Letters week of Oct. 16, 2008



Palin Should Not Have Been Invited to Iran Rally

I read Jonathan Tobin's column on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to New York with great interest and, for the most part, agreed with him — except for his comments about the rally (A Matter of Opinion: "Ahmadinejad Isn't Too Impressed," Oct. 2).

The Republicans could have sent any one of their well-known senators who are steeped in foreign relations to attend the anti-Iran rally in New York. However, they decided to politicize the event for their own very transparent purposes.

If the situation were reversed and a well-known Republican senator (obviously not McCain) had been designated to represent them at the rally, and then the Democrats had sent their vice presidential candidate Joe Biden — or as you suggested, Barack Obama — the Republicans would have screamed bloody murder — and rightfully so.

The politics of the presidential race have no business being used at this rally, and the committee running it should have known better than to invite Gov. Sarah Palin.

So the real blame lies with either the Republican party or the committee that organized the rally and not with the Democrats.

But, like Tobin, I also would have liked to have seen a full condemnation of Ahmadinejad and the policies of the Iranian government and its leaders, both at the United Nations and at the rally.
Fred Ulitsky

Media Failed to Point Out the Truth About Iran

Jonathan Tobin's take on the reception accorded Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was very well put (A Matter of Opinion: "Ahmadinejad Isn't Too Impressed," Oct. 2).

Until and if the half-wits at the newspapers and cable stations come to their senses, we're in for a tough time trying to convince the Quakers and their fellow travelers who hosted Ahmadinejad at a dinner that the Iranian is another Hitler.

If President Bush had any guts, he'd be pushing this at a news conference every night. But he's too busy planning his library upon his departure.
Glen Simon

Republicans Can Only Win By Smears and Lies

The Jewish Exponent has been publishing a series of expensive, full-page advertisements paid for by Republican organizations, either smearing Barack Obama with lies or citing old quotes from noted Democrats dating back to when Sen. John McCain was indeed a "maverick" in the Senate, which unfortunately is no longer the case.

Since being beaten by Karl Rove's antics in the 2000 presidential race, McCain has learned Rove's lessons — use smears and lies and hope that some of them stick. I guess McCain realizes he cannot win the presidency by promoting his own failed thoughts, plans and ideas.
Robert Hirsch
Blue Bell

Voters Need to Know Facts About Obama

Douglas Bloomfield complains of smears of his candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, yet fails to address legitimate concerns of those committed to a sovereign, independent, militarily strong Jewish state of Israel (Opinions: "Don't Fall for the Extreme Anti-Obama Smear Campaign," Oct. 2).

Obama has said that Hamas and Hezbollah, funded and armed by Iran, have "legitimate claims" (this was published in The New York Times on May 16).

Moreover, what Bloomfield calls "innuendo, lies and fear" about Obama are verified facts: his seeking the advice of Jimmy Carter's consistently anti-Israel adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and the advice of others with similar points of view; his relationship with a Chicago church and with a pastor known for anti-American and anti-Israel advocacy; his decade-long relationship with "pro-Palestinian leaders in Chicago," among them, the Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi.

These are relevant facts that voters need to know.
Bob Guzzardi
Bryn Mawr

Stop Parading Religion When Running for Office

Abraham Foxman is right on target with his criticism of the way politicians parade their religion to voters (Opinions: "Take the Focus Off Question of Faith During Election Season," Oct. 2).

Particularly appalling was the candidates' forum sponsored by the Rev. Rick Warren, during which both John McCain and Barack Obama were asked about their "relationship with Jesus."

Foxman is exactly right when he says that this event may have "been good politics, but it is not healthy for our nation."

Our democracy has no state religion, and our Constitution allows no religious test to qualify for public office. Yet, the two major parties have acted as if a candidate who didn't talk about his Christian faith was somehow illegitimate.

Such a trend bodes ill for our freedoms.
Michael Bloom

No Way to Drive Faith Out of the Public Square

The Anti-Defamation League's Abraham Foxman thinks politicians should keep their religious beliefs to themselves when running for office (Opinions: "Take the Focus Off Question of Faith During Election Season," Oct. 2).

Foxman is right to oppose efforts to divide us along sectarian lines. But for most Americans, knowing that a man or woman who seeks their trust and their vote does happen to be a person of faith is a testament to their character.

Jewish history, as well as our status as a small minority, has caused many Jews to wish to drive religion from the public square. Yet, the role of religion in American politics has often been a force for good, not prejudice.

Can anyone imagine how the civil rights movement would have succeeded without the powerful part that churches played in that struggle?

It is long past time for Jewish leaders to stop behaving as if it were possible to pretend that America is not a country of religious believers whose faith has, more often than not, helped impel them to righteousness, not evil.
J. Siegel


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