letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - In "The ball is in Olmert's court" (February 20) Gershon Baskin put forward a long list of projects for Israel to undertake on the Palestinians' behalf. I too have a list - for the Palestinians - but mine is very short: 1. Stop shooting rockets, and 2. Stop sending suicide bombers ("Terrorist planning to bomb Tel Aviv bus station nabbed," February 21).
Pushing reformTwo types of refugees
Sir, - Re Karen Koning Abuzayd's "Who UNRWA is, and what we do" (February 14), Rosemary Tylka stated that according to Ilan Pappe's book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, UNRWA was created because Israeli and Zionist organizations did not want to involve the International Refugee Organization (IRO), which was assisting Jewish refugees in Europe, with the Arab refugees from Palestine ("The Zionists created UNRWA," Letters, February 20).
The refugees who were assisted by IRO went on to become productive citizens of their adopted countries, whereas those assisted by UNRWA became parasites from generation to generation, thanks to the "humanitarian work" Ms. Tylka would like UNRWA to continue.
Sir - To quote one secondary historical source to prove anything, as Rosemary Tylka attempts to do, is questionable. To rely, as that single source, on Dr. Pappe, whose political agenda is so clearly defined and so well known that he is discredited as an objective historian, is ludicrous.
That said, disbanding UNRWA (way overdue) will make no difference to Israel one way or the other, but it may very well give the people it purports to help the opportunity of rising above the status of begging bowl rattlers in the eyes of the world.
The use of the term "shut up" said infinitely more about this letter writer than about the "Zionists" she was addressing.
Federations & Mossawa...
Sir, - In "Not with my money" (February 14), Lori Lowenthal Marcus made irresponsible statements about United Jewish Communities (UJC) and the Jewish Federations of North America. She disregarded facts and leveraged controversy surrounding Mossawa in an attempt to score political points for the Zionist Organization of America, which she represents.
For the record: UJC and Federation dollars do not fund Mossawa.
Most distressingly, her op-ed could give pause to donors who enthusiastically support UJC and the Federations and the critical humanitarian, educational and community-building services and projects underwritten by our annual campaign and Israel Emergency Campaign.
All who support UJC and the Federations do so in the knowledge that their dollars help meet the needs of all Israelis at a time of great need. We pride ourselves on this fact, on the generosity of our donors, and on the great accountability and transparency with which we deal with our supporters.
Senior VP & Director
General United Jewish Communities
Sir, - We believe it essential to state, for the record: The Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago does not and has not funded the Mossawa Center. The only New Israel Fund project JWF has ever funded was an initiative in 2000-2004 to improve the status of Ethiopian-Israeli women through leadership and organizational training. This program received $29,100 from JWF over five years. Graduates from the program went on to become more involved in their local communities, to become active with the Ethiopian National Project, and to establish their own organizations and businesses - including a coalition to fight domestic violence, an afternoon child care program, a food cooperative, a hair salon and a spice shop.
None of this has anything whatsoever to do with Mossawa. It has everything to do with JWF's mission of improving the lives of Jewish women and girls in Chicago, in Israel and around the world.
The Jewish Women's Foundation is utterly judicious in its allocation of funds, and it is deeply troubling to us that misinformation about our grant-making is being disseminated. We hope this helps put a stop to it.
Jewish Women's Foundation
of Metropolitan Chicago
...money well spent
Sir, - "Not with my money" was riddled with blatant inaccuracies about the Mossawa Center, its funders and the nature of its work.
The New Israel Fund (NIF) is an organization that Mossawa values highly for its commitment to initiatives promoting democratic values and human rights; however the NIF played no role in the founding of the Mossawa Center. Mossawa is one of a multitude of organizations the NIF supports, and receives a small portion of its funding from the NIF's Social and Economic Justice subsection.
The op-ed was a depressing indication of attempts to alienate an organization whose primary goal is the promotion of equality and human rights within Israel, goals which should contribute to effective coexistence. Many Jews around the world would be happy to stand by these principles.
The author claims that Mossawa calls for Israel to "purge any identification with the Jewish people." In reality, Mossawa calls on Israel to enact policies which adhere to the bare-bones definition of a consensual democracy, and for the reconstruction of state institutions in a way that will provide a framework such that the Palestinian Arab community "be integrated into the larger public sphere and civil society in Israel as active, equal citizens." This will be made possible by way of minority-status recognition and state and societal efforts aimed at preserving and promoting the rights of Israel's indigenous population.
Director, Mossawa Center
At a (Dis)count
Sir, - I was saddened to read "Worker sanctions shut down Discount Bank" (February 20). I was even more dismayed to be first in line at my Discount Bank branch as one of the staff was hanging up the notice of closure in the window. While we were treated to apologies for the bank's closure and even referred to as "valued customers," it's all just lip service.
Our nation's banks treat their customers with very little regard except when it comes to harvesting the huge number and value of commissions and service fees for everything imaginable.
I suggest that employees seeking to make a point with management consider a new tactic. Their message might be less hypocritical if the staff collectively remained at their posts serving their "valued customers" - but, instead of charging commissions on each transaction, overrode the service fee process, hitting fat-cat management right in its over-inflated balance sheet.
S. JONAH PRESSMAN