August 23, 2019

Letters to the editor: Being wrong, understanding Islamophobia and more

Benefit of the Doubt?

David Suissa has written a very interesting column on how we know what we claim to know (“What if I’m Wrong?” Jan. 8). He lists three reasons why Journal columnist Dennis Prager does not seem to express any outward doubt about his views, but I think he missed a fourth reason. 

I have found that the essential difference between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives think their views fall into the realm of truth and fact, while liberals understand that most issues fall into the realm of interpretation and opinion. Let me offer three examples.

Religious fundamentalists believe their views of the Bible constitute truth, not interpretation. Furthermore, they believe they alone know what God wants, thinks and feels, and that God is on their side alone. 

Second, Constitutional fundamentalists believe they alone know the correct intent of the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution. For instance, they believe their understanding of the Second Amendment is inherently correct and does not constitute interpretation, and therefore any attempt to regulate guns is inherently unconstitutional.

Third, conservatives think they alone know what makes America great. When they object to Obama’s views, it’s not just because they disagree with him, it’s because they are convinced they possess the unique truth about what makes America great. 

If Prager thinks like most conservatives, I don’t believe he has many doubts about his views.

Michael Asher, Valley Village 

Stepping Up for the Future

I love this description of the Iranian people with its “culture and disposition, its tolerant, forward-looking, gracious character” (“Top This,” Jan. 8). I have witnessed all these qualities in my own family who migrated to Israel from Iran. But I would go further than holding up the success stories of Iranian Muslims in the U.S. as models for what the people of Iran could have achieved. I would challenge any tolerant, gracious character in the Muslim world, Arab Iranian or otherwise, to solve many universal problems that even the U.S. has trouble solving. Simple example: global warming. What if the Muslims who made billions of dollars in oil revenue attempted to invest some of this money in developing solar energy? What if they would be the ones to show the world that they can think of improving the lives of future generations?

Sarah Bassilian via

Just a Vessel

The last few issues of the Jewish Journal contain several criticizing letters to the editor.

Basically, the letters state that [Rob Eshman] the publisher and editor destroyed the Journal. 

I have a completely different opinion. I think the Journal became better and I want to encourage the him to follow the journalistic path he selected.

American Jews are tremendously divided at this time. There are conservative and liberal Jews. There are pro-AIPAC, pro-J Street and Jew-hating Jews. Certainly there are Jews of other orientations I am not aware of.

All of them have different political and social views and goals. The Journal has no chance of making peace between them and pleasing all of them. I strongly believe, following the selected direction, the Journal will receive many letters from satisfied readers complimenting its job in the future.

Igor Krigman, Lynnfield, Mass.

Understanding Islamophobia

Thank you for publishing Rabbi Reuven Firestone’s column about Islamophobia (“You Are an Islamaphobe,” Jan. 1). Before reading it, I would have thought that fears about Islam were the product of, in 2015 alone, the attack on Charlie Hebdo, the attack on HyperCacher market, the shootings in Copenhagen one month later, the shooting in Garland, Texas, in May, shootings in Chattanooga in July, the stabbing of three Jews outside a Paris synagogue (October), the stabbing of a Jewish teacher in Paris (November), the mass violence in Paris (November), the San Bernardino shootings (December), and the mass sexual assault in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, not to mention the almost daily attacks in Israel.

Fortunately, Rabbi Firestone corrected this misimpression, so we now know that concerns about Islamic violence are caused by a poem, the Song of Roland, written over 900 years ago.

Mitchell Keiter, Beverly Hills

Proud Pedalers  

I congratulate Claudia Boyd-Barrett on completing her 29-mile bike adventure on Pacific Coast Highway and Highway 101 (“Swell on Wheels,” Jan. 1). And I thank her for composing and sharing such an inspiring, joyful rendition of the ride, along with those detailed, “idiot-proof” directions and tips. Count me as one who’d like to follow her lead.

I’ll certainly share the article with out-of-town guests for an activity option during their respective Southern California stays.

David Walstad, Studio City


In the Jan. 8 obituary for Teresa Susskind (Teresa Susskind, Women’s Royal Naval Service Member,94, Jan.8) Rob Pettler was listed incorrectly as Susskind’s husband. Pettler is her son-in-law and is married to her daughter, Pamela.