Deadly decision?

It was a grave mistake to state in your Oct. 7 cover story “Fighting to stay in the Book of Life” that because Sarah Feldman tested negative for the BRCA gene it “spared her older sister the difficult decision of being tested.”

I have breast cancer and carry the BRCA1 gene.

I have done extensive research on the matter, and been the subject of research at Stanford’s genetics department.

The gene, testing for which is an important tool in heightening awareness for breast and ovarian cancer, is passed on through the mother or father. Just because one sibling has tested negative in no way implies that another sibling won’t be positive.

One of my sisters is also positive. We have an older sister that is negative. If our older sister was tested first and we assumed that we were therefore negative, it would have been a deadly decision.

There is so much confusion around genetic testing. Anybody who feels that they are at risk must be tested. They cannot simply rely on a test result of their siblings.

Jessica Weil | Burlingame

History of threats

Tony Blair’s astonishment that he had never heard the president of a country saying they want to wipe out another country — regarding the comment by Iran’s leader that Israel be “wiped off the map” — just shows how fragile memory is.

Before the first shot of the 1967 Six-Day War, following the closing of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and the expulsion of U.N. peacekeepers, Egypt Gamal Abdul Nasser declared, “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel.”

President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq chimed in, “The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. … Our goal is clear — to wipe Israel off the map.”

The Arab rhetoric was matched by the mobilization of Arab forces. The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon mobilized on Israel’s borders while approximately 250,000 troops, more than 2,000 tanks and 700 aircraft ringed Israel.

The world has forgotten this chronology of events leading up to the 1967 war.

Israel is expected to give up land acquired without any promise of peace. When Nasser and Aref uttered their threats, they meant it. When Palestinian terrorists threaten, they mean it. Chances are Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad means it too.

Sheree Roth | Palo Alto

No knee-jerks

As an Iranian American constituent of yours, I do not agree with the comments of the Iranian president in regards to Israel, but urge you not to permit the United States to fall into the trap of escalating tensions with Iran.

I urge you to oppose Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in which she calls on the Bush administration to support Israel’s effort to kick Iran out of the United Nations.

In these difficult times, with our military in Iraq and with sensitive nuclear negotiations taking place between the European Union and Iran, we must look for real solutions rather than knee-jerk reactions.

Pooya Zahedani | San Francisco

‘Emotional rhetoric’

Your Oct. 21 editorial, “Israel must address the needs of its Arab citizens,” left me wandering about what exactly Israel fails to do for its Arab population.

You acknowledge that both poverty and unemployment in Israel are a common problem of Jews and Arabs alike, and also mentions that Arab Israelis’ access to health care, education and political representation far exceed neighboring countries. Without a single fact of discrimination laws or practices against Israeli Arabs, what the editorial seems to contain is mostly emotional rhetoric.

The only passage that may remotely look as an argument in favor of preferential treatment of the Arab minority was mentioning that minority siding against Israel and committing acts of terror.

Well, from the practical standpoint, with the obvious influence of the Muslim faith and Arabs’ nationalistic feelings, there is no evidence as to whether — or to what extent — better economic conditions may alleviate the problem of domestic terrorism.

From the moral standpoint, I hope j. does not propose what essentially amounts to preferential treatment of any group of people, in Israel or elsewhere, as the way of bribing those people into not committing crimes against their fellow citizens.

Vadim Spector | Redwood City

‘Curtsy’ needed

I want to tell you how much I enjoyed reading the Oct. 21 Jewish Literary Supplement with its reminder (again) of the wealth of Jewish imagination and narration open to us.

I did wonder how or why you omitted some curtsy to Aaron Lansky for his quarter-century of heroic physical as well as intellectual efforts in creating the Yiddish Book Center, and now in publishing his own book — “Outwitting History” — that (in my view) fits right in with good authorship of our times.

Dr. Sidney Raffel | Stanford

ISM: Anti-peace

I noted with dismay that the Oct. 28 issue of j. carried an announcement titled “Mideast peace activists to speak.”

This event was part of a speaking tour conducted by the International Solidarity Movement. One of the so-called “peace activists” is an Israeli anarchist who has stated “I was never a great supporter of the two-state solution” (he apparently prefers the elimination of the Jewish state and its replacement by a 23rd Arab state).

The ISM is noted for importing idealistic young adults into the West Bank and Gaza, supposedly to protect Palestinian civilians. In actuality, they have conducted such “peaceful” activities as reporting Israeli troop movements to armed terrorist gangs, hiding terror suspects from the IDF and meeting with suicide terrorists prior to their missions of mass murder.

Organizers have admitted to knowingly working with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Their founders endorse armed Palestinian resistance and seek not merely the end of the occupation of the West Bank, but the end of Israel entirely.

Michael Harris | San Rafael

EDITOR’S NOTE: ISM, its Web site indicates, is a Palestinian-founded and led organization. Although that does not preclude coverage from time to time in j., it does mean j. should not be listing its routine events in our news columns or calendars. We apologize for printing the announcement in question.

ISM: Anti-Israel

Once again, you have used the label “peace activist” for an anti-Israel group in your Oct. 28 headline “Mideast peace activists to speak.”

The International Solidarity Movement is not a “peace” organization but an opponent of everything that Israel is and does.

Opposition to the Israeli security fence is not “peace activism.”

Dan Fendel | Piedmont

ISM: One-sided

In a recent letter, Jim Harris claimed the International Solidarity Movement does not support terrorists. Yet the evidence against this statement is overwhelming.

ISM founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf wrote in a 2002 article that they “accept that the Palestinians have a right to resist with arms.” Not once has the ISM condemned the murder of Israeli civilians.

Asif Muhammad Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif murdered three and wounded 50 in a 2003 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv five days after they visited the ISM in a Gaza apartment.

ISM activist Susan Barclay has stated that she knowingly works with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Activist Brian Avery has admitted that the group acts as human shields to protect homes “of individuals who chose suicide bombing as their method of resisting the occupation.”

While ISM activists have consistently interfered with Israeli counter-terror operations, there is no evidence that the group has ever attempted any action to save innocent Israelis.

Harris and others who claim to support human rights must explain why the ISM has never provided human shields to protect Israeli civilians in buses, restaurants, shopping centers and nightclubs.

Andrew Gross | Union City

ISM: Ire-raising

I have been following the antics of ISM’s Jamie Spector with growing anger. If that young lady feels so strongly about the injustices done to the Palestinians and the security barrier being erected by the Israeli government to keep out the suicide bombers, why doesn’t she move to Israel and endure the results of her activities?

It is one thing to express an opinion to which anyone is entitled, but quite another to try to enforce it.

Israel and the Israelis have to live with their decisions. No one outside Israel has the right to impose his or her will on it.

Herbert Ballhorn | Moraga

Traif and treats

I’m always happy when my Danville children send me an issue of your publication — and it so happened when I recently received a recent issue and read the article “Hold the pork.”

Allow me to make a remark, though. Near the end of this article, where it reads “the rice and collard greens aren’t kosher,” please note that it is not that the rice and the greens aren’t kosher — these items are traif because they haven’t been cooked in kosher pots.

Your article is absolutely correct, and Rabbi Yossi Schilkraut and Sergio Eduardo Geigner (as his mashgiach) do an excellent job of keeping Jewish Brazilian appetites fully satisfied.

I only wish more people in the restaurant business would be like Paulo Affonso Paulillo and put such delicacies like “feijoada” at our disposal.

Arnold Diesendruck | Sao Paulo, Brazil