Thursday, July 19, 2012 | return to: views, letters



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No outrage over JCC closure?

We bury our dead quietly in the East Bay. I knew the Contra Costa JCC had folded, but it was only the letter to j. from Virginia Peiser (July 13) that told me the surrender was complete.

The Contra Costa JCC is on the market to be sold.  There was no public mourning in j. and no cries for help from the East Bay Jewish Federation. And now the East Bay — with some one-third of the area’s Jews — is left only with a battered, sorry-looking, totally inadequate JCC facility in Berkeley. Does anyone in the Bay Area’s Jewishly oriented foundations give a damn?

Where is the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, recipient of gifts from many East Bay Jews? Where is there any evidence of Jewish community planning that sees Jewish needs at both ends of our bridges? And where is j. in its ability to give leadership on local Jewish issues?

The silence is deafening.

Mel Mogulof   |   Berkeley


IOC’s Olympic-sized failure

It was exciting to watch Aly Raisman compete in the 2012 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team trials and earn a place on the Olympic women’s gymnastics team (“Jewish competitor a favorite in San Jose,” June 29).

Her decision to perform her floor exercise routine to “Hava Negillah” made many a Jewish heart kvell. She has an excellent chance of joining George Gulack, Philip Erenberg, Mitch Gaylord, Phoebe Mills and Kerri Strug as Jewish American gymnasts who earned medals at the Olympic games.

Still, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London will be tainted by the International Olympic Committee’s rejection of an Israeli proposal for a minute of silence during the opening ceremonies to honor the memory of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

The Munich massacre was the single greatest tragedy in the history of sports. Eleven human beings were murdered at the Olympics solely because of their Israeli nationality, in defiance of the ideals and values of sportsmanship and international brotherhood ostensibly embodied by the Olympic games. Prominent official recognition by the IOC of this unique Olympic tragedy, in solidarity with Israel, is long overdue.

Stephen Silver   |   San Francisco


When ideology trumps humanity


I was at the screening of “Invisible Men,” the film that was protested by the “pink sponge” people, and I can tell you that the filmmaker, Yariv Mozer, was far more effective than the pink spongers (“Pink-sponge protesters take aim at Israeli documentary,” June 29).

He documented his own and others’ civil disobedience and yet did such a good job that, without compromising his principles, he forced the government to support the film and its dissemination.

Anyone watching the film got to see what life was like for these gay Palestinians; for Louie, who had lived in Israel so long that his Arabic was peppered with Hebrew; for Abdu, whose need for an Arab identity forced him to become a gay activist in Europe; and for the Ramallah-based man who seemed least in control of his life. The film did a wonderful job of following these men through their journeys back and forth from the territories to Tel Aviv until they got that letter assuring them of asylum in Europe.

Of course, the pink-sponge throwers didn’t even want to know what happened to the three gay Palestinians — they walked out of the movie! Their ideology trumped any humanitarian feelings they might have been born with. Feh.

Gabriel Lampert   |   San Francisco


A slap in Israel’s face


Israel’s blatant omission in the Global Counterterrorism Forum, after assurances were given by the Obama administration that the forum would include the Jewish state, shows that President Barack Obama’s claim to “have Israel’s back” is pure untruthful speechifying. American Jews should be aware of this when they vote in November.

Arthur Cohn   |   Portola Valley


No friend of Jewish state


The United States is spearheading an important Global Counterterrorism Forum. Twenty eight countries have been invited, including Egypt, Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Morocco and Indonesia.

Guess what country, in spite of one year of its pleas and protests to President Barack Obama, has not been invited? Answer: Israel. Now is this appropriate action by the self-proclaimed “Best friend of Israel?”

Scott Abramson   |   San Mateo


Chatter means nothing


Emma Silvers wrote a column about a meeting in May for “dialogue” by Jews about Israel (“State of rage? Not in this conversation about the Jewish state,” July 13).

Discussions by American Jews don’t help obtain a peace agreement between Israel and Palestinians. Such an agreement would have to be by their government leaders — but Palestinian Presisdent Mahmoud Abbas refuses to have direct negotiations without pre-conditions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Palestinian leaders would rather vent excuses and blame than negotiate. The actions of Fatah and Hammas show no evidence that they want peace with Israel. All these obstacles will not be changed by American Jews dialoging.

Norman Licht   |   San Carlos


Making the world better


During the past 10 years, Israelis have won 10 Nobel Prizes: four in chemistry, two in economics and four peace prizes. The developments of these scientific pioneers will benefit all humankind.

In the case of Ada Yonath, who studied antibiotic actions and drug resistance, her award as the Middle East’s first female Nobel Prize winner (in chemistry, 2009) can stimulate other women in the region to “head for the laboratories.” With its strong educational base, Israel has research centers for Microsoft, IBM, Google, HP, Apple and others.

How wonderful if Palestinians acquired similar awards. But the education system is at fault. Their leader, Mahmoud Abbas, gained notoriety for financing the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics and for ensuring Mrs. Arafat’s $22 million living allowance, but not for calculus and mechanics.

Mr. Abbas, whose term was to have expired in 2009, hopefully will be replaced.

Hopefully the Palestinian education system will be upgraded for students of both sexes and Palestinians will join Israelis to contribute to the world’s betterment. n

Bud Rubin   |   Palo Alto


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