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Letters week of March 22, 2007
Cheney's AIPAC Reception Misreported by JTA
The Jewish Telegraph Agency report by Ron Kampeas (Cover Story: "Cheney's Iraq Pitch Garners Few Plaudits," March 15) misses the mark in describing the reception to the vice president's ideas at the recent AIPAC conference.
I was a delegate at the conference, and Cheney received applause throughout his speech linking success in Iraq to success in the region, including standing ovations at the beginning and at the end.
Kampeas does not quote a single delegate to support his assertion that certain levels of applause indicated a lack of support for the Iraq war; rather, he cites selected vignettes in an unbalanced manner to serve his hypothesis.
As Kampeas himself notes, references to President Bush received positive responses, and the next morning, minority leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) earned enthusiastic applause when he described the need to succeed in Iraq.
I met many delegates of both major parties who support the war. How could Kampeas have missed these folks?
His further omission of the less than enthusiastic response to certain statements against the war made by other speakers leads you to question whether Kampeas was reporting on the plaudits received by Cheney or partisan plaudits of his own.
Neil A. Cooper
Good for Israel? The War in Iraq's Boosted Enemies
Thanks for Douglas Bloomfield's piece highlighting the disastrous effects of America's war in Iraq on Israel (Editorial & Opinion: "Iraq War Puts a Wrench in the U.S.-Israel Relationship," March 8).
Too many friends of the Jewish state have taken it for granted that the invasion of Iraq was good for Israel. Others claim that -- despite the hopeless nature of the conflict and the drain on America's strength that it represents -- that the Bush administration's war must continue so as to prevent worse danger for Israel.
As Bloomfield notes: "American mishandling of the war has empowered Iran and its allies -- Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas."
The longer the United States is stuck in an Iraqi quagmire, the less able it will be to take on Iran. And that is very bad news for Israel.
What Happens When They Find No Conversion?
A number of articles of late have praised evangelical Christians for their support of Israel and their overtures to the Jewish community (A Matter of Opinion: "Revisiting the Power of Faith," March 8).
I believe that the reason for this support is driven by evangelical eschatological dogma.
Will the evangelical Christians -- the Christian right -- continue to love us and support Israel when they finally realize that Diaspora Jews are not interested in aliyah to Israel or conversion to Christianity?
We must constantly bear in mind that Martin Luther was initially philo-Semitic. He believed that his new religion would be compatible with Jewish beliefs, and thus expected that the Jews would convert en masse. When he realized that this was not the case, he wrote some of the most virulent anti-Semitic pamphlets ever penned.
In fact, Luther's writings were used by the Nazis as a justification for their extermination of the Jews.
Paul D. Rosenstock
In Politics, Faith Often Leads to False Promises
I never cease to be amazed at the broad generalizations that Jonathan Tobin expounds and how fallacious they sometimes can be.
In his column about the movie "Amazing Grace" (A Matter of Opinion: "Revisiting the Power of Faith," March 8), he writes "that a person whose faith leads him or her to politics is actually more likely than not one who fights to make society a better place."
Spare me! Many Muslim leaders have come to power through religious means. Do they qualify?
Does Rev. Jerry Falwell, Rev. Pat Robertson and or even President Bush? They all give high credence to religious beliefs to justify their stands.
Certainly, some religious leaders have used religious faith for beneficial purposes, but at least as many have not.
Jay M. Donner
Christians Support Israel -- and Feel Its Pain
We were encouraged and moved by Jonathan Tobin's column, and the fact that he wrote that many Christians are not a threat to the Jewish people.
We have been living in Israel for almost 31/2 years to make a stand for what we believe the Lord wants Christians to do. We must not keep silent when we hear or read the negative reports and propaganda against the Jews and Israel.
There are many Christian believers who are willing to stand up and show our Jewish brothers and sisters that we love them, and feel their pain of being rejected and misunderstood by most of the world.
David & Marlene Ball
Garrison Also Motivated by Faith to Speak Out
Jonathan Tobin's column, "Revisiting the Power of Faith" (A Matter of Opinion, March 8), was the first piece he's written in years that I happen to fully agree with.
His insightful comments about the fervently religious drive that inspired William Wilberforce's anti-slavery position would apply in equal measure to William Lloyd Garrison, an acerbic-tongued journalist and fervent believer who faithfully fathered America's own abolition movement.
Miami Beach, Fla.
English Abolitionist Was Truly a Righteous Gentile
Thanks for the thoughtful review of "Amazing Grace" (A Matter of Opinion: "Revisiting the Power of Faith," March 8).
English abolitionist William Wilberforce was, within parliamentary boundaries, a zealot in the finest Torah tradition.
From a Torah perspective, he was a genuine ger toshav -- a righteous gentile -- one who fought for the application of the Laws of Noah without casting the struggle in those terms.
That represents the "know them by their works" test Judaism should apply to non-Jews.