Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality

Letters from reputable publications

I don’t know where these are from, but I clipped them a long time ago, and I think they’re just as insightful now as they were then, even if Netanyahu isn’t the leader of Israel any more.

Criticism of Netanyahu is not anti-Semitic
As an American Jew, I take profound offense at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt (“Netanyahu asks to be understood,” Page 1, Oct.9) to link criticism of his government’s brutal and self-aggrandizing policy toward the Palestinians to historic “incitement of falsehoods depicting Jews as the enemy of mankind . . . poisoners of the well.” To be sure, anti-Semitism continues to exist in the world; in Europe, if not in America, it is clearly growing stronger. That in no way justifies Israel’s reneging on signed peace accords, blowing up Palestinian houses or killing demonstrating children.

That a government guilty of such offenses is condemned by public opinion throughout the world need not reflect anti-Semitism. More plausibly, it reflects a simple sense of justice. At best, Netanyahu speaks for only half of Israeli Jews. The future of Israel, and the struggle against anti-Semitism, would be served by forthright condemnation of policies which cannot be decently defended.

Leon Kamin

Are Gay Men Born that Way?
Even if homosexuality is determined to have a physiological origin [Science, Sept.9], why should homosexual practices be any more accepted than alcoholism, drug dependency, eating disorders or any of a host of other aberrant manifestations that may also be rooted in physiology? All of these practices, including homosexuality, should be handled the same way: with respect for the humanity of the individual and with treatment for and discouragement of the behavior.

Genevieve Cochran
Medford, Oregon

So what if gay men are born that way? A straight society will still discriminate against them, just as a white society discriminates against nonwhites. Gay men may have small hypothalamic nuclei. That’s not the problem. Too many straight people have small hearts. That’s the problem.

Steve Swayne
Oakland, California

I see no benefit in knowing the reason for sexual orientation. Is the implication that if there is no physiological cause, gay people do not deserve legal protection? Whether people choose to be gay or are physiologically gay is a moot point politically. People who practice religion choose to do so, and yet no one would deny them political and legal protection.

Thomas Foster
Oda, Japan

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