July 2008

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News and Opinion

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, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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

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 Ben Burrows editor @ pjvoice.com.

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