Letters week of July 6, 2006

Presbyterian Reversal: Product of a Group Effort

Following the passage of a resolution at the 2004 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA calling for selective divestment in companies assisting Israel in the so-called occupation, our organizations began working collaboratively toward a reversal of that policy.

In many discussions with local Presbyterians, we found that the vast majority of both clergy and laypeople were, in fact, opposed to that decision and committed to the adoption of a policy that more accurately reflected the realities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

We are deeply appreciative that — through the hard work and dedication of so many members of that denomination — the just-completed General Assembly-adopted language turns away from divestment, and instead commits to supporting a just and lasting peace.

At the same time, this body expressed the church's deep regret for the grief and pain caused to the American Jewish community by previous actions and, for the first time, it condemned suicide bombings.

These moves are welcome, and they reflect a genuine desire to listen and respond to our many friends within the Presbyterian church.
Dr. Harold B. Yaffe

Ilana Krop Wilensik
Executive director
American Jewish Committee

Michael J. Boni
Philadelphia board chair

Barry Morrison
Regional director
Anti-Defamation League

David Gutin

Burt Siegel
Jewish Community Relations Council

Rabbi David Straus

Rabbi David Gutterman
Executive director
Vaad: Board of Rabbis

If Only Franklin Roosevelt Cared About Saving Jews

Thanks for Jonathan Tobin's article about my lawyer and friend Josiah DuBois (A Matter of Opinion: "The Man Who Blew the Whistle," June 22), who was a true hero in the effort to save the Jews of Europe during the Holocaust.

If only Franklin Roosevelt cared about the situation. Because he did know about it.

What more could the American government and military have done?

Air-drop weapons or explosives; give a prison revolt some air support; bomb bridges and rail lines (as was done throughout Europe because the Allies had complete control of the air from 1943 on) to concentration camps; and more.
Richard C. Goodwin
Mount Laurel, N.J.

Brits Knew About Shoah – and Did Nothing!

Concerning Jonathan Tobin's "The Man Who Blew the Whistle" (A Matter of Opinion, June 22), one very important study on that subject that he did not mention was Arthur D. Morse's book While Six Million Died, published back in 1967.

It is an inescapable fact that the British knew all about the slaughter unleashed in its full ferocity as soon as the Germans invaded the Soviet Union. They knew because their intelligence code-breakers in England's Bletchley Park were reading all of the German transmissions.

When in August 1944 the Russians reported seeing smoke emanating from death camps and expressed the suspicion that people were being burned, I remember the British press reported this as "Communist disinformation."

If, as I suspect, they actually knew the facts, it would be interesting to see a study on the Allied Powers' own disinformation campaign to allow a smooth execution of the Nazis' elimination of the Jews. >Peter Arton
Ramat Gan, Israel

Stop the Hand-Wringing About the Old Media!

It's time to stop fighting the media (A Matter of Opinion: "Pictures Really Do Lie," June 22). It would be far better if we just ignored them.

As Jews, we have to learn an important lesson. We can choose to ignore bad news and incorrect information for a while because the correct news reports will eventually come forth.

The bloggers and others can be our truth-finders. Granted, they're not all great or accurate, but a good percentage of them are.

So let's stop this wringing of hands about non-truths, such as the accounts of the Gaza Strip beach attack, and save our energy. We have nothing to prove anymore.
Paul Filler

Get to the Truth, and Skip the Editorial Commentary

The story on Stephanie Gutman's book The Other War about lies passed along as truth seems like a very old story (A Matter of Opinion: "Pictures Really Do Lie," June 22).

Why do Jewish writers, filmmakers and journalists never write about the truth as truth, without attempting to editorialize or change it?

Steven Spielberg's film "Munich" was an excellent example of changing the truth for "good" intentions. Yet it turned out to be a lost opportunity to present the truth of Jewish vulnerability in the real world and the lack of caring on the part of allegedly "civilized" nations.

The problem is the attempt to make peace with partners who continue to teach hatred. That should be the only issue settled before any negotiations.
David Eckhaus
Delray Beach, Fla.

Do Pictures Lie? No, but Liars Do Use Pictures!

Jonathan Tobin writes that "Pictures Really Do Lie" (A Matter of Opinion, June 22).

He's wrong. Pictures don't lie. But liars do use pictures.
Milton H. Polin
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Puzzled by the Inclusion of Hebrew in Yiddish List

Michael Elkin asks: "What's the Yiddish for puzzled?" (Arts & Entertainment: "A Picture Puzzle," June 22).

In a single word (crossword-puzzle style): farintegrirt, or farplontert, or farpleft.

In a phrase: brekhn zikh dem kop (lit.: "breaking one's head"; translation: "wracking one's brain").

Ripstein also notes that among other Yiddish words used as frequent puzzle answers is sabra. But sabra is Hebrew, not Yiddish.
Hershl Hartman
Los Angeles


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