Letters: Bari Weiss, Greenberg’s Cartoons, Medical Residency

July 22, 2020

New York Times Bias
David Suissa’s column on the unwillingness of The New York Times to publish op-eds that differ from its left-leaning views is only part of the paper’s problem (“Bari Weiss Exposes Lack of Viewpoint Diversity,” July 17). A worse problem is how the paper editorializes the news section. Use the editorial section for opinion. Don’t guide the reader in the direction you would like and call it a news article. The Times has lost credibility and seems to have no clue as to how so many view them now.
Jerry Freedman, Los Angeles

Now, more than ever, it’s important to take sides with Bari Weiss since gasoline already has been poured not only on this “journalistic bonfire” but on the language of truth itself. We are living in interesting times — a perfect storm of technological revolution, pandemic and verbal vilification.

Weiss, a true hero, not only “spoke from the heart” in her letter of resignation from The New York Times, but from a place of clarity that it is impossible to separate values of “inclusion” and “diversity” in the realm of race, gender and ethnicity from those same values in the journalistic arena because, ultimately, what is written in the media mirrors who we are and what we believe in as Americans and as human beings.

Weiss follows a long line of civil liberty advocates such as Helen Keller, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, activist Jane Addams and other founders of the ACLU who believed that First Amendment rights are central to a free society regardless of the ideological persuasion or popularity of particular positions or organizations.

As Weiss points out in her letter, Adolph Ochs, who bought the New York Times in 1896, wrote that the Times should be a conduit of “intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.” He, unlike the present Times staff, would have been proud to hire someone like Bari Weiss.
Mina Friedler, Venice

Greenberg’s Cartoons
I believe a recent letter to the Journal (July 10) was possibly a response to my previous letter in which I praised Greenberg for the social commentary in his cartoons.

The reader, apparently opposed to the wide negative public response to incidents of police aggression toward Black Americans, gave a lengthy description of murderous behavior by Black Americans toward Black Americans and suggested that Greenberg devote some of his creative efforts to describe the horrible crimes committed by Blacks upon Blacks.

It may surprise the reader but I agree with him. These murderous actions and other societal incidents do deserve Greenberg’s attention and should be referenced in his work. I would hope that the reader also would agree with me that Greenberg’s excellent social commentary should include attention to how some Jews have or are beginning to welcome Black Jews and other Jews of color into their synagogues, Jewish day schools and other Jewish community programs and activities. Because the lives of Black Jews and Jews of color do indeed matter.
Stu Bernstein, Santa Monica

Anti-Semitism and Cancel Culture
Recent events underscore a chasm between apathy toward anti-Jewish bigotry and heightened sensitivity concerning other prejudices (“Why Is Anti-Semitism So Easy to Forgive?” July 17).

NFL star DeSean Jackson highlighted a passage, falsely attributed to Hitler, about Jews purportedly plotting to blackmail America, and he and Nick Cannon promoted Jewish conspiracy theories and praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. There were vile posts by Ice Cube and renewed allegations against Mel Gibson. 

Then there was Bari Weiss, who resigned from The New York Times, citing her colleagues’ anti-Semitic bullying and ideological intolerance.

Some people expressed concern, including Jewish actors Joshua Malina, Josh Gad and Whoopi Goldberg (who identifies as Jewish) and journalist Mitch Albom. NFL star Julian Edelman offered to accompany Jackson to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Non-Jews came to our defense, including the NFL’s Zach Banner, former pro athletes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Charles Barkley, and journalist Jemele Hill.

But the lack of widespread outrage suggests Jews aren’t seen as a minority.
Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco

Starting Medical Residency During the Pandemic
My entire life, I dreamed of working at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as a physician. I just never expected I’d start during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The massive influx of new cases meant interns would take on greater responsibilities quickly. Early on, I was pulled to the ICU. The day I called family members to share unfortunate news, I felt something chip inside me. The family’s grief felt so close, especially because I had been a part of the immense effort that had sought to keep this patient alive. The dedication at every level of care — physicians, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists to name a few — was beyond anything I had ever experienced. I felt humbled to work alongside this health care community and now understand why my grandparents received such incredible care here as patients.
David J Chernobylsky, via email

AJC’s Choice Is a Slam Dunk
The July 20 online Morning Roundtable suggests that there is serious debate over whether the American Jewish Committee should have named Holly Huffnagle — a practicing Christian — as its U.S. Director for Combating Anti-Semitism.

There is a relatively small circle of experts who have been fighting anti-Semitism for years. I can confidently say that among the scores of these folks who have worked with Huffnagle, there is unanimity that she is the perfect fit for this role.

I worked with Huffnagle at the U.S. State Department’s office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. She is the consummate anti-Semitism expert. She is smart, incredibly knowledgeable, perceptive, objective and committed to the fight against Jew-hatred. Moreover, her moral integrity is unassailable and few can match her people skills. There is no one, Jew or gentile, who is better suited to leading a program combating anti-Semitism.

The Jewish community can’t win this battle alone. The fight against “the oldest hatred” will require that we attract legions of the best and the brightest to the cause. As a worldwide Jewish community, we don’t have the luxury in this struggle of judging people by anything but their expertise and the content of their character.
Ira Forman, Washington, D.C.

Foster Children
I want to thank you for the story on foster children and Children’s Village Advocacy. I think this awareness was very necessary for our community to step up and help.
Shadi Halavi, via email

What Ever Happened to ‘Never Again’?
Does the Chinese PRC treatment of its Uighur minority strike you as eerily similar to how the Nazis treated their Jewish and other minority populations just before the Final Solution? Would this be a good time to bring up “never again”?
Warren Scheinin, Redondo Beach


You want to have a meeting,
You want to sit, face to face.
You want it in your office,
But you just don’t have the space.
You need to have the room now,
To gather up your group.
Someone on your staff, it seems,
Is apparently out of the loop.
Your staff starts to assemble,
Wondering what is on your plate.
Since the meeting’s in your office,
There’s no reason for being late.
Everyone is connected
By way of computer screen.
This’ll be the greatest meeting
Your company’s ever seen.
But Zoom is far from perfect,
You’ve yet to set the bar.
This meeting won’t get started —
You left the password in the car!
Alan Ascher, via email

Now it’s your turn! Don’t be shy, submit your letters to the editor. Letters should be no more than 200 words and must include a valid name and city. The Journal reserves the right to edit all letters.

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