I feel I must respond to the commentary by Mary Christine Bader in the paper on May 15 ("In Mideast, U.S. subsidizes apartheid and apocalypse," Opinion Exchange). It is almost impossible to try to understand her logic in stating that the U.S. is subsidizing apartheid in Israel. Not the least is her contention that the arrangement for so much of the "subsidies" Israel receives is not of consequence to the United States. American taxpayers are reaping benefits for the money, which is used for purchases here at home. She is "outraged" that the Al-Aqsa Mosque (and I have been there, a number of times) was the scene of Israeli police breaking up the rioters who threw rocks, other projectiles and fireworks down on civilians gathered below on the plaza. Where is her sense of "outrage" at the Hamas-directed rocket attacks on Israeli civilian populations? Does she not consider the millions of dollars and euros given to the Gazans for health improvements and housing but appropriated by Hamas to build terror tunnels an injustice? Lastly, it is well-known that the Israeli Arabs who live in Israel have more political rights and life-improving benefits than their brethren in Gaza and have said many times that they do not want to trade their way of life for another under Hamas or Palestine Liberation Organization rule.
Enough, Ms. Bader: You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but you cannot change the facts.
Ardis Wexler, Edina
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Has anyone else noticed how deftly Benjamin Netanyahu has changed the conversation? Last month, witness testimony began for his corruption trial. Two weeks ago, Israel's president asked Netanyahu's political rival to form a government. Yet everyone is talking about war with Hamas.
It's pointless to try to pin blame in the centuries-old Middle East conflict, but the latest flare-up can be traced to the Israeli government's unnecessarily severe restrictions on Palestinians as they tried to celebrate Ramadan over the past few weeks. Israel's ongoing harsh treatment of a particular class of citizens within its own borders is the reason that many are beginning to regard the system there as apartheid.
As bombs and bodies fall from the disproportionate escalation, Netanyahu has shown that he is willing to expend Jewish as well as Arab lives for his own political survival. He has also proven he will never be a partner in peace.
Netanyahu must go. And U.S. President Joe Biden must end his unconditional support for whatever Israel does.
Jeff Naylor, Minneapolis
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The caption of a video on StarTribune.com says, "An Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of the Associated Press and other media outlets on Saturday, the latest step by the military to silence reporting from the territory amid its battle with the militant group Hamas." This is a prejudicial statement that wrongly judges the motivation of Israel's military actions. The motivation for striking at specific buildings is to stop the ability of Hamas (defined by much of the world as a terrorist organization, not simply "militant") to produce and fire rockets at the civilian population of Israel. Very, very often, Hamas has assets (and hides assets) inside regular office buildings, such as the one mentioned.
Israel is not attempting to silence media voices. Look online and you will see media coverage of what is occurring. Israel is doing all it can to end Hamas' ability to hide and manufacture weapons by which to destroy Israeli civilians (who are their target). Hamas and its ally the Islamic Jihad organization are two groups that are dedicated to murdering Jews around the world (just look at their charter for proof). Horribly, Hamas kills its own people, Gazans, by making them human shields in their political and military operations.
Biden has stated that Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas' rockets, and eliminating Hamas' ability to produce and fire them is the single best way for Israel to ensure that this happens.
D.B. Friedman, Cave Creek, Ariz.
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Thank you for publishing the excellent opinion piece by Mary Christine Bader in the Saturday edition of the Star Tribune.
Of course there will be the usual kickback from the various organizations and individuals who always defend Israel's policies and the unwavering support from the U.S. government, but Bader lays out the real cause of the struggle and tension and calls it what is — shameful apartheid and brutal occupation. We Americans should hang our heads in shame at supporting such brutality.
Peter A. Sethre, Minnetonka
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I am a third-generation American-born Jew right here in Minnesota, and I have openly worn a Magen David since the age of 18. The rise of anti-Semitism made me challenge myself — yes, I am a target, and I am afraid.
I am afraid of how people mix anti-Semitism with Israel. The situation in Israel is complex and layered, with four elections in two years, a pandemic and thousands of rockets shot at Israel. If Russia shot a missile at the U.S., would we not respond? This is not about an eviction; it is about more than that. It is an escalation, and reducing the budget to Israel would only make it worse.
Israelis are attacked on buses and now by rockets, and Israel once again receives the blame. Shall we go back to 1945 when no one wanted the Holocaust survivors to return to the homes they had taken over? There are empty synagogues that dot Europe. I can't say what the solution is for this group, and I cannot say that Israel hasn't made mistakes, either, but the stories I read have nowhere the knowledge of what led to each incident.
There are police outside the synagogue I gathered at for the High Holy Days as a child; now I wonder if I'll need them at Jewish events as well. Anti-Semitism isn't just abroad; it has made a home here, and we have yet to root it out.
Shirley Aurand Weisman, Minneapolis
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Bader's Opinion Exchange commentary is the most ill-informed, prejudiced opinion piece I remember reading in the Star Tribune.
It accuses Israel of practicing apartheid and creating an apocalypse against the Palestinians. It is totally lacking in understanding of the history of the region and of the unremitting pressure by the Palestinians and Arab nations against Israel.
Since 1948 when Israel was established by the United Nations, it has been at war for survival. Immediately upon creation of the state it was attacked by five Arab nations bent on destroying the nascent nation. With little outside help the Israelis were able to hold off the Arab invaders and begin the task of nation building.
In the intervening 73 years, Israel has been attacked internally and externally by Arab forces. At first it was constant brutal raids against civilians. During the Yassar Arafat years it was a profusion of suicide bombings all over Israel, especially in schools and on public transportation.
In the meantime Israel devoted itself to building a modern nation in a totally hostile region. Hard work and dedication enabled Israel to build up its strength and the ability to defend itself. It really represented an ideal for the local Arabs to emulate and build a thriving nation of their own.
Anyone who would not like to exchange life in our free and safe society for one in which there is constant concern about safety and existence would certainly not want to operate under Palestinian leadership.
Israel is a shining example for its Arab neighbors and has offered rights to Arab citizens unequaled in the Arab nations that surround it.
Stanley Goldstein, Golden Valley
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