Letters week of May 24, 2007



WHYY: BBC Bias Against Israel Isn't Our Issue

In your recent editorial, you express the opinion that no NPR affiliate should air BBC news reports ("No Excuse for Brit Bias," April 26, 2007).

As part of one such affiliate, I forwarded a copy of the piece to the BBC, to which they wrote:

"BBC News takes great pains to present as many views of the situation in the Middle East as possible from a cross-section of opinion, including Israeli Jews, Palestinians, their political representatives, as well as those from the wider Middle East region, Europe and the United States.

"BBC News is well aware of its responsibilities — both to our listeners, and to ourselves as professionals. We are constantly reviewing our Middle East coverage, and are in ongoing discussion with our very experienced team in the region who are well aware of the sensitivity of some of the words and phrases they must employ.

"It is a challenge for our journalists to bring this issue to our screens and airwaves every day — not only for the considerable personal risks they continually undertake to do their work — but we believe that we get the balance right and strike to present an impartial and objective viewpoint."

WHYY, Philadelphia's leading NPR affiliate, is one of many stations that broadcasts BBC news programming.

We do so because we believe that our audiences should be exposed to a variety of news and information from diverse sources. We do not exclude or include news reports because we agree or disagree with the information.

We believe it's important to hear all sides of a story. It is only through listening to a full range of opinion that audiences can understand complex issues and world events.

We provide this service through several means, including the BBC, NPR, Public Radio International (PRI) and American Public Media (APM).

In line with our mission, WHYY provides our audiences with contextual, perspective-driven, journalistic content that examines, exposes and celebrates the issues, events and people that drive life in our region, across the nation and around the world.
Christine Dempsey
Director of Radio Programming, WHYY


Sandy's Too Old to Pitch, but Not That Old!

To me too, it seems that it was just yesterday that Sandy Koufax was leading the Dodgers to the World Series.

But it wasn't, and Sandy is not 62, as the news brief about his being "drafted" in the Israel Baseball League's inaugural draft (Nation & World, In Short, May 3).

I figured this out because I am 62, and I was not pitching at 10 years old — the age I was in 1955 when Sandy started pitching.

You can look it up in my book The Big Book of Jewish Baseball.

Sandy is 71.
Peter S. Horvitz
Raleigh, N.C.


Finkelstein Has No Place in Legitimate Setting

I was heartened to see the signatures of some of my old friends from Wynnefield and Overbrook High School on the advertisement protesting the invitation by the University of Pennsylvania to Norman Finkelstein (Editorial: "Academic Questions," May 10).

Detractors will shout from the rafters about the First Amendment and academic freedom. But they would be very wrong. I have spent the bulk of my professional life teaching history at the college level (Clark University, Rutgers University, Boston University, Merrimack College), and inviting Finkelstein to Penn is the same as inviting someone to teach that the world is flat.

His vile, violent and venal attacks on my longtime Boston friend Alan Dershowitz alone disqualifies him from any legitimate academic setting.

Finkelstein is in the same category as a Louis Farrakhan or the late American Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell, and deserves to be isolated and unrecognized in the academic world.
Martin S. Goldman
York, Maine


Pelosi's Trip Wasn't Unkosher, It Was Illegal!

Contrary to Jonathan Tobin's assertion, there is a vast difference between the Secretary of State holding authorized talks with a foreign power and a Congresswoman illegally attempting to conduct diplomacy with no authorization from the executive branch, in whose purview such activities fall (A Matter of Opinion: "Broken Engagement," May 10).

Especially egregious was Pelosi's trumped-up claim that she was bringing a diplomatic message from the government of Israel to that of Syria.

Just because the Logan Act, which brands such activity as illegal, was never invoked in connection with Pelosi's illegal "diplomacy" with Syria, does not excuse such action. Such actions undermines the national interest and contradicts the separation of powers that places authority for conducting foreign relations strictly under the executive branch and its authorized appointees.
Richard N. Weltz
New York, N.Y.


Why Was Her Trip Wrong, and Theirs All Right?

I was appalled at the ad by the Republican Jewish Coalition that appeared on Page 15 of the April 19 issue of the Jewish Exponent.

The advertisement stated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was wrong because she met with President Bashar Assad of Syria.

But it failed to mention that a few weeks prior to her visit, a few Republican congressmen, including Rep. Joe Pitts of Chester County, also paid a visit to the Syrian leader.

How is Pelosi wrong, but the Republicans are not?
Lita I. Cohen

Editor'sNote: The writer is a former Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here