June 24, 2004
While [Hassan] Ibrahim and [Jahane] Noujaim may be nice fellows to chat with, they are only willing to see the trees but ignore the whole forest ("In 'Control,'" June 18). By showing the suffering of Arabs caused as a result of United States or Israeli war on terrorism, along with the suffering by the victims of terrorism, "Control Room" and the entire Al Jazeera operation are trying to draw a moral equivalence between terrorism and war on terrorism. Rob Eshman fell into that trap too quickly.
To win this war, we must have the conviction that we occupy the high moral ground, and that we are forced to fight vicious enemies that would literally destroy us unless we put an end to their ability to cause harm. While we try to minimize unnecessary casualties of noncombatants, this is not always possible in a war -- these casualties should be "credited" to the enemy, even if we fired the bullet that caused them.
The only "important discussion" that "Control Room" should cause in our world, is reaffirmation that there is no moral equivalency, and that we should be smart enough to recognize superficial propaganda. Ibrahim and Noujaim know the truth, they are just smart enough to use psychology attempting to raise a vicious Islamic agenda to a level on par with our freedoms, lifestyles and future.
Nahum Gat, Manhattan Beach
It was with great disbelief that I read your editorial "In 'Control,'" wherein you cited that although you do not speak Arabic, you find it "difficult to write off Al Jazeera as a broadcaster of propaganda."
Does not basic journalism require that one undertake to learn exactly what is said by the subject of your discussion -- Al Jazeera? (The Middle East Media Research Institute offers good English translations of many Arabic news sources!)
Since you have zero information about the subject, how can you reach any conclusion -- yet alone that Al Jazeera does indeed provide good, objective reporting?
Had you written your article in 1942, would you note that you do not speak German, but find it "difficult to write off Der StÃÂ¼rmer or Information Minister Josef Goebbels' writings as propaganda"?
Had you written your article in 1968, would you note that you do not speak Russian, but find it "difficult to write off Soviet newspapers Izvestia or Pravda as media sources of propaganda"?
Journalistic integrity requires definitive research and facts, unless you wish The Journal to be equally as "objective" as the Nazi or communist propaganda sources cited.
Fred Korr, Los Angeles
I am painfully outraged and disappointed that The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles chose to publish such a hurtful article about my former rabbi, Rabbi Michael Mayersohn ("Are Sex Abuse Guidelines Working?" June 18).
It was filled with unfounded insinuations and assumptions. In fact, it was based on a hearing that had not yet even taken place. We are talking about a rabbi's life, a rabbi's career, a rabbi's reputation, a rabbi's legacy. My husband and I have been members of Temple Beth David for 23 years and proud to say that Mayersohn was our rabbi and teacher for 13 of those years. Rabbi Mayersohn is a compassionate, caring and sensitive individual -- he should not be penalized for another congregant's misinterpretations of his actions. Jeopardize his sacred title that he worked so hard to obtain, jeopardize the holiness of Temple Beth David and its members -- no way. There is no way that Mayersohn would have sacrificed the things that he cherishes so much. On the contrary, I applaud Mayersohn for standing up for his rights -- for appealing the reprimand that was injudiciously extended to him by the Central Conference of American Rabbis -- and I pray that my faith in Mayersohn's integrity will prevail.
Lastly, if you are looking for an interesting and appealing subject matter to write about, perhaps you wish to write about the innovative Jewish Academy of Growth and Learning that Mayersohn is establishing in Orange County -- now there's something sensational and definitely worth getting your readers excited about.
Melanie Alkov, Westminster
Thank you for your cover story on the legacy of Ronald Reagan and his administration ("How He Changed Us," June 11).
Generations of Israelis will be able to thank him for strengthening ties with the United States as Israel was surrounded and infiltrated by an increasingly violent Islamic militant movement, and generations of Eastern European and formerly Soviet Jews can be grateful for Reagan's challenge to the evil empire -- and for bringing it down.
Here in the United States, Reagan proved himself to be a different kind of Republican. Not harsh, not scolding, not the aloof conservative that hadn't polled well with Jews, but rather, he was a genuine, honest, forthright man, one who shared critical goals with the Jewish community in United States. That above all can be pointed to as why so many Jews supported him, and mourned as millions of Americans did, when he passed from this world.
Alex Burrola, Montebello
In Obituaries (May 18), a listing should have read: Mary Scovis died March 26, at the age of 92. She is survived by her daughter-in-law, Jenny Scovis; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
So impressed was I with Nonie Darwich's article of "When Arab Means Never Saying Sorry" that I sent it far and wide to friends and relatives (June 4). However, on reading the snide letter by Deborah Bochner Kennel in today's Journal, I really had to at least try to write a complimentary letter to the editor. Kennel's hatchet job is not well-researched, or perhaps not researched at all. Her "politically correct" jeremiad is ignorant, vicious -- and sly. (She manages to insert the name of the equally vicious "Institute for Historical Review" -- a Holocaust-denial group -- in such a fashion that the casual reader will think that Darwich is affiliated with that sewer.)
Darwich's article captured perfectly the fanatic, self-delusional, hysterical, duplicitous character of Radical Jihadist Islam: "Americans should stop judging other cultures with the American value system and especially stop expecting Arab Muslim culture to respond rationally according to Western standards. Arab power is derived from oil, terror and manipulative public relations campaigns."
That is the reality. And the sooner we learn to understand those who kill "Zionists and Crusaders" (read: Jews and Christians) in the name of their twisted interpretation of Islam, the better able we will be to at least try to protect ourselves against their murderous intentions.
Sara Meric, Santa Monica