Readers discuss Joe Sestak, Christmas songs and the NGO bill.
A Modest Proposal
The “article” about Joe Sestak (“Sestak’s Israel Ties Go Way Back,” Jan. 14) was confusing and irresponsible. Among the most baffling aspects of your paean to Sestak was the author’s rambling discussion of Sestak’s ties to Israel. If the Exponent wants to rehabilitate Sestak’s standing in the community by waxing poetic about his supposed strong ties to Israel, why stop at only one puff piece? I modestly propose that the Exponent consider a monthly series from now until Election Day detailing the wacky and interesting tales of Joe Sestak, Uber-Zionist. Articles could include such little-known topics as Sestak’s studies at a yeshiva, his short time as a mohel, his family’s centuries-old secret to light and airy matzah balls, and how to properly clean an aircraft carrier for Passover. The topics are endless, and I look forward to more of these fascinating profiles.
Jeffrey A. Bartos | Merion Station
Anti-Christmas Song Letter Was Tone-Deaf
The Siskinds’ letter (Letters, Jan. 7) is kind of ridiculous. If they owned Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman-Marcus or Macy’s, they’d be anxious to have Christmas music playing, not to mention décor!
Irving Berlin wrote “White Christmas”; Mel Tormé wrote “The Christmas Song”; and another Jewish man whose name I can’t recall this second wrote “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” For decades, one of the most coveted Manhattan invitations was to Leonard Bernstein’s annual Christmas party!
The best album of carols is Mario Lanza’s, which includes “Guardian Angels ’Round My Bed,” co-written by Harpo Marx.
Georgia Makiver | Lansdowne
New NGO Bill Is Equal-Opportunity Requirement
The New Israel Fund’s Naomi Paiss is alarmist about the Israeli government’s proposed NGO bill, claiming it’s an authoritarian method of “singling out” and squelching dissent (“Proposed Israeli NGO Law is Hypocritical Attack on Left,” Jan. 8).
Paiss is mistaken. Dissent and criticism of the Israeli government remains alive and well, as evidenced by even a short perusal of the Israeli daily media.
Rather, what has changed is that fringe Israeli groups are no longer allowed to inflate their influence and reach, courtesy of the largesse of foreign governments interfering in Israeli affairs, without disclosing the sources and extent of their foreign government funding if more than 50 percent of their funding is so derived. They don’t like this, because such disclosure inevitably shows them to have very little local support for their work.
Note that this is not a matter of preventing foreign private funding. Nor is it a matter of preventing foreign government funding; it is solely a matter of public disclosure of foreign government sources. Thus, a right-wing NGO, receiving more than 50 percent foreign government funding, would be equally obliged by the proposed law to disclose its foreign government sources.
Far from harming free speech and honest opinion, this is democracy in action.
Morton A. Klein | national president, Zionist Organization of America