Letters the Week of July 11, 2013


One letter warns that the BDS people are a dangerous lot and another kvels over the fact that there's a Civil War hero in the family.

BDS Supporters Are a Dangerous Lot

I am not a “Likudnik” by any stretch, but the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions folks are dangerous, and you missed a chance to underline their hypocrisy in the article about the American Friends Service Committee (“Philly-Based Quaker Group Criticized for BDS Camp,” June 27).

The BDS movement says it targets companies like Sodastream, solely because they are Israeli-owned. Sodastream’s main plant is on the West Bank. I’ll wager that it is one of the best employers in the West Bank or Gaza, probably affording its employees a standard of living superior to most in the Palestinian Authority territory. For BDS to target this company seems to be directly opposed to their ill-executed goal of uplifting Palestinians.

For a “Jewish” group to align in any way with BDS is bizarre.

Richard Saunders,  Eagleville

Franks, a True Patriot, Had No Luck

Mitch Kramer, who impersonates David Salisbury Franks at the Independence Visitor Center (“Quite Frankly, This Fellow Was an Absolutely True Patriot,” July 3), raised the question of how a Jewish Revolutionary War hero came to be buried in Christ Church Cemetery. His story is remarkable.

Franks was born in Philadelphia in 1740, moved to Canada, and later joined the Continental Army. His success in battle led him to return to America in July 1776 to continue the cause. He was promoted to a major, then aide-de-camp, the highest rank achieved by a Jewish soldier then. With his knowledge of French, he was made liaison officer to the Comte d’Estaing of the French naval forces. Unfortunately, Benedict Arnold had appointed him.

This began his fall from grace, with a whispering campaign, often anti-Semitic, against poor Franks. Though eventually exonerated, he had too much going against him. He had the same name as his noted merchant cousin — a Tory sympathizer — and had the misfortune to be in Philadelphia during the yellow fever epidemic, which took 4,000 lives, including his own, in 1793.

Unclaimed corpses were thrown onto the coroner’s wagons and quickly carried away to the potter’s field (now Washington Square). A member of Christ Church spotted Franks and received permission from the church to bury him within its cemetery. Though no one knows the exact burial location, a grave marker was placed directly to the right of the cemetery entrance in 2004. A Pennsylvania historic marker was also erected on the corner of Fifth and Market Streets by the Christ Church Preservation Trust and the Feinstein Center of Temple University.

Linda Nesvisky, ShalomPhillyTours, Melrose Park

Readers Claim ‘Pop-Pop Abe’ as Their Own

We are former Philadelphians living in Florida, still subscribing to the Exponent. We loved Robert Leiter’s story, “Uncovering the History of a Gettysburg Veteran,” in the June 27 issue.

We are also descendants of Abraham Neubauer. My mother and father, Alvin and Rae Foreman, also living here in Florida (95 and 94 respectively), went to Gettysburg on a family adventure 30 years ago to research “Pop-Pop Abe” and came back with a folder full of documents that confirmed the story we’d heard for many years about having a grandfather who fought in the Civil War.

Jay Foreman, Naples, Fla.


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