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Letters the Week of Aug. 21, 2013
Author's Hate for Jews Overshadows Everything
I very much disagree with Jonathan Tobin's praise of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (A Matter of Opinion: "Speak the Truth; Defeat the Lies," Aug. 7).
For many Russians, Solzhenitsyn lost his credibility with his anti-Semitic book Two Hundred Years Together. Russian Jews were deeply offended by that publication.
I was shocked when reading chapters of that despicable book. It was full of hate, without proven facts and attacking Jews from every possible angle, and portraying the Russians as the victims.
How could a Nobel Prize Winner and a respectable author sink to this level? In my opinion, he was guilty of Jew-hatred.
Maybe he stood up to the totalitarians earlier in his life, but he lost his way later on.
Why Can't We Apply These Lessons Today?
Thanks for a column that placed the extraordinary life and achievements of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in perspective (A Matter of Opinion: "Speak the Truth; Defeat the Lies," Aug. 7).
It is a shame that our president -- and many others who have schlepped to Beijing while so many languish in China's prisons for some of the same sort of reasons that landed so many in the gulag -- don't take this lesson to heart.
Why can't this same concept of standing up to lies and tyranny be applied to other contemporary circumstances?
Keep Politics Out of the Beijing Olympic Games!
I differ with Jonathan Tobin on whether President Bush is doing the right thing by avoiding any political situation while in China (A Matter of Opinion: "Speak the Truth; Defeat the Lies," Aug. 7).
The Olympic Games are -- and have been from the start --about countries coming together for sports and putting politics aside. They were never intended to be a forum for political dissent or recriminations.
Lessons of Shoah Dictate Our Response to Darfur
I certainly would agree with letter-writer Ron Kall that the Muslims of the world should rally behind the persecuted Muslims of Darfur (Letters: "Let Africans and Arabs Shelter Darfur Refugees," Aug. 7).
However, it is not their burden to bear alone.
Logically, his suggestion that the genocide in Darfur is exclusively a Muslim problem does not stand up to scrutiny.
A world divided along racial, religious and national lines, is precisely the kind of world that facilitates genocide. His remedy, in which every group fends for themselves, would result in an inhospitable world, where every "other" group is a potential enemy. This is the kind of world that enabled the Holocaust to occur.
Among the lessons of the Holocaust, the lesson of mutual responsibility ranks highly. Had the great nations of the world intervened, millions of Jews would have survived.
The lessons of history teach that even the barriers of religion and distance do not absolve us of our responsibility to one another.
If we can't heed the lessons of the Holocaust, then how can we expect anyone else to?
Neither Candidate Can 'Fix' Israel From Outside
Jonathan Tobin is right to make it clear that neither Barrack Obama nor John McCain can "fix Israel's problems" from the outside (A Matter of Opinion: "Does Israel Need 'Tough Love?' " July 31).
I have heard members of Peace Now and others use the "friends don't let friends drive drunk" logic put forward as a basis for the United States to force Israel into a deal with the Palestinian Arabs.
I find this thinking both condescending and paternalistic.
Obama may be better on Israel than McCain, but not for the reasons the "tough love" crowd give.
On the surface, Obama and McCain are the same on U.S. policy toward Israel, but McCain has repeatedly stated his support for the James Baker/ Brent Scowcroft pushy approach to U.S. dealings with Israel. On the other hand, there is no record of Obama ever making any anti-Israeli statements.
During the 1990s, when official Israeli policy was to support the Oslo process, the Clinton administration went along.
When the Palestinians resorted to terrorism and Oslo fell apart, the American government changed as well.
But it doesn't mean that the Bush administration was more "pro-Israel" than the Clinton administration.
Want Cheaper Gas? Lift Those Sanctions on Iran!
The Jewish Exponent has been among those beating the drums for confrontation with Iran (Editorial: "Partisanship Has No Place in Iran Debate," July 31). But this issue should not be viewed in isolation from another topic of great interest.
Americans are very concerned about gas prices. But the Department of Energy says that lifting the ban on most offshore drilling would add nothing to production for many years, and after that the amount would be so small it still would not have a noticeable effect on gas prices.
However, lifting U.S. sanctions on Iran would lower gas prices more than lifting the current ban on most offshore drilling, and do it much sooner.
If U.S. sanctions were lifted, Iran could increase its production by 1 million to 2 million barrels a day in a few years. That would be five to 10 times the impact of lifting the ban on offshore drilling.
If it's urgent to pursue measures to reduce gas prices, shouldn't we be pushing our government to get serious about negotiations with Iran?