Letters to the editor July 23

Letters to the editor July 23

Double standard

It would be hilarious were it not so serious that the Palestinian Authority finds allegations against it aired in the Arabic media to be “incitement,” and then able to act immediately to shut down the media. This is now clearly the case, even when the media outlet in question is Al Jazeera, the most popular cable network in the P.A. and throughout much of the Arab and Muslim worlds.
(Al-Jazeera was shut down on Abbas’ orders for committing “incitement” after it aired comments on July 14 by senior Fatah member and PLO foreign minister Farouk Kaddoumi who accused Abbas personally of involvement in an alleged plot to kill Yasser Arafat.)
Conversely, when the P.A.-controlled media broadcasts toxic and vile anti-Jewish and pro-terror propaganda, the P.A., which is committed under several agreements to outlaw such media, does nothing and permits it to continue in sowing poisonous seeds of hatred throughout Palestinian society.
For years, apologists for Abbas, the P.A. and the Palestinians generally have often used the argument that the P.A. is too weak to enforce its own commitments to end incitement or risk a confrontation with Palestinian society over the issue. Yet, however weak the P.A. may be, it is evidently well up to the task of shuttering media outlets that merely air allegations against the P.A. Yet, when it comes to its own controlled media, we are apparently expected to believe that it lacks the power to control what is broadcast.
The absurd and provably false apologia and indulgence for continuing Palestinian incitement to hatred and murder against Israel and Jews must end, both because it is a poisonous phenomenon in itself, which fuels terrorism and conflict, and because it is a basic P.A. obligation under signed agreements. Until this occurs, there should be no negotiations or even talk of rewards or concessions to the P.A.
Morton Klein
New York
(The author is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America.)

Support for arts urged

I urge [our state representatives] to vote for a Pennsylvania budget bill for FY 09-10 that includes $14 million for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants to arts organizations.
As an individual artist, this cut will have profound impact on my professional and personal life. If the PCA is taken away, this will leave individual artists with zero sources of public grant money.
As a professional artist, I want to see Pennsylvania both support the arts for those practicing today, but also to grow young artists within the borders of the state.
As someone who went through the Pittsburgh Public Schools program, received a scholarship to attend the Saturday Art Connection Classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and then CMU Pre-College Classes, The Pennsylvania Governor’s School of the Arts (already eliminated for this summer), and countless museum, gallery, and community art programs while growing up, I can personally attest to how important supporting the arts is to a young person.  I am successfully exhibiting nationally and internationally and chose to return to Pennsylvania to grow my career as a professional artist.
State support of nonprofit arts organizations is vital to preserving our rich cultural heritage but also important in creating a healthy economy in Pennsylvania.  In a recent economic study done by Americans for the Arts, nonprofit arts organizations pump approximately $1 billion into the annual economy and create over 36,000 full-time equivalent jobs. The people who have these jobs pay taxes, support a family, make purchases in their communities just like other workers in Pennsylvania.

Lori Hepner
Brighton Heights