Letters week of May 15, 2008


Democrats Would Turn Out to Stop 'Turncoat Joe'

Jonathan Tobin's column about the impact of the Jewish vote on the race for the U.S. presidency included his speculation that the "unlikely" choice of Sen. Joseph Lieberman as John McCain's running mate would mean that we could "throw all previous commentary about Jewish voting patterns out the window" (A Matter of Opinion: "Dream Teams May Test Party Ties," May 1).

To Tobin, the impact of such a decision by McCain would mean a vast swing in the Jewish vote toward Republicans.

I don't know what McCain's choice will be anymore than Tobin does, but I think he's dead wrong about what Lieberman's presence on the ticket would mean.

As a Democrat, I can't hope for anything better than for McCain to make Lieberman his running mate.

Democrats have already made the mistake of nominating a man like Lieberman. Now it would be the Republicans' turn.

Lieberman is a liability on any national ticket because of his fawning support for George W. Bush's policies, which are disapproved of by 71 percent of all Americans.

Moreover, I think Democrats will turn out in droves just to vote against turncoat Joe!

Daniel Brown 

They'd Vote for Saddam If He Were a Democrat!

Jonathan Tobin claims that Republican hopes for an increase in their share of the Jewish vote are bound to be disappointed (A Matter of Opinion: "Dream Teams May Test Party Ties," May 1).

He's probably right about that, but he modifies his prediction with the disclaimer that this might change if "they [the Democrats] nominate Jimmy Carter."


Remember, although Ronald Reagan got a record number of Jewish votes running against Carter in 1980, the peanut farmer still won the Jewish vote that year.

The truth is, most Jews would vote for Saddam Hussein if he were a Democrat!

David Weinstein 

Darfur's a Replay of FDR's Indifference to Shoah

I read the Rafael Medoff article about Franklin D. Roosevelt's guilt for passing on the opportunity to save Jews during the Holocaust (Opinion: "The Book That Changed the Way We Think About the Holocaust," May 1).

Medoff points out how important it is for Jews to remember that "never again" is more than a slogan.

But all one has to do it read Dauod Hari's new book The Translator about recent events in the Sudan to realize that the Holocaust is happening again today, the only change being that it's happening in Darfur.

Robert W. Hirsch 
Blue Bell 

Author Not Anti-Semitic? His Thinking's Distorted!

Given the ongoing debate about American support for Israel, it was discouraging to see that several academic departments of Villanova University sponsored an appearance at the school last month by anti-Israel author Stephen M. Walt.

I attended the event, and heard Walt claim that he does not hold anti-Semitic views. But, he added, the only reason he was able to write his book The Israel Lobby, with John Mearsheimer, was because he had tenure, since the Jews run the universities!

He gave a diatribe on how terrible Israel is, and offered his distorted perceptions of the undue influence of Jews and AIPAC on American foreign policy. He described the American media as pro-Israel and falsely claimed that the United States went to war in Iraq because of Israel's wishes. Walt maintained that Israel should not fear Iran or any Islamic state that declares its intentions to wipe it off the earth.

My biggest concern is that Walt's book and other examples of anti-Semitism will be used by professors in political-science courses as definitive sources for information about the conflicts in the Mideast.

Francine Lipstein 
Bryn Mawr 

How Can Arabs Have Cause for Complaint?

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency story titled "Marginalized Arabs See Little Cause for Celebration of 60 Years" (Israel & Mideast, April 24) states that some Israelis view their Arab fellow citizens as a fifth column. That is because Israeli Arabs at times abet terrorist attacks against Israeli Jews.

I guess that means that the Israeli Arab from Jerusalem who recently slaughtered eight yeshiva students only abetted this crime.

The piece goes on to say that the Israeli Arab intelligentsia are graduating to a new level of political consciousness.

The reality is that these Arabs are now attacking Israel from within, just like a fifth column would do. If the Israeli Arabs had to live in one of the 22 Arab states, then they would see what a real nakba — or "catastrophe" — is!

Ron Kall 

True Holiness Requires Community Tikkun Olam

I commend Rabbi David Gutterman's commentary on the Torah portion Kedoshim (Religion & Ethics: "Holy's Not a State of Being; It's a Way of Life," May 1), in which he states that holiness can be expressed by everyday actions.

I agree that we should strive to make the small acts in our lives expressions of holiness.

However, holiness can also be defined as how we, as a community, work to do as much tikkun olam — "repairing the world" — as possible.

Nathan Weissler 
Chevy Chase, Md. 

Cottonseed Oil Use: It's Neither Healthy Nor Safe

I was quite dismayed to read that cottonseed oil (Cooks & Cuisine: "Cottonseed Oil: Just the Thing for Pesach," April 24) is being labeled a "safe" and "healthy" product.

Nearly 25 percent of all agricultural pesticides are used on cotton plants. Since pesticides enter the plants through the roots and are absorbed systemically, in addition to settling on the outside surfaces of the plants, it is believed that there are residues in this oil.

I would hardly consider this to be "safe" or "healthy." I'm disappointed that the kosher-food industry has embraced this as a desirable ingredient.

Shirley Cohen 


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