In addition to the more serious articles I read in Washington Jewish Week, I always read “Sidetracked” because of my interest in Jewish celebrities.
I was dismayed when I read the item, “Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘deadly’ prank at the Britannia Awards” (Nov. 14) only because your writer used incorrect language. When you describe the woman he was supposed to have “killed,” you describe her as “wheelchair-bound.” People with disabilities are not “wheelchair-bound.” The wheelchair does not bind them; it gives them mobility. The wheelchair actually frees them. Even though she was a stuntwoman, you should have described her as “an elderly woman using a wheelchair.”
RABBI LYNNE LANDSBERG
Senior adviser on disability issues, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Inimical to Israel
WJW’s Jan. 2 article by Alan Elsner of J Street (“Kerry is serious about peace, is
Netanyahu?”) is another example of a Jewish organization taking a position that is inimical to Israel. Elsner attacks Netanyahu, accusing him of having strategic goals that are a mystery. What is mystifying about a leader intent on protecting his nation from still another war, having already experienced six wars in 65 years with enemies intent on its destruction?
The article contributes nothing to the peace process, merely emboldening the Palestinians to concede nothing. Why should Palestinians negotiate when they see Jews berating the democratically elected leader of Israel and supporting a Kerry plan that does not have the approval of the Israel government? Elsner might have some credence if he balanced his harangue of Netanyahu by identifying at least one “concession” that should be demanded of the Palestinians, like: 1) Acknowledge and accept the Jewish state of Israel; 2) Say in both Arabic and English that the elimination of the state of Israel is no longer their goal; 3) Stop incitement to violence against Jews in schools, mosques, TVs and radios; 4) Stop displaying maps of “Palestine” from the Jordan to the Mediterranean showing no Israel; 5) Stop welcoming terrorists released from Israeli jails as heroes; 6) Stop supporting the worldwide BDS movement.
Elsner states that: “Kerry and team have studied the history of past negotiations and learned from them.” There were five previous attempts at a two-state solution — in 1922, 1936, 1947, 2000, and 2008, all rejected by Arabs, including the last two when Palestinians were offered 94 percent of what they demanded. There is no
evidence Elsner and Kerry have truly learned anything this previous history. A starting point might be an evaluation of perhaps the primary reason for these
failures: an Islamic ideology that rejects a successful Jewish state as an affront to Muslims’ belief system.
WARREN A. MANISON
I am nonplussed at the presence in the Dec. 26 issue of Washington Jewish Week of a partisan rant critical of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare comes into painful focus”). In light of its anti-halachic and anti-Israel bent — see Rex Cohen’s masterful letter (“Judaic perspective,” WJW, Nov. 7) analyzing the “Judaic perspective” of Obamacare — what is most galling is its appearance in a Jewish publication.
Representative of the author’s strained argument is that “the [ACA web] site still has extremely poor security, endangering the private information of users.” Such computer underperformance, of course, never happens in the private sector, such as in the Target retail chain’s credit card operations, or in a NASDAQ rollout of IPOs, such as Facebook.
As Robert Reich has noted, “Our current healthcare system is the real disaster — the most expensive and least effective among all developed countries, according to Bloomberg’s recent ranking.” Also, let us recall that the widely popular Social Security program, launched in 1935, did not cover most working-age Americans until the 1970s.