June 17, 2004
Buy It Now
Thank you for your article about the impending closures of Jewish Community Centers (JCC) ("Buy It Now," May 14). The Los Angeles Jewish community runs contrary to the rest of the country. Jewish philanthropy is very visible in the secular community, with large contributions to local hospitals and universities. Why is there not an outcry against the closure of our Jewish Community Centers?
As a founder of the West Coast Jewish Theatre (a member of the Association of Jewish Theatres, which is affiliated with the National Council of JCCs), I am heartbroken because I have visited JCCs in so many cities, such as Newton, Mass.; Kansas City, Mo.; Cleveland; Washington, D.C.; and Southfield, Mich., among others. I think The Jewish Federation should reconsider what legacy they are leaving Los Angeles, and a concerted effort should be made to change directions and educate The Federation and the rest of the community as to the importance of the JCCs.
Naomi Jacobs, Marina Del Rey
I read the opinion piece by Nonie Darwish, "When Arab Means Never Saying Sorry" (June 4). I found the polemic to be reductionist and simplistic (what does the term "Arab street" really mean?), so naturally I looked to see what were the credentials of the author. I found none listed; evidently she has no background in Arabic studies, whether literature, history, political science, anthropology, sociology or any other discipline. So what about her personal experience and what might give that experience any legitimacy? Her Web site, replete with misspellings, coyly says that she has a Middle Eastern background but deliberately leaves unclear whether she is Jewish or Arabic. That she is on the board of something called the Mid East Education Team means nothing -- anyone can create a pseudo-education "team" or institution that is totally devoid of value. The Institute for Historical Review, for example, is nothing more than a group of so-called historians dedicated to Holocaust denial and ongoing anti-Semitism. I do not understand why The Jewish Journal, with so many experts on every facet of the Middle East and terrorism at its disposal, would stoop to give space to someone with nothing to bring to the discussion and no useful policies to propose.
Deborah Bochner Kennel, Los Angeles
Darwish, profiled in The Jewish Journal of April 23, 2004, was born in Cairo, Egypt, and raised for much of her childhood in Gaza. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology and sociology from the American University of Cairo. In Cairo, she worked as an editor at Middle East News Agency. For more on Darwish, visit www.StarSpeakers.org and jewishjournal.com/archives.
Leonard Fein is exactly correct that blind support of Israeli policies and actions does not make one a true friend of Israel ("Pursuit of Peace Requires New Coalition," June 4).
Fein says, "We have long since learned to swallow hard as the Israelis persist in policies that are ill-conceived and ill-executed, policies that threaten the entire Zionist enterprise."
I go further and say that as a Jewish American I am embarrassed by those policies, many of which are designed to mistreat and humiliate Palestinians. These policies are not leading to a two-state solution, which is the only resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian problem that will preserve Israel as a Jewish state.
Fein does not mention the unintended consequences that blind support for Israeli policies and actions by the U.S. government have brought. Clearly the lack of a solution to the Israel-Palestinian problem and the U.S. support of all Israeli actions causes angst throughout the Arab and wider Muslim world, and underlies much of the Islamic terror that the United States is now fighting.
President Bush, fighting America's war on terror, and Prime Minister Sharon, fighting Palestinians, are in a mutual death dance. It has to stop.
Jeff Warner, La Habra Heights
Leonard Fein is right on target. He states that since the Palestinians rejected the Clinton/Barak plan, Israel is compelled to try new and different approaches. After all, giving them 97 percent of what they were asking for was surely not enough.
Here are some ideas that would fit his predictable ideology: How about forming a binational state? How about letting the descendants of the Palestinian refugees enter Israel? How about making all the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Israeli citizens? Or better still, how about making all the Jews return to their points of origins? These are approaches that will satisfy the Palestinians. And peace will surely follow.
And, then like the Europeans and the Arabs, Fein can polish up a draft of the eulogy for Israel. The world will weep sanctimoniously for the late State of Israel, but the problem with the Palestinians will be solved forever.
Fein has ignored the fact that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are opposite sides of the same coin: one explicitly calling for the destruction of Israel, the other implicitly, and both by their actions.
Jack Salem, Los Angeles