Jewish Journal

Hathout hullabaloo; Jewish Republicans vs. Jewish Democrats once again; I bet you won’t print *this*

September 28, 2006 | 8:00 pm

Dr. Maher Hathout
First, kudos to Marc Ballon on his comprehensive and balanced coverage of the crisis surrounding the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission's award to Dr. Maher Hathout ("Controversial Muslim Leader Gets Award," Sept. 22).
Second, I do not believe that Allyson Rowen Taylor's comment should go unanswered within our community. Her suggestion that the commissioners feared riotous anti-Jewish violence from the Muslim community of Los Angeles insults not only to the thousands of God-fearing, peace-loving American Muslim citizens and immigrants with whom we American Jewish citizens and immigrants share our city and county, but also the commissioners themselves. Taylor owes all of her fellow Angelenos an apology for her (literally) incendiary remarks. (And for the record, the most recent public effigy was hung two weeks ago by non-Muslims in front of the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City as a provocative Sept. 11 memorial protest....)
Shawn Landres
Los Angeles

Hathout, seeing how a community was being divided by his nomination, could have scored points in stating that he wanted to work to build bridges, and that if this award was an impedance to this, he would rather walk away than take an award given on a decision of four yes votes to six abstains. What Hathout needs is a good reminder of King Solomon, and to understand the true meaning of "mensch."
Allyson Rowen Taylor
Associate Director
American Jewish Congress
Western Region

Who Shall Die
It is very easy to second guess a decision with your wonderful 20/20 hindsight ("And Who Shall Die," Sept. 22). The fundamental question was and is: How long do we wait? This is a war. Wars are sloppy, mistakes are made, and when mistakes are made in war unfortunately people die. It's a good thing you were not around during World War II.
The war in Iraq may be a mistake, I don't know. All I know is that this war will take a long time, and more troops (and civilians) will die. I am not ready to have the women in my family wear burkas, I am not ready to pay a tax to be a Jew, I am not ready to convert or die. Are you?
Glenn Roeder
Los Angeles

Before all those Jewish Republicans overwhelm your e-mailbox, I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your editorial this week. For some of our leaders the ability to admit they were/are wrong about anything is beyond them. You laid your apology out for all to see. I can't say I marched protesting entry into the Iraq war, but my heart was there. Guns and violence as a way to resolve any problem are an anathema to me.
Thanks for your words; they were so appropriate for the beginning of the new year.

Ann Reiss Lane
Women Against Gun Violence

The suggestion of having rabbis read the names of the war dead at High Holiday services is absurd and obscene. There is already more political commentary from the pulpit than most people sign up for when they attend religious services.
During World War II, would anyone have called for the reading of the 10,000 names of those who died storming the beaches of Normandy so that the extermination camps would be silenced? Or the names of the bombardiers and pilots who died firebombing the city of Dresden (or the names of the 35,000 "innocent" city inhabitants that were killed)? Or the names of those who died in the South Pacific to defeat Hirohito? Should we read the names of the thousands of Union soldiers who were killed at Gettysburg or Shiloh or Antietem so we could end the scourge of slavery?
History teaches us that fascism and evil can only be ended through force, rather than reason. It also teaches us that we cannot endorse a war and then obscure the fact that we did so when the going gets rough. Leaders that endure the test of time -- men like Lincoln, Churchill, Roosevelt and Truman -- do not retreat because they cannot win every battle. They earn their legacies by enduring the difficult days, many times alone, with fortitude.
Dr. Joel Geiderman
Beverly Hills

I believe Rob Eshman directed his apology for "wasting good lives in a bad war" to the wrong community ("And Who Shall Die," Sept. 22). Los Angeles' Jews are the wrong audience for his war weary angst. He can even spare the families of fallen and wounded soldiers his pain as Cindy Sheehan can do that for him -- and even cite Eshman as proof of why to blame the Jews as she is wont to do. It seems that Eshman, by his own confession, would not be able to protest in this case, could he?
No, Eshman should save his self-flagellation for Iraq's Kurdish community. Editor and Jewish Moral Conscience Eshman needs to prostrate himself before the first Iraqi Kurd to cross his path -- nay, that he seeks and finds -- and cry out his shame, anguish and grief that this hapless Kurd no longer faces annihilation at the hands of Saddam, that 3,000 (or more) Americans was just too great a price for us to pay even though the Kurds lost perhaps as many as 130,000, including to poison gas, at the hands of Saddam's sadists.
As for myself, I believe that even if Iraq falls apart, the Kurds will have gained their freedom, dignity and lives, and America an ally. As for the rest of that Arab Balkans, its denizens would eventually work out their hatreds on each other in their usual fashion. If I were to advise the administration of anything, it would be to broker a deal between the Turks and Kurds. That way, there might be an iron triangle -- Turks, Kurds and Israelis -- to resist the depravity of the rest of the region. I called for a breaking up that pest hole when we first went in so I do not feel quite as anguished as Eshman.
Editor Eshman fails as historian, prognosticator and strategist. As a writer, he's becoming increasingly unreadable and as the editor responsible for securing miserably effacing analyses such as Jack Miles' "lead" piece when the last war first broke out, becoming less and less bearable. I remind The Journal's readers that Miles' described the kidnappings by Hezbollah at the Lebanon border as "arrests" -- and that editor Eshman made this "analysis" that week's cover piece....

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