Page One

Friday May 04, 2001

Rally speakers preached hate 


I would like to elaborate on my previous letter that has caused many to voice their opposition. While Will Youmans and Gregory Hoadley (27-4-01) try their best to excuse the anti-Semitic hatred, such talk that came from speakers over Students for Justice in Palestine’s microphone at a recent demonstration. This is inexcusable. SJP brought speakers to the rally to say what they wanted to hear: hate and anti-Semitism. The speaker didn’t call for peace and dialogue – he referred to Jews as a whole as “conniving,” while the pro-Israel protesters called for peace, dialogue and an end to the violence. 

Inconveniencing others (by sitting in at Wheeler Hall) isn’t what gives SJP its “lack of validity.” Their ignorance towards history is. SJP fails to address the background of the refugees. While many refugees were created partly because of the neighboring Arab states, the same number of Jewish refugees were created IN the Arab states, that were settled without a complaint in Israel.  

Why didn’t the Arab countries absorb their brethren into their vast land? I don’t hear the Palestinians turning to their leaders for answers; instead they choose to depend on Israel.  

Mr. Hoadley claims that Israel doesn’t acknowledge 20 percent of its citizens who aren’t Jewish. That is a lie. Every citizen in Israel is treated equal under the law, regardless of religion.  

There are fair and democratic elections (more than the Palestine Authority has) and the Arab sector is free to elect its representatives for the parliament. Every citizen can work and live where they please. Israeli Arabs have far more rights and are better off in Israel than in any other Arab state. To say that there is no racism in Israel is as realistic as saying that there isn’t racism in the United States. Although Israel plays a significant part in Judaism, Judaism isn’t the only religion recognized in Israel, where there is room for pluralism. 

Sarah Weir’s letter to the editor refers to the bypass roads in the territories. She fails to mention their purpose: So Israelis can avoid driving through Arab towns and being lynched. 

I know that the conflict will come to an end. I believe it can end peacefully if both sides negotiate. Israel was willing to make great concessions for peace, only to be slapped in the face. This is not acceptable. The Palestinians must end the violence they initiated and learn to talk. Only then will peace reign. 


Devora Liss 



SPJ combats racism and two-class Israeli system 


The letter from David Singer (”Another side to the Palestinian/Israeli issue,” April 30) seems to hope that by pointing fingers everywhere else, no one will look at the reality of the Israeli occupation and the need to divest. 

Instead of addressing Student for Justice in Palestine’s actual message of divestment, Singer tries to raise the scepter of “anti-semitism” by singling out a two-minute excerpt from six hours of a rally, an excerpt which does not fit in with anything SJP advocates. 

In fact, SJP is against any form of racism, racism actually entrenched in Israel’s apartheid policies. Israeli law creates two classes, Jews and Palestinians, with very different rights, limiting Palestinians’ ability to buy land, get jobs, have a fair trial, and even walk on some roads. 

Instead of addressing these state policies, the finger is pointed back at the Palestinians, referring to some non-contextual “conflict,” looking away from who is, as defined by international law, the occupier and who the occupied. 

Mr. Singer is right that “any rational person who reads news reports” will think that the violence is two-sided, if that rational person only reads the mainstream American media, which portrays the situation far differently from the consistent human rights abuses and violence of occupation reported in the British, French, international, and even Israeli media, as well as countless human rights reports from everyone from the United Nations to Amnesty International. 

If one read the American media only, one would come to Singer’s conclusions of the Israeli’s offering “the most generous peace ever offered,” while the actual offer gives the Palestinian Authority only 22 percent of the land back, unlivable land dotted with Israeli settlements and access roads, and refusing any refugees rights, a peace without justice. 

Singer keeps us looking everywhere from 2000 years ago to to a sham of a peace, everywhere but at the reality of history and the apartheid and racist Israeli policies in which the United States and University of California invest in daily. 


Robert Chlala 



City’s medical marijuana law unfair to patients 


I would like to draw attention to the unreasonable, unrealistic and unsafe restrictions that Berkeley has imposed on Medical Marijuana patients. The City Council has adopted an ordinance that only allows a patient to cultivate 10 plants in total. This ordinance would put the city in the top 10 worst cities in California. Considering that the city is supposed to be at the liberal forefront, I believe that this ordinance will make Berkeley the laughing stock of California. 

At a City Council meeting in March there was a significant difference of opinion between city staff and the Community Health Commission regarding the number of plants that a qualified patient may cultivate.  

This was primarily due to confusion about the life cycle of cannabis plants and typical methods of cultivation. The life cycle of a cannabis plant can be divided into three stages: (1) the immature stage in which new cuttings root and develop their first branches, (2) the vegetative stage in which plants gain mass, and (3) the flowering stage in which female cannabis plants produce usable medication. The yield of a cannabis plant will depend on the patient’s choice of soil, fertilizer, and light sources. Of course, gardening skills play an enormous role. If some plants die or get diseased, patients in need could be left very short on their medicine. Then it is back to the streets for these patients. 

The CHC voted to recommend our ordinance based on guidelines in use in Oakland. A patient may cultivate 48 flowering plants, and two sets of 48 non-flowering plants. This arrangement allows the patient to have plants in all three stages of growth at any one time. While the guidelines allow a total of 144 plants, only 48 plants will be capable of producing medication at any one time. The other 96 plants will be growing at the two earlier stages. 

Using this system, a patient can provide his or herself with a safe, constant supply of medical cannabis. The Oakland working group that established these standards did not intend for them to be a political compromise. Instead, they represent a real effort, based on empirical research, to determine the legitimate needs of seriously ill people. 

While the city staff’s proposal of a ten-plant limit, which Berkeley has now adopted, is somewhat easier to grasp, it does not allow the average medical cannabis patient safe and affordable access to a constant supply of medication. Establishing a low limit on the number of plants will force patients to rely on the illicit market to meet their needs, placing patients in legal and personal jeopardy. 

I sincerely believe that Berkeley’s newly adopted ordinance will NOT protect patients. 

Basically, it DENIES patients safe and affordable access to their medicine. So, if a patient does cultivate more that 10 plants at one time, and if some other crime occurred at their home, they would be afraid to call the police.  

There will be a demonstration, a public show of support, at the City Council meeting of May 8t, at 6 p.m. We encourage everybody to come and voice their opinion, and show their support.  

Martin O’ Brien – Alliance of Berkeley Patients