October 12, 2011
Letters to the Editor: Occupy Wall Street, Michael Oren, Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur
The Rich Still Get Richer
Marty Kaplan really tells it like it is in his “Occupy K Street” column (Oct. 7). The corporations and bankers pay lobbyists to buy members of Congress and also pour money into the media to get their conservative message across, which will result in even more wealth for themselves. Why do Americans who are in poverty or struggling to make ends meet continue to vote for people who promise to make the rich even richer? Why do downtrodden Americans wish to keep the power in the hands of the greedy? Is it religion, prejudice against a black president or do they foolishly dream that they will become rich sometime in the future?
Martin J. Weisman
What Is ‘Free Speech’?
David N. Myers is correct (“Avoid Zero-Sum Thinking,” Sept. 30). Static zero-sum game theory is not useful in dynamic environments; yet, curiously, his analysis of responses to the conviction of Muslim UC Irvine students and Palestinian statehood bid is flawed.
The actions of the UC Irvine Muslim Student Union were not innocent expressions of free speech; they interfered with the free speech and assembly of others. Recent Palestinian proposals for statehood ignore secure Israel borders and, indeed, her right to exist. Conviction of those impeding free speech should be applauded. Unilateral Palestinian efforts for a single Palestinian state solution should be denounced.
These two events embody zero-sum-gain mentality carried out by anti-Jewish, anti-Israel operatives. Mr. Myers and The Jewish Journal jeopardize all Jews and the State of Israel jumping-the-shark past appeasement by suggesting those who want Jews and Israel silenced are simply expressing free speech or diplomacy. Ignoring and minimizing threatening actions, by calling them diplomacy and free speech, is existentially dangerous.
The doors are wide open for Arabs, Muslims and others wishing to coexist to engage in honest, open debate and real diplomacy. No such welcome should be extended to those only wishing destruction of Israel and the silencing and annihilation of Jews.
David Myers has a knack for missing the point. He’s simply wrong that the Supreme Court would uphold the Muslim students’ premeditated disruption of Ambassador Oren’s right to free speech, despite its ruling in support of the right of the despicable Westboro Baptist Church to protest at the funerals of soldiers. One is the exercise of hateful but free political speech. The other is the abuse of the freedoms this country provides in order to prohibit the exercise of free speech. It is undisputed that the disrupters broke the law, but the bigger question is why Myers feels the need to concern himself with the decision of the Orange County district attorney, without any allegation of intervention or pressure by the Jewish community, to prosecute.
But Myers is just warming up. He writes that the Palestinians’ continued statelessness is the fault of “Israel, neighboring Arab states and the international community” — anyone and everyone but the Palestinians themselves. He cites the fact that the “Palestinians negotiated with successive Israeli governments for nearly 20 years and are no closer to a state than before,” but fails to note that during those negotiations, successive Palestinian governments have turned down generous and painful concessions from those “successive Israeli governments,” starting with Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001 and, most recently, Ehud Olmert’s unprecedented concessions less than three years ago. Negotiations have indeed failed, but that failure has not been caused by Israel or the world or, yes, even settlements or Likud governments. The Palestinians have demonstrated that there simply is no reasonable offer they will accept.
Thank you so much for the livestream of Rabbi Naomi Levy’s Nashuva Kol Nidre. I missed the beginning and the Kol Nidre. Is it archived, and how can I access the video to replay it?
Editor’s note: You can watch the archived video at jewishjournal.com/kol_nidre.
Yom Kippur Cover
Your cover was beautiful and grabbed my attention (Oct. 7). Also, did you purposely misspell resilience in order to teach at Yom Kippur that we all make mistakes?
Editor’s note: Nope, we goofed. It is corrected online