historical significance or political leadership. Not one question invited Steinem to reflect on a half-century of dramatic change in women’s lives or her own long career of dedication to women’s advancement. The Jewish Journal is not afraid to remember and honor the achievements of the American civil rights movement and to remind its readers of the great role that Jews played as its supporters. Why not give the same level of respectful attention to the historical achievements of feminism, its sister movement, in which so many Jewish women have participated with distinction and commitment?

Ellen Carol DuBois
UCLA, history professor

Israel, Clinton and Jerusalem

When Israel was 20 and I was 19, I was able to go to Jerusalem, newly restored from its years of Jordanian capture. I was able to visit the Wailing Wall and the mosque on the Temple Mount. This was land won the old-fashioned way, it was fought for—not in a war of aggression, but in a war of defense. It was sacrificed for. How is it then possible for anyone (Mrs. Clinton being the most glaring recent example) to say that although Jerusalem is in Israel, it is not Israeli, but “occupied” territory? Why is this country treated differently from all other countries?

Carolyn Kunin

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