Letters: June 4 – June 10

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Arguments against Proposition 28 make fallacious claims

This letter is in response to the editorial “On good terms,” originally posted June 4, 2012. There are many sound arguments to be made against term limits, but allowing legislators to “worry less about reelection” is not one of them. It is one thing to assert that eliminating or extending term limits allows for more effective deal-making and coalition-building within the Legislature. It is another to fallaciously claim that nothing but good can come from lengthening the time legislators may serve in their chamber of preference — the admitted purpose of Proposition 28 — or to deceptively imply that safeguarding incumbents will directly result in a personal relationship between legislators and constituents. Nor will enacting such protections allow for the continued influx of new people and ideas into the Capitol. Rather, these arguments sound like those of a career politician whose only fear is having to face anything but his safe, gerrymandered constituency, or an end to his sheltered tenure in Sacramento.

Legislators must be kept accountable, not protected.

— J.F. Grant
Berkeley

Young voters are key to effecting political change

Democracy calls for compromise — but incompetent Congresses have compromised our whole country! For decades, Congress has continually added more debt — on our credit card — and just passed it on, causing our current crisis.

Since Congress refuses to change, we have to change Congress: Vote out all “soiled” incumbents! All of Congress must be made to realize their first duty is to country — no less than the same duty required of the youth they send to war! Congress can and should be rewarded for their patriotism — or lack thereof!

We have a real opportunity to kick-start Congress! “No soiled incumbents” says it all! This election should be more about those voted out! Their numbers are the incentive (force) to change Congress! With undeniable proof of the value of our vote, the possibilities are huge!

With no politics or party, college students and all young voters can join in free, common cause against their unfair, lifelong debt and rising college costs. Millions of frustrated youth to promote the vote! With their Internet — think Egypt — they can be an invaluable voice!

It’s not only our right but our duty — and our fault if we don’t! The solution can give citizens some control, no matter who’s in office — and even force an effective “Ethics Committee!” It can also give vent to public frustrations — with real, immediate, satisfaction! Maybe even dancing in the streets — instead of riots! All with our votes, as intended!

Consider the possibilities: youngvoterssolution.com

— Rich Aguilar
Mendocino, Calif.

Personal attacks are invalid, misinformed

In her letter “Anti-Israel ad breaks trust, propagates lies,” (May 21-27), Thyme Siegel angrily attacks me, apparently under the erroneous impression that I was responsible for an ad in The Daily Californian that she found infuriating.

Her letter berates the newspaper for the highly factual ad, stating: “… an especial red flag should have gone up in taking money from anti-Israel activists.  Alison Weir, whose organization If Americans Knew is mentioned in the ad, is a full-time hater of Israel, a task of constant malice.”

In reality, I am a former journalist with a history of opposing discrimination. I had known little about Israel-Palestine most of my life, tilting toward Israel in my sympathies. When a Palestinian uprising erupted in fall 2000, I grew curious and began to investigate it.

I was shocked as I read Internet reports from regional media, humanitarian agencies and eyewitnesses. These differed so markedly from U.S. news reports that I decided to go see the situation firsthand.

I traveled by myself throughout Gaza and the West Bank and saw entire neighborhoods in ruins from Israeli shelling, ancient orchards that had been razed, children who had been shot.

When I returned I began If Americans Knew to provide the facts on a tragic issue to which Americans are intimately connected through our $8 million per day to Israel.

For my work, I am regularly called names. Following a 2003 debate at Berkeley, I received a death threat. Nevertheless, I plan to continue my efforts to give Americans the facts — especially since we have the power to bring justice and peace. It is my dream that today’s college students will do this.

— Alison Weir
Council for the National Interest and If Americans Knew

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  • Dan Spitzer

    Alison Weir has no real background in journalism. The closest she came was to edit a “shopper” magazine in Marin. When I met her several years ago she was complaining to me that newspapers won’t publish an editorial she wrote stating that HIV has nothing to do with AIDS. An editor told me that they never publish her nonsense because they view her as a ?crank.” 

    However, Weir has had a few free lance pieces printed in ideological rags–one of them being the on line publication of David Duke, whose stance on Jews she no doubt admires. And Weir has also written her allegation of the old canard of Jewish blood libel, stating in the loony left garbage published by Alexander Cockburn (who once was given subsidies by Saudi Arabia leading to his firing from the Village Voice) that Israelis sell parts of Palestinian body parts of Arabs they supposedly “murdered.” 

    In sum, Weir is truly a hater of Jews and it is good reason that she has been labeled one of the ten top anti-Semitic activists in the country by the ADL

  • Pumbaa

    We are lucky to have Americans like Alison who are willing to try and take a look at all the facts instead of just looking at the one sided pro-Israel/anti-Arab twist we most often get here in the US. 

    American security is put at risk time and time again due to our unbalanced, unhealthy, foreign policy that favors Israel while ignoring the basic human rights and dignity of the Palestinian people.

  • peepsqueek

    A few points:  Money spent on missile defense and other defense systems for Israel is spent here at home.  The ruins from Israeli shelling are the results of a thousand Palestinian rockets meant to target Israel civilians, and also meant to provoke a known response from Israel for propaganda purposes, which is often played out in Berkeley.  

    The question of statehood was resolved at the United Nations, with the 1947 U.N.  partition plan (a Jewish State and an “Arab” State living side by side). However, six “Arab” armies invaded the newly formed Jewish State, in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to destroy it. It is ironic that Palestinian “Arabs” now seek statehood via a path they have rejected for the Israelis all these years.  Remember, the banner of Islam already flies over 99.9% of the Middle East land mass.   

    A war is not over until that last combatant is either dead or lays down his weapons. Second, the defeated States must sign permanent terms of agreement.  In every war you have what is called terms of surrender and terms of agreement. If Israel surrendered there would be no more Israel. Arab Countries have the luxury of surrendering without surrendering anything. They just go back to business as usual. The business of Hamas, as stated in their Charter, is to destroy the Jewish State and to replace it with an Islamic Republic. 

    Coptic News:  “Since Christianity came to Egypt in 57 A.D., we, the Christians of Egypt, have not had conflict with the Jewish people. Copts have been a marginal population held in captivity for sixteen centuries. We constitute the largest non-Arab, non-Moslem minority in the Middle East. The Church of Alexandria, is one of the oldest organization in the Middle East.  Despite this distinguished history, it is a church that has been under siege since the Islamic invasion.” – Does Israel still have to explain their position for self determination?

    • Alison Weir

      Rockets against Israel (most of them small, handmade projectiles) began in late 2001 — after Israeli forces had invaded Gaza and killed numerous Palestinians. These rockets have killed approximately 20 Israelis during this entire time. Israeli forces have killed over 6,000 Palestinians.

      Regarding the UN vote see “The Real Story of How Israel Was Created” — http://ifamericansknew.org/history/realstory.html

      Unlike other issues, where both sides use facts to argue their perspective, Israel partisans use falsehoods and manipulation. For the facts, with thorough citations, see http://ifamericansknew.org/ and http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org/

      • Peepsqueek

        Did you purposely leave out that Hamas has a 24 year history of violence and acts of war against Israel, specifically targeting non-combatants and civilian populations.  It only stopped when the walls when up and the weapons blockade was put in place.

        Israel’s international “birth certificate” was validated by all three ancient Biblical texts;  Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward; the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the San Remo Resolution of 1920; the League of Nations Mandate, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration; the United Nations partition resolution of 1947; Israel’s admission to the UN in 1949; the recognition of Israel by most other states; and, most of all, the society created by Israel’s people.

        One party still has a Charter calling the obliteration of the Jewish State and to replace it with an Islamic Republic. On the West Bank, the implication of many settlement critics is that it would be better for peace if the West Bank were empty of Jews. The West Bank, the cradle of Jewish civilization, the birth place of Solomon, David, and Jesus, should be empty of Jews, while the banner of Islam flies over 99,9% of the Middle East land mass.  Do you have a balanced scale?

        • Pumbaa

          Peepsqueek mentions the Balfour Declaration of 1917… so one has to question if he ever read it:  “… it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine…”

          He also mentions Israel’s admission to the UN… Where the charter says you can’t take land by force, yet Israel continues to expand settlements to this day…

          • peepsqueek

                              The question of Statehood was resolved with the 1947 U.N. partition plan (a Jewish State and an “Arab” State living side by side). However, six “Arab” armies invaded the newly formed Jewish State, in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to destroy it. It is ironic that Palestinian “Arabs”, seek statehood now via a path they have rejected for Israel all these years.