Letters week of April 12, 2007



Time to Bring the Troops Home From Costly War

Concerning Jonathan Tobin's column on whether Jewish organizations should oppose the war in Iraq (A Matter of Opinion: "Standing Against the Tide," March 22), my message is simple: Please bring the troops home from Iraq!

It is more than time. More than 3,000 have died, with many thousands wounded.

We cannot afford this war anymore. And we cannot get into a war with Iran.

It's time to close the books on this conflict.
Florence Cohen


Senseless Clamor for Iraq Pullout Feeds on Fear

Jonathan Tobin's column on Jewish reaction to the war in Iraq was a breath of fresh air among all the senseless clamor for troop withdrawal, and hatred of President Bush and Vice President Cheney (A Matter of Opinion:"Standing Against the Tide," March 22).

Please keep up trying to bring a balance of options to the minds of the Jewish community. I think fear of the reality of the dangerous situation we live in is causing people to become irrational about this topic and to deny reality.
Ron Elkin


Educate About Israel From the Top Down

Students will never fully be able to combat anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism until they are adequately educated over long periods of time, and not just in dog-and-pony shows run by major Jewish organizations on campus (A Matter of Opinion: " 'In Every Generation, They Rise Up,' " March 29)

Professors themselves must have access to adequate scholarship countering the propaganda in so many disciplines.

The pro-Israel community, unfortunately, is not investing nearly enough in engaging and empowering faculty members to do the necessary scholarship that's required to change a generation of professors to educate the next generation of students. This is precisely how the enemies of Israel have established such a foothold in colleges and universities.

There is no substitute for good scholarship, and it must be adequately funded and supported. It certainly is by the enemies of Israel.
Dr. Edward S. Beck
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East


Don't Lump Together Policy and Propaganda!

As is most often the case, Jonathan Tobin lumps together those who oppose specific policies of various Israeli governments with those who seek the destruction of Israel itself.

In so doing, he similarly fails to differentiate between the right and righteous goal of a safe and secure Israel, and the methods employed by Israeli governments to achieve that goal (A Matter of Opinion: " 'In Every Generation, They Rise Up,' " March 29).

Legitimate opposition to policies such as illegal Jewish settlements in the territories is, of course, vastly different from the blind hate of the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah.

If anything, it's the overreaching of the Israeli right that has so badly muddied the ethical waters and put so many Jews on the defensive.

We undoubtedly must remember our history. We must remember all of it, the good and the bad, and inform our future actions with that knowledge. While remembering the need to be resolute in the face of threats both ancient and new, Tobin and others need also remember the admonition that we do not rejoice in the suffering of our foes.
Joe Magid


We, Too, Were Strangers in a Strange Land

Jonathan Tobin ascribes all the moral high ground to the viewpoint that Jews are the archetypal victims of history, and that the Exodus story begins and ends with their journey to freedom (A Matter of Opinion: " 'In Every Generation, They Rise Up,' " March 29).

He goes on to bury left-leaning opposition in a blather of hateful rhetoric as anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic, pseudo-scholars bent on the destruction of the State of Israel.

And then he asks the age-old question: What are young, impressionable minds to do in the face of such terrible influences? I believe in young people, not as depositories for all the misguided philosophies of neo-cons or neo-libs, but as able students smart enough to read between the lines.

As for the facts that Charles Krauthammer calls out for, they point to an endless contest between two peoples to define for the world community who is the greater victim. It is an effort in self-immolation. But there are voices of moderation in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

As I remember, the other great lesson of the Passover story was to treat the stranger with great care because the Jewish people knew exactly what it felt like to be strangers in a strange land.
Larry Snider


Sodom Was Destroyed by Arrogance, Not Gays

Letter-writer Howard Hyman claims that "homosexual conduct led to the destruction of Sodom" ("Coverage of Gay Marriage Legitimizes Abomination," March 8).

This is not only incorrect, but a brazen distortion of Torah truth. Though the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a common biblical theme, only once does the Bible offer specific details. Ezekiel 16:49 observes: "Only this was the sin of … Sodom: arrogance! She and her daughters had plenty of bread and untroubled tranquility; yet she did not support the poor and the needy."

Secondly, Mr. Hyman is woefully ignorant of Middle Eastern culture and mores.

In the incident regarding Lot and Sodom, the essence of the transgression that occurred is the violation of hospitality and the honored status of guests, not homosexuality.
S.R. Cohen
Pikesville, Md.


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