National news agencies reporting the Jan. 6 incident in Miami in which Mansor Mohammad Asad, a Muslim-American from Toledo, was removed from a Detroit-bound airplane after making anti-Semitic threats quoted Mr. Asad as stating, "I am Palestinian and want to kill all the Jews." Somewhere between the actual incident and the Jan. 8 story in The Blade, Mr. Asad's comments changed from being anti-Semitic to "racially threatening."
Judaism is not a race. Referring to Jews as a race raises the worst type of anti-Semitism. Nazi efforts to define Jews and others as racially different from Caucasian Germans are the most historic example of attempts to portray Jews as a distinct race.
There are black African Jews, Oriental Jews from India, Central Asia, and Arab countries, and Caucasian Jews. All Jews can trace their ancestry to Israel. The Blade, in reporting this incident, chose not only to whitewash Mr. Asad's anti-Semitic threats, but defined Jews as a separate race. I'm not sure which comments were more damaging; at least Mr. Asad said what he meant.
Joel S. Beren
Editor's note: Mr. Beren is a past president and former chief executive officer of the United Jewish Council of Greater Toledo.
The Islamic Center of Greater Toledo is very appreciative of the responsible reporting displayed by The Blade recently with regard to the disruptive behavior of a Toledoan on a Northwest Airlines flight at Miami airport.
The Chicago Tribune reported the incident in a salacious and divisive manner with its headline "Threats to 'kill all Jews' gets Ohio man pulled off plane." The Blade reported it as "Toledoan taken off plane, detained over disruption, threats."This demonstrates professionalism as well as mindfulness of the power of the printed word.
Bridges of understanding take years to build and only moments to destroy. Our greater Toledo community has been fortunate to have interfaith harmony. In these extremely challenging times we are blessed to have a newspaper that does not robotically churn out news that it finds on the wire, which could even be, albeit in the short term, more lucrative for The Blade.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could package this professionalism, perspective, and sanity in a pill and market it worldwide?
Public Relations Committee
Islamic Center of Greater Toledo
Your Jan. 3 story "Local travel group, Metroparks take walk on the Wild(wood) side" was too diplomatic in suggesting that the travelogue "Journey to the Holy Land: Israel and Jordan" at Wildwood Preserve Metroparks Hall skirted politics.
I attended the travelogue, part of the Travel Circle program sponsored by the metroparks and Hostelling International. Although the presenter, Tim Kreps, said that the purpose of the trip was to see and learn about both sides of the Middle East issue, the only side presented to the public was the pro-Palestinian position.
I had looked forward to seeing slides of these ancient lands. I was taken aback by politically charged comments that were anti-Israel. When the metroparks and Hostelling International offer a travel program to the public, they need to make sure that all biases are eliminated.
As a long-time Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority proponent, I have taken the bus from my downtown job to my East Toledo home for nearly 23 years.
As the cost of parking downtown and gas prices increased, I have praised TARTA to co-workers, some of whom have joined me at the bus stop.I would leave work at 5 o'clock and depending on road conditions, I would arrive home by 5:15 on most days.
Not anymore.With the new schedule, the last regular East Toledo bus leaves downtown at 4:30 p.m.There is no 5 o'clock bus, and on the 5:45 bus in the lineup, east side riders are packed shoulder to shoulder, and I don't get home until 6:30 p.m.
My loyalty to TARTA has ended. Not only must I make other arrangements to get home after work, but the next time there is a TARTA levy on the ballot, they have lost my vote.
The new garbage can lids are impossible to open when wearing winter gloves.
The City of Toledo and the manufacturer of the garbage containers must replace or modify the lids so they can be lifted without removing your gloves. Since Toledo experiences at least four months of cold weather, this problem will not disappear soon.
A new lid - with a protruding edge at the opening end and sides - should be installed so the lid can be lifted by folks with limitations to their hands and when wearing gloves.
Rodney W. Henning
My recent recycle pickup was Dec. 23 and the next pickup was Jan. 11. That worked out to 18 days between pickups.
That certainly doesn't encourage people to recycle. It's time for Toledo to serve its residents better and for its employees to earn their pay.
The new automated garbage trucks were supposed to save money.
We now observe that the trucks can only do one side of a street at a time. Therefore, each street will have to be toured twice to collect the garbage.
Why did former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and City Council rush to buy more garbage cans and trucks?Were they afraid the new administration would see what a typical government folly this would be and cancel it?
Gary R. Buck
What does it take to get an appointment at the University of Toledo Medical Center? Last February, I responded to an advertisement in The Blade by UTMC for cardiovascular screening. Apparently the response to the ad was so overwhelming that appointments were not available.
"We'll take your name and number and call you when we have an opening," I was told.Five more phone calls to UTMC over nearly a year got the same response.
The UTMC ad claims: "Cardiovascular Screening Helps Save Lives."
I agree. Please tell me where I can get it.
Toledo Mayor Mike Bell says he wants to work with other communities to strengthen the area, according to a Jan. 5 story, “Bell becomes mayor, calls for region to work as team.” Here would be a great first step: a new Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority bus route along Reynolds Road, Conant Street, and Dixie Highway.
This route would benefit employees and shoppers. It would require agreement from Maumee and Perrysburg, so Mayor Bell can demonstrate his ability to work with other mayors.