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Letters Week of Oct. 19, 2006

October 19, 2006
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Call Them What They Are: Issues of Freedom

As a 41-year-old married father who happens to be a Democrat, I take exception to the term "life-style issues" in the Exponent's story about how Jews vote (Cover: "Rise of the 'Culture Wars,' " Oct. 5).

I am very pro-Israel. That said, for those who wonder how I, as a Jew, could not vote for Sen. Rick Santorum, let me ask them to consider this:

Imagine a world where Jewish women are not allowed to purchase birth control. Imagine a world where Jewish women are forced to give birth to children with no regard for their rights to what happens to their own body.

Imagine a world where anywhere from 3 percent to 10 percent of Jews (depending on which study you read) are equated to pedophiles, called adherents of bestiality, and prohibited from enjoying the right to live, love and have families simply because they were born homosexual.

Imagine a world where Jewish women, who by necessity or choice, work outside the home are denigrated as individuals who are damaging their own families.

These are not merely "life-style issues."

Personal freedom and freedom of expression are fundamental rights, to which Santorum and his religious-right cohorts are opposed.

Where candidate Bob Casey stands on Israel is important. However, it is where Santorum stands on the most valuable of freedoms that will cause me to vote against him. 
Michael A. Ginsberg 
Philadelphia 

Clear and Present Danger: We Must Vote for Israel!

The congressional and Senate races this year present one clear issue: The war against Islamic fascists and the nuclear threat by Iran must be first orders of concern (Cover Story: "Rise of the 'Culture Wars,' " Oct. 5)

We are witness to the results of the failed Clinton and State Department "law-enforcement" policies in reaction to terrorism. President Bush has dealt with this threat against civilized societies by considering us at war.

Sammie Moshenberg of the National Council of Jewish Women was quoted as saying that Jewish women, in particular, should not be single-issue voters. Presumably, she meant that women should put concern for Israel as one among other issues to consider.

Another article in the same issue quoted a study in Foreign Policy magazine that suggested the United States is not winning the war on terror, and should instead focus on reducing its dependence on foreign oil and increase funding for the State Department (City & Suburb: "Five Years After 9/11, Defense Chief Feels America's 'Marginally Safer,' " Oct. 5). This latter idea would be amusing if the implications were not so chilling.

Charges of "dual loyalties" be damned! We have to base our support in this election on a single issue: which candidate is likely to consider that there is a clear and present danger to Israel's existence. 
Doris Yarczower 
Wynnewood

Don't Ask Democrats for Reasons to Support GOP

In a recent People & Politics column, a Jewish Telegraphic Agency story on Jewish funding for candidates used a paid consultant for a Democratic candidate to be the source of a quote characterizing the motives of supporters of a Republican ("Pro-Israel Individuals Work to Fund Friendly Incumbents," Oct. 5).

Allowing Betsy Sheer, a pro on Democrat Bob Casey's staff, to frame the supporters of Republican Rick Santorum as "only single-issue" voters (meaning Israel) ignores Santorum's leadership position in the Senate, his seniority and his proven ability to bring millions of federal funds to Pennsylvania.

Casey, however, would be at the bottom of the experience and seniority ladder.

The moral of this story?

Don't ask Sheer for reasons to support Santorum! 
Ed Rosen 
Bryn Mawr 

Let's Seek Out Moderates and Attempt to Talk

Jonathan Tobin has his sarcasm control turned up so high that he cannot hear the real music of current events over the sparks in his own amplifier (A Matter of Opinion: "Stalking the Elusive Arab 'Moderate,' " Oct. 5).

That the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act reached the floor of either house of Congress at all was a rare miracle. Democratic bills on a remarkable number of subjects have yet to gain a hearing from either House of Representatives.

That it passed both houses in different forms which could not be reconciled -- by a Republican leadership that has no trouble passing bridges to nowhere -- seems more a game of three-card monte that Tobin is determined to prove honest.

My conclusion is that Republicans deliberately sabotaged the passage of the bill, but tried to make it look like they favored its passage.

In a period of Jewish remembrance of our homeless wandering -- for which we build our temporary sukkahs -- it should be sinful to despise the homelessness of another people, even if many Palestinians are deceived by their leaders that Jews are entirely at fault. The Palestinian Diaspora is no less real, if more short-lived, than our own.

Contrary to Tobin's assertion, it is actually easy to find nominally moderate Arabs. There may not be many -- and they may not have guns or armies or political parties -- but some do exist. We do not encourage them as allies by ignoring their presence or asserting their non-existence. 
Ben Burrows 
Elkins Park 

Moderates? Good Luck Finding Any of Them!

Jonathan Tobin is absolutely correct about the fallacy of pursuing Arab moderates (A Matter of Opinion: "Stalking the Elusive Arab 'Moderate,' " Oct. 5).

He's also right about the effectiveness of propping up Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas -- that "courageous" man of peace who is against suicide bombing because it is bad public relations for the Palestinians, but not bad enough to stop it altogether. 
Joe Mirman 
Palm Harbor, Fla.

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