Letters to the Editor, July 31

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Hamas is the reason for Gaza bloodshed

An excellent essay was offered by Ms. Jeannette Shuck in last week’s edition of T&V. If Canada had a grudge against our nation, would we and the rest of the world countenance continuous bombings of New York State?
Many people have vague information concerning history and current events. They are told by the media here and in Europe that about eight times as many Palestinians have been killed and gravely injured in  relation to Israel’s retaliation. So, a moral equivalency is created with Hamas now seemingly to have the ethical upper hand.
Let’s get things straight: Hamas is a terrorist organization and its charter wants not only the state of Israel to be thrown into the sea – but, also, all Jews murdered. “Infidels” would come next – think Christians. Hamas is filled with holocaust deniers, which may be even more egregious than the many millions of murders committed by the Nazis.
Hamas kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens (one of whom was a joint U.S./American citizenship) as the daily bombings continued.
If Jews learned just one lesson from the slaughter in Germany and many of the other occupied nations: “never again!”
The most significant difference between most of the Muslim states is cultural differences (values and behaviors). While Israel follows the ancient Greek concepts of democracy and the enlightenment, many (not all) Muslims have gotten frozen in a condition where little has changed since the beginning of Islam: the deplorable treatment of women, lack of basic freedoms which we take for granted in the west.
Since 1948 when the U.N. and President Truman (also the U.S.S.R.) recognized the Zionist state, Israel has become a truly first world nation. As the heralded “Arab Spring” never succeeded – just like Russia after the evil empire died, they had no history of a democratic background and values. Democracy can only evolve over time.
Thank you, Ms. Shuck, for telling it like it is. Your very words said in some Muslim nations would lead to a fatwah!
David Chowes, PCV


No evidence in destruction of Flight 17

The NY Times and other major US news outlets continue to play their part in the ongoing propaganda war between our government and Russia’s over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.  U.S. and Ukrainian government officials began claiming that rebels shot it down using a powerful Russian-supplied Buk missile battery immediately after the plane went down.
This week, the Times again reported that claim as fact.  Considering that Russia and the US are nuclear powers with the capability to wipe out the planet many times over, it might be a good idea to take a deep breath and remember that an impartial inquiry is still underway and no formal conclusions have been announced.
In the meantime, there’s this to consider. Ukraine has most likely been blanketed by U.S. satellite surveillance since the civil war erupted.
Nevertheless, our government has not provided a single image of Buk missile batteries in eastern Ukraine, let alone being deployed by rebels.
A month ago Craig Whitlock  of the Washington Post quoted the U.S. commander of NATO forces in Europe saying “We have not seen any of the [Russian] air-defense vehicles across the border yet.”
Whitlock also reported that “Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said defense officials could not point to specific evidence that an SA-11 [Buk] surface-to-air missile system had been transported from Russia into eastern Ukraine.”
Also remember what this civil war is all about.  Elected President Yanukovych had been trying to attract capital to maintain Ukraine’s standard of living.
Rebels in the east rejected his ouster after Yanukovych decided against accepting IMF austerity demands necessary for an association agreement with the EU in favor of what he considered a better deal with Russia. The newly appointed interim government of Ukraine ended up signing the association agreement with the EU.
J Sicoransa, ST


Dog doo is a don’t

I’d like to thank Town & Village for the page 2 photo of the dog sitting on a Stuyvesant Town bench.
It served as a reminder that we are not only tracking fecal matter into our apartments on the soles of our shoes but also on the seats of our pants, the backs of our dresses and the bottoms of our briefcases, tote bags and purses. What a pleasant thought.
Name withheld, ST


31 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor, July 31

  1. I could not agree more with David!

    Sent from my iPhone. Please forgive any typos or shorthand.


  2. Re: Dog doo. I had the same thought when I saw that photo. But now on their Facebook page management has invited dogs onto the Oval lawn (“Feel free to bring your little dog too!”)–which they have clearly designated as a no-dog zone–for the screening of the Wizard of Oz. Think of the cinematic animal participation opportunities: Snakes on a Plane, Planet of the Apes, Jaws, Born Free, Willard, Ben…

    • Soon to be announced by CWC/CR: “Fecal Sundays at the Oval. Catch it. For residents and their guests only.”


    Hamas was losing its grip on Gaza. So, a pragmatic solution was to begin a war against Israel. This shifts the frustrations to the long hated Zionist Jews in Israel. This is an age old strategy. (See Maciavelli’s “The Prince.”)

    The long history of anti-Semitism in both Western and Eastern Europe can be resurrected as faux moral outrage.

    Yes, probably 10 times as many civilians in Gaza were killed or maimed compared to Israelis. Is this a moral statement? If so, many times more German and Japanese civilians were killed during World War 2 — does this mean that the Nazis and believers in the Emporer as God were more ethical and moral.?

    Anti-Semitism goes back milennia. So, it has become a part of human DNA (a metaphor). So, if anything bad happens, what group is one likely to get the blame?


    • The Arabs weren’t responsible for the Holocaust, but it seems they’ve been the scapegoats. They had their land taken away from them and have been treated like vermin since the birth of “Israel.”

      • Re: Comment by “Just Wondering Why”

        The “original sin” done in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and… lands was caused by European colonianism. E.g., when the Ottoman Empire ended a pencil and a ruler were used to create nations with no respect for the many incongruous and varied indiginous groups that were being separated and formed into so-called “countries.” They played by quite different rules in those days. A perfect example is Iraq. Now colonianism has been replaced by hegemony — far more efficient.

    • I think you have it exactly backwards, David Chowes.

      Back in April, Hamas and Fatah announced a reunification. Israel responded by canceling peace talks. The Israeli press went bonkers denouncing the reunification, raging that if the Hamas/Fatah reunification were to stand, Hamas would become a member of the Palestinian Authority, an internationally supported, U.S. funded organization.

      No nation, Israel included, goes to war over the kidnapping and murder of three teenagers, although that did provide a sad, grisly cover story. Israel went to war for a single hard headed, clear eyed objective: to destroy Hamas in order to make a peace of subjugation with the Palestinian Authority. Both Israel and Hamas seem content to live with the body count in Gaza that has resulted.

      Europe and the rest of the world, except for the U.S. and parts of Africa, thinks it’s been a long time since anyone has had the moral high ground in this conflict. So do I. Neither side is interested in peace. It would probably be best for all involved if we stopped providing military aid and U.N. cover (in the form of Security Council vetoes) to the Netanyahu government. That might go a long way towards leveling the playing field and forcing a real attempt at forging peace.

      • Re: Comment by Ed Amame

        Thanks for your contribution to this discussion…:

        How would you or our nation react to any country (not necessaritly an Arab and/or Muslim) incorporating SISI in their government? Also, for the first time in my life, Saudi Arabia (in fact, most Arab nations) tacidly and/or overtly show support for Israel in this conflict.. Why? The greatest fear in the Middle East is terrorism. And, the Saudis have expereinced such invasions of their sovernty.Whether one is in favor of the positions of Hamas — it is a terrorist organization. (Of course, one man’s terrorists are another’s “freedom fighters.”)

        Remember the old saw: the enemy of my enemy is now to be embraced. (Again, refer to Machiavelli’s “The Prince.”)

        Also, as far as the “high ground” that the U. S. had geopolitically, it was badly damaged by the Cheney-Bush2 administrations. (No one seems to mention this obvious fact.)

        Yes, wars are often begun by a precipetant which has far more meaningful roots. As far as the latter part of your final paragraph, you may well be correct.

  4. I strongly resent my tax dollars being sent to Israel in the form of funding and arming the murderous Netanyahu regime.

    • Re: Comment from “Just Wondering Why”

      Because we live in a democracy, it means that all opinions can have an impact. (I never indicated in what matters the U. S. should give foreign aid.) I was merely expressing my personal support for Israel. And, while I’m writing this, the greater number of deaths of Gaza is true and you seem to focus on this. A guess: as 1,500 Palestenian civilians were killed,and you refer to the regime of Netanyahu as “murderous,” As you and most of the media hardly refer to the estimate of about 250,000 mureders by Assad in Syria, Or, don’t they count because it’s just an Arab. nation?

  5. The bloodshed in the Arab world is barbaric and deplorable and I’m aware that 99.9% of it is Arab v. Arab. Hopefully, none of the weapons are supplied by the US. My disgust with the Israelis is caused by the fact that they were shooting fish in a barrel and innocent civilian death is totally unavoidable, especially under an avalanche of hundreds of pounds of bombs. I am no admirer of Hamas or any other terrorist group, but I think Israel has treated the Palestinians very badly for a very long time. The Israelis aren’t the saints that they (and many Jewish people) would like us to believe they are. Sharon and Begin were butchers, too. The Arabs were living in that region well before it became flooded with Eastern European Jews who seemed to think it was their land and theirs alone. Netanyahu provokes hatred from the Arabs with his blockade, siege and his damned Jewish settlements on their land, then wonders why they lob rockets at Israel. Chutzpah!

    • Re: Most recent post by “Just Wondering Why”

      Permit me begin my response by not being too redundant — for I have made many comments concerning the Israeli-Hamas situation previously. One comment was that Israel, now 65 years a state is now on a par with Western nations in terms of technologyh, culture and is a democratic republic where Arabs who live there are citizens who can vote and are members of the Knesset (parliament).

      You speak of “European Jews” who took away land. There is some truth to that — but, please know that it also had Sephartic Jews who came from Muslim or former Muslim nations. That is why the current president and former Prime Minister Sharon Peres has a Spanish sounding name. Black Jews also came from Africa.

      Why were all these Jews so anxious to go to Israel? They came from lands where pograms were launched by other religious groups … and finally the holocaust which was launched by Germany. Germany along with Great Britain and France were considered the most advanced nations in most areas on this planet.

      Of these Western nations, all came into existence via taking land away from other by any means necessary. And, we refer to the West as civilized… Really? This week we note the centurty mark of the beginning of The Great War. The most murderous conflict to date and for no discernable or rational reason. Under President Woodrow Wilson, we joined in 1917 to be part of the war to end all wars. Prestigious think tanks bear his name today, Probably the worst president of the 20th Century. Today, I saw on TV a tribute to these brave men from the U. K.

      We call ourselves the “free world.” Where did our nation come from? By mudering the indigenous natives of the
      Americas — well, we called them “savages.” And, the Mexican American War was simply a ruse to steal land form Mexico — which had come from Spain which had stolen it from the so-called Indians.

      Add European Colonianism which was rationalized as making the wretched of the earth more civilized. Take a look at these great powers and how they dealt with these peoples: England, Spain, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Portugal, Italy … it jsut goes on … eventually the U, S. got into the act. May I suggest the brilliant film. “The Battle of Algiers” which documents the brutal treatment of people who wanted the French out of their own country.

      And, one of the great hereos of the 20th Century,Winston Churchill was quite disappointed when the British Empire collapsed.

      I could go on… But, why put you to sleep?

      In Genisis of The Old Testament speaks of the fall of humanity. I don’t take this in a literal manner — but as a metaphor which suggested that we (all of us) are part of a flawed species. What Shakespeare wrote about centuries ago still has great resonance because “we” haven’t changed.

      What bothers me are those groups of the self-righteous but flawed who select a given person or group to cast balme on… For, it is in reality a way to deny their own flaws. In psychology, it referred to as “displacement.”

  6. I can’t debate you, Professor Chowes. You are educated, I am not (GED is all I have). I just wish that the wars and violence would stop. I doubt they will. I will die hoping for that. Shalom.

    • Re: The last comment by “Just Wondering Why” — A response

      Thanks for your most recent post. I do admit to having been a professor. (How did you know this? I’m curious.) Oddly enough I have found that pundits, writers and “intellectual types” (often Jews like MIT Professor Noam Chomsky) are most guilty of the type of critcisms which I offered.

      Let me tell you one absolutely true story which may suprise you:

      I attended college in the 1960s and found the concept of Zionism abherent. Why was a separate state for Jews needed? I loved my country (the U. S.) — which was enhanced by its heterogenity — composed of many diverse religions, ethnic groups, political opinions… All protected by our Constitution.

      In 1968, I visited Israel. So many people had indelible numbers on their arms. I met a man who introduced me to a 20ish young woman. After we walked away from her, we both agreed that she was an immature fool. So, I
      asked him why he considers her a friend? He reponded, ‘You see, she is my third cousin. I came here from Poland and after the Nazis took over, all members of my family were killed. I was lucky enough to have come here. She is my only living relative.’

      When I came home, I read everything I could about the holocaust and ant-Semitism. Within about five years I realized that what had occurred for two milennia … then the holocaust could happen anywhere. There is a line in a play by Arthur Miller, ‘If the Germans were not people, what were they?’

      It was then that I became a Zionist — even though I have always been and continue to br an agnostic/atheist.

      Shalom, bro’!

  7. Let me add one last comment: You would never put me to sleep. You are interesting and erudite and most certainly know your history. I don’t particularly care about history. I care more for the present. I am aware of the colonizations incurred by the powerful on the weak. We can’t change history, but going forward we could have a better world. I know it won’t happen, but one can always dream. An Arab life is worth no more nor less than a Jewish life or life of any other person. We all feel pain, physically and emotionally, to the same degree. Even animals experience pain and joy.

    As for Winston Churchill: he was no peach. He sent out the soldiers to shoot to death the strikers in the General Strike in England. He sent men to war and death without good reason to do so. He was heralded for his staunch opposition to the Nazis and for sounding out the warning about the rearing of the ugly head of anti-semitism in Europe. Those were his good points, but he had his dark side, too. The Brits quashed information about the Holocaust after the war ended because they wanted to do trade with West Germany.

    Bottom line: It’s a crappy world we live in!

  8. I’m a sis, not a bro. Professor Chowes, my father (an Irishman who joined the British Army) was at the liberation of Bergen Belsen. What he saw was indescribable and he had screaming nightmares until he drank himself to death several years after the war ended. He was only able to talk about it when he was drunk. I sat and listened with abject horror as a child. It wasn’t until I saw documentaries about the Holocaust as the years progressed that I was able to realize what he cried about. I’m old now, but I remember the stories I heard from my father. Please don’t think that I make light of the Holocaust. I am just troubled by the behavior of the current government of Israel that it can be so unmerciful. There has to be a better way of quelling Hamas than killing and maiming little children. Hamas is to blame, I know, but not the poor little kids in Gaza and they are the ones who have taken the brunt of this latest war. I hope that peace will come soon.

    • “JWW,”

      We now live in a brave new world with technological advances beyond our imaginations. But we don’t know if they are an advantage amd/or quite dangerous. I made an error in one of my posts to you: I actually taught at Baruch from 1983 to 2008… Followed by LIU. And, please refer to me as “David.”

      Shalom,, sis’ !

  9. Regarding your comment, David Chowes on August 5, 2014, 9:00 am

    You forget that the Zionist paramilitary group Irgun believed that any means necessary to establish the State of Israel, including terrorism, was justified. And that Menachem Begin was its leader leading up to the creation of Israel. The Irgun was branded a terrorist organisation by Britain, the 1946 Zionist Congress, and the Jewish Agency. Irgun was absorbed by the Israel Defense Forces at the start of the 1948 Arab–Israeli war and Begin was later elected the sixth Prime Minister of Israel.

    Punishing Palestinians was Israel’s policy before Hamas and its homemade rockets and before Israel turned Gaza into an open-air prison. This latest round of punishment has caused political support for Israel to disintegrate around the world and even on “Morning Joe.”

    The Saudis have traditionally backed Hamas and other radical Palestinian group and continues to support many of these same groups. However the Saudis, like most Arab regimes, actually have little love for the Palestinians, because (1) They view Palestinian refugees — and Hamas’ links to the Muslim Brotherhood — as a threat to the stability of their regimes. (2) The most reliable patron Sunni Hamas has had in recent years is Iran, the Sunni Arab world’s principal Shiite arch-rival. You will recall that in the 2006 summer military confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel in Lebanon, Iranian backed Hezbollah’s ability to withstand the Israel Defense Forces gave confidence to Hamas that it could too.

    • Re: Comment by “Ed Amame”

      No, I didn’t forget how Israel wrested the State of Israel from what was then referred to as Palestine. And yes, the Britts did label Begin’s “Irgun group” as a terrorist band..And, the wannabe Israelis did destroy the King David Hotel to achieve their goal. If Begin & Co, were arrested they would probably be tried as traitors.

      If George Washington and his comrades were arrested by the Brits, they would have been hanged as traitors. I said previously that one movement or group’s actions can simultaneously be dealt with as terorists and freedom
      seekers. It depends who’s giving out the labels.

      But, eventually time usually brings a homeostatsis — at least for a while. Now, it can be advanced that the U, K, and the U. S. are the closest of allies.Also, arch enemy the U. S. S. R. and the U. S. were allies since they shared far greater enemies: Germany and Japan in W. W. i i. We also became the patrons of Afganistan against Russia and gave them weapons– which they laer used on us after the Cold War was over,

      Geopolitical relations rarely have litle to do with morality or ethics. They are, in the main, a result of the perceived interests of the powerful in each nation. As we seem to always tell the warriors and population: “We are fighting for freedom.” Possible, but rarely is this true. And, it is the victors who write the history..

      I do find he case for Israel to be one of the most compelling instances of an evolution of territrial change. Let me ask my critics: if you had to live in the Middle East, which country would you chose?

      Presien Reagan once posited that the best way to end all wars and global hostilities, is if all of us were threatened by hostile forces from outer space, Then and only then would all the nations of the world coalese as one for mutual survival, True!

      • *if you had to live in the Middle East, which country would you chose?*

        This is what you’re basing your argument on? Israel is perceived to be a Western democracy so of course T&V readers would feel a greater affinity to it rather than to an autocratic, Islamist third world state that only gained the right to self-governance in 1994 and until 2005 had been almost continuously subject to military occupation – most recently by Israel, and before that by Egypt, Great Britain and Turkey. Israel still maintains exclusive control of Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters, just as was the case during occupation. A blockade of the Gaza Strip by Egypt and Israel has been in place since 2008, making it next to impossible to transfer goods in and out which has resulted in general misery and an unemployment rate in Gaza that hovers around 70%.

        It’s not about where we Americans would want to live, it’s about where Palestinians would want to live. In a state of their own.

    • The British were horrendously brutal during their ruling of Palestine. They used to publicly flog Jews. Can’t say I blame Begin and the Irgun for blowing them up!

      • Given that I do believe in the concept of “original sin,” (only as a metaphor) due to the wide spread flaws our species seem to always exhibit but on a gradient… I never will condemen any ethnicity or race (which is a misnomer for the term “race” is merely a construct devised by people) and not an actual quality that is coherent… My way of judging peopel is simply to evaluate: each individual separately.

        I also believe that the creation of utopias almost always leads to great tragedies, Remember that der Fuhrer, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot… were attempting to build perfect societies.

  10. David, I will say one last thing: I am very appreciative of the fact that you did not throw out the pejorative “anti-semite” which is what a lot of Jewish people do if anyone criticizes Israel. That pejorative is very often unjust and diminishes the impact of the accusation when it is thrown around too readily, rather like the infamous “race card.”

    My view is that Israel is a grown-up nation now, not a child struggling to be recognized, and so long as there isn’t an anti-Jewish motive, it’s ok to criticize her if one feels justified in doing so, just like we can criticize other nations when we don’t like what they do. Doesn’t mean we hate the people of those nations, just the carryings on of the rulers/governments who do things that horrify us. For instance, I love the USA, but don’t ever get me started on Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove and Co.! But when I do get started, I usually am not called anti-American.

    Hope I made my point without belaboring it!

    Have a beautiful day.

    • “JWW,”

      Of course, in any democratic republic or psuedo-democracy, one has the right (if not obligation) to be critical of the actions of its governement and those of other nations. There will always be anti-Semites for many reasons: I have already spoken of the DNA analogy. And I fully believe that the probability of any anti-group sentiments increases as a function of how lonf it has existed and two milennia is a long time.

      But, to criticize the actions of Israel and its governent is really a mandate for all citizens. It in not be considered to be anti-Semitism. E.g., I consider myself to be a loyal American citizen. But, I find that Dick Cheney & Co. and their actions to be beyond dispicable. This is the most important aspect of free speech.

      With respect,


  11. As someone (I don’t know who) said: “The more I see of the human race, the more I love my dog.” I really love my dog. Am giving him a hug right now and thanking him for not being human!

    • “JWW,” I have heard this comment before and have thought it as well.It seems that humans have been capable of domesticating wolves into “pals” for people. My passion, however, is more so for cats. I have owned four (or, maybe it was they who owned me?) Some day, I’ll tak about my favorite: a blue point Siamese, Oolan who was definetly a cat with all the accessories: whiskers, a pair of pointed ears, capable of the speed of sound and great skill as a jumper — but was loyal and and as affectionate as the stereotype of a dog. She lived for 20 years… The way of all flesh. And i miss her and still dream about her!

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