Letters week of May 22, 2008



Entire Community Needs to Honor Their Memories 
On Sunday, May 4, I attended the annual memorial ceremony for the Six Million Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust at Congregation Rodeph Shalom (City & Suburb: "After 63 Years, Question Remains: 'How Could This Have Happened?' " May 8).

As always, the program was very moving, and the keynote speaker Mark Talisman was outstanding.

As the Jewish Exponent's editorial the week before the ceremony stated, the number of survivors of the Holocaust is indeed shrinking.

It's important that the knowledge of what took place be passed on. I hope this will be done, not just by the families of the survivors, but by our community leaders and their families as well. 
Frank Brodsky 

Even Israelis Don't Win Wars by Being Boy Scouts 
Thanks for Jonathan Tobin's piece on Israel's 60th anniversary (A Matter of Opinion: "Still Fighting the Same War," May 8).

For many years, Israel had a policy of rewriting the history of 1948 to state that it fought like Boy Scouts.

Unfortunately, Israel fought the first intifada under extensive media coverage, and the truth about war came to light. Israel's rewriting of its prior history came back to haunt it. It led people to think that if Israel had won in 1948 (and 1956, 1967 and 1973) by being Boy Scouts, why not in 1988?

At the same time, the new historians — Benny Morris among them — were examining historical records and found that the official history wasn't necessarily the real one.

This caused a major crisis in the Israeli psyche.

Israelis are still learning that no one has ever won a war without getting nasty at least some of the time — and no one ever will. 
Lawrence M. Reisman 
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Why Do Israelis Not Talk About Jewish Refugees? 
I enjoyed reading Jonathan Tobin's column about 1948 (A Matter of Opinion: "Still Fighting the Same War," May 8).

In it, he writes that historian Benny Morris "also points out something in his conclusion that even the Israeli government is often reluctant to say: that there were two sets of refugees created by the war since nearly as many Jews were forced to flee from Arab countries as Arabs who fled from Israel."

My question, though, is simply why? Why is it always some fringe group that brings up Jewish refugees from Arab nations? Why are the Arab refugees, of the more than 100 million refugees of the 20th century, the only ones not resettled?

Why does the Israeli government not bring up the issue of compensation for Jewish refugees? 
Moshe Poupko 

No Hiding the Fact That Israel Has Mortal Enemies 
Considering Jeffrey Goldberg's history of having left Israel and his rhetoric, he is surely no friend of Israel (A Matter of Opinion: "Still Fighting the Same War," May 8).

Yet even he cannot hide the fact that we have mortal enemies in the Palestinians and in all Arab countries, including those with whom Israel has a tense peace.

They are only biding their time before they destroy us — if they can.

Faced with these facts and still acting the way they do, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have much to answer for. 
Dov Trietsch 

Whitewash of Discredited Author a Real Disgrace 
I usually have deep respect for Jonathan Tobin's columns. But not his piece timed for Israel's 60th birthday (A Matter of Opinion: "Still Fighting the Same War," May 8).

Tobin's whitewash of the damage done to Israel and Zionism by Benny Morris, father of the "new historians," saddens me.

Morris' lies and distortions were exposed in Fabricating Israeli History by scholar Efraim Karsh, a devastating book that thoroughly debunked the "new historians."

His "work" gave impetus and legitimacy to the entire "revisionist history" industry, obsessed with its boundless hatred of Israel and the Jews, including Holocaust denial.

Yet ideologues like Morris can get exposed for his lies about Israel and and still get almost universal praise for their work. What a disgrace! 
Stanley Harris 

Orthodox and Secularists Have Both Done Damage 
Israel needs more common-sense advice, such as that offered by Michael Oren (Opinions: "Continuing the 60-Year Search for a National Identity," May 8).

The rabbinate has done so much to discredit Judaism in the eyes of most Israelis. The ultra-Orthodox exploit the system while giving nothing back to society. At the same time, their rabbis harass everyone else via their control of marriage and divorce.

Yet radical secularists have also done a great deal of damage to the country's sense of patriotism by denigrating Judaism.

Without Judaism, there is no point to staying in Israel and putting up with everything that comes with it. Like it or not, the Jewish people must work together to continue to build the Jewish state.

The alternative isn't pleasant to contemplate. 
M. Goldberg 

Americans Can't Be More Zionist Than the Israelis 
Kudos to Andrew Silow- Carroll for speaking up for allowing a little pluralism into American Jewish life (Opinions: "There's More Than One Definition of Being 'Pro-Israel,' " May 1).

Whether or not the new J Street Lobby accomplishes anything — and given the dismal prospects for peace, I doubt it — there has to be room in Washington, D.C., for another group besides AIPAC.

I, for one, am sick and tired of American Jews trying to be more Zionist than the prime minister of Israel. As Silow-Carroll demonstrated, that's a stance that all too many of our designated "leaders" have foolishly attempted to do. 
D. Levine 


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