Letters Week of April 4, 2013


Letters this week consider what constitutes relevant dialogue in the political arena and whether or not the Israelis were the original Mujahedin.


Letter Was Not Example of Relevant Dialogue
I wanted to respond to Edward Moses’s March 21 letter about President Barack Obama being a polarizing president. I’m all in favor of fact-based, respectful and relevant dialogue. However, I don’t understand how his statement that President “Obama is playing tiddly winks with the ‘1 percent’ ” is supposed to be an erudite, respectful, mature argument for or against any of the president’s policies. Furthermore, his sarcastic statement that “Current Republicans at the national level know all about respecting the views of others” shows an incredible lack of respect.
Mr. Moses should study history. It was a Republican President (Lincoln) who issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln also countermanded General (later President) Ulysses S. Grant’s order immediately expelling all Jews from all territories “liberated” by the armies of the United States.
Further study will reveal that Democratic President Obama’s unwillingness or inability to present a balanced budget is quite different than President Harry Truman’s ability to present a balanced budget and to run the government, with a surplus. Keep in mind that Truman was a Democrat. This surplus directly led to the unprecedented economic boom during the two terms of the Eisenhower administration.
So, Mr. Moses, if you would like to have a dialogue, by all means do so. But discuss facts, and do so respectfully. The old commercial for Wendy’s hamburgers is very relevant here. Mr. Moses — “Where’s the beef?” Remember, Mr. Moses (and the others who agree with him), there is a difference between “dialogue” and “diatribe.”
Harold S. Rose | Narberth
Israelis as the Original Mujahedin?
Rabbi Adam Zeff’s Nov. 29 Torah portion, “Who is Israel? He is God-Wrestler,” recounted the Genesis 32 story of Jacob’s encounter at the Jabbok River, in which the patriarch was given the transformational name of Israel.
Zeff comments: “The name Israel is thus given its own etymology in the Torah: one who strives with God and human beings. In a neat turn of phrase, Rabbi Arthur Waskow translates Israel as ‘God-wrestler.’ Jacob has known struggle throughout his life, contention with other human beings … .”
The Arabic word for “striving/struggling” is “jihad.” It is interesting to note that in the Bible Society (Protestant) 1963 translation of the Bible into Arabic, that is the word used to render this name.
Thus, linguistically, in the Biblical context, it would seem that Israel = Jihad. Which would, literally, mean that the “sons of Israel,” or Israelites, were the original Mujahedin, the first Jihadis!
Or should that be Jewhadis?
R.D. Amadeus | Alexandria, Va.


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