Letters week of August 10, 2006

Bloggers' Bias Balances Sins of Mainstream Media


In criticizing a Philadelphia Inquirer editorial that sought to treat Israelis and Hezbollah terrorists as morally equivalent, Jonathan Tobin writes: "If anyone wonders why so many readers nowadays seem to prefer the obvious bias and uninformed invective that poses as commentary on the Internet to the work of professional journalists, then they need only read this disgraceful piece for an explanation … " (A Matter of Opinion: "Who Really Teaches Hatred?" July 27).

His was a good piece until that final paragraph. Do bloggers have an "obvious bias"? Maybe. But it is a bias toward truth and fairness.

Can you truly call the "Power Line" bloggers — Michelle Malkin and others of her stature — "uninformed" amateurs?

The invective may get somewhat strong at times, but it represents the frustration with the mainstream media felt by those of us whose views are to the right of center and that we deal with on a daily basis.
Jerry Weber

'Amoral' Editorial Plays Up Bankruptcy of the Left

The editorial in The Philadelphia Inquirer claiming that both Israelis and Arabs teach "children to hate" was not only vacuous, it was, as Jonathan Tobin wrote, "amoral" (A Matter of Opinion: "Who Really Teaches Hatred?" July 27).

When one considers the mindset of the American left today — as represented by the Inquirer's liberal editorial writers — it's a miracle that civilization itself has not collapsed due to its focus on minutiae and alleged moral equivalence.
Howard Wolf

Seattle Shootings Mustn't Lead to Fearmongering

On July 28, six workers at the Jewish Federation of Seattle were shot by a self-proclaimed Muslim-American. We mourn the death of Pam Waechter, and pray for the speedy recovery of the other victims.

Fearmongering voices within the Jewish community are now calling for increased security at Jewish institutions (City & Suburb: "Security Heightened After Seattle Rampage," Aug. 3).

According to Ha'aretz, Robert Sokolov, the Jewish Agency representative in Seattle, said in response, "Jews in the U.S. are not used to thinking in terms of security. I hope now people will wake up."

Such statements propagate fear and insecurity among American Jews, rather than proposing effective safeguards for all communities.

The Seattle shootings are a sociopathic hate crime committed by an individual. They are neither a political act, nor a representation of the Muslim American community's views.

As Jews living in vibrantly multicultural neighborhoods, we know that security comes from strong diverse communities and social ties rather than from armed guards and locked doors. American civil society is based upon freedom of expression, and on public defense of diversity. Hate crimes threaten our freedom of expression, and should motivate public coalition-building.

We must learn as a society not to drown in waves of fear. American communities must strengthen our commitment to a diverse, open and safe public sphere.
Rebecca Ennen
Nachshon David Mahanymi


It Takes Guts to Oppose Christians, Not Hezbollah

In your story about the rally for Israel in Center City on July 24, your report took note of Rep. Curt Weldon's "fiery" speech on behalf of the Jewish state (Cover story: "Stand Strong — and They Did!" July 27).

But a closer look at Weldon's voting record reveals he is no friend of the Jewish community.

Earlier this year, in response to evangelical proselytizing at U.S. service academies, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) tried amending the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5122) to require military chaplains to demonstrate "sensitivity, respect and tolerance" for the beliefs of those to whom they minister. Weldon, a politician beholden to the Christian right, helped to defeat this amendment.

With Hezbollah rockets raining down on Israel, it takes little courage for a politician to stand up for Israel at a public rally. But when real courage is needed to defend our nation's tradition of religious pluralism, Weldon came up short.
Marcia Metlin

U.N. Bias True Culprit in Hezbollah Attacks

By its inaction, the United Nations has caused a war and then blamed the victim, Israel (Cover Story: "The Face of a Resolute Nation," July 20).

The U.N. has had an observation team in Southern Lebanon for decades. As incredible as it sounds, either the U.N. team did not see Hezbollah's massive buildup of weaponry; or the U.N. team saw what was happening but failed to report on what they observed; or the team did see and reported on the arms buildup and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan failed to inform the security council.

What else could explain the U.N.'s inability to prevent the fighting that is now going on?

The facts are not in dispute. Iran's president has been open and extremely vocal about his intentions to erase Israel off the map. Iran's proxy, Hezbollah, has been equally open and vocal in its intention to erase Israel off the map.

Had the U.N. taken these threats seriously and had it been doing what it was obligated to do, the current war would have been avoided and the people of Israel and Lebanon would have been spared the death and destruction now raining down on each of them.
Peter R. Waitze


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