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Letters week of Nov. 13, 2008
Paper Should Reflect Community's Political Bias
The poll results reported in your pre-election story about the presidential election (Cover story: "Obama Makes Big Gains With Jewish Voters," Oct. 30) was a breath of fresh air amid all the painful attempts at your newspaper to present "balanced" coverage of the race between Barack Obama and John McCain.
I, for one, am tired of op-ed pages balanced between Republicans and Democrats, and other devices which, while technically fair, still present the Jewish community with a distorted picture of reality.
The vast majority of Jews are Democrats and supported Obama. Your pages should reflect that and relegate stories about Republicans, or putting forward their point of view, to the margins where they belong.
There's Nothing Illiberal in Decrying Anti-Semitism
Rabbi Jack Moline's letter to the editor criticized the film "Obsession" for the way it demonized Muslims (Letters: "Film Distorts Reality About Peaceful Muslims," Oct. 30).
But one need only go to the Web sites of the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee or Palestinian Media Watch to confirm that anti-Semitism in the Arab world and Iran is the most menacing form of hostility toward Jews that exists in the world today. It has become thoroughly embedded in the body politic of Islam.
Anti-Semitic discourse is prevalent in the speeches of Arab government officials, rampant in religious sermons, in radio broadcasts, on Islamic Web sites, and has a massive presence in cartoons published across the Arab world. Such visual depictions deform and dehumanize Jews, who are continually presented as dirty, hook-nosed, money-grubbing, vindictive, scheming and cruel individuals.
Far from being a bigoted propaganda tool, the film "Obsession" -- in its dramatic, yet entirely accurate, exposé of rank Jew-hatred -- is more like a modern-day version of the outrage expressed in Emile Zola's "J'accuse" letter that responded to the injustice of the Dreyfus Affair.
I continue to hope that so-called progressives in the Jewish world, like Rabbi Moline, will learn that speaking loudly and righteously in defense of Jews, who are maligned and demonized, is entirely consistent with the most cherished liberal values.
Something Very Bad May Lead to Something Good
I agree with Rabbi Richard Hirsh's commentary on the Torah (Religion & Ethics: "In Genesis, Field Takes Precedence Over City," Oct. 30). Parshat Noah teaches that bad may ultimately lead to good.
There is a Talmudic ethic taught by Rabbi Shimon Ben Elazar which states that, sometimes, destruction is necessary for goodness ultimately to prevail.
In parshat Noah, this ethic was showcased when God sent the great flood that destroyed the world. While the flood might have been unduly harsh, it ultimately led to God's covenant with Abraham.
We need to apply the principle that good may result from bad to our constant struggle to repair the world.
Chevy Chase, Md.
Not Funny at All; Mason's a Bagel-Breath Bigot
Michael Elkin's column whitewashing Jackie Mason (Arts & Entertainment: "Politics as Unusual," Oct. 30) was malicious agitprop.
Putting the "oy" in Sheboygan (his hometown), Mason has also shown himself, in print, to be a religious bigot, in his broad-brush condemnation of Islam.
The bottom line is that the alte kocker Mason is little more than a dreykop, bagel-breath Louis Farrakhan.
Bush Totally Mistaken About Abbas, Iran, Iraq
Regarding the early and continuing support George Bush has shown for Mahmoud Abbas, Jonathan Tobin is dead right (A Matter of Opinion: "Was He Wrong About Everything?" Oct. 30). Abbas, the architect of compromise at Oslo, was in a position to close the deal with Israel after succeeding Yasser Arafat. But he chose instead to compromise with Hamas.
As to what Tobin describes as the "apocalyptic" Iranian nuclear threat, it is quite true that Israel has received, and can expect to continue to receive, little backing from Europe or the United States in confronting Iran.
But, ironically, the main threat is likely not so much to Israel as to those who would hang Israel out to dry. For the foreseeable future, the "nuclear threat" likely involves a relatively primitive device that would be more suited as a weapon for terrorists than military use.
The real threat of an Iranian bomb is precisely to those countries preferring trade over sanctions: the United States and the European Union.
Intifada Blame Belongs to Clinton, Not Bush
Concerning Jonathan Tobin's column about President Bush and Israel (A Matter of Opinion: "Was He Wrong About Everything?" Oct. 30), I have always thought that the Palestinian intifada was basically the direct consequence of President Clinton's concessions to Yasser Arafat.
Yes! Bush Really Was Wrong About Everything
In response to Jonathan Tobin's question as to whether "everything" President Bush did was wrong (A Matter of Opinion: "Was He Wrong About Everything?" Oct. 30), I have a one-word response: Yes!