September 11, 2008
Campus hate—while down —is still a problem, wailin’ on Palin
We agree with the Sept 5 letter from five UCLA academics that anti-Zionism/anti-Semitism at UCLA is less severe than that at UC Irvine ("Quiet War on Campus," Aug. 22).
However we commend The Journal for running [Brad] Greenberg's review of the situation on American campuses. It was a comprehensive piece that included differing views about the problem's severity, and was of great service to Journal readers who are concerned about the issue.
We disagree however with the professors' strategic recommendations and the elitist tone of their letter. Minimization or denial will not solve the problem, nor will denigrating off campus groups who share concern about the immediate and long-range impact of campus anti-Zionism. The 20,000 faculty members who felt it necessary to form an organization, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) to combat imbalance and poor scholarship about the Middle East conflict certainly cannot be accused of being "amateurish," promoting "shoddy research" and "propaganda," and of not understanding the campus or "academic freedom."
SPME's roster includes highly acclaimed professors and Nobel Prize winners.
There is a crying need for united action so Jewish students and faculty can proudly support Israel, not only in Hillel buildings, but also in classrooms, faculty offices and on campus quads. Jewish campus institutions have a vital role to play in this effort, but they may be constrained by sensitive campus affiliations. Independent organizations also have an important role because they are freer to express student and faculty concerns about abuses, intimidation and propaganda-like distortions.
If the five academics collaborated with other well-intentioned groups, they would find them much more reasonable, open-minded and sophisticated than their letter implies.
Roz Rothstein, Executive Director
Roberta Seid, Education Director
Palin and the Jews
In response to your recent article, "Sarah Palin and the Jews" (Sept. 5), please count me as one reader who was shocked and sickened by the nastiness and pettiness of Sarah Palin's speech [at the Republican National Convention].
If insulting community organizers, making snide remarks about Sen. Barack Obama's popularity and mocking the location of Obama's acceptance speech make her presidential material, then America is in serious trouble.
I was shocked by your flattering treatment of Gov. Sarah Palin. After picking through the trivia and smears for substance, you conclude that she "has genuinely warm relations with her Jewish constituents ... and appears to have a fondness for Israel." However, you present no evidence that she has genuinely warm feelings about Jews or genuine fondness for Israel.
Furthermore, you brush off her wearing a Pat Buchanan button when he visited her town "as a courtesy." Come on! Would it be acceptable for her to put a sheet over her head as a courtesy if the Ku Klux Klan paraded through her town?
I hear Jews around America saying that they are voting for Sen. John McCain because he is good for Israel. Democrats are better for Israel than McCain could ever dream to be, but now that Gov. Sarah Palin is on McCain's ticket, there are more pressing matters at hand.
Palin recently said that the war in Iraq is "God's task." She's even admitted she hasn't thought about the war much ... just last year, she was quoted as saying, "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."
Palin wants to teach creationism in public schools. Creationism is not going to be taught from the Tanach; it will be from the New Testament -- how can we allow that?
I hope that the Jews of Los Angeles will stand up against Palin so that she will not be able to continue on her path toward ruining our country.
As a retired Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) middle school teacher, I was elated to read about the New Los Angeles Charter School (New L.A.) that will be opening this month ("P.S. Tikkun Olam," Aug. 29).
Given the poor academic performance and high dropout rate throughout much of the LAUSD, it is imperative that parents have meaningful options, such as New L.A., to assure that their children receive quality instruction in a safe and nurturing environment.
Unfortunately, both the LAUSD and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) have misplaced priorities. LAUSD's insular district office personnel are often insensitive to the real needs of on-site administrators, school faculties and students. Meanwhile, the teachers union (UTLA) spends much of its resources blocking sorely needed reform.
It was the union that stood in the way of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to create 100 additional charter schools in Los Angeles. Little wonder that New L.A. received almost three times as many applications as it has openings.
Anything that can topple the status quo is welcome relief. On behalf of the children of Los Angeles, todah rabbah and yasher koach to Matt Albert and his crew for putting forth the effort and accepting the risk associated with starting the New Los Angeles Charter School.
Leonard M. Solomon
Singles Comic Strip
Never Mind Amy the Date ("True Confessions of an Online Dating Addict," Sept. 5). Amy's comic strip should get dumped. Three words sum up that inert strip: worst comic ever.
Seriously, with all of the amazing Jewish comedic minds out there in Hollywood and beyond, can't you find one real cartoonist to create something funny? Maybe you can poach a guy from HEEB.
Ed. Note: We like it. Judge for yourself.
The D.I.S.C caption in the Sept. 5 issue (page 41) should have read "Dr. John T. Knight, Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, D.I.S.C. Spine and Sports Center," instead of "Dr. Robert S. Bray Jr., CEO and Founder, one of the country's preeminent neurological spinal surgeons."