January 26, 2006
Off the Shelves
Recently, I found a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel DVD documentary, "Jenin, Jenin," in my city of White Plains, N.Y., library, produced by an Arab organization ("Libraries: The New Mideast Battlefront," Jan. 20). I assume it was distributed countrywide to libraries.
I wrote to the head librarian and stated that the Arab version of what happened in Jenin has already been discredited with facts by the Israeli government, and cited by American columnists as well. I did not see any DVDs from Israel discrediting Arab propaganda.
I hope pro-Israel groups everywhere will expose "Jenin, Jenin" and other films cited by CAMERA online.
I was told that after a library board meeting the DVD "Jenin, Jenin" was removed from the shelves.
Ellen J. Singer
White Plains, N.Y.
The apology for the film "Munich" defends "an honest discussion of the issues surrounding terror," but that film is anything but honest ("The 'Munich' Concern Is Us -- Not Film," Jan. 20). The portrayal of the Israeli as conscience-stricken and as distancing himself from his homeland is a foul lie. Nor need we credit the terrorists with pure motives rather than a lust for blood and notoriety.
"Munich" is an attack on the propaganda front of Israel's war for survival; an attack against Steven Spielberg's own people, in support of those who seek to kill him, too. Is he, then, a knave? Of course not; just a fool!
My husband and I saw "Munich" and we were very disturbed by the movie. It rings false.
Instead of filming the Palestinian terrorist carrying his groceries, why not show him planning future atrocities? Instead of filming the cute little girl Palestinian answering the phone, why not film her father telling her that Jews are the sons of monkeys, as I'm sure he must have believed?
Why in the world would Tony Kushner want the world to believe that Avner couldn't stay true to his country after accomplishing his mission, and why in the world would he put words in Golda Meier's mouth that she never uttered? After all, she is a hero to most Jews. Steven Spielberg's timing couldn't be worse. We Jews are again faced with extinction. Any attempt to confuse the moral clarity that we must have now is not helpful.
Larry Derfner's article ("Olmert's Conversion from Pol to Leader," Jan. 20) makes some interesting points. There is, however, a big misjudgment, when he states the following:
"I'd probably feel enthusiastic about [Amir] Peretz becoming prime minister if we were living in a country whose overriding problem was poverty."
In Israel, one-third of the children live under the poverty line (the second-highest percentage in the Western world). It has one of the highest gaps between rich and poor in the Western world: While public schools in affluent areas like Herzliyah have excellent high-tech equipment, in other public schools (especially in the Beduin-dominated Negev) there isn't even enough money for chalk, not to mention air conditioning. [Benjamin] Netanyahu's economic policy has cut benefits for disabled people, Holocaust survivors, single mothers, pensioners and everyone else who won't be able to make it through the month without those benefits. However, it is (and always was) very easy to push these issues aside and vote for any budgets that make it even worse by just saying one word: security.
So the overriding problem is poverty, and it was about time a prime ministerial candidate chose this topic to be on top of the agenda. Hopefully, he will win the election and follow the old biblical saying: "justice, justice shall you pursue" (Deuteronomy 16:20).
I pray that Ariel Sharon has a complete recovery, and I appreciate his long career of service to Israel. However, I do not share the popular view that his final achievement, the removal of Jewish settlements from Gaza, represents wise statesmanship ("After Sharon," Jan. 13). True, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) no longer risk the lives of soldiers in patrols of Gaza or policing the Gaza-Egypt border. But it is at best questionable whether that represents progress toward peace and security for Israel. Gaza is now is now in a state of anarchy. Various well-armed clans fight for control of smuggling across the porous Gaza-Egypt border. Al Qaeda and Hezbollah have set up shop along side the established terrorist militias of the Al Aksa Brigade, Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Missiles and shells are fired daily from Gaza at Ashkelon and other Israeli towns and cities. The IDF may well have to return to Gaza in bloody fighting, as it did in Jenin. Only the sort of self-delusion that viewed the Oslo accords as a "peace process" would call the Gaza withdrawal a success.
I was very encouraged to see Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) repudiated by some L.A. Jews for his support of the immoral U.S. intervention in Iraq ("Lieberman War View Triggers Backlash," Jan. 20). In backing the Bush administration's misguided Mesopatamian invasion, Lieberman --notwithstanding his claim this past week on Air America's "Ed Schultz Show" that he is a John F. Kennedy Democrat -- has demonstrated that he is no longer in accord with his party and should have left it years ago to sit with supporters of the president in Congress. When he launched his quixotic bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, I even suggested that he would have done better running against Bush in the Republican primaries to at least give GOP voters a real choice for their party's nomination. It is sad to see Lieberman go over to the dark side if you will, but this is a choice he made freely and he must obviously live with its consequences!
David L. Blatt
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