Letters to the Editor: October 6 – 12, 2011

Citizen Concern For Opening of New Gun Store


As one of your readers I am always thankful for the News-Press information on current business developments in our city. This is to bring attention to a recent happening your reporters may have missed.

The City of Falls Church, which prides itself on its family values, its excellent public and private schools, its highly literate citizens, and its remarkable public Library, is now confronting a different situation. A newly installed sign in front of Bedo’s Leather Shop in the 400 block of West Broad announces the imminent arrival of NOVA, a gun store, “the only one inside the Beltway,” as the sign proclaims. I am told that this represents a relocation and expansion of a pre-existing business formerly located in an older and less developed section of Broad Street.
I am certain that those who vigorously opposed the proposal to build a hotel a few yards from the St. James private school playgrounds would be interested in this relocation, since the shop would be less than a mile from their school.

Those diners and drinkers who frequent the growing number of nearby restaurants and pubs, those residents in the rapidly escalating number of high-rise condominiums and apartments, and those parents of children who frequent the Mary Stiles Riley – all can now be comforted in the knowledge that any one will be able to purchase arms just a short walk away. And our own Bedo’s leather shop will provide a new service for its customers: they will be able to fill their leather holsters with pistols and to sling rifles across their leather motorcycle packs. Now our cherished “Little City of Falls Church,” the one with flowers etched around its U.S. Post Office, will provide its denizens with the means to defend themselves against banditos, black bears, and other interlopers who might threaten its peace.

Is it now time for our civic leaders to re-examine the City Charter regarding acceptable business development in the Little City of Falls Church?

Alice S. Mandanis

Falls Church



Takes Issue With Coverage Given to Helen Thomas


I feel the need to respond to the three stories related to Helen Thomas in your most recent edition, as well as the column of Ms. Thomas herself. It is all very well and good to reflect on Ms. Thomas’ past contributions to journalism, and she may very well be a nice person to her friends, but the plain fact remains that she is also an unapologetic Jew hater. She has not simply questioned Israeli policy; she has indicated quite plainly that she cares not a fig for Israeli lives or Jewish lives and would like Israel to disappear. That is not journalistic integrity; it is bigotry with a printed platform, which your paper is providing to her on a weekly basis.

It is impossible for me to take Helen Thomas at all seriously now. Even when she says something I might agree with, I have to question my agreement now that I am aware of her intense hatred for me and my fellow Jews. Do you as human beings not understand this? Would you give Lester Maddox his own column? Would you have given George Lincoln Rockwell his own column? How I or anybody else is supposed to take the Falls Church News-Press for a serious publication when you have this bigot as one of your columnists?

Last week’s guest commentator, Christine Tatum, may also want to reconsider her reliance on John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt as sources, considering their recent laudatory article on a writer who was trying to revive the old “Christian baby’s blood” story, among other medieval superstitions about Jews. Their motivations in writing are quite clear now and I would not want to rely on them. It is quite obvious that Ms. Tatum did no follow-up research on them before she quoted them.

Ultimately, you are allowing your paper to fall into a long historical line of anti-Jewish propaganda that goes back centuries. It is rather pathetic, and certainly not the path we would like to see you go down. If you want to provide a sinecure to a bigot, go ahead. But don’t try to pretend you are battling for journalistic integrity or freedom of speech.

Eric S. Weiner


(Editor replies – We strongly disagree with the characterization of Ms. Thomas in this letter.)


Decries Claim by Turkish Leader in Benton’s Column


Shame on you. In Nicholas Benton’s column last week, not only did he repeat false information stated by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, but created and spread falsehoods of his own.
He stated: “Erdogan questioned Israeli claims of atrocities allegedly perpetrated by the Palestinians.” How can you, as a “journalist,” make such an irresponsible statement describing these facts as “claims” or “allegations” when the incidents of shootings, car bombings, “suicide” bombings, and deaths by mortar/rocket fire against Israelis are extremely well documented?
To jog Benton’s memory: Munich massacre, the Ma’alot massacre, the suicide bomber in a Tel Aviv disco; the suicide bombing at a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem.

Since you mistakenly refer to these as “Israeli claims,” note that, Hamas has claimed responsibility for numerous atrocities, including: suicide and car bombs on a pedestrian mall in Jerusalem; a suicide bombing on a Haifa bus; a suicide bombing at the Moment Café in Jerusalem and at a Passover Seder in Park Hotel, Netanya.

The Islamic Jihad and Fatah Al-Aqsa Brigade have also claimed numerous atrocities including and just six weeks ago, terrorists attacked Israeli buses, killing seven and wounding scores more.

Benton quotes Mr. Erdogan’s statement, not only questioning how many Israelis have been killed and falsely minimizing Israeli deaths at “10, 20, 100, 200”, but stating “there is no doubt that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been killed by Israelis.” First, it is pernicious to minimize the suffering on both sides of this conflict by comparing the numbers killed and injured. Nonetheless, the “hundreds of thousands” number is ridiculous. The pro-Palestinian web site, www.ifamericansknew.org, reports 6,430 Palestinian deaths since Sept. 2000. Mr. Benton, it would have taken you only a few minutes to check this “fact”. We rely on journalists not to repeat lies as facts.

Finally, he repeats Mr. Erdogan’s lie that “Muslims have never exerted cruelty on Israelis”, without comment on your part. Please see above for just a few examples of that cruelty.
Winston Churchill said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” Shame on you, Mr. Benton, for assisting lies to get around the world without any effort on your part to find out and print the truth.

Lynn Fletcher

Falls Church


Says Tatum’s Commentary Was ‘Flawed, Incorrect’


The arguments of Christine Tatum in supporting Helen Thomas in last week’s guest commentary would be passed off as nonsense, if her reasoning wasn’t so flawed and incorrect.
Helen Thomas is an anti-Semite, whose Jew-baiting written articles and speeches are a testament to her bias. The Society of Professional Journalists were courageous in removing Thomas’ name from the award. To not do so, would be morally reprehensible.

It is indeed unfortunate that, once again, certain “journalists” trot out the Freedom of Speech argument in defense of colleagues who do not write the truth, but rather engage in slander and lies.
Perhaps Ms. Tatum and her allies ought to be more concerned with the stunningly terrible writing and thought that permeates modern journalism, then protecting the reputation of someone who represents the worst of their profession.

Howard Metzger

Baldwin, NY

Claims ‘Actual Truth’ Contrary to FCNP Commentaries


Did I miss something on my calendar or was last week our first annual Falls Church Anti-Semite Celebration. With Mr. Benton’s article in favor of allowing Palestine into the U. N. alongside of Helen Thomas’s article on a similar topic both which present incorrect and inflammatory facts about the Israeli/Palestinian history, I assumed that our “Little City” had become our “Little Mein Kampf”.

I realize that an editorial page is designed to allow “journalists” to present their views on a variety of topics, however I would hope that there would be a modicum of responsibility to present the actual truth and then let readers decide if they agree or disagree with the author. But not so.

Mr. Benton’s and Ms. Thomas’s writing style reminds me of the character, Martini in “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest,” they like to cheat.

The long history of discord between Israel and Palestine goes so far back that even President Obama can’t blame Bush for that problem. More importantly it is disingenuous for these “journalists” to try and view the problem through the prism of the freedom flotilla or falsely stating that Zionism began in the 19th century, and with that creation came atrocities on the Palestinians by the Jews. Read the history Mr. Benton and Ms Thomas, these “innocent” Palestinian peoples are not quite what you would like your readers to believe. Hamas is a terrorist organization and they don’t belong in the U.N., they belong in a Stalag along with your comparisons to the Nazi genocide.

As to the Turkish Prime Minister’s claim that there are no accurate statistics to support Israel’s accusation of Palestinian atrocities, it was far more impressive that the Prime Minister’s could cite hard facts concerning the Israeli cruelties when he said “there is no doubt that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli’s.” I put his question back to him, Can they document this? Hardly.

It is no secret that liberals do not care for the Jewish people and this is front and center in the last News-Press. What makes this country so great is that you can hate whoever you want and hate as you will, but at least have the nerve to tell the truth after you tell us you hate these people.

Charlie FitzGerald

Falls Church

(Editor replies – We strongly disagree that hatred of any particular people had anything to do with Mr. Benton’s column)


Disputes Claim of Area’s New Construction Focus


I read in last week’s Our Man in Arlington column that “Ninety-six percent of northern Virginia office construction is taking place in Arlington” and felt that such a wildly erroneous claim bears comment. At present, there is almost 3.2 million square feet of office space under construction right now in northern Virginia. About 42 percent (1.3 million square feet) of it is going up in Arlington, while about 57 percent (1.8 million square feet) of it is going up in Fairfax County.

The companion comment in the article to the effect that Arlington County “ate Fairfax County’s lunch” when it comes to office construction and rentals is equally inaccurate. Perhaps a check of the facts is in order before printing such misinformation.

Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D.

President and CEO, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority


Letters to the Editor may be submitted to letters@fcnp.com or via our online form here. Letters should be limited to 350 words and may be edited for content, clarity and length. To view the FCNP’s letter and submission policy, please click here.