Jewish Journal

Letters to the Editor: Occupy, Iran, Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish

Posted on May. 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Why Occupy?

Rob Eshman is to be commended for raising the issue of the Occupy movement (“Occupy Ideas,” May 11). A Lexis/Nexis search reveals that media reports about income inequality “skyrocketed to 1,269 stories” in October 2011 from 409 stories before the Occupy movement occupied public spaces, according to Occidental politics professor Peter Dreier. Today such stories are few and far between.

The endorsement of the May 1 action by Occupy Los Angeles was intended to raise awareness among the general public that trade unions have always been the engine for creating and maintaining a middle class. That a few demonstrators went to Prada or that they would not be interested in the 1 percent who were attending the “Land of Milken Money” conference is irrelevant. The Occupy movement has shown repeatedly its support for labor and its recognition that labor unions — though representing a diminishing percentage of U.S. workers — set a standard for living-wage jobs, working conditions and benefits that impact the larger workforce.

We do concur that stable communities require a middle class and with Mr. Eshman’s statement that “our political class, of all stripes, seems incapable of acting on it.” Precisely: That is why ordinary people created the Occupy movement, which works with those losing their homes to foreclosure, those who are homeless, the medically indigent and others reduced to desperate need.  

Julie Levine

Gene Rothman
Culver City

Iran Can’t Be Trusted

Iran’s leaders are adherents of a religious ideology that believes Jews must be wiped out (“Can Israel Live With a Nuclear Iran?” May 11). Professor Pillar should check the Koran to corroborate this religious imperative. It is also an ideology that justifies the oppression of women, the requirement for any Muslim who changes religion to be executed and the nullification of any national history that relates to other beliefs. How can anyone suggest that logic, as we know it and as Professor Pillar teaches it, prevails? Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president of Iran, once claimed that a single nuke would destroy Israel and that Iran would live on even if Israel launched nukes in a dying retaliation.

No sensible person can trust Iran to act rationally. Accordingly, Israel is absolutely correct to state that it cannot live with a nuclear-armed Iran and is justified in taking this position. How a professor of security studies can deny this casts some doubts about his motives or his knowledge of the ayatollahs’ culture.

Larry Shapiro
Rancho Mirage
He of Little Faith

Interpretive History

I regularly read Marty Kaplan’s opinions, but this particular essay was so right on the money that I don’t know if I want to scream or throw in the towel (“Don’t Know Much About History,” May 11). Distilling history and collective memory into a narrative that is all too easily manipulated to suit one’s political goals is possible, in part by the evisceration of our public education system and the emergence of biased media. The flood of corporate money is only icing on the cake that we have already baked. I no longer believe that anyone in Washington or [Sacramento] works on behalf of the citizenry. When we all lose faith, what remains?

Rudy Mikula Jr.
via e-mail

Balancing Left and Right

You recently have been printing letters bashing Dennis Prager on a regular basis. What about printing letters criticizing some of your left-wing contributors, like Raphael Sonenshein, who thinks Republicans should be taking advice from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who left office in California in a cloak of scandal (“Advice From the Governator,” May 11)? It’s obvious that your publication is hopelessly left wing.

Chuck Colton
Los Angeles

It seems that Raphael J. Sonenshein and our former governor, in their zeal to preach on the need for Republican candidates to move to the center, forgot about our most recent statewide election in 2010. Two eminently qualified business-oriented centrist Republicans with records of real accomplishment who could have actually helped the state, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, ran against entrenched lifelong politicians with not much of a record to run on. One was known as Gov. Moonbeam in his last attempt at the office, while Sen. Barbara Boxer has an almost-perfect 24-year record of being undistinguished. Yet neither race was even close.

Perhaps in his next article, Sonenshein could give us some insight into how the State of Texas, with no income tax at all, is running circles around California.

Avi Peretz
via e-mail

Free Screening Worth Its Price?

I went to a free advance screening of “Romeo & Juliet in Yiddish” (“A Love-Hate Relationship,” May 11). It was too expensive.

Edward Petlak
Los Angeles

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