Stop the genocide

I’m 12 years old and going into seventh grade at the French American International School in San Francisco. I just sent President Bush a letter and I urge everyone in the Bay Area to also write him:

Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been slaughtered and many more continue to be every day. We have the knowledge and ability to stop this genocide. In addition, the number of refugees forced to escape the violence and live in camps in neighboring countries is unimaginable as are the conditions in which they are forced to live.

If you can’t do anything about fighting the Janjaweed or the Sudanese government, the very least any just man should do is give hope to these poor, starving, displaced victims of war.

Can you live with the fact that you could stop a genocide and yet do nothing? Suppose, when you’re older, you have your grandchild on your lap and they ask you, “Grandpa, what did you do about the genocide in Darfur?” What would you want your answer to be?

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” — John Lennon of the Beatles

Daniel E. Rechtschaffen | San Francisco

Praising success

Dan Pine’s “How green is your temple?” (June 13) was exemplary investigative reporting for stories that matter.

Often traditional news can be saturated with human failures that leave readers hopeless, fearful and paralyzed from responding creatively.

Thanks to j. for choosing these how-to examples of temples using use less of energy and Earth’s finite resources.

Readers can also Google “Shir Hadash Solar” to see how that pioneer Los Gatos congregation went solar electric in 2002.

In our own home, it’s a thrill to see the electric meter spin backward, as our photovoltaic panels send electricity back out to the neighborhood for others to us.

Elie Wiesel said: “People become the stories they hear and the stories they tell.”

Please print more stories of human successes to help us get creative and invent our new, better future together.

Libby and Len Traubman | San Mateo

More than Jeopardy

I left my very first Jewish Community Federation annual meeting (“Jewish Jeopardy game livens up federation meeting,” June 13) feeling profoundly, eagerly inspired to volunteer, learn, teach, lead, collaborate in nonprofits and with other Jewish educators toward the healing and wellness of those around us in need, and to support our children and families who are committed to a Jewish day school education.

The game of Jewish Jeopardy (played in the middle of the federation meeting) was fun, and only garnish on a stunning plate of honored individuals who are wholly dedicated to serving their communities through a number of schools and organizations.

As a day school educator, I am disappointed that your opportunity to highlight the very good works of more than a dozen individuals and a nonprofit organization was eclipsed by an article which highlighted the playing of Jewish Jeopardy.

Batshir Torchio | San Francisco

Fact or fiction?

Secretary Rice’s criticism of Israel’s West Bank settlements received much U.S. news media coverage this week; yet the media continues to ignore Palestinian Authority propaganda to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist.

“Negotiator” Ahmed Qureia stated (June 7) that the Authority, created in 1994, “has been preparing its citizens for a two-state solution for 30 years.”

Quereia’s statement belies the reality that Authority school texts, TV and newspapers teach that there never was a biblical-era nation of Israel, never was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, and thus Israel has no right to exist.

On June 1, Raffiq al-Husseini — chief of staff of “moderate terrorist” Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president — again stated that all the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea is Muslim land.

Such revisionist history — to erase “false religions” — has been part of Muslim conquests for millennia, be it the destruction of Hindu Temples in India, the conversion (after the Moslem-Ottoman conquest) of Istanbul’s Sancta Sofia basilica to a mosque (in 1453), or the Taliban’s destruction of giant stone Buddhas in Afghanistan in 1991.

Be informed! Distinguish Palestinian Authority and media propaganda from fact.

Fred Korr | Oakland

Dreyfus, part II

Thank you so much for Steve Silver’s editorial regarding Philipe Karsenty’s exposure of the Mohammad al-Dura hoax (“The 21st-century version of the Dreyfus Affair,” June 13). Who can forget the image of young al-Dura crouching behind his father along with the sickening headline that this child was killed by Israelis? This image was broadcast around the world and was even the backdrop for Daniel Pearl’s beheading by Islamic extremists.

I too feel this story is reminiscent of the Dreyfus Affair, which led Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, to conclude that Jews need a homeland. This blood libel was eagerly carried by the world media. There are memorials and streets named after this boy across the Arab world.

So far, the press, which lapped up the original narrative, has not jumped all over the developments in this slanderous story. We mustn’t let the media ignore the importance of this story. It is just part of the propaganda war being waged against our people that too many of us have so far bought unquestioningly. You can find much more information on this story at http://tinyurl.com/6aumxk.

Sheree Roth | Palo Alto

Why wait on Gaza?

It baffles me why Ehud Barak, Israeli defense minister and one of the bravest military men in the world, has not encouraged Ehud Olmert, a mere lawyer, to embark on punishing military action against Hamas in Gaza.

I don’t live in Israel, and I can’t tell Israelis what to do about their own security. But it bothers me that Barak has not unleashed one of the top five military machines in the world to actually punish Hamas in a meaningful way for brutalizing and murdering Israeli citizens.

True, Gilad Shalit’s life is at stake, and perhaps even peace with Egypt. We ordinary folks don’t know the details. But when someone has the gall to do what Hamas is doing to all Israeli civilians within rocket and mortar range of Gaza, a vicious retaliation is likely to gain more respect than a passive regimen of truce talks and the occasional pinpoint strike.

You can’t negotiate with someone committed to your ultimate destruction. You have to make them fear you more than you fear them. Islamic fundamentalism, which glorifies suicide, presents a tough challenge. But waiting isn’t going to make it any easier.

Desmond Tuck | Menlo Park

Cleaning the Negev

We want to thank Dan Pine for a terrific job in touching on some of the aspects of Blueprint Negev (“Local rabbis want Negev project to be responsible,” May 30). We want to add that the work being done in the Negev Desert is the country’s biggest environmental reclamation project. The majestic ancient riverbed that had been used as a dump for a quarry has been restored to its pristine status and we have successfully cleaned up tons of solid waste.

As for JNF’s social responsibility, the Beersheva River Park will be used by all levels of society — rich and poor, Jews and Bedouins alike. It will provide free, clean, green recreation for all the area’s residents, no matter their status.

Itai Freeman | Omer, Israel

Architect, Beersheva River Park

Sherri W. Morr | New York

JNF Director, Western States

Before peace happens

Here is a top 10 list. The topic: What will occur before Hamas and Hezbollah abandon their commitment to destroy Israel and are willing to live in peaceful co-existence.

No. 10: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States … David Letterman.

No. 9: Simon Cowell leaves “American Idol” and is replaced by Henry Kissinger.

No. 8: The price of gas plummets to $1 a gallon as gas wars return.

No. 7: The next winners of “Dancing with the Stars” are George H.W. and Barbara Bush.

No. 6: Airlines start charging extra for departing and arriving on time.

No. 5: Osama bin Laden is grand marshall of the Tournament of Roses Parade.

No. 4: White House Press Secretary is replaced by TV pitchman Billy Mays.

No. 3: Hummer becomes the official vehicle of the Sierra Club.

No. 2: Bill Clinton is caught in bed with Hillary.

And No. 1: Iranian President Ahmadinejad converts to Judaism and moves to Israel.

Dan Calic | San Ramon

Regretful goodbye

It was with deep regret I found out that Joe Eskenazi (“So long, and thanks for all the [gefilte] fish,” May 16) left j. to pursue other ventures.

Joe had done marvelous literary work for j. over the years and I always looked forward to reading his material and being educated by Joe’s work. His contribution to j. made the paper wonderful reading. His knowledge and skill to be able to communicate was one of rare ability. His fine technical expertise in tackling events in all kinds (sports, current events, perspectives on Jewish programs, etc.), and his ability to relate his adventures to his reading public (in various realms) was remarkable.

His well-researched views on news pertinent to j. readers — and the Jewish community — were unique. We were lucky to have him. I wish him the best of luck and good fortune. His talents, wit and charm will be missed.

Dave Sauberman | Martinez