Letters to the Editor
Olympics: 2008 vs. 1936
The arguments for participation in the Olympics in China are similar to the ones
given to participate in the 1936 Berlin Olympics: separation of sports from politics;
it would not do any good; it will anger to host government; going might soften the
bad policies of the host government. All these proved hogwash. The West sought to
appease Hitler. Maltreatment of Jews was of great indifference to them. The officials
of the Olympic Committee were sympathetic to the Nazis. The participation of the
West signaled Hitler how soft the West was and persecution of Jews would not be
opposed. The rest is history
-- Phil Rosen,
Israel and The Obama Opportunity
My grandmother immigrated to British-occupied Palestine, leaving behind the strong
objections of her parents and a comfortable life in Europe.
As destiny would have it, her idealistic decision to come to Israel saved my grandmother
from the hands of the Nazis. With her entire family killed in Europe, she, together
with my grandfather, were part of the founding generation of Israel.
The spirit that drove my grandmother's journey across seas to fulfill the Zionist
dream still lives on in her People. This spirit motivated Israel to rescue the Ethiopian
Jewish community from persecution; to achieve a long-lasting peace with Egypt and
Jordan; to provide Arab Israelis with full citizenship and equal opportunity to
engage in the political process; to become a thriving cultural and scientific center;
and to survive against all odds.
Unfortunately, this indomitable spirit is no longer reflected in Israel's politics.
In the last decade, small people who aspire to money and power have dominated the
Israeli political scene. As a way to divert attention from their corruption and
incompetence, these politicians have staged fake arguments about "land for peace",
and have used religion and national origin as a way to polarize the electorate.
Israel, like the United States, is stuck in a political stalemate caused by politicians
who do not represent the will and the spirit of its people. And like the United
States, Israel cannot afford such incompetence. Its inept leaders cannot properly
defend the country against dangerous threats; are afraid to speak honestly with
the Israeli people about the necessity of compromises for peace; and are incapable
of providing solutions to Israeli Jews and Arabs who are finding themselves left
behind, without proper education and economic opportunity.
This is why I hope and pray that if elected President of the United States, Barack
Obama will deliver on his promise of change and thereby release the United States
from its political deadlock. When we Israelis see that a young and talented leader
can embody the best of all his country has to offer and inspire his country's people
to be part of the change that is so badly needed, we will be inspired to demand
the same of our country's leaders. We will demand leaders who are honest about the
challenges we face, who unite us around our common causes, and who look for political
innovation rather than mutual destruction. In short, leaders who embody the same
spirit that brought my grandmother to embark upon a journey to an unknown future
in a country that had nothing to offer but hope.
-- Yuval Sheer, an Israeli currently living in New York City, New York
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editor @ pjvoice.com.
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