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Hawaii Tourism Officials Need to be Nimble

March 28th 2011
I was stationed in Hawaii some years ago. Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I hope Hawaii Tourism officials can be nimble enough to redirect their efforts to make up for the unfortunate lost of Japanese tourisms (see Shocked Hawaii Tourism Reps Scramble As Japanese Visits Drop Sharply, Page One March 21, 2011). If not, replace them. Nowadays, no one can rest on their laurels.

LA Times Reveals Shattered Moral Compass on Fogel Massacre

March 23rd 2011
Israel's decision to build more apartments for its citizens in Judea and Samaria is undoubtedly unpopular with the Palestinian Arabs and their sycophants in the international community. Nevertheless, to argue as the Los Angeles Times did that this construction is part of the "cycle of violence" that "provoked" last week's bloody massacre of a Jewish family reveals a shattered moral compass. Their editorial repeated the canard that the Jewish settlements violate international law. There is no legal treaty that prohibits Jews from living in any part of Israel. Further, such an accusation becomes grist for the incitement to murder. Israel's decision to build apartments may be controversial as a matter of policy. To compare it to killing children, however, is to rationalize evil. 

The writer is national vice chairman of the Zionist Organization of America.

Hawaii Tourism Officials Should Not be Paralyzed

March 21st 2011
As one who previously lived in Hawaii, and has friends still in the hotel business there, I can tell you that Hawaii's natural riches and beauty are a treasure for all the world. After learning of the toll on Hawaii that the Japanese quake and subsequent reduction in tourism has taken (see Shocked Hawaii Tourism Reps Scramble As Japanese Visits Drop Sharply, Page One March 21, 2011), I hope that its tourism officials will rise to the occasion, get off their duff, and lose their paralysis. They need to find other markets including Canadians who would relish the paradise that is Hawaii. Wake up Hawaii tourism people. We cannot allow the all-important tourism infrastructure to further decline.

Cancelling Hawaii Visit if Americans not Appreciated as much as Japanese

March 21st 2011
I was astonished to read that Hawaiian tourism prefers Japanese to American travelers because Japanese spend more money than U.S. citizens (see Shocked Hawaii Tourism Reps Scramble As Japanese Visits Drop Sharply, Page One, March 21, 2011). We were determined to go someplace exotic this year and remain in the USA. The flight to Honolulu from Philadelphia is a long and grueling one. I figure about 12 hours with the layovers. San Francisco and San Diego are only half that. The US Virgins are even closer. I will be canceling my two-week Hawaii vacation if Americans are not appreciated as much as Japanese because they spend double what we do. Everyone's heart goes out to the Japanese now. And we sympathize with the damage Hawaii has sustained on its own shores and from Japan's heartbreaking crisis. In this moment, perhaps Hawaiian tourism officials can open their eyes to their fellow Americans.

Japan Quake Show Oil Dependence a Shakey Proposition

March 14th 2011
The massive earthquake in Japan has rocked more than nuclear plants. It has also threatened the oil refineries and pipelines. The same can happen in America after a tornado, tsunami, or earthquake. Or terrorism. We are not prepared for any such calamity especially since even the Strategic Petroleum Reserve reportedly contains only a few weeks of stock and only unrefined oil. Time to rethink our dependence on oil and the shaky oil infrastructure--and start to think about batteries, natural gas, bio fuels, and other means of moving around. Studies show we can do it, if we just show the will.

Cuomo's Plan to Move Deaf Students Does Not Make Sense

March 9th 2011
New York Governor Cuomo's proposal to eliminate state funded schools for the deaf and move Deaf students into public school districts does not make sense. Schools for the deaf offer an inclusive, language rich environment to Deaf students using American Sign Language, a visual language that is equally accessible, while public schools are disorganized and inconsistent in how they educate Deaf students. Furthermore, schools for the deaf in our country have been around since American School for the Deaf was first established in Hartford, Connecticut in 1817.  The schools are valuable, historical centers of American Deaf culture and language. To shut them down is a domino effect of launching cultural genocide against the Deaf community. If it's about saving New York state money, I believe Governor Cuomo is misinformed because the other motive is too dark.

Deaf Community Nationwide Appeal to NY Gov. Cuomo

March 9th 2011

We appeal to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: All eyes across America are on New York’s legislative session, and we are joining millions of Americans to strongly object to your proposed budget elimination of the 4201 Schools for the Deaf. We strongly recommend that you take this proposed elimination of 4201 State Schools for the Deaf off the table. Not only would the proposed elimination of 4201 be in violation with Federal and state mandates, and unethical being that there has been virtually no deaf and hard of hearing stakeholder input to such proposal prior to this session, but the astronomical cost factor to the state would far outweigh the existing line item costs the state currently expends to provide quality education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students throughout the state of New York. Each school district has been unable to serve the students which is why they were referred to receive an education at one of the 4201 Schools. The cost to New York would be additional funding to every school district throughout the state: 1) for personnel they currently do not have for age appropriate placement; 2) critical mass needed per class per district , which would mean additional salaries and benefits and classroom costs for hiring new and qualified teachers for the Deaf; 3) not to mention, the state personnel board would need to fund hiring human resources personnel to locate such teachers to ensure their qualifications and certification clearly show Deaf Education expertise as well as fluent in American Sign Language. Additional costs to school districts are: 1) sign language interpreters (of which there is a paucity of actual qualified interpreters); 2) auxiliary aids, and other assistive devices for every classroom in every school district.

If placement is out of line with every child’s IEP, every parent will have due process to file suit against the state of New York. Bottom line, the cost to shift the 4201 Schools for the Deaf to ill-prepared school districts could result in approximately over $150 million above the cost of the existing line item. Whatever for? We believe you have been ill-advised and request that you step forward to reverse this proposed line item elimination.  Stand for quality, equality, and advocate for the minority – Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students who reside in New York – 4201 Schools for the Deaf. Do the right thing – take the elimination off the table. 

Sheri Farinha and Marla Hatrak are co-Chairs of the California Stakeholders for ASL & English. 

Congress Should Proceed with Islamic Extremism Hearing and Include Scholars Such as Phares

March 9th 2011

The hearings on Islamic extremism scheduled by Rep. Peter King must move forward and should include our best experts, that is, those without a political ax to grind. When I read that scholar Walid Phares would be dropped from King's witness list, (see NY Congressman King Fends off Critics on Top Terror Expert Testimony at Congressional Hearings, News March 3, 2011), I asked whether this series of hearings is going to be yet another politically correct exercise--or honestly identify a true threat to the nation and the world. I have heard Phares. He speaks the Arabic language, knows the movements from the inside, and should be at the top of the list, not crossed off. For that matter, get the eminent scholar Bernard Lewis, analyst Brigitte Gabriel, historian Edwin Black, and expert Steve Emerson. We must all be sensitive to Muslim citizens, but Islamic extremism is a threat to us all, and someone must finally look at what is happening. We must talk to the most knowledgeable and face the facts.

King Should not Fear the Truth from Walid Phares

March 9th 2011
Rep. Peter King should not fear the testimony of noted Islamic terror expert Walid Phares as has been reported in The Cutting Edge (see NY Congressman King Fends off Critics on Top Terror Expert Testimony at Congressional Hearings, News March 3, 2011). As one who has read one of Phares's recent books and seen him on TV, his views are rationale, carefully pronounced, and extremely informed. He is giving us the truth in a balanced, nuanced message. Congress and Rep. King should listen and act accordingly.

Obama Has No Plan for Oil Shutoff

March 8th 2011
For the longest time, in fact for many years, the voices of reason and sanity, have urged our leaders to prepare for the next oil shutdown from the Arab world. Does it not seem this frequently threatened calamity is ever more possible today. Yet the Obama administration is no more willing than prior administrations to get us off oil, or to prepare for oil shutdown. Lip service will not do. Half-hearted programs will not do. We need a crash program--for real. When do we get that.

Farhud Arab-Nazi Alliance Vibrant and Must Not be Obscured

February 28th 2011
Last weekend, I was amazed as I watch an apparent Book TV re-run Edwin Black speaking on his book The Farhud. I guess I am one of the many who had no idea this was the case, that Arabs and Nazis enjoyed a vibrant alliance across Europe and the Middle East. I have been the Holocaust Museum in Washington twice and never saw this there. This fits right in with the entire room of survivors and experts in the synagogue on Book TV agreeing that the Holocaust Museum obscures this information. But why? I then went onto this website and discovered Lyn Julius' review of The Farhud (see Edwin Black's 'The Farhud' Makes for Uncomfortable but Necessary Reading, Arts December 27, 2010). I have now purchased a copy. Black stated and Julius warned: "This book is a nightmare..." I cannot sleep with this book in my mind. It is a nightmare. With the uprisings in the Arab world now playing out, no wonder Book TV ran the lecture again. But are we to see to another nightmare in the near future? This is the question.

Be Fair to University of Wisconsin Press

February 28th 2011
As an alum of the University of Wisconsin, I think your recent letter writers who have called for drastic budget reviews at the University of Wisconsin Press should rethink their position. Knowledge is precious and sometimes its value does not make itself known immediately. The publishing track record of the press might seem irrelevant today, but in the years to come it may be praised for keen foresight and a great contribution. Be fair to the press. It has a valuable role to play.

Israel is an Island of Stability in a Middle East Sea of Rage and Violence

February 21st 2011
By now it must be obvious to the world that Israel seems an like an island of stability in a Middle East sea of rage and violence. Just look at the mass protests, government massacres, slashed throats, Internet cut-offs, public rapes, brutal dictators. Meanwhile, Israel is calm, America is welcomed, and foreigners do not have to fear for their life. What have we been missing in this country about the truth regarding the Middle East. The headlines now also show the big lie we have been fed: "Israel is at the core of all problems in the Middle East." It looks like each Arab country has its own stew of problems that have nothing to do with Israel--and everything to do with how these countries have evolved.

Borders Book Store Closures Open Floodgates of Book and Music Theft

February 20th 2011
Has it occurred to anyone that all these tempting blow-out sales at bankrupt Borders Books around the country--being advertised at scores of stores across the nation--mean great opportunities for consumers to steal music, books, videos, fancy diaries, and other literary and musical trappings? Yes, Borders will sell them all at half off or so, but the musicians, authors, video makers ands others who have worked so hard to create these products will not be paid. It is theft made possible by a billion-dollar American corporation. Here we are screaming at China for ripping off artist rights--and Borders is asking the entire country to participate in the same thing. Borders has opened the floodgates on consumer theft. Shame on Borders and shame on anyone who buys anything there.

University of Wisconsin Press and Budget Cut Priorities

February 18th 2011
Way back when, I was a student in Wisconsin. I always thought then that the University of Wisconsin Press was unnecessary. Seeing what is going on just north of here, with virtually everything on the chopping block, I could not agree more with prior writers. Any funding or free rent for University of Wisconsin Press should be at the top of the list for budget cuts. The same logic should also apply to many other university presses throughout the country that publish obscure books that few want to read at taxpayer expense. Are these publishing operations a priority, especially with the advent of electronic books. The world is changing. In academia the phrase is "publish or perish." Time for taxpayers to pick one.

University of Wisconsin Press and State Budget Crisis--Yes Cut It

February 18th 2011
In response to calls to slash the state budget, I think it would make a far greater contribution to education to slash any funding to the University of Wisconsin Press. I just looked at their latest line-up. It includes one book entitled Greek Prostitutes and another called Composing While Dancing. Our state is broke, and we are spending money we don't have to publish such books. I agree with another writer. More money to this operation--yes, cut it. Which would you rather have, a book on Greek prostitutes or firemen?

CBS Correspondent Lora Logan Accused by Mob as "Jewish" in Sexual Assault

February 17th 2011

We are deeply concerned that pro-democracy uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East have led to violence and intimidation against news crews and journalists working the frontlines of the demonstrations. It is also troubling that in at least three of the more violent episodes, including the brutal sexual assault on CBS News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Lara Logan, the perpetrators accused the journalists of being Jewish, or of spying for Israel. Regardless of who was responsible, these assaults serve as a powerful reminder that as Egypt contemplates democratic reforms, freedom of the press is fundamental. In an open democracy different points of view get expressed and reported on, and journalists are not intimidated into silence. Unfortunately for far too long the former Egyptian regime pursued a policy where dissent in the press was stifled, and where the government-sponsored media was allowed to promote anti-Semitism and anti-Israel invective. As we have seen in some of the attacks against news reporters and crews, these attitudes continue to leech out and infect the views of the broader society. As the reform movement gains traction across the Middle East, we will continue to actively advocate for and speak out about the need for a focus on press freedom. We will be calling on the new leadership in Cairo to ensure the ability of domestic and foreign journalists to operate freely, and safely, without fear of intimidation.

Abraham H. Foxman is national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

Wisconsin Budget Crisis Should Not Overlook the University of Wisconsin Press

February 17th 2011
As I write this, the state is an uproar over education cuts and a massive $3-4 billion hole in our budget. The list of where to cut is long. The rancor is boiling. The national guard is deployed. In this mess, I would hope that budget planners would not overlook the University of Wisconsin Press. Based on their track record, perhaps our state would be better off if the University of Wisconsin Press agenda and modus operandi was pursued without access to state resources. Just as many are urging the federal government to cease funding NPR, I think our own state has some housekeeping of its own to see to. Our own children in Wisconsin need to obtain an education. We need to concentrate our monies where it will do the most good.

Criticism and Rebuttal of "The Muslim Brotherhood's March to Victory"

February 16th 2011

I write in response to Dr Rachel Ehrenfeld’s article The Muslim Brotherhood's March to Victory, which appeared on the Cutting Edge News site on January 18, with a follow-up article January 30, 2011. In her first piece, Dr. Ehrenfeld, of the New York-based American Center for Democracy, makes serious and unsubstantiated allegations against the United Nations and its partners; specifically against the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and its major donors, the US and the European Union. UNRWA takes attacks on its integrity and that of its major donors extremely seriously. 

Ehrenfeld fails to provide any evidence to back up the allegation that UNRWA, the EU and USAID are complicit in funding Hamas. To quote her directly, “The MB [Muslim Brotherhood] Palestinian branch, Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by the E.U. and U.S., seems to derive large sums of money from the EU, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and even the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).”

UNRWA is dependent almost entirely on funding from UN member states. This funding allows UNRWA, in accordance with our mandate and at the behest of all UN member states, including Israel, to carry out essential human development work in the absence of a political resolution to the Palestine refugee issue. Our funding rests firmly in the hands of international officials dedicated to upholding impartiality and promoting UN norms and principles. Tight controls act as a check against abuse of UNRWA facilities by any party, and ensure that aid and other services such as education only go to eligible beneficiaries. In fact, since 2006, UNRWA and other non-Hamas affiliated organizations have been explicitly cited by donors such as USAID as a means of providing aid to Palestinians without supporting Hamas. This is matter of public record.

As for UNRWA’s online fundraising efforts, it is not clear to what Dr Ehrenfeld objects, as she mentions our website donation process oddly without comment. Like many nonprofit organizations, UNRWA encourages donations from individuals. Doing so helps to ease the burden of funding on our major donors, and ultimately on the American and European taxpayer. Read more ..

Pima Sheriff Recall Effort and Arizona Tourism

February 14th 2011

The AZ Tourist News is proud to actively support Americans Against Immigration Amnesty and its campaign to recall Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. The Sheriff’s comments on January 8, 2011 that “Arizona has become the mecca for bigotry and hatred” are tantamount to the President telling the world that they should not visit Las Vegas and will have a negative impact on the tourism business in Arizona, similar to that experienced by Las Vegas as a result of the President’s statements.

Tony Venuti is the publisher of AZ Tourist News.

Omissions by the NYTimes Paints a Different Story on Muslim Student Disrupters

February 14th 2011

It’s wrong to portray the University of California, Irvine’s Muslim Student Union (MSU) as a victim (“Charges Against Muslim Students . . .,” Medina, 2/10/11).  For years, MSU speakers have called Jews and Israel demonizing falsehoods such as “Nazis” and “baby-killers,” causing Jewish students and faculty to fear for their safety. Two Jewish students actually transferred. After the ZOA filed a student-supported civil rights complaint against UCI for failing to redress a hostile campus environment, UCI wasn’t “cleared,” as you stated. Rather, the U.S. Education Department decided not to afford Jews the same legal protection from intimidation that’s guaranteed to other minority groups – a policy that’s now been reversed.  MSU students also squelched the expression of pro-Israel views, shouting down Ambassador Michael Oren with screams that he’s a “mass murderer” and a “war criminal committing genocide.” The yelling and jeering was so unrelenting that the Ambassador had to stop twice and canceled the question-and-answer period. UCI’s investigator found that the MSU instructed its members to lie, by denying that the group had organized the disruptions. The District Attorney should prosecute those violating others’ freedom of speech and freedom to listen.
Susan B. Tuchman, Esq. is the director, Center for Law and Justice, and Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America.

Not Buying Anything at Borders--It is Like Buying Stolen Goods

January 28th 2011
I am not buying anything at Borders, including their electronic reader. Who can trust this company. I won't even walk into the store. I do not buy stolen goods off the back of a truck. Nor will I step into a Borders to buy a paperback or even a cup of coffee, if the publishers and suppliers are not being paid. I can buy anything I want off Amazon, and make my own coffee doing it.

National Book Chains Like Borders were Built to Fail

January 24th 2011
For those who think switching their allegiances between a bankrupt Borders that has refused to pay publishers, and the bigger Barnes and Noble which drove out countless independents, let me say this. Many of us in San Francisco consider it wrong-headed to even get a cup of coffee in a Borders or a Barnes and Noble. If you support the existence of independent book shops as I do, you know that giving your business to a national chain is like contributing to the demise of the most important part of the book-selling world-- the local bookstore. Yes, Border and Barnes and Noble tried to drive them out of business, and in many cases succeeded. Those superstores were built to fail. But in some cities--and I am happy to say San Francisco is one of them, the public has stubbornly maintained its loyalty to local, independent shops. You get what you pay for, and America has paid for the mess Borders and Barnes and Noble have created.

Buying at Borders May be Akin to Stealing

January 23rd 2011
I agree with the sentiment of a prior letter writer that buying at Borders is probably not the best idea if you care about authors and publishers. If they are not being paid by Borders, I would feel the purchase was akin to stealing. Until I hear otherwise, I am buying from my local independent as I do not trust Barnes and Noble any further than Borders.

Think About Not Buying at Borders Until they Pay Publishers and Authors

January 21st 2011
I wonder if the public is aware that when they purchase books at Borders instead of independent booksellers--always preferred--or Barnes and Noble, that they are in effect hurting the publishing industry. I have a friend who works for a small West Coast publisher and she will soon be let go because Borders has stopped paying for books it has purchased and is selling and keeping the cash. My local bookstore complains that they must pay for their books to remain afloat, but Borders is running hundreds of giant stores that compete with independent bookstores, and all the while Borders is not paying for many of the books it sells. I urge everyone to think about fairness before they purchase a book at Borders. Independent bookstores, publishing companies, and authors are all being hurt by Borders's behavior.

Sign Language Film’s Selection a Good Start

January 18th 2011

The news about “The Preservation of the Sign Language,” the film produced by the National Association of the Deaf under George Veditz being included in the National Film Registry is very significant not only because it is among a limited number of films selected. It is among some of the most significant historical documentation of cultural genocide against the Deaf community during a time when eugenics was on the rise as described in Edwin Black’s War Against the Weak. There is more work left to do such as advocating for American Sign Language-English bilingual education of Deaf children, promoting greater recognition and acceptance of American Sign Language for foreign language credit in colleges and universities, and spreading awareness regarding eugenics and cultural genocide. I have great hope that positive changes and acceptance in society will continue to make this world a better place for Deaf people which science, medicine and technology alone cannot accomplish.

Sarah Palin Inappropriate on Tuscon Shootings

January 12th 2011

It is unfortunate that the tragedy in Tucson continues to stimulate a political blame game. Rather than step back and reflect on the lessons to be learned from this tragedy, both parties have reverted to political partisanship and finger-pointing at a time when the American people are looking for leadership, not more vitriol. In response to this tragedy we need to rise above partisanship, incivility, heated rhetoric, and the business-as-usual approaches that are corroding our political system and tainting the atmosphere in Washington and across the country. t was inappropriate at the outset to blame Sarah Palin and others for causing this tragedy or to accuse her of being an accessory to murder. Palin has every right to defend herself against these kinds of attacks, and we agree with her that the best tradition in America is one of finding common ground despite our differences. till, we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase “blood-libel” in reference to the actions of journalists and pundits in placing blame for the shooting in Tucson on others. While the term “blood-libel” has become part of the English parlance to refer to someone being falsely accused, we wish that Palin had used another phrase, instead of one so fraught with pain in Jewish history.

Abraham H. Foxman is National Director of Anti-Defamation League.

Uncivil Discourse in America Lead to Giffords Shootings

January 10th 2011
The uncivil discourse we are seeing on our campuses and our evening cable shows, in tandem with a wild conspiracy-stoking Internet, fosters a mindset among unbalanced minds that resulted in the mass murder in Tucson of Representative [Gabrielle] Giffords and so many other innocent in that parking lot. When will the cable instigators and political hacks, such as Sarah Palin, understand that when they put the cross-hairs on people, some unbalanced individuals can take it seriously. It is not time to reload. It is time to rewind and do things differently.

Obama's Policies Are Destroying Economy

January 6th 2011
I did not take your poll regarding the "success" of Obama's economic policies as you did not define "success." Do I think they will succeed? Yes they are aimed at Obama's goal of destroying our economy and so far are working beyond all expectations, thanks to a compliant Congress that refuses to follow our Constitution.

Coptic Church Bombing Heinous Enough Without Conspiracy Theories Blaming Israel

January 3rd 2011

The New Year’s bombing of a Coptic Church in Alexandria was a heinous act of terrorism and another deadly example of the threat posed by religiously motivated extremism. This horrific attack comes on the heels of an especially violent year for Egypt’s ancient Coptic community. People should never be targeted for violence because of their religious beliefs. We are appalled by media reports that the Egyptian Bar Association accused Israeli intelligence of carrying out the bombing. Conspiracy theories blaming Israel and Jews for violence, scandals and crises in Egypt are all too common and must be repudiated. We call on President Mubarak and the Egyptian government to publicly declare that such fundamentally incendiary and outlandish accusations have no place in Egypt.

The writer is National Chair of the Anti-Defamation League.

Black's Farhud Book a Necessary Nightmare

January 3rd 2011
Lyn Julius' review of Edwin Black's new book The Farhud (see Edwin Black's 'The Farhud' Makes for Uncomfortable but Necessary Reading, Arts December 27, 2010) prompted me to purchase a copy. The reviewer was most appropriate in quoting Black introductory remarks. Black wrote and Julius quoted: "This book is a nightmare... I regret that I was the one who had to write it. I hope it never becomes necessary to write another like this one." Having read the entire book over a tormented three-day period, I could not agree with the author more. Black's book is indeed a nightmare, but it is a necessary nightmare of historical truth with a penetrating reality for our current world. If Muslims are to live in peace with Jews and Israel, and the Christian world, they must face up to their past and the legacy of hate that has driven them to join forces with the Nazis in the most odious crimes of the last century. This legacy drives too many Muslims today to commit crimes in the name of a God that would never sanction their violence.

Arab "Peace Intention" is to Destroy State of Israel

January 3rd 2011

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman in a recent editorial contends that we can be optimistic that Israelis and Palestinians can find peace soon. If only that were true. But it would be self-deceiving to think that such a moment has arrived. The truth is that there is no Arab/Israeli war: there is an Arab war on Israel. This war is not defined by land, Jerusalem or Palestinian statehood. Rather it’s a war to eliminate the Jewish state grounded in Arab and Muslim supremacism and anti-Semitism. A recent American Jewish Committee poll shows 75 percent of American Jews conclude the same. As Yasser Arafat told a January 1996 secret meeting of Arab diplomats in Stockholm, reported by Arutz Sheva and later confirmed by Norwegian journalists: “[We intend] to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian State … I have no use for Jews; they are and remain Jews! We now need all the help we can get from you in our battle for a united Palestine under total Arab-Muslim domination!” When Palestinian Authority clerics preach that Jews are “the enemies of humanity,” “a virus resembling AIDS” and “descendants of monkeys and pigs,” and when Mahmoud Abbas honors Jew-killers like Munich massacre mastermind Abu Daoud, and Dalal Mughrabi, who led the murder of 37 Israelis in a bus hijacking, we are talking of anti-Semitic dehumanization of Jews, not a territorial dispute. Sadly, to use Rabbi Hammerman’s phrase, this is not one of those “feuds” that are “melting away.”

The writer is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America.

The WWI Christmas Truce Revisited--Why Not Every Day?

December 27th 2010

I was fascinated by the historian revisiting the so-called Christmas truces that were recorded in World War I (see The Reality of the Mythic Christmas Truces of World War I, Features December 21, 2010). The letter by the Scottish-Canadian soldier recounts the celebratory ceasefires at the front during the holiday. I have always asked myself this one question. Why not every day?

Counteracting Lunacy on Islamic Hate Speech

December 27th 2010

Some months ago, Anwar al-Aw’laki—the pestering and festering American-born imam hiding out in Yemen—has issued a fatwa (an obligatory and legal Islamic ruling) calling for the death of Molly Norris, the woman who dared pen an invitation to draw Mohammad on Facebook. Apparently, Mohammad’s saintly purity and demi-god status is at risk—and must be countered with murder—by this utterly minor development. Apparently, the true believers are so insecure, so delicate that their lives and the meaning of their existence are threatened by amateur drawings of their prophet. Ms. Norris, like many infidels before her, must now fear for her life. The million-dollar question, the elephant in the room, looms. How do we counteract this lunacy and its threat to our freedom of expression (and peace of mind), a basic tenet of our unique civilization? Just last week, even the peace-loving socialist Swedes were subject to terrorist bombs because of a re-printed cartoon of Mohammad. Clearly, negotiation and persuasion is a waste of time in the face of such childish fanaticism.

Instead, Congress must pass a new law, outlawing (as it does hate speech and murder as an accomplice) this type of international and unmitigated incitement to murder. In each case of a don’t-do-or-say-that-or I’ll-kill-you fatwa from an influential fanatic against a US citizen, the government should pass a judgment in absentia, declaring this dangerous nonsense criminal and illegal. The law could be particularly applicable if the fanatic was a US citizen, like our dear Mr. al-Aw’laki. If ignored, the judgment should give the US military the right to treat those perpetrators as criminals, to be captured and if not to be eliminated, just as we do Al Qaeda members and those that make our country’s demise their personal fetish. Perhaps this policy will finally turn the tables on those issuing murderous fatwas with impunity. When these bloodthirsty radicals become the object of our efficient and capable military—when the proverbial sword that they so barbarously unsheathed cuts both ways—they will surely be more circumspect in initiating murder.

Assange and Blaxthos Poster Boys for Internet Legislative Reform

December 22nd 2010
The Wikileaks debacle courtesy of Julian Assange, Wikipedia revisions on Holocaust topics courtesy of those such as Blaxthos, and newspaper comment pages have become poster boys for legislative reform on Internet accountability and liability. We need to plug the gaps. In some countries, legislation is now brewing that would require websites such as Wikipedia and the New York Times to reveal the names of anonymous posters who slander, libel, or otherwise damage individuals, and do so without a court order but upon written request. This raises the possibility that if an American website shows in a country, compliance with local laws in that country could trump the protections of the Communications Decency Act. I think it is only a matter of time before the new Republican Congress starts the ball rolling and updates the Communications Decency Act to subtract those carte blanche protections. There is no reason for violators and transgressors on the Internet should have protections they would not enjoy in the printed medium.

Attempts to Wipe Away American Sign Language Are an Assault against the Deaf

December 21st 2010
Attempts to wipe away American Sign Language are an little more than assault against the Deaf. Genocide treaties make it clear that obliterating one group's culture is a form of genocide. I suggest people see Edwin Black's seminal work War Against the Weak to see how the most elite in our country mustered the best of intentions to create a master race where the so-called inferior would not exist. Turns out that those in power considered ninety percent of everyone else to be "inferior." We must not let this happen again.

Pickens Plan and Windmills A Lot of Hot Air

December 21st 2010
The Pickens Plan for arrays of windmills as a solution to transportation is far-fetched and mainly hot air. How much brain is needed to know that automobiles do not run on windmill power. True, they will create electricity for the grid and that is a good thing. But that has nothing to do with converting to natural gas vehicles or electric cars. Pickens wanted to create a wind farm. Great. But the saturation campaign was distorted as a transportation issue. Please bear this mind.

Philadelphia Enquirer Soulless in Running anti-Deaf Article

December 16th 2010

Like another reader who commented, I agree that The Philadelphia Enquirer was soulless to run the article by Dom Giordano marginalizing ASL (American Sign Language) which is the defining commonality for Deaf culture. The Philadelphia Enquirer, in publishing such a fringe article, seemed to give sanction to the move to eliminate the existence of deaf people. I wonder if this newspaper will allow letters from the deaf community in rebuttal. We have as much a right to our culture as any Jewish person or Hispanic person in Philadelphia speaking Hebrew or Spanish.

Rosenberg Speaks in Las Vegas

December 16th 2010

Your readers should be aware that Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg will be the keynote speaker at a weekend gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their families Dec 17-19 at The Venetian Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rabbi Rosenberg is spiritual leader of Congregation Beth El in Edison N.J. and teaches at Rutgers University in New Jersey and Yeshiva University in New York. He serves as Holocaust chairman of the New York Board of Rabbis and was associate editor of the New Jersey State Holocaust education curriculum. Dr. Rosenberg frequently appears on national T.V. and is the author of numerous books. His topic will be " How to preserve Holocaust memory before it is too late."

Philadelphia Enquirer Published anti-Deaf Culture Article--As good as Condoning Cultural Genocide

December 16th 2010

I just read opinion article originally published The Philadelphia Enquirer by Dom Giordano, now making the rounds, about American Sign Language and Deaf culture. I could not believe that The Philadelphia Enquirer would publish such an extremist article. It's like publishing an article written by a neo-Nazi degrading Hebrew and Jewish culture and exerting superiority over the people who belong to it.  And on top of that, it's like publishing an author who openly condones genocide. As a Deaf person myself, what I got from reading his article is that I'm less human and I need to be fixed medically, therefore my language and culture is inferior and it's acceptable to wipe it out through cultural genocide.  That's the kind of extremist and offensive message which gets many talk show hosts removed from the air. Freedom of speech is a right, but The Philadelphia Enquirer has discretion over who it hires and what it publishes.

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