Letters, June 9, 2016


Erase the dichotomy in Democratic platform
I will be a Bernie Sanders delegate at the Democratic National Convention, and I want to express my disappointment in the way Wendy Sherman, former undersecretary of state for political affairs, has framed the issue (“Sherman sees Democrats rallying around Clinton,” June 2).

James Zogby has long been a respected voice for Arab-Americans and for justice for Palestinians. We expect that he will be an important voice at the convention to represent those aspirations in a time when the opposition’s standard-bearer has expressed hostility to Muslims and a causal disregard for the value of their lives. Those views are not in conflict with the views of the vast majority of American Jews, and are accepted by nearly all Democratic voters. J Street has just issued a call for platform language that affirms the rights of Palestinians and an end to occupation.

Sherman’s framing of the issue is unfortunate. The point of the discussion should be to erase the dichotomy — to unify the party’s position without giving the proverbial finger to Zogby and Cornel West. She’s spot-on when she says this: “The party platform will reflect the United States’ “unbreakable bond” with Israel and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s support for a two-state solution.”

The language will have to be hashed out, but this will be the end result, along with some language about respecting the rights of Palestinians and maybe not doing anything that will undermine efforts for a peaceful resolution. That will be a nod at avoiding deliberate provocations with expanding settlements.


The platform should emphasize that Democrats see the two-state solution as essential to Israel’s security and to the national interests of the United Sates as a basic pre-condition to creating a saner, stable Middle East. The problem remains those on the Israeli right who seem determined to sabotage the prospects for a legitimate two-state solution. That offers only the prospect of endless war, and an Israel that is either Jewish or democratic, but that can never be both. That is the real dichotomy, and it is a prospect that offers a bleak future for everyone.

The Democratic Party is not aligned with the policies of the Likud. Pretending otherwise is delusional or dishonest.

Clinton, Sherman have history of policy failures
The article “Sherman sees Democrats rallying around Clinton” (June 2) included the statement by Wendy Sherman that Donald Trump’s lack of knowledge about foreign affairs would be ‘reckless and dangerous for the country.’ Such criticism from a lady who served as the lead negotiator in the Iran nuclear deal is a clear example of the pot calling the kettle black.

Many commentators agree that the nuclear agreement she helped to conclude might delay Iranian objectives for up to 15 years, but it is likely to encourage further proliferation as other nations seek to explore their own nuclear capabilities, if only as a means of deterring what they now see as a future nuclear armed Iran.

It is clear that the final agreement was less about stopping proliferation and more about increasing trade opportunities. Any doubt about this interpretation was removed on July 23, 2015 at an Iran/European Union Conference on Trade and Investment as Iran opened its doors to European countries eager to do business.

American diplomacy used to be backed by a steel fist that enabled negotiators to hold their line and achieve their objectives without conceding vital issues. Sadly, Sherman as a representative of the current administration operated under different standards.

The Democrats may emerge from their nominating convention with a pro-Israel policy but as Art Levine eloquently noted in his letter (“Skeptical of Clinton’s vow for support of Israel,” June 2), they will be led by an individual whose word cannot be trusted.

Trump may lack the detailed knowledge of foreign affairs that Clinton and Sherman have had the chance to acquire, but their record of policy failures in this vital area indicates that they have little of value to offer the American public. I prefer the attitude of Trump with the slogan of “Make America Great Again.”

Battle of Bulge survivors thanked for WWII service
I read with interest the article “Two friends, two survivors of Battle of Bulge” (June 2). It resonates with me since after living in hiding for two years in southeast Belgium’s Ardennes, on my birthday, Dec.19, 1944, my family and I learned that a German counteroffensive was threatening us again. After the liberation by the Army, we had recovered our real name (our nom de guerre was Lejeune during our lives underground). Therefore, being Jewish, it was a threat which we viewed as dangerous and led us to trek in the snow for 20 miles to Liege, with the hope that the offensive would be halted, as it was. I am grateful to the two survivors of the “Battle of the Bulge,’ the topic of the article.

The term “Battle of the Bulge’ was coined by contemporary  press to describe the way the Allied front line bulged inward on wartime news maps, and it became mostly widely used name for the battle. The German name for the offensive was ‘Operation Watch on the Rhine.’ The Belgians named it ‘Battle of the Ardennes,’ and the Allies called it ‘The Ardennes Counteroffensive.’  I wish the two survivors of the battle many more years in continued good health and happiness.

Where is the outrage?
The concerns discussed regarding Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party joining the Israeli governing coalition demonstrate a disturbing double standard (“Netanyahu Leans Right,” Editorial, May 26). The example cited as the most problematic for the Obama administration, many world leaders and many American Jews is Lieberman’s “call to transfer some of Israel’s Arab population to territory that would encompass a future Palestinian state.”

Where were all those who object to the transfer of Arabs from Israel when nearly 10,000 Jews were uprooted from their homes in Gaza and northern Samaria? Why is it that much of the world demands that all Jews be ethnically cleansed from Judea and Samaria to make way for a Judenrein Palestinian state, but then condemn any consideration to moving Arabs out of Israel?  Is population transfer only acceptable when it involves Jews?  Why is it that for the so called two-state solution Israel must keep all of its Arabs while the Palestinians are granted the right to remove all Jews living within their borders?  Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said that no Jew will be allowed in the Palestinian state. Why is there no outrage to his comments as with those of Lieberman?

The fact is that if there were true peace, no Jews should have to leave Judea and Samaria. With real peace, Jews would be able to live, work and have full rights in a Palestinian state just as Arabs currently enjoy in Israel. If Jews are unable to live in safety in a Palestinian state, then there is no peace. Perhaps Lieberman’s comments should be a wake-up call to all ‘peace processors’ that genuine peace is not something that the Palestinians were ever interested in.
Silver Spring

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