Jewish supporters of President Bush urged that he was more realistically and personally committed to Israel's security than Sen. Kerry ("Four More Years," Nov. 5; "Judgment Day," Oct. 29). This message was set forth in The Jewish Journal by the likes of Ed Koch, Sen. Norm Coleman and Howard Winkler, among others. I suggest that the opportunity presented by Arafat's demise will be the true test of this thesis.
If the Bush administration pursues a role in supporting the development of a responsible Palestinian leadership, and providing security and other incentives for Israel to relinquish the West Bank in preparation for Palestinian statehood, then Bush supporters will be vindicated. If, on the other hand, the administration continues its four-year-old policy of idle disengagement and squanders this opportunity, then Bush supporters will have been proven wrong.
So far, the silence is deafening.
Mark D. Licker
As you have heard by now, the exit polls on Tuesday proved to be wrong.
This is why I am convinced that many Jewish voters who traditionally vote Democrat voted Republican last week but did not want to admit it at the exit polls.
I know that around me, many people who are Democrats voted for Bush because they thought he was the best man to fight terrorism and not Kerry, who did not even vote for the first Gulf War. With Kerry, they thought we might have another Munich, which cost us 6 million Jewish people – including all of my father's family. We survived because we were lucky enough to be smuggled into Switzerland in 1943 – because of the weakness of the "leaders."
Bush wins and Arafat is all but dead. What a great week!
Nathan D. Wirtschafter
Many Jews who voted for Bush knew – or were in denial – that this is a failed presidency in every aspect of governance ("Four More Years," Nov. 5).
They cannot cite one concrete step toward peace in the Middle East by this administration. Nevertheless, with their votes they placed Israel above the interests of America; four more years that will be worse than the first four for Americans and American interests.
One might call these deniers hypocrites. I call them traitors.
Three points in response to Rob Eshman's editorial ("Continental Divide," Oct. 29) about the Jewish vote forums, several of which I attended.
First, Eshman is correct that the community is politically divided. Exit polls will vary, but it's clearly a new day for American Jewry.
Not just Russian, Iranian, and Israeli immigrants are migrating to the Republicans; many pro-Israel activists, moderate business people, "security" moms and traditionally centrist foreign policy Democrats now see the GOP as their home.
Second, the debates served a good purpose. At their best, they provided much more than talking points. The speakers gave expression to our instincts by informed and detailed evidence. The spirited discussions were far more entertaining and enlightening than another evening watching sitcoms, or even reading/watching self-admittedly biased news media.
Third, I must compliment the Republican Jewish Coalitions Larry Greenfield, in particular. I attended several of the debates in which he thoroughly outclassed his opponents. He calmly presented facts and thoughtful conversation that educated far more than some seasoned liberal politicians, who were not his match in debating about Israel, foreign policy or domestic affairs.
I appreciate that the Jewish community will remain politically involved – in both parties. Greenfield gave me hope that there is another generation of top-notch American Jews who can lead us with care and sophistication.
I read the article "Why Kerry Lost" (Nov. 5) and had an immediate response. Kerry lost because the Democratic Party is lost. They lost their focus, their values, their ideals, their principles and they lost me, a lifelong Democrat. They lost me while bashing every Republican as a moron at dinner parties, they lost me at fundraisers for my kids' school and having a principal get up and make rude remarks about Bush. They lost me when they ripped my Bush/Cheney sign off my lawn, and when they tore the sticker off my car. They lost me when they used Michael Moore, Ben Affleck and Susan Sarandon to promote their agenda. They lost me when Bruce Springsteen, Cher and Eminem told my children how to vote, without really telling the truth. They lost me with campaigns like Moveon.org, and Vote or Die and pushed an agenda – not the beauty of a true democratic election. They lost me when I saw they lost all the values, decency, manners and simple things like being civil to the opposition and open to other ideas.
When they find their way back to the type of Democrats I voted for, campaigned for and respected, only then, will they gain my vote back. Until then, I am a Republican.
Allyson Rowen Taylor
In response to Bill Boyarsky, I am gay and Jewish ("Patriot Paranoia," Nov. 5). I voted for President Bush. Gay marriage doesn't matter if you are dead. Islamists kill gays. Bush doesn't. In fact, Bush has not been anywhere near the homophobe he is accused of being. After the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence vs. Texas, eloquently ruling that the outlawing by any state of gay sex between consenting adults unconstitutional, the press chased Bush through the Rose Garden for a "suitable" inflammatory quote – trying to bait him with comments such as the ruling upsetting the president's right-wing religious base. To the disappointment of the left, the president replied with a paraphrase of Jesus from the Christian Bible that "one shouldn't complain about the splinter in the other person's eye when you have a log in your own...." He doesn't get credit for that, does he?
They do not want a solution. They want "revenge."
As for Muslims supposedly having any reason to worry in this country, I think the fact that half of those in Great Britain, when polled, said they would fight for bin Laden against Great Britain, is cause for concern here, including the fact that they have been raising money hand over fist for Hamas and Islamic Jihad, etc. Islam is a global threat. Period. Your whining on behalf of Muslims is nonsense. I have met too many of them in this country that wish Israel's destruction and whose motives otherwise are too inscrutable for comfort.
If you should be "concerned" about anything, it is the growing anti-Jewish/anti-Israel violence on the campuses; that this violence is not being condemned or countered by the campus administrations; or the growing anti-Israelism within the Democratic Party (and why I am no longer a Democrat); and the galloping "pacifism" (except for Arabs killing Jews), socialism and lawyerism of the Democrats.
Mr. Boyarsky, I do not know what America you perceive and I feel no threat from the Patriot Act but I do from the left and its alliance with "radical" Islam. If you follow true-to-form, I will be accused of "racism," I suppose. Before you do, I would inform you that during my first visit to Israel in 1992, my driver and I were attacked and nearly killed as they tried to put our car over a cliff. Racism or experience?
Jarrow L. Rogovin
The series of articles appearing in the latest issues of The Jewish Journal left the uneasy impression that our community has become permanently divided, and perhaps even filled with outright hostility, over the issue of the elections.
A few months ago, for the first time in my 25 years as a community activist, I stepped down from my nonpartisan positions in the Iranian American Jewish Federation to take up a partisan position by joining the Bush campaign. I did that out of the conviction that the single most important challenge facing us as free people, in the next few decades, is the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalism, and the deep belief that the policies followed by the president are the right ones.
Many of my community colleagues on the Democratic side undertook to do the same in the Kerry campaign, a fact for which they will always have my personal respect. Standing up for what you believe in is not just the essence of democracy it is indeed a requisite of community activism.
I believe that come now most of us will hang our partisan hats and go back to wearing the hat most dear to us, namely the one of community activist. We'll go back to our Jewish community and work shoulder to shoulder, with the utmost in respect and sincerity, regardless of whom we've been supporting in the election, or what the outcome was, and do our best to build an even better community.
Once the campaigns are over they are over. What will remain is our Jewish community with its many challenges. This is a fact that I believe is well understood by all community activists. This is why they do what they do to begin with, and this is what will bring the whole community back around the same table like the shevet achim that we truly are.
Former Secretary General
Iranian American Jewish Federation
Bush-Cheney '04 California.
This is in response to recent coverage of the lawsuit concerning a portion of a quotation from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt to the Young Mens' Christian Association that is inscribed on the wall of a courtroom of the Riverside County Courthouse. ("Lawyer Battling ADL on Christian Quote at Courthouse," Jewish Journal, October 15) The lawsuit was brought against the Presiding Judge of the Riverside County Court, theCounty of Riverside and Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to prevent the removal of the courtroom inscription. The quote is: "The true Christian is the true citizen." It is carved into the lintel on the courtroom wall facing the judge, witness stand and jury box.
Although there was no basis for including ADL as a defendant in the lawsuit, we felt that while it was pending it was inappropriate to respond to questions on this issue. The lawsuit has now been dismissed and we believe the community should be aware of ADL's involvement on this matter.
In July, we received a complaint from a member of the community about the quote. We wrote to Riverside County Superior Court officials requesting a meeting to discuss the issue. On September 1, ADL representatives met with Court officials. We discussed a number of ways to protect our nation's tradition of separation of church and state without marring the beauty of the historic courthouse, including creating a removable cover or having an educational placard in or near the courtroom.
In our letter and at the meeting, we made it clear that ADL has a deep and lasting respect for the Christian faith - as we do for all faiths - and that we value the longstanding friendship between the Jewish and Christian communities. We do not view the separation of church and state as hostile to any one religion. To the contrary, it is a necessary pre-condition to freedom of religion. To that end, we were and remain troubled by the quotation and its location in a public courthouse. The quote, taken out of the context of the speech in which it was given, could be seen as an express endorsement of Christianity by the government. Non-Christian members of the community coming to the court might feel diminished in the eyes of the law. Indeed, the complaint we received expressed those very concerns.
At no time did ADL threaten litigation or file a lawsuit. Our approach toRiverside County officials was to find a mutually agreeable solution to protect our nation's tradition of separation of church and state while maintaining the integrity of the historic building.
We remain resolute in our belief that only by maintaining the wall separating church and state can we guarantee the continued vitality of religion in American life and remain committed to pursuing the work necessary to accomplish our goals.
Pacific Southwest Region
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