Letters Week of June 29, 2011


A caption misrepesents a photo, the president's Israel policy is defended and other groups that send young people around the world are cited.


Caption Completely Misrepresented Photo 
The caption for a photo accompanying the cover story "Abbas Pressured Over U.N. Gambit" in the June 23 Jewish Exponent displays a triumph of wishful thinking over unpleasant reality and does your readers a deep disservice.

The giant hand holding a key in the picture represents the Palestinian Arab belief that they will one day return to unlock the doors to "lost" homes in pre-1948 Israel. Note the barbed wire encircling the wrist which drips blood, an image of violent repression of those dreams intended to inculcate resentment and hatred. Just to make sure the viewer gets it, the Arabic writing on the left side of the picture is translated: "We Will Return."

This is not an expression of "Palestinian aspirations for statehood" as you would have readers believe. It is an expression of the Palestinian insistence on a so-called "right of return" in which millions of Palestinian Arabs will retake Israel, by violent or non-violent means, and effectively end the Jewish state. 
Hillel Zaremba 
Assistant editor, Middle East Quarterly 

Photo Didn't Show Graffiti but Rather a Mural 
I am a complete supporter of a fair — and Israeli defensible — two-state solution.

But in the June 23 issue of the paper, your writer referred in a caption to a picture of Palestinian aspirations as "graffiti" (Cover story: "Abbas Pressured Over U.N. Gambit").

Politics aside — or not? — a professional journalist would have called it a mural, as we do here in Philadelphia. Where is your editorial oversight? 
Marvin Gelman 

Do Not Judge President by His Israel Actions 
I am Jewish by birth and inclination. I am also an American by birth and inclination. I am not an Israeli citizen.

My sympathies lie with Israel, but Israel is a foreign country and should always be treated in the light of what is best for the United States, just as we treat any other country.

After all these years, I feel Israel is perfectly capable of taking care of itself and doing what is in its own best interests. Jews have always prided themselves on being a "stiff-necked" people, so Israel's actions, in self interest, are perfectly in keeping with history.

If anyone disagrees with President Barak Obama's actions, vote him out of office, but it's unfair to brand him anti-Jewish because he puts America's interest first, as he was elected to do.

I will never use a politician's Israel actions as a litmus test. I would, however, consider his positions vis-a-vis Israel in conjunction with other things he does — or does not — stand for.

If that makes me a Jewish anti-Semite, so be it. 
Ralph D. Bloch 

Another Group Sends Kids All Over the World 
Kudos to brothers Max and Jake Gering and all the other young adults profiled in your June 23 cover story, "Out of the Forest and Into the World." It is terrific to showcase all the ways young Jewish adults can make this world a better place.

Another organization that attracts many local Jewish students is CISV, formerly known as Children's International Summer Villages. CISV is a nonprofit, volunteer-based international youth peace program now celebrating its 60th anniversary. It has chapters in more than 60 countries, including two chapters in Israel.

Every year CISV Philadelphia (www.philly.cisvusa.org) sends Jewish and non-Jewish youths to programs around the world, where they are immersed in critical thinking activities, including learning about each others' cultures.

Our participants include Perlman, Saligman and Barrack students, and Gratz Jewish Community High School students, as well as students from other private and public schools in Philadelphia.

This summer CISV Philadelphia has delegates living in Guatemala, Brazil, Finland, France, New Zealand, Germany and the United States.

CISV Philadelphia will announce its 2012 programs this October and will be accepting applications soon afterwards. 
Caryn Helhowski 
President, CISV 


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