Letters week of Jan. 31, 2008



Stressing Over Past Bias: It's a Futile Exercise

Bertha Chirlin Roth's letter "Another Local Resident Declined Christian Bible" merits a reply (Letters, Jan. 17).

What is it you would have had Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts reply to you when you wrote him of the religious intolerance you experienced in school 69 years ago?

Would a written apology from him have sufficed?

Would it have lessened the trauma you experienced so long ago had this man told you how sorry he was for that which you had to endure?

I, too, have memories of anti-Semitic incidents from my childhood, as I surmise do many Jewish Exponent readers.

However, it is the present that we must be concerned with, and the threat that is apparent today. An unfortunate and truly devastating experience from years past cannot be changed or rectified by an apology from someone not involved.

Let us move forward and combat the problems that we have today.
Gloria LaSalvia
Elkins Park


Many Feel Strongly About an Undivided Jerusalem
The Jewish Exponent featured a front-page picture of a protest against the division of Jerusalem as part of any peace agreement (Cover story: "Israel Awaits Bush Visit, Jittery Over Jerusalem," Jan. 10).

The caption described the participants as "right-wingers," thus suggesting that only a peripheral minority opposes the division of Jerusalem.

In fact, polls taken independently by both Yediot Achronot (63 percent) and The Jerusalem Post (66 percent) demonstrate that a very substantial majority of Israelis oppose any division of the city.

A unified Jerusalem has been an integral component of the Jewish agenda for several thousand years, and there is no compelling reason to abandon that goal at this time.
Steven Asher
Merion Station


Master Politician Olmert Won't Say 'No' to Bush
I have some points to add to Jonathan Tobin's column on the current situation (A Matter of Opinion: "Olmert Can Always Say 'No,' " Jan. 17).

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert could have done many things. He could have pointed out that Jews were driven out of the Old City in the 1948 War of Independence, and that, in violation of the truce, Jews were denied access to Mount Scopus and the Western Wall.

He could have pointed out that every synagogue in the Old City was systematically destroyed, and their stones used for paving roads and latrines.

Olmert will not say "no" to Bush, since he has already gone too far. He's already indicated that he will not resign when the Winograd Report on the Second Lebanon War is published, no matter what its contents.

Olmert has proved to be one of Israel's all-time master politicians, and yet is stubbornly and arrogantly marching toward a dead-end, no-exit mirage. Should he survive the reports, indictments and public opinion, he'll have almost another two years to wreak havoc.
Reuven Zasler
Karmiel, Israel


U.S. Pressure on Israel Recalls Pre-WWII Actions
Thanks for Jonathan Tobin's analysis of the talks between President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (A Matter of Opinion: "Olmert Can Always Say 'No,' " Jan. 17)

Though I have been a strong backer of President Bush on most matters and believe that Olmert is a disaster, it still appears to me that the Israelis are getting badly pressured by the president.

I am shocked and appalled by what Bush is now doing and saying. The closest analogy I can come up with is that he's playing the role of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain prior to the Second World War.

Under pressure from Hitler — and to have "peace in our time" — he appeased the Nazis and went along with their taking over the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

The hapless and weak Czechs were forced to go along after a conference in Munich. Once Hitler marched in to the Sudetenland, it was easy for him to swallow the rest of country, which he did promptly. Britain soon had war forced upon it anyway.

What is being pushed by the president is dangerous and reckless. It is nothing but the Saudi plan for the annihilation of Israel and the Jews there.
Dr. Phillip F. Myers
World War II Historical Society
Coconut Creek, Fla.


Leaders Deserve Credit for Trying to Make Peace
Jonathan Tobin asserts that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's willingness to go along with further peace talks is not based on pressure from President Bush, but something that he is doing of his own free will (A Matter of Opinion: "Olmert Can Always Say 'No,' " Jan. 17).

But whether or not Bush is the prime author of this scenario, Olmert's evaluation of the situation is clearly correct.

Israel needs peace. As in the past, it may ultimately be disappointed by the Palestinians. But Olmert's duty is to pursue any chance of it being accomplished. Bush's duty is the same.

Rather than arguing about which of the two should take the blame for the next round of negotiations, we should acknowledge that both deserve credit for trying.
S. Shapiro


He's Only Indicting the Global Islamist Movement

The article on the International Institute of Islamic Thought and the proposed endowment to Temple University (Cover story: "Temple University: Lost Chair by Sitting on Fence," Jan. 10) quotes me saying: "We are talking about Saudi money … we are talking about a particular worldview that does not recognize the multiplicity of currents within Islam. … It is very exclusionary. They teach that there is only one way to talk about Islam."

I should like to clarify that my remarks concerned the financing and ideology of the global Islamist movement, and not International Institute of Islamic Thought, per se, as the article appears to suggest.
R. John Matthies
Islamist Watch


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