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Letters week of Feb. 15. 2007
Why Work to Assist Onslaught Against Israel?
It's a shandah that Jewish organizations formed to defend, support and educate the general public -- and especially, the college crowd -- about Israel have lost all common sense (A Matter of Opinion: "Who Speaks for the Jews?" Feb. 1).
Sponsoring anti-Israel speakers, writers, artists and films that concentrate solely on Israel's flaws does not prove how "open-minded and fair" Jewish groups are. To me, it is another demonstration of foolish and short-sighted Jewish "leadership."
In a neutral debate, on a level playing field, Robert's Rules of Order may apply. In the world of Israel-bashing, there are not two equal sides.
More than 50 Islamic countries (22 of them Arab) are constantly pushing an anti-Israel, anti-Jewish agenda.
If there is any "self-criticism" in this group, it is not made public, nor is it snuffed out immediately. Islamic countries dominate the United Nations, use their enormous wealth to buy well-placed politicians in the United States, Russia, China and Europe, and need no prodding from Iran to want Israel wiped off the map. Why should Jewish "defense" organizations augment this one-sided onslaught?
I will never send a penny to any of the 31 groups that belong to the Union of Progressive Zionists. I refuse to support organizations that work against the State of Israel.
Roberta E. Dzubow
Soldiers Who Speak Out Love Their Country
Jonathan Tobin is obviously ignorant about the "Breaking the Silence" group (A Matter of Opinion: "Who Speaks for the Jews?" Feb. 1)
He characterizes a group of Israel reservists, many of them combat officers, as an "extreme left-wing group."
My son is an Orthodox Jew, a Zionist, a veteran of the Golani brigade and an infantry lieutenant who served last summer for a month guarding settlers in the West Bank. If he and his comrades didn't love their country, they could have left it or dodged the draft.
Tobin characterizes as "distortions" and "out of context" the testimonies collected by members of "Breaking the Silence." To his credit, he does not characterize them as false.
The group has collected more than 1,000 personal testimonies from hundreds of soldiers from all sectors of the Jewish public. They are witnesses of their own behavior.
The group does not call for an end to the occupation; it just wants people to know what the price of the occupation is. It argues not that Israel is inherently immoral, but that the occupation is immoral.
Call them naive, call them misguided, call them bleeding hearts, but don't you dare call them anti-Israeli!
Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
University of Pennsylvania
The Point Here? To Work on Issues That United Us
"Who Will Speak for the Jews?" (A Matter of Opinion, Feb. 1) was both eloquent and compelling, but its premise is factually wrong.
The article furthers the canard that the Israel on Campus Coalition paid to bring "Breaking the Silence" to American college campuses, which, as we've clarified repeatedly and in writing, is not the case.
Rather, one member organization chose to lend its name to support this program on campus. Thus, the question our coalition's Steering Committee considered (and rejected) was not whether the ICC should be promoting and paying for such programming, but whether a member organization should be expelled for lending its name to such a program.
As to the column's closing existential question, wondering why we should exist, the answer lies in the very basis of every coalition -- to work collaboratively around the ties that bind us together, not the ideological differences that forever threaten to push us apart.
While the column asserts that the ICC supports initiatives that sharpen the differences between us, as with any coalition, this is not the case.
Our strength stems from working collaboratively on what we all agree upon, which is frankly much greater than what divides us.
David A. Harris
Israel on Campus Coalition
Santorum Lost Because He Failed Pennsylvanians
I had to chuckle -- or was it sneer? -- at the interview with Rick Santorum, in which he tried to explain his defeat in the U.S. Senate race (People & Politics: "Ex-Republican Senator Takes on Radical Islam," Jan. 25).
With a large dose of hubris, he said his re-election bid was targeted by Democrats because they knew that, with all his talents, he'd be the likely Republican nominee for president.
Thus, some sort of devious conspiratorial effort sent him packing from the Senate to prevent his becoming the next president!
The reason Santorum lost the election was that Pennsylvania voters saw his policies for what they were. Over and over again, his votes throughout the years were those that favored the corporations and the wealthy, and left behind the ordinary Pennsylvanian.
He spent as much time with lobbyists as with his constituents, and failed to address the problems of working people.
I remember one letter from him boasting that the new Medicare prescription plan would not be encumbered by any provisions allowing the government to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies. Thank goodness this provision is being rewritten.
Rick Santorum should clear away the delusions of grandeur, and try to reflect on whom he was elected to represent and how he failed them.
No Place Like Philly for a Night on the Town!
I just wanted to say thanks to the Jewish Exponent. I won two tickets in your contest for "Nerds, A Musical Software Satire" (Arts & Entertainment, Jan. 18).
It was absolutely one of the best musicals we've seen. It was a great treat, and we even took four other friends along.
What a city Philly is for the best in entertainment!