Letters to the Editor, week of Feb. 29, 2012

Iran rhetoric

Once again, we see Neoconservatism raise its ugly head. Gene Carton’s Feb. 15 letter sounds too familiar in its cry for Israel to attack Iran “NOW.” Most people know the horrible human and financial repercussions of, “Weapons of mass destruction, we must act NOW.” How many times will Neocons try to facilitate war?

Mr. Carton argues that Iran will have nuclear weapons “in all probability within the year,” but it is not apparent that he has any atomic energy agency expertise on which to make this judgment. It is inflammatory rhetoric aimed at scaring people.

Mr. Carton alludes to Ahmadinejad’s cry to “Wipe Israel off the map.” Does Mr. Carton remember Premier Khrushchev slamming his shoe on a U.N. podium, saying the U.S.S.R. will “Bury the United States” (Remember, the U.S.S.R. had hundreds of intercontinental ballistic missiles, loaded with atomic warheads)? Does Mr. Carton remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, when atomic weapons were 90 miles from our shores? Lastly, Mr. Carton should know that Israel does not have “unbridled airpower.” Knowledgeable people understand that the IDF has a massive arsenal of fighter planes but not heavy bombers, the kind of aircraft needed to thoroughly destroy all of Iran’s underground nuclear facilities. What are the unintended consequences of a “less than successful” preemptive airstrike? The answers would be an all-out Arab assault on Israel and worldwide condemnation of Israel.

Neoconservatives have no memory relative to statesmanship, resolving international conflict through diplomacy, and utilizing economic and political sanctions. Their world view of “preemptive wars” is dangerous to mankind and must not be given any credibility.

Mort House, Fort Worth, Texas


Selection of Sinquefeld for award

We recently learned that the St. Louis Regional Office of the American Jewish Committee is honoring Rex Sinquefield with its “prestigious John D. Levy Human Relations Award.” How ironic—and inappropriate—that a man who has devoted the past few years to using his wealth to sponsor various efforts to reduce state and local tax revenues should receive such an honor.

The result of Mr. Sinquefield’s statewide ballot issue last year is that the Cities of St. Louis and Kansas City now are required to vote every five years to continue their earnings taxes, without which substantial portions of their revenue would be eliminated. Not having a permanent tax also makes it more difficult to issue long-term bonds, backed by revenue that is not guaranteed beyond five years. 

More recently, Mr. Sinquefield is trying to eliminate Missouri’s income tax, replacing it with a large sales tax. Such a tax would disproportionally affect lower-income taxpayers.

Mr. Sinquefield’s goal is to reduce the size of state and local government, by reducing their revenue. The result would be to cripple the ability of the State of Missouri and of St. Louis to fund vital governmental services and to provide important programs for their less advantaged residents.

These substantial and destructive initiatives of Mr. Sinquefield more than offset any private “civic and philanthropic causes” he may have supported. The decision by the American Jewish Committee to honor him with a “human relations” award is incomprehensible.

David and Dale Steinberg, Chesterfield


Play raises questions

The Jewish Light has reported on the recent outrages to women by the Haredi community in Israel. At one extreme, an eight-year-old girl has been cursed and spit upon in Beit Shemesh so she cannot walk to school. There have been others, including forced segregation on public transportation and even sidewalks.

The recent condemnation of harassment in Beit Shemesh by members of the St. Louis Rabbinical Council was encouraging, but ignores the segregation of women in our own community. Recently a local Orthodox school announced its female high school students would present a musical, promoted in the Light as “for women only.” Not even the girls’ own fathers may attend. Would the Light publicize a play that was for gentiles only or whites only? Where is our local ADL and AJC, which react instantly to the slightest perceived, unintentional anti-Semitic statement? Or is segregation of the sexes to this extent acceptable if hidden behind a veneer of religious doctrine?

I assume a member of the Orthodox community will respond to rationalize this marginalization of women. When he does, I ask readers to draw their own conclusions as to whether mainstream St. Louis Jews should be supporting a school (through their contributions to the Jewish Federation) which indoctrinates its students with fundamentalist dogma.

Norman Pressman, Crystal Lake Park