A group of East Bay residents rally in support of the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza every day on an East Bay overpass. (Photo/Instagram @24_bring_them_home)
A group of East Bay residents rally in support of the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza every day on an East Bay overpass. (Photo/Instagram @24_bring_them_home)

Iran feels protected; Hostages need more attention; Reining in settler; etc.

Hamas supporters sabotaged forum

I attended the District 16 congressional candidates forum in Palo Alto on Jan. 31 (“Congressional debate cut short in Palo Alto by shouting and Oct. 7 denial,” Feb. 1). The candidates, who came out to share their views with the community, and the organizers, who tried so hard to keep the meeting civil, deserve thanks.

I also want to register my utter disgust for the hateful, disruptive, supporters of Hamas who sabotaged the event. This was not democracy in action. This was not free speech. Free speech also grants a speaker the right to be heard.

A sign outside the chamber door said that no banners, signs or flags would be allowed and that anyone disrupting would be asked to leave. Yet somehow all that gear came in with the protesters, and nobody was forced to leave.

These hooligans are rowdy, no doubt because they do not want anyone to remember that there was a cease-fire on Oct 6, the day before Hamas infiltrated into Israeli communities and as one candidate pointed out: “They butchered people, murdered people, raped people and took hostages.”

Unbelievably, someone in the audience shouted, “That did not happen!” Gazans are suffering because they allowed Hamas to build terror tunnels under hospitals and schools. That is something else the protesters do not want anyone to consider.

Sheree Roth
Palo Alto

Hostages need more attention

I was disappointed to not see the online J. article about the Bring Them Home vigil (“For nearly 100 days, this group has hung ‘Bring Them Home’ banners on a Walnut Creek overpass,” Jan. 10). As far as I know, this is the only regular public event in the Bay Area that is continuing to bring awareness about the plight of the hostages still in Gaza.

The seriousness of this ongoing tragedy deserves as much exposure as possible on all media platforms. Only after all the hostages have come home can Israel and the rest of the Jewish global community truly begin to heal from the Oct. 7 terror attack.

David Holsey

Iran feels protected from retaliation

It was deeply sad to watch the coffins of three U.S. Army reservists killed by a drone attack in Jordan return home, greeted by President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden. And it is painful to hear of the dozens of Americans who were injured in this attack.

It is encouraging to know that the United States has retaliated against the perpetrators of these attacks, identified as militant extremist organizations fighting a proxy war funded and organized by Iran.

However, it is disturbing to recognize that these attacks against American forces and interests are likely to intensify along with an escalating level of U.S. retaliation. And as long as Iran feels that it is off limits to retaliation, it will likely continue to fund and train these organizations that despise the West and are sworn to the destruction of Israel.

Since the massacre in Israel on Oct. 7, there have been more than 160 attacks on U.S. forces. Indeed, the escalation of violence is disturbing and it no doubt raises issues of domestic support for Israel in the U.S.

I am concerned that antisemitism will continue to increase the more the U.S. defends itself in the region. It is a troubling quagmire.

Bruce Farrell Rosen
San Francisco

Reining in extreme settlers

I agree with President Joe Biden’s imposition of broad financial and travel sanctions on Israeli settlers accused of violent attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank. In his Feb. 1 executive order, Biden cut off four settlers from the U.S. financial system and from assets or property they have in the U.S. It also prevents them from traveling to the United States.

I am particularly concerned with potential violence from individuals like Israeli Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich, who has long been involved in the extreme settler movement in the West Bank and has been called a “Jewish terrorist” by a Shin Bet leader. Other individuals include Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir and former mayor of Kedumim Daniella Weiss, who are both supporters and leaders of the extreme settler movement.

I hope the sanctions will prevent future attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, which could set off wider violence.

George Z. Banks
San Leandro

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