June 27, 2002
No More Herring
Hirsh Goodman's attack on Norwegian herring ("No More Herring," June 21) disturbs my sense of fair play. In condemning the actions of some left-wing unions that imposed a boycott on Israeli goods, it disregards the long and close relationship that exists between the two countries. It overlooks the risks Norwegians took to protect their Jewish citizen's during the Nazi occupation. It overlooks Norway's casting a decisive vote in the United Nations in 1947 that led to the establishment of the state of Israel. It fails to take into account Norway's key role in the peace process.
Hasbara (Hebrew for explanation or PR) is a skill that Israel does not excel at, but in Europe it is frightfully inept. Operation Defensive Shield was clearly a war on terror. But the Arab propaganda machine crowded that message out and made it into an Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Anyone who has heard Goodman make his case for Israel directed at the American public can't help but admire his skills at hasbara. He's articulate, convincing, and his English is fluent. If only Israel had spokesmen with similar credentials in Europe, the world would have a different opinion of Israel's motives and we could go on enjoying our Norwegian herring.
Hitler's Jewish Soldiers
As a Jew born in Germany and Holocaust survivor, I find the whole matter of the book: "Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and the Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military" highly offensive ("Jews in the Nazis' Ranks," June 14).
While it is, of course, possible that some partly Jewish men survived in the German army, I am sure that the number is miniscule, and I venture to say that the matter is not worth talking about. I am disturbed that The Journal discussed it -- not once, but twice. You do all of us who suffered at the hands of the Germans and lost many family members in the gas chambers a great disservice.
Kurt G. Wunderlich, San Juan Capistrano
The Christian Right
Jewish Republicans show their naivetè by not realizing that the ultimate goal of fundamentalists such as Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed and John Ashcroft is a 100 percent Christian America ("The Christian Right, Conservatism, and the Jews," June 7). Their support of Israel has nothing to do with liking Jews. Do you think for one minute that if they could get away with it, they wouldn't mandate that everyone convert to Christianity "or else"? Imagine, in a presidential election between Ashcroft and Joe Lieberman, Jewish Republicans would vote for Ashcroft!
As an example of what Republicans are all about, go to any all-white, restricted country club, and obtain a list of the membership. Then check the members' political party registration. The only Democrats you might find associated with the club would be the maintenance crew.
Jewish Democrats revere leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks and John and Bobby Kennedy for their dedication toward ending racism and promoting civil rights. Jewish Republicans embrace extremists such as John Ashcroft, Trent Lott, Jesse Helms, Rush Limbaugh and George W. Bush as their heroes. Fortunately, the majority of Jews are Democrats who are enlightened enough to reject the racial and religious bigotry so ingrained in the Republican Party.
Marty Levine, Los Angeles
I find it hard to have sympathy for Phil Shuman ("Dirty Facts," May 31) because he is part of a long list of Jews and international media conglomerates that criticize Israel in the name of "objective journalism."
He is just recycling the same rhetoric being circulated by the Arab Palestinian propaganda machine trying to blame Israel for the "situation in the Middle East."
Shuman made it seem like Israel is equally guilty for the war against Israel, and everybody recognizes that it simply is not true.
Robert Fried, Oak Park
I share Phil Shuman's position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stated in his article. The only answer to the continued slaughter on both sides is a settlement acceptable to both countries. Until that occurs, I'm afraid the killing of the innocents will continue.
Dr. Sol Londe, Reseda