Letters to the editor May 13

Letters to the editor May 13

‘Gonzo Judaism’ rapped
I disagree with [Justin Jacobs] on a few basic points in his take on Nile’s Elliot Goldstein’s “Gonzo Judaism” (“Thompson-esque book pushes Jews to look forward, not backward,” April 29).
Goldstein’s statements about being fed up with Abe Foxman, Elie Weisel and Rabbi Marvin Hier as tired reactionary old men: Men encouraging a preservation of the past, and living in fear in the present, are not courageous statements.  These are feel good statements aimed at Jews who do not want to understand their past and from that understanding face the very real dangers that face us in the present.
It sounds great to say we, as Jews, need a forward-looking approach to spirituality and the world. But going forward without the past, or leaving the walls of the synagogue emphasizing personal values, as opposed to the traditional values that have stood us in good service, is a “fearless” rush toward disaster. It brings nothing more to mind than a herd of lemmings rushing off the cliff.

Ian Heiss
Squirrel Hill
Then and now: Is peace a dream?
May 8, 1945: I’m in north Germany with the victorious Russian army. Six years of fear, hunger and bloodshed had come to an end. Millions were exterminated and millions were victims.
I had a dream. No more will mothers (and fathers) have to cry for their fallen children. It didn’t take long, I woke up. Jewish survivors were hunted on the open sea as they tried to reach Palestine. They were either returned to Germany or put into camps — once again — on Cyprus.
One bright moment was the United Nations resolution to approve the partition of Palestine in which two states were to be established. Arab neighbors attacked the young state of Israel. Jewish mothers cried again. Other wars followed in different parts of the world and mothers were crying again.
Today, May 8, 2010, there is a new tragedy — suicide bombings. Some mothers are proud of their children for being martyrs. A grandfather in Gaza is celebrating the death of his grandson as a martyr. He is ready to sacrifice his other grandchildren for the cause. The former ruler of Iraq — Saddam Hussein — triumphantly declared, before the Gulf War, that this was going to be the “mother of all wars.” How obscene.
Wars are still flaring again. Mothers are still crying. Is peace only a dream? But dream we must.

Moshe Baran
Squirrel Hill
Sestak’s Israel stance challenged
Abby Wisse Schachter writes of Democratic primary challenger Joe Sestak that, “He strongly supports Israel” (“Calling all Democrats: Support Joe Sestak,” Jan. 21). If only it was true.
In March, 327 House members on Capitol Hill — more than three-quarters of the House — signed the bipartisan Steny Hoyer (Democratic Majority Leader) — Eric Cantor (Republican Whip) letter in support of Israel, critical of the Obama administration’s condemnation of Israel for announcing construction of homes for Jews in Jerusalem and other pressures placed on the U.S.-Israel relationship by the Obama Administration. Joe Sestak was not one of them.
On the other hand, Sestak was one of small minority of House Democrats — 54 members (a mere 12 percent of the House) — who signed a February letter urging the president to call for the lifting of Israeli security restrictions on Gaza, which they described as a “blockade,” while ignoring Hamas’ call for a genocide of Jews.
In 2007, Sestak addressed a fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), bestowing unwarranted legitimacy on this viciously anti-Israel lobby whose officials, such as co-founder Omar Ahmad, have praised suicide bombers and whose first executive director, Nihad Awad, said “I am in support of the Hamas movement.” Sestak even hired CAIR’s marketing specialist, Adeeba al-Zaman, as a full-time staffer.
Can a record of this kind be credibly described as “strong support” for Israel?
Morton A. Klein
Merion Station, Pa.
(The author is national director of the Zionist Organization of America. The views expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of the ZOA.)
Unfortunate event
I was encouraged to read “Komen to hold its first Race for the Cure in Jerusalem,” May 6.
Unfortunately, many may not realize that the Susan Komen Foundation hosted an international conference on breast cancer in Egypt in October 2009. Scientists from around the world presented papers, exchanged ideas, and brainstormed ways to end the scourge of the cancer, which is threatening all of our lives.
Egypt however, rescinded the invitations of all of the invited Israeli scientists! Due to baseless racism, the opportunity to share these scientists’ discoveries with the world on a timely basis was lost.
This is an unfortunate insult that was levied on Israeli scientists and to the Jewish people.

Dori Oshlag
Mt. Lebanon

(Editor’s note: Egypt eventually allowed the Israeli scientists to attend the conference.
“After we received the initial report on the situation, we launched a diplomatic effort to ensure they would be able to participate,” Komen founder and CEO Nancy Goodman Brinker said in an Oct. 22, 2009, statement. “I am pleased to report that our efforts led to confirmation that all advocates would be welcome to participate in the events.”)