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Letters to the Editor

Tuesday October 17, 2000

Need to speak to Palestineans right of return 



Doesn't Franz Schurmann (Opinion, 10/6/00) know that the Afghan Taliban resembles Pol Pot's Khimer Rouge with every passing attrocity?  

The Taliban regime is denounced by organizations and institutions as diverse as the Muslim Women's League, the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan, Time Magazine, AP, and Physicians for Human Rights for, amongst other reasons: egregious and violent oppression of women; the lack an independent press; trafficking and promotion of the opium/heroin trade (75% of the world's heroin comes from Afghanistan); and the August, 1998 massacre of 8,000 Hazara in the Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif? 

Doesn't he know that one reason for the outrage by secular and religious Palestinians and Arabs at Ariel Sharon's presence at the Dome of the Rock - holy ground for Christians, Jews and Muslims - is that Sharon was the Israeli Defense Minister during Israel's 1982 occupation of southern-Lebanon and he was responsible for permitting Lebanese right-wing Phalangist execution units to enter two of the camps, Sabra and Shatila, where they murdered between 2-3,000 unarmed civilians? 

Can we have an article by someone with a grasp of the real issues, e.g., the Palestinian's right of return; the role of the Muslim Hamas in the “peace process;” why the people in the U.S. acquiesce in our government sending $5.5 billion per year in financial aid from the U.S. to Israel, which allows Israel to deny Palestinians their democratic rights while supporting illegal Zionist settlements and military murders of unarmed civilians?; and the failure of Israel to honor U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 (to move the boundaries of Israel back to the pre-1967 demarcation lines)? 


Robin M. Donald 



More B-TV fans 


Both my husband and I are now avid fans of your paper, the Daily Planet. Imagine our delight when you took community information one step further and added the Channel 25 schedule to your paper - you guys are great! 


Lessly Wikle, 


We cannot go back where we came from 



The latest crisis in the Mideast brings into clear focus a fundamental paradox in the Zionist worldview: 

Zionist religious ideology speaks of Israel as “the Promised Land”--promised to them by God(!)--thousands of years ago! (A claim of “divine rule”!)  

As an African American concerned for the human rights of all people, I offer an alternative to this worldview. 

Martin Luther King often spoke of “the Dream” of “the Promised Land” for African Americans, as Zionists respectively do for themselves.  

But, King did not speak of African Americans going back to West Africa, our “Motherland,” after almost half a millennium, to find “our land” and dispossess continuously indigenous Africans of theirs.  

He never talked about seizing someone else's land at all! “The Motherland” we were taken from 400 to 500 years ago is, of course, just not for us the same motherland that exists at all anymore: we can not point to “our house,” or “our property”– not even “our village.” 

When King spoke of “the Promised Land,” after all this historical time, he, of course, meant for us to create a country – a land – and a society of human rights, dignity, social justice, equality for all, and a love for all humanity.  

He meant for all of us Americans – and all of us indeed--to create “the Promised Land” starting in our hearts. 

King’s vision of “The Promised Land” was not chauvinistically nationalistic, not long-desired-for real estate, but ultimately a concept of humanity – a place in the heart! This is the idea that modern-day Zionists miss. This is the idea that Zionists could have taken from their tragedies and holocaust, as King took from ours.  

This lack of consciousness is the flaw in “the Dream” of modern-day Zionism’s “Promised Land”: it takes and subjugates the land of others – it is Israeli apartheid. 

The worldview of Zionist ideology arises, I believe, from a particular psychological phenomenon. I believe that Zionists are experiencing, on the level of the Israeli national psyche a well-known victim's psychological identification reaction.  

In this phenomenon, some of those who were once victims of long-term severe abuse and brutality (as European Jews were under Nazism and European anti-Semitism) often go on to abuse and brutalize others.  

This is in the false belief that no one else, in the victim's mind, has ever really suffered what the victims have suffered – a self-priority and a monopoly on “real” pain, and a failure to validate another’s.  

Such victims (here Zionists) think that they could never become brutalizers or oppressors themselves, and that no one else can ever really be brutalized or oppressed by them--no matter what is done at their hands or in their name. 

Thus, in short by this belief, Palestinians can never be victims of Zionists, and Zionists can never be oppressors of Palestinians.  

This represents “a double tragedy”: as Albert Einstein said, “It would be my greatest sadness to see Zionists do to Palestinians some of what Nazis did to Jews.” 


Joseph Anderson 



Confidence in Proper Oversight for Measures AA and BB  


A recent letter to the Planet raised questions regarding oversight of school bond and school parcel tax funds in Berkeley.  

Berkeley voters approved a school bond measure in 1992 to address the most critical facility needs of the district. The final years of the 10 year program financed by that bond will yield two of the largest projects, seismic retrofitting of King Middle School and new buildings along Milvia Street at Berkeley High School. These projects have been planned for several years and are now into bids. To finance these projects the funds from the 1992 Measure are all committed. The District's Facilities Construction Plan details the use of 1992 Bond funds. Find a copy on the Schools Districts web site ( click on "departments" and then "facilities").  

Measure AA, the Berkeley Schools Bond Measure of 2000, continues the District’s construction program by addressing the pressures on our facilitates from increased enrollment, expansion due to reduced class size programs, escalating construction costs in the Bay Area, and the need to address critical technology, nutrition and safety issues. Measure BB, the Berkeley Schools Facilities Safety and Maintenance act of 2000, will provide restricted funds to properly maintain and extend the life of our buildings.  

The details of Measure AA and BB have been worked out by experienced staff with the direction of superintendent and administration. These plans are subject to oversight by citizen advisory committees. Funds are audited by an outside independent CPA firm annually. Besides these layers of review, expenditures and plans must be approved by the School Board. There is no delegation of this ultimate responsibility. We elect the School Board and they are accountable to us. All Board and Committee meetings are open to the public with public comment at every step of the process!  

If you doubt the need for Measures AA and BB or the adequacy of oversight, examine the list of supporters of the Measures. You will find groups and individuals who have really studied the District's cost structure and facilities needs, including the PTA Council, Berkeley Public Education Foundation, current and former School Board members, Construction and Maintenance Advisory committee leaders, BSEP Planning and Oversight and site committee leaders, Board Budget advisory committee members, business people, realtors, university educators, parents, teachers, staff and principals.  

We can’t expect our children to embrace the importance of education, or our excellent teachers to really believe that we support them, if we send them to cramped, maintenance-starved schools. Goal One for our schools is to promote maximum achievement for every student. But a crucial supporting goal is to provide a positive environment for students and staff. Measure AA and BB allows us to do just that!  


Nancy Riddle, CPA  

Inquisitive activist parent  

Volunteer Treasurer for Measures AA and BB