Letters week of March 1, 2007



Get American Troops Out of Iraq's Civil War!

U.S. troops are right in harm's way in an Iraqi civil war (A Matter of Opinion: "One Defeat Might Yield Another," Feb. 8).

Can America tell the world that we will not walk away from helping Iraq — that we will help rebuild this country, but we no longer want to be a participant in a civil war?

What's needed is an Arab League of Nations to help this besieged nation. America tried to set up a democracy, and this has failed.

The people of Iraq are blaming us and want us out of their country. They see us as invaders, as do other countries in the Middle East.
Martin Gold
West Boca, Fla.


Urgent Action to Demand Release of Israeli Soldiers

Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit has now spent more than seven months as a captive of Arab terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

A nationwide campaign is under way to lobby for the release of Shalit and two Israeli soldiers held hostage by Hezbollah in Lebanon: Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

Several major Jewish organizations are co-sponsoring a Web site (Freethesoldiers.org) that seeks 1 million signatures on a petition to the United Nations, demanding that the three soldiers be sent home.

Several members of Congress and the New Jersey state legislature, along with Jewish leaders, urged their release during a Dec. 20 news conference. Introduction of a similar measure is being considered for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by Rep. Babette Josephs (D-Philadelphia).

Their ongoing imprisonment is an act of war.

We can be under no illusion that a public outcry will produce their release, but we cannot give up without a fight.

American Jews must show we care. For if we don't, why should anyone else?
Bruce S. Ticker


Girls and Guys Feel the Same About Smoking

I enjoy reading Roy Gutterman's Single & Mingle column. His insights and humor have really kept me entertained!

I'm a single children's librarian in the Philadelphia area, and can relate to his trials and tribulations being out there in the dating world.

One of his more recent columns ("Smoking Divide: How It Plays Out Between Those Who Do and Don't," Feb. 8) was particularly funny.

I guess guys feel the same way girls do. I try not to date anyone who smokes, too.
Misha Miller


Umbrage With Those Who Call for Israel's Demise

Thank you for the excellent analysis of the American Jewish Committee's publication of Professor Alvin Rosenfeld's essay " 'Progressive' Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism" (A Matter of Opinion: "Running With the Jackals of Hate," Feb. 15).

As the Jewish community's leading think tank, AJC has long relied upon meticulous research, insightful analyses and truthful reporting to assess issues confronting the global Jewish community.

It is stating the obvious that AJC respects and defends the right of debate about Israeli policies; we have been longtime participants in that debate.

Yet we must take umbrage with anyone, even fellow Jews, who call for Israel's demise.
Dr. Harold B. Yaffe
American Jewish Committee Philadelphia/ Southern New Jersey Chapter


Enough With the Attacks on Israel and Fellow Jews

Jonathan Tobin's column "Running With the Jackals of Hate" (Feb. 15) recognizes that supporters of Israel are becoming pariahs in intellectual circles. He further notes that the anti-Israel theme (among those on the political left) has now reached the point in Britain that Jewish intellectuals and artists now attack official British Jewish institutions for continuing to support Israel.

Enough already! Polls in America still show wide general popular support for Israel, reflected in Congress by politicians of all stripes.

Jewish Americans have always been at the core of this support. Jews who claim advocacy for Israel should not use Israel's post-Lebanon weaknesses to indulge in intra-Jewish, internecine warfare.

Supporting Israel as a democratic Jewish state within secure boundaries should define who is in the core Zionist consensus. All others are outside of it. We hurt Israel when Jews attack any individual or group — left or right — who are within this consensus.

When Jews vent their indignation on their co-religionists, they diminish Jewish peoplehood, deny Zionist aspirations and encourage anti-Semites.
Professor Edward Newman
Temple University


Don't Label Truth-Tellers as Anti-Semitic!

Regarding Jonathan Tobin's column praising Alvin Rosenfeld's critique of Jews who have the temerity to criticize Israel (A Matter of Opinion: "Running With the Jackals of Hate," Feb. 15), I'd like to point out that when it becomes impossible to distinguish the truth from alleged "anti-Semitism," which seems to be the position of both Tobin and Rosenfeld, then those who continue to pretend otherwise are contributing to the problem.

Jeff Blankfort
Ukiah, Calif.


Who's the Victim Here: Critic or the Criticized?

Concerning Jonathan Tobin's column on the attacks on Alvin Rosenfeld's piece on "progressive" Jewish critics of Israel (A Matter of Opinion: "Running With the Jackals of Hate," Feb. 15), to tell a Jewish anti-Zionist liberal that he's not the victim of a witch hunt would be like telling Milton Berle that he's not funny.

What would there be left to live for?
Ezra Marsh


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