From `Bomb Them' To `I Want Proof'
U.S. Jews speak out on a possible war with Iraq.
New York City/JTA
hen asked about a possible United
States war on Iraq, Rabbi Alter
Goldstein of Ann Arbor says it's about
"One of the greatest mistakes we made when we
went into Iraq the first time was that we didn't take
care of business," said Rabbi Goldstein. "By chang-
ing the regime in Iraq, Israel and the world will be
A bit more severe in her tactics, Marcy Pepper of
Pittsburgh said, "Bomb them." Referring to Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein, she said, "Get rid of
him. The Israelis should have done it already."
Sharon Muskin of Cleveland said she hopes that,
if attacked, "Israel would fight back with everything
in its arsenal" and not stand by, as it did during the
1991 Gulf War under strong pressure from the U.S.
While some Jews in this country see going to war
with Iraq as an American issue, with few particularly
Jewish aspects, others believe such military action is
likely to have ramifications for both the U.S. and
Raymond Schwartz of Louisville, Ky., isn't so sure
about war. He believes President George W. Bush
hasn't clearly made the case for military action
against Saddam. But he's worried about an Iraqi
retaliation on Israel — and he's not alone.
"I have a daughter and grandchildren living in
Beit Shemesh, Israel, so I am very concerned and
very worried," said Margot Gardner of Bloomfield
Rachael Hirsch, 21, of Pittsburgh fears for the
safety of her four sisters living in Israel and her
brother, who is about to join the Israeli army.
A recent visitor to the University of Michigan
campus in Ann Arbor, Hirsch said she was confront-
ed on an American bus by a man who guessed her
"I was verbally attacked and elbowed by someone
who said I was anti-Iraq," Hirsch said. 'A man came
up to my friends and me and told us to go back to
"We have to go after Saddam," said Gardner of
Bloomfield Hills. "Look at history. We have to stop
dictators like him who don't value human life — not
even that of his own people."
Californian Fereshteh Rochel expressed some
"We should fight Saddam, but not the Iraqi peo-
ple," she said. "Look at Afghanistan: We bombed
the people but didn't get [al-Qaida leader] Osama
Schwartz is nervous about long-term U.S. involve-
ment in another country.
"We haven't done such a great job in Afghanistan
in that respect. Do yOu think we'll do better in
Iraq?" he asked.
Mitzi Gollman of Lyndhurst, Ohio, is emphatic
that the U.S. needs more information about the
Iraqi threat before taking military action.
"I don't give Bush solo permission to go against
Iraq," Gollman said. "I want proof of Hussein's
weapons," she said.
Although Israeli-born Eddy Barak of West
Bloomfield thinks attacking Iraq is a decision to be
made by the president, he feels more information on
the location of weapons of mass destruction is need-
ed to be able to justify the attack.
"The U.S. should not tell Israel to stay put in case
Iraq sends Scud missiles on Israeli targets," Barak
said. "Israel should have a free hand to defend itself.
If anything, the U.S. should involve the Israeli spe-
cial forces in operations behind enemy lines to hunt
for the missile launchers and destroy them."
Some, like Gollman, are concerned not only about
the potential loss of American soldiers during an
Iraqi invasion, but also about the massive amounts
of money the U.S. government would have to spend
win military actions.
"The economy is already in the toilet," she said.
"People on fixed incomes are really having a hard
Danny Morris, 17, of Omaha is also worried
about the affect of war on the already weak econo-
my. "We might have to raise taxes to pay for war
and pay for the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure,"
Last Resort War
Whether the Jewish community should speak up for
or against war is also open for debate.
After remaining relatively silent on the issue, the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish
Organizations issued a statement over the weekend
IRAQ on page 33
War And Peace •
As the United States prepares for a possible invasion,
U.S. Jews — like other Americans — are weighing
issues of war and peace.
A majority of Jews interviewed across the country
appear to support a U.S. invasion, especially if all
other options are exhausted. Others are skeptical
that the Bush administration has done all it can to
One thing is certain: U.S. Jews have strong opin-
ions on the matter.
"This guy, Saddam Hussein, is so crazy, someone
has to stop him," said Bijan Fereydouny of Los
Clockwise from top left: Margot Gardner of
Bloomfield Hills, Rabbi Alter Goldstein of
Ann Arbor, Eddy Barak of West Bloomfield,
Ari Saks of New York, Daniel Aghion, a
U-M student from Boston.