Thursday, June 21, 2012 | return to: views, letters



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PJ Library in own backyard

Thank you for the great article on the national PJ Library program (“3 million books and counting, PJ Library eyes expansion,” June 15). It truly captured the impact of this free Jewish book and music program for families with young children.

However, it didn’t mention that we have this program right here in the Bay Area! We have over 8,000 subscribed children in the San Francisco, East Bay and Silicon Valley regions. Any Bay Area family with kids under 7 can sign up for the free monthly books at our website,

It’s an amazing resource funded by our local federations and the Jim Joseph Foundation that shouldn’t be missed!

Vivien Braly   |   San Francisco

PJ Library Program Coordinator


Two weddings, one anniversary

Bravo to the Conservative movement for allowing same-sex marriage ceremonies to be performed (“Conservative rabbis OK rituals for same-sex weddings,” June 8).

My husband and I were married almost 13 years ago under the Reform movement by a rabbi in a Reform synagogue. It was the best day of our lives!

During the short period that California issued licenses for same sex-couples, we went to City Hall to be “legally” married. Although a great day, it does not come close to the magical day when we were married in a synagogue by a rabbi. We only celebrate the date of the Jewish marriage as the more important and beautiful of the two. By the way, we have been together for over 18 years now.

Alan Ferrara   |   San Francisco


Damaging to Jewish values

Rabbi Donniel Hartman says it’s OK to prevent illegal African infiltrators from entering Israel, but once they’ve entered, even if illegally, Jewish values require Israel to welcome them, protect them and provide for them (“Jewish values must guide moral response to Israel’s migrant issue,” op-ed June 8).

Although hospitality is indeed a Jewish value, what Hartman is talking about is not Judaism but a very different ideology which defines people not by their merits but by their needs.

To Hartman, the character of the infiltrators and whether they have anything positive to offer is irrelevant. The only thing that matters to him is that they have needs, and when people have needs, Jews are obliged to fill those needs no matter who the people are or where they’re from.

Although Judaism recognizes the ultimate humanity of all people, Israel is not required to absorb or assimilate people who have nothing in common with Jews or Judaism, who come from cultures that are deeply antagonistic to Judaism, and who enter Israel illegally just to take advantage of Jewish generosity. Trying to absorb such people weakens Jewish identity, detracts from Israel’s historic purpose and damages Jewish values rather than fulfilling them.

Martin Wasserman   |   Sunnyvale


Gardens party marred

I don’t know about you, and I don’t agree with everything the government of Israel does, but when I attend a celebration of Israel such as Israel in the Gardens, I don’t expect to hear the lead singer of the featured band shout out “End the Occupation” and various slogans against the government of Israel.

Joel Ackerman   |    Richmond


J. is not a tabloid

It disturbed me to read the article about Mark Zuckerberg not being a big tipper (“Honeymooning Zuckerberg reportedly not a big tipper,” June 1), which ran right next to his wedding photo.

J. is not the National Enquirer. This small article was not news — it was sensationalism and not fit for j.

Nina Weil   |   Burlingame


JVP ‘cherry-picks’

The Jewish Voice for Peace claims to “support the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination.”

The website, however, documents Jews voicing support only for Palestinians. JVP, a self-declared human rights group, partners with the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which advocates one Palestinian state and no Israel.

People may disagree with yet respect and even learn from fair-minded critiques. But JVP/BDS omits information that could promote better understanding of the two conflicting narratives. For example, JVP/BDS:

• Condemns Israel’s “separation barrier” without mentioning the reasons why or the dramatic decrease in Palestinian terrorist attacks.

• Blames Israel for the 2009 Gaza incursion without mentioning the reasons why — the years and rockets (7,000-plus) fired into Israel from Gaza.

• Provides poster slogans like “Another Jew opposed to Israeli attacks on civilians” but none of Palestinians opposing attacks on restaurants, buses and schools.

• Claims the conflict “is about territory not religion,” discounting “Allah is great” cheers after killing Israelis, chants of Christians as “infidels,” and heavenly rewards for Palestinian religious martyr-murderers.

• Labels as “Palestinian land” the to-be-negotiated territories the U.N. considers “disputed.”

JVP can cherry-pick references to Jewish tradition, but it cannot conceal its animosity toward Israel.

June Brott  |  Oakland


Posted by Dan Spitzer
06/22/2012  at  06:20 PM
Excellent Analysis, Ms. Brott

If readers look under the heading in this issue on how the Egyptian situation might benefit Israel, we see exactly the “cherry picking” by JVP to which Ms. Brott refers.

In the commentary by JVP members which follows that analysis, you see no criticism of anti-Israeli leaders in the Middle East, past and present, who were the anthesis of democratic. And certain we have heard nothing from JVP about the Syrian revolt vs the Assad regime which for years gave safe haven to the pro-genocidal minion of Hamas…

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Posted by Jack Kessler
06/24/2012  at  02:56 PM
Lying About Motives

Whenever you hear “End the Occupation”, keep in mind that there are 32 million Kurdish speaking people in the Middle East and every one of them lives under occupation. 

The largest group of Kurds live under Turkish occupation.  Substantial numbers of others live under Iraqi, Syrian, and Iranian occupation. 

Nor does the “but they’re US allies so we’re responsible” excuse work.  Turkey is an important NATO ally and has been for decades.
14 million Kurds live under Turkish occupation. That is twice the number of Israelis and Palestinians combined.  Sixteen Kurds live under occupation for every occupied Palestinian.

Yet the rock band morons, the leftists, the JVP, all the high-and-mighty hypocrites whose consciences bother them so mightily about Israeli occupation have not a word to say about the Turkish occupation, let alone the Iranian, Syrian, or Iraqi occupation of sixteen times as many people.

They protest mightily about Israel checking ID’s at checkpoints yet have not a word to say about the vast slaughter of Syrians by their own regime.

Isn’t that odd?  The only thing that explains that is that they are lying about caring about the Palestinians.  Like the Arabs themselves, the Palestinians are merely an excuse to them.  The real motive is hatred of Israel or they would be protesting Turkish and Iranian occupation of Kurdistan, which they have somehow forgotten to get around to.

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Posted by theother
06/28/2012  at  12:10 PM
16 groups sign letter to UCI re ties to Syria regime

Several organizations have signed an open letter addressed to the UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake demanding the immediate removal of a Syrian diplomat from the UCI Foundation’s board of trustees. The letter was sent two weeks after the student government voted in favor of legislation calling for Dr. Hazem Chehabi’s resignation.
Chehabi is Syria’s honorary consul general, a Newport Beach doctor, and a major donor to the university. He has refused to publicly condemn Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, whose brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters has left more than 9000 people dead since the uprising in Syria began one year ago. The letter describes him as the “highest-ranking Syrian diplomat still associated with the brutal Assad regime.”
signers include:
Jewish Voice for Peace.

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Posted by theother
06/28/2012  at  12:14 PM
how does one know when Dan Spitzer is

being less than accurate ?

simple, when his hands move over the keyboard.

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Posted by rfaelmoshe
06/28/2012  at  02:46 PM
Divide the Jewish people into two camps

I remember when Arafat announced his 1974 “Phased Plan” for the conquest of Israel.  Among the things that he said was,“The first thing that we need to do is to divide the Jewish people into two camps psychologically.”  Shortly thereafter, we started seeing the development of the various organizations of the mysteriously funded “Peace camp.”  Rather than listen to any of the JVP’s endless hypocracy, perhaps what’s really needed is an audit.  A vast amount of money is spent every month by or on behalf of the self-identified “Palestinians” for public relations, in order to get more favorable media coverage for the “Palestinian cause” and to inculcate un-educated Americans with the “Palestinian narrative” in place of actual history. Let’s not be naive here,eh?

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