Letters the Week of April 3, 2014


One reader investigates the issue of Iran's relationship with Jews; another questions Federation's backing of an "anti-J Street" event; and a third presses for more Israel coverage.

Think Again About Iran’s Jewish Problem
Josh Fattal, while being questioned by his Iranian guards, is told “Jewish, no problem: Israel Problem” (Headlines, “Captors in Iran Knew He Was Jewish,” March 13). We can understand his great relief, but is this really true in Iran?
Recent history tells a different story for Iranian Jews. Since the Islamists came to power in 1979, Iranian Jews have endured one indignity after another. They are under constant observation. They are unable to move about freely. Many economic opportunities are not open to them. Social interaction is limited for many reasons because they are Jews. Quite a number of Jewish men, especially, have endured confinement, arrests and, in some cases, have been executed after being accused of being spies for Israel. They are victims of an arbitrary justice system as it is applied to Jews. So, in Iran, is “Jewish, no Problem” fact or fiction? 
We are all aware of how Fattal and his Syrian resident friends think Israel is supposedly treating the Palestinians. Their concern for the Palestinians lacks balance and objectivity, in our estimation. But is Fattal, as a self-confessing Jew, equally concerned about his “fellow Jews,” who are the undeserved victims of oppression in Iran, or for that matter, any other Jewish community victimized by oppression? It seems the answer is no! 
His activities and concerns remind me of the old Labor song, “Which Side Are You On?”
Florence and Morton Liebman | Philadelphia

Why Did Federation Back Anti-J Street Event?

Why would the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia be in any way involved with the program attacking J Street at Penn’s campus on March 27? (Headlines, “Pro-Israel Program Sparks Discussion,” March 20.)
I have problems with J Street, because I don’t see it as sufficiently concerned with Israel’s need for security in a dangerous neighborhood. Rockets from a Palestinian-controlled East Jerusalem would be a real possibility as well as a mortal threat.
However, I am also troubled by AIPAC, ZOA and others on the Jewish right who fail to understand the need for national rights of the Palestinians. They show no understanding of the humiliation the occupation generates, nor the fact that the occupation causes terrorism.
I see both sides as sincere in their concern for Israel’s future. A healthy debate should be encouraged. What we don’t need is for the umbrella Jewish organization, the Federation, taking sides. The Federation represents all Jews in our region. By denigrating J Street, you insult and exclude a large contingent of our local Jewish population, myself included.
Alienating us from the Jewish Federation does harm to the Federation, as well as to the entire Jewish community.  
David Broida | Haverford

With Israel Under Threat, Let’s Get Serious

Israel is at war on five fronts, and the Jewish Exponent features two front-page articles on basketball (Cover stories, March 20).
Don’t you think it’s time for the Exponent to get serious about informing its readers of the heroic efforts of Israeli Jews to defend their country?
Claude Schoenberg | Bala Cynwyd


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