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JewishJournal.com

May 15, 2008

Small Mac attack, Wright flap, too much tolerance

http://www.jewishjournal.com/letters_to_the_editor/article/small_mac_attack_wright_flap_too_much_tolerance_20080519

The Professor Anti-Semites Love

I was shocked to learn that an article I had published in 1972 is being cited by anti-Semites to support their twisted ideas ("The Professor Anti-Semites Love," May 9).

I wonder how many people have actually read my article. Essentially, I analyzed aptitude test data from a nationwide study of 12th-graders.

The main finding was that gender, not ethnic identification, accounted for the most of the differences in scores: boys doing better in general knowledge, math and spatial relations; girls in English and memory. On the average, Asian students (boys and girls combined) did much better than the other groups in math (although the Jewish kids were close) and English; the Jewish youngsters surpassed the others in general knowledge; the majority whites in spatial relations. However, when ethnic groups were divided by sex, differences related to ethnicity were way overshadowed by the differences between males and females.

Just because racists cite my study does not mean they are doing it correctly or honestly. It is a complex area deserving of understanding. The original tests, whose scores I analyzed, were administered way back in 1960. Let us hope that we have made progress since then helping our children learn according to their needs.

Margaret E. Backman
New York



Professor [Kevin] MacDonald's racist rantings and xenophobia would best be addressed by a concerned coalition of Jewish, Latino, African American, Asian and other minorities in academia. Giving him a cover story in The Jewish Journal does nothing except provide a wider platform for his ridiculous ramblings.

This editorial decision makes about as much sense as The Journal's recent publication of a thick "green" issue, thereby destroying even more trees than usual in order to decry the destruction of our environment.

Paula Van Gelder
Los Angeles



On college campuses today there is zero tolerance for anything that can be even remotely construed as derogatory toward blacks, gays, Latinos, gay Latinos or any other group you can think of -- except Jews. Jews are fair game.

When it comes to slamming Jews, all of a sudden everyone is concerned about "academic freedom." If MacDonald had published similar "academic" findings about anyone else but Jews, he would no longer be drawing a paycheck from California taxpayers.

Frederick Singer
via e-mail


Ziman and Lee

Our views regarding the fallout from the Ziman-Lee kerfuffle ("We Don't Need More Gabfests on Diversity," May 2) were only confirmed by the absurd comments attributed to Rabbi Marc Schneier in The Journal ("Ziman, Lee Hold Hands, Pledge Friendship," May 9).

His version of black-Jewish history is flat out wrong: "Fifteen years ago, I couldn't have called on the leader of the SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference] to join me because there were no communications between African Americans and Jews."

We aren't sure what kind of communication devices he was using at the time, but a simple telephone would have made contact with African American leaders possible 15 years ago, 20 years ago and beyond.

As leaders of the black and Jewish communities in Los Angeles over the past 30 years, we were there at countless meetings with lots of "communication." There were black-Jewish coalitions that involved us, The Jewish Federation, the American Jewish Committee, the SCLC, the Urban League and many others. Contacts occurred often and were substantive.

His observations aren't any more accurate for other cities around the country, where similar coalitional efforts were undertaken, including New York.

The good rabbi ought to get his history right, especially before he starts to offer advice on a very difficult issue.

David A. Lehrer
President
Joe R. Hicks
Vice President
Community Advocates Inc.



Too Much Tolerance?

David Suissa misses the point completely ("Museum of Too Much Tolerance?" May 9).

What better way to commemorate the memory of 6 million than to celebrate the reemergence, continuity and vitality of Jewish life celebrated by weddings and bar mitzvahs. Shame on those who refuse to revel in the celebration of life.

Anybody who has been to the Museum of Tolerance recognizes that it not only commemorates the dead but celebrates the triumph of the human spirit. Should the museum succeed and celebrations be held within, the 6 million will be dancing along.

Max Gottlieb
Los Angeles



GOP Ad

The latest ad run by the Republican Jewish Coalition, featuring one of their converts, shows how flimsy the GOP knows its ideas are (Advertisement, May 9).
Why else would the nice lady spend a few sentences merely hinting at tricky issues that good people can disagree about and the rest whining about liberal self-righteousness and playing the abused underdog like one of her talk-radio heroes?

In my political life, I've found that everyone who cares deeply about the issues is pretty self-righteous about it. The liberals just happen to be right, in addition. You know people don't have a leg to stand on when they make such clumsy, pandering appeals to readers of a serious publication.

David Meadow
Los Angeles



Golden Boy

Brad Greenberg's eulogy of Art Aragon neglected the fact that since Aragon was raised in Boyle Heights, he was obviously no stranger to Jewish customs and undoubtedly had "noshed on a pastrami" at Canter Bros. on Brooklyn Avenue on occasion, and I'm surprised he wasn't buried at Home of Peace Cemetery ("'Golden Boy' Keeps Faith," May 2).

Eddie Cress
Sylmar



The Wright Flap

Kudos to Raphael J. Sonenshein for his comments on " The Wright Flap and the Black Candidate," calling attention to Pastor John Hagee, a close ally of the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (May 9). Hagee believes that gays brought on the Katrina disaster in New Orleans by angering God with a proposed gay pride parade and also called the Catholic Church "the great whore."

In my view, Sonenshein's larger point would have had even greater impact on readers of The Jewish Journal, however, had he cited Hagee's views on Jews in his book, "Jerusalem Countdown," Pages 92-93, as cited in the Huffington Post on May 10:

"It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day.... How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for His chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings He had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come ... it rises from the judgment of God upon his rebellious chosen people."

The acceptance of such "prophets" as Hagee by many in the Jewish community shows how far we have strayed from Rabbi A.J. Heschel's views of prophetic Judaism, a long bygone era when rabbis once actually marched in the streets to oppose racism and war.

Gene Rothman
Culver City




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