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Letters week of Oct. 5, 2006
No 'Buts' About It, Dems Give Israel Their Support
Scott Savett claims that Sen. Rick Santorum and other Republicans "unequivocally back Israel," while Democrats "come out with a rare statement supporting Israel -- and that statement is always accompanied by a 'but' " (Letters: "Out Front and Vocal: Republicans Rise to Top," Sept. 14).
Democrat Bob Casey is Santorum's opponent for the Senate seat. About Israel, Casey has said that "the United States must use its power and resources to fight terrorism and other threats to Israel, pressure Syria to halt its support of terrorism, prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and support Israel in the peace process."
I don't hear any "buts" in that statement. Casey met with Israeli leaders, such as former premier Ehud Olmert, on his trip to Israel last November.
Casey also insists that the United States must maintain a separation of church and state, and resist the encroachment of religion into the classroom and government services.
I wonder where Santorum stands on that and other issues of concern to the Jewish community. Do I hear a "but" from him in there somewhere?
GOP Has Its Facts Right in Ads About Democrats
Sheila Rosenblum accused the RJC of using "selective and manipulative information" in ads that underscore the significant support Republicans have demonstrated for Israel versus the Democratic Party (Letters: "Support for Israeli: It's Beyond Bipartisan," Sept. 21).
Ms. Rosenblum has her facts wrong. The NBC/WSJ poll referenced in certain ads was published on July 26 -- not July 6, as she alleged. This was well after Hezbollah attacked Israel.
A faction once considered relegated to the radical left -- and which has demonstrated antipathy toward Israel and indifference to anti-Semitism -- is gaining control of the Democratic Party.
Now, more than ever, it's time for the Jewish community to ask itself: Does the Democratic Party still represent you?
Scott M. Feigelstein
Director Republican Jewish Coalition
Pennsylvania/South New Jersey
Pre-9/11 Security Steps: Not Possible in This Case
It's good to have someone say that President Bush could not have implemented -- before 9/11 -- the type of security and intelligence required to fight terrorism (A Matter of Opinion: "Clear and Present Danger Ahead," Sept. 14).
People forget that at the time, Bush was beleaguered by Democrats claiming that he stole the election and other such calumnies. Even if Bush had thought about it, such steps were out of the question.
Either way, he was handcuffed.
Rockaway Township, N.J.
Shutting Up When Mobs Cry for Blood Won't Work
The pope's remarks about Israel gave me the first reason since he got the job to think of him in positive terms (Editorial: "Who Should Apologize?" Sept. 21). Not that I'd thought of him in negative terms -- just hadn't thought of him much at all.
Your editorial's point is exactly the basis of the world's real problem with Islam -- we just don't want to be blown up, so we'll just shut up and put up.
Remember when CNN broadcast the Palestinian reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks? Most people won't, because it was shown briefly and never repeated, unlike everything else about that tragic day.
The apologies that are quickly doled out after some in the Muslim and Arab world claim to be insulted makes it look like we do fear fear itself.
But now that even the pope has been forced to back down, my question is: Now what?
Michele Solomon Fryncko
New Kensington, Pa.
Lauding the Intermarried: It's the Right Thing to Do
We believe that a key to the growth and vitality of the Jewish community is interfaith families deciding to raise their children Jewish. But for interfaith families to make this choice, they need to be encouraged, welcomed and even occasionally thanked.
That's why it was so wonderful to read about honoring non-Jews during High Holiday services (Cover story: "The Way to the Bimah," Sept. 21).
Non-Jews who decide to embrace the Jewish community and raise their children as Jewish are making a significant personal choice; they are choosing to sacrifice the passing on of their own religion for the sake of their partner's religion, and for the sake of the Jewish community at large.
As Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, has said and written numerous times, they are "heroes" of Jewish life. It is great to see that a growing number of congregations throughout the country agree with him.
Online managing editor
President and publisher
Newton Upper Falls, Mass.
FDR Policies Kept Jews Out of the United States
In reviewing a new book about Czech Jews trying to flee Hitler in the late 1930s, Robert Leiter describes their "frantic search for an escape hatch," and quotes the work's compilers concerning the extreme difficulty their relatives encountered trying to reach American shores because of the quota system (Books & Writers: " 'New and Extraordinary Circumstances,' " Sept. 7).
The horrific irony, however, is that even the existing quotas were almost never filled, as it was the Roosevelt administration's policy to "postpone and postpone and postpone" (in the words of one senior State Department official) granting visas to would-be immigrants.
During the years that the Nazis were slaughtering European Jews (1941-1945), nearly 190,000 quota places from Axis-controlled countries sat unused. Thus, 190,000 lives could have been saved without liberalizing the immigration quotas in the slightest had the president shown even a minimal amount of humanitarian interest in their plight.
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies