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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 8, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Israel and Gaza


Tsafrir Abayov / The Associated Press

Israeli tanks are seen in a staging area near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel.

Silence equals compliance

Editor, The Times:

Thank you for publishing George E. Bisharat’s article “Hold Israel Accountable for Gaza” [Times, guest column, Feb. 5]. Israel should be held accountable for the death and destruction in Gaza, as should be Hamas for the rocket attacks.

It is scandalous how Israel considers itself above the law, particularly international law, and still enjoys the unwavering support of the U.S.

If we are silent again, we are complicit in the terrible crimes committed against Palestinians during this disproportionately brutal assault on Gaza.

Thank you for letting critical voices be heard.

— Cornelia van Thiel, Hayward, Calif.

Judgmental headline, empty claims

When your editors choose to run a slanted, pro-terrorism set of allegations by George E. Bisharat, they are, in effect, blaming the United States for the destruction and deaths in Japan during WWII when America was defending itself against Japanese attackers.

Perhaps they should also run a judgmental headline: “Hold U.S. accountable for Japan deaths.”

How else can one try to comprehend a writer who demonizes Israel for defending itself against never-ending rockets launched from Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas?

Increasing and often deadly rocket attacks by Hamas against innocent Israeli citizens, children and schools, are barely mentioned by Bisharat. In his opening diatribe, he claims to quote unnamed Israelis who claim the Israeli prime minister has “lost it” with the attacks against the launching sites in Gaza. No names, nothing. Just empty claims.

The Seattle Times would better serve its readers by at least placing quote marks around the judgmental headline to show this is the “lost it” writer’s opinion, not The Times’.

— Philip Scheier, Shoreline

Register your outrage

Thanks for George Bisharat’s common-sense suggestions on the necessary, though admittedly difficult, efforts that must be made in order to hold Israel accountable for its criminal war on the refugees of Gaza and its occupation of the West Bank.

Mightily though the U.N. may be trying, the veto power held by the U.S. on the Security Council restricts what the U.N. can do to get aid through the Israeli-Egyptian border blockade, much less bring Israel to justice.

Many of us have been struggling to get the news out about Gaza despite Israel’s chokehold on everything, including the exclusion of journalists in the area.

Please call your U.S. senators. It’s up to us, as citizens, to direct our government to stop supporting Israeli violence.

— Linda Jansen, Seattle

Less than honorable intentions

I vigorously protest the egregious anti-Semitic ramblings of George E. Bisharat in his special to The Times

I remember, to this day, the strident anti-Semitism that found its voice in the far right of the political spectrum in the 1960s. While this earlier anti-Semitism found its voice in paranoid, camoflage-uniformed militias and in far-right political organizations, it is no different in character from that which currently comes from much of left-wing academia.

The old anti-Semitism was expressed under the guise of patriotism and religious beliefs; this contemporary version expresses itself from behind a facade of academic respectability. Whether one spouts this hateful agenda from under the cover of KKK robes or from behind tweed, elbow-patched jackets, it is every bit as detestable.

My use of the term “anti-Semitic” here is not misapplied. Bisharat’s column is anti-Semitic in that it leaves Israel no options with which to defend itself and, therefore, at the mercy of its decidedly unmerciful adversaries. Keep in mind, Mr. Bisharat, the Jewish people paid dearly (an obvious understatement) for their failure to forcefully resist the forces of anti-Semitism during WWII.

One can only suggest that your opposition to Israel’s legitimate resistance of those who formally and vigorously deny their right to exist, lob rockets daily into their country or wish to “wipe Israel off the map” springs from less-than-honorable intentions.

That your insidious double standard for Israel puts them in an impossible double-bind can only infer a dark motivation. While we all feel compassion for Palestinian suffering, we also know that those same Palestinians voted for Hamas knowing full well their agenda for the destruction of the Jewish state.

And finally, Mr. Bisharat, are you too ideologically pure or zealous to accept President Obama’s wise reluctance to try members if the previous administration for war crimes?

— Don McKee, Camano Island

Rethinking “no matter what” philosophy

I am grateful to you for publishing professor Bisharat’s opinion in The Seattle Times.

I believe public media and opinion in the U.S. is strongly biased in favor of Israel. I hope Times readers will reconsider our “no matter what” support of Israel’s inhumane, criminal behavior toward Palestinians in Gaza.

— David Rosenbaum, Seattle

Too much credence

Thank you very much for running the op-ed piece by George Bisharat. It is sad to think that the only option we have is to urge a boycott. This is what we should be doing right now in the case of Sri Lanka, where I lived and worked among the Tamils in the Jaffna Peninsula for 17 years.

We give way too much credence to what the governments tells us. There’s a reason why they don’t allow reporters in these areas, and it is not responsibility for their safety.

— Robert Porter, Seattle

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