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Letters to the editor


Reverse anti-Semitism pervades piece on Israel

The July 30 article “Unstable Arabs undermine peace effort” by Elliot Bartky and Allon Friedman is disappointing. These two men, who clearly love Israel, have unfortunately chosen to defend it through half- truth, vilification and innuendo rather than with reasoned argument.

Oddly, they argue that Israel “gave up” the West Bank in 1948 despite “being promised this land and in spite of the unique historical, religious, moral and legal claims Jews had to it,” disregarding the same claims by the Palestinians who lived there. When Israel did indeed conquer the West Bank in 1967, its occupation was condemned by the international community.

The unbridled vilification of Mahmoud Abbas and Arab peoples in general is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the Bartky-Friedman article. Reverse anti-Semitism is no more attractive than the original product. I would encourage readers to explore the website of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights ( as well as Palestinian Territory on the UN Human Rights website. Our mutual objective should be to seek a balanced exploration of this most difficult and tragic situation.

DAVID WAAS North Manchester

A new job offer awaits Tony Bennett

Hey, since Tony Bennett is looking for work, maybe I could hire him to re-categorize my children’s grades. Then they could get into Harvard!


Public, private schools an unfair comparison

In light of the Tony Bennett scandal, this would be a good time to educate the public on how the A-F system really works. While the general public knows some schools are failing and some are not, my guess is they do not know why.

One or two students who do not show what the state believes to be significant growth in one area can bring down an entire school. With the current system all schools will be failing at some point in the future. Even schools in wealthy districts. That is because growth has to occur every year. Is that bad? Not really, but let’s be realistic.

At some point, schools will have to have a 100 percent pass rate. That may happen occasionally, but not often. The model in place sets all schools up for failure in the long run.

Public schools must educate every child, but private schools do not. There is nothing wrong with this, as they are a private school and can do what they like. However, the public gets the idea that comparing private to public schools on this A-F scale means they are comparing apples to apples. They are not.

Unless the public and parents get upset at the absolute ridiculousness of this system, it will never change. It is unfair to all who work in public education and especially to the students who work so hard to do well on these tests, only to be told they were just not quite good enough.


Train workers also victims in fatal collisions

There seems to be a rash of train-related deaths lately, and there needs to be something said about these tragedies that most people don’t think about. When a person/people die in a train collision, it is not just the deceased who are the victims, it is also the train engineer and conductor. These men and women have to watch these tragedies in real time.

I feel terrible for the couple who recently decided life wasn’t worth living so they decided to jump in front of a train. However, I feel equally as terrible for the people on that train who were forced to take their lives for them. I’ll bet this couple, along with many others in the past that have decided to commit suicide by train, never gave one thought to the others their choice would affect. These engineers and conductors are forced to play this tragic role many times during their careers. It has deeply affected many of them, to the point that some of them can no longer do their jobs.

Trains aren’t new to us, they run on tracks, it takes them the length of a football field to stop, and there are human beings running these engines who have feelings and emotions just like you do.

Pay attention at the railroad crossings, if your windows are up and the music is on when you approach a crossing, roll those windows and your music down a tad and take a listen before you cross. If, sadly, you feel your life is no longer worth living and want to end it, think about those who are affected by your decision before you make the choice on how you are going to do it.


Lugarís achievements largely unrecognized

Former Sen. Richard Lugar has been selected to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Good for him.

He deserved far more from the country and state he served so well. Lugar is a graduate of our state’s public school system and an Eagle Scout. His academic skills earned him a Rhodes Scholarship for study at Oxford. He served in the U.S. Navy where he was as an intelligence briefer for Adm. Arleigh Burke. Before entering politics, he helped run a family business.

Lugar’s political career was marked by intelligence, hard work and a willingness to reach across the aisle. It’s remarkable, in fact, that so many of his achievements resemble those of Jimmy Carter. And perhaps that is the reason that the new wave of the GOP rejected him before his service to our country was complete. What a great secretary of state Lugar would have made.

JOHN D. HINES Fort Wayne

Let religion, not politics, dictate nationís culture

Culture is too important to merely be left in the hands of secular politicians. The excesses of secularism far outweigh the excesses of religion.