December 27, 2007
Dilemmas, dialogue, Torah
Raphael Sonenshein continues [his] tired tirades against all things Republican with his blatant campaigning for leftist Democrat policies ("On the Horns of a Dilemma," Dec. 14). His views are unbalanced.
He credits nothing (neo) conservative, including the liberation of tens of millions of Muslims by the Bush administration and the American military.
He also fails to respect that our resolute foreign policy has resulted in not only the turning over of Libya's weapons programs, but the suspension of Iran's and the exposing of North Korea's.
The U.S. practices military, diplomatic, multilateral, financial, intelligence and economic approaches in global affairs. Our Naval ships tour the world as hospitals for tsunami and earthquakes victims. Our generosity combats AIDS in Africa and develops global trade for millions around the world. Our stand for liberty inspires Muslim reformers and dissidents, and many Europeans are belatedly agreeing with us to confront radical Islam.
Perhaps that is why Japan, India, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Germany, France, Poland and many other nations are moving ever closer to the United States.
Rob Eshman has it more correct in his prescriptions for the GOP. Being thoughtful, pro-Israel and resolute against terror, pro-environment and energy diversification (technology, not taxes), socially tolerant, reform minded on education and fiscally prudent.
You may have noticed many Republican Jews agree.
Marina del Rey
The recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's nuclear weapons program has been unduly hyped and mischaracterized. On a very basic level, no serious political observer will accept that black is white on the basis of a single anomalous document. Also, the NIE estimates that the weaponization aspect of Iran's program has not resumed with only "medium confidence" -- which is intelligence jargon for a guess. Further, Iran's weaponization program is not the only one of concern, as its secretive "civilian" nuclear activities are aimed at a degree of enrichment unnecessary for civilian uses.
In addition, the NIE is worrisome because it dangerously misreads Iran as applying a "cost-benefit approach" to nuclear decisions. This is nonsense. Iran is home to extensive deposits of petroleum, and is a leading oil exporter.
Obviously, then, a cost-benefit approach would dictate that Iran not bring upon itself international opprobrium and economic sanctions in an effort to pursue innocent energy programs that it does not need. Clearly Iran is in fact guided by an irrational jihadist agenda that fails to account for costs and benefits as perceived in the West.
It is imperative that Iran face tightening sanctions over its nuclear weapons program, lest war ultimately be necessary to keep Iran from getting the bomb.
Zionist Organization of America
Truth in Torah
Believing that holy books contain the "truth" has caused, and continues to bring about, much of the violence and hatred in the world ("Does Belief in Torah Mean Every Word is True?" Dec. 14).
For instance: Orthodox settlers on the West Bank believe that the Bible promises the Jews all of the Holy Land without any regard that such a belief will keep the State of Israel in a perpetual state of war.
I attended a comparative religion seminar where an evangelist held up the New Testament and stated, "Every word in this book is the true word of God, and Jesus is God."
I suspect that the 15th-century Spaniards believed the same thing before their terrible inquisition upon non-Catholics. Hundreds of millions of Muslims believe that Islam must rule the world, however there is an interpretation of the Quran, which says that martyrs are only entitled to raisins, not virgins.
A rabbi once told our congregation that we could choose to believe that God parted the Red Sea, but the important thing was that the Hebrews escaped. The world would be a better place if all holy books were treated only as literature.
Martin J. Weisman
I enjoyed reading your article on the Muslim Public Affairs Committee convention. I was concerned by the omission of a Jewish presence, in Long Beach ("Muslim Americans Feeling Snubbed in Presidential Race," Dec. 21).
This is not about me, but rather about a Jew, a rabbi, being invited to speak at their banquet.
Many of us have spent time over the years in dialogue and in conversations regarding the Middle East and our challenging relationship. I feel that the absence of the mention of the many Jewish voices who attended feeds into the hysteria that we find in the Jewish community vis-a-vis Muslims.
I hope that we continue our conversation.
Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs
Temple Kol Tikvah