Letters to the editor March 29
No life sentence this time
Particularly since the French constitution unwisely precludes the imposition of capital punishment even for the worst of the worst, it is gratifying to note that the beast believed to have targeted and slaughtered soldiers of North African descent and Jews, including helpless young children, has died at the hands of police officers.
The killer will not have to be supported at public expense for a period of decades nor an expensive and painful trial for the people of France conducted with its conclusion foregone.
The pitiable families of those whose lives were taken due to ignorance and blind, baseless hatred will endure a life of pain, but at least they have a measure of closure in knowing that the individual who killed their loved ones will not be able to gloat over it nor to do it to any other person.
If only our world could bury all terrorism and savagery along with the most recent distributor of these poisons.
Oren M. Spiegler
Upper St. Clair
Two letters in the March 15 Chronicle dealt with the issue of Anti-Apartheid Week on college campuses, and a more specific response to whether Israel today can be accurately labeled an apartheid state.
I personally have trouble with terms like apartheid or genocide or Holocaust being tossed around without a motive other than to cut off debate and silence critics. The discussion becomes a struggle over word choice — not substance and fact.
Having said that, I believe that the author of the letter, “Israel can take it” is terribly naive about life for Israeli Arabs and for West Bank Palestinians. Ample evidence exists to support my statement that there is systematic institutional and populist racism directed at Israeli Arabs. Whether one chooses to examine the quality of life of Israeli Arabs — schools, public services, equal protection under the law, housing, unemployment — there can be little doubt that the Israeli Arab population, which is 20 percent of the Israeli population, are treated as second-class citizens.
A visit to any of the Arab villages in the Galilee or Bedouin towns in the Negev will shock those who believe that all are treated equally under Israeli law. I urge those members of our community who are going on the Mega Mission in June to demand that they go off the beaten track and see how the other half actually lives.
West Bank Palestinians have the additional burden of living under Israeli military rule, a condition now approaching its 45th anniversary. Their lands are confiscated, homes demolished, removed by force from their homes, all to make way for Jewish settlers or for alleged security reasons. Their lives can in no way be compared to the privileged lives settlers live, many of whom daily harass Palestinians and verbally and physically abuse them.
One is foolish to expect a truthful, accurate comment about the “separate but equal” claims made by Israeli or American Jews regarding the status of Palestinians or Israel Arabs. …
The term apartheid is an explosive and highly subjective term. Let’s simplify things and call what we see in Israel and the territories racism, plain and simple. I would ask the author of the letter one simple question: Knowing what you know (or choose not to know) about conditions for Israeli Arabs or Palestinians on the West Bank, would you choose to be anything but a Jew under those circumstances. …