We’re not beyond

barbaric acts of evil

Unlike some (Sept. 5 Jewish Bulletin), I am confident that the scores of distant relatives I lost during the Holocaust were finally smiling when IDF pilots flew over their remains at Auschwitz last week.

The IDF F-15 fighter jets made an important statement: An Auschwitz will never happen again — Jews are now willing to fight back in force.

With the current popularity of propaganda like the Elders of Zion and ever increasing acts of anti-Semitism in Europe, I too am comforted by the thought that the next attempt at the mass slaughtering of Jews will be thwarted with the help of a nation that can be counted on to fight for the continued existence of the Jewish people.

History has shown that prior to the birth of Israel in 1948 nation states ignored the collective cries of Jews for help that stemmed from places like gas chambers as they were filled with IG Farbin’s Xyclone B some 60 years ago. 

To all those who think that humankind is beyond such barbaric acts of evil in the new millennium, just remember 9/11 and the very fact that a substantial number of people believe that Jews committed that crime against humanity.

Howard Roth | South San Francisco

Hidden point

Abby Cohn’s Sept. 12 article on the anti-Semitic vandalism at Cal unfortunately missed an important point hidden in the chancellor’s statement: “This community will not tolerate any act of hatred or any act directed against a member of our community.”

I believe that U.C.’s new hate-speech policy prohibits speech directed at an individual (a “member of our community”) but not against a group. If I am correct, despite Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl’s soothing words, the only thing the university could take action on is the vandalism itself, not its content.

The university’s hate-speech policy is, however, not on its Web site.

Peter Borregard | El Cerrito

Masonic memories

Thanks for the great Sept. 5 article on Marvin Greenwald and his civic leadership through the Masons. I had to smile when reading that “rural people in towns and farms were deeply suspicious of Jews and Masons.” It gave me more respect for the efforts my grandfather, Hiram Adelman, made a hundred years ago when landing in our small town in Northern Maine.

At first a department store owner and then a gentleman farmer, my grandfather, a Mason, paved the way for the alleviation of fears and suspicions about Jews so my family (the only Jews in town to this day) could enjoy the freedoms and joys of growing up in a small town.

My grandfather’s example passed on to my father, a Mason and a Rotarian, and influenced my joining Rotary International nine years ago.

When I made aliyah to Israel, attending Rotary lunch meeting at the YMCA was the highlight of my week.

I now belong to the San Rafael Evening Rotary Club, and was welcomed by all. It’s a wonderful way to pass on the value of “service above self” to my daughter — and the joy of tikkun olam working with all groups in one’s community.

Toby Adelman | San Rafael

Democratic silence?

Noticed the deafening silence since Howard Dean’s remarks from the Democratic Party and the main contenders about their traditional support for Israel?

Time to put on our political thinking caps and shut off the sentimentality spigot for the long lost days of the New Deal.

Mark Klein | Oakland

Epitome of intolerance

Israel’s security cabinet, led by Prime Minister Sharon, has announced its decision to exile or murder Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. World leaders — from Canada to Indonesia, Malaysia, the U.S., EU and the United Nations — have responded with unanimous opposition. 

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan stated that expelling Arafat would be “unwise.”  The Bush administration opposes the plan because it would give Arafat “a wider international stage.”  Russia called it a “serious political mistake with the most negative consequences.”

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, stands alone among public figures in declaring that “we are now the first major American Jewish organization that is now formally calling for Arafat’s expulsion.” 

The Wiesenthal Center is best known for its Museum of Tolerance, a high-tech museum cum theme park that focuses on “the dynamics of racism and prejudice in America and the history of the Holocaust.”

As a dedicated scholar of the Sho’ah, I find Hier’s statement to be an affront to human decency and international law — the epitome of intolerance.  All who care about a just peace between Palestine and Israel should express their outrage at Hier’s irresponsible incitement to catastrophic violence.

R. Ruth Linden | Oakland

Victims of terrorism

India and Israel have ushered in a new and more important chapter in their relations with the visit by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to India. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and its leader’s visit to the largest democracy in the world is a significant event for all those who cherish freedom, democracy, friendly co-operation and peace.

Indo-Israeli cooperation in science, technology, agriculture, and defense fields have seen phenomenal growth. It is evident that the two countries are trying to catch up with lost decades. The six agreements they just signed will go far in that direction.

However, both the countries are victims of jihadi terrorism. We all want peace, but the way to peace is not to keep making unilateral concessions but to make jihadi terrorism abandon the path of terror. They have to seek ways to cooperate and build, not disrupt and destroy.

India and Israel should give leadership to further this goal. Let peaceful cooperation to face common challenges threatening democracies be given a chance.

As a Hindu of Indian origin, I am proud that India invited Sharon, and as a friend of Israel I feel honored that he made the historic visit.

Yatindra Bhatnagar

San Francisco

‘Axis of democracies’

Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee of India, the world’s largest democracy, received Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, on his historic first visit to India.

The two countries, with historical ties dating back over a millennium and both of which have ancient cultures, achieved their present day independence about the same time. Both have been fighting Islamic terrorism since then.

Sharon’s visit to India was the culmination of great diplomatic efforts and convergence of interests by the two countries, which, for geopolitical reasons have been at odds in the past.

This visit, coinciding with the second anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, speaks loudly and clearly about the commitment of both India and Israel to fighting terror. It sends an unequivocal message to Islamic terrorists that these three great democracies — India, Israel and the United States (Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca was in India about the same time) — will work together with the goal of defeating terrorism.

It is important to note that the terrorists have received the message of axis of democracies, loud and clear. This has scared them so much they have intensified their attacks on civilians, causing Sharon to shorten his visit.

Guarang Desai | Fremont

president, Northern California Chapter

Friends of India Society International

‘Wrong question’

Now that the “road map” is all but dead, people are asking how the “peace process” can be restarted. It’s the wrong question. What Israel needs is not peace but victory.

The Mideast conflict is not about Palestinian aspirations for “freedom” or “statehood.” It’s about the Arab world’s refusal to accept an independent Jewish state in its midst, and its determination to destroy that state at all costs. To the Arabs, the peace process is merely a ploy to weaken Israel before the final assault.

The threat cannot be overcome by diplomacy. Nor can Israel afford a permanent guard on every home, business and public transport. The only realistic solution is to annex the entire land of Israel, and drive out the Arabs, without compromise.

This will require a major change in Israeli thinking. It requires letting go of secularist theories, and returning to an authentic Jewish world-view: recognition of the supremacy of God, and acknowledgement that the covenant still exists.

When we do our part, God will do His.

The land of Israel is promised to the Jews, and no one else. All we have to do is reach out, with faith and without fear, and take it.

Martin Wasserman | Sunnyvale

Chance of success?

Perhaps Ahmed Qureia would stand a chance of success if he could somehow convey to those who send out suicide-bombers that their way is not the way to peace.

Suicide bombers mean that Israel has to defend itself, having adjoining neighborhoods where the culture is such that if one does not defend oneself immediately one is seen as weak, vulnerable and can then be annihilated (yes, the Palestinian charter still wants to throw the Jews in the sea).

If Ahmed Qureia can stop local terror, I am convinced that Israel, which has the know-how and experience necessary, would be able and willing to help Palestinians create a state for themselves — a free democratic state where they could control their own destiny as proud citizens of a modern state.

Arnoldine Berlin | Oakland