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Torch-Eyed Elephant Stampede!… droning on… black & white & gray all over… hanging up her pencils…

BUSH, SHARON AND OCCUPATION

Lake Worth, FL

I'm a conservative individual vehemently opposed to our current policy in the Middle East. The article by Rabbi Michael Lerner really summed things up. Why is the occupation and oppression of these people so under-reported? Are the pro-Israeli interests in our media so strong? How can the simple facts of the situation be portrayed to mainstream Americans like myself?

ALEXANDER LENARD


Brooklyn, NY

Rabbi Michael Lerner states that "it is the occupation that causes the terror and not vice versa." The fact is that it was only when Israeli Prime Minister Barak made his offer to transfer 95 percent of the disputed territories to the Palestinian Authority that the current intifada began. Furthermore, this was at a time when the major Palestinian cities were under the administration of the Palestinian Authority. It would seem that we must look elsewhere for the "causes of terror."

DAVID KERNER



INCLUSION AND SECURITY

Riverside, CA

I was impressed by Adam Shatz's piece. While I am not Jewish, I went through a similar process as an American from the South. I had to chose between a belief system in the South that supported segregation and the Bill of Rights. Big surprise, as a reader of this magazine, I chose the Bill of Rights. It is remarkably similar to the process Israel is facing. It is Americans like Shatz, who happens to be Jewish, that make me proud to be American. I was also proud of Americans, who happened to be Jewish, who died in Mississippi with Americans, who happened to be black. America is a work in progress, but it is our goal, as Americans, to be an inclusive society.

P.J. CASEY


New York, NY

Three cheers for Adam Shatz. There is nothing in his piece to disagree with, as one Jew speaking to another (and that is to whom it was addressed), except that it ended with a whimper instead of a bang. It whimpered on two points:

1) Disagreements in the Jewish left with regard to Israel may be, as he says, a waste of precious energy, but it is unfortunately necessary. Those supporting a multiethnic single state perceive the two-state supporters as having imposed the fraudulent Oslo Accords on the Palestinians, and now threaten to support the equally fraudulent Geneva Accords.

2) Since Shatz is discussing American Jews, he somehow avoided the essential thing for Jews to do as Americans--work to end US aid to Israel, attack AIPAC's influence, approach our Congresspeople as Americans requiring that they represent American interests, not kneel before Jewish campaign money, and identify Israeli interests in prosecuting the war in Iraq.

MIRIAM REIK



THE CRIMINALIZING OF PROTEST

Philadelphia, PA

Michael Blanding misses the whole point of the Philadelphia attack. I am a Philadelphian and followed the summer's POLICE riot on protesters of the Republican convention. It is not that the judge threw out the case against the remaining three protesters; it is that such arrests and threats of long prison terms for exercising First Amendment rights place on protesters a fear of exercising that right again. It throws cold water on freedom and dissent.The next judge may not be so fair.

PHILIP ROSEN



THE HORRORS OF WAR

Old Bridge, NJ

Do you realize how gut-wrenching and scary Camilo Mejia's firsthand account of being a US soldier in Iraq is? This story is HUGE! It goes straight to the heart.

Until now the only thing we have got is the sunny embedded journalist's version. Soldiers go there, more than 600 of them have died, the rest will eventually come back. That's what we know.

But having to kill civilians, by mistake? Officers getting brownie points by sacrificing their men's lives--to no real strategic purpose? This is the United States?

I really think you should play this story up. What do the soldiers know? What are they not telling us when they come home? Do you think in a free society they should be allowed to tell us, plain and simple, what happened?

PHIROZ MADON



Melbourne, Australia

Marc Cooper crafted a passionate obituary that made me want to know, to understand and mostly to appreciate Marshall Frady and his writing. He grabbed my desire and my intellectual curiosity. We are a fragile species because we are mostly unable to communicate the essence of what we regard as important and why. Cooper does this well. That Frady had this skill in the lives of others is what Cooper has been able to tell us. I thank him for communicating the communal loss for all of us.

ALMA DAWE

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