Letters: An Open Letter to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Harris on the Ticket

August 26, 2020

An Open Letter to Rep. Rashida Tlaib

The “sweetheart business deal” (between Israel and the United Arab Emirates) you criticized will open the doors to a level of intellectual, economic and cultural exchange in the Middle East that will shift the balance of power toward democracy (“The Accidental Peace,” Aug. 21).

The Palestinians will be offered such opportunities as the two largest tech powers in the region join forces in creating infrastructure and economic empowerment. The corrupt leadership of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have brainwashed people that Israel is to blame for their woes when in fact it is our U.S. tax dollars that have enriched them to the detriment of the people they claim to be fighting for.

It is time for the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table while the possibility of annexation has been replaced with a genuine desire to stabilize the region and to forge a normalization of state relations. The Arab world understands that Israel is here to stay and any attempt to deny this will leave the Palestinian people behind as the region progresses. After the Saudis join the UAE, it is game over for Iran and Hezbollah, which will implode, and the politics of terror they funded will go up in smoke.

The tides are flowing toward peace. Don’t swim upstream against this incredible opportunity. Let’s do this together — build where we can build and mend where we can mend. I’d love to try a homemade kanafe one day on your turf and I still dream of wandering through the bazaars of Isfahan, Iran, playing takhte nard while sipping chai with the locals. Join me in imagining a new reality for both of us.
Lisa Deborah Ansell, via email

I was wondering how anyone could paint the Israel-UAE treaty as a bad thing. Last week’s cartoon on your Letters page showed a dove laying an egg on the Palestinians, conveying the message that peace is bad for them. In fact, peace would bring them their own state.
For 100 years, the world has, by turns, naively and cynically indulged a corrupt segment of the Arab and Persian population in its attempt to create a Middle East free of Jews. It is time to acknowledge that this perverse dream will never be achieved. With its “Three No’s” at the Khartoum, Sudan, summit in 1967, the Arab League neatly identified the elements necessary to resolve the conflict with Israel: peace, recognition and negotiation.  And in precisely that order
Robert F. Helfing, Pasadena

United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash stated that when a normalization agreement with Israel is signed, “Abu Dhabi will have its embassy in Tel Aviv based on international consensus to a two-state solution.”

Asked about achievements reached in the deal, Gargash said, “The most concrete achievement was to stop the annexation of Palestinian lands and reiterated UAE’s commitment to a two-state solution.”

Perhaps we would do well to recall the words of Anwar Sadat: “Poor Menachem [Begin], he has his problems. … After all, I got back … the Sinai and the Alma oil fields, and what has Menachem got? A piece of paper.”

There is also this, from an interview with the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in the Egyptian newspaper Al Anwar on June 22, 1975:

“The Zionist conquest to which we are being subjected will not be terminated by the return of the occupied territories. … The effort of our generation is to return to the 1967 borders. Afterward, the next generation will carry the responsibility.”

History suggests we might reasonably question whether it is sound policy “to make concrete, and probably irreversible, concessions in exchange for gestures and unenforceable promises.”
Julia Lutch, Davis, Calif. 

Kamala Harris on the Ticket

With former Vice President Joe Biden’s selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, much has been made of Harris’ diversity as a Black woman of Indian descent and a daughter of immigrants who grew up in Berkeley just as desegregation was beginning. However, there has been little mention of her remarkable Jewish ties.
Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, is Jewish. She therefore joins 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis (Kitty) and 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (Hadassah) as the only candidates on a major party national ticket to have a Jewish spouse. (Lieberman is also Jewish.) Harris’ stepchildren reportedly call her “Momala.”
Moreover, she has “fondly” recalled, “As a child, I never sold Girl Scout cookies, I went around with a JNF box collecting funds to plant trees in Israel.” And: “Years later, when I visited Israel for the first time, I saw the fruits of that effort and the Israeli ingenuity that has truly made a desert bloom.” She is considered a strong supporter of Israel.
Diversity encompasses all aspects of a person’s background and life experiences. Jewish influences are part of the diversity Harris brings to this year’s election.
Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco

To those who say that Kamala Harris can’t possibly be “African” American because her father came from Jamaica: It doesn’t take much research to understand that his ancestors most likely were brought to Jamaica from Africa. Human trafficking out of Africa was not confined to the North American continent; the West Indies, Caribbean islands and South America were heavily involved in the slave trade. Harris’ forebears may not have been part of the Black American experience (slavery, Jim Crow, etc.), but that doesn’t change her genealogy.
Beryl Arbit, Encino

Founding Fathers vs. Today

The creation of our democracy came about during the Age of Enlightenment with Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison leading the way. We now seem to be in an Age of Dumbing Down, with Donald Trump, Bill Barr and Mitch McConnell doing the dragging. In November, we will decide whether we prefer honesty, fairness and the will of the people over lying, cheating and chicanery, and history again will be made.
Hal Rothberg, Calabasas 

Terror at a Restaurant

I read Tabby Rafael’s beautiful story with a broken heart for the innocents who were cruelly killed at Sbarro in 2001 (“The Female Hamas Terrorist Living Large in Jordan,” Aug. 14).
In Judaism, we never celebrate the killing of our enemies because our belief system recognizes that every human being is someone’s child.
May terrorists like Ahlam Tamimi be brought to justice, and systems that promote and celebrate the murder of innocents be ostracized by all people who value life.
Mina Stern, Venice


All I ever dreamed of,
Spending hours, as I did,
Was putting on a uniform,
And playing baseball — as a kid.

My mom would wash my jersey,
The smell of soap and starch
Filled the air like nothing else.
When the season began in March.

I had a descent throwing arm,
I could get a timely hit.
I wasn’t the fastest guy on the team,
But I was good with a fielder’s mitt.

My dad never missed a ballgame,
As he knew how much it meant.
To have him out there cheering,
No matter how the ballgame went.

I remember now quite clearly,
I was never aware of the score.
Just having your dad at Little League —
What could matter more?
Alan Ascher, via email


In a story about the Los Angeles Police Department (“It’s Time to Feed the Morale of the LAPD,” Aug. 21), the day Baila Romm compiled a list of synagogues for the police department was misreported. Romm compiled the list on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018.

Now it’s your turn. Don’t be shy, submit your letter to the editor! Letters should be no more than 200 words and must include a valid name and city. The Journal reserves the right to edit all letters.letters@jewishjournal.com.

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