As I flipped through the fall issue of the magazine, I was struck by the paucity of photos of women—so struck that I ended up counting the number of men and women in the photos throughout. My count: 20 photos of men, three photos of women, two photos showing both men and women, and one photo of a dead female. Johns Hopkins University has had female students since its inception, and all of its schools were coed by the 1970s. Although female faculty were rare until recently, they have racked up a lot of accomplishments. What's with the magazine? Do you think that prospective students and faculty won't notice this imbalance and that the women and girls among them won't be turned off?
Elizabeth Corwin, SAIS '82 (Cert), A&S '83 Tampa, Florida
The fall 2015 issue gave room to a tendentious and bigoted anti-Israel letter ["Past Time," Dialogue, Fall]. The letter writer, Ray Gordon, has a history of using tangential news items as an excuse to write letters against Israel. The Johns Hopkins Magazine letter is typical. It refers to a story on German reconciliation ["From Ashes to Amity," Summer 2015] in a way that identifies Israel with Nazis, then goes on in an inflammatory manner—using words like "massacre" and "atrocity"—to characterize the tragedy, for all parties, of the 2014 war in Gaza. There was no reconciliation in this letter. I would have thought that "the best university magazine in the country" would take more editorial care in its choice of letters to publish.
Michael Edidin Baltimore
I was appalled and outraged that you printed Ray Gordon's anti-Semitic screed "Past Time" in the fall issue. Mr. Gordon needs to be reminded that in 1948 the tiny new state of Israel was voted into existence by the member nations of the United Nations and was then immediately attacked by five Arab armies. The territories it won defending itself against these hugely superior forces were held according to international law regarding wars of defense against invaders. Regardless of how Mr. Gordon would like to rewrite history, Israel is the Jewish people's ancestral homeland, and it gives citizenship to its Arab inhabitants. The "oppression" he cites is directly related to how they pay back the only democratic state in the Middle East: with deadly rock throwing, bombs, knifings, car ramming, suicide attacks, kidnappings, and the like. The Palestinians who prefer to impoverish themselves building tunnels from which to attack Israel rather than accepting the territories Israel has already given back to them in the hopes of peace have only themselves and their terrorist, war-fixated leaders to blame for the fact that things get worse and worse. Peace was offered; they refuse to accept because of their "honor" and impossible demands. Should Israel accede to giving back even more territory than it has, the United States might as well be prepared to give back our entire country to the Native Americans who were here when we came—a situation never before required of any country. Should the Palestinians ever decide to negotiate in good faith, perhaps there will be peace. Israel must be treated as any other country and not be expected to suffer constant attacks without retaliating.
Judy Chernak Pikesville, Maryland
A Chance to Respond
I was shocked that you published the letter of Ray Gordon, a virulent and frequent Israel-basher, in your fall issue. Citing a previous article about reconciliation, he used your magazine to launch ad hominem attacks on the Jewish state. There was no mention of the Palestinian charter, written before the 1967 war, calling for the complete destruction of Israel. Nor of Israel's continuous efforts to make peace or of the land they gave to the Palestinian people in the hopes of achieving it. No mention of the thousands of Israelis killed and maimed in terrorist attacks. No mention of Israel's good faith withdrawal from Gaza, whose citizens then proceeded to elect a government run by Hamas, a terrorist group. No mention of Israel tolerating years of attacks and missiles before defending herself, while going above and beyond to minimize civilian casualties. No mention of Hamas storing and firing munitions from schools and hospitals. When will Israel get a chance to respond? I'm disgusted that you allowed your magazine to be used in this way.
Phil Schatz New York
Where His Trust Lies
Regarding the fall Forefront story ["Pro Guns and Pro Checks"]: I can assure your readers that the 1995 Connecticut law requiring would-be pistol owners to pass an eight-hour, police-administered course had no effect on the murder rate in Connecticut any more than Baltimore's stringent gun laws have had on the astronomical murder rate in your fair city, or D.C.'s stringent laws have on the high murder rate in D.C. These guns are not purchased at gun stores or by taking advantage of the "gun show loophole." They are available on the black market. Does Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, ever show up at a gun show? I have never been able to buy a gun at a gun show without filling out the required forms used to determine whether one is prohibited by law from receiving a firearm. Once in a while, a guy wanders through with a hunting rifle on his back and wants to sell it. That's about it. Also in Johns Hopkins Magazine was an article about a retired Army lieutenant colonel ["Basic Training," Alumni, Summer] expressing his thanks for the opportunity Johns Hopkins had given him and promising to set up an estate gift to Hopkins in gratitude. I am also a retired lieutenant colonel, but I will be setting up a trust to preserve my Second Amendment rights. The money will go to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. Hopkins has brought this on itself by getting involved in a political issue. It need not have done so.
Clarence D. Long III, A&S '65 Warrenton, Virginia
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The opinions in these letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine's editorial staff.