Letter to the editor:
A week ago, Israel welcomed Democratic and Republican members of Congress, which recently voted 398 to 17 to pass H. Res. 246 “Opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel.” These congresspersons came to Israel on a good-faith visit, to observe Israel’s democracy, complexities and range of views.
Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar, however, chose not to join that group. They listed the destination of their tentative trip as Palestine.
Both Omar and Tlaib seem unconcerned by the human rights abuses against those who call themselves Palestinians, perpetrated by their so-called leaders. For example, the last Palestinian “presidential election” took place in 2005. Voters elected PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas to a four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority, so Mr. Abbas is currently in the 15th year of his four-year term. Neither congresswoman has expressed support for sanctions against this undemocratic disenfranchisement.
Here’s another example of human rights abuses of those who call themselves Palestinians perpetrated by their so-called leaders. According to a 2018 survey by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, journalists from the Gaza Strip and West Bank responded (76 percent) that media laws in Palestine don’t promote freedom of the press and 73 percent said these laws don’t guarantee protection for journalists. Ninety percent of journalists also said they practice self-censorship due to fear of interrogation by security agencies in Palestine. Where are the calls from Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar for sanctions against this utterly undemocratic repression of a basic civil liberty?
Unlike all other Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib did not request a meeting with any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition. Might this suggest that their visit was designed to serve an agenda hostile to Israel? Might their “Palestine itinerary” have had as a goal an increase in incitement against Israel?
Israel’s decision will be criticized, whatever it is, so given the above facts, the decision not to admit Tlaib and Omar is wise, or at the very least, easily justifiable.
Julia Lutch, Davis CA
Letter to the editor:
Regarding: “Jeffrey Epstein Consulted Atlanta Attorney Days Before Death.”
“In this case, to the greatest extent I’ve ever seen, the presumption of innocence was dismissed in the media and the judicial system.” As a fellow attorney, friend and neighbor, I have great respect for David Schoen and the incredible civil rights work he does, but I cannot believe that THIS is the case to beat all cases. What about Walter McMillian (Just Mercy) or any of the Central Park Five or Sandra Bland? Schoen laments that Epstein “never got his day in court.” Unlike McMillian, who spent six years on death row for a crime he did not commit, in 2008 Epstein avoided a trial altogether and worked a deal in which he chose not to be prosecuted, essentially not to “have his day in court.” That is not a choice for most defendants, especially those of color. And to suggest that a man convicted of sex trafficking a minor merely “has peculiar tastes in women” is a gross distortion. This tragedy (because any death, whether by suicide or murder, is a tragedy), at the very least has prompted a national discussion about human trafficking in our society, and the high rates of prison suicide and inmate deaths in our system of mass incarceration. I do agree with Schoen, “we all lose when the presumption of innocence becomes illusory.” There must be justice for all.
Alisa Haber, Atlanta
Letter to the editor:
I don’t know if you care about my opinion, … but I am disgusted by your recent cover photo on the Aug. 16 issue of the AJT. How could you possibly think that we want to see Jeffrey Epstein’s face covering the front page?
Don’t you think he’s an embarrassment to society and especially to the Jewish religion? Knowing what Epstein did (yes, I read the article, and David Schoen certainly has a right to his professional and personal opinion), I am sickened by the fact that the Atlanta Jewish Times has disrespected me and others by exploiting Epstein on the cover of a paper that happens to be scattered in public places all over our city and beyond.
Again, I don’t know if you care about my opinion, but I decided I couldn’t stay silent.
Carla S. Wertheimer, Atlanta
Dear Carla S. Wertheimer,
First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to send your feedback on our Aug. 16, 2019, issue.
There is nothing more important to me than publishing a relevant, interesting, engaging and timely newspaper each week. Everyone at the AJT strives very hard to reach a broad audience while accomplishing our mission of “Keeping Jewish Atlanta Connected”, and our Atlanta Jewish audience has a very broad variety of interests.
The Epstein article, as disturbing and embarrassing as anyone may find it, is news. It has been the biggest news across our country for the last week, and as a result of our coverage of it, the distribution and online audience of this very story and issue has surpassed many others. Most of the locations where the AJT is distributed were out of copies by Saturday morning.
As a very small local niche newspaper, the AJT broke this story as national news and it is the kind of story that would naturally go on the cover. The distribution and online audience of this issue and specific story prove that whether you or I feel “disrespected by exploiting Epstein,” more readers picked up our newspaper to find out what is in it, because that is what they wanted to read.
On the bright side, we may have reached more unaffiliated Jewish community members last week because of the timely and relevant cover, no matter how disturbing it may have been. Hopefully, these new readers will continue to learn more about Jewish Atlanta and, just maybe, show up for a service, community event or even a chavurah one day because of it.
Please accept my apology for making you feel uncomfortable. That was never our intent. Your opinion does matter to me and thank you again for sharing it.
Kaylene Ladinsky, Managing Publisher & Editor