October 23, 2003
The Case for Israel
At a time when we should be applauding those who are willing to respond to the escalating barrage of anti-Israeli rhetoric, Adam Rubin's acrid assessment of Alan Dershowitz's "A Case for Israel" furthers a disturbing trend -- that anything that promotes Israel in a favorable light be viewed, and ultimately dismissed, as simply works of propaganda or fiction ("Israeli History the Dershowitz Way," Oct. 17). Despite Rubin's overblown criticism, the case for Israel is a strong and compelling one.
Elana Buegoff, Los Angeles
Thank you for your review of Alan Dershowitz's latest bit of hasbara. It is a great relief to see a Jewish publication take seriously such pulp writing and not reflexively give praise that a man of distinguished reputation has yet again falsified history for the pro-Israeli public. There will be no peace in the Middle East as long as people merely repeat what was for decades, and still is, the official Zionist narrative, now long-disproven by modern historical research. We need a more complex, more honest view of events surrounding the establishment of the Israeli State and its continuing conflict with the native Palestinian population. There is no tikkun olam without the truth.
Miriam M. Reik, New York
I have a great deal of respect for Arthur Cohn as a filmmaker, but in his attack on Avraham Burg, he used a phrase that trivializes the Holocaust ("An Open Letter to Avraham Burg," Oct. 10).
He repeats a phrase first used by the late Abba Eban and used frequently by Benjamin Netanyahau speaking of the borders of 1967 as Auschwitz borders.
The comparison is ludicrous. How does one equate Israel with its dominant air force and armored corps with the absolute and complete powerlessness of the Jews at Auschwitz?
To do so misrepresents the situation of Israel and its not inconsiderable power and also the situation of the Jews at Auschwitz. It is false and misleading. Not all Jewish vulnerability may be compared to the vulnerability of Jews at Auschwitz.
Michael Berenbaum, Los Angeles
Race Card Outrage
David Lehrer and Joe Hicks really got it wrong ("No Outrage Over Race Card," Oct. 17). I respect these two gentlemen immensely. But their prime example in last week's column they failed to grasp the full picture.
Yes, state Sen. Gloria Romero held up granting broadcast executive Norm Pattiz an 11-year appointment to the UC Board of Regents from his short-term appointment, which would have ended next March, over diversity.
But Gov. Davis' record on diversity for the UC regents was exceedingly poor. At that point, the governor appointed or allowed to be appointed 10 UC regents: six are Jewish and only one was of a middle-class background, the other nine are very rich -- several billionaires among them. By law, the regents are supposed to reflect the diversity of the state.
Yes, I deplore the use of the race card but this was not a good example. The nine rich people economically represent less than 1 percent of the state. What about the other 99 percent?
"No Outrage Over Race Card" gentlemen, because there was no "outrage." Romero was right and, in the process, might have succeeded in forcing the governor to make his best regent appointment.
Howard Welinsky, Vice Chair California Postsecondary Education Commission
Shaarei Tefila Sukkah
I would like to thank Julie Gruenbaum Fax for mentioning the sukkah at Shaarei Tefila ("I'm Dreaming of My School's Sukkah," Oct. 10). Although the era of the day school sukkah may be gone, the sukkah at Shaarei Tefila continues to welcome both young and old each year. The sukkah is part of Shaarei Tefila's illustrious heritage, growing more beautiful with the passage of time.
Audrey Forman, Los Angeles
Thank you for your article about our new Working Professionals Program for Jewish Educators ("Helping Teachers Master Judaism," Oct. 17). Although not entirely surprised, we were saddened to read the misinformed comments of the educator who felt that Orthodox teachers could not possibly be comfortable studying at the University of Judaism (UJ). In fact, the Jewish studies faculty of the UJ is made up of a variety of scholars, many of whom are affiliated with centrist Orthodox synagogues and educate their own children in the Orthodox day school system.
The UJ as a whole belongs to the entire Jewish community. We do not favor any particular Jewish denomination. In fact, we estimate that as many as half of our continuing education students are unaffiliated with any religious movement.
We have expressed a willingness to work with all schools and with their teachers to improve Jewish education in this city. We are fully prepared to create a program that meets the specific needs and religious perspectives of the Orthodox community. Hopefully, our reputation for quality and the warmth of our welcome will encourage their participation.
Peter Lowy , Executive Committee Member
Dr. Robert Wexler, President University of Judaism