Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday March 25, 2009 - 06:14:00 PM


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding your March 19 editorial: I support what you wrote 100 percent. It is sad that some people are so afraid of opposing views that they try to kill the messenger. Keep up your good work. 

Richard Phelps  





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Congratulations on the March 19 editorial (“An Open Letter to Our Advertisers and Readers”), a splendid elaboration of the situation the paper faces regarding accusations of anti-Semitism.  

I heartily applaud your paper for its staunch support of fair, open discussion despite knowing that such a stance will lead to an inevitable flood of indignant, angry protests. 

Many thanks for your courageous efforts to foster open discussion, an essential element for any vibrant democracy. 

Edith Cacciatore 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Well done to the Berkeley Daily Planet for standing up to the Zionist bullies! 

Indeed, one of the main tricks the Zionists use is to call people who criticize Israel “anti-Semitic,” which is kind of funny these days when so many Jewish people are appalled at Israel’s actions, and are speaking out against Israeli atrocities. A Jewish organization called International Anti-Zionist Network (IJSN) is calling for an alliance between Jews and Muslims against Zionism. Should we call them “anti-Semitic” too? 

And, of course, most of the Israelis aren’t Semites at all, they came from Eastern Europe, while it is the Palestinians who are the Semites, so that makes the charges of anti-Semitism even more silly. 

Jane Chesterman 

San Rafael 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Unless I’m mistaken, when the U.N. established Israel, all the Arab countries attacked the newly declared state. They took areas of Jerusalem which included the Wailing Wall, and would not let Jews pray there. Israel still existed, so Arabs attacked again but were defeated and the areas of Jerusalem taken back by Israel. Arabs were free to worship at the great Mosque however, built over the site of Israel’s Ancient Temple. The 1967 war, Israel defeated Syria, Egypt, and other Arab countries, taking some of the West Bank, Golen Heights, and Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza voluntarily, and were rewarded with rocket attacks. Now the Arab countries want Israel to go back to the old boundaries which existed before 1967. OK, let’s insist that Israel give back that territory. Let us also insist that the U.S.give back California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to the Mexicans. Fair is fair. 

Harry Gans 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I just read your letter referencing undo pressure being placed on advertisers by an individual or small group of individuals who feel the Daily Planet has been anti-Israel. I have many thoughts on the matter: 

First, I am Jewish, and the positions your paper has taken (or positions of individuals you have printed) on Israel do not outrage me. I moved to Berkeley two years ago and tend to be left of center politically and with regard to Israel (which might make me just about in the center politically for a Berkeley resident!). I have seen far more expression of outrage over certain Israeli positions and actions here than I did in my former state of residence, Pennsylvania. I agree with some of the criticism, disagree with some. My attitude basically is live and let live as far as these positions go (if those in the middle east could adopt that attitude maybe none of this would be an issue). So, the individual you mentioned does not speak for this Jew. 

My second point I address to advertisers. Do not be afraid to advertise in the Daily Planet. For every person who would scare you into withholding your advertisement, there are many more like me whose view of your business would be enhanced. I love reading the Planet. Berkeley would be a lesser place without it. We all need to support the paper, businesses and individuals. You don’t have to agree with everything the paper reports to support its existence. 

My last point I address to the O’Malleys. I am tempted to say, “Why the hell do you want this headache?” but will try to put it in a more positive way: Thank you for hanging in there and taking on the challenge. You are making the world a better place and it is appreciated by many. 

Dan Alpert 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Raphael Retner reminds us of a vast number of impressive, even miraculous, contributions to humanity “that Israel is giving to the science, medicine, communications, security.” I like to think, also, that these creators of such life-saving and life-enhancing technologies are surely too busy to be involved in the destructive political policies of their country. But I can’t help but wonder if Israel, and probably their equal in technological-advances, the U.S., are saving more lives than are being destroyed by them militarily?  

Gerta Farber 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your open letter in response to Mr. Israel/Zionist defender, and his gang, is what this country needs to combat such a reversed psychology, of their real racism, that stems from such threats of blackmail in it ugliest forms. They have used these tactics for too long, its time for some one to shut them up. You have made me proud! 

M. Deeb 

Los Angeles 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Finally your newspaper has a voice of reason. I must tell you, I love pot as well as the next guy but the commentaries I hear from your people I wonder if you’re all on crack or acid (Do they still do that?). Mr. Rettner’s piece was remarkable, truthful and just. I can certainly understand being for the underdog, however, your readers must understand that the Palestinians to this day still have the total destruction and elimination of Israel in their charter.  

Israel’s territorial integrity has been challenged on a daily basis. Terrorists lobby rockets into her lands from Hezbollah in the north to Hamas in the south. Your readers, inexperienced as they may be in Mideast affairs, need to remember the United Nations divided the land of Palestine in 1948 into Israel and Palestine. The Jews accepted their small portion, the Arabs did not. Not only did the Arabs not accept Jews on what they consider “sacred, Muslim lands,” they, a total of 7 Arab countries, attacked the newly formed Jewish state the very same day of its inception. And the 7 Arab countries with populations in the millions and more heavily armed, lost to the infinitely smaller 600,000.00 Jews who were poorly armed.  

Let’s move on. Israel was further attacked in 1967 and 1973, the latter being on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, when nearly the whole country was at prayer in Synagogue. Yet again, the enemy was rebuffed. West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza, ever hear of the spoils of war? It’s not uncommon and has been around since the beginning of man. 

Your readers must also be made aware that there has NEVER been an independent, self-governing country called Palestine. Never! Jews and Arabs have lived there side by side for millennia. Palestine was ruled by the British Mandate, the Ottoman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Romans, and prior to that, it was “Israel.” Furthermore, there has never been a people called “Palestinians” prior to the 1960’s. The local people were all just called “Arabs.” 

Israel has absorbed Jews from throughout northern Africa, Yemen, the Middle Eastern Arab countries, all of which they were expelled from with little more than the shirts on their backs, immediately after the formation of Israel. They have taken in tens of thousands of the black, Ethiopian Jews who were persecuted by violence and starvation, the Jews (Bene Israel) of the Indian sub-continent, millions of the Jews of Europe after the holocaust, the Jews of the former Soviet Union. The only country in the world to do so in reference to their population. Now, Israel is a haven for refugees from Uganda and the Sudan. All making their way through Egypt to Israel and safety. 

So let’s get one things straight. If you are disaffected with Israel out of ignorance, educate yourself. If you are disaffected with Israel and are knowledgeable of the history of the region and peoples, then call it what it is, “anti-Semitism.”  

Micah David Ehrich 

Tarzana, Calif. 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Just want to thank you for your editorial about criticism of Israel and free speech.  

Bernadette Wombacher 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The March 19 letters by Harry Brill and Harry Gans propagandizing for Israel and defending AIPAC and the Israel lobby deserve a reply. 

The often repeated fiction that Israel is a democracy has been thoroughly trashed by British journalist Jonathan Cook in his book Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State. The notion that the United States-Israel relationship is “symbiotic” is also greatly exaggerated. That relationship can best be described as parasitic. The amount of U.S. taxpayers’ money being transferred to Israel is obscene. Keeping the total sum from the American public is also obscene. A 2002 study commissioned by the U.S. Army War College and reported in the Christian Science Monitor estimated that since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. That is more than $55 billion a year. Included in this figure are not only the vast amounts of direct and indirect aid, often voted by Congress without a roll call, but also the loss to our treasury from the tax-exempt donations by American Zionists to Israeli causes. Americans should be outraged that contributions by American citizens and U.S. based organizations to Israel’s colonial settler enterprises and even to the Israeli army are treated as charitable donations and are tax-exempt.  

To suggest that Israel’s lucrative arm sales to despicable regimes like the former apartheid government of South Africa or Latin American dictatorships serves American interests is ridiculous.  

Mr. Brill cannot possibly be serious when he equated the activities of American Zionists on behalf of a foreign government with the actions of the Cuban lobby. The Israel “lobby” contains individuals and groups pretending to do lobbying or advocacy, but act more like an organized crime syndicate. How many other lobbies spy on the United States? Remember Pentagon analyst Jonathan Pollard, AIPAC officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, and former U.S. Army employee Ben-ami Kadish? How many lobbyists support stealing U.S. military technology for Israel to sell to our potential adversaries? Which lobby works relentlessly to undermine our laws, including the Arms Export Control Act and the 1976 Symington Amendment? These, Mr. Brill, are not legitimate lobbying activities. As Ambassador Charles Freeman wrote in his recent statement. “The tactics of the Israel lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth.” Let me add to that the repugnant practice of callously charging “anti-Semitism” in order to silence and intimidate anyone who dares to examine what Israel is doing with our money to the detriment of our security and national interest. 

Hassan Fouda 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I received a letter from “East Bay Citizens for Journalistic Responsibility” [aka Jim Sinkinson] quoting stories or editorials from your paper. I am a strong critic of Israeli policy regarding Palestine, and have taken heat for it as well. I applaud your courage to maintain a free press where a variety of opinions can be heard. I am also concerned about actual anti-Semitism and general stupidity. I assume you have seen Mr. Sinkinson’s letter. The quotes did seem quite absurd. One for instance, equated the non-violence of Jesus with suicide bombers. What was their context? Were these opinions by others? I assume you have had equally vitriolic letters from an Israeli point of view? We do advertise in your paper every once in a while, and most of our folks read the paper.  

Pastor Max Lynn 

St. John’s Presbyterian Church 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Bravo to Raphael Rettner (“If You’re Going to Boycott Israel, Do it Properly!”, March 19 for pointing out all the wonderful products and medicines that have originated from and are produced within the state of Israel. I found his thoroughness of research quite impressive, and very convincing. Almost. 

But there was a whole lot he left out. He wants to justify the wonder and necessity of Israeli products as if there were no strings attached, which there are. And he takes several pot shots at those who support the boycotts. He said we are “ticked off at Israel and in love with the Palestinians.” We are not merely ticked off, but are determined to change its ways—a system of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, subjugation and mass slaughter of innocents, kidnapping and torture, among others—and boycotts are a tool by which to accomplish this change. 

He sarcastically says we are in love with the Palestinians, but in fact we hold high the ideal principles of justice and equality. Boycotts were an important key to ending apartheid in South Africa, and many believe it is applicable to this situation, which has been characterized even by some South Africans as being worse than the conditions that they were subjected to. 

Finally, he boldly states that we support terrorists, a charge often spewed by the pro-Israel right. But does this imply that Palestinians are terrorists? How would readers respond if someone wrote a letter stating that Jews are terrorists? And his charge that we can “vilify and demonize the state of Israel” wholly misses the point of the boycott campaign, which seeks to bring an end to Israel’s errant policies and actions, as I have already stated. 

Robert Kanter 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am writing to object to Jim Sinkinson’s characterization of Conn Hallinan as “crossing into anti-Semitism.” Anti-Semitism surely exists and decent people are obliged to acknowledge that reality and confront its manifestations. But Sinkinson and many others play some very dangerous tricks with that reality. 

They dissolve some distinct realities into each other: the State of Israel, the ideology of Zionism, and the character of Israel as a Jewish state. Further, they associate criticism of any of these with an attack on the Jewish people. 

Now I think that Sinkinson should not simply assert that Hallinan has crossed the line into anti-Semitism, he should point out exactly where he thinks that the crossover has occurred. That way, we all will be able to judge and discuss. 

But I fear that Sinkinson is not the sort who does that kind of specific criticism. Rather, his organization FLAME is content with vilifying those who criticize Israel on any account. 

The idea of Conn Hallinan being anti-Semitic is simply absurd. But it is a cruel charge. If Sinkinson is capable of shame, he should be ashamed. 

Jack Kurzweil 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I have been reading articles and commentaries by Conn Hallinan for many years. The Berkeley Daily Planet is lucky to have a writer of his experience and knowledge. His comments about the Middle East have been particularly perceptive. He wrote an article exposing the real reason for the U.S. raid on Syria in October 2008, for example, that was far more perceptive than all the Washington reporters who accepted the Pentagon spin. I later went to Syria to investigate the incident for CBC Radio (Canada). Hallinan’s analysis was spot on. The U.S. invaded a sovereign country, conducted a botched raid against a non-existent “terrorist,” and the Pentagon later covered up the incident. 

That’s why it is extremely upsetting to hear about the unfounded charges that Hallinan is anti-Semitic. I’ve never seen anything anti-Semitic in his writings. Unfortunately, that’s the common charge against anyone who criticizes the policies of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. I know. Critics try to accuse me of anti-Semitism, but when they find out I’m Jewish, they hurl the epithet “self-hating Jew.” Apparently, critics must be one or the other. 

I hope Conn Hallinan continues his good work with the full support of the Berkeley Daily Planet and its readers. 

Reese Erlich 

Foreign Correspondent 

Author, The Iran Agenda 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I was dismayed to read a letter by a Jim Sinkinson suggesting that the writings of Planet columnist Conn Hallinan cross the line into the realm of anti-Semitism. 

Anti-Semitism is an ideology of hatred and prejudice toward particular ethnic and religious groups (the term usually refers to Jews alone but could also apply to other “Semites”). Hallinan’s writings are about international relations and military affairs. I read his columns because I can’t read such analysis anywhere else. The Planet, indeed, is not the Chronicle or the New York Times, which are also worth reading, for the very different content they present. 

Disclosure: I also read Hallinan’s columns because he’s been my friend since we taught journalism and commuted together to UC Santa Cruz in the 1980s and 1990s. Then and since, I’ve had hundreds of conversations with him about hundreds of issues, personal and political. We’ve often talked about U.S. and Israeli policy, about anti-Semitism, Zionism, anti-Zionism. (I was, in the past, an academic expert on right-wing social movements.) 

There are real anti-Semites in the world. Mostly they congregate on the far-right. Some few are found among the left. It does no one any good to conflate factual reporting and sharp critique of the policies and actions of the government of Israel with hatred toward Jews. Overuse of the charge of “anti-Semite” makes it difficult for researchers on anti-Semitism to be taken seriously when the real thing rears its head.  

It’s a cheap shot and simply beyond chutzpah to even hint about whether Hallinan’s an anti-Semite. 

I also should disclose that I advertised regularly for my law office in the Planet in 2006-08 and stopped only because of insufficient reader response, not because of the Planet’s unique content. I had nothing but cordial dealings with this newspaper. It’s appalling that anyone would raise a threat against Planet advertisers at a time when newspapers of all stripes are an endangered species. I urge advertisers to ignore intimidation tactics and trust that potential clients and customers are concerned with quality service, not with name-calling and smear campaigns. 

Sara Diamond 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Imperialism, National Socialism, Communism, Zionism, Catholicism, Capitalism, Colonialism, Jihadism, Protestantism, Racism, Elitism… The high court of a hundred years of history has found each of these blueprints for social engineering guilty on multiple counts of all nameable crimes against humanity and its sister freedom. Yet a steady rain of dicta have fallen on these pages of late whose sole purpose seem to be to re-inform me (dare I employ “re-educate”?) as to which of these ideological failures is the more infamous!? May I submit that the nigh-on billion victims of these creeds and their acolytes lie insensate to these foolish notions. 

Today, the smudge pots of the “isim-ists” are yet on full burn at endless hours to keep the pesky truth from their hateful orchards. Is it the Russians, or Georgians who are the real culprits? Hamas or Israel who murder the innocent? The U.S. or Al Quaeda who are the true war criminals? The same fog of malevolence is as palpable as it was in 1914, 1939, 1950, 1965, 2001 and so on and so on… If freedom, the true liberty we so espouse here is to ever rise from the filth of human history, then I believe only one “ism” will suffice: individualism. 

No economic system, no religion, no country, no philosophy or system of government is worth more than a single human being. It is this glorious flame encoded in our founding codices which lends its hope and light to so many around the world, no matter how often we turn our backs on it. So please, remember this before diving into another orgy of divisive harangues and back biting diatribes before we have to dig ourselves out from the dust and ashes of another hundred years of sin. 

Roger McCracken 

El Cerrito 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

What’s the problem about folks not understanding whats going on? In a nut shell, my research now indicates what has brought us to our economic collapse. Listen closely: hedge funds, sold short, and derivative contracts which were leveraged and put into arbitrage price differential accounts,and then, were subject to call options (and bond futures), which unfortunately failed to meet commodity market expectations, then became “put options” which weren’t excercised due to pre-payment pricing models which were over the counter and thus “clearing house” futures became unsustainable. It’s just that simple!  

Robert Blau 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Planet’s story doesn’t quite add up. In fact, reporter Riya Bhattacharjee and her editors fail to center on the heart of the story. 

Uppermost in any reader’s mind is the question of the BART cop response. The BART report, according to the story, names three men and a woman as assailants (“four men,” say the Planet’s witnesses); yet “two suspects were detained on the platform but were released.” Were these two of the four? Were any of the four arrested? Charged? 

Where is the reporting? This story wasn’t rushed into print: it appears March 19, eight days after the incident. On the evening it appears, there’s a planning conclave at the UC student union on the Oscar Grant “murder,” and the TV stations show the day’s “No justice, no BART” demonstrations. 

The “victim refused to . . . identify the suspects,” so they were released? A full-on four-on-one assault is characterized by the BART police as an attempt to rob a cell phone? Passengers run in panic from the beat-down but the BART folks, the ones with the sidearms and tasers, can’t find witnesses for their “suspects”? 

There is a story here, which begins before the Oscar Grant shooting. I can’t be alone in wishing that the last standing local paper would cover it. 

M. Hall 


EDITOR’S NOTE: We reported all the information we could get, though much of it is contradictory and incomplete. Investigating officers obviously did not speak to the eyewitnesses our reporter spoke with, and those eyewitnesses were cleary reluctant to get involved. The victim refused to identify any suspects, which means no charges were filed and no one was arrested.  

Lt. Gary Cagaanan of the BART police told the Daily Planet that the department does not follow up on incidents where the victim refuses to identify suspects. 

“It’s not a closed case, but if the victim doesn’t cooperate with the police it’s usually put on the back burner,” he said. 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Many people took umbrage last November when Ralph Nader said, “But his [Obama’s]choice, basically, is whether he is going to be Uncle Sam for the people of this country or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations.” 

Ralph Nader might have used a controversial term; however, it is becoming evident (bailing out the banks with taxpayer money, taking single-payer healthcare off the table, continuing to fund the bloated military budget) that Barack Obama is president for the giant corporations rather than president for the people of this country. 

Nader was prescient when many were drinking Kool-Aid. 

Aki Tanaka 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Is there any possibility that the Marine Corps Recruiting Center vandalized itself to gain purchase in the public opinion war for the hearts and minds of the easily duped? It is really hard to believe that men wearing masks and carrying sledgehammers would not be noticed and detained unless they had a very well-organized plan. The city has cameras around there for traffic surveillance and there just might be evidence available as to who these people were. This smells strongly of the work of provocateurs. It is certainly not Code Pink’s way of working and seems more like those biker gangs who swarmed the area when Rush Limbaugh got them all stirred up.  

The absence of police bicycle patrols in the area has been quite obvious of late. Is there any reason why persons in the downtown area waiting for transit are being shorted the police protection which they are paying for? Citizens are having to intervene in confrontations in ever increasing numbers to protect each other because of the absence of police presence in the downtown transit center which is drawing an increasing dangerous fringe element.  

Mic Jordan 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The tragedy of young Zachary Cruz’s death has left many of us in the community devastated. We didn’t need to know this little boy personally to mourn his loss which occurred in a crosswalk, at a three-way intersection with stop signs well known for drivers to roll through. 

My heartfelt condolences to the Cruz family and all of his friends and school mates who are missing him beyond belief. Words fail when I think of the agony that Zachary’s entire family is experiencing. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious baby boy. 

As parents, we never in a million years imagine that when we send our children to school and after-school care that they won’t ever be coming home. People can point out different and possibly safer routes for school groups to walk (which absolutely have merit), but the truth is, that far, far too many drivers are absolutely distracted by cell phone usage while driving. Combine this with being in a hurry and stuck in slow traffic “hampered” by stop signs, and drivers become impatient and careless. If you are paying attention while driving, and stop fully at stop signs, pedestrians will not get hit. It’s as simple as that. I’m not referring to Darwin award winning jaywalkers as they receive little sympathy from me, but when a child walking with a group is hit in a crosswalk it is apparent that the driver was not paying complete attention to people/children at and around the three way intersection. 

As a (formerly) impatient Berkeley driver, I know how driving around the campus can be absolutely maddening at times. Endless pedestrians not paying attention to cars, cross streets in oblivion only in tune with their iPods and cellphones. Very rarely do they seem to look both directions before crossing. 

This tragic accident has made me acutely more aware of pedestrians, especially children on bikes. This last month I have made considerable effort to be a more careful and conscientious driver, letting people cross the street and driving a little slower. I’m trying not to feel so impatient when in my car, and am learning how to let those that insist on going first, have their right of way. It’s not always easy, however when I think of the possible consequences, it becomes less difficult. 

S. Kabella 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In a recent Reader Commentaries’ article Jane Powell eloquently commented about how overpopulation and unlimited growth are the root causes of the “problems that plague our planet.” We wish it were that simple. There is a reason that regional agencies like the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and local governments are engaged in environmental discussions about sustainability. Our ongoing concern is how do we protect our planet in the context of the Bay Area and provide for the basic needs of residents today, as well as for those to come.  

Providing a basic quality of life means having access to affordable housing and jobs while protecting the environment with clean air and water. As for housing, throughout the state and region we continue to lag in meeting the need to have an adequate amount of housing accessible for all income levels. The regional housing need numbers mandated by the state that were referenced in the article, which are issued every five to seven years to local jurisdictions, are goals to be planned for, and necessary to just making a dent in increased housing need. 

However, meeting the housing need is only one dimension of concerted regional and local government efforts to coordinate and integrate all land use and transportation planning with water and air quality and other environmental preservation efforts. That’s what the initiatives on Focused Growth, Complete Communities, Smart Growth, Green Buildings, and Green Businesses from ABAG and other regional agencies are all about. This is not just a population growth numbers game, but a serious commitment to achieve sustainability and protect our planet.  

Rose Jacobs Gibson 

ABAG President and San Mateo County Supervisor 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Today when I visited the City Hall at 2180 Milvia I found, on display inside it, several big sculpted turtles. Because I follow civic issues rather closely, I understand these sculptures will someday be moved to the fountain area in the nearby park. But many people visiting the city offices won’t know that. 

So they may assume the turtles are to symbolize the pace of city bureaucracy. 

John English 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

I have been following this recent uproar about your readers’ alleged views on Israel, Jim Sinkinson, the various op-ed pieces, and your March 19 editorial that claims to speak for the entire staff condemning Mr. Sinkinson’s tactics with much interest and I have some serious problems with your presentation of the issues. 

First, thanks to Raphael Rettner for his thoughtful and well documented letter on the current leafletting at Berkeley Bowl and Israel’s contribution to the worlds of medicine, technology, and education. Great work Raphael. 

Secondly, I have know Jim Sinkinson personally for many years and your descriptions of him defy everything I know about him. Yes, he is an avid supporter of Israel, as am I. I read his letters as well as his letter to your advertisers and I do not see a threat anywhere, nor do I see him state that he speaks for the Jewish population of Berkeley. He makes many worthwhile points, the most obvious one being that you would never allow the Ku Klux Clan or other racist groups to banter on about their racist idealogies in the Planet. It would be disgusting as well as a very poor journalistic decision to do so. 

To describe Jim Sinkinson as a fanatical right-winger is ludicrous at best and an absolute falsehood at worse. What does that even mean? That one doesn’t support a two-state solution to the problem between Israel and the Palestinian territorities? Bear in mind, Israel returned the Gaza strip to the Palestineans in 2005 and the Palestineans are worse off than ever and the Israelis live in constant danger. Rocket attacks by Hamas continue to terrorize Israeli citizens. What is your more moderate solution? Is it the same as local self-hating Jew Joanna Graham, who suggests Israel could become like South Africa with Jews in the minority ruled by the Palestinians? Not gonna happen as long as any Israeli is still alive. Surely you do not advocate that none survive. Or perhaps Ms. Graham’s agreement with Charles Freeman that the pro-Israel lobby is responsible for him withdrawing his name from consideration when there were U.S. senators as well as Nancy Pelosi and Chinese dissidents who encouraged Obama to reconsider. Good for all of them, including FLAME for lobbying our elected leaders to be mindful of the issues that are important to the electorate. 

Or do you concur with Rinna B. Flohr who repeatedly makes jokes about Mr. Sinkinson “sinking” the Planet or advertisors? Not funny, Ms. Flohr, and in very poor taste. Where did Mr. Sinkinson threaten to take down the Planet or any of its advertisers? And what would your reaction be if the Planet ran an op-ed piece by some racist that African Americans cause their own problems and people are racist because blacks are of inferior intelligence? A disgusting suggestion and one that would not and should not be tolerated by any decent human being or publication. Yet, you and others accuse the so-called right-wing Jewish lobby of suppressing free speech and perpetuating right-wing Israeli politics that oppress the poor defenseless Palestinians who are proud of their own children who kill themselves as long as they take Jews with them. Of course the Palestinians will be rewarded with 72 virgins and the Jews, well, I believe they will reside as virtuous souls in the kingdom of God. We’re talking about students, mothers, children as well as Americans on vacations or studying abroad and for this “crime against humanity,” their lives are brutally destroyed and their families suffer forever. 

I totally support free speech and am against censorship and I am confident that Mr. Sinkinson is as well. We do want people to be able to separate the truth from lies about Israel and to that end, Mr. Sinkinson is doing an awesome job. 

Susan Sholin