Letters to the Editor, Sept. 1, 2010

NY Islamic Center debate

The Aug. 18 editorial, “Self Fulfilling Prophecy,” presents Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf as a “moderate” Muslim cleric and supports the construction of the Islamic community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero.”

I question your belief that Imam Rauf is “moderate,” as you assert supported by quotes from P.J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman, and Walter Isaacson, head of the Aspen Institute. If Imam Rauf were “moderate”, why hasn’t he denounced Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups, why is he willing to accept funds from Iran to help pay for the mosque, why has he called the United States complicit in the September 11 attacks, why is he a proponent of imposing portions of Sharia Law in the United States?

No one disagrees with the constitutional right of the imam to construct a mosque and worship peacefully and, in fact, the state of New York is willing to help find a location close by where a mosque can be developed and its worshippers can avoid the current brouhaha. However, given this imam’s past actions and comments, I am concerned why Imam Rauf must erect the mosque in this particular place when acceptable alternatives exist.

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Barry Greenberg


Day school students left out

I was caught by surprise when I read the article “School’s start rings mixed emotions” (Aug. 25). The schools covered in the article did not include one Jewish school from the St. Louis region. There are good Jewish private schools in the St Louis area that span the spectrum of religiosity – Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox. And yet the writer could not find one student from these schools?

Is it really that difficult to describe the experiences of students who attend Jewish schools? Here’s an example:

One of my daughters had a great time this past summer in Camp Nageela – which brings Jewish children from all walks of life to a Torah-observant environment. She worked as a lifeguard, attended the Aish SEED program, and enjoyed visiting friends in Chicago, Atlanta and St. Louis. She is now going back to Block Yeshiva High School, where she is receiving an outstanding Jewish and secular education. She was happy during the summer, but is thrilled to go back to a stimulating and challenging school.

The Jewish Light should try to live up to its name by shining more “Light” on the “Jewish” experiences in St. Louis.

Amir H. Wolfe

University City

More than enough of Neoconservatism

I was disappointed to read Mr. Gene Carton’s letter in your Aug. 11 edition. Neoconservatism, unfortunately led by Jewish voices, is a scourge.

Carton begins and ends his diatribe with adulation of Charles Krauthammer. Krauthammer’s academic credentials include a master’s degree – not a Ph.D. – in International Relations; Krauthammer has never served in the State Department or for an international business or nonprofit. Rather, Mr. Krauthammer can only claim that he talked George W. Bush into the worst foreign policy debacle in American history…5,000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead and $1 trillion spent invading an innocent country.

Carton uses name calling and playground trash talk to demean President Obama. The childish rhetoric of “totally clueless,” “intransigence,” “hubris,” “coddled and pacified,” “failed on a colossal scale” do not demonstrate logic, reason or fact. Mr. Carton criticizes a withdrawal date for Afghanistan. Where were his tantrums when George W. Bush negotiated to be out of Iraq by 2011? Mr. Carton says Obama “…has failed on a colossal scale to secure and protect our southern border…” President Obama has sent more troops to the border than any president in the last century and twice as many as sent by President Bush. But it’s much easier to make a flawed argument by inciting and avoiding facts.

Mr. Carton says Obama has “inflamed Israel.” What does that mean? He says the President has “coddled and pacified Muslim countries” but offers no facts which support that absurdity. Does Mr. Carton forget the 50-year romance between the Bush family and Saudi Arabia? Does Mr. Carton understand that George Bush and his neo-Con supporters-despite the pleading of then Prime Minister Olmert -turned Gaza over to Hamas by forcing “democratic elections?”

Americans are well aware of the disservice done to our country by neocons. People know that America cannot force any nation to adopt American values. Jewish values such as repairing the world, peace among nations, fostering human dignity for all people are in direct contrast to the Islamophobia and war mongering of the neocons.

Mort House

Fort Worth, Texas