Silence, non-action

‘is the essence of

Orwellian doublespeak’

I am so disappointed that local Arabs, Muslims and Jewish Voice for Peace members have not taken to Bay Area streets to protest the horrendous acts of terror in Istanbul last Shabbat.

What will it take for these local folks to truly assist peace-loving citizens of the world by peacefully demonstrating against fundamentalist and fascist elements?

Their lack of peaceful action has been noted once again as innocent civilians continue to be murdered at Jewish places of worship.

This is the essence of Orwellian doublespeak practiced by terrorist apologists and propagandists.

Bill Kennedy Kedem | San Francisco

Not ‘one-size-fits-all’

I read your Oct. 31 story on Friendster.com with interest. As a result, I want to tell you about JewishFriendFinder, an online dating service that brings matchmaking into the 21st century.

The site is the dream of Andrew Conru, a 35-year-old, single entrepreneur who decided that one-size-fits-all dating choices didn’t really answer the needs of today’s modern Jews. He started JewishFriendFinder by asking members 45 detailed questions about the type of Judaism practiced, and the level of Jewish education and Jewish activities they participate in.

Many participants have found that a first “date” online already has a much stronger foundation than the hit-and-miss method of meeting potential mates at the local JCCs, the Jewish singles groups at temples, or the next pot-luck seder.

Sarah Miller | San Francisco

‘I know how she feels’

Regarding Michal Lev-Ram’s Nov. 7 column, “Torn between Shabbat and just another hot night in the city,” I know how she feels.

I love the peace I feel being in services on Friday night. The chance to reflect, to think about the week. To enjoy the familiarity of the songs and prayers.

But then I often find myself torn between going out with friends and going to services.

Delilah Raybee | Kiev, Ukraine

The joys of j.

After reading j. recently, it came to me why I like it so much. It has to do with what could be found in columns by Jessica Ravitz, Ronnie Caplane, Dan Pine and others.

Mixed in with the hard news of the Jewish world are the joys, the laughter, the nostalgia and the pride of being Jewish. With all the tsuris we deal with, these ingredients are essential to our well-being as Jews, as Americans as humans.

Thanks, j., we needed that.

Ron Berman | Kentfield

Racial stereotyping

For j. to publish such racist trash as the Nov. 14 “history lesson” offered by Yehuda Sherman without comment is shameful, and embarrassing to me as a reader and as a Jew. I doubt you would have published a letter from a Palestinian (or anyone) that said that Jews “lacked traits such as initiative, imagination, perseverance and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances,” or “chose to follow their usual … pattern of hatred, rivalry and conflict?” 

Racism and racial stereotyping is the same ugliness no matter whose mouth it comes from.

None of us may be able to change another, but we can all change ourselves. It is only by ending the acceptance of such racism as matter of fact and without comment that any of us will get any closer to peace.

Richard Miles | Berkeley

‘The worst analogy’

Yehuda Sherman writes in his Nov. 14 letter that World War II did not end at the negotiating table but only when the Allies decisively defeated the Axis powers, and that the Israeli-Arab conflict is unlikely to end in any other manner. I fail to see his point. Israel has unequivocally won the war already: See its tanks rolling over the West Bank and Gaza; see its troops verifying IDs at the checkpoints.

World War II is the worst possible analogy; once the Western allies won it on the ground, they sought to end their occupation as soon as it was practical; and there was no “Allied settlement.”

For many years the West Bank and Gaza were fairly peaceful places, yet not the slightest mention of Palestinian independence came out of the lips of any Israeli official until the intifada occurred. Before the intifada, in the words of one Israeli prime minister, “the Palestinians do [did] not exist.”

So, what was the message? 

Palestinians seem to find their answer to this question in the words of Martin Luther King: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never given voluntarily by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

Ian Volman | Fremont

Foiling peace?

Yossi Beilin, whose platform was previously rejected by Israeli voters, lost his government post, Knesset seat and was ejected from Labor. He joined the far left Meretz Party but failed again to be elected to the Knesset while marginal splinter groups got in. He is now forcing his piece of paper through the back door by enlisting foreign powers, which have their own interest and agenda.

In 1988 the United States recognized the Palestinian Liberation Organization and, in return, the Palestinians pledged to stop violence. In 1993, they signed the Oslo accords, orchestrated by Beilin, in which Yasser Arafat and his minions were allowed to return to the territories, received seven cities, 450 towns and villages, and a 40,000-person armed police force. In return they pledged to stop violence, for real.

In the subsequent Hebron, Taba and Wye accords, the Palestinians vowed to stop all forms of violence.

Yet violence continues.

Clearly the Palestinians have being selling the same bridge, and Beilin is willing to buy.

Ironically, his far-reaching concessions will likely foil, rather than advance, a real peace accord, since they will serve as the starting point for further Palestinian demands in the next round, demands the Israelis could not accept.

David Aviel | San Mateo

WWII and the Arabs

World War II devastated large areas of Germany and Japan, which was certainly far more destructive than bulldozing the homes of terrorists.

After the unconditional surrender of those two countries in 1945, they suppressed their hate and accepted the Allies’ demand to become constitutional democracies. Nine million Germans were expelled from Sudetan Czechoslovakia and the new west Poland lands.

Despite the terrible economic conditions, the Germans absorbed the 9 million (no permanent refugee camps).

The West Germany occupation ended in 1949, when a constitutionally mandated free election put Konrad Adenaur in office.

The Japanese occupation ended in 1952 when the constitution written by Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff was signed by the Japanese leaders.

Thus, the West Germany and Japanese leaders turned defeat into victory — an economic victory.

Arab leaders are unable to learn that these days victory comes by moving towards a constitutional democracy and not by “holy” wars. There will not be a true peace in the Middle East till that lesson is learned.

Gerson Jacobs | Greenbrae