US Jews: A time for dissent, or not?
Although your Feb. 6 article, "US Jews feel rising heat of Israel debate," sets out to highlight a supposed rise in American Jews' criticism of Israel, it misses the mark.
Far from taking exception to Israel's recent actions to defend itself, the vast majority of Jews in the US, like those around the world, have rallied to support their brethren in Israel as never before.
Israel wants peace; from their actions, the Palestinians have shown they do not. Unfortunately, they still harbor the illusion that it is possible to destroy the Jewish state of Israel.
American Jews recognize this reality and have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency assistance to help Israel in its difficult hour. That there are some within the community who disagree with this is no surprise. But they are extremely small in number, and the organizations they work through are simply out of touch. That is largely due to the fact that the policies they so vigorously promoted, especially the Oslo process, have failed, and far from bringing Israel peace, laid at least part of the groundwork for the war that Israel must now fight - and win.
Regarding "US Jews feel rising heat of Israel debate": The need for an open discussion of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and its current hard-line approach is such an important issue. Without airing dissenting views, the Jewish community runs the risk of ostracizing themselves from the non-Jewish world, and helping feed anti-Semitism, rather than quell it. Thanks so much for bringing these ideas to light.
Regarding your Jan. 28 article "Names may trigger hiring bias": The research described, suggesting "that people with 'white-sounding' first names may fare better in the job market than those with 'black-sounding' first names," is an unabashed mixture of pseudo-objective data with subjective interpretation.
"White-sounding" and "black-sounding" are meaningful only to the individual reacting to them. As objective data, they are meaningless. Names commonly chosen by white parents are not necessarily white-sounding. Names commonly chosen by black parents are not necessarily black-sounding. It all depends on the listener/reader, not on the name itself.
The results could just as easily represent a reaction to traditional versus nontraditional names. For example, how well would Dweezil fare against Neil? The study may suggest (but certainly doesn't prove) some kind of bias based on names, but there is nothing to justify a jump to the conclusion of racial bias.
Regarding your Jan. 31 opinion piece "Faking the voice of the people": While I didn't get the idea and wording for this letter to the editor from a "letter-writing campaign," I wouldn't think it unconscionable if I had. There are valid reasons for organizations to request action from their supporters and help them with the letter content.
Citizens wouldn't always know of pending legislation or policies and the timing of deadlines unless they were informed by organizations which keep a watchful eye on proceedings. Sometimes a formulated response makes it easier for individuals who find writing uncomfortable or too time consuming to have their voice heard. Each individual gets to decide if he or she wishes to take action on any issue, and is certainly free to edit or copy a letter to express personal sentiments.
Nancy Reynolds Hensel
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