Letters to the editor: October 19, 2016

Film’s St. Louis connection 

Regarding the Light’s Oct. 5 review of “Denial”: Readers of the Light might be interested to learn a little known fact about the trial of Deborah Lipstadt that is not mentioned in the film. Members of the American Jewish Committee, including here in St. Louis, played a pivotal role in defending Deborah Lipstadt when she was sued for libel by British Holocaust denier and author, David Irving. At a key point during the trial Lipstadt learned she was going to need a great deal of money for her defense: counsel, court fees, travel, lodging, and other costs associated with the trial. 

Enter the American Jewish Committee. With great secrecy AJC raised the money she needed to cover all her expenses. I was the Area Director for the St. Louis chapter at the time and helped raise the funds. According to a letter to me (dated Oct. 6, 2016) from David Harris, CEO of the AJC: 

“AJC’s role was crucial from start to finish and, at the request of Deborah’s lawyers in London, kept under wraps during the entire pre-trial and trial period. No reference is made to AJC in the movie, but, on occasion, Deborah will mention us with appreciation in her public appearances.”

Members of the St. Louis AJC chapter can be justifiably proud of their participation in seeking justice for Ms. Lipstadt and disproving Mr. Irving’s theory denying that the Holocaust did not happen. 


Rosalyn Borg, Former AJC Area Director


Reasons to vote ‘No’ on Amendment 3 

There are many reasons to vote “No” on the Amendment 3 cigarette tax — some were referenced in the Editorial “It’s Up to You” (October 12, 2016) — which together explain why so many organizations that care about the health of Missourians oppose its passage, including American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Washington University, and National Council of Jewish Women. 

The specific concern that motivates opposition from the medical research and bioscience communities is the harm Amendment 3 would do to Missouri’s friendly environment for research and innovation by undermining the unambiguous constitutional protections for stem cell research passed in 2006.  A document that purports to moderate our concern, referred to in the Editorial as a “judicial opinion,” is in fact a memo from the campaign’s paid consultant, which we find entirely unresponsive to our concerns.   

We urge those who care about preserving the freedom to conduct lifesaving research to vote NO on Amendment 3. 

Donn Rubin, President & CEO, BioSTL; Chairman, Missouri Cures

Reasons to vote ‘No’ on Amendment 3 

Your editorial on Amendment 3 failed to point out three of the many reasons to vote against it.

First, buried in the text is a prohibition on the use of any funds for stem cell research.  This, after voters  defeated an anti- stem cell amendment sponsored by right wing interests several years ago.

Second, the Missouri Constitution has prohibited the use of tax funds to support religious schools for many years. Amendment 3 provides a specific exception so that some of these funds will be used to support Islamic Madrasas, Catholic parochial schools and yes, Jewish yeshivas. If people want to indoctrinate their children with religious dogmas they should consider moving to countries which have no separation of church and state.

Third, Amendment 3 sets up yet another unelected board to administer the funds with its own staff and board (like the Zoo Museum District, which has been under recent scrutiny).

If we need more early education how about simply raising taxes in general and spending general revenue funds? I have voted in favor of virtually all tax increases over the years but this one has too many concessions to special interests and I am voting against it.

Norman Pressman, Crystal Lake Park