April 8, 2004
Arab American Protest
I wanted to add one more dimension to your report about the March 27 rally against Israel's elimination of Sheikh Yassin, held in front of the Israeli Consulate ("Arab Americans Stage Protest at Israeli Consulate," April 2).
I was there as part of a quickly organized counter-rally. Even though the rally was held on Shabbat, there were Orthodox Jews who joined the group after attending services. There were Christians who felt so strongly that they drove in from Orange County. And there were secular Jews. It was an honor for us to have human rights activist Ted Hayes at our side. About 25 of us stood together in the hot sun, on Shabbat, because we felt it was vital to deliver the countermessage. Our signs read: "Hamas, stop killing children," "Yassin was Israel's bin Laden" and "Stop Justifying Suicide Bombing." Just like their message, our message also got out. Those who organized the rally supporting Yassin found that they could not dominate the streets or the media.
I remain convinced that it is essential to continue countering the disinformation and moral confusion that marks the anti-Israel positions.
Roz Rothstein, Executive Director StandWithUs
In the article about the Arab protest, I was the one referred to as a "Jewish Activist with Israeli flag." I was holding the flag with Ted Hayes and had an Israeli flag in my other hand. Ted is black, I am an American of Mexican descent and on the other side of Ted was Paul Nissian, an American of Japanese descent. Israel has supporters from all ethnic groups and we will continue to fight and present a vocal and visible presence in the face of those who would threaten Israel and our Jewish community.
David Hernandez, Valley Village
The erosion of our Constitution could not be more blatant than the concept of educational vouchers for religious groups (no matter what their bent) and HR 3077, the International Studies in Higher Education Act of 2003, which would amend Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to enhance international education programs ("Big Brother Lurks in Higher Education Bill," March 26).
Our country has had difficulty, throughout its history, with issues of religion and its encroachment into government policy and the lives of our citizens. The adding of the Bill of Rights provisions to our constitution was formed with the intent of protecting the minority from the majority whether that minority is a group or an individual citizen. There are possibly no other actions that could negate this protection than the erosion of the separation between church and state. Our Constitution is in reality "Big Brother watching" in the most positive sense. That Big Brother is something we all want to hang around and watch over us.
Bruce F. Whizin, Sherman Oaks
Referring to "Behind Kitchen Door No. 1" (March 26), written by Beverly Levitt, when will you people understand that the expression "the Ukraine" is offensive? The correct name of the country is Ukraine. When will you educate your editors and staff members to be accurate?
Orest Steciw, Via e-mail
Your article titled "USC Honors Cell Phone Pioneer" (March 26), regarding USC's School of Engineering being named for Italian Jew Andrew Viterbi, reminds me that there are now four major engineering schools at California universities named for Jews: the Andrew and Erna School of Engineering at USC; the Irwin Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego; the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine; and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UCLA.
Martin A. Brower, Corona del Mar
Arnold to Israel
The Jewish Journal's recent coverage and editorial comments about Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's planned May trip to Israel portrayed a certain undefined discontent among some in the Los Angeles Jewish community ("Fine-Tuning," March 26). Frankly the reporting here (Sacramento and the capitol area) is quite different. The perception is positive as it should be regardless of the trip's origin or unrelated secondary issues. In fairness, as a part of your own editorial comments, Mel Levine was quoted as conveying a somewhat similar sentiment.
Israel's rightful position during these parlous times could be strengthened. This would be a welcome change, particularly given the slew of Hollywood types that have flocked there to pontificate with Israel's detractors. As long as the governor does not weigh in with Israel's "moral equivalent" crowd, this visit should be praised and supported by our community, as it will be by our non-Jewish friends.
Steven Fishbein, Sacramento
Anti-Semitism and the Web
Joe Eskanazi, in his article "Googling Anti-Semitism" (March 19), discusses the unfortunate fact that jewwatch.com is top of the list when a search is done on the word "Jew." He speculates that this is not the case in Europe where Holocaust denial is illegal. I can report from the United Kingdom that JewWatch comes top of the list here, and the search is only different when results from just the UK are looked at.
Nick Landau, London, England
It's a shame that in her zeal to pin the state's budget problems on the Democrats, Jill Stewart attacks the community colleges and the disabled community in her opinion piece "Math Problem" (March 19). As a math instructor at community colleges and the father of a disabled child, let me help Stewart do the math. The purpose of the community college system is to provide education to all Californians. For many, especially from culturally diverse communities, it is the entry point toward transferring to a four-year institution. For others, the colleges provide workforce education leading to careers in nursing, office technology, etc., or retraining for those who have been laid-off during the economic "recovery." Yet fees have jumped from $11 per unit to $18 per unit during the last year -- a 64 percent increase. Gov. Schwarzenegger's budget has proposed that these fees be raised to $26 per unit, another 44 percent increase or a total increase of 136 percent in two years. Rather than subsidizing students as Stewart suggests, it seems we are trying to balance California's budget on their backs.
Stewart also takes a cheap shot at the disabled community for advocating for their rights to be productive members of our society. The disabled community is already at a disadvantage in pursuing their dreams. I invite you to meet my daughter who requires a power wheelchair for mobility. Witness the occupational and physical therapy that she endures as part of her everyday life. Most importantly, witness her positive outlook on life. Rather than balancing the budget on their backs, I suggest we applaud these vibrant members of our society and help them achieve their goals, just as we do with the able-bodied community. If you really want to do the math Ms. Stewart, please advocate that those who have benefited from large tax breaks pay their fair share rather than trying to further marginalize these two dynamic communities.
David H. Senensieb, Calabasas
In "Conal's the Poster Boy for 'Art Attack'" (Feb. 27), Carol Wells is with the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.