November 29, 2001
It is hard to believe that thoughtful people in the Jewish community can still oppose a Palestinian state and think that moral, political and economic catastrophe can be avoided while Israel continues to occupy 1.5 million people ("The Dangers of a Palestinian State," Nov. 23).
Avi Davis conjures up stale arguments that a Palestinian state would take over Jordan and then join with Iraq, Syria and Iran in attacking Israel. Jordan alone -- and certainly neighbor states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- would never allow this. Moreover, Palestinian terrorism against Israel would become acts of war subject to clear Israeli retaliation.
A future Palestinian state cannot begin without a new relationship between Israel and a Palestinian people responsible for their own society and government.
David Perel, Los Angeles
Avi Davis criticizes the Bush administration for recognizing a future Palestinian state, but completely ignores the fact that it has been anticipated by all concerned parties since the Oslo accords.
Whether we like it or not, a Palestinian state (just as the Palestinian Authority before it) will be as corrupt and undemocratic as any of the other nations in Middle East, and Israel will remain on the defensive until either the majority of Middle Eastern states become democratic or become convinced that trade with Israel furthers their interests.
Rob Eshman puts the cart before the horse, just as many commentators do ("The P Word," Nov. 16). The issue is not whether the Jewish community or Israel should support the creation of a Palestinian state. A Palestinian state will follow when Palestinian Arabs and their Arab brethren accept the Jewish community as its equals.
Alan Wallace, Sherman Oaks
Since Rabbi Toba August has equated "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" -- a story and movie whose research and incantations are based on the Wiccan religion -- to Jewish values taught in Pirkei Avot, I anxiously await the rabbi's upcoming articles on the comparison of Jesus' inspiring Sermon on the Mount to the sayings of our Talmudic literature. Such befitting topics for The Jewish Journal to discuss on the Kids page.
Joseph Schames,Los Angeles
Thank you, Rabbi Eli Hecht, for describing the Orthodox dilemma with non-Jewish holidays, like Thanksgiving ("A Kosher Holiday," Nov. 23). I would bet that few Jews realize that many, if not most, Charedi Jews don't celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving and Independence Day. Most of the frum day schools are even open for Jewish studies on those days.
Saul Newman,Los Angeles
Daniel Sokatch of the Progressive Jewish Alliance (Letters, Nov. 2) defends Salam al-Marayati, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Sokatch says that al-Marayati has "apologized" for saying Israel should be the prime suspect in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, "and publicly reiterated that apology in no less a forum than The New York Times."
Yet the Sept. 28 issue of The Jewish Journal reports that al-Marayati "told the Los Angeles Times that the quotation [al-Marayati's accusation against Israel] was accurate but taken out of context, and he sent a 'clarification' to Jewish leaders." That's not what I call an apology.
I turned to The New York Times, which reported on the episode Oct. 22. The Times reported that "al-Marayati later said that the remark 'gave regrettable and unintended offense to Jewish Americans.'" That's not an apology, either.
Apology or no apology, Sokatch has failed to mention al-Marayati's very long record of making extremist statements.
Rabbi Dov Fischer, President Zionist Organization of America, Greater Los Angeles District