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Jewish Journal

Israeli-Palestinian Confederation; CAIR; Borat; Elections; More JewQ questions

November 16, 2006 | 7:00 pm

Confederation

Josef Avesar says of the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs that "each side demands that the other relinquish crucial aspects of its identity," and that therefore, some form of confederation would be a "pragmatic" solution to their problems ("Mideast Solution: A Confederation," Nov. 3). Both Avesar's diagnosis and prescription are wrong.

Palestinians aim to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state, not merely to change some aspects of its identity. Israelis only demand that Palestinian Arabs relinquish this aim, not their identity.

Avesar envisages Israel and the Palestinian Authority in time relinquishing their power to what "will become the de facto authority to establish rules to settle issues, solve problems." There is a simple term for this -- binationalism, something which would see Israel gradually dismantled and Jews turned into a minority in a greater Palestinian state.

Avesar's confederation scheme is therefore simply a program for foisting a creeping binational scheme on Israel.

Morton A. Klein
National President
Zionist Organization of America

CAIR

It is curious how Hussam Ayloush, the executive director of the Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), defines the terms "extremist" and anti-Semitic (Letters, Nov. 10).
He claims his organization merely "denounce[s] human rights violations committed by Israel." But in fact, Ayloush himself is known to use the term "Zionazi" to refer to Israelis and compare Zionism to Nazism, once writing in an e-mail, "Indeed, the Zionazis are a bunch of nice people; just like their Nazi brethren! It is just that the world keeps making up lies about them! It is so unfair." Ayloush cavalierly accuses me of engaging in "guilt by association" but avoids comment on CAIR's involvement in the promotion of anti-Semitism.

He does not dispute the virulently anti-Semitic language used by Wagdy Ghoneim at a CAIR-sponsored event, in which he led the audience in a song with the lyrics, "No to the Jews, descendants of the apes."

Additionally, CAIR has invited neo-Nazi William Baker to speak at various conferences, whose presence at such events Ayloush has defended. How dare people infer anti-Semitism and extremism from such incidents.

As for Ayloush's claim that CAIR "defend(s) the civil rights of unpopular individuals," such defenses typically involve attacking any terrorism investigation or asset forfeiture as, for example, an "'anti-Muslim witchhunt' promoted by the pro-Israel lobby in America." (One should note that the individuals involved in that company have been convicted of providing material support to Hamas and violating sanctions imposed on state sponsors of terrorism, receiving sentences up to seven years in prison).

Of course, Ayloush himself responds to any criticism of his organization in the typical fashion employed by all CAIR officials: smearing anyone who reports on uncomfortable and disquieting facts by labeling them an "Islamophobe" or "anti-Muslim." Ayloush's own record of engaging in and tolerating anti-Semitic viewpoints speaks for itself.

Steven Emerson
Executive Director
Investigative Project on Terrorism

Ed. Note: Hussam Ayloush's previous response is online at www.jewishjournal.com/forum, where the two men are invited to continue their exchange.

Orthodox Split

I believe that your article on the Modern Orthodox/Charedi split underplays the differences on the ground between the two communities ("Two Neighborhoods Reveal Orthodox Community's Fault Lines," Nov. 10). By interviewing only moderate rabbis (Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is the local Charedi apologist, far to the left of his colleagues) and few congregants, one gets an overly rosy picture. I believe more animosity and derision of the other exists.

Modern institutions will find more like-minded teachers and clergy will not respond to Charedi book-bannings, and Charedim will have to look elsewhere to fund their causes.

Name withheld by request
Los Angeles

Borat
Steven Rosen's review of "Borat" was right on target in regard to the satirical elements of the anti-Semitism depicted in the movie. However, Rosen failed to comment on the fact that when Borat spoke to his cohort/producer, Bagatov, he did so in Hebrew. My husband and I thought this added to the satire in that a "flagrant anti-Semite" would never even know lashon Hakodesh. Kudos to Sacha Baron Cohen!

Nancy Cooper Federman
Westlake Village

Size Matters

A better approach than making a car that gets 100 miles per gallon is to develop one that rarely uses gasoline ("Size Matters," Nov. 10). A plug-in hybrid would do most driving based on battery power from being plugged into an outlet and switch to gasoline when the batteries are depleted.

I've read about alternate approaches for storing energy in a car. These include using flywheels or compressed air. The "Tel Aviv Project" that you propose does not have to limit itself to improving gas mileage or batteries.

David Wincelberg
Beverly Hills

Loss of Interest

Rob Eshman's editorial caused me to stop and think. He poses the question: Why is the attendance at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities so low ("Size Matters," Nov. 10). Why only 3,000? Why not 25,000? After all, Los Angeles has the second-largest Jewish population in the United States.

I can offer an explanation for the apparent lack of interest among our Jewish community. Certainly I speak only for myself, but I believe what I say would apply to many others like me.

Until several years ago, I was very interested in the Jewish community, but then I experienced the workings of The Jewish Federation, with its abandonment of the Jewish Community Centers and self-aggrandizement, and the workings of the Greater L.A. [Federation] administration. Then I realized that our leaders are more inclined to cushion their own portfolios, rather than the good of the Jewish community, and too many leaders suffer from exaggerated egos.

So today, instead of donating to the Los Angeles Jewish Federation, I have found more worthy causes, where more of my contribution goes to the charity and not to the leaders. Very likely, my perception has rubbed off on others with whom I relate. And perhaps many other have the same opinion.

George Epstein
Los Angeles

P.S. I enjoyed reading about Theodore Von Karman ("Jewry's Role in Human Advancement," advertisement). What few people know about him is that he played a key role in the development of the armor systems helping to save lives in Iraq and elsewhere. In 1956, as the program manager at Aerojet General Corp. for an Army program to develop advanced personnel armor concepts, I was fortunate to have Dr. Von Karman as a consultant for my program.

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