History repeats

By Steven Sanders

A once powerful nation in eastern Europe that saw its empire dismembered some years earlier hosts the Olympics and then shortly thereafter invades and occupies a neighboring nation. It justifies its actions by saying that it needed to restore civil order and also protect its own nationals who were under attack. Sound familiar? Sounds like this scenario is right out of last week’s headlines? Sounds like the country is Russia, the Olympics are Sochi and the occupied nation is the Ukraine…yes?

Well for students of history this scene is eerily reminiscent of Europe in 1936. Nazi Germany had just completed hosting that year’s summer Olympics in Berlin. Not long thereafter it invaded and occupied the neighboring Sudetenland which was part of Czechoslovakia and then eventually occupied the rest of that country. It’s pretext then, similar to Russia’s pretext now, was that it needed to protect persons of Germanic descent form threats and to ensure stability. The world watched and did nothing. Feeling emboldened, Germany proceeded to annex Austria and then invade Poland which precipitated the most deadly conflagration in world history. Tens of millions of soldiers and civilians perished.

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Letters to the editor, Mar. 6

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

U.S. should stay out of Israel military action

Re: Letter to T&V, “A majority Jewish state necessary for Israel” (Feb. 6)

To the Editor:

A few years ago Noam Chomsky tried to enter the West Bank to give a lecture. Israel wouldn’t let him in because, in Chomsky’s words, “Israel didn’t like the kinds of things I say.” Israel thought Chomsky was going to make anti-Israel comments and, as I have observed, anyone who even remotely suggests a criticism of Israel is considered anti-Semitic. So the Jewish Chomsky must be anti-Semitic as are the many Arabs, also Semites, who criticize Israel.

Unfortunately, defending Israel from every comment, even if it’s true, seems to be a knee-jerk response. While I support Israel, I also believe it is a strong country, made even stronger by our military support, and has proven to the world that it is perfectly capable of defending itself.

If Israel feels threatened by Iran or any other country and decides to go to war, then it must bear the consequences of its decision. It’s time we look for ways to bring about peace. Secretary of State John Kerry is doing just that. Thomas L Friedman wrote in the NY Times that if Kerry’s peace mission fails, it would force Israel into “either unilateral withdrawal from parts of the West Bank or annexation and granting the Palestinians there citizenship, making Israel a bi-national state…or Israel by default could become some kind of apartheid-like state in permanent control over the 2.5 million Palestinians. There are no other options.”

I mention this because a letter by John Giannone tried to warn us that America’s policy towards Israel might drag us into a war that is not of our making and not in our national interest. This letter elicited a response from a writer who informs us that Israel, just like “all nations,” including the U.S., is guilty of committing “actions that are wrong,” as if that excuses the wrong actions. He cites “the eviction of some Arabs from their homeland and certain more recent events.” It’s not “some Arabs,” but thousands who have been evicted and/or have had their olive trees uprooted, thus destroying their livelihood.

Read in The Jerusalem Post what the U.N. Humanitarian Co-ordinator James W. Rawley and the International Committee of the Red Cross have said about Israel’s “despicable actions” towards the Palestinian refugee families and their children, including Israeli soldiers demolishing Palestinian residences and even confiscating the make-shift tents provided by the Red Cross to shield the refugee families from the weather.

The Red Cross no longer can provide these tents because as soon as they are put up, they are torn down. Roger Cohen wrote in the NY Times, “Jews, having suffered for most of their history as a minority, cannot, as a majority now in their state, keep their boots on the heads of the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank any longer…. the corrosive occupation has to end and with it the settlement industry.” In other words, committing “actions that are wrong” must stop. Now.

I support John Giannone’s position.

John Cappelletti, ST

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