October 20, 2003

Let G-D Sort ’em Out
Regarding Craig Horowitz’s “Israel’s Christian Soldiers” [September 29]: In the Evangelical Christian master plan, a world war must precede the Second Coming of Christ. This is why the Evangelicals support the most belligerent proposals of the Israeli right. They could care less how many Jews or Arabs die in this war, since they’re all literally going to hell anyway.
—Elliot Lang, Manhattan

Better All The Time
Craig Horowitz claims that some Israelis welcome support from the Christian right because “Israel’s situation has worsened” since 1980. I disagree. Though Palestinian terrorism is certainly worse than ever, overall Israel’s strategic situation is far better than it was then. At that time, Saddam Hussein was developing the Osirak nuclear facility (destroyed by Israel a year later), and today Iraq poses no military threat at all. And the threat from Syria, Israel’s other main enemy, has also been reduced, as Syria no longer receives significant military aid from Russia. In any case, Israel now possesses vast military superiority over the Arabs. And while Israel is now in a deep recession, its per capita income is far higher today than it was in 1980, even as many other Middle Eastern states remain mired in Third World economic conditions.
—Joseph Schick, Flushing

My Kingdom Come
Those who are wary of Evangelical Christian supporters of Israel because they are suspected of wanting to convert Jews should read Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans (chapter 11). Christians are theologically motivated, as Christians, to want Jews to accept Jesus. The religions are not symmetrical on this point. The Church has always advocated persuasion, not force, and offers Jews a special role in a Christian understanding of a divine plan that is not subject to a Jewish veto.
—Ivan G. Marcus, New Rochelle, N.Y.

Simple Solution
As a Muslim married to a Jew, I cannot fathom why Israeli extremists like Binyamin Elon seek to curry favor with Tom DeLay and others of the Christian right. The real solution to the situation is to disarm Palestinian extremists and remove all the Israeli settlements.
—Jahangir Rahman, Manhattan

Southern Discomfort
Having grown up in the South, I view Mr. Horowitz’s article about the purported love affair between Bible-thumping U.S. Evangelists and the state of Israel with skepticism and some fright. Maybe things have changed dramatically since I was a kid in Texas, but back then the oft-stated reason why Southern Baptists and other fundamentalists so mistrusted Jews was that “the Jews killed Christ.” They (and Catholics too) were condemned to a Christian hell. Such a turnabout in belief just doesn’t seem credible.
—Claude M. Gruener, Austin, Tex.

No-Hit Wonder
Finally! After all these years, someone—New York writer Mark Jacobson, that is—had the courage to claim that Yoko Ono’s “Plastic Ono Band material has aged better than much of the later Beatles catalogue” [“Rock This Town: Life With John,” September 29]. How right he is! After all, who really appreciates such later Beatles throwaways as the White Album or Abbey Road? They simply pale in comparison to Yoko’s unforgettable classics such as … uh, well, uh…just give me a few minutes here.
—Steven R. Rosenblatt, Manhattan

Twin Pique
In her capsule review of my book and exhibition of photographs, Twins, Karen Rosenberg makes it sound as if Diane Arbus and I are the only ones who have ever photographed twins. In fact, many photographers, such as August Sander, Louis Faurer, and Harvey Stein, have been interested in twins. Each of them photographed twins in a unique way with fine results, and I respect them all. I chose to do my Twins book with a twenty-by-twenty camera in a studio, which was my unique way of seeing the differences and likenesses of being a twin.

By suggesting that Diane Arbus and I “might share a bit of DNA,” Ms. Rosenberg is in essence questioning all of my work, my creativity, and my motivation as an artist. Diane Arbus and I do have one thing in common: We are both women. I wonder-if I were a man, would Ms. Rosenberg have felt the need to compare me with anyone?
—Mary Ellen Mark, Manhattan

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October 20, 2003