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Letters to the World “Series” by Jascha Kessler

Monday, August 14, 2017

Editor, Letters

FINANCIAL TIMES

Dear Letters Editor:

Arthur Goodman tells us [Letters, 14 June] that “…Netanyahu backed down only when he realized the scanners and camera he had installed could provoke an…intifada.”  I don’t myself know what if anything Israel’s Prime Minister “realized”; but it is also possible that the folks at Goodman’s Jews for Justice for Palestinians have it all upside-down and inside out. It might well be observed at some future time that Israel’s Prime Minister withdrew those items meant to prevent further killing [of Israelis by Palestinians] in an effort to preserve Al Aqsa itself. Remember that several decades ago an Australian fellow succeeded in destroying by fire the ancient pulpit and stairs to it before he was stopped.

What Goodman’s sort fail or refuse to “realize” is history itself. Two ancient great temples once stood on the Mount. After the Second Temple was obliterated by Vespasian and Titus his son after 70CE, a great Byzantine cathedral stood there during the centuries of the Christian era before it too was destroyed by Islam’s army. Justice for Jews has never prevailed until the establishment of the Israel that today stands after 5 wars against the nation. If history has lessons to teach, it might be suggested that neither intifada nor Arabs or Iranians can hope to guarantee that Al Aqsa will stand on Jerusalem’s Mount at some inevitable tomorrow. There is in short no promise to be made.

Sincerely,

Jascha Kessler

Emeritus Professor of Modern English & American Literature, UCLA

Santa Monica, CA

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Jascha Kessler

Born in New York City, Jascha Kessler (Ph.D., Litt.D.) has received varied research grants, prizes, and writing fellowships since 1952 when he won a Major Hopwood Award for Poetry (University of Michigan). They include the NEA Fellowship in Writing, two Senior Fulbright Awards to Italy and one to Czechoslovakia. Since 1961, he has been a Professor of English & Modern Literature at UCLA, also teaching poetry, fiction, and playwrighting. In 1979, Mr. Kessler was a Rockefeller Fellow and worked at the Bellagio Study Center, completing his translation (with Amin Banani) of the Persian poet Forugh Farrokhzad: BRIDE OF ACACIAS: THE POETRY OF FORUGH FARROKHZAD (Caravan Books, Delmar, NY: 1983). He won a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction Writing for 1993-1994. He reviewed fiction and poetry weekly, theater and events on the air for KUSC-FM (Los Angeles) for 5 years in the 1980s; several dozen of his reviews, both broadcast and published in magazines and papers since the 1960s, have been anthologized in CONTEMPORARY LITERARY CRITICISM (Gale Research) over the decades. His literary essays have appeared widely. He also served as Arts Commissioner for the City of Santa Monica, California, from 1990-1996. In 2001, his translation of TRAVELING LIGHT from the Finnish won the Finnish Literary Translation Centre Award. Kessler has published several collections of fiction. AN EGYPTIAN BONDAGE, & Other Stories (Harper & Row, NY: 1967); DEATH COMES FOR THE BEHAVIORIST: 4 Long Stories (Lexis Press, San Francisco, CA: 1983); CLASSICAL ILLUSIONS: 28 Stories (McPherson & Co.: Kingston, NY, 1985); and TRANSMIGRATIONS: 18 Mythologems (Jazz Press: Capitola, CA: 1985). His latest collection, SIREN SONGS & CLASSICAL ILLUSIONS: 50 Stories”, was published by McPherson & Co., in December of 1992. Also a novel, RAPID TRANSIT 1948: An Unsentimental Education (Xlibris 2000) and a second edition of AN EGYPTIAN BONDAGE (Xlibris 2000). He has also published three volumes of poetry: WHATEVER LOVE DECLARES (The Plantin Press: Los Angeles, CA: 1969; AFTER THE ARMIES HAVE PASSED (NYU Press: NY: 1970); and, IN MEMORY OF THE FUTURE (Kayak Press, Santa Cruz, CA: 1976). Also, revised as COLLECTED POEMS (Xlibris 2000). In 2013 his KING SOLOMON’S SEAL: 76 AND MORE FABLES, was published (xLibris.com, in hardback, paperback, ebook versions).


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