‘Aid’ to Israel? Hardly

John Lovejoy’s comments in his July 15 letter (“The facts don’t add up”) reflect a common misconception. The U.S. does not give Israel $3.1 billion a year in military aid (as Lovejoy states, “about $500 for every man, woman and child”).

Rather, as Netanel Raisch, a journalist for the Israeli newspaper Ma’Ariv recently clarified, “ … this is not aid or charity. In truth, the security relationship with Israel is worth far more to the Americans.” The U.S. can use Israel as a frontline platform for its own military. For example, Israel hosts a U.S. radar station in the Negev, which generates some $500 million worth of data.

America also gets access to Israeli projects like the Israeli developed anti-missile system Iron Dome, allowing the U.S. to benefit from any new Israeli technology without any of the development risks, a value of perhaps $1.5 billion a year. Military intelligence that Israel shares with the U.S. is worth at least another $1.5 billion.

And finally, let’s remember that the aid doesn’t come in cash, but rather in the form of discounts on U.S.-made weaponry — which means Israel gets to bankroll thousands of American jobs. This isn’t aid. It’s a security pact in which both sides contribute and both benefit.

Mary Arnstein   |   San Francisco


Two-state solution is ‘totally fruitless’

A thunderous “oy vey” is rumbling through the Jewish ranks — especially on the left flanks led by J Street — all because the Republican platform committee dared to omit “mention of the two-state solution altogether” (J. editorial, “GOP leaves 2-state solution out in the cold,” July 15).

Actually, the committee simply confirmed the obvious fact that, in current conditions, to continue beating the dead horse called the “two-state solution” is totally fruitless.

Meanwhile, the Democrats’ projected platform contains the obligatory reference to the two-state solution, where the Palestinians would live in their own state enjoying, among other features, peace and dignity.

While the “peace” part is more or less clear, the “dignity” is somehow murky.  Who must bestow it upon the Palestinians?  The Israelis? The European Union? The United Nations? It is unlikely that they will earn it on their own by knifing Jews, proclaiming the murderers as martyrs, and continuing their vicious anti-Semitic propaganda.

So here we are: one approach rooted in reality and another in total detachment from it. It’s not just an “oy vey” moment. It’s more like the old Yiddish phrase “azohen vey.”

Vladimir Kaplan   |   San Mateo


Muslim deceit in op-ed

The July 8 op-ed “Muslims, Jews benefit by reading each others’ holy texts” was deceptive. The deception appeared when author Maha Elgenaidi wrote, “Reading the four Gospels increased my faith in Jesus, whom Muslims believe was a prophet of God. … Reading parts of the Torah helped me understand and appreciate how much it overlaps with Quranic stories about the prophets, particularly Noah, Abraham and Moses …”

The Arabic word “taqiyya,” invoking disinformation to conceal Islam’s beliefs, is integral to advancing Islam, the self-defined only true religion on Earth. When a Muslim cites Moses or Jesus as a prophet, Jews and Christians will understand this to mean that Islam acknowledges these men to be prophets of Judaism or Christianity.

The author of the op-ed fails to state that Islam accepts Jesus, Abraham and Moses only as prophets of proto-Islam, not as founding prophets of Christianity and Judaism. Judaism teaches that Abraham’s Jewish teachings were carried forth by his preferred son, Isaac, and that his son, Ishmael, was sent away.  Islam teaches the reverse: that Abraham’s teachings (of proto-Islam) were carried forth by his preferred son, Ishmael.

Saudi and Gaza schoolbooks teach that Jews are subhuman sons of pigs and monkeys — to be killed with impunity. Imams from Gaza, the West Bank and across the Arab-Muslim world teach that there were never any Jews in a non-existent biblical “Israel,” that there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and that Jesus was a Palestinian Arab who was a prophet-teacher of Proto-Islam.

By that assertion, it is also touted that Christianity completely misunderstood the teachings of Jesus, and all Christians should convert to Islam.

This entire rewriting of history requires that written documentation from Imperial Rome’s embedded historian Flavius Josephus’ “Jewish Wars” — as well as archeological findings, some in the ancient Hebrew alphabet — be ignored.   

Fred Korr   |   Oakland


A Pollyanna approach won’t solve the conflict

Ken Kaissar’s praiseworthy vision of Palestinians, as he wrote in his op-ed, “living side by side in peace with Israel” (“Having sympathy for Palestinians is not ‘anti-Israel,’” July 15), is not supported by history and is especially not supported by the Palestinians who mean it when they chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

The horrible conditions of the Palestinians are due to the choices made by the Palestinians. The Palestinians declared war on Israel in 1948 and have remained at war with Israel.  The Palestinians steadfastly refuse direct negotiations with Israel — without preconditions — and continue in their attempt to murder Israel’s Jews with missiles, bombs, guns and knives.

The Palestinians’ democratically elected government in Gaza wants to murder Jews everywhere in the world, and Abbas now says the Palestinians will not negotiate peace until the Palestinians’ conditions are met.

Well, that’s not happening. As long as the Palestinians refuse to negotiate peace, directly and without preconditions, the Palestinians will continue to live in the misery of  “the abhorrent status quo.”

Kaissar’s “tikkun olam” approach to the conflict is well intended and, unfortunately, suicidal. Thankfully the overwhelming majority of Israel’s Jews are not suicidal.

David Mullens   |   Palo Alto


Guns aren’t the ‘bad guy’

Once again the discussion of guns ends up revolving around statistics. The anti-firearm argument in Rabbi Menachem Creditor and Eileen Soffer’s op-ed “Choose life, says Torah — not guns” ( July 15) presented a number of factoids that lacked analysis or context.

For instance, the assertion that guns triple the risk of suicide is intellectually lazy. It is true that guns are involved in too many tragic instances of suicide, but saying that the gun made the person more likely to commit suicide denigrates the role that mental health plays in such horrific decisions. Moving the focus from the underlying issue to the tool used to carry out the ultimate act makes no sense.

Similarly, not giving context to the 2,000 people that are wounded in accidental shootings (along with 600 fatalities) skews the discussion. In 2014, 25,000 people died from a prescription drug overdoses. In Japan, almost 5,000 people died from bathtub-related incidents in 2014, with nearly 4,500 of those victims being age 65 or older.

With 300 million guns, all of which are designed to kill either people or animals, the fact that we have only 600 accidental deaths just speaks to the high level of responsibility taken by most gun owners.

Of course, the tragedy of all the gun violence — from Sandy Hook to Orlando — should not be ignored. However, eliminating or severely limiting the everyday citizen’s access is an over-reaction. It also ignores the underlying issues. By putting guns at center stage we avoid talking about the issues of mental health, and the societal problems of radical Islam.

Rather than talk about thorny, painful issues, we anthropomorphize guns, make them the bad guy, which may be convenient, but accomplishes nothing.

Aaron Rubin   |   Pleasanton


Giving land to Palestinians won’t lead to peace

I was disappointed to see J.’s support for the two-state “solution” in its July 15 editorial.

The idea that Israel can obtain peace by making territorial concessions to a mortal enemy is a fatal delusion. The Palestinian “government” is little more than a murder-suicide cult which uses deceit as a fundamental weapon, has no interest in the hard work of actual nation building and diligently teaches its children that the surest path to heaven is through suicide martyrdom against Jews.

The idea that Israel can negotiate an effective peace agreement with such a “government” is ludicrous.

Surrendering land for “peace” is also a direct betrayal of God, the Torah and the Covenant, worse than the sin of the spies in the Book of Numbers. Then, the Israelites refused God’s command to enter the Promised Land and expel the existing inhabitants, because they feared those inhabitants, nations larger and seemingly more powerful than themselves.

But today, the Israelis have already taken possession of the land and proved that they can defeat their enemies. Insisting on a retreat at this stage represents a profound lack of Jewish knowledge and failure of Jewish spirit that can only lead to disaster.

Martin Wasserman   |   Palo Alto