June 15, 2000
Letters to the Editor
Learning From Hate
I'm writing in regard to Rabbi Dov Fisher's "Will We Line a Murderer's Pockets?" (May 26), which praised the decision of Borders and Crown Books not to carry the autobiography of terrorist Abu Daoud, who planned the 1972 Olympic massacre and has yet to be brought to trail for his crime.The First Amendment is not absolute; and it is morally wrong for murderers to profit from their crimes. But a distinction must be made between an autobiography and allowing a criminal to make money from a book or movie about the crime. Rabbi Fischer is surely aware that Hitler's "Mein Kampf" has been in distribution for over 50 years. For the same reason we read "Mein Kampf," it might be useful to study Abu Daoud's autobiography to help us understand how such a twisted monster's mind works.
As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, "If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence." No one disputes the horror of the Olympic massacre. But suppressing Abu Daoud's autobiography will not bring justice to the bereaved. Its distribution, on the other hand, might remind those who have forgotten and educate those who are too young to remember that this tragedy occurred. It might also help arouse the public to put pressure on those who are in a position to bring this criminal to justice.
Paige Gold, Los Angeles
The blatant criticism and attack on David Suissa by Rabbi Eli Hecht ("Opposing Unity" June 2) was and is totally uncalled for.All Jews should love each other and consider themselves as part and parcel of the one Jewish people. We who know David Suissa respect him. His commitment to Judaism is sincere and we commend him for his great efforts to not only teach, but reunite the Jewish people. An apology is due this great Jew called David Suissa.
Jose A. Nessim, M.D.
Founder and President,
World Sephardic Educational and Cultural Center in Jerusalem
A Movement Divided
While drunk on the vodka of self-righteousness, Rabbi Eli Hecht claims that Orthodox Torah "unites us while Reform and Conservative Torah divides us." Has he been living on Mars?His own Torah-observant, Orthodox world is itself horribly divided. Does he have a noble answer for that ?
Udi S., Los Angeles
Making a Molehill Out of a Mountain?
Michael Berenbaum's article "Promoting Holocaust Denial" (June 2) regarding the propagandizing for David Irving, the holocaust denier, was right on. I also felt the Los Angeles Times, in its January article, was so clearly anti-Semitic and so pro-Holocaust denial that I cancelled my subscription in disgust and anger. But what is worse is that despite its second pro-Irving propagandizing articles there are no calls for a mass protest against the Times. One can easily imagine the headlines and outraged mass-protest meetings if the Times were to write similar articles spreading revisionist/denial theories about either African-American slavery or the Japanese concentration camps in California.
Aaron Kolom,Los Angeles
Standards vs. Principles
The furor set off by the Prager column "Reform Needs Standards" (May 26) and the ensuing rebuttals by prominent Reform rabbis (June 9) sent me scurrying to my dictionary. There seems to be confusion between the concepts of "standards" and "principles." A standard, it states, is "something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example," whereas a principle is "a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption; a rule or a code of conduct."I opt for the latter and congratulate the Reform movement for propounding its Statement of Principles. The sort of rigidity Prager advocates, if adopted by the Reform movement, would soon spell its demise by slamming the door in the face of millions of Jews who find a connection to Judaism vital but who cannot or will not adhere to the strictures of the Conservative or Orthodox.
Michael Leviton, Encino
Noah's Suffering Without Kosher Clients
The article "Out of Dough" (May 19) states that the Einstein/Noah Bagel chain suffered due to changes in American tastes. Another reason is that they alienated their core customers - kosher-observing Jews - by selling non-kosher items at most of the Noah's Bagels shops.
David Wincelberg, Beverly Hills
In The Circuit (May 19) we reported that Richard Klein is the new senior public relations executive for The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Klein's title is public relations executive, a newly created position. Klein reports directly to Annabelle Stevens, director of public relations, who has spearheaded the efforts of the Federation's public relations department for several years.
Marlene Adler Marks' "The Wall, Week Two" (June 9) contained the wrong e-mail address for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The correct address is: firstname.lastname@example.org