Letters to the editor February 27

Letters to the editor February 27

Abbas’ words incite hate

Alan Elsner’s Feb. 13 column in the Chronicle references an interview Mahmoud Abbas gave to the Israeli think tank, the Institute for National Security Strategies. He quotes Abbas, “I’m telling the Israeli people that we’re neighbors, we’ve fought many wars, and I pray to G-d that the wars between us have stopped.”

And Elsner believes this is a monumental shift for the P.A. president.  For anyone that believes this, please call me; I have a bridge for sale.

Among Abbas’ recent quotes:

• On Feb. 14: Upon praising the murderer of four religious studies students, Abbas said, “[He] saturated the soil … with his blood in his historic operation.”

• Dec. 13, 2013: Upon decorated terror leader Abu Jihad, who was responsible for the murder of 125 Israelis, with the Star of Honor, Abbas said, “He [Jihad] was the model of a true fighter and devoted leader.”

• Nov. 11 2013: Abbas said, “Gaza … the West Bank … the 1948 lands (i.e. Israel) are all occupied.”

• Oct. 24, 2013: Abbas referred to the IDF as “murdering gangs.”

• June 26, 2013:  Abbas libeled “[Israel’s] evil and dangerous plot to destroy Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and build the alleged temple.”

• June 4, 2013: Abbas said the Israeli army has a “policy of daily murder … in cold blood against our defenseless people.”

• Jan. 28, 2013: Abbas said Israel is a “racist, segregationist regime, an apartheid regime.”

It sounds like he is inciting his people to fight, rather than getting them ready for peace. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.  His minions, P.A. media and social media go even further.  The above quotes, and much more, can be found on the Palestinian Media Watch website, palwatch.org.  

Stuart V. Pavilack

Wheeling, W.Va.

(The author is executive director of the Zionist Organization of America-Pittsburgh District.)

Murphy soft on gun violence

The Feb. 20 edition contains a glowing article about longtime U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (“Murphy Uses JF&CS visit to tout mental health care reform”), the individual who represents me in the House (in a way).

Murphy, a psychologist, has properly recognized the important mental health angle in many of the incidents of violence in our nation, which are at epidemic levels, and proposes that we radically change the way we deal with those who are mentally ill.

Where Murphy goes wrong is in looking at the problem through the single lens of mental health, unwilling to challenge the many gun fanatics in our midst. He had the gall to state in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., massacre [that] the proliferation of guns and the ease with which one may secure them is a “distraction.”  No doubt the representative’s National Rifle Association supporters were delighted.

There are many factors that play into creating a deranged, homicidal individual. Mental health is one; allowing virtually anyone to amass a lethal arsenal with no delay or inconvenience is another; and the putrid “entertainment” industry, which promotes violence and coarse, crude, disrespectful behavior is another. If we ignore any one of them, we do so at our peril and will not begin to address a matter that places the lives of innocent people in jeopardy everywhere and at all times.

Our country does not have a monopoly on mental illness, but it does have more guns per capita than any other. When hotheads take their loaded weapons to a movie theater, on a neighborhood patrol, to a service station or to a grocery store, innocent people will die when petty disputes boil over.  In the eyes of the NRA, the gun toters are law-abiding citizens seeking simply to assert their expansive Second Amendment right to protect themselves, that is, until the moment that they “snap,” carrying out a citizen execution over nonsense.

Oren Spiegler

Upper St. Clair