November 15, 2001
The Jewish Journal's cover story on Sheriff Lee Baca ("Lee Baca's Brotherhood Crusade," Nov. 9) suggests Los Angeles County's top cop is not "entirely above suspicion," that he may just be campaigning for re-election as he pursues intensive efforts to bring Jews and Muslims together. Is his stated goal necessarily bad? Whom does it threaten?
I was present, as was the sheriff, at a joint meeting of 700 members of a Muslim Mosque in Northridge and Temple Kol Tikvah when Supervisor Zev Yarolslavsky was heavily applauded after he noted that this was the largest such gathering ever in Los Angeles County. As my beloved zayde used to say, no matter what the issue, "Nu, boychik, is this good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?" So, which is it, and if not now, when?
Saul Halpert, Studio City
While the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was indeed one of the great tragedies in the history of the Jewish State, the events of the last year have proven the Oslo accords to be a greater tragedy ("The Day the Music Died," Nov. 2). The trust placed in Yasser Arafat by Rabin to "reject violence and terrorism" in exchange for recognition of the PLO as "the representative of the Palestinean people and [to] commence negotiations with the PLO within the Middle East peace process" was so naive that it has left Israel with a much stronger foe killing Israeli civilians with greater impunity.
I'm sorry, but the lesson to be learned from Rabin's failed peace efforts is to listen to what your "peace partner" says to his own people as well as to you, and, more importantly, to see what he does rather than what he says.
Richard S. Weiner, Los Angeles
I have been deeply moved by the story concerning Bernadine Healy, whose departure as head of the American Red Cross was triggered by her principled position that Israel be admitted as a full member of the International Committee of the Red Cross ("Principled Stand," Nov. 2).
For taking this moral position, Healy has put her job and her career on the line. This should merit an outpouring of gratitude from Jewish groups at any time. That Healy would continue to advocate for Israel at this time speaks even more about the extraordinary character of this righteous gentile.
Healy deserves our profound thanks. I would suggest that all Jewish organizations institute a campaign to write thank-you letters to Healy. She can be reached at the American Red Cross, 430 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20006.
Steven Klein, Culver City
As a scholar with a deep committment to Jewish causes who specializes in Armenian history, I was disturbed that the article left the impression that there is a historical debate as to the existence of the Armenian genocide ("Turkish Delight," Nov. 9). The Armenian genocide of 1915-1923, in which some 1.5 millions perished at the hands of both the Young Turks and the Turkish Nationalists, is an episode in history that the Turkish government and their supporters in the United States have chosen to deny for fear of having to pay reparations.
Fortunately, most Jewish intellectuals and Holocaust scholars in the United States and Israel have taken a stand against the Turkish campaign of denial. One would hope that in the future The Jewish Journal would not leave any room for ambiguity when it comes to the horrible crime of genocide.
Jonathan Eric Lewis, New York
I am the current independent integrated pest management expert for the LAUSD pest management team. There is not a ban on pesticides at LAUSD (Letters, Nov. 2). The LAUSD pest management team conducts a very careful and thorough review of the pesticides that have been and are currently being used on school campuses.
William Currie, International Pest Management Institute