Public Comment

Letters Regarding Israel-Palestine

Thursday July 23, 2009 - 09:58:00 AM


Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am writing in response to Yisrael Medad’s July 16 letter to the editor. I am thrilled to hear Mr. Medad is writing from Israel. He should be able to go to B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, ( for those not in Palestine/Israel) which is located in Jerusalem. He will find that the effort to expand Jewish presence on territory the Palestinians had claimed for their future state is exactly what the goal of the settler movement in the early 1990s was. 

Tracie De Angelis Salim 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Yisrael Medad defends the colonial Jewish settlements by writing from Israel that they are built “within the legally recognized community area.” That is exactly the problem. Israel’s apartheid laws consider the theft of Palestinian lands to build Jewish colonies “legal.”  

Not long after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Ariel Sharon, later an Israeli prime minister, exhorted his followers to “move, run, [and] grab more hills, expand the territory. Everything that is grabbed will remain in our hands. Everything we don’t grab will be in their hands.” 

The same Sharon wrote In 1973, “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years, neither the United Nations, nor the U.S.A, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.” 

People who defend Israel’s colonial settlements under any pretext have no shame. Equally shameful is that the American taxpayer, unknowingly for the most part, subsidizes these colonies by billions of dollars of direct and indirect assistance while many Americans are without healthcare, adequate education or proper infra structure. 

Hassan Fouda 

Board Director, Israeli Committee Against House Demolition  






Editors, Daily Planet: 

I read the ad run by Penny Rossenwasser (who was once booed out of a stadium in Israel) and her ilk with more amusement than the horror it should have invoked, for the ad turned reality on its head and made Israeli children and their parents, the victims of Palestinean terror, appear to be the aggressors. Nice try. It ain’t agonna work. 

So here is one Jew who has had it up to my nose with the radical fringe in the East Bay that sponsored this ad. For every sane American, Hamas is a terrorist organization with the published purpose of destroying Israel.  

In fact Hamas, in the eyes of most Americans, are the ones who victimized Israeli children for years by indiscriminately firing hundreds of steel rockets loaded with high explosives into schools in Israeli cities. Hamas thus committed war crimes, but you would never know it judging by this ad. 

Under international law, Israel has every right to stop rockets from landing in its territory by stopping relief coming in by sea to Gaza, because these vessels could contain military equipment. The Rossenwassers and the hapless Jews who ran this ad would make their buddy Stalin smile if he could see his propaganda machine well oiled and running in Berkleley. 

Alan Stein 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

How entertaining to see Joanne Graham going on at length, responding to a calm well-reasoned letter from the community by saying “blah, blah, blah.” 

How hilarious to read her assertion that you “don’t have a dog in this fight,” when you continue to insist on and practice the repeated publication of hate-fomenting lies directed at the religiously pluralistic, progressive democracy of Israel. 

How typical that you repeat, this time via your staffer Hallinan, the lie that the settlements are the problem. 

That notion fails to explain: the 1922 massacre of Jews in Hebron; the 1936 violent riots by folks carrying signs that read “Palestine for Arabs” (because until 1967 or so there were no “Palestinians”); the laws passed by every Arab nation refusing to grant citizenship to the 600,00 Arab Israelis who left Israel in 1948 at the order of the Chief Imam of Palestine; and the Arab League’s Sept. 1, 1967 refusal to accept Israel’s offer of land for peace. 

And if anyone’s paying attention to the real world: If settlements were the problem, why isn’t Gaza (which Israel left four years ago) in peace? 

Fact and reason have apparently little chance against your committed hate campaign. 

I suspect that my reliance on them will justify your placing me among the list of people you excommunicate, unlike the anonymous source who you published in a half-page screed declaring the “Jews were not impeccable in the death of Jesus.” 

I’m only glad that your influence is as small as your honor. 

David Altschul 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

According to today’s news, some Iranian hard-liners are criticizing Iranian president Ahmadinejad for choosing a vice president who once said that Iranians should be “friends of all people in the world—even Israelis.” 

Some of the letters I read in the Daily Planet seem to be from people who agree with these hard-liners, people who would rather spew venom against Israel than look for ways of reaching a peace settlement that would work for both Jews and Palestinians. I am talking about the relatively small number of letter writers who imply that Israel does not have a right to exist because it stole land that rightfully belongs to the Palestinians. If you tell a people that they have no right to exist, then you obviously give them no alternative but to fight for self-preservation, and you make a peace settlement impossible. 

There have been many historical injustices on both sides, but there are letter writers on both sides who use the injustices of the others to imply that they do not have the right to live in peace in their own state. Most Jews and Palestinians living today were not around when Israel was founded, and they should not be punished for the sins of their parents or their great-grandparents.  

Instead of looking backward at wrongs that they want to revenge, the Israelis, Palestinians, and Daily Planet letter writers should try looking forward and finding workable peace proposals. I think the Geneva Accords are a good model, negotiated by Jews and Palestinians who genuinely wanted a workable peace and who unfortunately are in the minority in both of their nations. 

As the saying goes, “an eye for an eye leaves us all blind.” We should reject the extremists on both sides who preach hatred and revenge for the past, and instead we should work for peace in the future. 

Charles Siegel 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am a Jew and support a balanced approach to the situation in Israel-Palestine. I support your right to carry advertisements of various opinions about the events there. I strongly support moves toward a peaceful settlement of the conflict there safeguarding the lives, security and rights of both Jews and Arabs. Both sides must stop aggressive acts against each other, including building settlements and incitement to violence. Each must learn to live with the other, hopefully productively and with respect. Both sides have people who would deny the other the right to security and safety. 

Paul G Shane 

Philadelphia, PA 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am Jewish and I object to the effort to intimidate the Daily Planet for its free-speech journalism. 

Yet I notice that the full page ad in the July 9 Daily Planet criticizing Israel does not say one word about anything the Palestinians should do to promote peace. What an imbalanced ad. 

And the column by Joel Brinkley in the June 14 San Francisco Chronicle lays the entire blame for intransigence in the Middle East to the settlement issue. There is no mention anywhere that 100 percent of the occupied land (with a small part as an equivalence for the settlements) was offered by Prime Minister Ehud Barak and other Israeli prime ministers and rejected by Yassir Arafat and other Palestinian leaders more than once. 

You know why—because the Palestinians do not want a two-state solution. They want only one state—Palestine, with Israel pushed into the sea. The classroom maps in Palestine still do not depict Israel, and you can imagine why. 

I would like to see Israel stop all settlement construction if only to show the fallacy of the settlements being the stumbling block to peace. 

David Levy 

(not the David Levy mentioned in the ad) 

Hyattsville, MD 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The individuals who signed the “We Are Jews…” ad in the July 9 Daily Planet have every right to their opinions. 

But by choosing to express their opinions in such a simplistic manner, they unwittingly leave themselves open not only to ridicule but they also reveal an embarrassing, public lack of common sense. Surely everyone—even in Berkeley—knows that the Israeli-Palestinian situation is one of the world’s most complex, difficult conflicts, one that has defied solution for more than 60 years. So for the signatories to declare Israelis as The Bad Guys and Palestinians as The Blameless Victims is beyond ridiculous. 

Daily Planet readers would laugh at anyone who took out an ad blaming the entire economic crisis on, say, the Bank of America, or who claimed that Britain is responsible for Iranians protesting the validity of the recent election. Such naive statements would reveal the writer’s shocking ignorance of multi-faceted current events or a bizarre bias or maybe both. 

In the case of the ad, the Jewish signatories apparently hate Israel more than they care about peace. If they really cared about the Palestinians as much as they pretend, they’d urge Hamas to stop digging weapons tunnels, stop lobbing rockets (all destined to kill Jews), stop recruiting children as suicide bombers, and concede that a Jewish state has as much right to exist as a Palestinian one. 

June Brott 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

In her July 16 commentary “The Real Issue is Freedom of Speech,” Joanna Graham criticizes the petition signed by 138 members of the local Jewish community which supports free speech and the Daily Planet, as well as criticizing Israeli policies.  

I have often enjoyed reading her commentaries and often concur with her point of view. However, I disagree with her view that the petition should only have been about the freedom of speech issue. 

Since the attack on the Daily Planet is within the context of opinions they have published with regards to the state of Israel, the speech issue does not stand alone. The petition not only supports the Planet and its advocacy of free speech, but it is a plea for justice. As I feel that this is as important as the aforementioned ideals, that is why I signed and donated to the ad. 

Robert Kanter 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I haven’t stopped laughing since I read Mark Wetzel’s letter to the editor, in which he claims that Theodore Hertz is the founder of Zionism. We know that Heinrich Hertz is the physicist who discovered Hz, the measure of frequency. 

Theodore Hertz? LOL. Where is Da Ali G when we need him? Certainly he or Brüno could have had some fun with Mr. Wetzel’s mistake. 

Perhaps Mr. Wetzel could research his “facts” more carefully. “Pretty simple, don’t ya think?” 

Rebecca Angel 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

If Mr. Colter cared a wit about being honest, he would not have parsed out history and might have attempted to get his facts correct: 

“On Oct. 7, 1985, four members of one of the PLO’s factions, the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak persuaded the hijackers to surrender, but not before they shot to death a wheelchair-bound Jewish passenger from the United States named Leon Klinghoffer, dumping his body overboard.” 

Colter clearly goes on to turn a blind eye to the further consequences of this tragedy: 

“Mubarak allowed the PLF leader and hijacking mastermind, Mohammed Abbas, and the other terrorists to fly to their headquarters in Tunisia. President Ronald Reagan sent U.S. warplanes to intercept the flight, however, and forced it to land at a U.S.-Italian air base in Sicily. The United States and Italy fought over jurisdiction in the case, but the Italians refused to extradite any of the men.” 

The final perversity of Colter’s closing remark regarding the Archille Lauro: “Well no one died yet!”  

Although Abbas was reported to have later died in prison, as a result of his 2003 capture by U.S. Forces in Iraq; Abbas was never arrested. In 1990, he struck again from the sea, with an abortive speedboat attack on bathers on a beach near Tel Aviv. 

Once again, another self-hating Jew heard from. Arguably, there are many continued travesties committed by all sides in this complex conflict, however, to rewrite history to make a point is to allow history to continue to repeat itself.  

David Morris