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Letters week of July15, 2010
They've Misjudged Which Party Remains in Denial
I took offense at the opinion piece "Denial When It Comes to Israeli Actions" (July 8) by Jeremy Ben-Ami and Debra DeLee. The authors argue that supporters of Israel live in denial because they believe Israel seeks peace. They also suggest that Israel has brought Palestinian intransigence onto itself.
This is total nonsense.
Had they read a newspaper last week, they might have noticed that Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu pleaded for direct talks, only to be rebuffed by Mahmud Abbas. It is only the most recent in a long line of situations that squarely puts Israel on the side of peace without a partner to share it.
It is worth remembering that when Israel was founded and the United Nations passed its resolution, the document actually established two states: Palestine and Israel. Rather than accept the newly created Palestinian homeland, the Arab world decided it might just be better to destroy the Jewish one. To Arab countries, the mere existence of Israel as a Jewish state was incitement enough to attack. No matter how inconvenient or how much we wish otherwise, they have similar motives today.
Quite frankly, I am getting tired of hearing the argument that the best way to be supportive of Israel is to criticize it.
Stop Smearing the Record of a True Israel Supporter
Joe Sestak is and always has been a staunch supporter and -- quite literally -- defender of the State of Israel.
Any suggestions to the contrary are simply false and misleading smears designed to frighten Jewish Americans away from a true U.S. hero to the benefit of a cynical right-wing clique led by Sarah Palin and Congressman Pat Toomey.
Sestak has dedicated his life to the security of the United States, and believes that Israeli security is critical to our security. He led the Navy's anti-terrorism unit, and his service in uniform included many joint events and operations with the Israeli military. As a congressman, he has used his expertise and influence on the Armed Service Committee to help Israel acquire advanced weapons systems to keep it safe.
He recognizes that the gravest threat to Israel's existence is posed by the nuclear ambitions of Iran. He has said many times that "Iran cannot be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons," and to this end, he has been a strong supporter of divestment and sanctions against Iran. He has also clearly stated that, in this case, "the military option can never be taken off the table."
It is troubling that so many in Washington, D.C. -- and in elite right-wing circles throughout the country -- aim to exploit the tragic situation in the Middle East for political gain. Such attempts by politicians like Palin and third-party interest groups to distort Sestak's record -- or the record of any member of Congress -- discredit our electoral process, undermine efforts to foster real peace and dishonor those touched by the conflict.
If Toomey is a true friend of Israel, he should disavow and cease all attempts to politicize the hardship and suffering of the Jewish people for his personal gain.
Jonathan A. Saidel
Former Philadelphia Controller
Pennsylvania State Senator
Former president of AIPAC
An Interesting Theory About Sestak, but Faulty
In her letter in the July 8 issue, "Correcting the Record on More Than One Level," Rabbi Lisa Malik says that Rep. Joe Sestak's agreement to keynote a fundraiser for the pro-Hamas group CAIR in 2007 "may have been more a sign of his naivete about CAIR than about his support of terrorism or a lack of support for Israel."
Let's assume Sestak was naive when he first agreed to speak. However, members of the Jewish community met with him before the event, and explained that CAIR has ties to terrorism. Thus, he could no longer claim to be "naive."
And why hasn't he ever expressed remorse for associating with CAIR? If he was naive then but wiser now, why not admit the mistake? Maybe because he doesn't think it was one.
Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin
Gratz College: Looking for a Few Good Opinions
As part of its strategic planning process, Gratz is targeting groups of adults under age 40 and adults over age 55. The focus groups will be held toward the end of July.
If interested, e-mail: email@example.com or call Lovisa Woodson at 215-635-7300, Ext. 133.
Joy W. Goldstein
Chief Operating Officer/