February 7, 2008
Election coverage, CAMERA, illegals, Goldberg, Spinka, Auschwitz
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Stephen A. Silver
The Jewish Journal left out the most important perspective of all on the "Jerusalem debate." Namely, the religious perspective. Without the claim that G-d created the world, and gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people, Zionism and any claim to the Land fall away. After all, if G-d didn't give us the Land, then why struggle for it? And if we don't have a right to Yerushalayim, given to the Jews by the Creator of the world, we certainly don't have a right to Tel Aviv, Haifa, etc. etc. etc.
The reason Israel, the State, the People and the Land, continue to exist is only because of the will of G-d. And due to the demographic situation in Israel (among the Jews), the religious Zionists will soon take control of the State and bring back honor to the Israel, and thereby, honor to G-d.
In response to Judith Rubin's letter (Dirty Laundry, Letters, Jan. 25) about the need for The Jewish Journal to be ashamed for putting the Spinka story on the front cover and avoid more shame, I say we deserve this shame. It needs to be out in front for all of us to see, including those of us in the Orthodox community who sometimes look away from our own hypocrisies.
If their own conscience and fear of God does not inspire them to act morally, perhaps the fear of full, front-page exposure will.
I am disturbed by the comments of Nicholas Goldberg, editor of the Los Angeles Times' Op-Ed page ("Q&A with Nicholas Goldberg," Feb. 1). Surely he must realize the power of the printed word, and how it can influence public opinion and concomitant public discourse and actions. If a lie is repeated often enough, people begin to accept it as fact when indeed it is not. The consequences can be dire.
No one would argue against Goldberg's desire to "run the broadest possible range of opinion on a variety of subjects" and to provide balance. However, I think it is irresponsible of any major newspaper, in so doing, to publish statements that are incorrect and may be outright lies -- such as some of the statements from Hamas leaders, Jimmy Carter, and John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. If a lie is repeated often enough, people begin to accept it as fact. It's no different than aiding and abetting the enemy.
Franklin S. Adler writes: "What is unknown is if any of the pilots engaged in the mission of Aug. 20, 1944, to bomb the factories near Auschwitz were even remotely aware of the daily atrocities occurring at Auschwitz" (Letters, Jan. 25).
In the course of the research for my documentary film, "They Looked Away," narrated by Mike Wallace, (which is about the Allies' refusal to bomb Auschwitz), I had the opportunity to interview pilots and crewmembers of U.S. planes that flew over and near Auschwitz in 1944.
Not one of them knew about what was happening in the death camp below. Their superior officers never told them. But that's not the real issue. The significance of the fact that U.S. planes flew so close to Auschwitz (including fighter planes piloted by the all-black Tuskegee Airmen units, as Dr. Rafael Medoff noted in his Jan. 18 Jewish Journal Op-Ed) is that it proves that the Roosevelt administration could have bombed Auschwitz if it wanted to.
For many years, apologists for FDR claimed that U.S. bombers were not able to reach Auschwitz. That myth has been shattered.
Franklin S. Adler (Letters, Jan. 25) raises an interesting question. On the one hand, the Tuskegee Airmen, members of the legendary segregated African American fighter pilot unit of World War II, are said to have had a perfect record of never losing any of the planes they accompanied. On the other hand, Dr.Rafael Medoff (Op-Ed, Jan. 18) wrote that when the Tuskegee Airmen's Mustang planes accompanied bombers that struck oil factories near Auschwitz in 1944, one of the bombers was shot down by the Germans. According to Adler, "either they did (have a perfect record) which makes a portion of (Medoff's) piece false; or they didn't which makes their vaunted reputation a lie."
If Mr. Adler had read Dr. Medoff's article more carefully, he would have seen that Medoff did not write that Tuskegee pilots flew all of the fighter planes accompanying the bomber. He said that Tuskegee pilots flew most of them.
According to David S. Wyman in his book, "The Abandonment of the Jews," Tuskegee Airmen flew 57 of the Mustangs involved, which left 43 piloted by other units.
Until we know exactly which of those Mustangs was to blame for the downing of the bomber, it seems a bit presumptuous of Mr. Adler to disparage the essay by Dr. Medoff, who clearly had nothing but praise for the Tuskegee Airmen.
We should not lose sight of the bigger issue: the U.S. had forces in the field just a few miles from Auschwitz and could have, with minimal additional risk, taken steps to save innocent lives -- but chose to do nothing.
The American Jewish Committee takes great pride in our role in initiating the academic conference and cultural event on Polish-Jewish relations featured Jan. 25 in The Jewish Journal ("Conference Tackles Thorny Jewish-Polish Relationships," Jan. 25).
The idea was conceived at a meeting between AJC, the consulate of Poland and Severyn Ashkenazy, where we discussed the negative views of many Jews toward Poles and what could be done to address the problem. In subsequent planning meetings it was determined that AJC would co-sponsor the conference with others and also host a luncheon for Polish and Jewish leaders to present conference highlights to the community.