Letters week of Nov. 20, 2008



Mazel Tov to Everyone for the Obama Victory

It was thrilling to read that, according to exit polls, almost four out of five Jewish voters chose Barack Obama in the presidential election (Cover story: "Obama Sweeps to Historic Victory," Nov. 6).

After all the attacks on the Democrats by the Republican Jewish Coalition and the false statements put forward attempting to depict Obama as someone who didn't support Israel, it is reassuring to know that American Jews were not stupid enough to fall for such nonsense.

Obama's victory not only goes some way towards an American atonement for the crimes committed against African-Americans in the past. It also gives us all a chance for a hopeful future with a new president.

Mazel tov, President-elect Obama. Mazel tov, American Jewry. Mazel tov, America!
Judy Rosen

Jewish Democrats Would 'Vote for Caligula's Horse'

I am appalled and bewildered that so many Jews could vote for a man who numbers among his closest friends and mentors the virulently anti-American and anti-Israel Rev. Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers and Rasheed Khalidi (Cover story: "Obama Sweeps to Historic Victory," Nov. 6).

British author Melanie Phillips was correct when she wrote that, to preserve their image as social liberals, American Jews "would vote for Caligula's horse if it ran on the Democratic ticket."

Shame on all of you!
Phyllis S. Rosenthal

Save Some Sympathy for Today's Real Live Jews

Mitchell Bard tries to give us some sense of what it must have felt like to have been a Jew in Germany during Kristallnacht (Opinions: "70 Years After: Real Meaning of Kristallnacht Becomes Clear," Nov. 6).

His intentions are commendable, and he is right to try to keep the memory of those horrors alive.

But it does no good to talk about how awful the Holocaust was, unless you draw the right conclusions from the discussion.

It is easy now, 70 years after the fact, to be sympathetic to the victimized Jews of Germany. But what about some sympathy or, even more important, some help for the Jews who are in danger today.

Just as Adolf Hitler told the world exactly what he was going to do in Mein Kampf, so, too, do the Islamic terrorists of Hamas, Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Fatah warn us about what they're planning to do to Israel and the six million Jews who live there.

But what do self-righteous American Jews do about it?

We whine about Israel embarrassing us with their rude insistence on defending themselves. And we make it clear to political candidates that we don't care much about their stands on Israel's future.

As long as that remains the case, I take all of our tears for the martyrs of the Holocaust with a big grain of salt.
Stanley Harris

Don't Give In to Fear Over Economic Downturn

Enough already! Please let us stop digging ourselves into a depression. We are a consumer economy. We buy — or we die. So let's get to the stores and start our holiday shopping before we make this our last holiday (Business & Finance: "Good News, Bad News …", Nov. 6).

Yes, 7 percent of our people are unemployed, but 93 percent are still working. Let's stop right now and think, instead of letting fear rule our decisions. Fear is what can destroy us. Remember the words of Franklin Roosevelt: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Washington doesn't know how to right this economy, but we do. Start buying again and make this country perk, then fire the eggheads in Washington who are floundering and shooting blanks.

We live in a great country. Support it. Get out to the stores and spend. That is the only medicine to correct this economy, create jobs, and make the market jump again.
Arthur Hill

Israel Should Stop Acting Like a Banana Republic

Israel is an independent country and should start acting like one (A Matter of Opinion: "They Will Decide Their Own Fate," Nov. 6).

Perhaps with the current financial crisis, the United States will no longer be able to funnel money to Israel to keep the corrupt government there solvent. Maybe Israel will then stand up and stop behaving like a banana republic.

Israel has enough economic strength that it can stand up on its own.
J. Bialik

Six-Day War Was Not a Pre-Emptive Strike
Jonathan Tobin got it mostly right about Israeli decision-making (A Matter of Opinion: "They Will Decide Their Own Fate," Nov. 6) — except when it came to who started the Six-Day War.

It is often repeated, but it is always wrong to assert, that Israel started a pre-emptive war.

False! Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran, effectively stopping all commerce with Asia and East Africa, strangling Israel economically — a definite act of war by any international law.
Albert Reingewirtz

Oslo Taught Israelis Not to Trust Palestinians

We should not knock Oslo or President Clinton's promotion of it too much, as Jonathan Tobin has done (A Matter of Opinion: "They Will Decide Their Own Fate," Nov. 6). Clinton didn't do anything that the Israelis didn't want to do themselves.

As it turned out, Oslo woke up a lot of people. Eighteen years ago, the Israeli sentiment in favor of withdrawal from the West Bank and talking to the PLO unconditionally was very strong.

Today, far fewer Israelis think that any good will come of talking to the Palestinians. Oslo hardened a lot of Israeli hearts and stiffened the nation's resolve.

Whether that resolve will hold in the future remains to be seen. However, without the lessons learned from Oslo, it wouldn't be there at all.
Lawrence M. Reisman
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Israel Needs Someone Who Will Say 'Yes'

It is true enough that Israel or its prime minister can always say "no" to the United States (A Matter of Opinion: "They Will Decide Their Own Fate," Nov. 6).

But when it comes to helping Israel over something as important as taking out Iran's nuclear project, it would be helpful to have an American president who would say "yes."
Rafi Schutzer
Jerusalem, Israel


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