Our community has lost one of its most talented and dedicated journalists. Andy Driscoll, St. Paul, longtime host of KFAI’s weekly program “Truth to Tell,” has died at 74. Although the station’s audience is small in comparison with others’, Driscoll had a devoted following, as do other broadcasters there, such as Don Olson, Lydia Howell and the station’s anchor program, Amy Goodman’s Monday-through-Friday simulcast of “Democracy Now!”, which is syndicated around the world.

Driscoll will be remembered as a champion of peace and justice and for taking on topics that most other media avoided.

KFAI should continue “Truth To Tell” in his memory and as his legacy and nominate him to the Minnesota Broadcasters Hall of Fame. RIP.

Willard B. Shapira, Roseville


‘Other side’ of Gaza story is not convincing

Sylvia Schwarz (“The other side of the Gaza story,” July 22) correctly advises that “the history of Israel and Palestine … is critical as it relates to the present.” She then ignores her own advice by falsifying this history to deliver an anti-Israel polemic.

The catalog of calumnies and distortions contained in her commentary is too lengthy to fully comment upon. The most egregious is her statement that, in 1948, “750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes.” This statement conveys the impression that Israel conducted a mass expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs in 1948. As a self-described student of history, Schwarz presumably knows that no such mass expulsion occurred.

Besides disputing Israel’s claim that Hamas is using civilians as human shields, Schwarz inverts this claim by asserting that “Israel uses Palestinian civilians as human shields.” The facts are that Israel has gone to unprecedented lengths to provide advance evacuation warnings to Gaza civilians and that Hamas officials are on record as urging them to ignore these warnings.

With complete disregard for the facts or an honest accounting of the events that led to Israel’s decision to retaliate against Hamas, Schwarz condemns Israel as “the aggressor in this conflict.” This statement is manifestly false. Schwarz’s motives for making it can only be speculated upon.

Peter D. Abarbanel, Apple Valley

• • •

It is not enough to repeat the tired old cliché about Israel caring more about its civilians than the Palestinians do about theirs. The truth is far darker: Hamas wages war in a way designed to maximize civilian casualties in Gaza, because every death increases its moral capital. If that is not a crime against humanity, I am not sure what is.

Rich Furman, St. Paul

• • •

The measures described in the commentary would not be necessary if the charter of the Hamas government, elected by the citizens of Gaza, did not call for the total destruction of Israel. No government would tolerate rockets constantly fired indiscriminately at its citizens without a response. To say that the purpose of the attack on Gaza is to ethnically cleanse Palestinians and replace them with Jews flies in the face of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza earlier in the last decade by forcibly removing some of its Jewish citizens.

Rose is a very dangerous color for glasses.

Jay Herman, Eden Prairie

• • •

Without addressing the emotions of Schwarz’s Opinion Exchange entry, let’s put it in historical perspective: On the land that is currently Israel, there have been only three independent nation-states, and all three were Jewish: the First Kingdom (1000 to 586 B.C.), the Second Kingdom (538 to 63 B.C.) and Israel (1947 to the present). There has never been an independent Arab nation-state, a Palestinian nation-state nor a Muslim nation-state on the geographical area. From 586 to 583 B.C. and again from 63 B.C. until 1947, the geographical land was conquered territory.

Jews never left the land and have maintained a presence throughout every conquest and attempt to colonize. Jerusalem was the city we built and is the centerpiece of our liturgy. Our roots run deep, and that depth is supported by non-biblical written records as well as sound archaeological evidence.

The West Bank was not a Palestinian state ever. After the partition in 1947, it was part of Jordan until the 1967 war. Nor was Gaza ever a state; it was part of Egypt.

So before you start talking about Israel not being Jewish in history and right of existence, read history. You cannot wipe away 3,000 years of documented history with wishful thinking. That would be revisionist.

S.J. Siegfried, Mendota Heights

• • •

What a brave and courageous woman Schwarz is to tell the truth about Gaza and the struggle in the Middle East. It is important for us to realize that Jews do not speak with a single voice on this struggle, although that is what we have been led to believe. She cuts through the propaganda we hear or read daily that so distorts the realities of Israel’s real intentions of their end goal for the Palestinians. I suspect that within the Jewish community, she will experience various responses to her article. Thank you to other brave Jews who will support and applaud her truthfulness. The Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign is doing great work and deserves our support if we care at all about this unfolding tragedy.

Peter A. Sethre, Minneapolis



Take time to listen to McFadden’s message

Our friends on the left continue to try to bulldoze the rest of us into their world, or at least the world as they wish it could be. Apparently, with one commercial, Democrats have decided that U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden is racist based on the lack of diversity in the ad and that he can’t be empathetic because the ad ends with an injury.

The truth is that those who are this quick to judge can’t be reasoned with. Perhaps the same might take a minute to listen to the other side (maybe when it’s dark or when you’re alone so your politically correct friends can’t tell what you’re doing).

What I know is that the world is coming apart around us, yet some won’t take a second to analyze how this has come to be and whether more of the same is going to change the trajectory. It won’t.

David Paton, Mendota Heights

• • •

A pro-Republican PAC is running a TV ad criticizing Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature for voting to fund what the speakers in the ad refer to as “their” “luxury” office building. The ad does not say (and deliberately so) that Republican lawmakers will occupy that building also and that “their” building will actually belong to the citizens of Minnesota, not to the Democrats. The PAC does not want viewers to realize those things. It claims that this building amounts to wasteful spending.

Let’s take this one step further: If, and when, the GOP regains control of the governorship and the Legislature, is it going to demand that the building be torn down? Of course not. The Republican lawmakers are going to happily embrace and occupy it. Suddenly, it won’t be a waste of money anymore.

Brian Marsh, Brainerd, Minn.