April 2007

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News and Opinion

Letters to the Editor

A Congressman Who Cares About All Of His Constituents

Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak has provoked criticism and outrage from some due to his outreach efforts to the Delaware County Muslim community through CAIR. He has been attacked for agreeing to speak at a CAIR function, and for hiring a Muslim woman for his staff. We rightly condemn anti-Semitism in every form. How can we then make sweeping judgments based on unsubstantiated allegations against other religions? CAIR has denied most of the charges made against them.

Joe Sestak is never afraid to talk to people who do not agree with him. I heard him say in his campaign that he would talk to any constituents on any issues. If he had to respectfully disagree, he would explain his reasons. He has held meetings with his Republican opponents, even Springfield leader Charles Sexton, who has been investigated by the FBI. Sestak is a man of courage and integrity who says what he believes, whether talking to CAIR or to political opponents.

-- Nina de Angeli Walls, Ridley Park, PA

Vegetarian Diet as Kiddush Hashem

I enjoyed reading Lisa Kelvin Tuttle's review of Mama's Vegetarian in The Kosher Table. As a lifelong Jewish resident in the greater Philadelphia area, I'm regularly impressed by the variety of meat-free dining options in our communities, something important to me as someone who cares about animals.

Prominent Jewish leaders around the world are advocating for vegetarian diets, and for good reason. The Torah is filled with commandments about the humane treatment of animals. Sadly, most of the meat, eggs and dairy produced in the United States come from factory farms where animals are abused in ways that would shock any caring person. Confining animals in crates and cages that are so restrictive the animals can hardly move for their entire lives violates Jewish teachings.

PJV readers can learn more at JewishVeg.com, a website that explains our diet as kiddush hashem.

-- Jim Bernard Balk, Broomall, PA

Shoot First And Ask Questions Later

Hypothetically, suppose I agreed with President Bush's policy of bringing democracy to Iraq in a pushkie. Let us take for granted that former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, General Eric Shinseki knew what he was talking about, when he told Congress it would take 300-400,000 troops to win the peace there. Then, I would have to conclude that the "troop ripple" from 120,000 to 145,000 troops is not designed to win the peace, or to bring democracy to the victims of Saddam Hussein. I conclude, rather, that the Bush Administration's micro-surge is a strategy to prolong defeat until he leaves office. I conclude that the stability of the Middle East, upon which Israel depends, is not as important to Bush as the appearance of toughness -- even at the sacrifice of thousands of American soldiers, and the wounding or maiming, physically and mentally, of many thousands more.

Sadly, Michael Schwartz's analysis shows that our very presence in Iraq has become an irritant, and even the forces which Shinseki had projected in 2003 may not now be enough to win a peace compatible with building an Iraqi Democratic Light Unto the Nations. Too often George Bush's strategy is like the old "Far Side" cartoon, where a live cowboy is holding a smoking gun, speaking to a dead man, his hands flung to the side on the ground. The live cowboy addresses one question after another to the corpse: "What is the capital of Afghanistan?" "How many centimeters in an inch?" "What is your mother's maiden name?" Off to the side, another cowboy addresses the shooter, with the cartoon's caption, "George, you can't shoot first and ask questions later!"

-- Ben Burrows , Elkins Park, PA

The Philadelphia Jewish Voice welcomes the submission of articles and letters to the editor letters @ pjvoice.com. Please include name, address and phone number for identification purposes. We cannot publish every submission we receive. We also reserve the right to edit submissions for length, clarity, grammar, accuracy, and style, though we will never intentionally distort the author's intent.

Editor-in-chief Charles Smolover editor @ pjvoice.com

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