Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Suppose Saying Respectfully Submitted at the End Doesn't Make it Respectful...

Shockingly The NY Jewish Week did not publish this letter to the editor:

To whom it may concern;

As an “arrogant” defender of the 51 Park development, I expect to be dismissed by right-wing demagogues. I have come to understand that some may feel pain because of the community center. I even come to grasp some of the reprehensible and self-serving excuses Jewish “defense” and “tolerance” organizations are making to ensure continued funding differentiate the bigoted statements of many detractors and the question of respecting others bigoted ideas about Islam as a whole.

However, Jonathan Mark’s recent Route 17 column digresses into simple name calling. On August 8, Mr. Mark explains the need to consult public opinion polls when dealing with rights affirmed by the Constitution. That pesky little document was established a few hundred years ago to protect universal rights that often need to be protected from the mob mentality. You know that freedom of religion and assembly and speech that has supported a vibrant Jewish community in country sometimes does need to be shielded from overzealous “real Americans” trying to “keep America American.”

In addition to his regressive, offensive and down-right sophomoric approach to this issue, he writes: “I'd love to see a poll of shul-going Jews -- the real Jews, not the Chelsea Clinton Jews -- regarding the mosque, its imam, and these [51 Park development supporting] rabbis."

Leaving the horrifyingly ignorant reading of the Constitution aside for a minute, Mr. Mark is insulting for the sake of being insulting. Now, we know that Mr. Mark lives in a world full of tree lined avenues and small town charm, all connected by a Parkway of numbered exits. Things are simpler there. However, as the world continues to change—and we know it will as we have recently seen a non-Jewish former American President, the current non-Jewish Secretary of State and their non-Jewish daughter all raised on chairs, encircled by hora dancing wedding celebrants—perhaps a bit of humility within a racist tirade would go a long way to bring our entire Jewish community together.

While I have never agreed with anything Mr. Mark has said, his approach usually does not include sinat hinam (Baseless Hatred). I suppose we should expect more from the New York Jewish Week, but maybe not from Route 17.

Respectfully submitted,

New York, New York

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