Compare Netanyahu's campaign intervention to Hillary Clinton's
Compare Netanyahu's campaign intervention to Hillary Clinton's

‘Can you spell double standard?’

Can you spell hypocrisy?

Many of my liberal and progressive Jewish friends are apoplectically outraged because they feel another country has attempted to undermine the election of Hillary Clinton. Yet in 2015, the Obama administration sent over $300,000 of our American taxpayer dollars to an anti-Netanyahu political group who worked to undermine that Israeli election. Now where was the Jewish liberal and progressive moral outrage then? Can you spell double standard? Can you spell hypocrisy? Can you spell willful blindness?

Scott Abramson   |   San Mateo


Alt ideas for alt-right’s ‘exuberant’ expressions

Richard Spencer, alt-right leader, did not shout “Heil Trump,” but “Hail Trump.” Awfully close, no? It’s the English translation, and in a way it’s worse: It sounds stilted and foreign, artificial, uncomfortable to the tongue (“Alt-right leader: ‘Heil Trump was fun, exuberance,” Dec. 9).

Spencer claims he felt a moment of exuberance and wanted to let it out. And as everyone knows, “Hail” is a frequently used term of exuberance and fun, no? No, it sure isn’t. He wanted that word and used it intentionally. It was, as Spencer says elsewhere, a little “naughty,” in your face. Read: rabble-rousing.

His full exuberant concluding remarks were: “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory.” That last word is the English translation for “Sieg,” as in the Nazi cry “Sieg heil!” On cue, as if impelled from within, several members of the audience raised their hand in an exuberant Nazi salute. Or was it just fun?

If Spencer wanted an exuberant expression, he might have used some phrases closer to the vernacular, like, “Yay Trump!” or “Hooray for our people!” or “On to victory!” Now those are really exuberant expressions, and they have the advantage of being more familiar to American hearers. At least for now.

Stephanie Friedman   |   Berkeley


If you want me to give Trump a chance, first do this

If Stephen Astrachan and his fellow Trump supporters want me to give Trump a chance (“Looking ahead to the Trump presidency with an open mind,” Dec. 16), then they first have to do something for me, something really easy.

Contact your Republican leaders and convince them that the vast majority of Trump supporters did not vote for a fascist white state, and did not vote for an anti-science platform, and did not vote for a climate change denier. And that you want contraception and family planning to be options for all.

And you have to convince your leaders that you did not vote for a return to big oil and big coal. Coal miners want jobs with a future. And that no one voted to have a secretary of state who is Putin’s best buddy. You have to convince your Republican leaders that your working wives and stay-at-home moms and your sisters and aspiring daughters are worthy of every respect, and that campaign trail misogynist speech has absolutely no place in Making America Great.

Talk to your Republican friends and write letters telling them that your future vote is dependent upon them listening to you. Then maybe, just maybe, we might give Trump a chance.

David Moss   |   Palo Alto


Where is BDS movement against Syria, Russia, Iran?

The boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, which includes mobs attacking and silencing Israeli and pro-Israel speakers on college campuses, doesn’t just “spur” anti-Semitism — it is anti-Semitism (“BDS spurs anti-Semitism on campuses, report finds,” Nov. 4).

Israel traded land three times its size, captured in self-defense, for peace with Egypt and Jordan, and made generous offers that the Palestinians and Syria rejected. Israel is a democracy where free speech is guaranteed, academic freedom is respected, women and minorities have full rights, and diversity in opinion and culture is celebrated. Israeli doctors perform rescue services all over the world, including treating Iraqi children with heart defects and Syrians wounded in war. Israel’s Arab minority is represented in Israel’s Knesset and Supreme Court, and comprises the same 20 percent of students at the elite Technion-Israel Institute of Technology as in Israel’s general population.

Contrast Israel with Syria’s despotic Assad regime. Under Hafez al-Assad, Syria invaded Jordan in 1970, Israel in 1973 and Lebanon in 1976. In 1982, Syria massacred 25,000 people in Hama to suppress political opposition. Since 2011, Assad’s successor, Bashar al-Assad, has slaughtered 600,000 people (including thousands of Palestinians), sometimes using chemical weapons, with support from Iran, Russia and Hezbollah, and created 5 million refugees. Assad’s seizure of Aleppo is replete with atrocities. Yet there are no BDS campaigns targeting Syria, Russia, Iran or Hezbollah — only Israel!

As Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg observed, “Given the history of the attacks on Israel and the oppressiveness and aggressiveness of other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere, boycotting Israel indicated a moral blindness for which it is hard to find any explanation other than anti-Semitism.”

Stephen A. Silver    |   San Francisco


Who displaced whom? Students need to know

While teaching about Israel from many highly regarded perspectives is a fabulous plan, I hope that lessons about the historical bond of the Jewish people to Israel will be considered important, as well (“Making strides: Israel studies flourishing at Cal,” Dec. 16).

I have sat through many speeches open to the public on university campuses. Pro-Palestinian speakers are not shy about telling audiences that “Palestinians are the indigenous people” of “Palestine.” Who doesn’t have sympathy for a displaced indigenous people and disdain for those who did the displacing?

Students should be taught historical truth — Jews are indigenous to the Holy Land. Students today don’t seem to know much about the historic and legal ties of Jews to the land, about the negative involvement of the world’s 56 Muslim states in the United Nations, about Haj Amin al-Husseini and his ties with Hitler, about the persecution of Jews in Arab lands, and especially about the British policy of overlooking the significant immigration by Arabs and squelching Jewish immigration into Palestine during the Mandate period.

For more on the subject, please see my recently published article in the Middle East Quarterly “Were the Arabs Indigenous to Mandatory Palestine?” at

Sheree Roth   |   Palo Alto


Trump can learn from U.S. errors brokering peace

Secretary of State John Kerry said, “No one has expended as much time as I have to try to move the process forward” (“Outgoing secretary still favors 2-state solution,” Dec. 9): David Horovitz reported in the Times of Israel that Kerry spent 130 hours in discussions with PM Benjamin Netanyahu and visited Israel more than 40 times.

Why did he and President Obama fail to get a peace agreement? They didn’t get the Palestinians to stop terrorism and teaching and preaching to hate Jews, and they didn’t get the Palestinians to continue direct negotiations with Israel and accept Israel as the Jewish state. They said Israel should return to the 1967 lines, with land swaps, which is insecure and therefore impossible for Israel. They demanded Israel stop construction in all settlements, which failed to differentiate the larger-size settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem expected to remain part of Israel in any future agreement.

This presents a great opportunity for President-elect Trump, to learn from and not repeat these previous mistakes.

Norman G. Licht   |   San Carlos


The sky is not falling

In reading Donald C. Cutler’s op-ed (“They are coming for us — why is Israel so silent?” Dec. 2), one cannot but think of the cry “the sky is falling.” Or is it Mr. Cutler and his fellow liberals’ aspirations that got unsettled by the election results?

Besides, the rise in hate speech and crime was already trending upward over the past 15 years; please check with the Jewish students at U.C. campuses.

Mr. Cutler’s notion that Israel will defend U.S. Jews “when ‘they’ come for us” is peculiar or, at best, got lost in translation.

No such “communal myth” was expressed. Rather, Israel declared that it is a safe haven for the Jewish diaspora, and this is still true as evident by the increased Jewish migration to Israel by those escaping the sharp rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

Mr. Cutler’s complaint about the Israeli government’s silence smells of hypocrisy; he and many so-called liberals voiced no alarm when the Obama administration chased the Iran nuclear deal, despite Israel’s objection. And, make no mistake, it is a mortal danger to the people of Israel.

Sam Liron   |   Foster City