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Letters the Week of Sept.4, 2013
More U.S. 'Engagement' in Peace Process Needed
The Democratic Party is to be applauded for officially supporting more "engagement" on the part of the United States in Middle East diplomacy (A Matter of Opinion: "Misleading Platform Platitudes," Aug. 21).
One of the chief failures of the disastrous reign of President George W. Bush has been his failure to pick up the torch of peace advocacy that was handed to him by the Clinton administration.
What was the result of Bush's backing away from the peace process? The weakening of Palestinian moderates and the rise to power of Hamas!
Bush's preoccupation with a needless war in Iraq has also undermined efforts to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons, and has made the world a more dangerous place for the Jewish state.
The idea that Jonathan Tobin puts forward that any U.S. engagement means pressure on Israel is a myth. Yet does anyone think that the peace that Israel so desperately needs will come without American help?
Whether or not anyone remembers either party's platform next year, the main thing is that we must elect a president who not only pays lip service to support for Israel, but pushes for diplomacy that will make peace possible.
That is the substance of a real pro-Israel stance.
Israelis Must Protect State in Spite of 'Friends'
Jonathan Tobin's analysis of the push for more U.S. "engagement" in the Middle East peace process is correct (A Matter of Opinion: "Misleading Platform Platitudes," Aug. 21).
What in my view is the largest concern is not whether Israel will be subjected to more pressure from "friends of Israel," but how the government -- and, indeed, the people of Israel -- will react to pressure.
Giving up the Golan and the West Bank, and allowing the flood of missiles into Gaza to continue, will only lead to the annihilation of the Jewish state.
The government and people of Israel must show the strength and commitment to protect their sovereignty. No nation in the world community has been asked to give so much for so little.
Jewish Funding for Anti-Israel Groups Criticized
The New Israel Fund's defense of its financial support for groups that promote hatred of Zionism is outrageous (Opinions: "NIF Boasts a Long History of Helping Those in Need in Israel," Aug. 21).
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency's report on this scandalous use of American Jewish donations (Nation & World: "NIF Questioned Over Grants to 'Apartheid' Campaigners," Aug. 14) made it plain that this group couldn't care less about whether its grants strengthen those who have helped falsely brand Israel as an "apartheid" state.
NIF officials Naomi Chazan and Daniel Segal purport to be shocked by the accompanying Jewish Exponent editorial ("No Profit in Funding Anti-Israel Hate," Aug. 14), but its message -- that the facts in the JTA story should "give American Jewish donors pause" -- is merely common sense.
The causes of civil rights and religious pluralism might be laudable. But the notion that support for these ideas trumps the need for Israel to defend itself against Islamists and others who still wish to destroy it is amazing to me. Does the New Israel Fund believe that such issues are now irrelevant?
What's at stake here isn't free speech. Arab and Islamic groups who spread lies about Israel aren't being silenced.
The issue is how American Jews can give money to a group that passes funds on to anti-Israel propagandists with a clean conscience.
Diversity in Mourning Does Not Belittle Grief
In Rabbi Gerald Wolpe's opinion column (Opinions: "Modern Mourning: Vocal Sorrow to Quiet Comfort," Aug. 7), he makes assumptions that are both presumptuous and unfair.
He assumes that those of us who do not cry or wail loudly at funerals or cemeteries are disrespectful of the departed. He says that because he goes to the cemetery to see his relatives' graves, he alone remembers them.
I am shocked that a rabbi would say that his forms of grieving and remembering are the only proper ones.
I don't have to cry or wail or spend time at graves.
I think of my mother several times a day, when utilizing the dishes or a piece of jewelry she gave me, or seeing one of a thousand things that remind me of her. She is constantly in my heart, and I do not have to go to her grave or cry to know how much I miss her.
Grieving and remembering are very personal emotions. All forms should be respected. The rabbi has no right to say that his way is the best way -- or the only way.
Simply Exasperated With Columnist's Cutesy Puns
I have reached my point of exasperation with your entertainment reviewer, Michael Elkin. The pity of the matter is that Mr. Elkin usually has some very cogent and insightful observations to contribute in his columns.
The problem for me arises from his attempts to create humor out of silly, meaningless, and tasteless puns and metaphors that pepper every column he writes.
An occasional pun or forced humor is tolerable, but to be bombarded every week with an onslaught of contrived humor stretched to the breaking point -- resulting not infrequently in obscuring the intended meaning of the sentence in question -- is beyond my tolerance.
Some examples from a recent column (Arts & Entertainment: "Kepesh's Complaints?" Aug. 21):
1. "The college prof proffers"
2. "The grapes of Roth"-- ouch!
3. "Isn't fazed by this phase of her life"
4. "Rope in Roth in reel (sic) time" -- alliteration and intentional misspelling.
5. "Cruz control" -- Penelope Cruz. Did you crack up yet?
6. "Jejune jag of jealousy" -- tortured alliteration.
I. Robert Schwartz, M.D.