Follow the situation
Two weeks ago President Obama delivered a speech in Cairo that was strongly biased toward Muslims. It was full of inaccuracies and omissions. While many American Jews were disturbed by his remarks, most Jewish organizations put out politically correct, sugarcoated news releases. Only Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, voiced strong opposition to Obama’s remarks.
Now, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, is troubled by President Obama’s speech. “There’s a lot of questioning going on about what he really believes and what does he really stand for,” Hoenlein said of the president. “There was no reference to the 3,000 years of the Jewish connection to this land and that is again one of the propaganda lines that the Arabs have used.”
Also omitted was the fact that “the reason the Palestinians don’t have a state is because their leaders rejected every offer for peace.” Hoenlein said, “The problem really is not what Israel does, it’s that Israel is, and they are not ready to accept the existence of the Jewish State.”
As Jews, we certainly want peace for Israel and as Americans we want peace for the region. But as American Jews we need to follow the situation carefully to insure intolerable conditions are not forced on Israel.
Stuart V. Pavilack
(Editor’s note: The author is executive director of the Zionist Organization of America-Pittsburgh District.)
Obama curries favor
Contrary to what Ms. Fidel and Mr. Spiegler feel, President Obama’s speech in Cairo will be viewed as an attempt by the American President to curry favor with the Muslim world and to distant himself emotionally and intellectually with Israel. I argue that Obama’s Cairo speech can be viewed in the context of what’s going on in Iran today.
A Jerusalem Post poll showed a sea change in opinion among Israelis. A lukewarm 31 percent felt he was pro-Israel. After his Cairo speech, only 6 percent thought Obama was pro-Israel. Israelis clearly hear things better than what is filtered through American media, sycophantic to the president, and Jews, blind to Obama’s decade’s long track record of anti-Israel feelings (Reverend Wright, PLO spokesman/University of Chicago neighbor Rashid Khalidi, Bill Ayers, and now that Cairo speech.)
Words, like crises, have consequences. North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran sense America’s new weakness. This is particularly ironic, given the protests in Iran following election fraud. Obama desperately reaches out to “dialogue” with Castro, Chavez, Hamas, and connect with Ahmadinejad.
A calamity of Munich 1938 proportions is evolving in Tehran. Obama’s timid, appeasing relations with Ahmadinejad are providing that despotic regime sufficient cover to quash the anti-theocracy movement. If there is one route to preventing a nuclear holocaust by the mullahs, it is through regime change in Iran by freedom-loving Iranians.
An Iranian scientist, who voted for Obama, wrote me today, “But right now they [the Republicans] are doing much more for democracy than anyone else. They proved me wrong. So thank you Republicans for believing in free speech.”
Seth J. Corey,
Death penalty assailed
I would like to commend the article written on Marshall Dayan (“Jewish Lawyer Fights Death Penalty Daily,” June 11). I particularly agree with what he said regarding the Timothy McVeigh case.
With capital cases costing $2.5 million more than noncapital cases, we should not be jumping to capital punishment before exercising other possible solutions. It is also particularly interesting that the Torah has so many restrictions regarding capital punishment; perhaps this should suggest to us that it is almost never to be used. Across the globe, 137 countries have abolished the death penalty. When will the United States fall in line?
Benefit of the doubt
Reading the June 18 article on Rabbi Ascherman (“Ascherman fights for human rights with the Torah as his guide”), I don’t understand the purpose of his reactions to the accusations carried in Haaretz that members of the IDF acted brutally in Operation Cast Lead. Why would he assume that Jews have done a great wrong and gone into a personal fast? Why would he not give the members of the IDF the benefit of a doubt?
Additionally, there are probably hordes of socialists that do not believe, as he does, that socialism is based in a belief in G-d and/or they were created in G-d’s image. If the Torah mandates the socialist outlook as the true way in trying to be an observant Jew, I would have to switch from the Republican Party to a socialist organization.
I take exception to the June 15 letter to the editor in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Mr. Edward Frim, executive director of the Agency for Jewish Learning, which was directed at Rabbi Danny Schiff’s article “Unclear in Cairo,” (Post Gazette, June 8). It is irrelevant that Rabbi Schiff’s letter does not reflect the views of the AJL where Rabbi Schiff is community scholar.
In my opinion, it is unwise for Jews to air their differences with other Jews in a public forum. Perhaps this issue is related to my childhood as a minority in a small town in western Pennsylvania in the 1940s. At that time, there was a vibrant Jewish community in that town. There is no Jewish presence in that town anymore. But vivid memories remain with me.
I learned how to be Jewish in my old synagogue — no longer in existence. I learned that we Jews stood together in times of political unrest and international threats to our very existence.
Haven’t we learned that “peace at any price” does not work?