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Democrats better for Israel and U.S.

Morris J. Amitay (Two Views, Oct. 17) implies that American Jews must choose between what is best for Israel and what is best for the United States in the upcoming election. This is a highly offensive and contentious point of view.

As a Jew, a Zionist, an American and a woman, I believe that the Democratic Party is not only better for the U.S., but better for Israel, the world community and the planet. Any American Jew who feels that Israel is safer with a Republican administration is operating under an illusion. Ahmadinejad became a greater threat to Israel and the world after the Republican-led invasion of Iraq.

Ruth Nadel Schafran | San Anselmo

Parsing Obama’s connections

We face a tough choice this year: both McCain and Obama are not ideal presidential candidates, but it is very important to make the right decision at the Election Day. Regardless of political affiliation I would not automatically vote for Obama just because he is as multiracial as Jews are.

The questions we should ask ourselves are: 1) Is Barack Obama good for America? 2) Is he good for the Jews? 3) Is he good for Israel? Obama is associated with anti-Semites the Rev. Wright, Minister Farrakhan, radical professor Rashid Khalidi. His associations with terrorist Bill Ayers would not even let Obama to pass a background check if he would apply for the FBI! He is supported by Muslims around the world who consider him a Muslim: just Google “Muammar Khadafi addresses Obama on June 11, 2008” and listen his speech! Google “Joe Lieberman Republican Convention Speech,” listen or read why he thinks that John McCain is the right candidate, and decide!

Eugene Vosko | San Francisco

Beat goes on in Austria

Austria’s Nazi sympathizer and leading politician Joerg Haider was killed recently while driving drunk from a nightclub. According to his followers, the Mossad is to blame (“Late Austrian pol praised Nazis, derided Jews,” Oct. 17). I can’t wait to hear the “facts” supporting this new blood libel story.

Was it a Jewish bartender? Did a secret agent spike his drinks? Did a fiendish, mechanically minded Israeli tamper with the brakes on his car? Did a stunningly beautiful agent ply him with alcohol while whispering German sweet nothings in his ear? Or was it just the uncontrollable wrath of the Jewish God?

Haider’s funeral was attended by other leading Austrian politicians, all of whom praised this despicable man as if he had actually done some good in the world. The Austrians have always been aloof to charges that they are anti-Semites or even that they had any choice whether or not to follow the dictates of their “landsman” Adolf Hitler in his path of destruction.

Some things never change.

Desmond Tuck | Menlo Park

Open-faced prejudice

It is neither irresponsible nor dangerous to suggest that some Jews might not or will not vote for Obama because he is black (Letters, Oct. 17). It is no dence that the Jews I know that still use the derogatory Yiddish word for black people are voting for McCain and/or Proposition 8. Many of these people are driven by an irrational fear of blacks and/or gays as a class of people. This is the definition of prejudice.

Debra J. Sarver | San Leandro

Ahmadinejad’s aim?

Shoshana Bryen left out an important point about nuclear Iran (“Wrong kind of talk with Iran could be dangerous,” Oct. 10); the United States could be in more danger than Israel.

Israel is a small country. It must be careful. It has no real investments in the Islamic world. A nuclear Iran would probably want to attack a city like Tel Aviv where all the big shots live. Iran wants to kill many Jews — not a few. Israeli leaders must act, especially when their homes will be on the line.

But the USA is a big country. After Israel makes it clear to Iran what will happen if it is attacked, Iran will look for a “softer target” thinking that American leaders might do anything in order to protect big business’ investments in the Islamic world. Can never happen? How much is a big city worth? Compare that to these investment in the Islamic world. Get the picture? Still can’t happen? Remember the $800 billion bailout just to help their friends on Wall Street?

Greed is a powerful force. American leaders will be thinking about their investments. Israeli leaders will not. So the next time Ahmadinejad opens his mouth, who could be in more danger: Israel or the USA?

Neal Wohlmuth | San Francisco

‘Useful idiots’ only legitimize our foes

Seventy years ago last month, the Munich Agreement (Sept. 29, 1938), appeasing Hitler’s aggression, permitted German annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland. Nevertheless, Hitler started World War II; the policy of appeasing dictators — ridiculed by Winston Churchill as feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat “you” last — appeared to be permanently discredited. Sadly the policy remains alive today in dealing with Iran and its franchisees: Hamas (in Gaza) and Hezbollah (in Lebanon).

Iran’s president, speaking before the U.N. General Assembly (Sept. 23), yet again called for the destruction of Israel (read “Jews”) — to the applause of the nations of the world.

Hamas indoctrinates every citizen (from kindergarten through adulthood) with Jew-hatred as a theological imperative; their openly stated goal: the mass murder of every Jew in Israel.

While receiving billions of aid dollars, the governments of Hamas and Fatah keep their citizens impoverished — using them as political pawns.

American Jews who blame Israel for Gazans’ poverty and who aid Arabs in Gaza only legitimize that hateful regime and are what Lenin called “useful idiots” — giving moral and material support to a totalitarian ideology, thus braiding the rope that would hang them.

Fred Korr | Oakland

Fish or whale?

I wish to make a correction to your article about Jonah (“‘Belly’ of a tale,” Aug. 29). The author refers to a “whale” in reference to the “big fish” in the story. There is no whale in the Hebrew original of the Book of Jonah. The Hebrew clearly states that it was a “big fish.”

There are no whales in the Mediterranean Sea where Jonah traveled The whale only appears when the Bible was translated into the Greek Septuagint where the Greek word “cetus” was used.

“Cetus” was the name given to one of the star constellations. Astronomers decided the call the constellation a whale.

That is how the large fish of the Hebrew Bible became a whale.

Yehuda Sherman | San Diego

SJP no friend of the Jews

Yaman Salahi desperately tiptoes around the term “anti-Israel” in a feeble attempt to whitewash “Students for Justice in Palestine” (Letters, Oct. 10). However, the record of SJP is entirely clear on this subject. SJP sponsors “Israel Apartheid Week” on campus and claims that even Israel within the pre-1967 lines is led by an “apartheid regime.” They endorse the so-called “right” of return of millions of fourth-generation descendants of refugees from the 1947-1948 hostilities initiated by the Arabs. They describe Hamas as a “vast social organization,” ignoring its record of terror and its openly anti-Semitic charter.

It really doesn’t have to be as complicated as Salahi tries to make it. Those who are pro-Israel support Israel as a Jewish state. Those who are anti-Israel oppose that. It’s quite obvious which side SJP is on.

Michael Harris | San Rafael

The Hamas connection

How despicable that letter writers to j. (Sept. 26) are telling us that the International Solidarity Movement “Free Gaza” group, which recently brought balloons by boat to Gaza in order to stick it to Israel, has no link to Hamas, a ruthless terror organization that governs by force and fear. I suggest that readers take a look at these photos of the Gaza “saviors” being welcomed by Hamas’s prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh: www.tinyurl.com/52yyrt. Haniyeh even presented members of the group with medals during a meeting at his house in Gaza City on Aug. 24.

Israel is already making sure that Gazan civilians are not lacking in food, fuel and medicines. There are people in the world much more in need of ISM services than Palestinians, who have 57 Muslim countries supporting their cause of one more Muslim country in place of Israel. I suggest that ISM and like-minded activists, critical of Israeli policies, begin boating much needed foods and medicines to the refugees of Darfur. I’m sure that the Sudanese government and Arab Janjaweed militias will be as welcoming to them as Hamas was in Gaza.

Sheree Roth | Palo Alto

No friend of human rights?

Contrary to the opinions of Rabbi David Forman, chairman of Rabbis for Human Rights (“When can Rabbis for Human Rights shut down?,” Sept. 12) there’s nothing noble about RHR’s intentions, and they’re much more deserving of condemnation than praise from their fellow Jews.

Forman speaks of RHR’s “alternative understanding” of Jewish tradition, meaning that they’ve discarded Judaism’s core principles of four millenia, and replaced them with man-made theories of “humanism” and “universalism” that have no track record of producing long-term benefits anywhere.

RHR proclaims itself the “rabbinic voice of conscience in Israel,” implying that those who don’t share its radical leftist views have no conscience. Ignoring the Palestinian culture of hatred, death and deceit, they take the side of the Palestinians against the Jews, and elevate Arab land claims above Jewish ones in the land of Israel, while congratulating themselves on their moral superiority over their less enlightened Jewish brethren, who are foolish enough to believe that our biblical covenant still matters.

Objectively, Rabbis for Human Rights serves the cause of Israel’s enemies. It does not serve God, it does not serve Israel, and it certainly does not serve the Jewish people.

Martin Wasserman | Sunnyvale