U. S. support of Israel, our only Democratic ally in the Middle East, is crucial for our security and for our standing as moral leaders. The recent spate of anti-Israel letters demonstrates a shocking lack of objectivity. Palestinians who throw homemade bombs (“Molotov cocktails”) and shoot automatic weapons are called “protesters” while young Israelis drafted into their civilian army to defend against such attacks are portrayed as heartless oppressors.
Palestinians who want a homeland have national aspirations. Jews who want a homeland are “occupiers.” Repeatedly overlooked is the fact that Jews have “occupied” Israel since before 1026 B.C., when Israel's first nation-state was established under King Saul. The Arab propaganda machine, fueled by billions of petro-dollars, claims Jews first arrived in Israel (Palestine) in the 1900s, ignoring a continuous Jewish presence which precedes the birth of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, by more than 2,000 years.
Exaggeration of Jerusalem's significance in Islam is commonplace. Completely ignored are the facts that Mecca and Medina are Islam's holiest cities, the places in Saudi Arabia where Moslems make their pilgrimage. Jews worldwide have prayed toward Jerusalem for thousands of years. Jerusalem is mentioned 613 times in the Jewish bible but not once in the Koran.
The crux of the problem is that Yasser Arafat has made so many grandiose promises to his people over the years that for him, compromising means losing face -even if it means getting 92 per cent of what he wanted, which is exactly what Israel offered. History shows the Palestinians were offered more under the U.N. Partition Plan of 1948, which Israel accepted despite receiving much less than it wanted.
Instead, supported by all the Arab countries the Palestinians said, “No, we will drive the Jews into the sea.” Funny how history repeats itself, yet nobody seems to notice.
I read with interest the Oct. 28 Blade editorial “And then there were none” as well as “History Says ...” by Homer Brickey on Oct. 31. I, too, have watched the great job Capital Bank has done. They are located next door to our main office, and we wish them well. However, the feeling that “the days of personal banking service delivered by people who lived in the same town” is obsolete is incorrect.
There are 58 credit unions in the Toledo area serving more than 236,000 members and performing outstanding service each and every day. Perhaps we, as credit unions, have not done enough to promote this, but the fact remains that our members/owners are served as well as or better than our larger competitors.
Credit unions are locally owned (by their members), full-service financial institutions with a volunteer board of directors. We have always been locally owned and have always given superior service. In the American Banker/Gallup consumer survey's measure of customer satisfaction, credit unions, again, for four years running, surpassed their bank and thrift competitors.
So as much as we hate to see Capital disappear, Toledo does have many “local” options from which to choose.
PATRICK J. McGRADY
President and CEO
Toledo Area Catholic Credit Union
Thanks to The Blade for its coverage of the passing of one of America's great entertainers and renaissance men, Steve Allen. In addition to being a creative genius, he was also a notable intellectual, skeptic, free thinker, and advocate of science and learning.
Mr. Allen deplored contemporary American trash culture, worked tirelessly to impede the “closing of the American mind,” and was deeply involved (along with the likes of Stephen Jay Gould, Carl Sagan, and Richard Dawkins) with publications/organizations like the Skeptical Inquirer (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) and Free Inquiry (Council for Secular Humanism). Among his many books: Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, and Morality (1990), with Martin Gardner (editor at Scientific American). The inside jacket of that book says:
“In a work reminiscent of Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary, Mr. Allen presents his ideas on [the Bible and] such controversial topics [as death, evolution, flying saucers, etc.]. He draws on the expertise of biblical scholars, theologians, and philosophers to demonstrate that fundamentalist assumptions about the reliability and authenticity of the Bible as a historical document or as the inviolable word of God simply have no rational or factual basis.
“Like Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason, [Allen's] book highlights the errors, inconsistencies and self-contradictions of the Bible [many of which are so] at variance with our western ideals of morality and common decency. While not denying the value of many biblical passages, Allen argues that [intelligent, objective readers] can and should critique the Bible as they would any other [fascinating, important but very fallible, all-too-human] historical document. This by no means implies, however, that in so doing they must discard their faith.”
Mr. Allen considered his intellectual achievements to be his greatest legacy and he should likewise be remembered for them.
There have been no quick fixes for schools with low test scores. According to a Blade article in 1998, “after equalizing for demographic factors and previous levels, the researchers concluded there were no significant differences in third-grade achievement between the voucher and public school students in Cleveland.”
If we know that poor children have less stable homes, fewer home computers, and fewer two-parent households that give them the tools to succeed, how can any thoughtful adult call the schools where these students attend failing schools?
I was thrilled to hear that Bowling Green State University is reaching out to help students in the Toledo Public Schools. I recently heard a Bowling Green professor refer to the schools with low test scores as schools with fewer resources. How refreshing to know there are people who want to help all students in the public schools instead of giving more resources to private schools through vouchers.
If our society wants to attract and retain quality teachers in our urban areas it will need to select leaders who do not scapegoat the teachers who have committed themselves to teaching in schools with limited resources. We need to be aware of our failure of will to spend the money for smaller classes in the schools where students have low test scores.
MICHAEL H. CROKE
When anyone's right to smoke infringes on my right to breathe clean air, then we have a problem. Cigarette smokers have the right to suck ash until they are blue in the face. I won't deny them that right. But as soon as I smell the foul odor of cigarettes in a public area such as a restaurant, then my rights are violated.
When are we as a society going to believe the facts about the effects of cigarette smoking and take action to protect those who choose not to smoke? Owners of restaurants give in to the needs of smokers way before they even consider the needs of nonsmokers.
Nonsmoking areas in restaurants? What a joke! If cigarette smoke hovered and stayed only in the vicinity of the mouths and noses of smokers, then this wouldn't be an issue.
A recent letter writer seems to have forgotten that there are vast areas in California where winter is as harsh or harsher than it is in Toledo. These areas are called mountains. And people actually live, work, and play in and around them!
The ban on smoking is working well in California. I say we ban smoking in Toledo area restaurants and we do it ASAP!