Heed the hecklers

The coverage of Ehud Olmert’s talk was accurate and well written (“Ehud Olmert endures deluge of hecklers in S.F. talk,” Oct. 30).

I was there and can say without a doubt that the hecklers had one thought on their mind: “Hitler should have finished the job.” If we close our minds to that awful truth, we are doomed.

Mike Levine   |   Moraga

Fond memories of Seymour Fromer

We are so sad learn of the death of Seymour Fromer (“Seymour Fromer, Magnes Museum founder, remembered,” Oct. 30).

We worked as volunteer docents at the Magnes Museum for 20 years; Elaine was also docent coordinator for a number of years, and Irene trained the docent classes for 18 years.

We feel fortunate to have had the privilege of working with Seymour. He shared his vast knowledge with us. He was always available to help. He was a pleasure to work with; open to try new ideas; supportive and caring. The community has lost a visionary who was a great man. And we shall miss him.

Elaine Kofman and Irene Weinberg   


No need for J Street

The “prophetic message” of the J Street “geopolitical movement” (“J Street struts its stuff at first convention,” Oct. 30) sounds very much off-mark to me. And here is why.

It looks as if the founders, organizers, and J Street members are trying to be “more Catholic than the pope.”  The Obama administration has been extremely critical of Israel’s settlement policy. But several days ago Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her total support of Israel’s “unprecedented concessions” on this front. Unfortunately, the J Street conferees have remained unmoved and harshly critical of Israel’s position on the settlements.

In the same vein, criticism of the Goldstone report drew “a smattering of catcalls” from the J Street convention attendees, while the Obama administration has indicated disapproval at the report.

Finally, the AIPAC difference. AIPAC’s mission is to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. It has successfully worked with all American administrations. AIPAC supported the Oslo agreements, Gaza withdrawal and other major peaceful initiatives.

Should we believe that Muslim donors to J Street are “pro-Israel”? Hardly. There is no need for the J Street’s “critical third way for American Jews,” as Mr. Sokatch suggested.

Vladimir Kaplan   |   San Mateo

Why not ‘pro-Israel’?

Question for Mr. Daniel Sokatch, former CEO of JCF and defender and former founding board member of J Street: If J Street is “pro-Israel” as you claim (“Lobby offers American Jews a different bridge to Israel,” Oct. 23), then how come the university branch of this organization has dropped that portion of its slogan (“Students drop ‘pro-Israel’ portion of J Street slogan,” Oct. 30)?

Scott Abramson   |   San Mateo

Goldstone was gracious

Leslie Susser refers to a conference call of over 150 rabbis with Judge Goldstone (“Goldstone report hurting chances for peace talks,” Oct. 23). I was among those rabbis, being affiliated with two of the co-sponsoring groups: Rabbis for Human Rights and Ohalah, the Jewish renewal rabbinic association. Judge Goldstone has served as a trustee of Hebrew University and head of ORT and identifies as a Zionist and lover of Israel. He calls for an Israeli investigation of the Israeli actions in Gaza last winter and a Hamas inquiry into their actions. He refused to prepare this U.N. report unless his team could investigate human rights violations of Hamas as well as of Israel.

Judge Goldstone accepts IDF claims of accuracy, so he doesn’t see how so many documented acts of destruction against Gazan civilians could have been accidental or justified. I was disappointed to see the title of j.’s editorial, “Yoo-hoo, Mr. Goldstone: Your report stinks” (Oct. 23). Judge Goldstone never stooped so low, maintaining respect for all parties during his phone conversation of over an hour. Perhaps any stink arises from the abuse of human rights documented in the report and not from the messenger, whose intent was to shed light in our world.

Rabbi Shoshanah Devorah


Laborers need a piece of the pie

In an enlightening article, Dan Pine reviews Amy Dean’s book “A New New Deal” (“Jewish labor organizer puts the New Deal in a new light,” Oct. 23). Dean’s book covers ways that the American labor movement can revive itself. Currently, only 7.5 percent of the private-sector work force in America is unionized.

The article states that “Dean reveres President Franklin D. Roosevelt.” Curiously, it is Roosevelt himself who may have offered the key to restructuring the labor movement.

Roosevelt said: “A nation of homeowners, of people who own a share in their own land, is unconquerable.”

The labor movement might want to pursue, as Roosevelt suggested, becoming owners (or shareholders) in the businesses where they work. Labor could ask for stock options and profit sharing. Labor could even demand a seat on a company’s board of directors.

By being owners, labor would have a vested interest in the success of a firm. This vested interest could force labor — and management — to do the one thing that will help assure job security: making the firm’s customers happy.

Richard S. Colman   |   Orinda

No nukes are good nukes

Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. It is arming, funding and training Hamas and Hezbollah. They are supporting terrorists who are killing Americans in Iraq. They are undermining peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians that could lead to a two-state solution and peace.

Iran claimed publicly to have 3,000 working centrifuges but until recently hid their entire uranium enrichment facility in Qom. Now, weeks after those facilities were made public by Presidents Obama and Sarkozy as well as Prime Minister Brown, there will be inspections of those facilities. But what has Iran hidden during these weeks, and are there other Iranian controlled facilities that we don’t know about, either inside or outside Iran?

The current efforts to insure that Iran has a “peaceful” nuclear program are misguided. An atomic bomb for Iran is a jihadist with a dirty truck bomb spewing out radioactive contamination that will last for decades.

The only safe policy toward Iran is no nuclear program at all for Iran until it stops supporting terrorists around the world and stops threatening its neighbors with elimination.

Bob Prichard   |   Tiburon