Letters week of May 27, 2010

Come Election Day, Will Israel Loom as Large?

In the May 13 issue of the Jewish Exponent, I noticed a political advertisement that supported Arlen Specter in the Democrat primary with the following forceful admonition: "If you care about Israel, as we do, do not allow Joe Sestak to represent you in the U.S. Senate."

I now wonder if that statement will retain its cogency come November, when Sestak's opponent will be Pat Toomey, a pro-Israel Republican.

Or, more likely, will the relative importance of Israel noticeably diminish as Election Day approaches, and the choice in the voting booth is no longer between two Democrats?

Stephen Zivitz
Penn Valley

Watch Who You Call the Oldest Alum From Penn!

The University of Pennsylvania's oldest alum? I think not (City & Suburb: "Oldest Alum, 98, Leads Way at Penn Ceremony," May 20).

My sister, Esther Gross Eilberg, graduated from Penn in 1930. She is currently 100 years old and living at the Watermark at Logan Square. She hopes to attend the graduation of her grandnephew, Joshua Eisenberg, next May.

Harry S. Gross

Letter Filled With Clichés About Illegal Immigrants

The facts of Chana Rovinsky's May 6 letter cannot go uncorrected ("Why Are Groups Fighting So Hard for Illegals?). She writes that most illegal immigrants in the Southwest United States have criminal records, and that the crime rate has exploded in Arizona because of them.

Both claims are factually incorrect. Almost all crime rates have fallen in the last five years in the Southwest. According to FBI statistics, violent crimes and property crimes fell in Arizona between 2005 and 2008, even as illegal immigration has reached its peak and as Arizona's population grew by 600,000 people.

According to the nonpartisan Immigration Policy Institute, proponents of the anti- immigration bill "overlook two salient points: Crime rates have already been falling in Arizona for years despite the presence of unauthorized immigrants, and a century's worth of research has demonstrated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born."

We are bidden by tradition not to abhor the stranger. The kind of fear-mongering that Ms. Rovinsky tries to incite is antithetical to Jewish law and values.

Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D.
Professor and director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University

Attack Isn't Ad Hominem If It Happens to Be True

In the May 20 letters column, Sylvain Boni complains about earlier letters in the paper that have included ad hominem attacks on the president.

I don't recall any letters from this writer when it was President Bush on the receiving end of an endless stream of vituperation in the letters department. If such a missive exists, I would love to see it.

The late William Buckley once had someone on his TV show "Firing Line" who was berating this country. Mr. Buckley finally interrupted him and said: "I like to ask the question, 'How are we doing, compared to everyone else?' "

I am a person of ideas. My ideas are simple. Using Mr. Buckley's formulation, I find it hard to dispute the following:

· The United States is the greatest country in the world.

· Israel is the greatest country in the Middle East.

· Capitalism is the greatest economic system devised by man.

· Communism has never worked and cannot work.

If you measure President Barack Obama by any of these four things, he comes up short.

Janet Cantor


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