Letters week of Jan. 29, 2009

For It All to Work, Both Parties Must Want Peace

In his call for U.S. leaders to bring about an Arab-Israeli peace, Steve Masters doesn't seem to understand that the Americans can produce nothing if one of the two parties to any treaty is unwilling to make peace ("Memos to President Obama," Jan. 15).

The fact is that neither Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah nor Hamas accept Israel as a Jewish state.

Both continue to promote incitement to hatred and violence against Jews and Israel in their schools, media and speeches; neither has arrested a single terrorist or put the State of Israel on their maps. The charters of Hamas and Fatah both call for Israel's destruction, while the Hamas one also calls for the genocide of the Jews.

And Masters should stop claiming that U.S. Jews support putting pressure on Israel to create a Palestinian state.

The American Jewish Committee 2007 survey shows that 58 percent of American Jews reject Israeli concessions concerning Jerusalem — something Palestinians always demand — even in the context of a signed permanent peace.

AJCommittee's 2006 survey showed that 81 percent of U.S. Jews believe that "the goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories, but rather the destruction of Israel."

In fact, a brand-new poll also shows that only 31 percent of Americans generally want a Palestinian state established, the rest having realized that this would be simply another Middle East terror state.

Morton A. Klein
National president
Zionist Organization of America
New York, N.Y.

Film Director's Comments Denigrate the Partisans

I had to write regarding Edward Zwick and his film "Defiance," discussed in the Jan. 15 issue of the Jewish Exponent.

Zwick gave an interview to the BBC on Jan. 6 in which he said many alarming things.

Making a movie about the Jewish partisans does not give a director the license to dishonor the memory of these brave individuals by equating them in any way to the Palestinians. By doing so, Zwick simply aids the BBC's never-ending media campaign against Israel.

It will probably rattle his left-wing misconceptions to add historical facts to such an equation. But it's a fact that when the Bielskis were fighting for survival, the leader of the Palestinians — the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Hussaini — was in Berlin visiting Hitler and preparing Muslim units to help carry out the "final solution."

The BBC has always been anti-Israel. It uses interviews with Jewish ethnic and religious dropouts, who may charitably be described as "media kapos."

Zwick also mentioned "Palestine." According to the Arabs, Palestine will be built on the grave of Israel and its Jewish citizens, among them descendants of the partisans.

Instead of honoring the partisans with his film "Defiance," Zwick has defamed their memory.

Daniel Levinson
Lambertville, N.J.

Rev. Warren Owes Torah Jews a Sincere Apology

Pastor Rick Warren's inclusion of the Torah verse of the Shema in his otherwise sectarian inaugural invocation (Cover story: "Jews Give All to Celebrating Obama," Jan. 22) was sheer hypocrisy.

Warren has likened same-sex marriage to incest, pedophilia and polygamy.

As a Bible-thumping preacher, is he not familiar with Holy Writ?

In the Torah, having more than one wife is not only acceptable, but quite common. Abraham and Moses were both bigamists. Jacob married sisters, and had children by both of them and their handmaidens. King David and King Solomon were robust polygamists! Yes, that King David — from whose seed the Messiah was to come.

Since, for many, the Torah is the eternal, unchanging word of God, clearly what was an acceptable practice for the Lord's chosen leaders — bigamy/polygamy — cannot be damnable for the rest of humanity, let alone be equated to incest, pedophilia or homosexual acts.

Secondly: as any biblical scholar will affirm, in Leviticus, the Torah condemns homosexual practices as a ritual — not a moral — transgression; in addition, as such, this prohibition was only intended to apply to the Holy Land.

Warren owes all Torah-true Jews an apology for his assault upon the moral validity of the Jewish Bible and devious misrepresentation of its tenets.

Stephen Arkan

Republication Coalition Is Not Nazism Reborn

Jews have been traumatized, with good reason, by the Holocaust. It may have occurred 65 years ago, but its ghost still controls the psyche of many of us. As a result, we tend to react against anyone on the right, especially fellow Jews who identify with Republican policies.

Although this fear is understandable, irrational reactions and policies that are it's product are no less problematic.

Anti-Semitism is much more prevalent on the fever swamp of the far left than on the right. The Christian right — i.e., Protestant fundamentalism — is not only not the modern equivalent of fascism, but rather the most ardent supporter of Israel in America.

As for the Republican Jewish Coalition, it is not the Jewish enforcer in Nazi extermination camps, but rather a group of fellow Jews who have broken with liberal dogma (Letters: "Defense of RJC: Long on Rhetoric, Short on Truth," Jan. 15).

Fear is the most dominant emotion in the human mind. It's time to stop letting it dominate the thoughts and actions of so many Jews.

Steve Heitner
Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.

Israel Must Let All Know What Attacks Are Like

Israel's incursion into Gaza was not surprising, given the rockets fired by Hamas. There is no doubt, however, that Israel has been perceived by many as overreacting.

Simply put, Israel should seek to publicize — on worldwide television and whenever possible — the loss of life, limb and property that has occurred in the Negev. Israel should also emphasize what it's like to live under the daily threat of rockets reaching more and more of its civilian population.

Walter J. Gershenfeld


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