Letters week of May 17, 2007

Jewish Groups Should Steer Clear of Abortion

The cover story about the abortion debate ("Groups Rev Up to Fight Over Ruling on Late-Term Abortion," April 26) perplexed me.

I don't understand why a Jewish organization like the Anti-Defamation League feels the need to take a stand on the issue.

Is abortion uniquely Jewish? There are plenty of other organizations — Jewish and non — that I can contribute to if I care strongly about abortion, preferably ones that have "life" or "choice" as part of their names.

I would hope that ADL sticks to issues specifically related to Jews and Israel.
Mark Girshovich
Penn Valley

No Need to Oppose Self-Defense; Enforce the Law

In Eleanor Levie's letter to the editor ("Time to Make a Stand About Gun-Control Laws," May 3), she asks, "How is it possible that a 23-year-old undergraduate with a documented history of severe mental instability was able to buy two semi-automatic guns within the past few months?"

The answer is that the medical profession opposes legislation requiring that such information be shared with authorities who keep data bases on these matters.

Even the National Rifle Association favors that such information be made available to law-enforcement groups.

It's also ironic that in the same issue of the Jewish Exponent, there was an article praising the brave fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto who held off the Nazi Army 64 years ago. These courageous Jews did this for a month with a dozen handguns. The article states "they have become Jewish heroes who broke the stereotype of the helpless Jew who could not defend himself" (Advocacy Corner: "Librescu's Self-Sacrifice Part of Our Heritage," May 3).

Here in this country, we're guaranteed the right of self defense, but, sadly, most Jewish organizations are opposed to it.

Levie should be aware that there are over 20,000 municipal, state and national gun laws on the books. Let's start enforcing them.
Mike Silverman
Elkins Park


Countries Must Come Clean About Genocide

In "Choosing Allies Over Principles," Jonathan S. Tobin starkly chooses Turkish support of Israel and possible historical revisionism over recognition of the Armenian genocide (A Matter of Opinion, April 26).

This is nothing more than a policy of appeasement. By Tobin's logic, if a country desires favored relationships with Germany or Japan, then it would be best to not highlight past crimes against humanity. His column seems to imply that some genocides can be tolerated provided that Israel and the Jewish people benefit from the support of the country that committed the crimes.

Tobin's piece represents the worst-case scenario for the Jewish community. If any Jewish leader or Holocaust survivor enters a classroom to educate Jewish and non-Jewish students on the evils of genocide — and these young people read Tobin's column prior to the speech — how would genocide be perceived?

Anything less than full acknowledgement of the crimes committed by any country –friend or foe — is unacceptable.
Mark Wasserman
Fort Washington

Shoah Survivor Should Be Supportive of Armenians

Thank you for Jonathan Tobin's column which acknowledged the truth of the Turkish genocide of the Armenian people (A Matter of Opinion: "Choosing Allies Over Principles," April 26).

Ironically, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), a Holocaust survivor himself and supposedly a champion of human rights advocacy, gets nothing better than an "F" when it comes to the Armenian genocide.
Rich Sanikian
Fresno, Calif.

Armenian Tale of Turkish Genocide Simply Untrue

I am an Israeli Jew, originally from the former Soviet Union, and have no dog in the Turkish-Armenian fight.

Nevertheless, the history of Armenian-Turkish relations is a difficult and complex one, and Jonathan Tobin did it a disservice when he wrote to support the Armenian claim of genocide (A Matter of Opinion: "Choosing Allies Over Principles," April 26).

During World War I, the nationalist Armenian movement was egged on by Czarist Russia to revolt against the Turks. This was designed to protect the flank of the Russian Empire from an attack by Germany's ally Turkey.

The Armenians obliged and unleashed an unprecedented terrorist campaign against ethnic Turks that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians.

The Ottoman Turks ordered the Armenians ousted from the affected areas. In the process, many were killed by the Kurdish gangs, many died of infections and starvation — although it should be stated that Turks were dying like flies as well, and from the same causes.

But there was no genocide, because of the lack of intent or organized action on the part of the Turkish government to exterminate Armenians as such. The "ethnic cleansing" was limited to Eastern Anatolia. No Armenian in Istanbul was expelled or harmed.

The Armenians want to preserve the status of victims, not unlike the Palestinians. For years, Armenian terrorists killed Turks all over Europe, sent letter bombs, and set explosives in Turkish cultural centers.
Ariel Barkan, M.D.
Ann Arbor, Mich.

What If It Had Been Jews Instead of Armenians?

Jonathan Tobin asks: "Would it be worth it to damage an alliance with Turkey just to make a point about the truth of Armenian suffering? That might make us feel righteous, but if it leads to more deaths in the future, would it be right?" (A Matter of Opinion: "Choosing Allies Over Principles," April 26).

If we were to substitute Jews for Armenians, would it change the feelings behind the statement?
Sue Blum


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