Jewish Journal


December 14, 2006

Prager; CAIR; Gibson; The Boot!



It is getting somewhat boring to read yet another letter in The Jewish Journal from such a disingenuous character as Hussam Ayloush (Letters, Dec. 1). Typical of Ayloush and other CAIR officials, he engages only in ad hominem smears and refuses to deal with the substantive claims. One only needs to do a little research to uncover his obvious fabrications.

First, it is ironic that he says that I "resort to deception" by stating that CAIR has engaged in anti-Semitism in the past. It is notable here that Ayloush conveniently fails to address the fact that neo-Nazi William Baker has been invited to speak at several CAIR events -- whose presence at those events Ayloush himself has defended.

Also, Ayloush categorically lies when he states that "CAIR has no connection, direct or indirect, to the event he referred to in New York" in which radical Islamist cleric Wagdy Ghoneim made anti-Semitic statements and led the crowd in an anti-Semitic song. In fact, CAIR's name is listed on the event announcement, along with several other groups including the Holy Land Foundation, as a co-sponsor. The event itself was sponsored by the Islamic Association for Palestine, which was hit with a $156 million civil judgment -- along with the Holy Land Foundation and several other entities -- by a federal court in Illinois in a case in which the family of a murdered victim of Hamas terrorism successfully sued U.S.-based Hamas front organizations.

Maybe the problem here is one of language and definition. Perhaps, to Ayloush, neo-Nazis and songs lyrics such as, "No to the Jews, descendants of the Apes" are not anti-Semitic.

Steven Emerson
Executive Director
Investigative Project on Terrorism

Ed. Note: The Journal has invited Steven Emerson and Hussam Ayloush to continue their exchange in an e-mail forum at jewishjournal.com. This letter will be posted there awaiting Mr. Ayloush's response.

Hussan Ayloush has managed to manipulate and use The Jewish Journal as his mouthpiece to discredit Steve Emerson. I wonder if any of the Islamic papers would allow such use of their papers for us to discredit Ayloush.

Steven Emerson has been warning the government about radical Islam long before anyone knew about CAIR and Ayloush. Had our government listened to the warnings that Emerson made them aware of instead of trying to appear politically correct, or just naive, more than 3,000 people would be alive today. We would have been prepared for the promotion of Sharia law, and accommodations made for Islam that are not made for either Judaism or Christianity in the United States.

Your paper has allowed an apologist for terror in the United States as well as in Israel to use your pages to promote his agenda, propaganda and lies. This is just shameful.

Allyson Rowen Taylor
Valley Glen

Prager and the Quran

I don't know which is worse; Dennis Prager's virulent intolerance and Islamaphobia or his pathetic ignorance of what our "American values" really are ("Prager Opposition to Quran Congress Rite Draws Fire," Dec. 8). Surely even he would agree that the U.S. Constitution reflects cherished "American values" to which we can all adhere.

Article VI, on the very topic of the oath of office, says, and I quote in full to give the context: "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

How dare Prager set himself above the Constitution, and claim that anyone who does not take an oath on the Bible can't serve in Congress? It's Prager that shouldn't serve on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council if he does not share the American value of religious free exercise protected by the First Amendment.

Stephen F. Rohde
Los Angeles
The writer is a constitutional lawyer

I wish the journal would do their homework on Keith Ellison. If you simply Google "Ellison Jews" you would find that he defended a colleague's right to say "the most racist white people are Jews"; that he sat silently while Khalid Muhammand spewed a racist rant; that he defended in writing Farakhan's not being anti-Semitic; that he his funded by CAIR, a known front group for Hamas. It's most disturbing that Jewish organizations would defend this guy without knowing the truth.

Joshua Spiegelman
Los Angeles


Dear Jon Drucker, your suggestion that we sneak into seeing Mel Gibson's movie "Apocalypto" although we paid to see a different movie is bad advice ("Skip Into Mel Gibson's 'Apocalypto' Now," Dec 8). It reminded me of last year when I read that Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, had snuck into a free preview of "The Passion" without being invited.

As a Jew, I was totally embarrassed by Foxman's actions. If you want to see the movie, act like a responsible adult and pay the price. You will be providing a better example for everyone, Jews and non-Jews. Leave "skipping" for the kids.

Jeff Shulman
Granada Hills


I feel reassured to learn that measures are taken to keep sexual predators, evil opportunists and other dark characters away from shul ("Getting Kicked Out of Shul," Dec. 8). The safe environment this creates makes for a more spiritual experience without, as a single woman, having to fear for my safety.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the rabbis for taking on the responsibility of doing what it takes to create the safe and loving environment we enjoy at shul, in addition to their already demanding work.

Talar Toprakjian
Beth Jacob Congregation

Your front-page article of Dec 8 shows that we Jews continue to be our own worst enemy -- and sadly, The Jewish Journal is leading the way in making us look nasty or foolish to our own community and certainly to the general L.A. community ("Getting Kicked Out of Shul). Al Jazeera, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran's president teach that Jews are the scourge of the earth and must be destroyed. They would be very pleased with the anti-Semitism originating from within what masquerades as our representative news organ!

Fred Korr
Los Angeles

The Prime Grill

After reading the puff piece on The Prime Grill, I cannot wait to spend $125 per person, especially if it includes a sumptuous glass of mevushal (cooked) wine ("A Kosher Steakhouse? Well Done!" Dec. 1).

The best kosher wines are not mevushal and, thanks to our zealous kashrut authorities, not on the menus of any local kosher restaurants.

I would certainly like to see an open discussion of the logic of continuing this practice.

Bill Friedman
Studio City

Michael Richards

Rob Eshman was typically astute and thoughtful in his article about the reaction to Michael Richard's racist outburst and what it says about the complexities of American Jewish identity ("Michael Richards, Still Not a Jew," Dec. 1). But he is dead wrong is in his charge that it is "black hypocrisy" for some African Americans to use the "n-word" publicly while insisting that other ethnic groups, especially whites, should not.

If anything it is Jewish hypocrisy for Eshman to pass judgment on blacks who use the "n-word" and not on Jews who invoke the same exact privilege. There are many Jewish performers who traffic in Jewish stereotypes to mixed audiences, and to mixed effect, casually tossing around terms like "Heeb" or perpetuating the self-hating class and gender stereotypes of "JAPs" in order to advance their careers. I've cringed many times at Jon Stewart's use of the term "Jewey" but I suspect there are many Jews who laugh at it. Would they laugh if it was Chris Rock saying it? Probably not. Would Eshman have given his hekhsher to the anti-Semitism laced "Borat" movie had it not been made by a Jewish performer? I doubt it.

Black use of the "n-word," controversial within the black community, is a complex mix of brazenness, self-love and self-hatred. The same cannot be said about Richards' vicious attempt to verbally assert his racial dominance, his frightening nostalgia for lynching and his shock that an uppity black person would dare "interrupt the white man." Michael Richards is not Richard Pryor. And that's not about hypocrisy, it's about context.

Eric Greene
West Hollywood

'Ever Again'

I am the writer/director of the documentary "Ever Again," which Tom Tugend wrote about in The Jewish Journal on Dec. 8 ("European Anti-Semitism Spurs Controversial Comparison"). It is a shame that Tugend chose to conclude his piece with a criticism of our film by Michael Berenbaum.

For reasons I cannot understand, Michael Berenbaum, a man I know and respect, voiced this criticism despite the fact that he has never seen our film. And had he seen it he would have understood that one of the main theses of our documentary is exactly the same point he made in Tugend's piece: "To a large extent, what we see now is the revolt of an underclass, spurred by anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism and anti-globalization."

Furthermore, the title of our film is not, as Tugend suggests a "...clear allusion to the Holocaust-era battle cry, 'Never Again.'" The title is, in fact, a statement that anti-Semitism, even after the Holocaust, continues to haunt us.

Fortunately, on the same day that The Journal chose to run this critical view of our documentary, "Ever Again" received rave reviews in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Time Out. I hope in the future we receive better treatment from the writers of The Jewish Journal.

Richard Trank
"Ever Again"

Designing Woman

Morris Newman's story about architect Brenda Levin was both enlightening and encouraging; however, the story contains some errors (Designing Woman Preserves Observatory's Past for Future," Nov. 3). Wilshire Boulevard Temple was not built by Harry and Jack Warner, and it was not built in the 1930s. In fact, construction on the building, designed by famed architects Abram Edelman (son of the temple's first rabbi and architect of the previous temple at Ninth and Hope streets and the Breed Street Shul), David S. Allison (UCLA's Royce Hall, Wilshire Methodist Church, Edison Building, First Congregational Church of Los Angeles), S. Tilden Norton (Los Angeles Theatre, first and second Sinai Temple ) commenced in 1928 under the supervision of Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin, with the building being completed and formally dedicated in 1929. And the Warners, though perhaps notable congregants and participants in the building's capital campaign, did not "build" the temple.

They did contribute in no small part by commissioning famed artist Hugo Ballin to create the biblically-themed murals that adorn the sanctuary. Coincidentally, Ballin was the artist who a few years later created the beautiful murals for the Griffith Observatory. The Jewish Historical Society invites all of your readers to inquire about our tours of historic Jewish Los Angeles.

Jeremy Sunderland
Vice President/Treasurer
Jewish Historical Society of Southern California

Correction: The name of the artist in "Two Sephardic Visions" (Seven Days, Dec. 1) should have been Mireille Abitbol.

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