August 23, 2019

Letters to the editor: Hollywood, Selma and European Jews

The Future of European Jewry

Couldn’t agree more (“Why Jews Must Stay in Europe,” Feb. 20). While Israel is and always will be a home to Jews from all around the world, clearing out of Europe is not the answer. 

Noga Gur Arieh via

Of course each side, so to speak, has a point. So, let each one decide what is best for him or her. One thing, though, listen to the Jewish Holocaust survivors and get their input, it might be a wise education. Shalom!

Gerardo A. Secher via

Fool Me Once

I read Rob Eshman’s article “The Un-Brian” (Feb. 13) and I thought that it was excellent, but I do want to say that NBC News has a longer history of distortion than just Brian Williams. 

If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to see the documentary (made in 1983) called “NBC in Lebanon: A Study of Media Misrepresentation,” which was directed by Peter Emmanuel Goldman. 

It explains how of the three U.S. networks (NBC, CBS and ABC) reporting about the 1982 war in Lebanon, NBC was the worst about distorting the truth.

David Silverstein via email

Cautious Optimism or Wishful Thinking?

One way Bibi could “surprise” the world is by doing something that, so far, the world has failed to do (“How Bibi Could Surprise the World,” Feb. 20). 

Demand that the Palestinian Authority stop the incitement of Jew-hatred in their media and schools; stop naming public squares and sports stadiums after terrorist killers; stop glorifying Islamic terrorists who kill Jews; stop paying terrorists currently in Israeli prisons; and, oh yes, recognize Israel’s right to exist. One more thing, David Suissa, stop trying to turn Benjamin Netanyahu into a Neville Chamberlain; we’ve already got one of those in the White House fiddling while Rome burns, or at least the Middle East, where he carelessly struck the match.

Paul Schnee via

Changing of the (Let-Down) Guards 

Well said, Marty Kaplan (“Hollywood’s Necessary Not-Niceness,” Feb. 20). If the hack was of phone conversations instead of emails, the outcome would have been different and the public outcry would be deafening. What colleagues/friends say to each other in what they, perhaps naively, assume is a private conversation should not cost an otherwise impressive executive her job.

Marilyn Pessin via

The Jews of ‘Selma’

While I agree with Peter Dreier that the movie “Selma” lacked a realistic portrayal of the Jewish involvement in the civil rights movement, his statement that “missing from the movie is any depiction of even one Jewish rabbi” is false (“The Missing Rabbi in ‘Selma,’ ” The Oscar Issue, Feb. 20). In the pivotal scene when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers are on the bridge and kneel in unity before the approaching police force, there is a man standing a few people to King’s left, wearing a suit, overcoat and a kippah and carrying a small suitcase. While he is clean-shaven, unlike Rabbi Abraham Heschel, I feel that was their token of a Jewish representative.

Linda Scharlin, Valley Village

You may already have been made aware of this, but just in case, I would like to point out that the man standing to the left of Martin Luther King Jr. in the second row in the picture with Rabbi Abraham Heschel is a young Harvey Fields, the late rabbi of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple. I thought this would have been interesting to mention. His wife showed me this picture, or one similar, at a gathering a few weeks ago to watch the president’s State of the Union address.

Lewis T. Rosenthal, Los Angeles

History, Revisited

This is an interesting article, but somewhat flawed in terms of timeline (“Nazis, Suicide and the Jew Behind ‘Grand Budapest,’ ” The Oscar Issue, Feb. 20). Stefan Zweig committed suicide in February 1942. The Holocaust was just getting going seriously at that point. Certainly, the murderous work of the Einsatzgruppen had already started in Eastern Europe the previous year, but the chief organizational meeting for the Holocaust at Wannsee under Reinhard Heydrich had only taken place the previous month. Surely there was some very bad writing on the wall, but “… the Jew in him was forced to live in the world as it was — broken, bitter, emptied out of the 6 million souls just like him who once lived at the heights and ended in smoke” is historically inaccurate. The vast majority of those 6 million people had not yet been martyred at the time Zweig killed himself.

Patrick Mehr via