Letters to the Editor for April 8
Strock’s anti-Israel bias kept him from telling the full story
Re April 3 Carl Strock column, “Israel, like Judaism, is for the tribe”: Carl Strock’s preconceived biases toward Israel and Jews are evident in the offensive and defaming notions permeating his recent columns to describe Israel, Jews and Jewish religious practices. His endless ridicule of Jewish religious beliefs and tradition, repetitive pejorative references to Jews as “tribal” and rejection of Jewish historic connection to Israel leave no doubt that Strock is not an objective commentator.
What is truly unfortunate about Strock’s columns is that his trip seems to have reinforced his premeditated animosity toward the Jewish state, leaving him with mostly negative things to say about Israel while offering only the occasional backhanded compliment.
Strock is apparently oblivious to Israel’s thriving democracy, one which grants equal rights and freedom to all its citizens. His comments about the country’s Arab population demonstrate a serious deficiency in his familiarity with the community. While, as with all countries, there are certainly disparities among different segments of the society, had Strock actually explored Israeli Arab society he would have learned of the equal educational offered to all, the Arab community’s elected representation in Israel’s Parliament, and how non-Jewish minorities serve in senior governmental positions and on the benches of the country’s highest courts.
Had Strock spent time in Tel Aviv, he would have experienced a diverse city with a strong secular and intellectual culture, and an internationally recognized gay-friendly community that is unique to the Middle East.
Yes Israel, a land which Jews have called their religious, spiritual and cultural home for over 3,000 years, is not a perfect country and has its fair share of problems. Yet it is still a vibrant democracy, committed to preserving equality and freedoms for all its citizens.
It’s a shame that Strock failed to see beyond his own preconceived anti-Israel and anti-Jewish biases, and was unable to experience and fairly report on the complex and varied texture of the modern-day, vibrantly democratic and, yes, Jewish state of Israel.
New York City
The writer is director of the New York Regional Anti-Defamation League.
Private-sector workers merit nice pensions, too
The private sector should also have a piece of the pension pie.
Yes, public servants do pay taxes, but the private sector pays for federal and state workers to have a guaranteed tax-exempt pension, health benefits and a Social Security check for life.
As a childless woman in the private sector who has paid school taxes for 40 years, it is not a good read to see that my old alma mater has a 49 percent graduation rate. Nor is it enlightening to read [in the March 13 Marlene Kennedy column], “Empire Center files suit for teacher pension information,” or that a local municipality has a $1.5 million increase in overtime since last year alone.
In 2008, when Wall Street had its meltdown, dividends — a second source of income for many elderly people — plummeted. And yet, state workers received their pensions like clockwork.
In New York City, if the private sector must continue to pay for the New York City Police pension fund, even though they will not release the names of retirees, maybe we should annex New York City.
Collectively, America can no longer prosper, due to the numerous unions helping their members and their political ties.
Whose idea of comedy is ‘21 Jump Street’ film?
Based largely on the good reviews (including an A- rating in the Gazette), I decided to check out "21 Jump Street" at the Bowtie recently.
Since it had an “R” rating, I expected the ubiquitous bad language and inevitable sexual innuendo, but hoped it would live up to the good notices. I’d just like to warn anyone else who might be sucked in by the reviews: Be prepared for an immediate onslaught of nonstop swearing and unbelievably crude sexual displays that evidently pass for humor these days.
The McClatchy review stated it was “never crude, mean spirited or dumb,” and “the kind of comedy you want to see over and over.” OK, what planet are they from? The one without dictionaries?
I’d had enough after the first 20 minutes and quietly exited the theater while some young patrons behind me cackled at every crude, mean-spirited and dumb line. Sure, everyone’s entitled to their opinion of what’s funny, but I left feeling so discouraged that an entire generation is growing up [unaware] how wonderful a clever, witty, well-written comedy can be.
Old fashioned? Guilty. But give me “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “Some Like it Hot,” “Harvey” or “His Girl Friday” any day, over the moronic scripts Hollywood passes off as entertainment while getting rich from audiences who sadly don’t know any better.
Galway negotiators need to keep kids in mind
Re March 29 article, “School officials say budget likely to include deep cuts”: Depending on the outcome of negotiations for a new teacher contract at the Galway Central School District, we all sink or go forward with a single purpose — educating our kids.
What I keep hearing from the Board of Education [is] a package that will keep us at the tax cap and educate the kids. From the Galway Teachers Association [is] a package that will keep the staff in place to educate the kids. These two sides have to meet in the middle and form the partnership needed to educate our kids. There are politics and egos on both sides, and little community involvement in these negotiations. My hope is that the kids are not forgotten in the process.
Keep in mind that if we do not accomplish this, a couple of years down the road we may be the Galway/------ [Merged] School District or the Closed Galway School District. Remember, it’s for the kids.
Myriad reasons to get out of Afghanistan now
After 10 long years of war, it’s time to go. After the deaths of almost 3,000 American and coalition forces, it’s time to go. After almost 16,000 American and coalition forces wounded, it’s time to go.
After killing Osama bin Laden and most of his top cohorts, it’s time to go. After propping up a corrupt and unchanging regime, it’s time to go. After spending a half-trillion dollars to fight the war, it’s time to go. After losing the support of both the United States and Afghan citizenry, it’s time to go.
Then why are we staying? I wish I knew.
Educate teens better so they’ll wait to have kids
Teen pregnancy is not only a problem for teens in their immediate future, but [also] the long run.
For teens who get pregnant, especially girls, having a baby or being a parent in high school makes attaining a diploma harder.
As a high school senior, I know it is hard to get your diploma without major distractions; having a baby would make it astronomically harder. Thirty percent of teen girls who drop out of high school say it is because of pregnancy or being a parent. Around 50 percent of all teen moms receive diplomas, compared to 90 percent of [normal] teens.
A major cause of teen pregnancy is lack of education. If a high school health class were to devote more time to teaching students about teen pregnancy and the costs that come along with it, I think teens would be better protected, and would use better judgment.
Teen parents who need assistance or support should go to marchofdimes.org, massteenpregancy.org or massteenpregancy.org.
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