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Jewish Journal

Letters to the Editor: Peter Beinart, Dennis Prager and ADL

April 11, 2012 | 1:01 pm

The Argument for Two States

In reviewing Peter Beinart’s new book, Rabbi David Wolpe states that “Israel’s settlements” are an “impediment” to peace (“Inconvenient Truths,” March 30).

Is Wolpe arguing a Palestinian state must be Jew-free? Why can’t 300,000 Jews live among 2 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, when 1.2 million Arabs can live among 6 million Jews in Israel proper? Not to mention that the Jewish community makes up less than 2 percent of the West Bank.

Not a single new Jewish community has been built since Oslo began in 1993.

Wolpe also wrongly claims that “Beinart’s argument for two states has tremendous support in the U.S. and in Israel.” Not so: The American Jewish Committee’s 2011 Survey of American Jewish Opinion found that American Jews oppose the creation of a Palestinian state by 55 percent to 38 percent. A June 2009 Israel Project poll showed that 66 percent of Americans believe that Israeli support for establishing a Palestinian state and stopping the expansion of Jewish settlements will not bring lasting peace to the region. A July 2009 Maagar Mohot Survey Institute poll found that 70 percent of Israeli Jews believe that Israel’s interests are best served by a Palestinian autonomy, as against only 15 percent who believe it would be better served by a sovereign Palestinian state.The real reason there’s no peace is Palestinian incitement to anti-Jewish hatred and violence in their schools, mosques, media and speeches; refusal to arrest terrorists and to outlaw terrorist groups; and accept Israel as a Jewish state.

Michael Goldblatt
Chair, Zionist Organization of America


Prager Column So Close to Commendable … Yet So Far

As I read Dennis Prager’s opinion piece (“Tamara Doesn’t Want to Date a Republican!” April 6), I finally felt the joy my Jewish Republican friends feel when they read Prager and nod their head in agreement. What a disappointment it was, therefore, when I got to the end of the article and read Prager’s irrelevant comment, which counter-factually implies that liberal Jews are (or were) against the execution of Adolf Eichmann. I was actually about to share his editorial with my liberal Jewish friends on Facebook until I got to that sentence, which forced me to reconsider. Prager’s thesis was so strong and it should have gone to people who needed to hear it most, but I could not, in good conscience, send something with a comment that offensive.

Guy Handelman
via e-mail


Dennis Prager responds:

Apparently, in his great enthusiasm about my column, Mr. Handelman did not carefully read what I wrote.

Here is what I actually wrote: “I would have found it very hard to marry a woman who was passionate about keeping all murderers alive and thought that Israel was therefore immoral in executing Adolf Eichmann.”

I was writing about opponents of capital punishment, not about all liberals. Many liberals support capital punishment.

And yes, abolitionists — Jewish and non-Jewish — do indeed regard Israel’s executing of Eichmann as immoral. How could they not? The moment one deems some executions moral, one is no longer an abolitionist.

Mr. Handelman can now in good conscience send my letter to his liberal friends.


Behind Every Winning Decathlon Team Is a Great Coach

The Academic Decathlon could be the most successful high school competition (“Save the Academic Decathlon,” March 30). LAUSD rightfully should be commended for its success, but more importantly for its support of this great event.

For those unaware, this isn’t a geek confab. There are three A, three B and three C students. All they do is study together for the better part of a year. They learn teamwork. Teams are respected on campus like any future draft choice. Schools like Bell High School and Franklin gain a new sense of pride in their teams’ achievements. There hasn’t been any study, but someone should look into the GPA of C student alums.

The loosed-lip secret is that the key to these successes has been outstanding coaching. You do not get many coaches willing to work for free. It’s easy to see other extracurricular subjects suffering for the same reasons. Many track and field coaches are unpaid volunteers.

Anyone interested in spending a day next January with 500 focused high school kids, get in touch.

Bill Kabaker
Volunteer Interview Chair
LAUSD Academic Decathlon


Longtime ADL Member Sounds His Clarion Call

During my 41-year career with the Anti-Defamation League [ADL], I delivered thousands of speeches, many of which were captioned “The Fight Against Anti-Semitism, Progress and Problems.” In those talks, I spelled out in great detail how much better life was for Jews in the United States in the fields of employment, housing, higher education and public accommodations.

Then I said that anti-Semitism is like the flu virus. It never goes away forever. I closed with, “Show me a complacent Jew, and I will show you a damned fool. Jews, enjoy what we have but always be involved, be informed, be organized, and be ready to act.”

This was my trumpet call to the Jews who heard me.

Harvey B. Schechter
Beverly Hills

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