letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Stop this nonsense
Sir, - Why are we continuing to give, give, give to the Palestinians when they have never met even one obligation since Oslo? At a minimum, they should renounce terrorism, change their education system to promote peace and not warfare, and stop incitement on their airwaves before any substantial talks can take place.
In the Palestinian mindset, the upcoming summit is just another step in the obliteration of Israel. This nonsense must stop once and for all ("Israeli, PA negotiators begin working on joint declaration for November meeting," October 9).
Sir, - Ehud Olmert was the mayor of Jerusalem. Now he is premier. How many times did he publicly declare: "Jerusalem is the undivided capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people"?
It's simply mind-boggling that he is suddenly reportedly willing to divide Jerusalem and give the Temple Mount to our Arab enemies.
Olmert has apparently learned nothing from the Hamas victory in Gaza and Hizbullah's victory in Lebanon. Jerusalem is the home of the Jewish people. As President Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand" ("Suspend talks with Abbas, Yishai urges," October 9).
Sir, - We are directors, respectively, of the Belfer Center for American Pluralism, and the Latin American and Latino Institute of the American Jewish Committee. Rabbi Marc Schneier's assertion that "American Jewish organizations don't understand" the changing demographics of America is unfair ("American Jews must do more to reach out to other ethnic minorities, says WJC leader in US," October 5). Indeed, the American Jewish Committee, one of the agencies he chastises, has staff and resources to reach out to Latino, African American, Asian-Pacific and South Asian leaders every day, as we have been doing for decades.
We have an ongoing presence on Capitol Hill, where we have a well-established reputation as a moral voice on the topics of democracy and human rights in Latin America, and specifically on the AMIA case, which has allowed it to do much more than "scream," as Rabbi Schneier claims.
Beyond the effective coalitions it has built and continues to build with ethnically-based organizations and leaders at the national, state and local levels, AJC conducts workshops for ethnic leaders, travels frequently to Latin America, Africa and Asia, monitors changing demographics, publishes insightful studies and, significantly, takes hundreds of ethnic leaders annually to Israel through AJC's Project Interchange. In fact, national Latino leaders, in a landmark PI trip last year, issued a historic document in which they urged Latinos and Jews to increase their level of involvement in US foreign policy, particularly regarding the Middle East and Latin America. Our Web site (www.engagingamerica.org) offers all Jewish leaders an invaluable resource as they reach out to any ethnic or religious group in America.
Rabbi Schneier's critique would be more useful if he focused on urging Jewish leaders to support the core concerns of other groups in order to "hold them to the fire" on support for Israel.
We need to reassert our traditional support for fair and welcoming immigration policies and effective public schools, in addition to encouraging economic and political empowerment, while understanding ethnic groups' connection with their countries of origin. AJC understands that in order to garner sustainable support for key Jewish issues, we must build partnerships that are mutually beneficial.
DINA SIEGEL VANN
Love your culture
Sir, - I am a lover of the history and culture of the Jewish people; so I write with a request to correspond with survivors of the Shoah who are living in Israel, to know how they contributed to the foundation and construction of your country.
Anyone desiring to respond should write to me at: Via A Dami n. 16, 50053-Empoli(Fi), Italy.
Dressing up, and...
Sir, - "Dress for success" has finally come to Israel. It is about time the Knesset made a fashion statement and showed the country and the world how professionals dress ("No jeans here, Knesset fashion police declare," October 9).
Jeans and T-shirts are great, but not at work.
Sir, - As a recent olah from Los Angeles, I had heard of Bar Refaeli only because she was dating Leonardo DiCaprio. She states that her goal is to live in Los Angeles - I am sure she will enjoy joining the many vacuous Israelis living there. In contrast, I will enjoy living here, proudly, with my sons serving in the IDF ("The 'uncomfortable' role model," October 9).
Sir, - It is a shame that Israel's media has bought into the nonsense of Bar Refaeli, whose brains clearly do not match her beauty. She has obviously been brought up to consider herself an idol at whose feet the Israeli public should be worshipping.
This product of a society which prizes and rewards looks above education and achievement by no means represents young Israeli women, of whom we have every reason to be proud. The majority of them fulfill their civic duty without complaint and go on to become accomplished and contributing members of Israeli society, having no need to rely upon their looks to make their fortune.
It is these young women who should be celebrated in our media.