Proponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel have never concerned themselves with their own internal logic (e.g., U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar supporting BDS and then decrying sanctions, like ones being considered against Turkey at the time, as "ill-considered, incoherent and counterproductive"), and the latest lament from the Pillsbury family is no different. ("Why we must boycott Pillsbury," Opinion Exchange, April 29.) Here, the Pillsburys cite a single industrial park in Atarot as grounds for a worldwide boycott against Pillsbury, which is owned by General Mills. Never mind that Atarot was originally an Israeli moshav destroyed by Jordan in 1948. Never mind that General Mills has production facilities across the entire planet. And certainly never mind that the destruction of Israel — the stated goal of BDS — hardly comports with a "good conscience" or is "socially responsible."
BDS has always been recognized as a thinly veiled anti-Semitic movement. As always, what truly bothers its proponents is that the Jewish state exists and, worse yet, thrives.
Judah Druck, St. Louis Park
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Charlie Pillsbury's Opinion Exchange commentary contains a remarkable linguistic element. He notes that his ancestor Charles A. Pillsbury purchased a flour mill "on the west bank of the Mississippi River in 1869." He then alters the geographic landscape to Israel where, he claims, there exist "illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank" populated by Jews.
The term "West Bank" appeared in April 1950 when King Abdullah I of Jordan, after illegally invading the territory of the former British Mandate for Palestine in 1948 and occupying it — territory the United Nations called "Judea and Samaria" (see its 1947 Partition Plan decision) — he illegally annexed it to his "East Bank" Kingdom. Using that term today is not only wrong and not only retroactively justifies an illegal act of occupation but intentionally erases 3,000 years of Jewish history linked to, for example, such places as Shiloh where the Tabernacle was erected, Hebron where the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried, Bethlehem in Judea where the Jew Jesus was born, Bethel and other cities of Jewish history and religious significance, not the least, Jerusalem. It is immoral, in fact.
Moreover, when the League of Nations in 1922 decided to reconstitute the Jewish historical home in those very territories of Judea and Samaria and other areas of the land of Israel, it specifically noted, in its Article 6, that Jews had the right of "close settlement" in those places. Indeed, the only time in history when Jews could not live in Judea and Samaria was during the 19 years of Jordanian occupation between 1948 and 1967, after thousands of Jews had been ethnically cleansed from those regions by terror and war initiated by Arabs between 1920 and 1948.
I am not sure whether Pillsbury, a lawyer and an expert in dispute resolution, would wish to review all the history of just how that "west bank of the Mississippi River" came to be acquired and argue what its legal status is, but I can assure him and the readers of this paper that the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria, especially after it was returned to Jewish administration after years of continuing Arab terror by the Fedayeen and Fatah prior to 1967, is much more legal, more right and just.
It cannot be that a Jew residing in Shiloh, as I do, is engaged in an illegal act. There are Arabs living in Israel whom no one challenges and, similarly, until the political question of sovereignty is agreed upon, Jews living in Judea and Samaria, planting and harvesting crops, constructing factories and raising children is a reality that should not be boycotted.
Yisral Medad, Shiloh, Israel
Not thought out so well
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fully vaccinated people may go maskless in most outdoor settings ("For vaccinated, some mask relief," front page, April 28). They've just given every corona-is-a hoax, masks-violate-my personal-rights yahoo the perfect excuse to not wear a mask. How is one to tell if someone is fully vaccinated? Do we have special glasses that will let us see their aura or something? Not thinking through the consequences of such a statement further erodes the little confidence we have in our government agencies and further divides our already riven polity.
Gordon B. Abel, Minneapolis
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Sen. Ron Johnson from my favorite neighboring state of Wisconsin suggested last week that you needn't be concerned whether your neighbor is vaccinated, as the vaccines are 95% effective ("Wisconsin Sen. Johnson questions widespread vaccination effort," April 24).
"The science tells us that vaccines are 95 percent effective, so if you have a vaccine, quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not?" he said.
The senator might want to revisit statistics 101. Statistics is based on probability. It's much like gambling: Both are about odds and probability.
People may think that 5 out of 100 happens after the first 95 chances are used up. But the statistical likelihood is random. Even if you're fully inoculated, getting infected could happen on your first exposure.
Why couldn't that be my neighbor? Presumably, if we get along, a neighbor is one of the most likely people I would be in contact with for lengthy periods of time on a frequent basis.
That's why you care if your neighbor is vaccinated.
Elizabeth A. Peterson, Minneapolis
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Since mid-March I've volunteered at a number of vaccine clinics. At first we were fairly busy but now the vaccinators are reading books and the observation rooms are nearly empty. Perhaps this means that most people in the greater metro area have been vaccinated, but I doubt it. This is concerning. Please, if you haven't been vaccinated, come to a clinic; walk-ins are easily accommodated.
Bruce Snyder, St. Paul
The writer is a retired physician.
A hopeful signal of the future
Experience is a great teacher. What we are seeing in the White House is an experienced, seasoned leader, and a better United States of America will emerge because of this. Conserve the best of the past; be liberal in improving the future.
The first 100 days is in the books for the Biden administration (" 'Blueprint to build America,' " front page, April 29). The transformational American Rescue Plan was passed. The stock market is at record highs. Unemployment is down. Diplomatic relations have been restored with many countries. Firmness with our adversaries has been strengthened. An experienced hand is leading the way both at home and abroad. We have really an "ordinary Joe," one of us commoners, doing extraordinary things. His delegating and negotiating skills have evolved from his experience.
His plan for the future for a more fair, safe, prosperous, healthy country to truly make the country a lodestar for other nations to follow comes from years of experience.
Amazing — a common man who has dedicated his public life to make America the lodestar for all nations. His experience, with help, will lead to America reaching lofty standards of quality of life that each of us deserve. It will also benefit the populations of the international community.
Gordon Hayes, Shakopee
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On Wednesday night, Biden gave his "Make America Great" speech. The difference from the previous president's version was that greatness would not be found by looking back, but by looking forward.
Rodgers Adams, Minneapolis
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