February 24, 2005
Letters to the Editor
It is quite painful for a proud, practicing pro-Zionist Jew, who was bar mitzvahed, educated in Israel, lights candles on Shabbat, attends shul regularly, contributes to The Forward and educates his own child into the religious tradition, to be accused publicly of anti-Semitism ("When Jews Wax Anti-Semitic," Feb. 18).
It has happened to me on occasion in extremely obscure, right-wing Web sites but only twice in the mainstream media. Both times it has been done by Cathy Young on the editorial page of The Boston Globe. The last time, I was denied the courtesy of a response. I hope that will not be the case today.
As most people are aware, the accusation of anti-Semitism, like that of anti-Americanism, can be employed by people to stifle debate and stigmatize points of view with which they disagree. In this case, Cathy Young seeks to silence anyone who recognizes the reality of Jewish responsibility for Palestinian suffering.
This is unfortunate, for many reasons – one cannot hope for peace in the Middle East without a mutual recognition of the pain the conflict has caused – but more to the point, phony accusations of anti-Semitism have the effect of weakening societal strictures against the real thing. By employing this slander against me now twice, Cathy Young is actually aiding and abetting the anti-Semites by robbing the term of any coherent meaning.
Here, for the record, is the entire text of the blog text that has led Young to call me these horrid names:
"I'm a Jew, but I don't expect Arabs to pay tribute to my people's suffering, while Jews, in the form of Israel an its supporters – and in this I include myself – are causing much of theirs.
Would Andrew [Sullivan] want to go to a service in honor of the suffering of gay-bashing bigots? (Wait, don't answer that. Would a gay person who didn't regularly offer his political support to gay-bashing bigots want to go?)
Anyway, I'm sure what I'm saying will be twisted beyond recognition, and so I suppose that makes it stupid to do, but I'm sorry. The Palestinians have also suffered because of the Holocaust.
They lost their homeland as the world – in the form of the United Nations – reacted to European crimes by awarding half of Palestine to the Zionists. They call this the "Nakba" or the "Catastrophe."
To ask Arabs to participate in a ceremony that does not recognize their own suffering but implicitly endorses the view that caused their catastrophe is morally idiotic – which is why, I guess, I'm not surprised Andrew's doing it.
Also via Little Roy, here's another conservative Jew joining David Horowitz in endorsing Mel Gibson's anti-Semitism, jonrowe.blogspot.com/2005/01/strange-article-by-rabbi-daniel-lapin.html, and even William Donohue's disgusting anal-sex-obsessed anti-Jewish attack, which was broadcast on MSNBC and implicitly endorsed by Pat Buchanan."
You can see from the above, while the item does recognize the political folly of demanding that Arabs, who have suffered their own catastrophe at the hands of Jews, be demanded to pay fealty to Jews without any recognition of their own suffering, the item also contains an attack on the genuine anti-Semitism of both "The Passion of the Christ" and the Catholic League's Donahue blaming America's moral ills on "Hollywood's secular Jews," whom he informed MSNBC's Buchanan "like anal sex."
Nowhere do I, as Young accuses, hold "Jews responsible for 'much' of the suffering of Muslims everywhere," as I was clearly talking about Palestine, and nor, for the same reasons, can I be accused of arguing that "every Muslim is justified in viewing every Jew as the enemy."
As for her accusation that I actually blame "long-dead Holocaust victims," well, it boggles the mind that your editors would allow this hateful poison into your newspaper, whatever Young's motives may be for spreading it.
That a newspaper with the reputation of The Boston Globe would allow itself to be used for Young's vicious vendetta against me – now twice – is both shameful and shocking. I would appreciate a retraction and apology.
New York, N.Y.
Not Joining GOP
I'm not quite ready to join any political organization that so desperately needs new members. By attacking the DNC in the mean, misleading manner ("Join the RJC" ad, Feb. 18), they expose the cheap-shot propaganda methods of their leaders.
The horrible photo of suicide bombers with a small child was not what Howard Dean was responding to in September of 2003. Not taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at the time, was diplomatic commentary.
Prior to the Bush election of 2000, we might recall his statements regarding that conflict: "no nation building." During Bush's first four years, he gave warnings to both sides.
And, oh yes, ask John McCain about Republican rhetoric in the South coming out of Bush's primary campaign during debates within the party.
No, I'm not ready to become a bedfellow to the likes of Jerry Fallwell ("There is an anti-Christ among us, and he is probably a Jew") and quite a few evangelicals who believe that if I don't believe as they, I'm going to hell.
Bus No. 19
Louis Lainer objected to our partnering with the Christian group that owns Jerusalem Bus 19, because he disagrees with some of their views ("Bus No. 19 Making Controversial Stop," Jan. 21).
As a peace activist, Lainer, of all people, should understand that when groups have important common ground, they come together to produce results and try to overlook their differences. This does not mean that their political views have suddenly merged.
We were pure of heart when we brought the bus to various cities. We wanted people to feel closer to the pain and suffering caused by suicide bombing all over the world.
We wanted to spark commitment, so people would join together to pressure world leaders to declare suicide bombing a crime against humanity. This is not a political position. All people should stand shoulder to shoulder to express abhorrence of this crime and disgust with countries that fund and incite terrorist training and operations.
Suicide bombing cannot possibly be a legitimate form of negotiation. That is what we all hoped to emphasize.
It is disheartening that a peace activist would worry more about the Christian sponsor's position on disengagement than about the deeper and more crucial issue of why international organizations like the U.N. are taking so long to define terrorism and to condemn it.
I am writing to raise your consciousness about how offensive it is that Mark Miller chooses to make jokes at the expense of people with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).
ADHD is a recognized medical condition that, untreated, can lead to serious difficulties and much suffering ("Why the Web Wins," Feb. 18). I assume that Miller would not make fun of people with diabetes or cancer – this is no different. Moreover, Miller's implication that people with ADHD are automatically not desirable social companions is both insulting and incorrect.
I would ask that Miller make an apology in his next column to the numerous people among your newspaper's readers who are affected by ADHD (estimated to be somewhere between 2 percent and 4 percent of the adult population in the United States).
For more information, please review the fact sheet found at the following link: www.chadd.org/fs/fs1.htm.
Name withheld by request
The archaic practice of metzizah b'peh should be banned universally by the highest rabbinic authorities ("Death Spotlights Old Circumcision Rite," Feb. 18).
When the custom of metzizah was established, it was thought that drawing blood in this manner would protect against infection. It is now known that the opposite is true. The human oral cavity has more virulent bacteria than that of a dog.
Aside from the possibility of the mohel passing infection to the infant, this could also occur in reverse. It is beyond comprehension that anyone could condone such a practice or even debate the mystical benefits of this practice.
Dr. Steven Shoham
As a former and potential future Shalhevet parent, I thought Julie Gruenbaum Fax's article ("What's Next for Shalhevet?" Feb. 4) was fair and accurate. Shalhevet has consistently turned out amazing graduates, but it also has great problems that have turned off many families of alumni.
Shalhevet's problems are not those that its opponents in the right-wing Orthodox community, most of whom have never set foot on its campus, wrongly and loudly accuse it of.
Those baseless accusations are not why Shalhevet's attendance and quality has declined the past two years. Those slanders have been around for a decade, yet until two years ago, most entering classes had some 60 of the best kids around.
Why have the last two years seen perhaps two dozen families of Shalhevet alumni sending their next child somewhere else? Simple. They felt Shalhevet's leadership had become inept, disorganized, out of touch and often mean-spirited.
Indeed, the worst impact of the lies told about the school was that the administration circled its wagons in response, and mislabeled as opponents those who loved the school but were nonetheless critical of it and demanded change.
Los Angeles desperately needs Shalhevet. But Shalhevet must reorganize.
Jerry Friedman had the vision to start the school, but, like a child, when an institution matures, it needs to spread its wings and strike out on its own. Shalhevet can no longer function as a one-man show. It needs an independent board and administration.
Fortunately, it seems to be taking some steps in the right direction. I hope so. There are many of us who would love to again be Shalhevet families.
Name Withheld by Request
I was horribly offended by the direction of the "What's Next for Shalhevet?" article authored by Julie Gruenbaum Fax.
Since when do we Jews repay so much dedication and determination by an acknowledged community leader and visionary like Shalhevet's founder, Jerry Friedman, to be so disrespected and undermined.
To be sure, Shalhevet and YULA are competing schools, and we have profound philosophical differences. But menschlechkeit is menschlechkeit!
His herculean effort to inspire a generation of young people, much at the expense of his personal time and treasure, can only be recognized as a monumental achievement by a man with incredible devotion to young people and Jewish education.
How dare he be rewarded with disdain by others who have never begun to sacrifice quality years as he has!
Rabbi Meyer H. May
Yeshiva University High Schools of Los Angeles
I am an involved member of the Temple Beth Am Library Minyan, graduate of Pressman Academy, senior at Shalhevet High and chair of the Israel Action Committee at my school.
The article that Julie Gruenbaum Fax wrote and published about Shalhevet personally offended me. Shalhevet is a wonderful institution that teaches Jewish youth religiosity, Zionism, morality and good citizenship.
Our close-knit community allows for bonding and growth. Our strong academics yield bright students with outstanding college acceptance records. Most importantly, our devotion to the small Jewish community we see at Shalhevet on a daily basis and the larger Jewish community we feel worldwide inspire us to do great things.
One of those great things currently being taken upon by students is the organization and execution of a communitywide Israeli street fair aimed to raise money for Israeli terror victims and soldiers.
Our 3-year-old Israel Action Committee, which is led by myself and senior Eliya Shachar, has had success in the past with a large community fair and hopes to be just as successful this year. We are securing vendors (such as Muzikal store and Brenco Judaica), restaurants (such as Nathan's and Jeffs Gourmet), musicians and organizations (such as StandWithUs) to be a part in our event.
The idea is to create an Israeli-like atmosphere in which Jews from all over the community can come to eat, listen to live Israeli music and buy products. All of our proceeds will then go to Israeli charities (i.e. OneFamily Foundation, A Package From Home and the North American Conference of Ethiopian Jewry).
This is the beauty of Shalhevet that the article failed to portray.
As a concerned Israel Action Committee chair, Shalhevet student and ultimately community member, I would like to ask you to please cover this event in The Jewish Journal so that people can understand what the amazing Jewish institution called Shalhevet is really about, and so that as many people as possible can come to and support this enormous, unprecedented teenage effort to raise both funds and awareness for Israel.
Whether this letter itself is published, an interview with me is conducted and then printed or simply a small story explaining this "fair-y" tale event appears in an issue, please help us help Israel and heal the wounds that were created with the printing of Mrs. Gruenbaum Fax's article.
I have been reading The Journal for a very long time and enjoy it very much. However, I have never taken the time to write to you and thank you for the great service you contribute to the Jewish community.
I am a senior citizen, and I enjoy reading articles about seniors. I was pleased to read the article written by Ed Shevick in the Feb. 4 issue titled, "The Good, the Bad and the Confusing."
Most articles written about seniors are written by younger people and reflect their views on what they think are older people's outlook on life. It was refreshing to get the view from one of our own (I am 84).
Please let us have more articles by Shevick and his views on life as a senior citizen.
Power of Blessing
I write this e-mail with gratitude to Naomi Levy for her beautiful blessings that she willingly shared. ("Power of Blessing," Dec. 24, 2004). We plan to use her loving words, which articulate our feelings so well.
Naomi, thank you for opening a door to Jewish spirituality that we have never walked through before.
How could so many things be wrong when everything is so right?
As Orthodox Jews, we naturally sent our son to a Jewish day school. Considering our way of life and the fact that my son has always attended a Chabad school, you would think that, given a choice between YULA and Shalhevet, we would obviously pick YULA.
As fate would have it, I filled out the application for Shalhevet and hand-delivered it. As I walked into the building, I was immediately taken in by the atmosphere. The kids seemed happy and very comfortable with their environment.
I certainly did not concern myself with the "disorganization and flakiness." We never even applied to YULA or anywhere else.
My son is now a sophomore at Shalhevet, and I have the same view of the school as I did the first time I walked into the building.
This is a school where teachers, for the most part, are devoted to their students and try to help them work to their potential. This is where students develop a strong Judaic and secular background.
This is where teachers are willing to meet with parents at 7 a.m., 7 p.m. or any other time that is convenient to the parents. This is where my son had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to Israel for the first time and have an incredible experience.
These are the things that as a parent and an educator are important to me. If this is the school that Dr. Jerry Friedman created, my hat goes off to him.
This is not to say that I have never experienced a lack of organization or "flakiness." Nevertheless, without attempting to rationalize, those things are present in any school.
I also would tend to agree that sometimes change is necessary. However, I am somewhat concerned that empowering 22 people (with 40 opinions) to run the school could easily produce a result that is not nearly as good as we have right now.
To sum up, I strongly disagree with the parent's opinion that "the problems overwhelm the mission." Quite the contrary. It is our responsibility as parents to look beyond the internal housekeeping problems and appreciate all of the positive things that Shalhevet has to offer our children.
Every now and again, I read something in The Journal that jolts me – an article, an editorial or sometimes a reader's letter. In the Feb. 18 Journal, a letter by "Name Withheld" about Shalhevet School contained the following statement. "Had there been such schools in Europe 80 years ago, there may have been many more survivors."
Are there really Jews, readers of The Journal, who believe that?
It's what we read and hear from anti-Semitic hate groups. It's Nazi propaganda that the millions of men, women and children Hitler tortured and murdered in a planned, methodical, barbaric and premeditated manner were somehow an inferior race of uneducated humans.
Obviously, your readership includes many stupid or ignorant readers, but how could you print such a comment? What an insult to the memory of all the doctors, professors, musicians, artists and millions of others just like "Name Withheld" who were exterminated just because they were Jewish.
AIPAC Not 'Silent'
Ron Kampeas and Matthew Berger of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency got it wrong in their characterization of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) role in the Senate and House resolutions congratulating the Palestinian people on their recent elections ("Bush Mideast Plan Gets Tepid Response," Feb. 11).
These resolutions, which called upon the Palestinians to live up to their obligations to fight terror, were passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support in both Houses. AIPAC was instrumental in the passage of these resolutions and was consulted in the early stages of the drafting of these resolutions.
For the authors of this article to imply that AIPAC was "silent" is preposterous. I would expect that the JTA would correct this mischaracterization.
This type of broad support does not happen by itself. Because AIPAC reflects the broad mainstream of the Jewish community, it is trusted by both Democrats and Republicans.
In the meantime, AIPAC looks forward to working with Congress on new legislation that will help the Palestinians take steps to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and provide Israel with a sincere and credible partner capable of making progress toward peace.
CAIR Reality Check
Whoa! Time for a reality check. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is not sweet and cuddly as presented by Stephen Krashen ("Letters," Feb. 18).
CAIR is an outgrowth of the Hamas group, the Islamic Association of Palestine, and is described by the FBI as engaging in propaganda for militants. Steve Pomerantz, former FBI chief of counterterrorism, concludes: "CAIR, its leaders and its activities give aid to international terrorist groups."
Sen. Charles Schumer [D-N.Y.] of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism stated in 2003, "We know CAIR has ties to terrorism."
CAIR has recently (Dec. 30) been named in a trillion dollar suit filed in New York by the family of John P. O'Neill, former head of the counterterrorism division of the FBI and the world's foremost expert on Islamic terrorism.
It is encumbent upon the community to get informed and to do due diligence before unwarranted praise is attributed to such an organization. See www.anti-cair-net.org and www.danielpipes.org/article/394.
I read the Los Angeles [Times] Feb. 14 news item regarding The Federation "estimate of $4.6 million raised" with special interest, as I have served as a Federation staff and board member for many years.
Now retired and housed in a care facility because of health reasons and age (89), I do, however, retain a deep interest in both the Jewish and general community.
Believing in response to The Times story is an internal matter, this letter is to The Jewish Journal.
Back in the 1947-1948 spring campaigns under Leo Gallen, one of best fundraisers I've known, $10 million were raised from 50,000 givers under the Jewish Community Council in the name of the Jewish Community Council, United Jewish Appeal.
The subsequent merger with The Federation led to the present structure (The Jewish [Community] Centers were an important part of life at that time).
Super Sunday in those days would have been for clean-up.
I believe in a change to yesterday could prove to be what we need today and tomorrow.
I read with interest The Journal's Feb. 11 issue regarding the fundraising goal of The Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles ("Super Sunday Seeks to Top $4.5 Million").
It is tragic that needy services will be cut back or eliminated due to loss of government funds. Perhaps the JFC should look in house for solutions.
As a charity organization supported by donations and government funds, perhaps its directors could lower their salaries to make up the shortfalls? According to their latest tax information (available on line at www.guidestar.com for 2002) JFC's president earns $350,000 annually, and at least five directors earn from $137,000 to $183,000.
If they were to be magnanimous and take a 10 percent reduction in pay, that would more or less make up the $125,000 shortfall for the homeless shelter that houses 57 people.
What is the priority here – the homeless shelter or inflated salaries?
I have been involved with pro-Israel activism since 1967, so I think I know what anti-Semitism is and isn't. Cathy Young does not ("When Jews Wax Anti-Semitic," Feb. 18).
She calls author and professor Eric Alterman an anti-Semitic Jew, essentially because he has repeatedly expressed sympathy for the Palestinian people and has supported President Bush's formulation for Middle East peace, "two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side."
Young has it precisely backward. I read Alterman regularly, and it is obvious that his support for a Palestinian state derives from his strong Jewish identity. He simply understands that for Israel to survive, it must have peace – and that means peace with the Palestinians.
For Alterman, Israel's survival as a Jewish state is a moral imperative, one that drives his Mideast views. It is not Alterman who should have to defend himself against the charge of indifference to Jewish suffering. It is people like Young who have repeatedly supported perpetuation of the deadly status quo over peace through territorial compromise.
Young may consider herself pro-Israel and Eric Alterman hostile. For me the difference is this: Young is always ready to fight to the last Israeli. Alterman is not.
The [Boston] Globe should be ashamed of itself for allowing her baseless name-calling to appear on its editorial page.
With friends like Cathy Young, the Jews don't need enemies. It is truly unnecessary for her to resort to name-calling and her own version of political correctness in monitoring how progressive Jews respond to the reality of the current situation between Israelis and Palestinians. Yet, in her gratuitous attack on Eric Alterman, she does just that.
What Alterman states – and what is stated by centrists in Israel today – is that there is a different reality for Israelis and Palestinians. Israel, created out of necessity from the ashes of the Holocaust – did create a situation of displacement for Palestinians. That is a historic fact.
Israelis, who today seem closer to peace than in the last several years, are not asking of the Palestinian leadership that they become Zionists, simply that they become partners in peace to build a constructive future for all the peoples of the region. That is the point that Alterman was making in his recent MSNBC blog, after which Young chose to attack him.
There is no question that until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reaches a just resolution for both peoples, relations between Jews and Muslims will suffer, another point of Alterman's. Whether these relations will improve after there are two states – Israel and Palestine side by side – only time will tell.
Hopefully, with the Sharm el-Sheik summit – and pragmatists on both sides in the ascendancy – that time may now be forthcoming.
Having known Eric Alterman for more than 25 years, I was distressed to read Cathy Young's piece.
I have been involved in the organized Jewish community for decades and have always appreciated the desire and willingness of many to engage in free, open and honest debate on issues of concern to our community and beyond. For me, a pro-Israel activist, that debate is essential.
Indeed, having just returned from yet another visit to Israel, I can assure you that the debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues unabated there. It is unfortunate that some would attempt to stifle that debate here.
To suggest that Alterman is anti-Semitic is preposterous. Rather, what Young appears to be doing (in addition to misrepresenting his views) is equating recognition of support for a Palestinian state and some understanding for the Palestinian point of view with anti-Semitism. This is a disservice to all.
I can assure you that Alterman is neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Israel. Indeed, he, like many others, believes in and advocates for a two-state solution and for peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.
The fact that he does so in a way that recognizes the views of both sides does not make him anti-Semitic. It simply represents a point of view of how to resolve the conflict, a point of view which is shared by many here in the United States and in Israel itself.
Anyone who knows Alterman knows that he has been supportive of a Jewish democratic state living within secure borders and at peace with a neighboring Palestinian state. That, to me, is the essence of being pro-Israel. It is unfortunate that Young does not have room for a diversity of views on the subject.
I am truly sorry that The Boston Globe saw fit to print Young's unfortunate article. I hope that an appropriate apology to Alterman will be forthcoming.
Geoffrey H. Lewis
As a long-standing supporter of Israel, let me congratulate you on publishing Cathy Young's column taking Alterman so rightly to task for the kind of tripe he's made a living out of spouting for so long. It's time someone stood up to these phonies and recognized that a strong Israel is in the interests of both the United States and the world.
The hue and cry he has raised in response only underscores the degree of distance that currently exists between those who recognize the need to stand up and be counted during Israel's toughest struggle (the intifada) and those who would rather coddle the left-wing intelligentsia they depend on for validation.
Alterman has had this coming for a long time. That he squeals like a stuck pig and tries to rally everyone he can think of to his cause, only serves to underscore what a fraud he is as both a professor of journalism and friend of Israel.
Coming as it does at a time when brave journalism students at Columbia are standing up to real anti-Semitic intimidation, is it any wonder that so few in the mainstream Jewish community have had anything to say on Alterman's behalf.
Anyone who wants to understand more, need only read his columns over the past few years, or better yet, sit down in a comfortable chair and re-read Philip Roth's classic short story, "Defender of the Faith."
Cathy Young was too easy on Eric Alterman. She could have pointed out that no Arabs lost their homeland – that is Arabia, which no one ever invaded.
All their states outside of Arabia are occupied territory of other nations, particularly the country which they themselves called "the land of the Jews" when they first invaded it.
Another Alterman reversal of truth: It was not half of Palestine that was awarded to the Zionists, but half of Israel that was awarded to the Hashemites by the British, and half the remainder that was awarded to the Arab settlers in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Galilee by the U.N., leaving us one-eighth of our own land.
When one uncritically repeats the enemy's propaganda, taking the stand that they can do no wrong; one's own people can do no right. The label "self-hating" is patently justified.
As a teenage journalist, for the third consecutive year I was afforded the opportunity to interview Holocaust survivors at the Shoah Foundation's annual event Each year, the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, so it is fortunate that the Shoah Foundation has preserved the testimony of over 50,000 survivors.
In light of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz ("Auschwitz Memorial Marks '45 Liberation," Feb. 4) and the 10th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, I believe I have a duty and obligation to do what I can to educate my generation and others as to the need for greater tolerance in the world.
This year, the Shoah Foundation honored former President Bill Clinton with the Ambassadors for Humanity award. When I interviewed the former president in the past, I asked him if he thought my generation was more apathetic to the political fervor that existed when he was growing up.
His response was, "Definitely not." I would like my generation to be known as the "tolerant generation" – the generation that put an end to genocide and war.
The Feb 18 issue of The Jewish Journal carried a most remarkable analysis of Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Palestinian Land ("Unilateral Withdrawal"). As quoted on the front page of the issue: "Disengagement is the real peace process ... and what makes it a masterstroke is ... it doesn't depend on the Palestinian body politic, only on Israel's."
The logical next step would be to apply "withdrawal" to any area of conflict. Thus, if hoodlums and mass murderers were to move into your neighborhood, it follows that resolution of the social problem, the locals might feel, would simply require that they run away and move out of the area.
Of course, that is exactly the goal of the Palestinian Authority). The P.A. teaches all its citizens that all of Israel is occupied Arab land. P.A. spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi has openly stated: Israelis, go back to Moscow and Brooklyn, where you came from.
Thus, unilateral withdrawal is a position the P.A. does indeed endorse, except that Larry Derfner forgot to say: unilateral withdrawal from all of Israel.
Truly, we can be our own worst enemy!
One can only wonder how The Journal can headline "disengagement is the real peace process" and consistently refuse to expose readers to essential news sources like Arutz Sheva (www.arutzsheva.com), the Israel National News network that the leftist government outlawed. Arutz Sheva provides daily news, commentary, Torah and insight from a, dare I say it, religious Zionist perspective.
So I ask The Journal, which perspective has kept the Jewish people alive and filled with vision for the past 4,000 years? The perspective of disengagement or the perspective of Torah and ahavat Yisrael (love of Israel, the Jewish people)?
Ad a Sham
The Republican Party ad in The Journal Feb. 18 is a sham. President Bush has done the same re: "taking sides," as diplomatically, we have an interest in retaining Arab relationships, oil and finding peace.
I attended the UJ lecture series featuring Alan Dershowitz and Bill O'Reilly and was horrified and embarrassed by the reactions of some members of the audience.
Whether or not one agrees or disagrees with anything said by either speaker, the boos, hisses and other outbursts were embarrassing. Jews, of all people, should not react in such an inappropriate manner.
If one cannot act appropriately, then one should not attend this type of debate. Those who acted in this manner brought shame to our community.
The articles in the Opinion Section of the Feb. 18-24 issue by Cathy Young ("When Jews Wax Anti-Semitic") and David Klinghoffer ("It's Time to Return to Our Mission"), plus the full page ad by the Republican Jewish Coalition, seem to indicate that a minority of American Jews have chosen to hop on the Christian conservative bandwagon for the wrong reasons.
Most financially comfortable Jews always tended to vote Republican, but to believe that conservative Christians are in love with Jews, is naive. Ecumenical Christians and moderate Jews are equally upset with the Bush evangelicals' attempt to make this nation a Christian theocracy.
Klinghoffer must know that the evangelical belief in the Second Coming will mean the end of Judaism. Also, Mel Gibson chose to film a Passion play that defied the Vatican criteria, which absolves the Jews from responsibility for Jesus' death, by choosing the version of a 19th-century anti-Semitic nun.
Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League hoped that changes would be made, but he misjudged the intensity of the anti-Semitic feelings of Mel and papa Gibson.
Martin J. Weisman