Letters

Boo, hoo, Yahoo, you

ducked the Jewish outrage

Web portals such as Yahoo have become our principal compilers of breaking news.

Yahoo is not a news service, but it summarizes news from wire services all over the world.

On Oct. 16, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad spoke before the Islamic Summit, the largest gathering of Islamic leaders since 9/11. He told the crowd, to a standing ovation, that “the Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.”

In the day after this story broke, I searched Yahoo’s news sections but I could find no headline or link for this story. Mahathir’s remarks sparked outrage in many world capitals, and news of his speech spread quickly across the Internet. But Yahoo seemed to be blind to the story, until it finally sparked reaction from world leaders such as George W. Bush and Australia’s John Howard.

Does Yahoo have any sense of the importance of this story? Does Yahoo hire any journalists who have world affairs experience? Doesn’t Yahoo have any analytical editors who can choose and report serious stories that don’t involve crime and celebrities?

Howard Metzenberg | San Francisco

‘Grossly unfair’

Thank you for Alan Dershowitz’s Oct. 17 opinion, “Why is Jordan praised while Israel is vilified?”  It is grossly unfair that Israel is held to a higher standard than the rest of the world at a time when Israel has taken great risks for peace that were brutally rejected and is now fighting for its very existence. 

At the same time, Dershowitz’s piece raises the question of why the Arab world is content to be held to a much lower standard than the rest of the world. 

Consider Tibet. Unlike the Palestin-ians — who came under Israeli authority because Israel was attacked, and who were offered statehood but rejected it — Tibet was taken over in a conquest and annexed by China, and there’s no likelihood Tibet will be offered independence in the foreseeable future. 

Yet Tibetans do not massacre innocent Chinese babies to protest their occupation, nor would they refuse to compromise if a serious peace proposal were put before them. 

Instead of offering excuses to justify their monstrous atrocities against Israeli innocents, the Palestinians should ask that they, too, be held to normal standards of human conduct, including the absolute rejection of any justification for their terrorist attacks on Israelis. 

Stephen A. Silver | Walnut Creek

The meaning of Judaism

A reader’s Oct. 17 letter titled “Radical, extremist, left-wing, liberal politics” enraged me. Michael Lerner’s ideas and community were called “foreign to Judaism” and a “political cult that misguides and manipulates to advance its anti-Israel agenda.”

I attended Beit Tikkun’s High Holy Day services for the first time this year. I was moved by Lerner’s joyful davening, his inclusion of everyone in the rituals, and his profound sermons. I met friendly, intelligent and caring people who practice tikkun olam in their daily lives.

To call Lerner anti-Israel is ludicrous. It is his love of Israel and Judaism that energizes him. Lerner encourages us to practice a Judaism of inclusion by recognizing the divinity of all people. I am inspired by Lerner’s vision of compassion, justice and peace, for these are the very meaning of Judaism for me.

Gail Weisman | San Rafael

A unifying principle

Thank you for urging our rabbis and congregations to remember in their High Holy Day prayers Israelis who have been killed and wounded in terrorist acts.

Your editorial echoed our Rabbi Yair Silverman’s observation that even a minor wound — a fractured leg, torn scalp or lost finger — has life-altering effects.

But this recollection should not only be a once a year event. At Beth Israel, during the Torah reading every Shabbat, we read the names of every Israeli casualty that week, and pray for them and for their families.

Even in a city and congregation with widely divergent views like ours, we all coalesce behind the wish that the Israel Defense Forces be kept safe from harm and be given wisdom in handling their difficult tasks.

I hope that you hear from other synagogues which regularly include Israeli victims in their prayers, along with prayers for the health and welfare of the congregants and their families. It gives breath to the important, unifying principal that “all Jews are responsible for (and care for) one another.”

Denise Resnikoff, president

Congregation Beth Israel

Berkeley

Deserves wide

spectrum

The mixed reception that followed the initial issue of j. was predictable and reminiscent of what Jewish Brits experienced over a decade ago when the London Jewish Chronicle, the oldest English language Jewish newspaper in the world, changed its image.

It has since become a widely read source of news information among other ethnic groups, and is a must in almost every Jewish household.

Although the initial issue of your news magazine received a cool reception from my wife and I, we have since become avid fans of your lively editorial content and easy to understand format.

It is a revered publication and deservedly appears to have attracted a wider spectrum or readers of all ages. We applaud your courageous initiative.

Welcome to the 21st century.

Cyril Canter | Santa Rosa

‘A statement of pride’

All the criticism about your name change took me by surprise. So here is a letter of support.

The Nazis, the Swiss and anyone else may have considered “J” to be a sign of disgrace. But we have proven them wrong. “J” is a sign of honor, dignity and everything decent. I am proud to be a “J,” and the name j. for your weekly is a statement of pride.

Lawrence M. Weiswasser Avenal

What abstention says

Linda Maio of the Berkeley City Council makes a point of saying that her vote in favor of Resolution 111, backing an investigation into the death of Rachel Corrie, does not discount the horrible killings of innocent people in the Israel/ Palestinian conflict (letters Sept. 26).

The fact that she abstained on the counter-resolution calling for the investigation of all American lives lost in the conflict says just the opposite to me.

Her abstention tells me that she only backs an investigation into the death of one young lady recklessly playing tag with a militarized bulldozer.

Her abstention tells me that she cares nothing about the fact that the bulldozers are clearing homes covering tunnels, between Egypt and Rafah, used to smuggle weapons to the Palestinian Authority. She cares not that Rachel’s presence that day interfered with the ability of the Israeli army to protect her citizens against relentless terror.

Her abstention tells me that she is willing to ignore the call for an investigation into the deaths of the many men, women and children murdered by Rachel’s chosen side in the conflict.

Sheree Roth | Palo Alto

‘Zionist thuggery’

The BBC recently reported that the Israeli government was considering killing Yasser Arafat, the president of a quasi-sovereign nation, a nation with which it was negotiating terms of coexistence.

According to the BBC, “In an interview with Israel Radio, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said it was now only a practical question of how to get rid of Mr. Arafat.”

The deputy prime minister’s exact words were, “His expulsion is an option, his liquidation is another option. It is also possible to confine him to prison-like conditions.”

This is a perfect example of Zionist thuggery. Imagine the outrage if the Palestine Authority had announced that the “liquidation of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon was another option.”

It would appear that Sharon’s government is obviously inspired by the heritage of murder and assassination left by the Stern gangsters and a recent predecessor in the office of prime minister, one Yitzhak Shamir.

Barbara Fink | Menasha, Wis.

‘Real’ occupation

The Israeli occupation of the West Bank is grisly and too “real” in the blood of thousands of innocent Palestinians on the streets, in the blood of hundreds of innocent Israelis on the streets, in the devastated Palestinian economy, in the weakened Israeli economy, in the thousands of bulldozed Palestinian homes to make roads for 200,000-plus Israeli “settlers,” in the hundreds of Palestinian factories bulldozed to “protect” Israeli settlements, in the devastation of the Palestin-ian civilian infrastructure — water/sewer/ electricity/health care services.

Let us count the ways that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank is tragic, real, and the aorta artery for further bloodshed between both of these haunted peoples.

Bob Lupo

Old Greenwich, Conn.