Members of the Los Angeles teachers' union celebrate the end of a strike, Jan. 22, 2019. (Photo/Wikimedia-Mike Chickey)
Members of the Los Angeles teachers' union celebrate the end of a strike, Jan. 22, 2019. (Photo/Wikimedia-Mike Chickey)

L.A. teacher’s union is misguided; Expose anti-Israel professors; People are too stupid to use Facebook; etc.

L.A. union’s misguided efforts

In his opinion piece in J., Los Angeles teacher Glenn Sacks seemed gratified that while L.A. children are unable to access a quality education, United Teachers Los Angeles has time to provide us with a foreign policy. (“Shut up and teach? Why labor unions like mine weigh in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Aug. 10).

Hamas’ priority is not the health and welfare of Gazans. It is the development of weapons and military infrastructure for attacks on  Israel. Hamas has used lavishly bestowed foreign aid to build miles of tunnels so it can operate from beneath civilian areas. Meanwhile, compliant media assure that Hamas gains politically from every death of one of its — as they apparently see it — expendable, human-shield civilians.

The UTLA must direct its efforts to assuring that all Los Angeles children can read, write and compute adequately. The UTLA’s “foreign policy” agenda will not bring either peace or education.

Julia Lutch

Opinion on Gaza not smart

Glenn Sacks, in his opinion piece, made a good case concerning American unions having a history of speaking out in solidarity with oppressed workers in foreign countries (“Shut up and teach? Why labor unions like mine weigh in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Aug. 10).

Unfortunately, in trying to express unity with the workers in Gaza, United Teachers Los Angeles is supporting those who are responsible for the Gazans’ suffering (which isn’t the Israelis).

In signing the Oslo Accord, Israel afforded the Arabs of Palestine what no Arab state ever did — the opportunity to live under the administration of leaders of their own choosing. In addition, Israel withdrew all Israeli communities and troops from Gaza in 2005. The residents of Gaza subsequently gave Hamas an electoral victory (after which Hamas proceeded to kill or expel members of the duly-elected Fatah opposition).

Like their counterparts in the Palestinian Authority, Hamas’ leaders have enriched themselves on monies donated for their peoples’ benefit and diverted humanitarian aid to their efforts to destroy the nation-state of the Jews.

Mr. Sacks tells us that most of the Gazans killed in Operation Guardian of the Walls were workers. I wonder if he knows that roughly one-third of those killed died because Hamas missiles, fired at Israeli population centers, “fell short” (landed in Gaza).

If UTLA wants to see improvement in the lives of the people in Gaza, the union should be urging Hamas to reconcile with the PA and start work on building a state in which the Palestinians can give their children a better life.

Toby F. Block

Expose those who call for destruction of Israel

Never let it be said that the destruction of Israel is not still the objective of too many in the world today. The subject line in my email inbox stated the objective clearly and with no ambiguity: “Over 600 scholars and artists call for the dismantling of the apartheid regime in historic Palestine.”

As I read the open letter dated July 5, 2021, I learned that the signers represented too many recognizable individuals from 45-plus countries.

The letter calls for the dismantling of what is called “the apartheid regime and the setting up on the territory of historic Palestine a democratic constitutional arrangement that grants all its inhabitants equal rights and duties.”

It goes on to condemn “Western powers [that] have facilitated and even subsidized for more than seven decades the Israeli system of colonization, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid and continue to do so diplomatically, economically and even militarily” and concludes with “a call for the International Criminal Court to launch a formal investigation of Israeli political leaders and security personnel guilty of perpetuating the crime of apartheid.”

It is important to note that the reference to “seven decades” stretches back to 1948 and the founding of the State of Israel. The real issue for the signers is the very existence of Israel.

For the purposes of this brief letter, I will not detail or rebut the points made in this egregious statement. What disturbs me is the total lack of response to this outrageous call for the destruction of Israel.

Three Northern California academics were among the signatories: George Bisharat (UC Hastings College of the Law), Suad Joseph, Distinguished Research Professor, UC Davis), and Daniel Boyarin (Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, UC Berkeley).

Let me be perfectly clear: These individuals have the absolute right to express their point of view.

At the same time, we need to know who the signers are in our own community. The call for the destruction of Israel needs to be understood for what it is: politicide.

John F. Rothmann
San Francisco

Sweet column gave me a smile

I loved Janet Silver Ghent’s sweet story about domestic tribulations, about trying to find a replacement piece for her well-loved immersion blender (“Rouxing the day my immersion blender failed me,” Aug. 16).

I can definitely relate, as I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to fix or find parts for old items I am reluctant to part with.
And I loved the phrase “the futility closet”! What an excellent pun!

This piece resonated with me because I spend too much time (as many of us probably do) on such domestic conundrum. Why does the printer malfunction? Why do I no longer have an account with USPS?

Thanks for this funny and sweet piece that brought a smile. It is such a relief to smile when much of the news is difficult. And the author clearly has a gem of a husband!

Lea M. Delson

Facebook? Harmless

The assertion that Facebook provides a platform for the distribution of perverse opinions about politics and social issues that influence members of the public to the detriment of all is without basis (“Oakland reporter and author of Facebook expose cut her teeth in the Mideast,” Aug. 6).

Sheera Frenkel is a cybersecurity reporter at the New York Times and the author of a new book about Facebook. (Photo/Beowulf Sheehan)
Sheera Frenkel is a cybersecurity reporter at the New York Times and the author of a new book about Facebook. (Photo/Beowulf Sheehan)

It can only be true if the public is easily manipulated by subliminal posts. All of the reports about Facebook items having the ability to direct action by individuals and groups assumes that there are millions of people unable to tell the difference between facts and bull-waste.
If this is true, all is lost.

The only negative consequence of Facebook’s arrival that I can detect is that there is now a shortage of postings on bathroom walls. Most of these incoherent and useless notes have moved to the edges of Facebook and are just as harmless as they were then.

Nathan Dwiri
San Francisco

Overblaming Israel, as usual

Letter-writer Carol Sanders argued that BDS is an exercise of free speech, and that California law only prohibits discrimination (“Backing BDS is OK in CA,” Aug. 5).

I assert that BDS (the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel) is still illegal under anti-discrimination law.

Israel makes mistakes, and it is our job as Jews to hold it to account. To this end, I signed a letter this year protesting the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah.

However, the goal of the BDS campaign is to single out Israel for violations of supposedly universal human rights. Any student of history knows that the difference between a just law and an oppressive one often has less to do with the letter of the law than with how it is applied. (This principle gives rise to the disparate-impact doctrine in U.S. law.)

And the BDS movement seeks to continue the pattern already seen at international forums, such as the United Nations, of criticizing Israel out of proportion to its actual misdeeds.

China is deploying Stalinist tactics in its heartbreaking oppression of the Uyghurs. Myanmar has added a horrific campaign against the Rohingya to the list of wars it has waged against ethnic minorities, plus this year’s coup and civil unrest. The Assad regime in Syria has been fighting a devastating civil war for a decade.

I am not aware of any BDS-like campaign against any of these countries, or against many others that I could name.

Most pointedly, BDS campaigners respond to the atrocities carried out by Hamas against its own people by trying to give a platform to would-be mass murderer Leila Khaled, while shifting onto Israel all the blame for Palestinians’ suffering.

Much ink has been spilled over whether Jews are “a protected category, such as [a] race, religion or national origin.” I believe we are all three. And discrimination does not cease to be discrimination when carried out under color of international law.

Ilya Gurin
Mountain View

Ben & Jerry’s lack of logic

Ben & Jerry’s distinction (“Ben & Jerry’s ice cream announces boycott of West Bank settlements,” July 19) between Israel within the arbitrary armistice lines of 1967 and territory captured from Jordan in a defensive war may be acceptable for those people who think that denying Jews the right to live in their ancestral homeland is appropriate.

The Green Line was never intended to be the final border. Abba Eban and others called them “Auschwitz borders.”

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas have both said that no Jews would be permitted to live in a Palestinian state, and during the 19 years of Jordanian occupation, no Jews were allowed to live in Judea and Samaria.

As a reminder, parts of Jerusalem (including the Kotel and the Temple Mount) are beyond the Green Line.  Is J Street including the Holy City in their OK to boycott propaganda?

I believe there is no distinction between Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem from a legal, moral or historical basis.

If you support BDS for territory liberated in 1967, you support divestment from the eternal capital of the Jewish people.

Whether there will ever be a two-state solution is dependent on the Arabs living in the territories accepting Israel as an independent Jewish state. They never have and it seems unlikely that will change anytime soon. BDS will do nothing to encourage this, but rather will embolden those who refuse to accept Israel.

There is only one Jewish state, but there are plenty of other ice cream makers besides Ben & Jerry’s.

Gil Stein

J. Readers

J. welcomes letters and comments from our readers. To submit a letter, email it to [email protected].