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August 28, 2016 / 24 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘letters’

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Free Consultation

As I do every year at this time, I am offering a free telephone consultation to any parent whose child is not yet registered in a yeshiva/say school or Bais Yaakov.

Interested parents can call 718-758-9213 and leave a message. I will return your calls.

Dr. Joel S. Rosenshein
(Via e-Mail)

Editor’s Note: Dr. Rosenshein is a noted psychologist.

 

 
Meaningful Tisha B’Av Gathering

Kol hakovod to Jewish Press readers who braved heat-index temperatures above 100 degrees to join our most meaningful Tisha B’Av Minchah at the Isaiah Wall on behalf of Israel and Jews in danger worldwide.

The eloquent, pointed remarks by Shimon Mercer-Wood, the young dati spokesman for the Israeli Consulate, stirred our souls.

Glenn Richter
Amcha-Coalition for Jewish Concerns

 

 

Presidential Politics (I)

I’m really getting tired of some of Donald Trump’s Jewish partisans continually referring to the Hillary Clinton/Suha Arafat embrace that occurred way back in 1999.

Clinton was listening to a translation of the speech on headphones. She said afterward that the translator did not convey Arafat’s claim that Israel was poisoning Palestinian wells, and that had she known Arafat made that accusation, she (Hillary) would have immediately condemned it.

Let’s remember the context: Hillary had just declared her candidacy for the U.S. Senate from New York. The last thing someone running for that office would do would be to embrace someone who had just made an awful, untrue claim about Israel. So there’s no reason not to believe her.

As first lady of the United States visiting Ramallah in 1999, Hillary had little choice but to give Suha a brief hug. Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu all shook Yasir Arafat’s bloodstained hands but people claim to have a problem with Hillary having given Arafat’s wife a brief hug?

After Hillary won a decisive victory in her Senate race (she would be reelected to a second term six years later in an even bigger landslide), she was universally praised for being one of Israel’s strongest defenders in Congress.

As for Hillary’s husband, poll after poll in Israel, during his presidency and in the years since, show him to be the most popular U.S. president of all time among Israelis.

Yerachmiel Gordon
Via E-Mail

 

Presidential Politics (II)

While reading Paul Kengor’s op-ed last week (“Trump’s Approach to Russia Is Weak and Dangerous”), I had one question throughout: Why does Dr. Kengor consider Russia a grave enemy of the United States? Why this obsession with Vladimir Putin?

Putin is no saint, but he is no Stalin either. Remember: the reason Russia was America’s enemy for 70 years is not because Russians are particularly evil people. It’s because Russia belonged to the Soviet Union, which was ideologically committed to exporting communism to the Western world. That commitment entailed undermining all capitalist countries – especially the United States, the symbol of the capitalist West.

The Cold War, though, ended in 1991. Putin may be a mini dictator, but he poses no threat to our country. Worst-case scenario is that he yearns to reign over a “Greater Russia” that includes all his country’s old territories (e.g., Latvia, Lithuania, etc.).

Even if that were true, though, that does not make him America’s enemy. Putin poses no threat to the United States or Western Europe, and its sheer lunacy to pretend otherwise.

If Dr. Kengor wasn’t so focused on criticizing Trump, perhaps he’d spend more time worrying about real threats to this country, such as radical Islam and China – threats Trump takes seriously but which our elected officials have ignored for far too long.

Dr. Kengor would then realize that Putin could actually be our ally in the fight against radical Islam, which threatens Russia as well. Indeed, if the radical jihadists lose in Syria, we will largely have Russia to thank for that.

Joshua Bernstein
(Via E-Mail)

 

Presidential Politics (III)

Donald Trump’s outright lie – which he repeated endlessly last week even after being told it was absolutely untrue – that President Obama founded ISIS was just the latest in the long series of misstatements, exaggerations, and falsehoods he’s told over the past year.

In fact, Obama organized a coalition of countries to fight ISIS and has launched more than 10,000 air strikes against ISIS targets. Does Trump even know that? Do his followers know that?

And do they know that in 2007, when George W. Bush was president, Trump actually supported a rapid withdrawal from Iraq – the very thing he’s now condemning Obama for doing several years later?

Back then, Trump told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “You know how they get out? That’s how they get out. Declare victory and leave, because I’ll tell you, this country is just going to get further bogged down. They’re in a civil war over there, Wolf. There’s nothing that we’re going to be able to do with a civil war. They are in a major civil war.”

And yet Trump’s supporters insist he is an exemplar of honesty who “tells it like it is.” It would be funny if it weren’t so potentially dangerous for our country.

Yoel Geller
(Via E-Mail)

 

What Would You Do?

Questions for European leaders and our own John Kerry:

Would you meet with an adjacent neighbor if –

* they possessed many thousands missiles and their three major political parties had formal charters and a constitution calling for your destruction?

* their TV programs taught their people that the area of your country and their country are part of a “WAQF” which is a religious expression meaning it is a sacred area, and that not one grain of soil can belong to anyone else?

* they signed a prior agreement with you requiring them to annul clauses in their charter calling for your destruction in exchange for your conveyance of land to them – and while you did comply with your obligation, they in fact changed not one word of their charter?

* they honored as martyrs terrorists who murdered civilians of your country and almost daily incited their people against yours?

* they stated words of peace in your language and said exactly the opposite in their own language?

William K. Langfan
Palm Beach FL

Our Readers

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Khan/Trump (I)

While reading some of the words you quoted from of Mr. Khans’s speech to the Democratic National Convention (“The Trump/Khan Controversy,” editorial, Aug. 5) what jumped out at me was this statement by Mr. Khan aimed at Donald Trump: “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

When George Stephanopoulos questioned Trump about that a couple of days later on ABC’s “This Week,” Trump said he had indeed made sacrifices. An obviously skeptical Stephanopoulos then pressed Trump to list them.

Why, pray tell, has no one pressed Hillary Clinton on what exactly she has sacrificed and President Obama on his sacrifices?

And Khan could have easily suggested that both Clinton and Obama make a trip to Arlington National Cemetery to understand what real sacrifice is about.

Amy Wall
New York, NY

 
Khan/Trump (II)

Re the “Trump/Khan Controversy” editorial:

I agree that Trump “can hardly be faulted for wanting to respond to the sharp attacks directed his way at the Democratic National Convention by the father of a Muslim U.S. Army officer, Captain Humayun Khan, an American hero killed in Iraq while trying to save some of his men.”

But with the exception of three paragraphs taking Trump to task for the way he reacted, the editorial amounted to a lengthy series of rationalizations and explanations as to why Trump had reason to be upset with Khan’s speech and why Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim entry into the United States does not violate the Constitution.

I would have written the editorial in just the opposite manner – with three paragraphs supporting Trump’s right to respond to Khan’s criticism and maybe suggesting what a reasoned response might have entailed. The rest of the editorial would have focused on just how despicable and lacking in empathy Trump’s initial response was.

All Trump needed to say in order to avoid the condemnation that rained down on him was that he was sorry for the Khan family’s loss (has anyone ever heard Trump use the word “sorry” in any context related to himself?) and then explain why he felt Khan’s remarks were unjustified.

One should never, ever insult parents of a child who paid the ultimate price in defending our beloved country. We simply cannot have a president who so often makes remarks that are, in the words of your editorial, “odd” and “mystifying.” There’s too much at stake here.

Henry Gillman
(Via E-Mail)

 

Pro-Trump

While I am not a Donald Trump fan and did not vote for him in the primary, he’ll get my vote in November for the following reasons:

There likely will be several Supreme Court vacancies in the next few years in addition to the current opening; it is certain that Hillary will appoint uber-left justices and that Trump will not.

The Democratic Party is rapidly moving away from its formerly strong stance in support of Israel.

The disastrous Iran deal places Israel in grave danger. Hillary will not consider ways to redo it; Trump says he will.

Any one of these reasons would be ample reason to support the Republican candidate in this race.

Arlene Ross
Forest Hills, NY

 

Pro-Clinton

Dennis Prager is a brilliant intellect and an outstanding communicator, for which he deserves my respect. But when it comes to the 2016 presidential election, we are like two people on the same road but traveling in opposite directions (“Given the Alternative, I’ll Take Trump,” op-ed, July 29).

While I agree with many of Prager’s reasons for choosing Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton and recognize her failings, I’ll take her over him. For me, and I suspect many others, it’s a matter of the lesser of two evils.

Our Readers

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Deafening Simchas

I have long been distressed about the excessively loud music at simchas. I therefore would like to commend Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis for her July 8 column on the subject.

I commend the gemachs that offer headgear to protect babies’ delicate ears. Much more needs to be done, however. I know of adults who have permanent hearing loss because of exposure to very loud music and I have read that such exposure can cause tinnitus, headaches, and ear pain as well.

If people cannot engage in a normal conversation, this is an indication that the music is too loud. What enjoyment is there to dance to earsplitting music that can damage the health of men, women, and children? We are supposed to guard our health and do no harm to others.

I love to dance, to give joy to a kallah, but in recent years, as the music has become more and more deafening, I find myself having to leave the room.

Let us all make every effort to lower the volume of the music at our simchas so that everyone can enjoy the dancing in good health, as well as being able to speak to each other without straining voices and ear drums.

May all of Klal Yisrael enjoy true simchas.

Leah Neuberger
Lawrence, NY

 

A Real Feminist ‘First’

Hillary Clinton certainly missed the boat in her historic acceptance speech at last week’s Democratic National Convention. It’s very clear where the real “first” of the feminist movement took place. The story is told in parshas Pinchas, which of course was the parshah during the week of the convention.

The daughters of Zelophedad wanted the “the same right of territorial possessions as that which applies to male members of our tribe.” And Hashem approved that right – for Jewish women to own land in Israel. That was thousands of years before the United States came into existence.

It’s a shame Hillary’s advisers missed that. It’s right there in the Bible. It might not have been politically correct to say that Jews had recognized the rights of women long before Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem….and Hillary Clinton. But it would have been oh so cool.

Joel Glazer
(Via E-Mail)

Editor’s Note: Mr. Glazer is in his 50th year of teaching history at Bruriah High School for Girls in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

 

Clinton Over Trump

Dennis Prager’s op-ed article backing Donald Trump’s candidacy (“Given the Alternative, I’ll Take Trump” July 29) plays on fears more than facts. Every respectable observer of our courts has concluded that Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland is no leftist, but Prager makes it appear that this likely justice would be as activist as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

Concerning fracking, small-town residents who found poisoned water in their taps certainly would not agree with Prager’s support for such a dangerous fuel extraction measure.

And we’ve seen that lowering corporate taxes has not brought better wages to workers as much as higher payouts to executives.

Finally, if he fears that Washington D. C. or Puerto Rican statehood would give the Democrats more Senate seats, he has his own party to blame for this. If the Republicans had done more outreach to Latinos and blacks instead of disparaging them, perhaps these two potential states would be more receptive to electing Republican candidates.

The choice of Hillary Clinton over Trump is not one of bad versus worse, but of rational over irrational.

Sergey Kadinsky
(Via E-Mail)

Trump Over Clinton

John Podhoretz (“Trump’s Deeply Unpatriotic Convention Speech,” op-ed, July 29) laments that “The America Donald Trump portrayed [in his acceptance speech] is a horrible place, awash in barbarity, crime, disorder, decay, deceit, rigging, cheating, exploitation.”

Our Readers

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Tisha B’Av Minchah At The UN

Jewish Press readers are terrific. Each year they make their Tisha B’Av meaningful and join our annual outdoor Minchah at the famed Isaiah Wall opposite the UN, praying for the security of our beloved Israel and on behalf of threatened Jewish communities worldwide.

On this Tisha B’Av, Sunday, August 14, at 2 pm, we’ll again gather at the Isaiah Wall, First Avenue and 43rd Street, Manhattan.

We’ll be led by Rabbi Avi Weiss and are honored to have among our speakers Shimon Mercer-Wood, the eloquent dati spokesperson for the Israeli Consulate. Please bring your siddur (men bring tallit and tefillin as needed.

For more information, please contact tishahbav@aol.com or call (212) 663-5784.

Glenn Richter
Amcha-Coalition for Jewish Concerns

 

A Mother’s Love For The Jewish Press

My mother, Zelda bat Hersh Zvi, passed away two weeks ago. She loved The Jewish Press and couldn’t have an enjoyable Shabbat without it.

When I started writing articles for the paper in the 1980s, she beamed with joy and pride and made sure all her friends went out to buy copies.

My father, who died forty years ago to the week of the Entebbe raid, had introduced The Jewish Press to our family when I was a little boy.

Thank you for giving so much joy to my ima and for all the help The Jewish Press has given to me and to my work.

When I was a rabbi in Long Island and when I worked in various venues as a youth and educational director, I always made sure copies of The Jewish Press were readily available to as many people as possible.

Rabbi Gary Moskowitz
(Via E-Mail)

 

Disliked Editorial

Your July 22 editorial berating Hillary Clinton for putting Bernie Sanders’s people on the Democratic platform committee was not in tune with your usually solid editorials.

Hillary had to deal with Sanders’s strength with the large segment of the electorate who supported him. Sanders tapped into a real spirit of discontent among many Americans, especially among the so-called millennials, who do not want to go into lifelong debt for attending college and would like affordable medical care.

I do not agree with all of Sanders’s views regarding Israel. But he did live on a kibbutz for a time, and much of his family was murdered in the Holocaust. Sanders voted against the disastrous Iraq war, in which thousands of Americans and countless Iraqis were killed in a quest to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction that never existed. The Iraq war also led to the emergence of ISIS.

Reuven S. Solomon
Forest Hills, NY

 

Trump Will Pay The Price

Donald Trump will pay the price in November for his arrogant and pretentious attitudes, his insults and mockery of rivals and colleagues, and his presumption of infallibility.

I am one Republican who, while agreeing with a few of his positions, will refrain from voting for Trump because of his insolent and outlandish gestalt.

He boasts that only he is fit to rule because everybody else is either “a loser” or not strong, good looking, or rich enough. Only he can fix our problems. Only he has the right to hide his income tax returns and only he can babble endlessly about how he’ll make America great again without giving any substantive details.

Before I would even think of supporting him, he’d have to absorb 100 lessons in humility, ask for forgiveness from a host of people, and begin to learn how to serve others.

Ray Kestenbaum
Rego Park, NY

 

Israel’s Peaceful Example

Israel is constantly working to establish cordial relationships with other countries. That’s a good way to encourage peace on earth. Now imagine if only Arab countries were to do likewise…

Our Readers

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

Obama And Terrorism

Reader Eli Grossman (Letters, July 15) quotes statistics (the number of terrorists killed by the U.S. over the past several years, etc.) cited by journalist Peter Bergen as evidence that Obama is not the pro-Muslim pacifist some on the Right claim he is.

I would point out, however, that upon the publication in 2014 of a slanderous book about Israel by the virulently anti-Israel writer Max Blumenthal, the same Peter Bergen offered effusive praise for both Blumenthal and his screed (which the left-wing writer Eric Alterman panned as something that “could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club”). And we’re to believe Bergen has integrity?

Iran is the world’s foremost sponsor of terror and Obama facilitated development of an Iranian nuclear weapon and released $150 billion to the Iranians. I don’t have to call the president or anyone on the Left any names, Mr. Grossman, but I would love to hold all of them responsible for the consequences of Obama’s actions.

Ben Feigenbaum
(Via E-Mail)

Elie Wiesel’s Legacy (I)

I was very moved by Alan Dershowitz’s article about his friend Elie Wiesel (“Elie Wiesel: My Colleague, My Friend,” op-ed July 15).

There was only one Elie Wiesel. He helped keep alive the memory of the Holocaust. He protested genocide and atrocities in Biafra, Darfur, Rwanda, Cambodia and elsewhere. He was a great person. Millions have read his books. His memory and his writings live on.

Reuven Solomon
Forest Hills, NY

Elie Wiesel’s Legacy (II)

Elie Wiesel, in his roles as chairman of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust and as founding chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, fought a long battle against those who wanted to make Washington’s United States Holocaust Memorial Museum less “ethnocentric” and more “inclusive.”

The story of Wiesel’s valiant fight to ensure that the museum would first and foremost tell the story of the genocide of the Jews is told in great detail in Edward Linenthal’s 1995 book Preserving Memory: The Struggle to Create America’s Holocuast Museum.

Back in February 1979, when the Holocaust Commission met for the first time, Wiesel set the tone with his searingly eloquent remarks, declaring:

 

We have been entrusted with an awesome legacy, and we are being judged by invisible friends, brothers, teachers, parents – and they are all dead. And they all had but one wish, to be remembered. As we begin out proceedings, we hear the Kaddish of a community somewhere in Ukraine, a community that did not live long enough to complete the prayer. We hear the whispers of thousands and thousands of human beings, walking in nocturnal processions toward the flames…. We hear the battle orders of ghetto fighters. We hear the mute laments of abandoned children. We hear Bergen-Belsen. We hear Treblinka, and we hear Chelmno. And we are seized by Maidanek. We shiver because of Auschwitz and we burn because of Auschwitz.

 

Who but Elie Wiesel could have written and spoken with such poetic majesty?

Trudy Robbins
(Via E-Mail)

 

Ginsburg And Trump

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently made highly inappropriate remarks for someone in her position about Donald Trump, setting off a firestorm of criticism.

Ginsburg subsequently apologized for what she said. But Donald Trump has often (too many times to count) made highly inappropriate – even quite vulgar and demeaning – remarks about people and groups. Has he ever apologized? Even once? Not that I’m aware of.

I can’t say I’m surprised; I once heard him asked in an interview what he thought of atonement. He replied, in so many words, that he thought atonement was a good thing but that he himself has nothing to atone for.

What I learn from Ginsburg’s comments is that we should be very careful of what we say and the context in which we say it. What I’ve also learned from her is that if you make a big mistake with something you’ve said, find words of contrition and apologize.

I’m still wondering what I can learn from Donald Trump.

Alan Howard
Brooklyn, NY

 

Smearing Trump

Sara Lehmann’s interview with Trump aide Jason Greenblatt in her “Right Angle” column (July 8) was excellent.

My June 3 letter to the editor in support of Trump was subsequently criticized by reader Michael Buchsbaum (Letters. June 10), who questioned the “delay” in Trump’s distribution to veterans of $6 million that had been raised at a Trump event. It is this kind of criticism of Trump, along with manufactured issues like Trump University, that has turned the presidential campaign into something of a circus.

The bottom line for me is that I absolutely do not trust Hillary Clinton to be a strong, loyal partner to Israel. Clinton will promise everything at AIPAC and Hadassah gatherings but if elected will pivot back to the usual State Department positions that have been hostile to Israel for decades – since before the actual creation of the state, in fact.

The recent attempts to portray Trump as anti-Semitic are heavy-handed smears offered up to gullible Jewish voters who, unfortunately, seek any reason to vote for Democrats.

How can Jewish Democratic voters fail to see that the Democrats are no longer the party of “Scoop” Jackson, LBJ, and so many others we could trust?

Myron Hecker
New City, NY

Our Readers

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Obama Versus Terror

I’ve never been a supporter of Barack Obama, but I have no patience with those on the unhinged Right who claim the president is pro-terror or a secret Muslim or a weak-kneed pacifist. No wonder liberals consider conservatives to be low-information whistle-brains who get all their information from talk radio.

As terrorism expert and bestselling author Peter Bergen wryly puts it in The United States of Jihad, his new expose of America’s homegrown terrorists:

[A]s commander in chief, President Obama presided over or launched more military operations in Muslim countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen) than any previous president. The most conservative estimate of drone strike fatalities under Obama comes to more than three thousand, and that figure includes much of the leadership of al Qaeda. Obama was the first American president since the Civil War to authorize the assassination of a fellow American, the Muslim cleric and al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011. This is not the record of a president with any secret proclivities for sharia law.

Eli Grossman
(Via E-Mail)

 

Comey And Clinton (I)

Re “The FBI Director’s Press Conference” (editorial, July 8):

I share your concerns about Mr. Comey’s findings and conclusions. Although the FBI director gave a logical presentation of the strong evidence against Mrs. Clinton, he denied that criminal charges were justified. In my opinion, he surprisingly and illogically concluded that such charges were not warranted.

Yet I agree with you that at the very least he should have recommended that this compelling cornucopia of evidence be reviewed by a grand jury.

In addition, I would point out that although Mr. Comey stated that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case,” former U.S. attorney general Michael B. Mukasey, former prosecutor and New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, and sundry lawyers and judges strongly disagree.

Furthermore, Mr. Mukasey noted in the Wall Street Journal that “it is a felony for anyone entrusted with lawful possession of information relating to national defense to permit it, through ‘gross negligence,’ to be removed from its proper place of custody and disclosed. ‘Gross negligence’ rather than purposeful conduct is enough.”

Dr. Mel Waldman
Brooklyn, NY

Editor’s Note: The writer, a psychologist, is the author of I Am a Jew.

 

Comey And Clinton (II)

FBI Director Comey, in his 15-minute press conference, launched a devastatingly effective tactic of listing in detail Hillary Clinton’s presumed violations of law (to which she had consistently declared her innocence) – and then presented the mind-boggling decision not to pursue criminal charges.

His abrupt departure without allowing routine questions from reporters might have been indicative of Comey’s discomfort with the charade in which he sadly was complicit.

Is it inconceivable that political correctness has driven both Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch to swim in the Clintons’ toxic pool?

Fay Dicker
Lakewood, NJ

 

Comey And Clinton (III)

The FBI determined that Hillary Clinton made some seriously poor decisions, describing her handling of classified information as secretary of state as “extremely careless.” But despite the violations of the law, the FBI determined no “intentional and willful mishandling” of classified information, and thus decided that an attempt to prosecute probably would not succeed.

How lucky for her. If only the same could be said for the rest of us. The Clinton case can be seen as an example of the concept of mens rea in action. Mens rea is the legal concept that in order to convict somebody of a crime, prosecutors should be required to show that the defendant knew he or she was doing something wrong.

The FBI’s analysis may well be accurate: Maybe there was no intent to willfully mishandle information. But it’s important to understand that there are many federal laws where mens rea is not considered when prosecuting somebody for violation of the law. Clinton is getting the mercy of a Justice Department that, in her case, cares about her intent. The rest of us don’t get such of a pass, even in somewhat similar situations.

Brian J. Goldenfeld
Woodland Hills, CA

State Department Double Standard

How strange that State Department spokesman John Kirby should save his strongest words of condemnation for Israel while downplaying or denying some of the Palestinians’ worst duplicities and depredations.

What elicited Kirby’s condemnation this time was Israel’s announcement of new construction in Ma’aleh Adumim and eastern Jerusalem. As if reciting Palestinian talking points, Kirby decried a “systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansion, and legalization of outposts.”

None of that is true. No land is being expropriated. No outpost is being legalized. Settlement expansion is entirely internal, with one striking exception: 600 units of Arab housing in Givat Hamatos.

Why, then, the tough talk? Enveloped in a cocoon of moral equivalence, and faced with two antagonists with radically different moral profiles, the administration must grossly magnify any peccadilloes of the moral one while dramatically diminishing the crimes of the immoral one.

So, using bricks for building becomes worse than hurling rocks through moving vehicle windshields. Mildly offensive election campaign statements are blasted, but Abbas’s blood libel address to the European Parliament, met with a standing ovation, is ignored.

Questioned about that by a reporter, Kirby struggled to find a satisfactory non-answer and was ultimately reduced to incoherent stammering.

Any assertions of Jewish rights are typically met with scorn, while Palestinian media praise for the “martyr” who stabbed to death a sleeping child merely brings the most perfunctory acknowledgement that she was a dual Israel-American citizen.

Richard D. Wilkins
Syracuse, NY

Our Readers

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Bergson’s Leftist Supporters

Re Dr. Rafael Medoff’s “How Peter Bergson Brought Activism into the Mainstream” (op-ed, July 1), it may be of interest to readers that many of the people who supported the Bergson Group were leftists.

The world-renowned journalist Pierre Van Paassen, a left-winger, was brought into Jabotinsky’s circle by Benzion Netanyahu, father of Israel’s current prime minister. Van Paassen had reported from pre-state Israel. He also covered the Arab-run African slave trade, Mussolini’s war against Ethiopia, and the rise of fascism in Europe. He was the first national chairman of the Committee for a Jewish Army of Stateless and Palestinian Jews.

The leftist American writer Max Lerner said that while he was poles apart from the Zionist Revisionists from which the Bergson Group emerged, he “thought first things first and the first thing was to arouse America to action” in order to save the Jews of Europe. He said he would work with any group that wanted to save his Jewish relatives in Europe.

Attorney Paul O’Dwyer joined the struggle of the Jews in pre-state Israel for independence. He was a gun-runner for the Irgun. He also successfully defended people who were arrested for smuggling arms to the Haganah and Irgun.

Much of this can be found in Dr. Medoff’s book (co-authored by David S. Wyman) A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust. It has been said many times that monuments to great people are built with the stones that have been thrown at them during their lifetime.

Reuven Solomon
Forest Hills, NY

 

Support Public Transportation

This month marks the 52nd Anniversary of federal government support for public transportation.

The success of public transportation can be traced back to one of President Lyndon Johnson’s greatest accomplishments: On July 9, 1964 he signed the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 into law. Subsequently this has resulted in the investment over time of several hundred billion dollars into public transportation.

Millions of Americans on a daily basis utilize various public transportation alternatives. They include local and express bus, ferry, jitney, light rail, subway, and commuter rail services. All of these systems use less fuel and move far more people than conventional single occupancy vehicles. Most of these systems are funded with your tax dollars thanks to President Johnson.

Depending on where you live, consider the public transportation alternative. Try riding a local or express bus, commuter van, ferry, light rail, commuter rail or subway.

Fortunately we in the New York area have the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and its various operating agencies, including New York City Transit subway and bus, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road, Staten Island Rapid Transit Authority, and MTA Bus.

There is also New Jersey Transit (NJT), Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PATH), and New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Staten Island Ferry.

Elected officials and government employees can turn in their taxpayer- funded vehicles and join the rest of us by using public transportation to get around town. In many cases, employers can offer transit checks which help subsidizes a portion of the costs. Utilize this and reap the benefits. It supports a cleaner environment.

Seniors, students, and low and middle income people need these transportation alternatives. Investment in public transportation today contributes to economic growth, employment, and a stronger economy. Dollar for dollar, it is one of the best investments we can make.

Larry Penner
Via E-Mail

Editor’s Note: The writer is a transportation historian and advocate who previously worked 31 years for the United States Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration.

 

Open Letter To Elie Wiesel

Elie, I know we never met and I am not sure why your passing is bothering me so much. But for some reason I feel compelled to share these words about you.

You know, I never really had a clearly defined role model in my life before. However, looking back at your life, I have a pretty good idea as to who that role model might be. Your impact on me has been transcending, to say the least.

Our Readers

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