Web Letters | The Nation


Israel Must Stop Its Campaign of Terror

I don’t have the intention of writing an essay, and not even a letter, since there’s too much written concerning the subject, and too little done with any practical outcome.

I just want to point out a few disconcerting hypocrisies of US foreign policy, which from not only my point of view includes a lot of bla-bla and nothing positive.

I read in yesterday’s paper that the United States has sent Israel a batch of artillery ordnance. Most of the weapons used in the Gaza massacre were US-made or Israeli copies of them. And then there’s the annual military aid and the $3 billion annual transfer. So from my point of view, it’s America who is carrying on the killing in Gaza, with Jewish aid.

This isn’t just my lonely and biased opinion, as the State Department would surely call it; it’s all of my post-graduate pupils’ opinion as well as that of all the people I talk to.

You invaded and destroyed Iraq, leaving it in the hands of ISIS; the same happened with Afghanistan and the Taliban; you meddled in Syria, Libya, Egypt, Etiopia and Sudan, just to mention a few of your “humanitarian” interventions.

Finally, your attitude and actions are leading to open war fron Iraq to the Mediterranean. I don’t know if this is your intention, though it looks like it. What I absolutely do not understand is what you plan to obtain from this.

Eduardo Arias


Aug 1 2014 - 12:13pm

Israel Must Stop Its Campaign of Terror

What kind of drivel are you reporting?

As Norman Podhoertz noted in his podcast, if Israel put down its arms and surrendered, the Muslims will kill them to the last man, woman and child, without hesitation, without remorse—what would happen? There would be peace.

That is all you need to know.

The Palestinians knowingly harbor terrorists in their midst who fire rockets and outfit suicide bombers against Israel. Oftentimes killing other Muslims who can actually find profitable work in Israel. Imagine you are sitting in Washington, DC, and you are being continually attacked by rockets and suicide bombers from Richmond. Do you think the people in DC would sit by for one minute before wiping them from the face of the earth.

Also, how can you possibly defend people who use children as suicide bombers and as human shields? Or who put their command post under a hospital? The US military would never use civilians as cover and have repeatedly put themselves at risk in Iraq and Afganistan to avoid doing exactly that. Muslim terrorists? Not so much.

It’s bad enough living in this gray world that liberal-minded people like you have sought to create. But I will not accept you crossing the line to make the good guys the bad guys and the bad guys the good guys. I seem to recall Goethe or Nietzsche has something to say about a society that does that… and it wasn’t good.

You are going to find in the coming years that you and yours have pushed the conservative, church-going, patriotic, law-abiding, civilized people of this world one too many times and we are going to start pushing back, and when we do there won’t be room in that world for people that apologize for terrorists and make excuses for evil and besmirch the people that are fighting the good fight and are trying to maintain civilization in this stupid world.

Chris Hanson

Bismarck, ND

Jul 31 2014 - 3:40pm

The Unbearable Whiteness of the American Left

Gary Younge’s title is clever (Younge’s a talented wordsmith, for sure!), but I find the content frustrating.

Start with the subtitle: “From education to gun control, progressive movements need to do a better job empowering the people whose interests they claim to serve.” Still, clever, yes. But the cleverness is no longer constructive.

To start with, while corporations might be persons—in the eyes of the SCOTUS, anyway—movements are not. What does it mean to say that a movement “needs to do something”? It means nothing. An organization? OK. That works.

But while substituting “organization” for “movement” makes better sense, what comes next jumps the tracks again: “[organizations] need to do a better job empowering the people.…” This is patronizing, because it suggests empowerment comes from the top down—the “top” being “unbearably white liberal organizations,” and the bottom disorganized persons of color.

This is a huge and complicated issue, obviously, and I have no panacea to suggest. I will offer two examples of successful multiracial initiatives from our local community. One is our local Museum of the African American Arts. This museum (and partner efforts like the Noble “Thin Man” Watts Jazz Festival) were founded by local black citizens, who then invited white community members to join them.

The second is an effort to save a public school in a predominantly black neighborhood from being closed. The initiative to save the school was mounted jointly by black and white leaders who recognized the importance of the school, believed in it, and joined together spontaneously to mount an effort to save it.

Crucial in both instances is that empowerment wasn’t “gifted” from the top down. Rather, it developed organically from the bottom up.

Disclosure: My wife is treasurer of the AAMA, and is a member of the committee to save the school. I myself do frequent graphic design and publishing projects for the AAMA.

Wayne Dickson

Central Florida, the notorious I-4 corridor

Jul 30 2014 - 6:56pm

Five Israeli Talking Points on Gaza—Debunked

Thise article was little more than agenda-driven and self-indulgent nonsense. If I want that kind of coverage, I will watch Fox News and/or specific anchors on MSNBC. This story from the Times of Israel documents the degree to which just one of the five points are dangerously nonsensical. Others are, too, but I do not intend to document each one for lack of time and, likely, your interest. The Nation, at the least, owes its readers basic fact-checks before publication. I also sent in my request yesterday to cancel my subscription immediately per both this article and the rather loose-with-facts habit The Nation seems to have evolved even further overall than when I was a regular subscriber years ago.

Dr. Lou

Southwest Indiana

Jul 30 2014 - 10:33am

Five Israeli Talking Points on Gaza—Debunked

I would very much like to see you publish a response to this article. Perhaps you might interest Ari Shavit or another liberal thinker who sees things differently from Ms.Erakat.

Ellen LaVan


Jul 30 2014 - 12:51am

Five Israeli Talking Points on Gaza—Debunked

Noura Erakat’s piece on Gaza is so full of misinformation that it really is difficult to know where to begin. I will stick to the basics: when Israel pulled out of Gaza, the borders were left open. Only after repeated, deadly terror attacks on the border crossings of Karni and Kerem Shalom, and the intensified rocket fire coming from Gaza, along with the ongoing attempts to smuggle in more and more weaponry, were the borders closed. This is still not a blockade. Even today, with the fighting going on, hundreds of trucks w/ goods pass into Gaza every day from Israel. And, Gaza has a long border with Egypt, out of Israel’s control. Ask the Egyptians what they think about their neighbors. There is no question that after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, an attempt to turn the area into a Riviera in the Middle East would have been met with universal cooperation and assistance, first and foremost from Israel. Hamas traded that possibility for rockets, missiles, terror tunnels, and RPGs.

Shimon Felix (rabbi)

Jerusalem, ISRAEL

Jul 27 2014 - 3:45am

Transgender Violence Is a #YesAllWomen Issue

Of course, I’m opposed to violence directed towards anyone. That said, it’s a lie to include trans guys as women; they are not women at all. For a man to call himself a “woman”, whether or not he’s had his genitals removed, is absurd. And it’s just plain wrong for these men to crowd themselves into all aspects of us women’s lives. They are not us—women—they are men. No amount of fantasizing can change this.


Los Angeles

Jul 22 2014 - 11:21am

Writers or Missionaries?

Adam Shatz continues to be one of The Nation’s best writers to deal with Palestine (Eric Alterman, conversely, annoys me to no end). I appreciated his latest piece “Writers or Missionaries,” though I am not totally sure of all the conclusions he comes to.

Whether as a political activist or writer, when one is doing work with people and situations outside of one’s experiences, listening is indeed important and shows respect. And using one’s critical thinking skills is also of paramount importance. The way that Shatz shows this in the article, through experiences in Palestine and Algeria, was moving. I am not sure what all the ossified and dogmatic aspects of anti-Orientalism (politically or academically) are, but if has become a program versus a guide, I can see that as problematic.

And sure, Shatz is correct that a number of US-based activists who do work around Palestine don’t work with a full view of all the myriad political and social forces at work that are at play in Palestine. Our political movements in this country could use a bit more sophistication in that regard. I have less of an idea of the point of saying that not all the “issues” are the fault of Israel or the United States. This is true, but I think most people on the left of any sophistication can see that Palestine would be clearly better off without the murderous colonization of Israel and funding of that colonization by Washington. That wouldn’t end all the problems of the world, but it would be great nonetheless/everthemore.

Like I wrote above, I appreciated aspects of the long piece, but would have appreciated some more clarity on what he expects from political activists, if he has a specific view.

Greg Hom

San Francisco

Jul 21 2014 - 5:24pm

The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities

To Professor Stephen F. Cohen: Upon reading your articles on events in Ukraine I wished only one thing. That is, to have seen you in Maidan Square on October 30, 2013, in Kyiv, when around 1 million Kyivan families rushed to protest Yanukovych regime’s declining EU integration. If that is compared to the Orange Revolution in 2004, one can be astonished by the difference in size and unanimity. Nothing of your sentiments about “eastern and western Ukrainians”—that was the revolution of humanity and dignity. The first victims of the regime that winter were from the east of Ukraine, Armenian by origin, and Belarus. We had plenty from Crimea, Donbas, Luhansk.

Putin was quoted as saying in February, “We shall see them shooting their wives and kids that we put in front of our troops.” That is exactly what he did in March through July—he made women and kids shields to protect his merceneries and gangsters; he sent his troops and hard weaponry, which finally downed the Boeing 777. I wonder how such an attitude can be held by a professor teaching the young generation in the US. Writing narratives for the world media? Mr. Freeland answered all your allegations in the CNN interview, but you didn’t wish to listen to it. It’s a pity, mostly for America.

Borys Sobolev


Jul 21 2014 - 1:48pm

Gaza: Treading on Shards

The people of Gaza know they have been abandoned. Some told me the only time they felt hope was when they were being bombed, because at least then the world was paying attention. Gaza is now a place where poverty masquerades as livelihood and charity as business. Yet, despite attempts by Israel and the West to caricature Gaza as a terrorist haven, Gazans still resist. Perhaps what they resist most is surrender: not to Israel, not to Hamas, but to hate. So many people still speak of peace, of wanting to resolve the conflict and live a normal life. Yet in Gaza today this is not a reason for optimism but despair.


Taipei, TAIWAN

Jul 21 2014 - 3:06am