Regarding “Sharpton-De Blasio Ties,” Jan. 24: Al Sharpton’s problems go back before Crown Heights to 1987, when he, along with attorneys Alton Maddox and C Vernon Mason, was a cheerleader for Tawana Brawley. They supported her false claims that six white men had raped her, claims that were dismissed by a grand jury. The New York assistant district attorney who Brawley had accused as one of her alleged assailants successfully sued Brawley, Sharpton and the two attorneys for defamation.
It is hard to believe that Jewish leaders are giving Al Sharpton a pass because he is “accepting criticism” for the role he played in the Crown Heights riots (“Sharpton-De Blasio Ties,” Jan. 24). His remarks were made in an attempt to clean up his image when MSNBC announced the inaugural of his own talk show.
Gary Rosenblatt, in his Between the Lines column last week (“Israel Lobby And The White House: “Who’ll Blink First?”) tries to build a chain of evidence from some provocative statements made by Yasir Arafat to support for the Menendez-Kirk sanctions bill, but his logic doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
I find it quite hypocritical that Gloria Steinem, a feminist who must know that the status of women in the Arab world is unlike her own status, is critical of Mayor de Blasio’s support of Israel (“Left, Right Spar Over De Blasio’s AIPAC Speech,” Feb. 7). Where is the status of women better — in Israel or in the Arab world?
Regarding Adam Dickter’s front-page article last week (“Left, Right Spar Over De Blasio’s AIPAC Speech”): The 58 rabbis, writers, journalists and sundry others who found New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Jan. 23 visit to AIPAC something to evoke their venom, signed onto a letter shouting, “Your job is not to do AIPAC’s bidding when they call you to do so.”
I was happy to see Jewish Week was covering the SodaStream/Oxfam story until I read the story itself (online Q&A, “ScarJo Stands Firm”). The story struck me not so much as journalism as propaganda for SodaStream with some free public relations damage control thrown in.
Describing Beit Shemesh in a state of religious war (“Is Tide Turning In Beit Shemesh Religious Wars?,” Jan. 24) does not accurately depict the ambience of the town. Over 40 years ago I married into an Orthodox Sephardic family in what is now known as the “old” Beit Shemesh. In those days there were virtually no Americans and few Ashkenazic Israelis who ventured into what was considered a poor development town.
In the wake of recent economic and academic attacks on Israel comes a resumption on the theological front.
Last week, the Palestine Mission Network, an advisory group to the Presbyterian Church in this country, released “Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study Guide,” a 74-page illustrated booklet that the liberal Protestant denomination describes as a resource for leaders and laity with an interest in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The publication appeared ahead of the church’s biennial General Assembly, a national gathering that will take place in June in Detroit.
When New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman writes about Israel, he tends to irritate loyalists ready to condemn anyone making critical judgments about Israeli policies. In his 1989 book, “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” he mentioned his wife’s father being stopped by a friend who told him, “Your son-in-law Tom Friedman is the most hated man in New York City today.” His crime? Daring to report that Israeli soldiers behaved less than admirably in the invasion of Lebanon, and also describing Israel’s less than honorable role in the Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinians.
‘Don’t look up,” my host cautioned. “The guy to our right is one of the troublemakers. Keep walking ahead.”
He was talking about the thugs attacking individuals, and institutions, which break from conformity in the poor and tight-knit neighborhood we were walking through. We weren’t in Gaza or Afghanistan. I was on the streets of Israel, and this impressive Torah scholar was telling me about the social change he is trying to advance through teaching elite groups of rabbis and community leaders.