I was very disappointed to read that Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar supports the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement” (“We stand with Rep.-elect Omar,” Readers Write, Nov. 24). I was even more disappointed to read that there are Jews who say that Israel is an apartheid nation.

As far as BDS is concerned, I would like to know what the proponents of BDS regard as a “peaceful and just settlement.” Israel has been trying for years to arrive at exactly that, but the Palestinian position has always been that they will settle for nothing less than complete eradication of the state of Israel. The blockade of Gaza is necessitated by the fact that the Palestinians living there had been using imported construction materials not to build houses, schools or factories but to build tunnels into Israel and pads for launching rockets. Other actions by Israel against Palestinians have also been motivated by defensive intent.

Furthermore, I suggest that supporters of a boycott do not get seriously ill because, chances are, their treatment may very likely include drugs, medical devices and procedures developed by Israel.

The idea that Israel is an apartheid nation is ludicrous on its face. In the Israeli Knesset, 17 of its 120 members are Arab. The population of Israeli citizens is 21 percent Arab. By contrast there are no Jews or other non-Muslim people who are residents of Saudi Arabia.

I encourage Omar and anyone else who supports BDS to look into the other side of current conditions in Israel and the rest of the Middle East, to become familiar with Israel’s history and then to reconsider their positions.

David M. Perlman, New Hope

• • •

Instead of Americans fighting over BDS (I am an Israeli-American), why don’t we focus on helping the Palestinians build a nation?

Citizens can press Congress to pass major tax cuts to American companies that invest in the West Bank and Gaza. Those companies need to invest in education and the economy.

I also suggest our State Department put pressure on Israel to allow the companies to develop the area.

I hope we can support all the people in Palestine and Israel and not call for the destruction of one.

Dorit Miles, Minnetonka

Supply and demand

Despite tariff effects on farms, could there be an upside?

Over the past few weeks we’ve read stories published about how terrible the recent tariffs are on pork, soybean and other grains, resulting in a drop in exports, hurting the farmers. Now let’s look at the good side. With a glut of pork in the nation, we the U.S. consumer should be seeing a drop in the cost of pork and bacon in the local supermarkets. A drop in soybeans and corn means that the cost of animal feed will drop, leading to a drop in beef and poultry prices. Good things for you and me!

Taking it to the next step, the money saved by consumers on the purchase of food stuff means that the consumer has some extra cash in their pockets, which is then spent on entertainment and other consumables, a windfall for other businesses. In a perfect and preferred world, there would be no tariffs on either side. The main entity that makes money on tariffs is the government. “Supply and demand” works great if left alone.

Bret R. Collier, Big Lake

Community Relations

Police Christmas tree is last straw; teacher plans to return to Chicago

Plenty has been written about the struggle to keep professionals of color in the city once they arrive. I am a second-generation Afro-Latina, a veteran urban educator, coming from Chicago to teach in Minneapolis Public Schools. I am bilingual with certifications in English as a second language and bilingual education, a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a master’s degree in bilingual-bicultural education. I also happen to be one of the constituents of the Fourth Precinct. I live, work and vote here. I have been here 4½ years and I am leaving at the end of the month. I’m going back to Chicago.

This situation with the racist Christmas tree (startribune.com, Nov. 30) sums up what I know to be true in the attitudes about my students and families of color. It has me fuming! Seriously, you mean to tell me that cultural sensitivity training is needed to remind people NOT to perpetuate stereotypes of the people in the community being served? This is how trust is being developed in communities of color? Shame on them!

I have loved being in service of the Minneapolis Public School communities in both south and north Minneapolis. The joy of working and supporting teachers, families and students is an experience I will hold in my heart. Unfortunately, the lack of equity all around is an issue that needs to be tackled. I am spent trying to do this. I am leaving. Clearly, it doesn’t matter because I see how the community sees those of us regardless of how many degrees I hold or the work I do.

Sandra Santiago Pickett, Minneapolis

in remembrance

Dziedzic was a role model in serving all constituencies

Earlier this week, Minneapolis lost one of its greatest public servants: Walt Dziedzic. His work for 22 years on the City Council and 12 years on the Park Board shaped Northeast — and Minneapolis — into what it is today.

Though we couldn’t have been more different in background and ideology, Walt was a mentor to me during my first term on the Minneapolis City Council, representing Ward 13. He taught me many lessons on how to make government work “for the little guy” and why constituent service was “job #1.”

After Walt’s passing, Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat said, “We could use about 100 Walt Dziedzics right now.” I couldn’t agree more. Walt listened to all the voices from his community — including the business community, which is something our current council has not yet learned.

The tributes we are hearing this week are a testament to his work and legacy, and an important reminder of what can be accomplished in politics today with a focus on true public service.

Steve Minn, Minneapolis

State Capitol

Freshmen legislators would do well to wear respect for role on sleeve

The Star Tribune had a delightful story (“Crash course for freshmen,” Nov. 29) on excited new legislators familiarizing themselves with their new environment at the State Capitol, which holds so much of our history and serves as a beacon of hope for good governance.

This occasion of public service and the majesty of the Capitol warrants a special dignity that should govern all activities, including dressing appropriately. Legislators are not raking leaves or preparing for a hay ride. They are in the business of setting high standards for others, and their apparel should reflect those standards.

Arne H. Carlson, Minneapolis

The writer was Minnesota’s governor from 1991 to 1999.

holiday cookie contest

Should she have seen it coming?

I see that the winner of the Holiday Cookie Contest is an ophthalmologist. Her winning cookie has a firm white outer shell and an amazing gooey inside. Perhaps the inspiration has been staring her in the eye for years?

Steven Hepokoski, Maple Grove