Canadian anti-Semitism

A popular magazine based in British Columbia, Canada, recently published an article that listed the top 50 neo-conservatives in an article titled “Why won’t anyone say they are Jewish?” Next to those persons who were Jewish, about 50 percent of the names, the author put a dot.

The article went on to indicate that Jews run the United States and, therefore, the world. Sounds like the author may be related to the ex-prime minister of Malaysia.

I came across this story listening to the Canadian government-run radio service where the author was being interviewed.

I am accustomed to seeing such hateful verbiage in fringe rags, but since this isn’t such a magazine, it hit home.

As well, I heard about the story not long after my mother mentioned that anti-Semitism has risen dramatically in Toronto, where she lives (primarily desecrated graves and swastikas on doors).

The first thought that came to me was that no one ever printed a top 50 terrorist list and put a dot next to those who were Muslim. Nevertheless, it’s really uncomfortable to see this rise in hate-based activities and literature against Jews in our passive neighbor to the North.

Howard Roth | South San Francisco

Brooklyn memories

Boy, was I surprised to read about Jennifer Felicia Adabi’s Syrian Passover (March 26 Passover supplement). I lived in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, not a far throw from Ocean Parkway, where many of my relatives lived.

Adabi brought back wonderful memories of Passover. Since I had many aunts and uncles who took turns each year at hosting Passover, it was a fun time of the year for me.

I loved growing up in my community in Brooklyn. I have many fond memories. I lived on 66th Street until I got married and moved to California.

Oh, by the way, I still make charoset the way my mom made it.

Sookey Glassman | Foster City

Help for deportee

As one of the individuals involved in trying to prevent the Yana Slobodova deportation, it was encouraging to read the letter of support from Paul Shkuratov in the March 16 j. He is correct that the INS action strikes many of us as inhumane and shocking, but I do want to correct a couple of impressions he made in his letter.

The leading agency that has been working tirelessly on behalf of Yana is the Bay Area Council of Jewish Rescue and Renewal. They, along with representatives from Hebrew Free Loan and individuals in the community, have all been engaged in the struggle to help Yana fight this deportation. American Jewish Committee and JCRC have also provided excellent professional guidance. We all still have hope.

Through her attorney we are pursuing having Yana reinstated through a humanitarian parole status. Funds are desperately needed to pay for legal fees through the legal defense fund set up at the Bay Area Council, and anyone interested in helping Yana should contact that council.

Ed Cushman | San Francisco
executive director, Hebrew Free Loan

Confusion underscored

Thank you to Seymour Kessler (March 26 letters) for underscoring the confusion that persists among some members of our community regarding alternative perspectives on what is appropriate reaction to the suffering and grief of victims from suicide bombings and on what is in the best interests of Israel’s security and long-term peace.

Brit Tzedek V’Shalom does believe that Israel has every right to defend itself and to take proactive measures in order to do so. However, there are differences between strategies that have a good chance of leading to security and peace and strategies that do not.

Marcia Freedman has identified strategies that portend a better chance for security and peace than do those of Ariel Sharon.

Molly Freeman | Berkeley
San Francisco Bay Area chair, Brit Tzedek V’Shalom

Extreme disloyalty

President Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell talk about Israel’s “occupation” with regard to Jewish settlements. Their two-state solution has not the remotest chance of working because of Arab violence and terrorism.

Indeed, true American interests in the area, particularly in Iraq, require that terrorism not be rewarded by creating another Arab state within the biblical homeland of Israel.

The Bush family’s close ties with Saudis should not prevail over what is in the true interest of America.

Nor should Powell be impressed by Saudi wealth and royalty.

America is being extremely disloyal to its only true friend and ally, Israel. When will President Bush finally realize that the God of Israel is the ruler of this universe?

Ruth and Nadia Matar | Jerusalem

Stop double standards

The March 12 j. stated many of the reasons why Israel needs to construct a security fence to defend against terrorism. The same writers also stated various complaints by the Arabs about the fence.

I don’t see Arab releases stating the reasons why Israel needs to build the fence. I don't think that Israel needs to consult with the terrorists and their supporters about where they think the fence should be located.

There are fences in many other countries: United States’ border to Mexico, South Korea to North Korea, Kuwait, Lithuania, Namibia, South Africa, India and Pakistan, Morocco, England and Scotland, Cyprus.

The wall could be dismantled when no longer needed, as it was in Berlin.

Israel says the fence has already reduced infiltration by terrorists, from Gaza and in the northwest part of Israel. The world needs to judge Israel the same as other nations, and stop the double standard, including the security fence.

Norman Licht | San Carlos

No exceptions

Marcia Freedman finds targeted killings, which she calls assassinations, “repugnant and not consistent with any Jewish values I’ve been taught” (March 26 j.) Unfortunately, she did not cite the Jewish source for her opinion. Nevertheless, the answer may lie in the Passover story.

Egypt terrorized the Jewish people for many decades. When God decided to respond, God did not only target a few generals here or a few militants there. God did not worry about “world opinion” or that a firm response might turn some moderates into militants.

God targeted every Egyptian — period. Even the last plague, the death of the first born, was visited upon every Egyptian household. There were no exceptions. That’s how war was waged against a vile enemy, who thought that God’s word and Jewish blood were cheap.

Israel must stop playing around. No more withdrawals or some other kind of appeasement. They never work. It’s time for Israel to wage war according to God’s Passover formula. That means that the Arabs in Israel must be expelled — and just like the Passover formula, there must be no exceptions for a vile enemy that thinks that God’s word and Jewish blood are cheap.

Neal Wohlmuth | San Francisco

Ironic sponsor

All members of the U.N. Security Council, except the United States, either supported or abstained from a vote for a resolution to condemn Israel for killing Ahmed Yassin. It’s fascinating to think that a man like Yassin would get such support. Especially when none can contest that his explicit goal was to destroy Israel and to expel all Jews from there, and that his organization has sent hundreds of terror squads that have killed more than 350 Israelis and wounded more than 2,000 others. Proportionally, this would represent 20,000 deaths and 110,000 wounded in the United States.

Ironically, this resolution was sponsored by Algeria. To quote the 2003 report of Amnesty International on Algeria: “No full, independent and impartial investigations were carried out into the mass human rights abuses committed since 1992, including thousands of cases of extrajudicial executions, deliberate and arbitrary killings of civilians, torture and ill-treatment, and ‘disappearances.'”

How ironic that Algeria is the proud sponsor of a resolution putting the blame on Israel. How pathetic that the Security Council would be in favor of such a resolution, while its sponsor has committed hundreds of worse crimes in total impunity. Welcome to the United Nations.

Philippe Suchet | San Francisco

Poor infrastructure?

Your March 26 article “Study finds more teen programs here than anyone knew” missed the point that 70 people — including teens, rabbis, agency executives, program providers, parents, volunteers and funders — gave up their entire Sunday and gathered at our community's first “Jewish teen summit” to take stock of current teen programs and services and envision the future for Northern California Jewish teens.

As reported, the participants discovered a need for improved communication and collaboration among teen programs. Unfortunately, one might infer from the article's tone that “blame” for this lack of collaboration lies with the program providers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What we found is that the system lacks adequate infrastructure to support meaningful collaboration. As a result, program providers are forced to focus on their own programs.

A strategic action plan, based upon the summit results, is being prepared by the JTA steering team. In keeping with the spirit and findings of the summit, that team is also diverse, comprising all community stakeholders, including teens.

We welcome j. readers who wish to learn more about the Jewish Teen Alliance to contact us at [email protected].

Barbara Wilson | San Francisco
David Waksberg | Palo Alto
Jewish Teen Alliance

letters policy

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