January 31, 2008
Should Israel care what we think? Should we care what Israel thinks? If not now, when?
(Page 2 - Previous Page)http://www.fosna.org/conferences_and_trips/documents/PasadenaBrochure.pdf.)
Rev. Ateek will speak at a two-day "Friends of Sabeel Conference and Workshop" at All Saints Church, which is dedicated to "commemorating the 60th anniversary of al-nakba." "Nakba," of course, means "catastrophe," and "al-nakba" is the Arabic idiom for the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. That title, plus a workshop titled "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions," seem unusual for [an] organization that purportedly seeks peaceful coexistence.
We are not surprised to see an anti-Israel program out here in the Diaspora, away from the Westside mainstream. Jimmy Carter kicked off his book tour at a Pasadena bookstore. It's predictable that All Saints would agree to host an al-nakba commemoration conference. But we are surprised that Eshman would criticize CAMERA for informing us, the locals, thus enabling us to voice our legitimate concerns.
B. Martin and Jacqueline Levine, Arcadia; Anita Susan Brenner, Pasadena; Josef and Patricia Ulloa, San Dimas; Lawrence Scherr, Altadena; Peter and Nurith Brier, Altadena; Ahuva Einstein, Pasadena
Gershom Gorenberg asks the right question. ("What Does It Mean to Be a Pro-Israel Candidate?" Jan. 25.) But his answer -- in essence, to be a "peace processor" -- is unsatisfying.
It's based on a fundamental mistake: that "Israel's most basic strategic interest is a peace agreement and withdrawal." A mere peace agreement with an untrustworthy, authoritarian adversary, whose people are educated to hate, won't bring genuine, lasting peace. In these circumstances, withdrawal only increases the dangers Israel faces.
Gorenberg raises the issue of support for the "whole Land of Israel." This is a red herring. The majority of Israelis support a two-state solution and don't need to be pushed. The problem is that too many Palestinians and other Arabs still support a one-state solution -- that is, "peace" defined as "no Jewish state."
The pro-Israel candidate -- and pro-Arab candidate -- would advocate applying political and economic pressures on the Arabs to liberalize their governments. When the Arabs live in decent societies, extremism will have little appeal and Israel will be able to negotiate with some confidence in the results. Until then, Israel must be strong, project strength and enjoy the full backing of the United States.
Thanks for Bill Boyarsky's nice words about me ("What Makes a Good Politico," Jan. 25). But he was wrong to charge me with the delay of the Wilshire subway.
Because of safety concerns, I prohibited tunneling at Wilshire and Fairfax in the mid- 1980s. Because of cost overruns and the voter rejection of an increase in sales tax to pay, the subway was delayed.
I offered to reopen the tunneling issue for determination of safety by an independent panel in the mid 1990s, but the MTA was not interested, because they did not have enough money to move beyond Vermont Avenue. It wasn't until Mayor [Antonio] Villaraigosa raised the issue when he took office, that I agreed to an independent evaluation to see if new technology was available to tunnel safely.
In the 1980s some experts feared an explosion and a wall of fire might occur.
The panel unanimously agreed that it could be done safely now, but even some on the panel of experts indicated that it was wise not to have tried tunneling there in the '80s, because it might not have been safe then.
The money to pay for the subway continues to be a problem, but we did pass a bond issue for infrastructure expenditures, which is supposed to help.
Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles)
Eye on Obama
Regarding "Israelis Keep a Close Eye on U.S. Elections" (Jan. 25), it should be noted that Zbigniew Brzezinski is now a senior adviser to [Sen. Barack] Obama per John Mearsheimer and Stephan M. Walt (L.A. Times Opinion Section, 1/6/08).
Brzezinski, like [Jimmy] Carter, frequently criticizes Israel's moral stance without acknowledging the long, ongoing Palestinian goal of eliminating Israel.
Also, Obama joined the Trinity United Church of Christ, which afterward bestowed in December 2007 its highest social achievement award to Louis Farrakhan. While I hardly believe Obama supports Farrakhan's anti-Semitism, I would be guilty of a double standard if I did not feel uncomfortable with Obama's lack of aggressive responses to unfair treatment of Jews from his associates.
Charles S. Berdiansky
The article about [Rabbi] Abe Cooper ("The Bloods, The Crips and The Rabbi," Jan. 18) omits one other controversial decision for which he has escaped criticism: the proposed expansion of the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is proposing to replace the Memorial Garden behind the museum, dedicated to the Six Million, with a large banquet and event facility that will be rented out for parties six days a week from 7 a.m. until midnight (Jewish Journal, Oct. 19, 2007).
It is ironic that a Museum of Tolerance is attempting to force two intolerable projects simultaneously, one in Jerusalem and one here in Los Angeles. Just as in Israel, where the project has been stalled in the courts for three years, this hometown controversy, pitting Abe Cooper's controversial boss [Rabbi] Marvin Hier against his predominantly Jewish neighbors, may end up in court, as well.
Susan Gans and Daniel Fink
Roxbury Beverwil Homeowners Association
The Journal was spot on in bringing to light the alleged crimes the Spinka organization was indicted for ("