Letters week of June 29, 2006

Punish Israel's Enemies With Boycotts of Our Own

Outrage is now the fashionable political word. Every day, the media speak of the professed anger targeted at Israel and, by extension, Jews everywhere (Editorial: "Rocket's Red Glare Exposes New 'Martyrs,' June 15).

A group called Human Rights Watch almost instantly appeared on the scene of an alleged Gaza beach bombing by Israel. They were "outraged."

Their expert immediately declared that the shell fragments were definitely of Israel Defense Force origin. The Associated Press, however, reported that Hamas stated that they had planted mines there to prevent a perceived invasion landing by Israeli forces.

But the Palestinian press remained "outraged."

In Britain, students and educators are "outraged" at Israel and, therefore, are boycotting everything pertaining to the Jewish state.

They are all punishing the Jewish state for its alleged misdeeds of defending itself from annihilation by bombers, rockets and mines coming from Hamas, Fatah and other groups.

But boycotts work both ways. Millions of American Jews have rather big economic sticks to swing – our way of expressing "outrage."

No more family vacations to Scotland, Denmark or the United Kingdom to spend our cash.

No more American Jewish students attending Cambridge or Oxford. Ditto for France.

Let the international business world also know that when it supports boycotts of Israel, American Jews have a way to strike back.

But let's not call it a "boycott." It's merely Jewish Economics 101.
Jacob Weinberger
Chair, Jewish Identity
B'nai B'rith Liberty Region

A Historical Comparison of Heinous Crimes

The New York Times editorial of June 12 states that the suicide hangings at Guantánamo was the "inevitable result of creating a netherworld of despair beyond the laws of civilized nations where men are held without hope of decent treatment, impartial justice or eventual release. Inmates are abused, humiliated, tormented and sometimes tortured."

How like the crimes inflicted by the Nazis at concentration camps.

I sat through a conference sponsored by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies on June 11 at the University of Pennsylvania's Law School, which memorialized a genocide whistle-blower and prosecutor at Nuremberg, Josiah Dubois (A Matter of Opinion: "The Man Who Blew the Whistle," June 15).

Not one of the speakers, historians or lawyers present saw the relevance of the past to the present.

The Holocaust remained for them an event of 60-plus years ago, with no connection to present crimes against humanity.
Philip Rosen

Characterization of Book: Unfair and Offensive

Though the focus of his article was the record of the Franklin Roosevelt administration during the Holocaust (A Matter of Opinion: "The Man Who Blew the Whistle," June 15), Jonathan Tobin's description of Robert Rosen's work, The Jewish Confederates, is unfair and offensive, especially to those of us whose Jewish ancestors fought for the South, as did some two dozen of mine.

More than 3,000 Southern Jews fought honorably and loyally for their homeland, including its Secretary of War, Judah Benjamin, who later became Secretary of State of the confederacy. My great-grandfather also served, as did his four brothers, their uncle, his three sons and some two-dozen other members of my mother's extended family in South Carolina and Georgia.

We know firsthand – from their letters, diaries and memoirs – that these soldiers were not fighting for slavery, as you charge, but to defend themselves and their comrades, families, homes and country from an invading army that was trying to kill them, and destroy everything they had.

Consider the type of warfare waged by the Union forces, especially that of General William T. Sherman who, on his infamous "March to the Sea" through Georgia and the Carolinas, burned, looted and destroyed libraries, courthouses, homes, farms and cities full of defenseless civilians, including my hometown of Atlanta.

It was a top Union general, Ulysses S. Grant, who issued the infamous "General Order No. 11" (April 17, 1862) expelling all Jews "as a class" from his conquered territories.

After Sherman burned Columbia, S.C., one of his units headed toward nearby Sumter, presumably to do the same. My then 16-year-old great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Moses, rode out to defend his hometown, along with teenagers, invalids, old men and the wounded from the local hospital.

It was a mission as hopeless as it was valiant, and I'm sure that defending slavery was the furthest thing from their minds.
Lewis Regenstein

Support and Services for All Those Who Suffer

Thank you for the article highlighting a service that Joseph Levine & Sons has provided to clients for the past 14 years (Names & Faces: "She Offers 'Grief-Relief' for Those in Need," June 8).

Please allow me the opportunity to clarify something that might have been misleading.

Every Levine's client is offered individual bereavement follow-up services as needed. People who have survived the tragedies of a suicide or the death of a child are included in this process.

Over the years, I have worked with many families who've suffered excruciating pain from such losses.

Though I do not facilitate groups for parental loss or survivors of suicide, when indicated, clients are referred to other support services available for these specific concerns.

The responses to grief are as individual as a thumbprint – and so are the measures that will help people cope as they integrate a loss into their lives.

It is my responsibility to assess their needs at this confusing time in order to help them find "grief relief" during a most difficult, extended and very painful process.
Pamela Weinstein
Aftercare coordinator
Joseph Levine & Sons



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