Letters week of Jan. 10, 2008

Evangelicals Remain Our Foes, Not Our Friends

We read with much distress your editorial "Evangelicals Step Up," which discussed the contributions of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews to the Jewish Agency (Editorial, Dec. 27).

Evangelicals are no friends of the Jewish people. To believe that they are does a disservice not just to Jews, but to all those who care about democracy and religious freedom.

The Christian right ultimately believes that this country should be ruled by Christian religious beliefs. They also seek the conversion of Jews to Christianity.

We need to examine the real motives of the evangelical movement before we lavish praise upon its constituents.

Jill and Howard Zipin

Don't Forget Two Other Troubling Advisers!

In your long list of foreign-policy advisers to the presidential candidates (Cover story: "The Names Behind the Faces in the Bid for Chief," Dec. 27), it seems there were two important omissions.

According to The Washington Post and other sources, Strobe Talbott is helping U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton as an "informal" advisor.

Talbott has quite a record of anti-Israel writings, including stating that Israel is "an outright liability to American security interests"; that the United States should have a "sustained and less symbolic" show of "displeasure" against Israel, such as a reduction in military aid for the Jewish state; and has said that the United States should "interfere" in internal Israeli politics, accusing Israel of "interfering skillfully and successfully in U.S. politics for decades."

It was only later during Senate confirmation hearings — when he was nominated to be Deputy Secretary of State by President Clinton — that Talbott sought to distance himself from his own rhetoric.

Meanwhile, in the John Edwards camp, his national campaign chairman is former Congressman David Bonior.

While Bonior served in the House, he was frequently antagonistic toward Israel, and was even named to a pro-Arab group's "hall of fame" for his anti-Israel voting record.

Should either Talbott or Bonior be influential in the next president's foreign-policy decisions, it could further weaken the critical relationship between America and Israel.

Dr. Michael Goldblatt
Huntingdon Valley

Sad Commentary on the State of Liberalism Today

Jonathan Tobin's column on the demise of the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democratic Party, as evidenced by Sen. Joseph Lieberman's endorsement of John McCain, was a great piece of journalism (A Matter of Opinion: "Party's Over for the Last of His Kind," Dec. 27).

And yet, it is a very sad commentary on the diminishing will of the American political system, as well as an alarming observation on the state of liberalism and foreign policy.

Sam Katz

Wake Up! The Lieberman Democrats Are Long Gone

I strongly disagree with Jonathan Tobin that the Jimmy Carter wing of the Democratic Party is just a little more significant than the Pat Buchanan wing of the Republican Party (A Matter of Opinion: "Party's Over for the Last of His Kind," Dec. 27).

The difference in influence between these two groups of extremists is enormous.

Buchanan is not even a Republican anymore by any definition I'm aware of. He is an isolationist who is against free trade. By contrast, the Carter Democrats are quite numerous.

Jews are still voting for who they think are Lieberman Democrats, even though the Democratic Party is no longer anything like the group it used to be. Jews are among the most misinformed voters in our country.

Lee Tabin
Highland Park, Ill.

Elderly Jews: Not the Only Ones Misled by Ballot

I must quibble with Jonathan Tobin's comment about the "few hundred befuddled elderly Jews" who he says voted for Pat Buchanan, rather than for Al Gore and Joseph Lieberman, because of the "butterfly" ballot (A Matter of Opinion: "Party's Over for the Last of His Kind," Dec. 27).

As a 45-year-old resident of Palm Beach County, I know people of an assortment of ages and religions who may have voted for the wrong candidate in the 2000 election.

I was saddened to read this stereotype, especially in a Jewish publication.

Lois Solomon
Boca Raton, Fla.

Gun-Control Efforts Fulfill Mission to Save Lives

The letters regarding the Dec. 13 story in the Jewish Exponent about the highly admirable efforts of Lynn Honickman to reduce gun violence are typical of the obfuscation that bedevils this issue.

As Dr. Yosef Morgan (Letters: "Statement on Guns: More Fiction Than Fact," Dec. 27) and Mike Silverman ("Gun-Control Advocates Miss the Point on Crime") surely know, the pending Pennsylvania legislation would do nothing to "restrict gun-ownership rights" of any "law-abiding" person.

While the intent of the drafters of the Constitution remains the subject of considerable debate, no reasonable person claims that there is a right to unfettered gun ownership.

Furthermore, I suggest critics of Honickman's assertion about the ease in which someone (as long as they are "law-abiding") can purchase multiple weapons at once in Pennsylvania speak with law-enforcement agencies.

There is only one reason for multiple purchases of handguns: for the illegal resale to individuals who, because of criminal records, cannot buy guns from a licensed dealer.

As a Jew, I must take strong objection to Morgan's contention that, one day, our "only means of realizing a prayer to God for help is via the guns you have and your skill with them."

I firmly believe that organizations like CeaseFire PA, the PATH Coalition and Honickman's Moms Against Guns are carrying out our Jewish imperative to save lives.

Burt Siegel
Jewish Community Relations Council


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