By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Of the 57 critics chosen to participate in "Take 3: The Third Annual Village Voice Film Critics' Poll" [January 8], only nineor as many as 12 if I've misjudged some first namesare women. This figure is shocking, and a gross misrepresentation of women in this city who are professional film critics and write about film regularly.
Those responsible for this selection have been spending too much time in the dark.
Film Editor Dennis Lim replies: As J. Hoberman explained in his introduction, participating critics were drawn mainly from alternative weeklies, online publications, and film journals nationwideand were not meant to represent the city's "professional film critics." (The New York Film Critics Circle, an organization that actually does represent the city's professional film critics, has a smaller percentage of women members than our survey.) It's also misguided to assume that the demographic of the writers invited corresponds exactly to those who voted.
OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS
The headline for Sylvana Foa's "Open Letter From Israel to American Tourists" [January 8] asks: "Where the Hell Are You?" We are not in Israel, she writes, showing "solidarity" with the Jewish state. She is right about that.
I am an American Jew who has visited Israel a dozen times over the past 16 years. I am not going again until Israel announces that it is leaving the West Bank and Gaza and dismantling the settlements. I am not going for precisely the reason that my parents boycotted Franco's Spain and for the reason I would not have visited South Africa under apartheid. I do not want to send a message of American Jewish solidarity. I want to send precisely the opposite message. Every empty hotel room is a reminder to Israel to get serious about peace.
Sylvana Foa appeals to Americans to visit Israel to help relieve the 9.4 percent unemployment rate there, and to support the state of Israel. If American tourists are needed to relieve Israel's 9.4 percent unemployment rate, how much more must they be needed on the West Bank and in Gaza where, as a result of Israeli rule, the unemployment rate is 50 percent?
As for supporting Israel, Foa seems to be aware of the answer to her own question. Israel's treatment of Palestinians is as much a turnoff as was the apartheid rule of South Africa. Under Israel's policy, Palestinians are effectively barred at army checkpoints from "touring" their own country.
Theodore W. Allen
Sylvana Foa's "Open Letter From Israel to American Jewish Tourists" was interesting, but cry on the shoulder of someone who wants to hear it. New York City is staggering along too, and we are dealing with it the best we can. I sure as hell won't go to Israel anytime soon. I may be safer on their airlines, but that is about it. Being lucid and making wise decisions about personal safety is not cowardly or unpatriotic. Neither is deciding not to run up credit card debt to combat terrorism.
Thank you so much for Alisa Solomon's informative article on U.S. aid to Israel and the movement among Jewish and Palestinian American groups to stop or condition military aid upon ending Israel's illegal occupation ["Stop American Billions for Israeli Bombs," January 1]. As an American Jew, I appreciate your efforts to educate Americans about our complicity as U.S. taxpayers in supporting this "spirit-killing" (in Phyllis Bennis's words) occupation. When we can convince our legislators to pressure Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders, evacuate settlements, share Jerusalem, and make accommodations for some Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and for others to be compensated, then and only then will Israel and Palestine know real security and peaceand only then, as progressive American Jews, will we realize a significant step in our Tikkun Olam, or healing of the world.
Alisa Solomon lives in a country the vast majority of which by treaty belongs to the Native Americans and to which she has no historic ancestral claim. She is part of an occupation forcea Western imperialist colonization. This may not seem to be the immediate problem that Ms. Solomon is so angered by in Israel, because here we have nearly wiped out the Native American tribes.
Ms. Solomon is upset by Israelis who, unlike her, actually have an ancestral claim to land on which they are living, and legitimate reasonsof self-preservationfor their "treatment" of Palestinians, as opposed to the greed that has led us to decimate the Native Americans.
Alisa, I demand that you end your occupation of native lands! Out now! End the occupation!
Long Island City
"The building of homes (i.e., Jewish settlements)" is not a "terrorist act" [letter, Mark Lavine, January 1]? The brutal and bloody theft of an occupied, oppressed people's land and the attempted liquidation of their sovereignty, nationhood, and very national identity is not terroristic?
To the contrary, what could be more terroristic? The Jewish people, with their own long history of persecution and oppression, ought to recognize this racist, persecutory ploy for what it is and thoroughly repudiate the colonialist, expansionist scheme of war criminal Sharon and his complicitous U.S. backers.