Letters week of May 18, 2006

A Deal This Businessman Simply Doesn't Get

I learned from a story in the Jewish Exponent (City & Suburb: "Palestinian Legislator to Appeal for Support," April 27) that a legal adviser to the Philadelphia City Council and a local businessman were to host Hanan Ashwari – one of Yasser Arafat's mouthpieces – to raise funds for a "children's charity" with ties to Hamas.

For years, Ashwari was in the perfect position to ensure that billions of international aid dollars went to support Palestinian children.

Instead, she covered for Arafat while he stole that money from the kids.

I am puzzled: Why are people who claim to care about children's welfare honoring an assistant to the man most responsible for their misery?

And why are Jews helping her to raise money for an organization with ties to terrorism directed against Jews?

I've been told I'm a good businessman, but this is one deal I do not get.
Bart Blatstein
Jewish Publishing Group

When Palestinians Love Their Kids, Not Warfare

I was troubled when I read "Palestinian Legislator to Appeal for Support" (City & Suburb, April 27).

As a compassionate person, I understand how others might be interested in supporting the Palestine Children's Relief Fund. However, I have a number of problems with the event arranged by Steve Masters and Robert Brand.

First, the Palestinian Authority has ample resources to care for its children. The fact that it chooses to divert those resources into a weapons program is certainly a problem for Palestinian society, but it's their choice to make. When Palestinians elected in the terrorist group Hamas, they made their preference clear.

Second, every dollar foreigners give to the Palestinians is one more dollar the P.A. does not have to spend on its own people, thereby freeing funds for violence against Israel.

Third, the P.A. and its constituent terror organizations regularly encourage and train children as terrorists. They also use kids and other civilians as human shields.

The more we ease their burden, the less cost there will be for them to wage war against Israel and its people.

To paraphrase Golda Meir, peace will come only when the Palestinians love their children more than they hate ours.
Michael J. Rosen

Court Verdict Vindicates Those Who Took a Stand

We draw satisfaction from the outcome of the case against Sami al-Arian – "an agent of terror" – involving a plea bargain, jail time and deportation for his role in fundraising for Islamic Jihad (Editorial: "Guilty as Charged, May 4).

In 1996, the Anti-Defamation League in Philadelphia was criticized for expressing concern that al-Arian was to speak at the 14th annual meeting of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies at Villanova University.

At the time, al-Arian was under investigation for allegedly using his position as an academic to promote the cause of Islamic terrorism.

So we wrote to Villanova's president, Rev. Edmund J. Dobbin, to convey our concerns. Subsequently, Villanova determined al-Arian was not welcome on campus.

Upon learning this, the Middle East Studies Association adopted a resolution stating that the ADL had created "an atmosphere of incitement and intimidation resulting in the cancellation of an academic event."

We responded by saying that "meaningful academic freedom contemplates a complete understanding of the relevant facts," and that Villanova's decision to cancel al-Arian was made of its own accord once those involved realized the extent of the man's ties.

The actions of the U.S. District Court serve as a vindication for the ADL's actions, as well as for those of Villanova University, and of federal law-enforcement authorities.
Barry Morrison
Regional director
Anti-Defamation League


Group for Young Girls Spreading Through Area

We were pleased to read the Jewish Exponent cover story about women and girls celebrating Rosh Chodesh ("That Time of the Month," April 27), and were quite gratified that you mentioned the work and activities of Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl Thing!

Kolot originally started this Jewish group for adolescent and teenage girls, now a program of Moving Traditions.

Thanks to recent grants from the Lasko Family Foundation and the Tuttleman Family Foundation, we are spreading It's a Girl Thing! throughout the Philadelphia area.
Deborah Meyer
Executive director
Moving Traditions

A Slight Error in Naming Certain Heads of Program

Thank you for printing our recent letter ("Center Offers Comfort to Patients and Families," May 4) responding to your cover story on hospice ("Taking Great Care to Really Care," March 30).

Unfortunately, Nancy Hodgson was misidentified as being our chaplain. Dr. Hodgson is co-coordinator of our palliative-care program and a senior researcher at our Polisher Research Institute.

Sheila Segal, also co-coordinator of our palliative-care program, is director of chaplaincy services, and additionally holds the Leonard I. Green chair in spiritual care.
Shelley Benedict
Vice president
Communications/donor services
Madlyn and Leonard
Abramson Center for Jewish Life North Wales



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