Should it surprise anyone that U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar voted against legislation in the House to fund $1 billion for the Israeli Iron Dome defense system? ("Omar is one of few to oppose Israel defense money," Sept. 25.) Fortunately, the bipartisan bill was overwhelmingly passed by the House and endorsed by President Joe Biden. The Democratic Party had an earlier opportunity to censor her for her anti-Semitic tropes but they didn't have the moral fortitude to single her out. Her vote continues to validate how out of step she is with America.
The Iron Dome is not an offensive weapons system but has been put in place to protect all Israelis — Jews and Arabs — from the deadly missile attacks originating from terrorist groups domiciled in the region. What Omar and her progressive colleagues fail to understand is that innocent lives are being protected from terrorists. Shouldn't all elected officials endorse that strategy?
Kip Knelman, Minneapolis
I was shocked and angry after reading Bret Stephens' opinion piece this weekend criticizing Rep. Omar and others for protesting the $1 billion funding for Israel's Iron Dome ("Omar, 'squad,' launch another anti-Israel strike," Opinion Exchange, Sept. 25). However, Tuesday's opinion piece by Mary Christine Bader ("Omar's critics can't stand daylight on Israel subsidy") was an excellent rebuttal to his rant about anti-Semitism, Israel's right of self-defense, etc.
As Ms. Bader points out, Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid. We already give them $3.8 billion a year. I would think that the extra $1 billion would go far to help alleviate some of our own problems right here. She is correct in trying to shed some daylight on this situation.
The United States has ignored the Palestinians suffering under Israeli occupation for too long. Maybe we should build an Iron Dome to protect Palestinians from Israeli bombs? It seems only fair.
Melly Ailabouni, Farmington
I read Mary Christine Bader's thought-provoking opinion piece decrying Bret Stephens' opinion piece with great interest.
One can debate whether we need to subsidize the Iron Dome, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, Israeli for-profit defense companies. One might question whether Reps. Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who Ms. Bader defends against having a "smoke-screen of anti-Semitism," are actually anti-Semitic rather than simply anti-Israeli. However, one must question Ms. Bader's interpretation of recent history, specifically why the Iron Dome needed replenishment. Ms. Bader states that Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilian populations were precipitated by the Israeli police attacks on Palestinians at the Al Aqsa Mosque. But that's not the entire story. The crisis was originally triggered in May, when Palestinians began protests in East Jerusalem over an anticipated decision of Israel's Supreme Court on the eviction of six Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. You can argue whether six Palestinian families should have been evicted from East Jerusalem housing, but was a massive violent protest at the Al Aqsa Mosque, causing a police action to maintain civil order, an appropriate response? And why would a rocket attack by Hamas against a civilian population be a reasonable response?
May I remind you, Ms. Bader, that Hamas, the governing authority elected by the citizens of the Gaza Strip, is a terrorist organization whose charter calls for the elimination of the Israeli state? And why, Ms. Bader, do you appear to be disappointed that only 13 Israelis were killed when 240 Gazans were killed? Are you searching for moral equivalency? No one needed to die over this incident, neither Gazans or Israelis.
Arthur Horowitz, Hopkins
Supporters wish into the charter amendment what isn't there
To Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison: The reason we should vote "no" on the public safety amendment is because the proposal is murky, probably deliberately ("Let the amendment start a conversation," Opinion Exchange, Sept. 27). You argue that it doesn't say it will eliminate or defund police, but it also does not say it will keep the police as part of the Department of Public Safety.
If this passes, will Chief Medaria Arradondo quit? How many police will leave? How can you guarantee that the fragile public safety we have in some parts of the city won't get worse?
Where does the amendment say that the council will have "oversight, not management or authority"? It does not, so you are arguing with smoke and mirrors.
And that dubious clause, "if necessary." Who decides if police are necessary? The person taking the 911 call? It's a fantasy that we can determine in an emergency which situations need police and which need social workers. Police need to be well trained for all situations.
What the amendment does and doesn't do is clear in only one regard. I quote from the explanatory note: "The Police Department, and its chief, would be removed from the City Charter." That sounds like defunding the police to me, no matter how Ellison wants to spin it.
Karen Storm, Minneapolis
Ellison has convinced me. As he put it, on the most pressing issues, we know how to act effectively but instead we punt. I'm going long on City Question 2 and voting "yes."
Paul Rozycki, Minneapolis
In response to Ellison: I think the usual recommended process is to first have a conversation, define a plan and then implement. He is proposing ready, fire, aim.
Dennis Fazio, Minneapolis
The Star Tribune Editorial Board recommends that the police charter amendment be defeated ("Vote 'no' on police charter change," editorial, Sept. 27). The board also recommends police reform. How would that happen? Mayor Don Fraser wanted police reform. Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton wanted police reform. Mayors R.T. Rybak and Betsy Hodges wanted police reform. But the status quo was too strong, so it didn't happen. Meanwhile, people in Minneapolis, year after year, were abused and sometimes killed by some — not all — officers who faced very little accountability. Our city is one of a small group of cities where the police are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. People like me who support the police charter amendment are asked, "Where's the plan?" Well, where is the plan to hold violent and racist officers accountable, if the city just goes on with police business as usual?
I want to clear the way for some serious change. I'm voting for the amendment.
John Stuart, Minneapolis
The future awaits
Apparently the fat cats at the St. Paul Port Authority have decided that it would be good for us poor folk in the east metro to live closer to our crappy jobs, so, instead of making the former Hillcrest golf course into a park (which, by the by, would not have made any money for factory owners or slumlords), they are making it into junky apartments and a "light" industrial wasteland ("Port Authority wants Hillcrest housing at hand," Sept. 27). Well, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, so I think it would be good for the factory and warehouse owners to live next to their factories and warehouses (like they did in the old days), and maybe the absentee landlords who own the so-called affordable housing would take better care of their buildings if they lived next door to them.
Well, the good news for homeowners in the Hillcrest area is that at least we will not have to look at those boring trees anymore, and when our houses prove unsellable because they are next to factories, warehouses and crummy apartments, we can enjoy the view of concrete and asphalt as we walk to our $10-an-hour job packaging widgets and take satisfaction in knowing that some fat cat someplace is making some serious coin out of this worthless piece of inner city land.
Norman J. Olson, Maplewood
We want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts here.