May 20: Citizens all around

In "40% of Jews feel alienated from state" (May 19) one of the reasons given for the trend is globalization.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Citizens all round Sir, - In "40% of Jews feel alienated from state" (May 19) one of the reasons given for the trend is globalization. In a 1968 American Jewish Congress-Israel dialogue, celebrated scholar George Steiner said that to him, the essence of Jewishness was homelessness and therefore he was against having a Jewish state. At the time I asked, What passport does Steiner have - UN? Universe? Or British, since he lived in England? I think globalization is a great hypocrisy as far as national identity goes. Those Israelis who would rather not have an Israeli passport (Avrum Burg?) would still accept some other national identity, despite "globalization." So why can't we be citizens of the world, loyal to it - and still have Israeli passports, and still defend thislittle part of the Big Globe? JACOB CHINITZ Jerusalem Wake-up call Sir, - Never would I have thought that a news item in the Post would enhance my prayers, but it has. Since reading "London's haredim targeted by anti-Semitic graffiti" (May 18), I have a much deeper appreciation of the blessing for the ingathering of the exiles, which we recite thrice daily as part of the Amidah. When I read the quote by one of the London-based haredim - "It makes us feel that we are in exile" - I realized why the opening words of the blessing are "Sound the great shofar." Truly, this gentleman is in need of a wake-up call... Sir, you are in exile. And as I see how misguided my Diaspora brethren have become, I appreciate all the more the blessing's closing: "Blessed art Thou, O Lord, Who gathers in the lost of His people Israel." MICHAEL D. HIRSCH Kochav Ya'ir Hate festers at UCI Sir, - This past week, we at the University of California at Irvine suffered through another Muslim Student Union hate fest. Make no mistake: The administration of UCI is negligent in allowing Muslim hatemongers to come to our campus each quarter to spout their filth. Following are extracts from a letter I wrote to the New University campus newspaper: Now that the Israel 60th birthday celebration and "Palestinian Holocaust" week have concluded, a few brief comments. The Israeli celebration was upbeat and happy, while some of the Muslim Student Union's speakers (not all) used inflammatory language to describe Israel and America. At least three - Amir Abdel Malik Ali, Mohammed Al-Asi and Norman Finkelstein - are vocal supporters of the Hamas and Hizbullah. Two items on the "Wall" put up by the MSU drew my attention. The first was a quote from a former Black Panther, now in prison for murdering a police officer, that had nothing to do with any "struggle"; the second was a picture of Ariel Sharon, drawn in the old style of Julius Streicher's virulently anti-Semitic Nazi Der Stuermer newspaper: big hooked nose, big lips, etc. That a university would even allow this type of picture on its campus is a disgrace. Hundreds, including professors and deans, came to hear Finkelstein speak. Yet the same week, about 20 people came to hear Nonie Darwish, a courageous former Muslim who has put her life on the line to defend Israel, America and condemn terror. I was the only faculty member present, and I am only a part-time teacher. Political activist and author David Horowitz, in his campus appearance, singled out UCI as "the worst campus in this country" for anti-Semitic activity. In the question and answer period I informed him that 99% of the students at UCI have nothing to do with this ugliness. I also told him that there are two problems: the MSU, which brings in hateful speakers, and a university administration that is hiding under its desks - either out of fear or apathy, or simply uncaring about the concerns of its Jewish students. The public needs to know what is going on at UCI, and I hope Horowitz and others keep the spotlight shining. GARY FOUSE University of California at Irvine California Go on, negotiate... Sir, - I was chagrined to read that the northern Negev kibbutzim secretary, Ze'ev Shor, thinks the military approach to Hamas hasn't worked ("Kibbutz Movement head: Government should talk to Hamas," May 19). Doesn't he realize that Israel hasn't utilized a tenth of its military capacity against Hamas, courtesy of our government? Sure, negotiate with Hamas, whose raison d'etre is the destruction of Israel. Maybe they'll allow us six more months of existence (the cease-fire) while they increase their supply of weapons for the next round of fighting. STEVE KRAMER Alfei Menashe ...with those who choose terror Sir, - Kudos to America for insisting on elections in the Palestinian Authority. How else to show that when given the opportunity to choose between peace and terror, the Palestinians choose terror? Whatever Mr. Obama learned at Harvard, it wasn't the Philosophy of Logic ("Obama turns up heat on Bush, McCain over Iran, Hamas policy," May 18). NINA ZELDIS Ra'anana Let Pearl's humanity be his legacy Sir, - As they very often do, the detractors of Larry Derfner misinterpreted his piece on the slain Daniel Pearl ("Dignity & courage," Letters, May 18). Far from any intention to destroy Pearl's integrity, my hunch is that Derfner simply felt that by blowing those famous words ("My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I am a Jew") out of proportion, those interested in epos-creation do a disservice to the human being himself - and to historical reality. Derfner, rightly, pointed out that the victim was a martyr rather than a pawn-like, constructed "hero," simplified for general consumption. Perhaps Daniel Pearl, a journalist who worked for The Wall Street Journal, would not have wanted that, either. Derfner took nothing away from Daniel Pearl's credibility, character and memory. On the contrary. GÁBOR FRÄNKL Budapest Uncovering identities Sir, - Further to "A Prologue to WWII" (Ervin Birnbaum, May 15): A few years ago, the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women in the UK, with the aid of archivist Martin Sugarman, compiled a comprehensive list of Jewish participants in the Spanish Civil War, including the Botwin and Lincoln Brigade fighters, showing the country of origin of each one. For many, their involvement was clearly a way of expressing a hitherto hidden Jewish identity. Our institute is proud to have the only copy in Israel, which can be viewed at our library. Even so, the Jewish origin of many of the Rebublican fighters, particularly the Spanish ones, remains unrecorded. At the end of the Civil War and the capitulation of the Republican Army, many soldiers fled across the border into France and after imprisonment there were sent to concentration camps, particularly Mauthausen, where the majority died from the indescribable treatment. We at Casa Shalom hold a small amount of detail on these men, and are hoping that with the opening of the new Holocaust Archives at Bad Arolsen in Germany, more information about their places of origin will come to light. We already know that a number came from the Balearic Islands, and would greatly appreciate any information Post readers may have. Kindly email [email protected] GLORIA MOUND Executive Director Casa Shalom Institute for Marrano-Anusim Studies Gan Yavneh