Where are E. Bay Jewish leaders when it comes

to senior housing?

The recent publication of “Aging News Alert” carried a report on a $5.2 billion backlog in senior housing funds. This represents an opportunity for the East Bay Jewish federation to apply and replace the Jewish housing lost in Alameda County — the Oakland and Berkeley areas have many who need Jewish housing.

But where is the initiative of our leaders?

That is what boardsmanship is about, as clearly demonstrated by those in San Francisco, where there are not one but three types of Jewish housing.

By the way, there is a lot for sale now in Oakland at the corner of Pleasant Valley Road and Piedmont Avenue. A perfect location.

Arnoldine Berlin | Oakland


There’s a joke about a husband who suspects his wife is cheating on him. He hires a spy to watch visitors to the house. The spy reports that, one evening, a tall man went with the wife into the bedroom, picked her up, and went with her to bed. “And then what?” the impatient husband asks. “But then,” replies the spy, “the man turned off the light, and I could not see anything.” “Gosh,” exclaims the husband, “it is always like this. The suspicions will kill me.”

Similar self-deception is going on with the media and many officials when it comes to the Middle East. These husbands-in-denial pretend Malaysian President Mahathir’s anti-Semitic rant-ing, to a standing ovation of all the Arab leaders, did not reflect the views of the Muslim populace.

The suspecting husband may fool himself by assuming that his wife and the stranger were playing hide-and-seek when the lights in the bedroom went off. But the political “husbands-in-denial,” enslaved by political correctness, together with the architects of the Geneva accord, are presenting a totally distorted picture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and by promoting illusionary concepts they weaken the resolve of a nation to fight for its survival.

Vladimir Kaplan | San Mateo

Multiple voices

I would like to second John Rothmann’s Nov. 7 opinion about the value of dissent and diverse voices in our community.

Those of us who support Israel and a negotiated settlement between Israelis and Palestinians are enthusiastic about the Geneva accord and the Ayalon-Nusseibeh plan because not only do they demonstrate that Israelis and Palestinians are talking to one another, but that there are now multiple voices on the subject of peace and political solutions.

Brit Tzedek V’Shalom (Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace), the organization to which I belong, welcomes civil debate within the Jewish community on what will enable Israel to thrive politically, economically, socially.

Molly Freeman | Berkeley

chair, S.F. Bay Area chapter,

Brit Tzedek V’Shalom

A history lesson

Let’s all go back to 1993 and recall the reluctant handshake that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin offered to Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn.

Rabin led Israel in a process whose goal was to end occupation. The Israeli leader

had one major condition: that the Palestinians end violence towards Israelis.

Every responsible Jew should take the time to read what was actually agreed upon between the Israelis and Palestinians beginning with the Oslo accords in 1993 and through the Sharm el-Sheik memorandum in 1999.

The words of the documents are unambiguous. Israel never relinquished the right to use its troops in the territories in matters regarding its own internal security. Israel never signed an agreement with the Palestinians that dealt with settlements.

Israel, even under Rabin, has never agreed to an unconditional withdrawal from the West Bank or Gaza.

The Palestinians agreed to stop attacks against Israelis.

The Wye River memorandum in particular was quite specific in requiring that the Palestinian Authority dismantle terrorist groups and limit itself to specific arms.

As President Bush and his staff accurately point out, the Palestinians and not the Israelis have violated the signed agreements. Read them and stand up for Israel.

Dr. Donald C. Pompan | Salinas

Look back 80 years

Please allow me to give a brief history lesson to all those who keep telling us that there would have been hope of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Muslim Arabs had Israel not done such-and-such (or if only Israel would do such-and-such).

We should go back some 80 years. There would have been peace between the Jews and Arabs if only the Arabs had followed the advice given to them by their hero and liberator, T.E. Lawrence of Arabia.

Lawrence advised the Arabs to team up with the Zionists in order to become part of the modern world because the Jews had several traits that the Arabs lacked — such as initiative, imagination, perseverance and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

But the Muslim Arabs chose not to heed Lawrence’s advice, and instead chose to follow their usual Muslim Arab pattern of hatred, rivalry and conflict.

We need to realize that human beings often do not act in their own best interest.

Also, World War II did not end at the negotiating table but only when the Allies decisively defeated the Axis powers. The Israeli-Arab conflict is unlikely to end in any other manner.

Yehuda Sherman | Lafayette

Virulent anti-Semitism

Asking Israel to negotiate with Yasser Arafat is like asking America to negotiate with Osama bin Laden. Asking Israel to give part of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority is like asking the United States to give part of Washington, D.C., to al-Qaida.

Let’s stop blaming Israel for understanding that for Arab leaders “peace with Israel is permissible only…until the Muslims build up the strength needed to expel the Jews.” Let’s stop bashing Israel for fighting anti-Semitism so virulent it calls for targeting and killing Arab “collaborators” for wanting peace.

Let’s start supporting Israelis as Jews, and Israel as the Jewish homeland. And let us never forget the words of Martin Luther King:

“I know you feel … a deep love of truth and justice and a revulsion for racism, prejudice and discrimination. But I know you have been misled — as others have been — into thinking you can be ‘anti-Zionist’ and yet remain true to these heartfelt principles that you and I share. Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews — make no mistake about it.”

Cindy Ross


Just a


We are often told Israel caused the endless Arab hostility by displacing Palestinian refugees in 1948. But is that the real reason, or is it just a pretext?

In the Philippines, the Moros have waged a long guerilla war because of Muslim inability to accept being part of the Catholic Philippines.

In East Timor, Muslims have massacred East Timorese and ravaged their towns because of Muslim inability to accept Catholic Timorese being part of Muslim Indonesia.

In Kashmir, the issue behind 50 years of Pakistan-India wars has been Muslim inability to accept being part of Hindu India.

In Chechnya, the issue behind the war is Muslim inability to accept being part of secular Russia.

In southern Sudan, northerners wage a war of destruction and enslavement against blacks, because of Muslim inability to accept Christians and animists being part of Muslim Sudan.

In Macedonia, the issue behind the war is Albanian Muslim inability to accept being part of Orthodox Macedonia.

In each case the pattern of aggression is the same: pretexts, terrorism, invented histories, failed negotiation.

Nothing Israel did caused Palestinian hostility. No Israeli concession will end it. It is time to admit that, and change strategy toward the Palestinians.

Jack Kessler | San Francisco

Jews and Bush

Few articles have disturbed me as much as j’s Oct. 24 JTA article on Bush’s campaign war chest. The thought of fellow Jews forking over millions of dollars to get Bush re-elected in 2004 is sad. He has repeatedly demonstrated his personal values are in opposition of Jewish values.

There have always been reasons why the Republican party receives a small Jewish vote. Few people reflect that truth more than Bush.

As Jews, we value tikkun olam (repairing the world) and gemilut chassadim (acts of lovingkindness). What has Bush done to repair the world or that can be considered an act of loving kindness? The clear answer is “nothing.”

Since taking office, he’s given us a war for oil, repealed many civil rights,

supported massive tax cuts for the wealthy. None of these policies reflect Judaic values.

I ask the Jews who support Bush’s Israeli policy to tell us what, if anything, has changed in Israel since Bush took over? If anything, Israel is a more dangerous place now than ever.

As a young, progressive Jew who lives

her life based on Jewish values, I pray Bush appointee Fred Zeidman is wrong about which direction the Jewish vote is headed.

Melanie Kushnir

Foster City