Letters tot he Editor 2/16/06



onathan Tobin's column on Dr. Khalil Shikaki (A Matter of Opinion: "Do Terror Ties Really Matter?" Feb. 2) gives McCarthyism a bad name.

Regardless of what Tobin would lead readers to believe, the accusations against Shikaki come from the Zionist Organization of America – a member in good standing of the extreme right-wing in the American Jewish world – not the U.S. Justice Department.

Yes, some materials mentioning Shikaki were presented by the Justice Department in the course of its investigation of Sami al-Arian.

Despite being aware of these materials – and despite the FBI having interviewed Shikaki a few years ago – the Justice Department has not brought charges against him.

Nothing. Zero. Zilch.

One would presume that the Justice Department – hardly shy about pursuing people with terrorist ties in this post-9/11 world – would have gone after him if it had reason to do so.

To date, it has not, although Shikaki has traveled in and out of the United States numerous times since these materials were brought to light.

Tobin gives greater weight to ZOA press releases to conclude on his own that the materials in question constitute "proof of Shikaki's money-laundering" for Islamic Jihad, in a way that law-enforcement professionals have not.

Fortunately, Jehuda Reinharz, president of Brandeis University, where Shikaki currently teaches a course, has a clearer perspective. He recognizes that an institution named after Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis must let the legal system be the arbiter of someone's guilt or innocence.

If the Justice Department ever brings charges against Shikaki, then that process should run its course.

Until then, Tobin should not mistake the ZOA's accusations as evidence that would stand up in a court of law.

Debra DeLee


Americans for Peace Now

Washington, D.C.


Editor's Response: Ms. DeLee knows that Khalil Shikaki wasn't charged largely because his Islamic Jihad activities took place before that group was belatedly listed by the Justice Department in 1995 as a terrorist organization.

Victims of "McCarthyism" were falsely accused, but her attempts to divert our attention from what Shikaki actually did does not change the fact that his association with a terrorist group that murdered Israelis and Americans during this period is not in question.

The real question is why doesn't Peace Now – or a university named after a man who sought truth – care about it?

Get Your Heads Out of the Sand, and Get Real!

M.J. Rosenberg's expectations for a Hamas-run Palestinian Authority surely represent far more hope than experience (Opinions: "So What If Hamas Wins the Vote? Peace Will Still Prevail," Jan. 26).

While many Palestinians likely voted against Fatah corruption rather than for Hamas ideology, Hamas made no secret of its radical agenda.

That agenda even includes the imposition of the infamous dhimmi tax on the Authority's ever-dwindling Christian minority. That they will "have to come to terms with a Palestinian populace that" – in his opinion – "opposes its stance on Israel" is ludicrous.

Ever anxious to dismiss what they do not like to hear – and ever wanting to believe it could not possibly happen – far too many Westerners continue in blind denial.

That hard-line idealogues will act out their extreme views once in power has been repeatedly demonstrated.

And the Jews, of all people, had better believe it.

Richard D. Wilkins

Wilmington, Del.

Let There Be Punishment: Ban Iran From World Cup

For 30 days in June and July, the quadrennial World Cup soccer tournament will be the focus of many sports fans.

This year's tournament will be held in Germany, and both Iran and the United States have qualified. A growing number of voices are urging that Iran be banned from this year's Cup because of its leader's threat to wipe Israel off the map, and its illegal resumption of nuclear-materials production (Israel & Mideast: "Iran's Anti-Semitic Tirades Cause Consternation for World Powers," Jan. 19).

Up till now, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel has rejected such a ban, but a recent BBC report observes that the comments of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would get him arrested if he were in Germany. Merkel also noted that many in Germany are uneasy about the vehement combination of Holocaust denial and nuclear weapons.

I've written to Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Spector to urge him to add his voice – and that of the U.S. government – to the movement to eliminate Iran from competition. Such a ban will not stop weapons production, but the impact in Iran and globally would be huge.

A precedent exists. In 1992, Yugoslavia – in the midst of an ethnic-cleansing campaign by its leader, Slobodan Milosevic – qualified for the European Nations Soccer Championship. The nation was banned from the tournament by European soccer's governing body. Its replacement, Denmark, went on to win the tournament.

Israel narrowly missing getting a place in World Cup competition due to the fact that it's forced to compete against European powers rather than its Mideast neighbors.

Let Israel take Iran's place, and let's all contact our state representatives and the White House to get behind a ban.

Don Horowitz


The Loss of a Teacher Represents a Loss to All

The recent passing of Mitchell Panzer was a loss to the Jewish community because of his extensive work with Federation and many other organizations (Obituaries, Jan. 19).

In particular, he was always proud of his service as a teacher for the Hebrew Sunday School Society. Many times, he mentioned his satisfaction in teaching children about their Jewish heritage on Sundays.

This was in keeping with the philosophy of Rebecca Gratz, who encouraged local leaders to share their knowledge.

Jerome Leventhal

Professor emeritus

Temple University




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