Other People’s Mail

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October 2020, p. 71

Compiled by Dale Sprusansky


To The Dallas Morning News, Aug. 20, 2020

Re: “Israel, UAE strike deal—U.S. brokers historic agreement; West Bank annexation plan halted,” Aug. 14 news story.

This news that President Donald Trump brokered a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel came as a surprise to Palestinians whose fate was decided without their participation. The so-called “peace deal” appears to be a ploy to deny Palestinians a homeland.

According to Amnesty International, “the deal does not include Israel completely abandoning plans for further illegal annexation of the occupied West Bank, and comes while Israel continues to build illegal settlements and systemically abuse Palestinian human rights there.”

Palestinian leaders in Gaza and the West Bank have rejected the deal, calling it a betrayal and a “dagger in the back.” Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian peace negotiator, in a tweet to UAE leader Mohammed bin Zayed, said, “May you never feel the pain of living in captivity under occupation” and may you “never be sold out by your ‘friends.’”

Any attempts to secure a just peace must include dismantling illegal Israeli settlements, protection of the human rights of Palestinians and justice and reparations for victims of crimes perpetrated by Israeli authorities.

Without these caveats the “peace deal” is a shame and a sham.

Hadi Jawad, Dallas, TX


To The New York Times, Aug. 27, 2020

Re: “Netanyahu Swerves, Eyeing Legacy” (news analysis, front page, Aug. 14).

There may well be significant other reasons Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel has swerved from immediate annexation of large portions of the West Bank, but it is hard not to suspect that one factor in making that decision is the way the political wind is blowing in the United States.

Mr. Netanyahu is ever the pragmatist, and like many others who hitched their future to the coattails of Donald Trump, he may now be doubting whether that was the right move.

Like most of the rest of the world, including many countries that support Israel, the Democrats have repeatedly voiced their opposition to annexation. Perhaps Mr. Netanyahu is no longer as confident that annexation will be a fait accompli if Mr. Trump is not re-elected.

George J. Grumbach Jr., New York, NY


To The Riverdale Press, Aug. 30, 2020

Re: “DSA questions Israel,” Political Arena, Aug. 20.

Recent efforts to paint New York City’s Democratic Socialists of America as “anti-Semitic” for asking candidates for elected office questions about Israel are in reality part of a campaign to defend Israel’s apartheid over the Palestinian people and occupation of their land.

DSA supports BDS—the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel’s violation of international law.

BDS is not anti-Semitic, and includes many non-Zionist Jewish groups as well as unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world.

BDS is inspired by the anti-apartheid movement, which helped end the racist South African regime.

The U.S. government gives billions to Israel every year—the most of any country.

Pro-Israel groups also often send elected officials on paid junkets to Israel to win over their support. DSA does not want candidates it endorses to take this “hospitality” designed to whitewash Israel’s occupation and cover the reality of Israel’s apartheid.

Both the state of Israel and U.S. politicians who support it push hard to oppose the anti-Zionist boycott movement.

This is logical since the boycott aims to end Israeli apartheid.

But it makes no sense to call this movement anti-Semitic.

That’s like saying opposition to racism and white supremacy in this country is “anti-American.” Opposing apartheid and white supremacy is progressive and necessary.

Dee Knight, New York, NY


To the New Canaan Advertiser, Aug. 13, 2020

In response to the letter “Recent advertisement crossed the line,” Aug. 6, finding fault with an ad about Israeli treatment of Palestinian children.

As a member of one of the groups that sponsored the ad, I rise to its defense. The photo that accompanied the ad, showing an Israeli soldier manhandling a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, accurately represented the situation in the West Bank, and the caption to it clearly stated the boy had been accused of throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. If Israel wants Palestinian youngsters to stop throwing rocks at its soldiers, let Israel return the lands it confiscated from those youngsters’ villages for the building of Jewish-only settlements.

Carl Strock, Saratoga Springs, NY


To the Los Angeles Times, Aug. 27, 2020

Columnist Nicholas Goldberg asks, “How does it happen that U.S.-made weapons are routinely being used to kill civilians on the other side of the world?”

The answer is simple: There is profit to be made by American companies. As long as it is profitable, we will remain complicit in a civil war in Yemen.

Profit is the only standard in the U.S. these days.

Doris Isolini Nelson, Los Angeles, CA