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Letters of 01/05/06

January 5, 2006
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Show Israeli Avengers as Heroes, Not Doubters

“Munich” is not your typical Steven Spielberg movie (Cover Story: “Is ‘Munich’ Fair Game?” Dec. 22). Comparing this to the summer film “War of the Worlds,” you could say that the Martians won.

The movie is a parable that believes “violence begets more violence.” Is that always true?

The unstated premise of the movie is that Israel was wrong to avenge the deaths of their defenseless Olympic athletes. Their actions caused further reactions from the other side. Then there’s the question of moral equivalence between the Israelis and the terrorists.

In the movie, Golda Meir says that “every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values.” But the one issue you cannot compromise is existence.

The Israeli team is beset by self-doubts from the beginning. I wonder if any Islamo-fascist terrorist had doubts before they cut the throat of a hostage or blew up innocent children. If you can’t be stronger than your enemy, you’ll lose. And loosing in this case means the destruction of Israel.

The Israeli agents should have been shown as heroes. Their actions should have brought self-doubt among their enemies. The paranoia the protagonist suffers should be experienced by the terrorists.

Unfortunately, many people will take this movie as fact. This makes it all the more important to speak up. 
Richard Chaitt 
Havertown 

Film Tries to Break the ‘Cycle of Violence’

Jonathan Tobin’s scathing indictment of Steven Spielberg’s “Munich” is a frightening way to kick off hopes for peace in the new year (A Matter of Opinion: “Spielberg’s Immoral Equivalence,” Dec. 22).

Tobin writes: “You don’t have to insist that everything Israel or America does to fight terror is wise to understand that the war they’re fighting is just. Judging the murderers and those who fight such criminals as morally equivalent is not wisdom. It is, as Steven Spielberg has now shown us, the ultimate obscenity.”

Jewish and Christian theology — and U.S. law at its more enlightened contemporary core — have gone far beyond an “eye for an eye” mentality, which surely perpetuates the cycle of violence we’re all trying to break out of.

It is this, and seemingly Tobin’s own biblical fundamentalism, which will be the downfall of our beloved nation of Israel and, perhaps by extension, the Western world and its core values as we know them.

Tobin has done a great disservice to Spielberg and to the cause of peace. 
Dr. Rick Lippin 
Southampton 

The Answer’s Not to Keep Feeding the Beast!

Thank you for “Immoral Equivalence” (A Matter of Opinion, Dec. 22). It is of such vital importance that all who support the State of Israel speak out against Steven Spielberg’s new movie, “Munich.”

I vividly recall reports of the massacre in Munich as it was happening. Those horrifying hours served as an awakening to a sleeping world.

Those brutal acts called out across the earth, proving that while Hitler and his madmen were no longer around, we’d soon know a new type of beast — one advanced by waging a covert war of terror, with its unquenchable desire to plant fear into the lives of civilians.

The murderous attack on those 11 athletes were a harbinger of what was to come.

What would the makers of this movie have the world do to bring about peace with those willing to commit the unthinkable? Perhaps Spielberg and his screenwriters, Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, have concluded that destroying Israel alone will satisfy the hunger that drives the beast?

I am a very simple person, growing old in a small house in the middle of America, but I’m not so simple as to believe the tall tale these three men have come up with. 
Donna Paschal 
Rochester, Minn. 

Is Democracy Possible in Iraq? Don’t Bet on It!

Reading the Dec. 15 issue of the Jewish Exponent, I couldn’t help but chuckle over the juxtaposition of a few items.

First, there’s the Republican Jewish Coalition full-page ad in support of the Bush administration’s policies.

The ad very dutifully “supports” the mission of creating a “democratic Iraq.”

That sounds like supporting motherhood and apple pie. But there seems to be a problem. The Iraqi population doesn’t seem to want democracy, at least not the kind that Westerners mean by that term.

The Iraqi constitution excludes only Israel as a country in which an Iraqi can have dual citizenship. And what about freedom of and from religion?

Is that going to happen in Iraq? I don’t think so.

It sure would be nice to see democracy in the Middle East. But where’s the evidence that the locals want it?

Elsewhere in the paper, Mohammed El Baradei, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, asserts that “you cannot use force to prevent a country from obtaining nuclear weapons” (Cover Story: “Dropping the Bomb — or How the World Will Deal With Iranian Nukes,” Dec. 15). That sounds like Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time.”

It’s been almost 25 years since Israel did the world a favor and had the guts to protect itself by neutralizing Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor. So much for El Baradei’s logic! 
Joel S. Steinberg 
Huntingdon Valley 

Esperanto: A Work of Art and of Idealism

Rabbi David Gutterman might like to know that Esperanto is no mere melange, nor is it meant to displace or replace any language (Religion & Ethics: “To Respect Others, Learn to Love Yourself,” Dec. 8).

It is the remarkable, unique, living language introduced by Polish-Jewish physician L.L. Zamenhof (1859-1917) as a communication bridge serving diverse cultures. He also promoted an inclusive ethical program called “Hillelism,” embracing the core principles of many great religions.

In that sense, what Mahatma Gandhi said about belonging to more than one culture might be compared with Esperanto: no mishmash, but a work of art and idealism — and a tool for living in a multicultural world. 
Dr. E. James Lieberman 
Potomac, Md.

 

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