Jewish Journal

Letters to the editor: Max Steinberg, civilian casualties, victim narratives and more

Posted on Jul. 30, 2014 at 9:45 am

Honoring Max

To Evie and Stuart and Paige and Jake,
You were blessed with a wonderful son and brother (“A Fallen Soldier, Max Steinberg Found His Purpose in Israel,” July 25). We were blessed by his service to defend and protect our country. We could call upon and count upon Max to serve our people. His name will be blessed and remembered by our nation.

Gershon Weissman via jewishjournal.com

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. It takes such courage for these young men to go to war, but their personal commitment and bravery is something we can all admire and learn from. Max and his fellow soldiers are a blessing to Israel and the Jewish people.

Melinda Feldman via jewishjournal.com

Death of Innocents 

Welcome back, Rob Eshman, and just in time. How your readers need your words and good counsel. Thank you for “The Children’s War” (July 25). If only the Arab world could read it. You remind me of Golda Meir’s statement of many years ago: “We will have peace when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” I look forward to your weekly wisdom.

Estelle Markowitz, Los Angeles

My mother always used to tell me in times of trouble that things had to get worse before they could get better. Is this the “worse” for the Arabs and Israelis? Dare we hope that out of the deaths of innocent children may come an agreement not to kill any more?

Marion Claire via jewishjournal.com

False Pretense

I love the Jewish Journal and especially the “Survivors” articles. I was not as pleased with the Opinion piece “50 Years Later, We All Need A New Black Narrative” by Joe R. Hicks and David A. Lehrer (July 18). 

The central conclusion of the piece is that “If blacks want to be Americans, full-fledged Americans, with all the rights of American citizenship, a new narrative has to be agreed upon.” African-Americans, or Americans of African ancestry, are citizens without regard to any ideology or self-reflecting belief system to which they may or may not adhere. 

The authors cite a couple of “civil rights leaders” to show that “blacks” buy into the “victim” narrative. However, they also mention “African-Americans have been CEOs at Time Warner ... governors... won MacArthur fellowships ... theoretical physicists” whose narrative by their very achievement does not speak to accepting the victim mantel. Dr. Ben Carson, (not mentioned in the Opinion piece) a famous black surgeon and conservative, often talks about how his mother never saw herself as a victim. The exception does indeed test the rule.

Part of the new narrative would be that Americans of African ancestry have become an American success story. Would the authors support that narrative? Lastly, when I read the Jewish Journal, there is much to read about Jewish success, and there is also much to read about “never again” and “never forget.” I agree. African-Americans can be successful, full-fledged Americans and never forget and never want slavery and Jim Crow to happen again, even in new guises.

I would like to see more commentary in the same vein; however, without the broad strokes and underlying ideological architecture. Some African-Americans have a defeatist attitude. Address that. However, most don’t. Some whites are paranoid about their own government and are ready to head for the hills armed to the teeth. Most are not.

I was offended by the piece by Hicks and Lehrer as I found it a tad condescending and not insightful enough.

Gil Jones via email

Joe Hicks responds: 

Mr. Jones says he’s “offended” by our opinion article calling for a new black narrative — one that doesn’t wallow in victimization. However, those who buy into the victim narrative are of course offended by any challenge to this long-held notion. Black Americans are among America’s original citizens — even if racial mistreatment robbed them of this reality for far too long. However, what has largely prevented them from embracing this has been the development of the victim narrative that holds on to historic grievances, long after racism and discrimination has lost its grip on today’s black population. Individuals like Dr. Ben Carson (mentioned by Mr. Jones), a well-known conservative, have broken from this narrative — unfortunately, all too many still cling to the old and outdated victim narrative.

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