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No Double Standards A Seder Worth
On Civilian Casualties Remembering
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It occurred to me that if there is an
opening for a position in our State
Department, it should be offered
to the Iraqi Information Minister
Saeed Al-Sahhaf, whose grasp on
reality is such that, with American
tanks yards away, he kept insisting
that no U.S. troops entered
Should this proposal appear to
be too outrageous, please consider
this: The recent human rights
report released by the State
Department censured Israel for
carrying out targeted killings in
"crowded areas when civilian casu-
alties were likely, killing 25
bystanders, including 13 children."
This condemnation- disregarded the
fact that Israel fights for its very
existence and that, proportionately
to its population, it sustained ter-
ror deaths 10 times the number of
victims in the 2001 World Trade
Center attac in New York City.
One would assume that such
righteous indignation of our State
Department, expressed without
regard to any extenuating circum-
stances, would be equally applica-
ble in other cases of attempted
seizure or targeted killings, e.g. the
many civilians who died in our
capture of (Manuel) Noriega (for-
mer president of Panama) or in
carpet bombing of any site in
which we suspected Osama Bin
Ladin might be hiding. Moreover,
I don't think that anybody will
provide the body count of women
and children who perished in our
recent attempts to "decapitate"
Iraq's Sadam Hussein.
Although in all of the above
instances the survival of the United
States was not in the least jeopard-
ized, the civilian casualties are con-
sidered to be regrettable but
unavoidable victims of military
In my opinion, this dissimilar
treatment comes under the rubric
of cognitive dissonance. Otherwise,
I would have to conclude that
either Foggy Bottom is mired in a
moral fog, or that its hypocrisy is a
cynical attempt to please certain
countries that we recently antago-
nized, by a showing of "even-hand-
edness" regardless of its merits.
The Women's Campaign and Education
Department of the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit went above,
beyond and then some this year.
In coordination with Rabbi Lauren
Berkun, this year's Women's Seder was
Not only were women brought to the
forefront of the traditional seder, but it
was done with a "chocolate flair." Seder
plates were updated to include charoset
mixed with chocolate chips and a choco-
late drink and dip, which symbolized the
mud used to mix with charoset. Hot
Tamales candy was substituted for the
traditional horseradish, which represents
the bitter herbs. When you ate the can-
dies, tears came to your eyes. This had a
two-fold meaning, the traditional
remembering of the suffering of our
ancestors and the reminder of the suffer-
ing going on now in the Middle Fast.
The shank bone-shaped cookie was cov-
ered with, what else, chocolate.
The hard work and countless days and
hours that went into preparing this seder
paid off in more ways than one. I was
there with my mother-in-law, who was
raised with an Orthodox background. I
was a little concerned about the modern-
ization effect, but happily, she embraced
the change. My 14-year-old daughter,
Alyssa, left with such a wonderful feeling
that she asked if we could make this our
tradition for the years to come.
Unfortunately, my 16-year-old daugh-
ter, Carley, was sick and not able to
attend. But I have a feeling that she will
be there next year.
It was really an incredible experience
and the best part was that I shared this
night with the ones I love.
I believe that the People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals would rather
shock than try to win friends and influ-
ence people ("PETA's Holocaust
Blunder," March 14, page 34).
It is almost unbelievable how far they
have taken their demented comparison of
Holocaust victims to pigs and chickens.
I find this campaign too sick — and
unnecessary to make their point.