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Heller and Judaism

January 22, 1988

Re "Joseph Heller" by Itabari Njeri, Jan. 13: It is comforting to know that Heller is "most comfortable being Jewish." It is a sad thing that he is not a good one. Consider his statement where he says, ". . . we came to an agreement that every good person in 'Catch-22' was Jewish and that none of the bad ones were." If a Gentile had said that, turning the subjects around, he would be accused of being blatantly anti-Semitic.

Later in the article he comments, "If you ever forget you are a Jew, a Gentile will remind you." How crass! It seems to me that Heller's judgment is slipping with age and he sees a bogyman behind every tree. Further on he says . . ., "I don't trust Jewish Republicans. I don't trust any kind of Republican." What an example this man has become. Does Heller really believe these statements himself, or does he think this is what his audiences want to hear?

Yes, indeed, it is a sad state of affairs when a writer of his stature and influence makes such statements. Is it any wonder that anti-Semitism is growing all over the world?

RAYMOND F. TOLIVER

Encino

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