May 2, 2002
Mideast Comes to L.A.
Gene Lichtenstein ("The Mideast Comes to L.A.," April 19) expresses surprise over the fact that very few affiliated Jews were present to hear Robert Fiske, a journalist for the London Independent, speak about the Mideast. Lichtenstein seems to share Fiske's loathing of Ariel Sharon, while the harshest feeling they have toward Yasser Arafat is "scorn." Fiske has been criticized by Media Watch International for his long history of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic articles. How shocking to read that any Jew who professes to care about Israel could embrace Fiske.
Phyllis Herskovitz, Beverly Hills
Whatever happened to Jewish Hollywood ("A Hush in Hollywood," April 5)? Last time I checked, every Jewish actor in Hollywood was either supporting a ban on keeping goldfish in bowls or saving the blue-breasted sap-sucker from extinction in Malibu.
So, why are Jewish actors, who are willing to support any cause under the sun, silent about the issue of Israel? This silence speaks more than the closing credits of a box-office failure. Not a single actor has traveled to Israel in its time of need to give moral support or help rally the Jewish community.
Each of us in our own way does need to take a stand on the issue of Israel, but to be silent is not an option. Are our Jewish brethren in the Hollywood community afraid to hurt their wallets at the cost of taking a stand? Maybe taking a stand on Israel will hurt some in Hollywood, but that is no comparison to the stand Israelis make every day against terrorism as they risk, and lose, their lives in Israel.
I hope that Hollywood's moral outspokenness is not limited to causes, which although important, do not come close in moral equivalency to supporting Israel. Our Jewish actors have proven time and time again that speaking from the Hollywood sign can make a difference. Why don't they speak out now for an issue that is truly critical in their Jewish community?
Name Withheld Upon Request
Providing Safe Haven
The article, "Providing Safe Haven" (April 5), implied that the African Community Resource Center (ACRC) hadn't received any help from the Jewish community. However, following the 1992 riots, at which time ACRC's office was burned to the ground, the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) provided ACRC with rent-free offices, use of the facilities of Council House and the caring support of the NCJW officers and staff.
When the local leaders of the social clubs formed by the refugees and immigrants from many of the 52 African nations decided they needed to work together in helping other African refugees, and to become advocates for Africa, they looked to The Jewish Federation Council as a model. Michael Hirshfeld of the Jewish Community Relations Committee became their teacher and adviser.
Individuals with Jewish organization affiliations, too numerous to cite, have helped me refine the programmatic and fundraising concepts of ACRC, and have conducted classes for the African community on the American tradition of volunteerism and the self-satisfaction which comes with volunteering.
Nikki Tesfai, Executive Director African Community Resource Center, Inc.
As a Jew who has taught about the history of anti-Semitism that preceded and accompanied the rise of the Nazis and the Holocaust, I was disgusted and appalled by the cover on the April 19 issue. It closely resembled the worst of the anti-Semitic cartoons that filled the European newspapers in the 1930s and early '40s. The editors who decided to publish it owe your readers an apology. Do you really find it necessary to stoop so low to make your point? You insult the Jewish people by such self-indulgent and misguided acts.
Moreover, the one-sided message of this cover makes a mockery of any pretense at serious political analysis. To fail to understand the role of Sharon and of the IDF's behavior as also being causes of the failure of Powell's mission, and to instead focus, as your cover did, only on the role of Arafat, reveals a lack of willingness to confront the reality of the shared Israeli and Palestinian responsibility for the failure of the Oslo peace accords and for the current violence.
If you wish The Jewish Journal be viewed as a vehicle for serious political analysis, not mere propaganda, then you must rise above such misguided actions.
Andrew J. Winnick, Claremont