October 18, 2001
Todd Morgan, chairman of the board of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles:
"I hear bits and pieces from people out there in the real world who are hearing comments that are derogatory regarding the Jewish people, their role; Israel, its role; regarding the war. My mother at her beauty salon in Minneapolis told her its because of the Jews and Israel, and if they got on better with the Palestinians, this wouldn't be happening. We always seem to be the scapegoat when things go dramatically wrong. It happened in the mid-90s, when the former Soviet currency collapsed, and bonds collapsed, and they blamed it on Jewish businessmen. They also blamed the fall of communism on the Jews, and the beginning of it on the Jews. It seems we get blamed for many events, whether we play a major role or not.
"I'm very sensitive to articles and comments in the press and by people who pass on information. If you're sensitive you hear a lot more of it. We had a solidarity rally in front of the Federation building, 10,000 people. You really can't hide or be invisible, being a Jew today. What I'd like to see is people increasing their responsibility and obligation for people less fortunate. I understand Sharon's aggravation. I think he misspoke. He admits it and wants to change that. It is an inappropriate time for the United States to push Israel hard when terrorism still exists there. It seems hypocritical to talk down on terrorism, yet open the door for a Palestine state. Washington is getting pressure from the Arab states to reduce their strong commitment to Israel.
"These events could have a positive impetus for Israel and the Palestinians to have peace. So maybe now terrorism will stop and they will make it to the peace table. If that's what it takes to get to the peace table, God bless."