Web Letters | The Nation


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

The War on Gaza and the Cycle of Impunity

For a cogent analysis of international law, please read “Getting the law right on the Israel-Hamas conflict.”

Seth Brysk

San Francisco

Jul 22 2014 - 6:11pm

The War on Gaza and the Cycle of Impunity

Israel is, always has been, and will continue to be a terrorist state until the political swine in the US put humanitarian concerns and justice above US Jewish campaign contributions. Not a slam against US Jews—in the good ol’ USA, they like all wealthy and powerful groups buy politicians who promote their likes and dislikes.

Before the outraged cries of “anti-Semite,” read a little history, biology and genetics. Jews are a minority of Semites in the world. After an 1,800-year absence in any significant numbers, Israel was founded in Palestine using military force by terrorist Jews, so identified by the British authorities of the Palestine mandate and the early UN. These terrorists (Irgun, Haganah and Lehi/Stern) fought among themselves in the mid-late 1940s to establish which group would control land in which Arabs were killed and from which those Arabs would be expelled. Haganah was most successful. See Deir Yassin, Lord Moyne, Count Folke Bernadotte, King David Hotel, Palestinian Arab forced migrations, “right of return,” ad nauseam.

Since choosing the wrong side in the 1956 Suez Crisis, Israeli terrorist leaders, by then the leaders of the terrorist state, have assiduously courted US public opinion, money and politicians.

The ongoing murder and suppression of Arabs in Palestine will cease only when righteous US citizens shake off the fog of pro-Israel propaganda and demand their politicians stop entirely all financial or military support of this terrorist “nation.”

Although no nation in the world is in violation of as many UN resolutions as Israel, only the United States has the economic and military power to bring this terrorist state to heel without provoking either a regional or larger political/military meltdown.

Sadly, the fate of Arab peoples in their ancestral and modern homeland seems to be ongoing death and deprivation at the hands of their terrorist neighbor, since gutless, hypocritical and morally bankrupt US politicians are unlikely to enforce justice, long delayed, for them.

Read your history, people. The modern state of Israel is and always has been a terrorist threat of astonishing proportions, yet we “freedom lovers” in the US refuse to confront this malignant midget.

Dick Thompson

Jul 22 2014 - 2:49pm

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

The War on Gaza and the Cycle of Impunity

It is simply not true that an “ominous, pogrom-like atmosphere” descended on Israel after the discovery of the three boys’ bodies. Netanyahu spoke with despicable vengeance, but I talked to many people that week in Israel: the mood of the average person was sorrow, anger, deep mourning. The feelings were personal, as if everyone had lost sons. Muhammed Ail Khdeir’s death came at the hands of a few sickos. Punishment of a collective group of people is a crime, remember?

Jill Pearlman

Providence, RI

Jul 19 2014 - 9:12am

The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities

Thank you, Mr. Cohen! It’s very nice to read an article based on facts and not unsubstantiated statements.


Moscow, RUSSIA

Jul 18 2014 - 4:51pm

The War on Gaza and the Cycle of Impunity

Hamas fires numerous missiles at civilians in Israel. After a while, Israel responds to the attacks. Why does this Nation editorial call the Israeli response a “crime”? The disparity in casualty numbers is not a sign of Hamas’s humanity: They are quite eager to butcher any and all Jews, but their masters in Iran and in other oil-rich Arab tribes provide them with lousy weapons. The crime in this conflict is committed by those who spare no expense (and the blood of innocent bstanders) to keep alive the miasma of eliminating Israel.


Beloit, WI

Jul 18 2014 - 1:00am