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Letters Week of June 26, 2008
Don't Expect Force to Fix Complex Political Crises
Letter writer Sidney R. Goldstein attempted to refute Sen. Barack Obama's assertion that President John F. Kennedy negotiated with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev over the Cuban missile crisis (Letters: "Remember: Force Ended the Cuban Missile Crisis," June 5).
Goldstein asserts that "JKF never dealt with -- let alone negotiated with -- the Russian." Goldstein is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts.
During the crisis, there was no direct means of communication between the White House and the Kremlin. The "hotline" was not established until June of the following year.
In the absence of a direct link, negotiations were necessarily conducted by cable. And the historical record shows that a number of cables and letters were exchanged.
In fact, one of the complicating factors of the crisis was that the White House received two cables from Khrushchev that appeared to contradict one another. In addition, a flurry of secret, behind-the-scenes negotiations took place between U.S. diplomats and the Soviets.
While JFK did use a naval blockade to pressure Khrushchev, the crisis was ultimately resolved by negotiation and compromise. In exchange for removing the missiles in Cuba, JFK agreed to remove our Jupiter missiles from Turkey and to ensure both Havana and Moscow that the United States would not invade Cuba in the future. These facts are completely ignored by Goldstein.
What the Cuban missile crisis reminds us is that force alone cannot be counted on to solve complex political crises. A willingness to negotiate and compromise is often the answer. That is something that JFK knew, that Obama knows and that Bush never understood.
Orthodox Literalists Join America's 'Bible Belt'
Concerning Jonathan Tobin's column about Pastor John Hagee (A Matter of Opinion: "A Different Kind of Blame Game," June 12), contrary to his assertion, it is no "smear" but rather the absolute truth that "tens of millions of Christian conservatives" who ostensibly love Israel are Jew-haters.
This is because most of those millions are fundamentalists, and the indisputable fact is that any Christian fundamentalist who is not hostile to Jews betrays his/her faith.
Tobin quotes the ridiculous comment of Rabbi Avi Shafran of the ultra-Orthodox Agudath Israel of America that "Hagee's 'approach to Torah' was more Jewish than Reform Rabbi Eric Yoffie's because, unlike the Reform rabbi, Hagee believed it to be literally true."
Really? Jewish tradition recognizes four modes of authentic "Orthodox" biblical interpretation. Thus, Maimonides and the Kabbalists could not be farther apart in their style of exegesis, but neither were literalists! Accordingly, does Shafran deem Maimonides and the Kabbalists insufficiently Jewish?
For a long time, a literal approach to the Bible was exclusively a Protestant Christian obsession. Now it would seem that the frum community has taken it up as well.
Who would have thought it? Ultra-Orthodox enclaves such as Lakewood, N.J., Kiryas Joel and Boro Park in New York have become the latest notches in America's Bible Belt!
Rejecting Christian Friends: Just Plain Dumb
No doubt Leonard Fein speaks for most liberal Jews when he advocates that we shun Evangelical Christians such as Rev. John Hagee despite their fervent support for Israel (Opinions: "When Will Jews Repudiate Hagee's Convoluted 'Support?' " June 12).
But that only shows that he and other liberals adhere to their narrow partisan domestic agendas over the life-and-death issue of the war against Israel.
Hagee isn't perfect, but in a world filled with Jew-haters, the idea of spurning a group of Americans who love Israel strikes me as just plain dumb.
Don't Fund Those Who Continue to Hate Jews
Thanks for the Jewish Exponent's take on the United Nation's refugee group devoted to the Palestinians (Editorial: "UNRWA and NGOs: The Real U.N. Insult," June 12).
The U. N. has become an insult, and we continue to pay 50 percent for it to operate.
We would have much more money if we cut foreign aid to those who hate us.
Buffalo Grove, Ill.
Why Does Everyone Else Agree With the U.N.?
I think that most of the Jewish Exponent's readers would agree with your stand on the United Nations (Editorial: "UNRWA and NGOs: The Real U.N. Insult," June 12).
However, I think that most of the world would not be in agreement with your valid criticisms of the U.N.'s stands on Israel.
Is it just because of oil? Is there something in the Israeli mind that makes them good soldiers and engineers, but lousy public relations people?
Or is it that the Arab/Muslim world can just outspend them?
Saved 'Kinder' Recall Rescuer With Affection
Robert Leiter's article about Nicholas Winton, who saved 669 children from what was then Czechoslovakia, was not new to those of us who escaped the Nazis as children (Cover story: "Rescuer Revealed: One Man's Story," June 19).
After the terror of "Kristallnacht," several women -- Jewish, Christian, Quaker and others -- persuaded the British Government to admit children without parents to England provided they were under the age of 17. That is the way close to 10,000 children, mainly from Germany and Austria, were saved by what are known as the "Kindertransports."
Winton's transports were part of that number and the Organization of "Kinder" honored him in 1999 on the stage at London University at their 60th anniversary. The celebration was attended by more than 1,000 "Kinder," their spouses, children and grandchildren.
Perhaps Winton will be able to attend the 70th anniversary that takes place in London in November. Last year it was suggested that his name be submitted for a Nobel Prize.
Anne L. Fox