Great, green interview

Thank you for publishing “Talking with … A golden voice gone green,” a fascinating interview with Betsy Rosenberg (May 2). I’ve listened to her program for several years and admire her work, as well as the writings of her frequent co-host D.R. Tucker (who is also my Citizens’ Climate Lobby colleague in Boston). I feel very lucky that I had the opportunity to meet her last June in Washington at the annual CCL conference.

It is very important for climate activists to tell the story of how they were drawn to this work. In many ways it is more important than telling the facts of climate change. The stories of how we are drawn to climate action speak to all of us via our shared humanity, our shared desire for connection and our shared urge to serve a greater good or a higher power. These stories open us up, and make us willing to hear the horrifying facts, and allow us to consider solutions.

Whether Betsy ends up working in broadcasting or writing a book, I hope she energizes the Jewish community to be as engaged on climate change in 2014 as they were for Soviet Jewry in 1987. If anyone can energize our community, it is Betsy.

Rabbi Judy Weiss   |   Brookline, Mass.


Abbas should not be lauded


Moran Stern’s May 2 op-ed (“Abbas’ Holocaust statement is historic”) lauded the “courage” of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for calling the Holocaust “the most heinous crime.” However, Abbas was trained as a lawyer, and his statement should be parsed carefully with respect to his previous writings.

Abbas wrote a book, “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism,” in which he called the Holocaust “the Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that 6 million Jews were killed.” He didn’t deny that Jews were slaughtered en masse, but claimed that “only a few hundred thousand” Jews actually died, insisted that there were no gas chambers, and charged that the “Zionist movement” conspired with the Nazis and secretly worked “to expand the mass extermination.”

Abbas’ recent statement failed to repudiate these hateful falsehoods.

Until Abbas expressly acknowledges that 6 million Jews were killed, disavows his denial that gas chambers were used, retracts his accusation that “Zionists” perpetrated the Holocaust, and renounces the academic credential he was awarded by a Soviet university for his work of anti-Semitic pseudo-scholarship, he should continue to be regarded as a craven Holocaust denier.

Stephen A. Silver   |   San Francisco


Kerry is way off base


Secretary of State John Kerry said if there is not a two-state solution there could be economic boycotts against Israel, violence could increase, and Israel might become an apartheid state. These warnings are not factual, were unnecessary and were not diplomatic. These statements may have encouraged the Palestinians to cease the negotiations.

Israel has always wanted to negotiate. The Palestinians have demanded incentives to negotiate, wanted pre-conditions, used negotiations to get concessions from Israel, while giving no concessions in return.

President Abbas unilaterally applied to 15 U.N. entities and plans to form a unity government with Hamas, which ended the negotiations. Secretary Kerry didn’t tell the Palestinians what would be the consequences to them if there is no two-state solution, which is that they won’t create their first Palestinian state.

Norman G. Licht   |   San Carlos