Letters for October 10, 2002 | Letters | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Letters for October 10, 2002

Editor's Note: This week, we publish an extended letters section dedicated only to Bob Norman's September 26 column, "Hawking for Israel." We received dozens of missives in response to the article, so many that we couldn't fit them all. We will publish more in upcoming weeks.

They feel we are despicable questioners: Bob Norman's September 26 article, "Hawking for Israel," was more than repugnant. To question the loyalty of Congressmen Peter Deutsch and Robert Wexler as Americans brings to mind the accusation of dual loyalty, one of the anti-Semitic canards.

It is the responsibility of all elected officials to analyze public policy issues and determine a course of action based upon the facts and shared values. Since September 11, 2001, the United States has been forced to view the world differently. Now we know that state-sponsored terrorism can be exported anywhere in the world and that the United States might be forced to act first. Most members of Congress, regardless of religious persuasion, share that view.

Norman's tone, unsubstantiated accusations, and muckraking style conjure up images of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda designed to tear the South Florida community apart. No one is disputing his right to advocate for a careful analysis of President Bush's Iraqi policy, but that should be done in a thoughtful, well-reasoned way.

Questioning the loyalty of two local congressmen is a despicable act. Norman doesn't question the American loyalty of hundreds of other representatives, in both the House and Senate, who have consistently supported the only true democracy in the Middle East, to say nothing of every president since Harry Truman. We would have expected more from New Times.

Amy Goldin, Chair, Community Relations Committee

Pepi Dunay, Vice President, Community Relations Committee

United Jewish Community

of Broward County


While he's a Luddite when it comes to the Israeli death machine: Congratulations on "Hawking for Israel." It was a great article. Rarely does anyone examine the death grip that AIPAC and their evangelical Christian "amen" corner have on the U.S. Congress.

Now be prepared for fanatics to emerge from the woodwork with some rather predictable taunts. If you're a gentile, you'll be branded as an anti-Semite. If you're Jewish, they'll label you a "self-hating Jew."

Take comfort in knowing that the more virulent and vicious the response, the more powerful the article was. It's good to know that other Americans out there object to the blank check given to the Israeli death machine. Keep it up!

Paul Nieman

via the Internet

While he wants an apology: Your recent cover story raises questions about President Bush's proposal to authorize military force to obtain Iraq's compliance with U.N. resolutions regarding the development, storage, and use of weapons. In our democratic society, a vigorous debate over the use of such military force is essential. However, Mr. Norman's column goes beyond vigorous debate. It contains vehemently anti-Jewish attacks.

It is absurd to imply that, because U.S. Congressmen Robert Wexler and Peter Deutsch support the state of Israel, they are working for Jerusalem. The vast majority of Congress supports Israel -- not because of any American-Jewish influence but because it is in the best interest of the United States to be aligned with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.

Mr. Norman's reference to certain key U.S. administration officials as "Jewish," and Wexler as "Orthodox" implies that our government is controlled by some sort of Zionist cabal. It is repugnant and smacks of anti-Semitism.

It is acceptable and healthy to voice strong opinions about President Bush's plans. Jewish-Americans and all other Americans -- including elected officials -- are entitled to advocate for their own interests without having their patriotism and integrity questioned. Fortunately, in a democracy, it is possible to be Jewish, pro-Israel, and a loyal American.

It is our opinion that New Times owes sincere apologies to the Jewish community.

Stephen Mendelsohn, Vice Chair

Jewish Community Relations Council Jewish Federation

of South Palm Beach County

While he looked into his crystal ball and saw... letters! Thank you for Bob Norman's excellent article. The story was like a breath of fresh air, and Norman will probably receive some abusive letters.

I agree that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has a lot of innocent blood on his hands; his track record is horrible. Our brave president told him to "pull out" when his troops went into Palestinian territory, and the president then said, "I mean what I say." Sharon ignored George W. Bush, who sided with the Israeli leader against a very weak Arafat after that.

The late actor Sterling Hayden said during the Vietnam War: "No politician should be allowed to make war." We have Sen. Joe Lieberman, Rep. Robert Wexler, Rep. Peter Deutsch, and many other politicians pushing constantly for war. Not one of these men, who always seem to hide behind the American flag, will shed a drop of blood. Lyndon Johnson, another president from Texas, used to say in his speeches at the beginning of the Vietnam War, "My fellow Americans." He painted North Vietnam as something of an evil empire. George Bush says, "We are Americans." Somewhat similar?

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