A forced choice

The tragedy of noncombatants being killed in Rafah highlights once more the difficulties facing the Israel Defense Forces in preventing even more horrific actions by Palestinian terrorists, who have killed and wounded thousands of Israelis.

Palestinian fighters force Israel to choose between suicide and killing others in self-defense.

Armed Palestinians routinely hide among women, children and other innocents in order to carry out attacks on Israelis, whether the victims be soldiers or non-combatants. The May 2 murder of the mother and children of the Hatuel family by shooting them at point blank range is merely the most recent of many examples.

The grisly and gleeful exhibition of body parts of Israeli soldiers by Palestinians after they were blown up in battle demonstrates the inexplicable savagery of the enemy Israel must face.

In spite of having to fight an enemy such as this, Israel can be proud of its soldiers who exhibit humanity and decency in the face of an enemy which is imbued with a culture of death.

It is a great pity that the media employ such a blatant double standard in vilifying Israel, under such circumstances.

Desmond Tuck | San Francisco

‘Bestial abomination’

I was appalled by April 30 j. article “Gay Genesis,” on Rabbi Steven Greenberg.

How can he call himself an “Orthodox rabbi” when it comes to the word of God? He obviously has a problem with God’s word to have to turn to some obscure “Midrash of Rashi” to put a homosexual interpretation on the story of Adam and Eve.

Why would Adam be androgynous? Because God hadn’t created Eve yet? That is absurd.

Am I androgynous because I don’t have a “helpmate”?

And to claim that Adam had sex with animals before settling on Eve is absolutely disgusting.

To promote such an idea shows the mindset of this man, and his total lack of understanding God. If it were up to Greenberg, Adam would be with a rhinoceros, but then how would “they” be “fruitful and multiply” as God commanded?

This is one of the most blatant attempts to justify homosexuality by God I have ever seen.

God did not create homosexuals; hence the absence of the promotion of it. He did, however, command against it — and bestiality. Evidently, God knew some people would need to be told not to commit this abomination.

Craig Anthony | Napa

‘Sorrow and dreams’

In celebration of Israel’s birthday, we invite readers to contemplate our brit shalom (covenant of peace).

Jews and Palestinians alike have suffered from oppression and violence. Yet both peoples’ fears blind them to the other’s plight. Neither has fully acknowledged the other’s history nor taken responsibility for pain inflicted on the other.

We acknowledge that Palestinians have lost much of the land where they lived for centuries. They have been frustrated in their attempts to restore some of this territory through peace negotiations; this frustration has sparked resistance, both peaceful and terrorist. Though we condemn all violence, we do not ignore its roots.

We recognize that Jews established the state of Israel in answer to a history of oppression and genocide, of which the Holocaust is the most recent example. We perceive that in recent years, terrorist actions have intensified Jews’ fear for their survival as a people.

Both peoples must consider each other’s sorrow and dreams.

We implore all who seek peace to engage in constructive, compassionate dialogue through spiritual and educational programs. In fulfilling our covenant, Kehilla offers educational materials and training to anyone wishing to engage in study, dialogue and action toward peace.

Burt Jacobson | Berkeley
founding rabbi, Kehilla Community Synagogue
Russ Cohn | Berkeley
Laura Finkler | Oakland
board of trustees, Kehilla Community Synagogue

‘A painful irony’

I found a painful irony between the lines in your May 7 article “The Tolerator.” You write, Schwarzenegger’s “raison d’être for the visit: tolerance and [supporting] the museum [of Tolerance],” citing his motivation as a sense of mission to heal the atrocities perpetrated against Jews in his motherland, Austria, during the Holocaust.

In the same article you note that his 36-hour visit coincided with the vote to approve a referendum on the pullback from Gaza, that his visit “upset many Arab leaders” and that “he deftly avoided … criticism for meeting only with Israelis.”

For a museum committed to promoting tolerance of human beings, without regard to race, religion, gender, political views or any other identity marker, it takes a blind eye to miss the lack of “tolerance” at the groundbreaking ceremony or in its own backyard.

On such an occasion, how can a person “deftly avoid” a conflict in which “tolerance” is grossly missing?

“Am Yisrael chai!” Schwarzenegger called out at the museum groundbreaking.” What would have been the impact on tolerance, I wonder, if he had also cried out in Arabic, “May the Palestinians continue to live”?

Elizheva R. Hurvich | Berkeley
Kehilla School head

Housing, not museums

I want to add my voice to that of op-ed writer Evan Goldstein (April 30 j.), for I will never forget the case of the survivor who was found with an empty refrigerator.

Yes, enough Holocaust museums. Instead, housing should urgently be provided for survivors who have no family and are living history, housing where study and education could happen simultaneously and naturally — while, at the same time, we could relieve the loneliness of those who are suffering still.

Arnoldine Berlin | Oakland

Inverted priorities?

See no evil, hear no evil, report no evil.

As we recently celebrated Mother’s Day, I couldn’t help but notice j.’s glaring omission of any article about another Jewish mother who will never celebrate the holiday again — a mother who was murdered May 2 (along with her four young daughters, ages 2 to 11, and her unborn baby boy, whom she carried for eight months until the day this Jewish family of six souls was machine-gunned by Palestinian terrorists at close range).

We can all remember the huge outcry in the world when Muhammad Dora, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy, was accidentally killed in the crossfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists. This tragic incident got worldwide coverage, and condemnations by the so-called “civilized world,” and even our own Jewish Bulletin carried several critical articles about it.

And yet, the deliberate slaughter of a Jewish mother and her five children gets no coverage by j. It seems like you have your priorities upside down. Real life-and-death stories of Jews get no coverage, but alternative lifestyles get all the coverage in the world.

Zevika Salles | San Francisco

Biased film fest

After reading Michael Fox’s review of “Checkpoint” and “Route 181” (j., April 16) I’m beginning to wonder if the S.F. International Film Festival specializes in anti-Israel propaganda. Or, I wonder if there are no documentaries at all on “the other side of the story,” documentaries that show a different Israel — humane, in search of peace and justice, beleaguered and fighting for its existence since 1947? No country is perfect, but to be fair and honest, the festival should also show the horrors of suicide bombers, the treatment and eventual expulsion of 900,000 indigenous Jews from Arab countries, the virulent anti- Semitism in Arab culture, to name only a few issues.

By consistently showing mostly the pro-Palestinian side, the organizers of the festival are showing that they are biased.

Joseph Abdel Wahed | Moraga

NPR strives for balance

I would like to clear up some gross mistakes and misconceptions about NPR printed in two letters that have appeared in j.

NPR is a news organization that strives to present a balanced perspective through a broad range of diverse voices, viewpoints and opinions. Decisions on our news coverage are based on high journalistic standards, and our prime mission is to create a more informed public that is challenged by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.

NPR provides complete audio and written transcripts of our Middle East coverage on our Web site at www.npr.org. We also conduct quarterly self-assessments of our Middle East coverage, which are also posted on npr.org, and we are proud to have the only ombudsman in broadcast journalism.

As far as funding, NPR is a private, public-supported nonprofit media organization with more than 750 independent radio stations as members.

Our major source of support comes from foundations, corporations, private donations and member stations, and less than 2 percent of our funding comes from competitive grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

KQED serves the Bay Area with a vital community service with news, talk and local programming.

Rodney Huey | Washington, D.C.
vice president for communications, NPR

letters policy

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