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Letters week of Dec. 10, 2009

December 10, 2009
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U.S. Must Make Certain Iran Doesn't Get Bomb

Your editorial in the paper of Nov. 25, titled "Time to Enforce Deadline," rightly describes the danger posed to Israel by the looming Iranian nuclear threat and the need for the United States to take action. One important addition to your argument would be the often neglected fact that there are huge risks for the United States as well if Iran becomes a nuclear-weapons power.

Whatever the political, economic and security risks for the United States that might occur via sanctions or even by a last-resort military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, they will be as nothing compared to the shadow of nuclear blackmail under which America will be obliged to live once Iran gets its hands on such weapons.

Even if Iran never fires them at us, who really believes it won't give such weapons to terrorists? And who believes that, once securing them, terrorists wouldn't use them against us?

Just one nuclear attack on an American city would break our will to resist. Think about it: Japan was fanatically opposed to surrendering in 1945. It took two atomic bombs to change its mind. Does anyone believe Americans will fight harder today than the Japanese did then -- that we will absorb one, two or three nuclear attacks and keep on fighting?

Once Iran gets the bomb, our freedom and security may well be compromised beyond our wildest imaginations.
Dr. Alan A. Mazurek
Great Neck, N.Y.

Vitriolic Attacks Really Need Some Perspective

Mark Twain's idea that "distance lends enchantment to the view" doesn't seem to apply to Adam Levick and his vitriolic attacks on my good friend, Temple University Judaic Studies Professor Elliot Ratzman (Letters: "Don't Call Them Activists; They Are Clearly Radicals," Nov. 25).

Professor Ratzman is a passionate pro-Israel activist with a different view than Levick's on what it takes to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

That said, Levick's baseless attacks on Ratzman are beyond the pale.

But don't just take my word for it; listen to the man himself.

Less than a year ago, when Levick stilled lived in Philadelphia, he wrote a letter to the editor in City Paper about a positive encounter with a Jewish peace activist in a program sponsored by the Jewish Dialogue Group.

Levick wrote: "We're both proud that our community is increasingly rejecting the incivility and vitriol which often clouds the debate over Israel and the Palestinians, and remain committed to the principle that, through respectful dialogue, people with seemingly irreconcilable positions can find ways to talk with and listen to each other, and to look for common ground."

He now lives in Jerusalem, far from his hometown.

Let's hope that Levick figures out sooner, rather than later, that it's possible to leave one's birthplace without abandoning one's values and principles.
Steve Masters
Philadelphia

Country Needs to Ensure a Clean-Energy Future

In his opinion piece, "Of Climate and Copenhagen: Now, the Jewish Response" (Dec. 3), Mike Weilbacher aptly discusses the need for both Jewish and American ways to combat climate change.

One person who can draw on his Jewish heritage while exercising real power over this is Sen. Arlen Specter.

By voting "yes" on the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Specter has already shown that he understands the problem.

We need to enact federal climate legislation so that America can create desperately needed new jobs -- that can't be exported -- by encouraging renewable-energy development and strengthening energy- efficiency standards.

We need it to help prevent the worst consequences of climate change by reducing harmful carbon-dioxide pollution.

And we need it to make us safer by increasing our energy independence and decreasing the flow of money from the United States to often hostile, oil-producing nations.
Rachel Vassar
Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture)
Philadelphia


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