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Letters week of May 14, 2009

May 14, 2009
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The Problem Is How You Define a 'Just Peace'

I write in strong opposition to the letter from Susan Landau of the Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace ("A Jewish Activist Calls for Peace and Justice," May 7).

The very name of this group implies that those of us who do not agree with it do not believe in a just peace.

That's absurd! I do not agree with her naive and self-destructive point of view, but do agree that a just peace is not only needed but is critical.

It's obvious to me that finding such a peace is a two-way process. It will only be found if there are strong forces on the Palestinian side who are willing to accept certain preconditions and realities.

It was Israel that was attacked in 1948 when a two-state solution was proposed by the United Nations. The West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands until 1967. Why was there no two-state solution proposed then?

Years later, when Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt, we all hoped for a lasting peace; a "cold" one came instead.

More recently, Israel pulled out of Lebanon and Gaza. It was seen as weakness and defeat for Israel, and certainly not a step toward peace by the Palestinians.

It will only be when Israel's neighbors accept it as a Jewish state and agree to treaties guaranteeing security that Israel will be able to let its guard down. Until then, it is imperative that Israel does whatever is needed to survive.

We know who we are as Jews, and we continue to identify with those who suffer everywhere.

This does not negate the fact that we must ensure Jewish survival and continuity in the land of Israel.

Roland Turk
Melrose Park


Has This Group Ever Spoken in Favor of Israel?

I'd be interested to know if Susan Landau's group, Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace, ever demonstrated for peace for Jews (Letters: "A Jewish Activist Calls for Peace and Justice," May 7).

Aside from criticizing everything possible about Israel and complaining about events that happened 60 years ago (with only the Arab version repeated), did this group ever write letters to the Arab community telling them to stop attacks on Israel?

Did its members ever protest the unending vilification of Jews in Arab schools -- and in their texts, maps, mosques and media? Did they object to Jews being called the descendants of "pigs and monkeys"?

Landau proudly proclaims that her group picketed the Israeli film festival, but have they ever rallied against the hate-filled Arab film festivals? Did they demand Islamic anti-Jewish propaganda be stopped? Did they publicly call for the end of rocket fire into Israel?

Did they call for the return of Gilad Shalit after three years of incommunicado imprisonment? Did they protest when the Arabs destroyed state-of-the-art greenhouses bought for them with $14 million of Jewish money? The list goes on.

Paying lip service to "peace" by adopting a self-aggrandizing title is meaningless when your version of "peace" only works one way.

Roberta E. Dzubow
Plymouth Meeting


Learning From Prophets to Fight Against Injustice

I was touched by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin's May 7 Torah portion stating that the ideal Jewish leader is one who can relate to the common people.

To me, this model should also encompass a social-justice element for common people.

Civil War-era Rabbi David Einhorn of Baltimore, who was a staunch Unionist and abolitionist, expressed this principle when he stated that it "is the duty of the Jews to fight bigotry since, for thousands of years, Jews have been consciously or unconsciously fighting for freedom of conscience."

Approximately a century later, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., explaining: "I've learned from the prophets that I have to be involved in the affairs of man, in the affairs of suffering man."

As a famous biblical teaching states: "You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him for you were strangers yourselves in the land of Egypt." These standards must be central in assessing Jewish leadership.

Nathan Weissler
Chevy Chase, Md.


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