March 31: We owe Pollard

"Jonathan Pollard is as important to Israel now as Natan Sharansky was during his time."

letters pink 88 (photo credit: )
letters pink 88
(photo credit: )
We owe Pollard Sir, - I would like to congratulate you on your timely editorial "The Pollard spat" (March 30). Jonathan Pollard is as important to Israel now as Natan Sharansky was during his time, as a symbol of Jewish determination and Israeli steadfastness. However, Sharansky was unjustly held prisoner by an oppressive and anti-Semitic Soviet regime at a time when Israel and the Jewish people were led by strong, credible, moral and determined Jewish leaders and America had not yet been terminally weakened by cynical moral relativism. Tragically, Pollard is being unjustly held prisoner by Israel's most important ally, the US, at a time when Israel is led by weak, faithless and shortsighted Jewish leaders who seem to care more for the state of their bank and stock market accounts than for the State of Israel or the Jews. Not so long ago, an Israeli political or military leader wouldn't even have considered abandoning an injured Jew or Jewish soldier to the cruelties of the enemy. But Pollard wasn't just abandoned by those responsible for saving him. Those same Israeli - and American Jewish - leaders have publicly condemned him for his efforts on our behalf, thus adding further insult to his already horrifying injury. Pollard deserves his freedom no less than did Sharansky. The Israeli government and the American Jewish community owe him the same active assistance, the same public effort and the same demands for his release, addressed directly to the American president. Jonathan Pollard has suffered enough. The time has come to bring him home to Israel. KENNETH BESIG Kiryat Arba Obama as leader Sir, - I hope Americans, especially Jews, will take Jonathan Tobin's message to heart and realize that Barak Obama may be a great speaker, but he is not a great leader ("Don't blame me, I just pray here!" March 29). What does it say about Obama that he has looked to Rev. Jeremiah Wright as his spiritual and moral adviser for the past 20 years? It's no secret that Rev. Wright considers Louis Farrakhan to be a close friend, a great man and a pillar of society. If Hillary Clinton belonged to a church whose leader embraced a member of the Ku Klux Klan, the African American community and others would be up in arms and Clinton's character would be called into question. Perhaps Obama refuses to leave the church because he is afraid of angering the black vote in America. Worse yet, maybe he doesn't think that Wright's and Farrakhan's attitudes and actions are anything to worry about. In either case, this is a man who lacks good judgment and should not be the next president of the United States. KATE HALLGREN Jerusalem Sir, - For once I am in total agreement with Jonathan Tobin. Obama claims that disowning his pastor and leaving his church would be like disowning his white grandmother because of her racist views. But it's not! His grandmother is a biological member of his immediate family, an integral part of him; the preacher isn't. No amount of pussyfooting around the matter can change those facts. LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Hate speech is the problem Sir, - We are ignoring the main, serious lesson we must learn from the Jeremiah Wright affair. Sen. Obama said he was unaware of the hatred the church leader spoke in church sermons over the decades. Yet our problem today is dealing with the hatred that comes from religious institutions and schools; we cannot win our war against terror unless we focus on stopping the flow of hatred. If we are unaware of hate speech, we cannot deal with it ("A Palestinian cleric speaks," Verbatim, March 27). Some say Obama should have left the church. Wrong. A true leader does not solve a problem by walking away. Obama should have actively fought against Rev. Wright. Sen. Clinton, on the other hand, is a dreamer, who imagined walking with her daughter under a hail of bullets in the Balkans. A successful leader must be aware of reality and deal with it. The State Department, under many administrations, is not aware of the reality of hate indoctrination across the world. We never hear teaching hate to young children condemned as a form of child abuse. Sen. John McCain has been schooled in hate instruction, courtesy of the Vietnamese. The only hope for peace in the world will be for President McCain to overhaul the State Department with the aim of making it more aware of hate teaching and of the need to make fighting such teaching the highest priority, more important than negotiations. The problem is that many Americans hate Republicans. We will have to get over this and focus on the true problem in the world, which is inculcating hatred in young people. We must think what the world needs. Sen. McCain is the only leader who can focus on hate indoctrination. SANFORD ARANOFF Monroe Twp, New Jersey Terror on FaceBook Sir, - There are many groups on FaceBook that celebrate terrorism. There's even a new Facebook group which memorializes the Palestinian terrorist who murdered eight yeshiva students. In addition to glorifying the students' murders, the Facebook page dedicated to Abu Ala Dhaim, 25, refers to him as a "martyr" and links to a page that calls Jews "pigs," according to a report by The Israel Project. A picture posted on the Facebook page devoted to Dhaim shows the body of one of the dead students riddled with gunfire. At the top of the picture, the first line of the Arabic text reads "The Heroic Jerusalem Act." More than 65 million people worldwide use Facebook, a popular on-line social networking Web site. Many are in the same age range - 14 to 26 - as the students who were murdered and injured. It is my hope that this travesty gets some mainstream media attention in order to finally get Facebook to respond and delete the problematic terrorist groups from the site. EITAN ALTSHULER Santa Cruz Muslims: Teach Koran = love Sir, - Muslims who claim that today's violence is limited to a small minority of extremists should have no problem safeguarding the good name of Islam. Every imam in every mosque in every country should preach that the Koran teaches love and the giving of charity, and that these values are universal and not limited to fellow Muslims. There is too little evidence of Muslims giving charity, but ample examples of opulence and abject poverty ("Muslim world denounces Dutch film portraying Islam as time bomb," March 30). CHARLES OREN Givatayim Sir, - The removal of Fitna, the short movie by Dutch MP Geert Wilders, because of death threats to the staff of, is another blow to freedom of speech that should not surprise anyone who has been following the increased use of violence by Muslim terrorists to stop the publishing of anything with which they disagree. Leaders in Europe as well as Israel have been intimidated and give in to these threats. Every time that occurs, the terrorists win, and are thus encouraged to continue. H. MATTHEW Jerusalem No go Sir, - I thought it was Purim again when I saw a lengthy article about a day trip to Damascus "that Israelis can't make"! ("All worlds remember Damascus," Travel Trends, March 30.) MONTY BERNSTEIN Hod Hasharon