Letters to the Editor, May 19

Letters to the Editor, May 19

Ascherman accusation

Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) believes that his organization alone determines the moral compass for human rights (“RHR’s Ascherman says human rights groups are under fire,” May 10, 2011). He accuses the research institution that I head, NGO Monitor, of publishing reports in which “facts are not checked.” Ascherman provides no evidence for this completely false claim. Like other heads of politicized non-governmental organization (NGOs), Ascherman is uncomfortable when self-proclaimed “human rights” groups are held accountable for their actions and rhetoric. His response demonstrates that he has much to learn about morality and Jewish values. While Ascherman uses the title of rabbi in promoting his ideology and defaming substantive critics in NGO Monitor’s systematic research, he has violated the commandment against bearing false witness.

Prof. Gerald Steinberg
President, NGO Monitor

Nazi must face jailtime
91-year-old John Demjanjuk has now been convicted by a German court of participating in atrocities against Nazi concentration camp pris- oners. If he is indeed guilty as charged, the court system has committed an atrocity against those whom Demjanjuk brutalized by permitting him to remain free on appeal, an appeal that may not be finalized before the defendant dies of natural causes.
Some say that it is inhumane to try a sickly, elderly man for crimes that are alleged to have occurred seven decades ago. What of the inhumanity and atrocities that Demjanjuk was
found to have inflicted on innocent, decent human beings in one of history’s most horrific chapters? Should there be a statute of limitations on trying individuals who are accused of savagery, crimes against humanity? Another argument in Demjanjuk’s defense is that he poses no threat. I agree that we need not be concerned that Demjanjuk will again work in a concentration camp, but I say, “So what if he poses no threat?” Since when is punishment to be meted out solely on the basis of whether one is currently a menace to society?
Nazis slaughtered my father’s Austrian parents in a concentration camp in 1944, a time in which they were in the prime of their lives. The horror that they endured is beyond my imagination, but the effect of it did not end with their deaths. I know that the loss of his parents to such an unnatural and hideous death deeply impacted my father and colored his life.
I hope that no tears will be shed for those who willingly participate in genocide. Whether or not John Demjanjuk is returned to prison, he will never know the suffering and anguish that were indiscriminately inflicted on the innocent simply because they did not fit Adolf Hitler’s Aryan supremacy model.

Oren M. Spiegler
Upper St. Clair