Letters to the editor: week of May 2, 2012

Lessons of ‘Hunger Games’

[Regarding the April 18 commentary, “An Israeli perspective on the ‘Hunger Games’”] I have also read the “Hunger Games” trilogy because I wanted to know what my grandchildren’s generation found so intriguing. Although I agree with the perspective of the author, Galit Lev-Harir, I think the stories have a much broader message.

The story depicts a society where the “haves” lead a life of opulence and decadence, while the “have-nots” live is abject poverty. For the sake of seeing that the wealthy are better served, the districts are divided from each other and are dedicated to a single industry, and people work in deplorable conditions. Violence on the media is seen as entertainment. It is a horrific society.

The hero is a girl — a smart, brave teenager who struggles to survive, and we experience the story through her eyes and her voice. She struggles with values, loyalties, relationships, and her own conscience.

I am glad that young people are reading these books. As a Holocaust survivor, my life has been shaped by the cruel inhumanity that was experienced by my people and my family. I encourage you all to read the trilogy and discuss it with your children and grandchildren. This is truly a teachable moment for us.

Liz Lippa, University City

Editorial irks reader

It is sad to me that every time I pick up the Light, it seems to have descended to yet new and unexplored depths of politically-partisan mendaciousness.

The April 25 editorial, “The Hate State,” is case in point. The slur on our great state is unfathomable, and the bare-naked misstatement of every claimed ‘hateful’ bill is journalistic malpractice.
Failure to pass bills specifically granting special status to gay victims of bullying is not “preventing schools from punishing kids who bully gays.”

Requiring voters to produce picture ID is neither discriminatory to the poor and minorities (as has been often argued in these pages in the past), nor is it based on “no statistically significant evidence of voter fraud.”

Allowing providers to refuse to provide abortions if they consider it murder does not “bash women’s reproductive rights.” Rather, requiring the same would revoke those providers’ religious liberties protected by the First Amendment. 

And finally, I give you: “Take a hard stance against immigrants.” Immigrants? Immigrants? Do you at the Jewish Light really believe your own garbage? The legislature, like a growing number of legislatures throughout these United States, is taking a hard stance against illegal immigrants. 
Your leftist propaganda is disgraceful.

Matthew Chase, University City

Title VI legal protection

In the JTA commentary published in the April 25 edition of the Light, “Jewish groups should embrace new legal protection for Jewish students,” authors Morton Klein and Susan Tuchman of the Zionist Organization of America misconstrue the Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ position on the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights determination that religious identity should be covered under Title VI of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The commentary states that JCPA’s draft resolution on campus issues should have praised the OCR policy and committed to educate about it. In fact, JCPA’s resolution does exactly that, repeatedly.

The resolution, which will be debated by representatives from 125 Jewish Community Relations Councils and 14 national member agencies at the JCPA Plenum next month, terms the Title VI right “an important remedy” and calls for the Jewish community to “educate itself regarding the recourse now available to Jewish students.”

JCPA was among those groups seeking the policy and has consistently praised it. The resolution recognizes that “Lawsuits and threats of legal action may be warranted to redress a systematic climate of fear and intimidation which a university administration has failed to address promptly with reasonable corrective measures.”

The resolution further recognizes the need to guard against inappropriate use of Title VI, where it might serve to muzzle legitimate free speech activity on college campuses. The Jewish community has consistently championed the protection of First Amendment rights. The resolution warns of the risk of a backlash if Jewish students seek to invoke Title VI in circumstances where it is not intended to apply.

The resolution, which comes from two JCPA task forces that we each co-chair, reflects what we believe is the consensus view of the organized Jewish community. It considers action under Title VI an important and praiseworthy tool but also recognizes that it does not replace the other tools that have served the Jewish community for years. There is a time for dialogue, a time for education, a time for advocacy—and sometimes a time for litigation, and the resolution recognizes that. But it also recognizes that Jewish community interests are better served by flexibility and careful sequencing in our responses.

Gerry Greiman 
Co-chair, JCPA Task Force on Jewish Security and The Bill of Rights

Geoffrey Lewis 
Co-chair, JCPA Task Force on Israel, World Jewry, and International Human Rights

Column sparks memories

I enjoy reading Bob Cohn’s “Cohnipedia” columns in the Light and I have a personal memory about his latest column on the installation of the Milles Fountain in Aloe Plaza across from Union Station.

My parents, the late Ruth and Bernie Fischlowitz, were close friends with the late Isidore Millstone and his late first wife, Goldie.  

In 1939 or 1940, I recall  Isidore and Goldie being at our home, and Is telling my father that he had just gotten the contract to install the Milles Fountain at Union Station—I recall he was rather proud of having received a major public contract.

Of course, several years later, after Millstone Construction had built the Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project, I also recall his  telling us, “A few more contracts like that and I’ll be broke!”

Best wishes, and keep up the great columns!

Merle Fischlowitz, San Diego, Calif.