December 16: In response

The subject of Calev Ben-David's "Olmert's Diaspora blues. PM's ties with some US Jewish leaders hits choppy waters" (December 2) responds.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In response Sir, - I read Calev Ben-David's "Olmert's Diaspora blues. PM's ties with some US Jewish leaders hits choppy waters" (December 2) with disbelief and bewilderment at his baseless assertions. He well knows our phone numbers but made no effort to reach us to verify the facts. While there is much to say, I will respond to two points. I had nothing to do with the participation or non-participation of Rabbi Marc Schneier in the meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as Ben-David claimed. It's a blatant falsehood. In regard to the meeting with Jerusalem's Mayor Uri Lupolianski, he was in New York for other reasons and we were offered the opportunity to host a small meeting. We do this for many Israeli and other foreign officials who visit the US. Those in attendance would have informed Mr. Ben-David that it was a meaningful discussion on a wide variety of Jerusalem-related matters, free of the overtones he invents. This was intended as a small, off-the-record session. There were no press and no releases, so it could not have served the purpose nor had the impact that Mr. Ben-David indicated. It is interesting that he did not mention the other meetings and briefings that we had in the same period with a top political adviser to the prime minister, Shalom Turgeman, Ambassador Dennis Ross, Ehud Ya'ari and Ehud Barak, who had to cancel to stay in Washington. We offer a forum for responsible leaders with a wide variety of views in an effort to provide our leadership with the most comprehensive information possible. It is beyond silly to suggest that having a discussion with the mayor of Israel's capital is inappropriate at any time. Would not journalistic standards also have required the author to identify the "one" person cited as criticizing the mayor's appearance and his personal association with that individual, as well as his organizational association? MALCOLM HOENLEIN Executive Vice Chairman Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations R-E-S-P-E-C-T Sir, - I attended a prestigious girls school in England and can still hear the loud slap I gave to the face of a girl who insisted that the "Jew girl" retrieve the tennis ball from a neighboring park; I also remember that I had no subsequent "Jew girl" trouble at school. As was reported, under the auspices of a global "peace conference" the White House sanctioned Jew hatred. Separate entranceways, refusal to shake hands with a Jew, refusal by audience members to wear translation earpieces when the Israeli prime minister spoke. Israel should have walked out like any self-respecting human being would have done. Mr. Freund suggested that Ms. Rice step aside and not try to interfere. I suggest that Mr. Olmert and his government step aside and allow some self-respecting Jews to replace them. BARBARA OBERMAN Herzliya Pituah We're back Sir, - In response to M. Schaeffer ("Me first!" Letters, December 13): a reminder that there are two sides to every story. When we left our dear Israel it was to train in a special field and come back after four years. We tried to return earlier, but were told we were "overtrained," so we stayed longer and sent money to hospitals, institutions and organizations in Israel. We organized a most beautiful Yom Ha'atzmaut event in the city in which we lived. We raised two great children and have three Israeli grandchildren. Now that we can afford to work without pay, we spend two days per week at Wolfson Hospital - my husband in the eye clinic and I in the children's ward. We don't have that much time to sit in coffee shops because our excellent Mediatec offers everything a person needs to enrich everyday life. DR. OLGA P. WIND Holon Censored ideology Sir, - In "Liturgy is a human construction" (December 12), Elyse Frishman claims that "even the traditional siddur of the post-medievalists rejected" the line in Aleinu, "for they bow down to nothingness and emptiness, and pray to a god that will not save." This line was, in fact, stricken by Church censors, not "rejected" by siddur editors for ideological reasons. It is noteworthy that this verse from Isaiah (45:20) has been reintroduced into many siddurim over the past several years. ANDREW SCHIFFMILLER Ra'anana