Letters Week of July 1, 2010



Divestment Bill Was Just the Right Thing to Do

New legislation in Pennsylvania will send a clear message to foreign companies: If you want to do business in this state, then cut your ties to the terrorists in Iran and Sudan.

A nuclear Iran and a genocidal regime in Sudan will no longer be aided with Pennsylvania dollars under a bill that I've worked on for five years, which is now awaiting Gov. Ed Rendell's signature in order to become law. It will prohibit the state's public pension funds and the state treasurer from investing in foreign companies doing business in Iran and Sudan — countries designated as terror-sponsoring nations by the U.S. State Department.

Pennsylvania will divest the more than $325 million it directly invests in foreign companies doing business in Iran and Sudan.

A special thanks to State Rep. Babette Josephs (D-District 182), who led the effort on the Sudan divestment piece, and to State Sen. Mike Stack (D-District 5) who introduced a companion Senate bill.

State-sponsored divestment is an important part of our national security and, at the same time, protects Pennsylvania retirees. Exposing pensions to the geopolitical risk in Iran and Sudan undermines financial security, supports terror and genocide, and puts the Commonwealth's assets at substantial financial risk.

More importantly, this is just the right thing to do. But I am under no illusions that such acts alone will end Iran's nuclear program or stop the genocide in Sudan. But I do believe that combined with tough sanctions, rigorous diplomacy and the possibility of military action, we will have an impact.
State Rep. Josh Shapiro
Montgomery County

What About the Prejudice Against the Sephardim?
In response to your cover story, "Secular-Haredi Tensions Reach a Boiling Point," in the June 24 issue: While some Israeli and American Jews continue to deny the existence of racist attitudes in the Jewish state toward Jews from Arab and Muslim lands, the reality is that groups continue to protest and condemn these same attitudes in non-Jewish societies worldwide. Beyond the clash between the haredim and secular Jews, there is still prejudice against Jews who are Sephardi.

As an individual who experienced this discrimination, I am personally saddened by this continuing attitude even after more than six decades of social and educational integration between the two groups in Israel. Why has there been so little progress in this area?
David Rabeeya

Current Tension in Israel Has Strong Ties to Past

There is a sad, recurring aspect to Jewish history, which came to mind when I read your June 24 cover story, "Secular-Haredi Tensions Reach a Boiling Point."

When the Romans were besieging Israel, there were three leaders: Eleazar, described as a "third dictator"; Jochanan; and Simon. Each ruled a different section of he city according to A History of the Jewish People by Marx and Margolis.

The text states: "They fought with each other incessantly, each burning up the supply accumulated by the other. Thus they robbed the city of the very power of resistance and cut into their own flesh."

Similarly, the current '"tension" in Israel eats into the vitality of this young democracy. It does seem to be similar to what occurred in the past.
Kenneth D. Cohen
Bala Cynwyd

Responsible Journalism Requires Attribution

The two pieces published in the June 24 issue from the former Prime Minister of Spain and and a Spanish political journalist were important and heartening. In fact, I was pleased to see them in the Jewish Exponent as I had already received them via e-mail. In fact, I told many friends and colleagues to read both pieces.

However, I was taken aback when it was pointed out that they were not news items but paid advertisements. Unfortunately, there was no attribution as to who paid for these ads.

I do believe that responsible newspaper work owes it to the the reader to acknowledge the source of such an advertisement, especially when it involves a political issue.
Felice Davidson Perlmutter




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