Jews on the gridiron

During the weekend of Super Bowl XLII, a Jewish athlete achieved professional football immortality.

No, Eli Manning isn’t Jewish. The achievement happened the day before the Super Bowl, when former New England Patriots linebacker Andre Tippett was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

With his induction, Tippett will join fellow Jewish Hall of Famers Sid Luckman, Ron Mix, Sid Gillman, Al Davis, Marv Levy and Benny Friedman in Canton, Ohio.

Another Jewish finalist this year, Marshall Goldberg, was nominated by the seniors’ committee but was not elected.

As for the Super Bowl, there were no Jewish players in this year’s championship game, which featured three lead-changing 4th-quarter drives. But it is worth recalling that when Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to a dramatic 20-16 come-from-behind 4th-quarter victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII, the 49ers had two Jewish players on the field: offensive lineman Harris Barton, a future all-pro, and tight end John Frank, who made a key catch during the 49ers’ game-winning drive.

Stephen A. Silver | San Francisco

Wrong ideas

The article “Next year may be too late for peace” (Feb. 1), written by two members of the far left group Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, is dangerous nonsense.

They demand the Palestinians be given a state even though such a state wouldn’t diminish their murderous hatred of Israel in the slightest.

They speak of some Israelis’ willingness to meekly surrender parts of our 3,000-year-old capital to the enemy as if this were a positive development.

They wring their hands over the inconveniences suffered by Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints, while implying that the Gush Etzion residents’ mistrust of “the other” is a mere irrational prejudice rather than a normal response to deadly acts of terrorism.

Their solution to the demographic problem is to give away any portion of Eretz Israel with an Arab majority. Assuming Arabs within Israel continue to breed faster than Jews, this will soon leave nothing at all.

The authors clearly have no connection to authentic Jewish values. Unfortunately, most of Israel’s leftist political establishment also has no connection to authentic Jewish values, which is why Israel’s security is crumbling on almost every front.

Martin Wasserman | Sunnyvale

‘Concern for Israel’

Congratulations to j. for placing so prominently the comprehensive and astute account by Susie Coliver and Bob Herman of their recent trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Their eloquent letter expresses the deep concern for Israel that drives Brit Tzedek V’Shalom to educate and advocate with members of Congress, the administration and within our Jewish communities a sense of great urgency for the U.S. to play a strong role in bringing the parties to negotiate a just peace so that two states may live side by side.

We hope the celebrations of Israel’s 60th birthday will be occasions for celebrating the courage and foresight of its leaders to make difficult and necessary decisions for the generations who will celebrate Israel’s future birthdays.

Molly Freeman | Berkeley, Chapter Leader, S.F. Bay Area Brit Tzedek V’Shalom

Not a solution

J. should apologize to its readers for publishing a letter from Neal Wohlmuth, who blatantly advocates genocide as a “solution” to the “Palestinian problem” (Letters, Feb. 1). After stating that Israel should expel the Arabs from Gaza, he goes on to say: “Those who refuse to leave should be annihilated. Start the carpet bombings.”

This is exactly the kind of “solution” for which Slobodan Milosevic was prosecuted as a war criminal and by which Hitler’s name became synonymous with evil. Fortunately, 99.99 percent of Jews (and maybe all human beings who have a conscience) are disgusted by this kind of hate speech.

It seems to me a lapse of judgment that j. published a letter advocating mass killing of an ethnic group as an alternative to “expelling” them. J. should have recognized this a beyond the pale of Jewish opinions deserving recognition. It is offensive. Neal Wohlmuth goes on to say “no one really cares.” This is the time to show advocates of genocide that there is no place for them, certainly not among the Jewish people.

Len Lyons | Berkeley

Already a reality

Hopefully, all your readers will be horrified by Neal Wohlmuth’s suggestion to kill and expel all Arabs. Yet how different is Wohlmuth’s proposal from what Israel is already doing?

We know that Israel owes its creation to the expulsion of an Arab population greater than the Jewish population at the time. However, it is also true that an element of Israel’s policies toward Arab Palestinians has always been to minimize their population.

Examples are home demolitions, denial of building permits, land confiscations, underfunding of public services, nonrecognition of Arab municipalities, forced relocations, denial of child subsidies, denial of entry permits to spouses and family, diversion of pollution to Arab areas, discrimination in jobs and education, etc. This does not even address the larger issues of settlement expansion, walls and barriers, and denial of the right of return. It is all designed to reduce Arab presence.

Wohlmuth’s “One day and it is all over” is merely an accelerated version of what is already taking place.

Paul Larudee | El Cerrito

Program expansion

We were pleased to see the recent article on the PJ Library with mention of Chai Baby — two outreach programs of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation. I wish to clarify that to date, the PJ Library was offered as a follow up to our initial group of 350 Chai Baby families to help them create their own Jewish libraries and incorporate Jewish themes into bedtime rituals. In addition, partial funding was provided to renew the monthly subscriptions for these 350 families for their second year of participation.

We are thrilled to announce that for 2008 we are expanding PJ Library to 800 families with children under the age of 6, on a first-come, first-served basis, within the federation service area. This will make us one of the largest PJ Library affiliates in the country, thanks to the generous support of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund, the Jim Joseph Foundation and the Laura and Gary Lauder Philanthropic Fund of the JCEF. To sign up for PJ Library please visit www.pjlibrary.org or call (415) 777-4545.

Gail Green | San Francisco, Director, Chai Baby and Jewish Community Information & Referral

‘Justice can wait’

People around the world are jumping up and down about the findings of the Winograd Commission, skewering the performance of the IDF in the 2006 Lebanon War, and swiping at the Israeli government.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were such a thing as any kind of public commission in any Arab country, examining the actions of their leaders and their military for anything?

That the notion of having a rational, orderly public inquiry in an Arab country is so unthinkable is a scathing indictment of governments throughout the Arab world. It therefore pains me to hear and read about Jews calling for justice for Palestinians and ignoring the vicious attacks on Jewish civilians everywhere. Worse, when these attacks occur, Arabs rejoice.

Clearly two wrongs don’t make a right, but when one side screams for both justice and Jewish blood, it’s obvious to me that justice can wait until the death threats are eliminated, one way or another.

Desmond Tuck | Menlo Park