Members of Jewish Youth for Climate Justice at the Sept. 20, 2019, climate protest in San Francisco (Photo/Gabe Stutman)
Members of Jewish Youth for Climate Justice at a Sept. 20, 2019 protest in San Francisco (Photo/Gabe Stutman)

The kids are right to be concerned about climate justice

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Rooting for ‘climate justice’

I strongly disagree with the opinion voiced by Robert H. Kantor in his letter to the editor of J. (“Climate change virtue signaling,” July 18) that Jewish youth are misguided in their seeking action on climate policy.

I myself am a senior citizen, approaching 80 years old, and I think that there are Jews across the age spectrum who agree with and support our young people in their effort to combat the climate crisis that we see unfolding all around us every day.

I certainly agree with Mr. Kantor that China, the greatest emitter of greenhouse gases, is building coal-fired power plants at an alarming rate. But, on the other hand, as reported by CNN on June 29, “China is on track to double its wind and solar energy capacity and hit its 2030 clean energy targets five years early, a new report has found” and “Solar capacity in China is now greater than the rest of the world combined.”

The U.S. needs to influence China to modify its coal plans so that we can avoid the worst consequences of a warming world while we pursue our own path to 100% renewable energy.

Going green will not impoverish us. It promises to provide an impetus to job creation, technological innovation and climate justice. I think most people today are well aware of all the disasters that have caused deaths, loss of homes, and loss of property in the U.S. as well as in the rest of the world.

We need to take action not only for our own lives, but, more importantly, for the lives of our children and generations to come.

David Kaskowitz
San Francisco


Dark times for Palestinians

I was interested in Zack Bodner’s description of his trip to Israel (“Israel’s contradictions are more obvious than ever — and that’s OK,” July 14). Unfortunately, he stayed in Israel itself and did not cross the Green Line into the West Bank. Had he and his party met with Palestinians there, they would have seen another side of Israel, how Palestinians are being treated by the settlers who now have support from the Israeli army.

A field fire during clashes between Palestinians and Jewish settlers near the Palestinian village of Qusra, in the West Bank, June 22, 2023. (Photo/JTA-Flash90)
A field fire during clashes between Palestinians and Jewish settlers near the Palestinian village of Qusra, in the West Bank, June 22, 2023. (Photo/JTA-Flash90)

It is important to remember that Jews settled in Israel to escape oppression in Germany and elsewhere in the diaspora. Has the current coalition government forgotten what democracy really means? It is both majority rule and minority rights. The Israeli declaration of independence gives voice to both a Jewish and a democratic state. The removal of the reasonableness clause and other actions by the current government undercuts democracy. Life for Palestinian people in both Israel and the West Bank is becoming even more difficult.

Jon Kaufman
Oakland


Judicial acuity in Israel

Apparently, in Silicon Valley, some people are not aware that the Supreme Court of the United States doesn’t have oversight authority over Congress (“In Silicon Valley, Israeli expats and US Jews join global protests over Israeli judicial overhaul,” July 24).

Congress is an independent branch whose function is legislative, not judicial. Likewise the Supreme Court of Israel should not have oversight authority over Israel’s Knesset, which is also an independent legislative body.

The U.S. Supreme Court can hear cases in which two or more federal appellate courts interpret a law differently or that involve some new and important legal principle, but not cases merely claimed to involve some subjective sense of “reasonableness.”

Israel is trying to more closely approximate the U.S. system. This does not constitute a “judicial overhaul.” The judicial overhaul in Israel occurred after 1994, and gradually enabled the court to overthrow laws passed by the Knesset. A system of legal “advisers” was created, and their “advice” to every ministry and government department is binding, thus stripping the elected Knesset and the prime minister, who derive their authority from the power that voters vested in them.

Israel is actually trying to undo a judicial overhaul to recreate its pre-1994 system, which more closely resembles the one we have here in America.

Julia Lutch
Davis


Israel’s tack is fair ’n’ square

Israeli expats and everyone else are entitled to their opinions, but many continue to ignore the fact that the Netanyahu coalition was elected in a close but fair democratic parliamentary election in which judicial reform was part of its platform (“In Silicon Valley, Israeli expats and US Jews join global protests over Israeli judicial overhaul,” July 24).

Offir Gutelzon, one of the local Israeli organizers of UnXeptable, holds up a microphone while another protester blows a shofar into it. (Photo/Courtesy UnXeptable)
Offir Gutelzon, one of the local Israeli organizers of UnXeptable, holds up a microphone while another protester blows a shofar into it. (Photo/Courtesy UnXeptable)

The demonstrators represent those upset that their candidates were unsuccessful. Supporters of losing candidates often demonstrate after elections, as was the case in the U.S. in 2017 after President Trump’s election and inauguration.

The bottom line is that elections in Israel and the United States have consequences. There has been no “vote of no confidence” in Israel, which means the majority still supports judicial reform.

Richard Sherman
Margate, Fla.

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