Regarding the Dec. 6 article "From churches, a challenge to Israeli policies": The Presbyterian Church is to be commended for its courageous vote to divest from businesses that profit from or contribute to the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine. An international divestment campaign was one of the major reasons that South Africa decided to abandon its racist apartheid policies.
Israel is currently affected little by international disapproval of its apartheid-style policies toward its Palestinian citizens. Divestment is an ethical and effective method of pressuring Israel to comply with international human rights standards. Many other churches, cities, and universities should join the divestment campaign.
Donna M. Joss
The proposal of divestment is one-sided and simplistic. It will not help the peace process. On the contrary, it serves only to convince Israel and Jews around the world that we are alone in an international community that has no concern with our continued existence.
The international community is looking for an easy scapegoat to blame for its guilt and powerlessness at not doing more to stop terrorism and repetitive genocides.
If the Presbyterian Church supports punishing a country for fighting terrorists who think nothing of killing innocent people (including children) - the way it is punishing Israel for defending itself against Palestinian terrorism - then it should divest itself from American companies to punish the US for defending itself against Al Qaeda. There is no difference.
Do the churches in this article believe the Bible is relevant today? Where does it sanction hate, ethnic cleansing, or ethnic preferences? "Peace on earth" has to mean all people living together peacefully, with equal rights. No one has to be sacrificed for the benefit of someone else. The Bible teaches how this can be achieved - by working honestly, unselfishly, and fearlessly to "love your neighbor as yourself" and to live the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. Doing so enables all God-loving individuals plenty of opportunities to demonstrate that the goodness of peace is meant to be shared and experienced by all, for all. No exceptions.
Kansas City, Mo.
The Dec. 6 article, "What Japanese women want: a Western husband," failed to mention that many, if not most Japanese women are romanticizing the idea of mixed marriage. The idea of marrying or having a Western partner is often similar to having an expensive name-brand party bag in your hand. Some want Western partners just to show off.
Living in the US and married to a Japanese woman who works for a Japanese government ministry, I've seen many marriages between Japanese women and American men fail simply because some of those Japanese women who are seeking to marry Westerners do not actually want to marry Westerners. Instead, they just want to live in the US or other western countries.
Finally, it is true that there are Japanese men who are still sticking to old-fashioned ideas about marriage. But there is certainly a generation gap. Members of younger generations of Japanese men, including me, have no problem being equal partners with their wives.
Overall, the article successfully explained one aspect of the issue but failed to depict the whole picture.
New Haven, Conn.
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