May 8, 2003
I was stunned by your recent cover cartoon depicting a hapless [Gov.] Gray Davis, pockets empty, surrounded by grasping Jewish hands trying to clean him out (Cover, May 2).
Strangely, this cartoon seems almost anti-Semitic in tone, conveying stereotypical images of greedy Jews sucking the governor, and hence the state, dry. Since I am certain that The Jewish Journal is far from an anti-Semitic periodical, I can only attribute this gaffe to a major editing oversight. I urge you to select your cover art more carefully in the future.
Jan Roberts, Canoga Park
Athens and Baghdad
Yours was a very tolerant, scholarly and (most important) a clear and understandable analysis of the state of affairs between Muslims and Jews ("Athens and Baghdad," April 25). I have never seen it explained in a way that was so sensible to me. Using Japan after WWII as an example of a 180-degree turnaround even creates more hope and incentive.
I could go on and on ... it was so thoughtful, intelligent and pro-active. I actually did go "on and on" as I've shared it with a number of friends and clients. Thank you again for a needed and well-done analysis.
Robert Newman, Los Angeles
Under the upbeat headline, "New Chance to Build Israel-Iraq Ties," a story in the April 25 Journal by Matthew E. Berger of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported an apparent growing rapprochement between American Zionist groups and the Iraqi National Congress (INC), newly returned anti-Saddam exiles.
Unifying force for the alliance was said to be INC leader Ahmed Chalabi, who, according to Berger, "has forged strong ties" with the Bush administration and "has built a strong following in the American Jewish community."
[Berger] wound up with a piece of more than 500 words. Not one of them mentioned the background of Chalabi. As detailed by Knight-Ridder's Jonathan Landay, ex-banker Chalabi is a fugitive from justice in Jordan, where, in 1992, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison on multiple counts of embezzling hundreds of millions after the failure of his bank there.
This seems a curious omission.
Ted Berkman, Santa Barbara
The issue is not whether "The Pianist" encompasses all the facts and/or if it was a good movie ("Polanski Hits a Sour Note in 'Pianist,'" March 21). I am sure [Tom] Teicholz would be glad to have comments from me as one of the ... Treblinka survivors.
The Russian internment camp in question, which, according to [Wladyslaw] Szpilman and [Roman] Polanski was a converted farm, in fact was a town known as Kawenzcyn that was located on the other side of Warsaw on the Vistula River. I personally spent 15 months in that camp until the entire Jewish prison population was transported to Treblinka on July 18, 1943.
I am sure that Teicholz erred by stating that after the Treblinka uprising in 1943, it was the end of the camp. In fact, it was not. Treblinka existed for practically another full year after the uprising and was finally liquidated when the last prisoners were killed on July 23, 1944.
I agree that the Nazis exploited prisoners who had certain professions and/or talent. So, Szpilman enjoyed such privileges, because of his talent with the piano.
It is not, however, realistic to state that a Jewish policeman was able to pull Szpilman from the train that was headed for Treblinka. These Jewish policemen did not have such power. In fact, they themselves wound up on the train on its way to the extermination camps when the trains were filled and ready to roll.
Fred Kort, Los Angeles
Thank you for printing F.M. Black's interview with Israeli novelist Sami Michael ("Baklava and Bombs," April 25). I hadn't known of this author before. I found it truly refreshing to read the considered opinions of someone I would characterize as a curmudgeon. Hmm. I find it difficult to argue with his views.
David E. S. Stein, Redondo Beach
Due to an error, the following paragraphs of "Sigma Sisters Speak Out on Real 'Life'" (May 2) did not appear in their entirety:
In response, Michele Schwartz, program director of Hillel at Davis and Sacramento, called the Anti-Defamation League and then the Los Angeles-based MorningStar Commission.
"I wanted something done publicly to show Jewish support for the sisters," Schwartz said in a telephone interview. "I was also concerned that when school started, there would be a lot of fallout, because I don't think they were necessarily portrayed as the intelligent, enthusiastic Jewish women they really are."