Caldwell Wasn’t There; More Anti-Cabal, Anti-Taki and Anti-Szamuely Verbal Violence; Where’s Kalb?; LeeKing, Richardson and The Rock; MUGGER and Katrina; More

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Thank
you for allowing (ordering?) Jim Knipfel to contribute to your online "Daily
Billboard." Russ Smith is too long-winded and John Strausbaugh is too smart
for me.

Mark
Duffy, Manhattan

 

Never
Explain

What’s
the deal with those wonderful dada-poetic pieces that keep appearing on the last
page of New York Press, in the lower right-hand corner of your "Inside
Press Box"?

Eric
Walczak, Manhattan

 

Oh
Boy

Christopher
Caldwell: I can see that, as usual, you folks who write the articles condemning
those of us who are required to do the dirty work of fighting this country’s
wars have no clue about what you are talking about ("Hill of Beans,"
5/2). You have never been there, and would not go. Bob Kerrey and his SEAL team
did what they were required to do. It doesn’t feel good, and I know they
will go to the grave dealing with any guilt they have about it. Bob Kerrey does
not have anything to answer to. Certainly not to your kind.

Is
America divided still about Vietnam? Hell, yes! Should we have been there? Probably
not. I served in Vietnam, and at the time thought that our stated goals were right;
to keep the Republic of Vietnam free. Of course, after I returned home and the
war continued and the politicians kept screwing around, and the media types like
you folks kept accusing us of being "criminals" and letting the real
war criminals–the NVA and VC–off the hook, I realized that we were wrong
for fighting and for losing so many brave Americans to such a war. This nation
can’t produce enough medals and commendations to give to those soldiers,
nor pay enough to those who laid their lives on the line so you and millions like
you could remain safe and secure here in the U.S. Then you write articles calling
those who took your places "baby killers" and other slanderous names.
Now you choose the term "war criminal" for a man who did the dirty work
of unconventional warfare.

I
will answer Mr. Caldwell’s question about which person I’d choose to
be like, Bill Clinton or Bob Kerrey. Bob Kerrey without hesitation! Bill Clinton
is a liar and a cheat. That has been proven. He lied to and cheated his country
in 1969 and the pathetic voters of this country let him continue to lie to and
cheat it again from 1993 until 2001. You who agree with Mr. Caldwell’s analysis
deserve the likes of Bill Clinton.

Jim
Capps, via Internet

 

See
Above

Andrey
Slivka made a good point ("Billboard," 4/27) when criticizing Salon’s
David Mazel’s attempt to claim moral equivalency between an assortment of
small conservative colleges and the larger universities through his own "God
is an abortionist" campaign. However, I think that in making a distinction
based on scale, Mr. Slivka missed a larger difference of kind.

Unlike
the Ivy League schools, and certainly unlike state-funded schools such as UC Berkeley,
the smaller colleges Mazel selected do not pretend to provide an atmosphere of
free and open intellectual debate. I know that Abilene Christian University has
a rather strict code of behavior for its students–no beer, no sex, no fun.
The same goes for Bob Jones University (as we all now know, thanks to Dubya’s
unfortunate visit last year), VMI and, I imagine, many of the others Mazel selected.
One can certainly disagree with these authoritarian programs, but one cannot fault
the schools in question for failing to be up front about them. As noted above,
the same cannot be said of the universities Horowitz targeted in his self-aggrandizing
campaign, which is why they’re all so pissed off.

Not
that I can blame them for being upset. I’d be bothered, too, if someone showed
that my school couldn’t even match Jerry Falwell’s pet university for
intellectual honesty.

Generally
I’m not a huge fan of Christopher Caldwell’s, but his piece on Bob Kerrey
was outstanding ("Hill of Beans," 5/2). As a result of his stand I’m
sure Caldwell’s going to catch a lot of flak from the usual chorus of nitwits
who’ll scream something like "you-weren’t-there-so-don’t-judge!"–which
is of course an inane argument. It’s only when people bother to take the
time to correctly judge the past that they avoid having to send their children
over "there" in the first place. It’s a pity that the American
government didn’t listen to people like Caldwell in the early 60s.

Derek
Copold, Houston

 

Straight
Outta Compson

I
just wanted to say hoorah for Lisa LeeKing and Tanya Richardson’s Cherry
Valence interview in the 5/2 issue. Literary criticism in a rock piece? I love
it. I’ll have to finish The Sound and the Fury before next week so
I can have time to get lit and go catch their show. Wonderful. More please!

Mary
P. Singleton, Brooklyn

 

Rock,
Island, Whine

Lisa
LeeKing and Tanya Richardson: As much as I enjoy your interview style and the
casual tone of your pieces, the constant snide comments about local bands is getting
a bit grating. You like Nebula and the Go. You don’t care for New York bands.
Got it.

We all
love the Stooges. Bless their little hearts, really. We just don’t want to
be them. Broken glass is scary. "We Will Fall" is boring and scary.
More importantly, our cocks just aren’t big enough.

We
have accepted this, why can’t you?

Zack
Lipez, via Internet

 

Lisa
LeeKing and Tanya Richardson reply: Zack: as always, penises are irrelevant.
New York City bands we’ve covered favorably and extensively include the Mooney
Suzuki, the Hot Snakes, the Swingin’ Neckbreakers, Jonny Saliva & the
Maggitz and Jonny Chan & the New Dynasty Six. Sorry if you’re friends
with the Strokes, but we, like many of the other people who were handed their
three-song EP, weren’t into the music. More importantly, we feel they’re
being held up as something they aren’t, and before the machine turns the
Strokes into the next Kravitz or Creed, we thought we’d call a spade a spade.
After all, Zack, this isn’t about you, or us, or your band, the Candy Darlings
(whom we
have never written about). This is about The Rock. Thanks for
reading and thanks especially for writing in.

 

K
Rations

Stories
about the Kennedy family, always gratuitous, are becoming ever harder to justify.
Take Frank A. DeFilippo’s pointless article "The Kennedy Clones"
(5/2), for example. Mr. DeFilippo seems to find it shocking that wealthy young
lawyers run for Congress, that two-term lieutenant governors seek the top job
and that the sons of former governors hold ambitions of their own.

The
question that has traditionally been asked when a scion of the famous runs for
office has always been, "Would he or she be a candidate if his or her name
wasn’t Kennedy (or Bush, or Molinari, etc.)?" In each of the cases DeFilippo
cites, the answer is probably yes. In fact, some of the individuals in question
aren’t named Kennedy. Does anyone really believe that Andrew Cuomo would
not be running for his dad’s old job if he had married someone named Jones?
What are the odds that someone named Shriver would be active in Maryland state
politics if no one in that old, established, respected and political Maryland
family had ever married a Kennedy? Probably pretty good.

What
about the actual Kennedys mentioned? After eight years as lieutenant governor
in one of the most popular administrations in Maryland history, wouldn’t
Ms. Townsend be running for governor even if her maiden name were DeFilippo?

As
for Max Kennedy: rich, connected young lawyers run for Congress in 100 districts
every other year. And yes, many of them are related to former or current officeholders
in their states. Kennedys in Massachusetts seem no different from LaFollettes
in Wisconsin, Tafts in Ohio, Longs in Louisiana or Bushes in–well, pick ’em.
Local political dynasties or would-be dynasties are thick on the ground throughout
America. Which brings me to Rep. Patrick Kennedy. Wouldn’t any four-term
U.S. representative not named Kennedy get a lot of bad press because they had
a tiff with a girlfriend? Well, actually, probably not. I guess there is a double
standard, after all.

DeFilippo
approvingly quotes columnist Howie Carr, one of those trivial people described
as "longtime Kennedy watcher[s]," (talk about a hobby to be ashamed
of), as saying: "It’s astounding that they have the chutzpah to do this,
and even more astounding that the public lets them get away with it."

Lets
who get away with what? As the article itself is forced to admit, the cousins
in Maryland aren’t even close political allies. What a candidate for Congress
in Massachusetts has to do with either of them or Andrew Cuomo is hard to fathom.
Apparently, what they are getting away with is the sin of living the lives they
choose despite being slightly related to a late president of the United States.
Chutzpah, indeed.

Cormac
Flynn, Manhattan

 

She
Sold
Grit

MUGGER:
What did Katrina vanden Heuvel do to become wealthy? "Wealthy" has become
part of her name–"wealthy Katrina vanden Heuvel." She is the most
annoying, awful person ever on Hardball.

Name
Withheld, via Internet

 

Talkback
Live

MUGGER:
It’s been a long time since you devoted this much space to nuking the pathetic
"left" (5/2) and I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate
it. I am curious about one thing. What kind of responses do you get from the Times,
Katrina vanden Heuvel, Maureen Dowd and the others you so skillfully disembowel?
Is it friendly professional feedback or do you go toe-to-toe with these people?
Do they take it personally, etc.?

Just
wondering. Keep kicking ass, buddy.

Frank
Chavez, Lomita, CA

 

Dropping
Science

I
wonder why people, creationists and evolutionists alike, try to apply science
to theology (Carol Iannone, "Taki’s Top Drawer," 5/2). Science,
by its very nature, must concentrate on the material world. God, though acting
in the material world, is generally not seen as being of it. Though theories,
such as evolution and natural selection, try to explain occurrences that are long
past the point at which they can be directly tested, we can look at current studies
in genetics and mutations of current species–so there still has to be experimentation
of a sort.

Here
is where the division between science and God is made plain: at least in one religion,
God has declared an unwillingness to be the subject of scientific investigation.
"Do not put the Lord your God to the test," reads the Bible. (The New
International Version Bible, Luke 4:12.)

So
that would seem to be that.

Mary
Pat Campbell, Queens

 

Chow
Yum Fat

In
"Brain-and-Mouth Disease" ("Human Follies," 5/2), Lionel Tiger
fails to distinguish between those who replace their fat consumption with simple
carbohydrates and those who consume more complex carbohydrates. Many scientists
believe that simple sugars (i.e., simple carbs) may be directly causative of heart
disease in ways we don’t yet understand, while indirectly, of course, their
high caloric density and easy conversion to fat in the digestive process make
them major contributors to obesity.

On
the other hand, complex carbohydrates (i.e., legumes, vegetables and 100-percent
whole grains) are much more filling than simple carbs, and thus don’t cause
one to overeat in order to compensate for a lower dietary fat content. Also, compared
to fats and simple carbs, more of the caloric value of complex carbs is "burned
up" during the digestive process; thus less of it winds up worn around one’s
waist.

Mark
Spiegel, Manhattan

 

Fruit
Lupes

C.J.
Sullivan: Thanks for taking me on that stroll ("Bronx Stroll," 4/25).
Not only did you remind me of my grandma, who is also in St. Raymond’s cemetery,
where La Lupe is buried, but you transferred my whole being to El Teatro Puerto
Rico, where I’d witness all of La Lupe’s concert "Ay! Ay! Ay!"
(The theater is, by coincidence, a church now.) My mom would round up all six
of my sisters and my two brothers, and those were the best of the best of our
times.

Juan Sanchez:
God’s using you to bring awareness to those who, at the end of La Lupe’s
career, turned their backs on her. But there is a mass of people who have not,
and will not ever, forget the joy La Lupe brought to our lives. Very few can fill
her shoes.

Mia
Antonetty, Ponce, Puerto Rico

 

Liberty
Cabbage

Taki:
I was happy to see your article about the attack on the Liberty ("Top
Drawer," 5/2). I had feared your recent brush with the Israeli lobby spear
carriers was going to make you gun shy. Very happy to see you are still carrying
the flag and marching forward.

John
O’Kelly, East Williston, NY

 

You
Got the Silver

Taki
is correct in asserting the right to criticize Israel without being called an
anti-Semite ("Top Drawer," 5/2). Of course, Taki isn’t an anti-Semite
because he criticizes Israel. He’s an anti-Semite because he hates Jews.

Al
Silver, Manhattan

 

Cockburn
Rate

Alexander
Cockburn is as good as they come, and no mistake. I’ve been reading him ever
since he was putting one word after another at the Village Voice, a century
or two ago. You guys are lucky to have him in your helluva good paper.

Gene-Gabriel
Moore, Atlanta

 

Choice
Bits

"For
Democrats it’s almost their only winner, aside from choice."

Alexander
Cockburn ("Wild Justice," 4/25) said that.

What
is choice? Choice of low fat or fat free? Pink or white bath towels? What is the
world coming to when a normally gutsy guy like Cockburn starts using pussy euphemisms
and references Orwell all in the same essay?

You’re
better than that, Cockburn. I’m at least pretty sure of it.

John
Marlen, Upland, CA

 

Don,
Gone

You
axed Jonathan Kalb ("Theater," 5/2)? You axed the theater? The theater
remains a central ingredient in the cultural texture of New York. Your newspaper
is called New York Press–not the Cincinnati or Omaha Press.
Maybe you should move to one of those places and find out what it’s really
like to get bored.

In
the meantime, perhaps you should start appreciating the full spectrum of life
in New York, or change the name of your newspaper. And until you wake up, you
don’t need to print a copy of your paper for me every week.

Don
Christensen, Manhattan

 

Baby,
Please Don’t Go

I’m
sorry to see that you’ve decided to discontinue theater coverage, since that
was the primary reason why I read your paper.

John
Hagan, via Internet

 

Theater
of Pain

I
was shocked and dismayed to open your publication this afternoon and learn of
the imminent departure of theater critic Jonathan Kalb. His reviews are insightful,
and especially pertinent when compared with that art form’s puffed-up reputation
in publications like The New York Times. And, I may add, theater is experiencing
an unexpected high point right now. It’s not like it’s quickly dying
out; conversely, it is perhaps more popular than it has been in the last decade.

This
is just the latest and most maddening step you gentlemen have taken in making
New York Press exactly what it claims it is not–a meaningless fluff
publication. You used to have three great film critics who got almost an entire
page’s worth of space each week, and you responded by firing Godfrey Cheshire
and cutting Armond White’s and Matt Zoller Seitz’s spaces in half. Your
music section has dwindled as well, to the point where it is no longer readable
because former mainstays like George Tabb barely show up to write once a month.

I
find it odd and ironic that all of this is happening while you have been continuing
to attack the editors of Maxim ("Maxim Dudes: Q&A with
the Guys of Maxim," 11/1/00) and its offshoots ("Blender: Q&A
with the Editors of Felix Dennis’ New Music Magazine," 5/2). You point
your finger at them, claiming that they are fluff, and in those interviews you
dropped the names of several other magazines and papers that you feel are lacking
in quality. How can you say this while you continue to run your own publication
into the ground? I feel you often feature insightful media commentary and somewhat
interesting columns by regular writers, but none of it is worth printing when
you’re sacrificing your arts section, which, to be perfectly honest, is the
sole reason I began reading New York Press in the first place.

It
will probably come as no surprise to you that I am an arts critic who is forced
to work within the constraints of the ever-dwindling publishing market. At this
time, I’m working almost exclusively on the Internet, which now provides
the kind of space your paper used to. It is telling, though, that where I’m
currently writing is a publication that has infinitely more respect for the arts,
and writing about the arts, than New York Press currently does. I work
with a staff of nine people on a minimalist budget, and I am proud to say that
I am, in some small way, keeping an appreciation of the arts alive.

You
used to be able to claim that as well. Too bad you can’t anymore.

Chuck
Rudolph, film editor, Matinee magazine, Manhattan

 

The
editors reply: We wish Rudolph and his colleagues at Matinee magazine
the best of luck as they perpetuate Western Civilization.

 

Have
You Guys Met?

Okay,
now New York Press has really pissed me off. First, you shitcan Godfrey
Cheshire, an intelligent, perfectly respectable film critic, and now you kick
theater critic Jonathan Kalb to the curb, too. My heart sunk at his proclamation
that the editors feel theater is "boring" and not worthy of precious
space in the paper. This is a prime reason why so many once-great magazines and
newspapers around New York City have become trivial and bottom-feeding. In case
you haven’t noticed (and it doesn’t seem you have), theater is booming
right now, in terms of both revenue and quality, and being both a film and theater
critic myself, I would argue that I have been more fulfilled by the stage work
I’ve seen this year than by any film currently playing. Theater is a vital
art form, and New York represents the international center of it all. It
has existed for centuries, and to dump it because it doesn’t suit the needs
of the smug authorities (who manage a free weekly, no less) is a blow to the head
for all who continue to love it through its ups and downs.

I,
for one, would much rather read a review of, say, Urinetown! or the latest
production at BAM than have space wasted on sublime works of cinematic bliss such
as Josie and the Pussycats, Tomcats or any other spirit-crushing,
useless excuses for cinema that are clogging the multiplexes (though Armond White
and Matt Zoller Seitz continue to make such reviews bearable). Saying theater
is not "cool" enough to cover anymore is just another asinine reason
why New York seems to be losing its vitality by the day. This is a New York paper
and should report on events in New York! All those tourists don’t come here
just to wait for Carson Daly to wave at them outside of a 45th St. window, though
with the way things are going, it’s only a matter of time before your publication
begins touting TRL as the great invention of recent pop culture. Give people
options and variety, or before you know it music, books, art and, yes, even film,
may be become too "boring" for you to cover.

Jason
Clark, Matinee magazine, Manhattan

 

Needs
Ded

Please
let your readers know that despite many news reports to the contrary, convicted
Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh will not be executed. It’s his sentence
that will be executed, not him. One may execute an instruction (like a dance step
or a death sentence), but not a human being. Mr. McVeigh will be "put to
death" or "killed."

(I
take as my authority Ambrose Bierce’s indispensable little book, Write
It Right
, which should be a fixture on every journalist’s reference shelf.)

Keep
up the good work!

Bob
Riedel, Dansville, NY

 

Dorkness
Visible

I
know that Jim Knipfel is visually impaired and all, but I felt compelled as a
(slightly) more sighted individual to point out that his ramble through the underbelly
of 9th St. in Park Slope ("New York City," 5/2) was out of focus. It’s
true, the Slope’s beloved headshop ("Shop Therapy"–uggh) is
no more, gone in clouds of patchouli and Jeff Stryker Realistic Cock and Balls
sets. But in fact, it’s been replaced by a European-style pastry shoppe,
hard by the C-Town, the travel agency, El Viejo Yayo 2 "International Cuisine"
and the bank of pay phones where the local rummies shred vocal chords with bookies
and in-laws. Kinda gives a different spin to Knipfel’s article.

Meanwhile,
the Video Video Video store’s been there for years, happily renting PlayStation
games and Jackie Chan movies. The ride-on toys have been there, too. But I gotta
say, I never once noticed the private booths available. As I said, slightly more
sighted.

Mark
Schwartz, Brooklyn

 

Highway
to H.L.

As
much as I have always enjoyed your excellent newspaper, the experience has been
infinitely enhanced for a person severely inflicted with tensile challenge by
your very reader-friendly and printer-friendly new format. It is great to have
a whiff of Mencken/Nathan’s American Mercury, and you all do the job
so very well. Particularly in the swampy environs of the Sahara of the Beaux Arts.

Richard
E. Press, Boca Raton, FL

 

Right
On, Bro

Regarding
Russ Smith’s fan mail from the South, Midwest and Southwest, I have noticed
that these correspondents are usually excited and surprised that New York could
be the home of a right-wing paper. For example, one person wrote in the 5/2 "Mail":
"Really love your paper. Something fascinating about conservative opinion
emanating from New York City."

I’m
always touched by the naivete of these letter-writers, who imagine that New York
City is not only drowning in left-wingers, but that conservative ideology is somehow
against the law here. These writers, so impressed by Russ Smith’s horse sense,
seem to have been totally bamboozled by the myth of New York as a liberal paradise.

Haven’t
these people ever heard of The Wall Street Journal or Fox News, to name
the two most conservative major "news" outlets in the country? Or the
fact that the financial industry is here? Why, given how many rich people live
in New York, should it be shocking that their conservative views are aired?

It’s
my suspicion that these writers have simply been watching too much tv or otherwise
indulging their paranoia about cities and the people who live in them. That’s
why they think that Russ Smith is a radical speaker of truth when in fact he is
just saying the same reactionary stuff that every other rightist boob in the U.S.
says when they are mistaking a liberal journalist for society as a whole.

Seth
Barron, Manhattan

 

The
editors reply: It’s laying it on a bit thick to claim that our provincial
correspondents are "usually excited and surprised," isn’t it Seth?
We’d say more like
occasionally excited and surprised.


As for New York Press
being a "right-wing" paper:
New York Press is in fact a weekly
newspaper that carries some "right-wing" content, in addition to some
left-wing content, some mainstream liberal content and some content that’s
not easily assimilable to any of the simplistic political formulae that govern
the thinking of many "Mail" correspondents.

 

Blind
Curve

Can
someone please explain to me what the hell George Tabb’s anecdote "Blind
Bully Boy" ("Music," 4/18) has to do with music? If Mr. Tabb had
made some attempt at linking his story with the reviews that he tacked on at the
end of the article, there might have been some point to the exercise, though I’ll
be damned if I could guess what it might be.

Mind
you, I’m not stating that George doesn’t have the right to regale us
with such stories. I’m just questioning the validity of including such tales
under the heading of "Music." If I want to read about someone having
a crappy childhood or about the injustices of existence, I’ll read Jim Knipfel’s
"Slackjaw," thank you.

Paul
Riter, Bronx

 

Kerrey
on My Wayward Son

Christopher
Caldwell: You journalists are insufferable ("Hill of Beans," 5/2). So
Bob Kerrey was staying with his men, not taking medication, doing his job after
being severely wounded
because he had a death wish. Never got past
that part of your dissection of Kerrey.

Alexander
Cockburn: One minute you’re being a snob regarding Tennessee, Arkansas and
Oklahoma ("Wild Justice," 3/28) while praising a convicted murderer,
someone who committed the worst terrorist act in our history. And I’ll be
damned if the next you’re not condemning Bob Kerrey for killing some villagers
who may or may not have been preparing to kill him (5/2). And the next you’re
singing the praises of eating wild trout. On that I can agree. The rest of your
ugly remarks about Clinton and Lewinsky’s nose are repulsive and gratuitous.

But
I like it, naturally, when you call Bush dumb.

Helen
Weber, Oklahoma City

 

Hope-A-Dope

MUGGER:
I read your column (and have since last December, during the disputed presidential
election) with amazement and wonder, though often with anger. Why, you might ask,
since I totally disagree with your rabidly pro-Bush column, do I keep reading
you?

It is because
I keep hoping the scales will miraculously drop from your eyes and you will see
the truth: "My God! Bush wants to stop testing for salmonella in our school
lunch programs!" Or, "My God! Bush wants to drill for oil in ANWR though
there isn’t enough there to make a significant difference!" Or choose
one: build roads on protected lands, cut down all the trees, cut out protections
for labor, etc. Or, "My God! Bush wants to allow emissions to continue that
will increase global warming and ultimately put the whole East Coast under water!"

On almost any
subject, Dubya has shown himself to be not the compassionate conservative
he said he was during his campaign. Rather, he has shown himself to be a passionate
conservative. Could he be any further to the right?

It
is impossible for me to believe a man like yourself, who writes so well and who
is obviously very intelligent, could support these and other items on the Bush
agenda. So I keep hoping!

As
far as some of your other rantings are concerned, all I can say to you is, get
over it.

Ann
Irving, Manhattan

 

Torch
Song

MUGGER:
When you refer (5/2) to The New York Times crusade against Robert Torricelli,
you make mention of the fact that he’s a flashy dresser, implying there’s
some connection. I like this theory, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t
it. You’ll remember that Torricelli is one of the few Democrats to back some
kind of a tax cut. I think that’s the story behind Art Sulzberger’s
vendetta.

Justin
LeBlanc, Dallas

 

Wind
Shira

Alan
Cabal’s "Holiday in Beirut" (4/25) disgusted me on so many levels,
I don’t know where to begin. His assertion that Holocaust revisionism is
a legitimate academic exercise and that the slaughter of 11 million people is
an "antique atrocity" reveals his extraordinary intellectual and moral
laziness. His college-boy-on-spring-break attitude only makes his ignorance all
the more frightening.

He
is so smugly proud of his liberal cause of the moment, aligning himself with the
victimized Palestinian people. How nice it must be to be able to place everyone
into that nice role order of good guy-bad guy. Contrary to his article, the region
is not just one big party. People die every day, whether we’re talking about
a Palestinian child shot while throwing a rock or a 10-month-old Israeli infant
shot by a Palestinian sniper. Perhaps Mr. Cabal should bother to investigate the
results of Hezbollah’s "uprising" or visit the Israeli soldiers
who were kidnapped by them not long ago. What would he think then of his black-power
Hezbollah friends? Or perhaps he’d like to schedule his next drunken holiday
at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Shira
Melenson, Brooklyn

 

River,
Egypt

I’d
like please to set the record straight about all Mr. Cabal’s lies and rants,
both in his original "Holiday in Beirut" piece and in the 5/2 "Mail."
Regardless of what happened in Germany under Hitler, why wouldn’t you just
have the guts to admit you are a Holocaust denier once and for all, so we’ll
know fair and square who we’re dealing with?

The
massacres at Deir Yassin, Sabra, Shatila and Qana stand as sterling examples of
unbridled racism. Deir Yassin was denounced by most Israelis, and even the people
who performed it tried to present it as a mistake in wartime. This stands in contrast
to the Palestinians, who are such devoted racists that they teach their children
that it is a good thing to die while killing a Jew.

Racism
in the Middle East is the domain of the Arabs much more than of the Israelis.
Sabra and Shatila were performed by Arab Christians, who, Israel believed at the
time, were honest allies. This was also denounced by most Israelis and led to
an investigation and reprimand of many in the political arena and in the army–again,
in sharp contrast to the Hamas people, who bomb buses full of civilians and call
it Holy War. Racism is again on the side of your Arab friends.

Qana
happened when warriors (the Hezbollah guys in that case) hid behind civilians.
And as opposed to similar cases in Vietnam that have just surfaced, it happened
with mortar or Howitzer shells coming from a distance rather than because of soldiers
in the proximity of the killing. Had such soldiers been present there, it would
probably have ended with fewer killings.

"Apartheid
is racist and unacceptable, whether the perpetrators are Germans, Boers or Jews,"
Cabal writes in "The Mail" last week. But patently, the Palestinians
are not mentioned in that group. The racism here is Cabal’s: "‘I
don’t know’ doesn’t cast doubt on anything," he writes. Yes
it does! "Denying that Israel is racist is what I’d call Massacre Denial."
Well, he just either denied Israeli involvement (Sabra and Shatila) or showed
that most Israelis were against it.

Ze’ev
Atlas, Teaneck

 

His
Pot Connection’s Jewish

MUGGER:
Let me start with something positive: your column is absolutely fantastic. Great
style and terrific substance.

Okay,
now that the pleasantries are out of the way: Alan Cabal is a jerk. I didn’t
write regarding his original piece from Beirut. Its blatant Jew-hatred was too
insipid for words. But now I want to reply to his 5/2 reply to letter writers
who took issue with him. He seems to be losing his intellectual capacity as the
weeks progress, so I will write before total senility sets in.

Fact:
Deir Yassin was attacked by Irgunists who were retaliating for its residents’
participation in massacres of Jews trying to get supplies to a blockaded Jerusalem.
The number of people killed–combatants and not–was in the dozens or
hundreds. Horrible stuff, but pretty much a typical Wednesday in the present Algerian
civil war (why not do a piece on Arab massacres of Berbers; not sexy enough, huh?).
The Irgun purposely allowed the rest of the population (women, elderly and children)
to escape in order to spread the word that the Jews weren’t going to take
it anymore. Both sides exaggerated the body count because it served their purposes
(Jews wanted to scare the Arabs; Arab leaders wanted to scare the Arabs).

Fact:
Sabra and Shatila in 1982 was home to tens of thousands of Palestinians and their
sympathizers. Arab Christians went into the camps after their leader (the president-elect
of Lebanon, Bashir Gemayel) was murdered. The 800 or so who were killed (out of
the aforementioned tens of thousands) were a combination of known PLO members
and the unfortunates who got in front of crazed Arab killers. This is what is
known in the world of civil wars as "retaliation." America, Britain,
France and other "nice" countries have done it (remember hearing about
the firebombings of Dresden and Tokyo in WWII?). The Israelis merely stood by
and let them in.

This
lead to a national soul-searching and the start of the Israeli peace movement.
No massacre of innocent Jews has ever led to an Arab peace movement. Elie Hobeika,
the Arab Christian who commanded the Phalangist militia during the atrocity, is
now a minister in the Syrian-approved Lebanese government. Not much talk about
him, is there?

Fact:
Qana, Lebanon, was hit by Israeli artillery (under that feared Jewish warlord
and Arafat crony, Shimon Peres) because Hezbollah guerrillas were using it as
a base for their rocket attacks on Israel. Stray bombs landed in the camp. UNIFIL
troops confirmed this (though they condemned Israel’s counterattacks on principle).

Cabal’s
comparisons of Israel with the Nazis, who systematically hoarded Jews and others
into camps and ghettos for their mass extermination, is obscene. If you are going
to hate Jews, at least get your facts straight.

Barry
Schechter, Manhattan

 

Alan
Cabal replies: To Melenson: Stalin killed more innocent people than Hitler,
and Mao made Stalin look like an amateur. Where’s your passion when it comes
to
those antique atrocities? Where’s the memorial to those
victims? Seen any movies about the gulags or Stalin’s engineered famine?
Interesting how you cite the "Pa

..