Thursday, September 13, 2012 | return to: views, letters



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We’re more united than we think

Is it just me or was the kerfluffle at the Democratic Convention on Jerusalem as Israel’s capital much ado about nothing (“Jerusalem vanishes from Democrats’ platform — and then reappears,” Sept. 7)?

I support Israel’s declarations supporting Jerusalem as its capital. I favor supportive language in both party platforms. What bothers me is pandering attempts by some in the GOP to turn support for Israel, an issue with overwhelming bipartisan support, into some sort of litmus test or wedge issue.

It’s just silly. Despite empty promises in every presidential administration since 1967, has the U.S. Embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? Has international support for Israel increased? I’d almost say quite the opposite. It’s a shell game to pretend who bleeds more kachol v’lavan (blue and white). Shame on those who try to make political hay by attempting to divide us.

To my friends in the GOP, stop trying to turn support for Israel into a divisive issue! It isn’t. American leaders in both parties overwhelmingly support Israel where it counts as do the vast majority of American voters. There are real dangers facing our community from those who de-legitimize Israel at every turn, support terrorists who threaten Israelis and Jews the world over, and those who advocate openly for Israel’s destruction.

Steve Lipman   |   Foster City


Let’s hear Jewish refugees’ stories

Thank you so much for your editorial “Parity for refugees from Arab lands, at long last” and the JTA article “Conference to focus on Jewish refugees from Arab lands” (Sept. 7).

What the Jewish refugees went through is so important for the world to know about. The Arabs are loudly asking Israel ‘‘for the moon’’ for Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war and hardly anyone knows that there were 800,000 Jews who fled from Arab lands, leaving their homes and property behind, during this same period.

I’m of Ashkenazi descent and had never paid much attention to the stories of my Mizrachi brothers and sisters. Joe Wahed, who founded JIMENA along with Gina Waldman (and perhaps others), was the first person I ever heard talk about this history. Joe spoke at a rally for Israel at the Palo Alto Civic Center — I think it was in 2001. I was amazed at what I was hearing.

The world continues to blame the Jews for the misery of Palestinian refugees but ignores the complicity of the Arab nations who created both refugee problems in the first place. Thank you for drawing attention to this issue.

Sheree Roth   |   Palo Alto


Campus climate hurts all students

We need more young people like Guy Hershmann (“U.C.’s pro-Israel Jewish students should not be discounted,” Sept. 7).  His well-reasoned op-ed piece summarized the issues facing Jewish and pro-Israel students on university campuses.  There are limits to free speech. Academic freedom still requires academic standards.  If hate speech is not acceptable then Jewish students and Israelis should have the same protection as others. If hate speech is acceptable then no one is protected.

Students must understand that with free speech comes responsibility. Claiming the Jewish nation commits genocide without any regard for the truth is bigotry. The Arab population in Israel and territories she controlled has significantly increased. This simply is not consistent with genocide.  Anyone who has been to Israel knows that it is not an “apartheid state.” In apartheid South Africa, blacks did not participate on national sports teams or serve on the Supreme Court, and they could not be elected to Parliament. Such false accusations are anti-Semitic and should be called that. Students should  learn to think for themselves and be exposed to different ideas. However, we don’t promote the “flat earth society” in science classes nor do we present the Nazi defense of the Holocaust in our history classes except to explain how the “Big Lie” can be spread. It is unfortunate that the president of the University of California believed it necessary to convene an advisory council. Now that recommendations have been made, they should be taken seriously.

Gilbert Stein   |   Aptos


Lush alert

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics is scheduled to open a store this fall in the Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton.

For those unaware of Lush’s background, it is against Israel existing. It supports Palestinian enterprises (which may include terrorism and constant bombardment of Israel).

I urge those of you who do support Israel’s right to exist and its constant battles for survival not to shop at this store. We know that the Lauders are strong supporters of Israel and have many products for men and women (e.g., Clinique and MAC), so we don’t have to go bare-faced.

Gladys Weitzner   |   Danville


Dani Dayan’s ugly triumphalism

Dani Dayan’s piece in the New York Times, arguing that Israel is entitled to annex the occupied West Bank (“Israel’s Settlers Are Here to Stay,” July 25), was a tissue of misrepresentations.

For example, Dayan asserted that Jews have “inalienable rights” to the West Bank and that “Palestinians have repeatedly refused to implement a negotiated two-state solution,” though negotiations were never completed. Jews may have a right to, or in any case a need for, a homeland, but so too do Palestinians. That indeed is at the heart of the problem.

Two states with mutually agreed upon borders and provisions for security: This is our best hope for ending the cycle of violence and the only way for Israel to develop as a democratic and Jewish state.

The settlement movement, which Dayan represents as chairman of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, undermines these aspirations. It means a military occupation of a civilian population, the routine violation of Palestinians’ human rights, and the appropriation of land.

Dayan does not disguise his aim: “Our presence in all of Judea and Samaria — and not just the so-called settlement blocs — is an irreversible fact.” This vision borders on ethnic cleansing. Under the gloss of Dayan’s triumphalism is a very ugly picture.

Beverly Voloshin   |   San Francisco

Chair, Department of English Language and Literature, San Francisco State University


What is ‘unacceptable’?

Again, Iran’s leaders have called for the annihilation of Israel, saying the Jewish state is “an insult to humanity.” President Obama calls nuclear weapons in Iran “unacceptable,” yet in the past the United States has called nuclear weapons “unacceptable” in Pakistan and North Korea, and now those regimes freely flaunt them. Why should Iran pay any mind to what Obama says, especially since this is a president who said Iran compared to the Soviet Union is a tiny country and it is no threat to us.

Scott Abramson   |   San Mateo


Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/13/2012  at  03:42 PM
Professor Voloshin Makes Some Good Points, But...

she throughly undercuts whatever she has to say by characterizing any aspect of Israeli policy as “ethnic cleansing.” That’s the same inflated rhetoric exemplified by the likes of Jimmy Carter and other pro-Palestinian propagandists when they use the term “Israeli apartheid.”

Accordingly, to compare Israel to racist apartheid S. Africa is absurd. And saying that “ethnic cleansing” exists in any part of Israel, thus equating it with the murderous ethnocentrism of Bosnia and Rwanda, is correspondingly also a gross misuse of that most pejorative term.

Along with many Israelis, I am not a supporter of the Israeli settlements. But I know anti-Israel propaganda when I see it and Professor Voloshin’s use of the nonsense that there is any semblance of “ethnic cleansing” going on in the settlements or any other part of Israel reduces her argument to the realm of the basest propaganda…

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/14/2012  at  04:14 PM
Romney Says His Stance on Iran the Same as Obama's...

Just in case the few Jewish Romney supporters such as Frank, craven, and Lisa Cohen check in, Romney admitted on ABC that his policy on Iran’s development of nuclear arms is exactly the same as that of Obama:

As the turmoil in the Middle East thrust foreign policy to the forefront of the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney found himself at odds with his own foreign policy advisers. While two of his advisers in interviews said that Mr. Romney had a different “red line” on Iran from President Obama, Mr. Romney told ABC News that his red line is the same as that of the president.

Hey Tea Party people, how are you going to spin this reality?

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Posted by Lisa Cohen
09/14/2012  at  09:22 PM
It is apparent that appeasement

It is apparent that appeasement solves nothing.

    Winston Churchill pointed that out decades ago, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last”.

Churchill was spot on and his words were underscored by the tragic yet, not surprising events in Libya and Egypt this week.

        The climate created by Obama beginning with:

•  his Cairo speech in Egypt, (which I watched in real time at the Dead Sea in June, 2009)
•    the invitation of the Muslim Brotherhood to the Cairo, 2009 speech
•    the numerous snubs and snarks to Israel and to Prime Minister Netanyahu
•    ignoring the Iranian Green Revolution
•  Lauding the Muslim Brotherhood sponsored “Arab Spring” as better than imperfect pro-United States leaders
•    inviting Morsi to the White House and so many more

These actions by the “leader” of the United States created the perfect storm for the feared “Arab street” to once again explode into uncontrollable rage.

They did.

Americans died.

The Arab ideology in the Middle-East is not impressed by weakness.
It is empowered by pandering by what used to be the most respected and powerful country in the world, the United States. 

  It is time for Israelis to do a hard tack away from the current occupant of the White House because in all likelihood, Obama will be re-elected. 

  It is time to look forward and learn from history to not repeat mistakes.

•  Appeasement does not work- peace through strength is effective.
•  Most of the Biblical history of the Jewish people occurred in Judaea and Samaria and is the inalienable right of the Jewish people.  Esau gave up his birthright, Israel should not.
•  Land gained through victory in a defensive war and belongs to the victor-Israel won, the Arabs, lost.

I attended the 2nd Conference on Judaea and Samaria in Hevron in July, 2012. 

The jihadi cycle of violence will begin to be eliminated when Israel leads by ceasing appeasement and stands for her land and inalienable rights.

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/15/2012  at  07:35 AM
Lisa, Our Fine Jewish Woman Warrior...

Lisa, although the US is currently at war in two Muslim countries, you would like America to take on the entire Islamic world, won’t you? Accordingly, you yourself would be ready yourself to put on a combat helmet and join our military in your valiant crusade to wipe out the scourge of Islam? Right? And if you have any young adult children, you are more than willing to send your offspring into battle. No?

To fail to do so would be tantamount to appeasement by your yardstick, so we Jews really appreciate your willingness to sacrifice for you country as you would have others do.

Moreover, since appeasement is not in your lexicon, one must believe that you are furious with your hero Mitt Romney. You must believe that the Mitt hit the fan when he said yesterday on ABC that his policy toward Iran is exactly the same as that of Barack Obama…

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Posted by Frank
09/17/2012  at  11:27 PM
The choice for Jewish American Democrats

Jewish American Democrats (who are not in denial and support Israel), in the most important vote of their lives, are left with a stark choice:  Your political party’s candidate or your people.

It is a desperate moment for the Jewish people.  If Obama is re-elected, American Jews will be of little further use to him, and he will be finally free to abandon American political, military or diplomatic support of Israel, and allow Iran its nukes.

The American Jews who will blindly vote for Obama are lost to the Jewish people.  The question is, are the Democratic American Jews still capable of intelligent independent thought willing to entrust the survival of the Jewish State of Israel and the future of Jews everywhere to Barak Obama?

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/18/2012  at  09:14 AM
Frank, Again, At Odds with Israeli Leaders

Bibi Netanyahu, while sometimes airing disagreements with President Obama, along with Defense Minister Barak (perhaps Israel’s most pertinent cabinet post) have both routinely and RECENTLY praised Obama, with Barak characterizing the Obama Administration as the US government friendliest toward Israel in the history of the Jewish state.

Encased within his Tea Party bubble, ole Frank regularly let’s his ideology take precedents over the facts and correspondingly, he is at odds with the opinions of Israel’s democratically elected president and the man who heads Israel’s most vital administration of defense.

Of course, noting Romney’s revealing statement that half of our country supports Obama because of gov’t handouts and allegedly pays no taxes, Frank must be working hard to shovel out from Romney’s self-induced political obit. Imagine, a president who would express such contempt for half of the electorate.

And since 70-80% of Jewish voters are expected to vote for Obama, this demonstrates the sheer and utter contempt Romney holds as well for Jews…

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Posted by Frank
09/19/2012  at  01:56 AM
There are still many American Democratic Jews capable of intelligent independent thought

As a consistently astute commentator has written:

“What can Binyamin Netanyahu or any other Israeli official say other than that Obama is a great friend of Israel?  We have to face the dismal fact that Obama may remain in the White House until 2017.  No Israeli official can afford to say openly what they think of this man. “  Caroline Glick—-the-story-of-obama.php


While Israel’s leaders may be constrained,  there are many American “liberal” Jews who have not drunken so deeply of the liberal’s “progressive” Kool-Aid, whom the Communists used to call “useful idiots”, who are capable of independent intelligent thought and analysis.  They can clearly see the hard truths and desperate situation faced by the Jewish people.  Despite what they wish they could believe (which they tell the pollsters), when faced with personal responsibility, they may still choose their people’s welfare over their party’s candidate.

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/19/2012  at  07:42 AM
Israel's Minister of Defense, Barak, Is Under No Pressure to Extol the Obama Administration...

and yet Barak said it was the friendliest US presidency in its relations with Israel in history.

BTW, Caroline Glick is the Rush Limbaugh of the Israeli press. ‘Course, ole Frankie probably admires Limbaugh, a hero to his Tea Party…

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Posted by Frank
09/19/2012  at  02:24 PM
Extreme "progressive's" strategy of personal attacks

“Progressives” use Obama’s strategy of the “Big Lie”, personal attacks, and libels. 

This is Caroline Glick:

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Posted by Lisa Cohen
09/19/2012  at  09:43 PM
I find it telling that

I find it telling that the only Israeli Mr. Spitzer can cite that supports Obama is Ehud Barak, a lauded warrior but a failed statesman.  How much peace occurred during Barak’s watch as P.M.?

Respected leaders such as Avigdor Lieberman,Danny Dannon,P.M.Netanyahu, Tzipi Hotovely and so many other Israelis that live in Israel and represent the Israeli people who live with the Iranian threat seem to agree with Mr. Frank and with my analysis.

I am still questioning why, if Mr. Spitzer is so confident in his arguments, he feels it is necessary to resort to ad-hominem attacks on Mr. Romney who has shown nothing but support for Israel, to Mr. Frank who responds with facts, Caroline Glick, a respected reporter not to mention, to me.

It is difficult for most people to admit they may have made bad choices and publicly change their ideology.  I used to be a democrat and for the rest of my life I will make up that poor choice because, I see it weakened the United States,Israel,and the free world.

Perhaps I should sign off as Xena, Warrior,Princess.

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