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Contrary to Naim Ateek’s assertion, theCommittee or Accuracy in Middle EastReporting in America, (CAMERA), doesnot believe that he is “worse than Hamas”(“A prophet or peace or a wedge betweenpeacemakers?” July 24). Hamas has killedhundreds; Ateek has killed no one.CAMERA does object, however, toAteek’s alse assertion (published in hismost recent book) that Israel has perpe-trated a “slow and creeping genocide”against the Palestinians, whose popula-tion has quadrupled since Israel’s creation.Ateek’s alse allegation serves to justiyviolence against Israelis and contemptor Israel’s supporters in the U.S. It is notpeacemaking.CAMERA also objects to Ateek’s well-documented use o anti-Jewish polemicrom the New Testament to portraymodern Israel as an enemy o God.Adam Gregerman, Jewish scholar in-residence at the Institute or Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore, Md., reportsthat Ateek “presents the Israeli-Palestin-ian confict as a metaphysical struggle ona cosmic level” and “mythologizes theconfict as a clash between ‘the powers o God,’ on the one hand, and the ‘destruc-tive powers’ and ‘orces o darkness thatundermine lie itsel,’ on the other.”Gregerman continues: “So that hisanalogy is not misunderstood, he makesthis explicit: On one side are the Chris-tians, who, like Jesus, boldly ‘conrontevil.’ On the other side are the Jews, whomaintain ‘evil structures,’ support the ‘evilo racism,’ carry out the ‘evil o lies,’ andsymbolize ‘the spiritual orces o evil.’”CAMERA also laments Ateek’s ailureto address the role Muslim theology hasplayed in prolonging the Arab-Israeli con-fict. Muslim theology regarding the landand the Jewish people plays a signicant,i not dominant, role in omenting violenceagainst Israel in the Middle East, but Ateekdoes not address these subjects in a mean-ingul way.Ateek’s silence on this issue is oddgiven that he routinely invokes the teach-ings o the Hebrew prophets to critiquewhat he regards as primitive Jewishunderstandings o God. For peace tocome, Ateek asserts, extremist Jews mustabandon this primitive theology in avoro justice. By way o comparison, Ateekhas very little to say to Muslim extrem-ists in the Middle East about their theo-logical belies.Why the silence?
Dexter Van ZileChristian Media AnalystCAMERABstn, Mass.
the question MArk
The act that your lead story in the July 24 issue, headlined, “A prophet orpeace or a wedge between peacemak-ers?” ends with a question mark is notthe only question mark on this overlongtwo-and-a-hal-column agonizing on theguest speaker’s true intentions towardIsrael. The act that the Anglican canon,identied as Naim Ateek, was describedas “an activist or Palestinian indepen-dence,” eliminated the need or anyquestion mark in the headline. What thisextensive report did was to provide theobviously anti-Israel speaker with the
platorm.Since the sponsor o the talk was theKadima Reconstructionist Community,that certainly, to this reader, made a mock-ery o the question mark.Kadima, while claiming to be so very,very sincere in its lengthy eorts or a Mid-east peace, down through the years hasyet to show understanding o the acts, oreven understand, or comprehend a basicact o Israeli survival. Somehow it seemsto bemoan (
) that Israel insists ondeending itsel against killers sworn toeradicate the Jewish State. I not againstIsrael, then against each other. Nowheredoes Kadima ever come up with balancedacts o ongoing rocket barrages or sui-cide bombing attacks against Israelis. It’salways Israel’s ault.And in a strange outburst o being ac-tual, the Kadima program director report-edly said, “We’re not in the business o trying to deend him.” Gee, thanks. Hencethe puzzlement o the huge amount o space and page 1 placement on this noth-ing story.When will this wide-eyed group stopswallowing the traditional Islamic arto
? This is the deceptive art o saying one thing in Arabic and anotherthing in English or French, the old wink-and-nod technique perected by Araat.Thus the Arab average spokespersonspeaks in English o a longing or peace,i only, i only Israel would allow thesworn killers just another chance o making good on their pledges. Want aguess what he would say in Arabic to hisgrinning listeners?
Philip R. ScheierShreline
rAcisM is not A probleM
I strongly disagree with Gila Orkin’sone-sided column (“Jews should conrontracism in Israel,” July 24).Orkin’s depiction o Avigdor Lieber-man as an ultra-right-wing nationalist isincorrect. Was it wrong or him to getthe 20 percent Palestinian Arab minoritythat enjoy Israeli citizenship to swear alle-giance to the “State o Israel as a Jewish,Zionist and democratic state?”As citizens o the U.S. we have to swearallegiance to our country.Clearly Orkin dislikes Lieberman andhis party. Lieberman is no racist. His standagainst Israel’s enemies is intended toensure her saety rom both internal andexternal threats.
Rabbi James L. Mirel
Te Book o Jonah (read as the Ha-tarah on Yom Kippur aternoon) is a con-stant source o wisdom and insight. Likeevery great work o literature, it can beread over and over again, always withnew discoveries and insights.he narrative is relatively simple. Aman named Jonah seemed to be arbi-trarily singled out by God or a dii-cult task: “Go immediately to Nineveh,that great city, and proclaim judgmentupon it; or their wickedness has comebeore Me.”Every child knows what happenednext. Jonah tried to escape the call. Hetook the next ship out o town and endedup in the belly o the beast. From thedarkness o “the big sh,” he ound thatno one can escape the call o destiny.Beore long he was in Nineveh speak-ing the message God put in his mouth:“Forty days more, and Nineveh shall beoverthrown.”But it’s what came ater that neverails to astound. Te people o Ninevehimmediately got the message. Tey didrepent. But there is a nuance in the story that is ever more remarkable — once thepeople repented, the King o Nineveh ol-lowed suit.“When the news reached the king o Nineveh, he rose rom his throne, took o his robe, pit on sackcloth, and sat inashes.”Ten the king sent orth a decree thateveryone in the city should ast and pray with the hope that God’s judgment will beoverturned.Familiar words read and re-read thou-sands o times over the centuries. In themidst o our own asting and praying, do we miss the subtle lesson imbedded inthe story? Te people must repent rst,and then the leaders ollow. Whether it is the context o our com-munity, our congregations, the State o Israel, or the United States, the people setthe moral agenda and only then can theleaders take up the call. As Hillel reected when conronted with a challengingquestion o Jewish law: Pay attention tothe people, i they themselves are notprophets they are certainly the descen-dants o prophets.Every community leader eventually learns this lesson. In times o great chal-
foowig t pop’s a
Te Book o Jonah shows how it’s the actions o the masses that oten spur leaders to ollow suit
lenge, attune your ear to what the peopleare saying and your eyes to what thepeople are doing.Te wisdom o the king o Nineveh wasound in his ability to take the people’sexample and ollow it, but also to artic-ulate it in a thoughtul and organizedresponse with a clear goal in mind.In Judaism, wisdom resides with thepeople, not with the leaders.Te leaders show their mettle by theirability to embrace the collective moralinsights o the community and to nd themeans to elevate and inspire. Te turningpoint in the Book o Jonah is not ound inthe midst o the great sh, but when theking o Nineveh rises rom his throne and joins the people in their cathartic act o repentance.