Letters to the editor: 10/30

Letters to the editor: 10/30

Misrepresenting Palin

It is ironic, to say the least, that on the very page following Gary Rosenblatt’s reflections about what letters to publish, in which he rightly defends not publishing anti-Obama letters containing falsehoods about his religious beliefs, (“Which letters to publish is an editor’s trickiest job,” Oct. 23) that The Chronicle should have published Richard Mottsman’s anti-Palin letter. It contains three reasonably well-documented falsehoods about Palin’s religious beliefs: that she is somehow personally tied to Jews for Jesus, that she wants “our children” to be taught creationism, and that her slogan was “the first Christian mayor of Wasilla.”
Either it is inexplicably hard for the editors of The Chronicle to recognize smears when they see them, or there is no hesitation to publish them — at least, of conservative candidates.

Charles Rubin

Sheep in a lion’s den

In response to your call for local Republicans to show themselves, (“Wanted: Republicans,” Oct. 16), and having had my yard signs repeatedly stolen and vandalized, I have taken the initiative to open a McCain campaign office in the center of Squirrel Hill.
Although many may consider this the equivalent of throwing a sheep into a lions den, or in this case, an elephant in a donkeys den, I believe this provocative move is just what is needed to promote free speech and honest and open public debate. We can’t pretend to be a true democracy with only one side represented.
I am a true democrat who hopes that by informing the community they will be better able to make an educated decision on Election Day. Everyone is welcome to visit and discuss the election with my colleagues and I over a hot cup of coffee.

Josh Wander
Squirrel Hill

Eldad’s message
We want to congratulate the ZOA- Pittsburgh for bringing Member of Knesset, Dr. Aryeh Eldad to town to speak last month. His message is an important one.
According to Dr. Eldad, the main problem in the Middle East is that the leaders believe that the problem between Israel and the Arabs is a territorial one. If it were, it could have been solved a long time ago, by territorial concessions, which have been offered a number of times to the Arabs, and rejected. It is fundamentally a “religious conflict, a cultural conflict.”
The land of Israel, to Muslims, is a “Wakf,” which is a sacred land inherited by Islam that Muslims believe should remain Muslim in perpetuity. As such, the Arabs will never allow a part of it to remain in Jewish hands. His solution: 70 percent of the Jordanian population is Palestinian; Jordan is Palestine. The international community and the Kingdom of Jordan should take the initiative to resettle the ’48 refugees in part of Jordan. Any Arabs who choose to stay in Israel are welcome to do so, but as residents; their citizenship would be Jordanian-Palestinian. This would not lead to peace, which he does not see in the near future under any circumstances, but to a reduction in the simmering friction between the two peoples.
ZOA also arranged for Dr. Eldad to speak at Hillel Academy High School. It’s a shame that every Pittsburgher did not hear his message.

Rebecca Fuhrman
and Samantha Vinokor

RJC ads attacked
After seeing the Republican Jewish Coalition ads and looking at their Web site, I have changed my registration from Republican to Democratic for this election. I would appreciate the opportunity to explain.
Jews have been the perpetual victims of lies, distortions and vehement, deadly hatred. For a Jewish organization to contribute to any kind of fear mongering and the sordid smearing of a decent human being is both shameful and embarrassing. The purpose of this coalition’s campaign is to divide us.
The facts are that Sen. Obama’s history proves his support for Israel going as far back as his school days. AIPAC has refuted all of your accusations 100 percent. By standing with McCain and Palin, they are endorsing and promoting ignorance over enlightenment; opportunism over achievement and, greed over T’kun Olam. They are endorsing the Christian Right’s ever growing control over our country. RJC mocks our proud heritage of seeking education and excellence. It dishonors those for whom we say Kaddish.
As a Jew, I am positively ill. How can any of these tactics come from my own people? How can any Jewish paper accept these ads? If anything, we who have suffered from vicious discrimination are obligated to assail such inexcusable acts.
As we come to the end of our Days of Awe, it’s important for us as Jews to commit ourselves to the truth and to T’kun Olam.
Dear G-d, don’t let any of us exercise a vote that gives the slightest honor to deceit.

Marilyn Bricklin Lebovitz
Yardley, PA

JUP serves all
We are grateful that The Jewish Chronicle praised the work of the Jewish Unity Project in its Oct. 23 editorial (“Jew-on-Jew Violence”).
Indeed, the Jewish Unity Project is “where rabbis and community leaders have come together to talk, teach and find common ground,” to quote your editorial.
However, we are concerned that your editorial might create the impression that the Jewish Unity Project benefits only those rabbis and community leaders who directly participate in its work.
The ongoing mission of the Jewish Unity Project is to improve intrafaith relations throughout Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. We do this through public programs that have drawn standing-only-room crowds and through its booklet “Hurtful Words, Healing Words,” copies of which are still available.
Above all, we do this by providing a model of respectful dialogue about our differences. We don’t aim to eliminate the fences that divide us, but we strive to lower them so that we can see each other and talk to each other.
The United Jewish Federation created and sustains the Jewish Unity Project out of recognition that we are much stronger as a community if we’re cohesive. And, thankfully, the Jewish community in Pittsburgh is far more cohesive than most.
Nonetheless, we agree with you that, as your editorial states, “We must do more.” And that’s why the Jewish Unity Project remains hard at work.

Rabbi James Gibson
and Jeffrey Cohan

(Editor’s note: Rabbi James Gibson is chair of the Jewish Unity Project; Jeffrey Cohan is director of community and public affairs at the United Jewish Federation.)