Candidate blasts Maloney on Israel, Middle East

Sander Hicks

By Sabina Mollot

In the race for the Congressional seat occupied by Carolyn Maloney, one of two of her Democrat challengers believes there’s a lot she’s wrong about.

Sander Hicks, a political activist who runs a carpentry businesses based in Maspeth, openly admits to being on the offensive. This is after having been advised by supporters, including his father Norman Hicks, a former World Bank economist, to “stop being so nice,” he explained.

Additionally, Hicks, 47, said, although he insisted he is trying to run a positive campaign based on “respect for all religions” (he identifies as Quaker and interfaith) he has also found Maloney to be unresponsive to concerns from constituents like himself.

Maloney, he noted, never directly responded when he called her office about long-classified documents from a Congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks that were finally released in 2016, known as the “28 pages.” Instead, Hicks said, he was passed around from one office employee to the next until, finally a year later, he got a form letter response. However, it wasn’t even on the issue he’d brought up, but about Maloney’s Zadroga Act for 9/11 responder healthcare.

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Letters to the editor, Aug. 21

That moment when you’re hit by a Citi Bike

After a visit to Chinatown on a recent Sunday afternoon, I was walking north along the river to Waterside, my home. I stayed close to the railing since I am 77 years of age and wanted to avoid being hit by distractions: bikes, skateboarders, etc.

I was enjoying the estuary’s sea air when something hit the back of my left knee with a bang and sent me flying into the air. My glasses flew off, my shoulder bag left my body and I landed with a heavy thud on my lower back and thought, “It is over, I will never walk again.”

I have osteoporosis, arthritis and all the muscular ailments that beset 77-year-olds. As I lay on the ground, I slowly turned my head to my left and saw the wheels of a bicycle. After the initial shock, I began to slowly move my body as I had learned to do as a fitness/health instructor. I saw a bicycle lying beside me and then saw a bicyclist, a young man, standing beside his bike looking shaken.

He said, “I am so sorry, I am so sorry.”

I slowly managed to get up off the ground and when I was on my knees, I groped around for my glasses. He waited until I had my glasses and again apologized. I told him I had to call the police to report the accident since I was afraid I had really damaged my body. He said, “Do not do that. I was not looking and did not see you. I am sorry.”

When I asked him his name he began to shake and said, “I am from Hong Kong.” He then picked the bike off the ground and took off on his Citi Bike. I knew the bike had a number so I looked at the back of the bike for its number. There wasn’t any. I later learned the bike numbers are on the sides of the bike and not the back.

The incident happened near the toilets along the East River esplanade so I slowly, like a beaten animal, limped over, washed up and very slowly, psychologically and physically, limped towards home. At home, I took all the precautionary measures to help my body heal.

The following day, I called Citi Bike to tell them about the incident. They informed me that they are not responsible. If I had a police report and the bicycle number, Citi Bike would then contact the cardholder of the Citi Bike.

I suggested to Citi Bike: the bicycle numbers should be placed on the backs of the bikes as well as the sides so one could follow through if one is accidentally hit by a Citi Bike, especially if the bicyclist takes off.

Arpine Dod,
Waterside Plaza

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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 14

When history is written by the west

To the Editor:

I am reacting to David Chowes’ letter, “Hamas is the reason for Gaza bloodshed,” in T&V, July 31.
Reading it brought me back to the Sioux Wars in the middle of the nineteenth century when the Dakotas attacked and killed some 800 men, women and children. Their eventual defeat, one might argue, was something they brought about themselves, but that “It’s their own fault,” conclusion would require that one’s story opens with the massacre of 29 soldiers near Fort Laramie: “The savages killed 29 of our boys!’ But the expression of “savagery” points back to a history and to an attitude toward natives and settlers.

In other words, what we have here is not a description of a nasty series of events. There is no acknowledgement that a chief had just been killed by a trooper, nor an acknowledgement of uninvited settlements in (acknowledged) Indian territory, nor an acknowledgement that natives had been forced by treaty, when not forced by military power, to accommodate the flood of foreigners from Europe and the eastern states — an accommodation which, they well-knew was, after tens of thousands of years In-This-Place, their demise.

For some it was then, and now, unfathomable that the natives of This Place did not feel it their duty to go out of existence so that the settlers might “live in peace.” For some it was then, as it is now, unfathomable that those in This Place just might have a moral duty to rebel according to their own terms — a moral duty ever-so precisely described in our Declaration of Independence.

I am not a historian, nor am I suggesting that we go back to the origin of the universe, but it seems to me that Mr. Chowes’ pitch had no more accuracy then we find in “Rockets raining down on Israel!”

We can of course avoid the moral obligation that we have toward the mess created in Palestine by western imperialism, and we do, but we do it at our own peril.  Yet, if we do not know that history, and more important, if we make no attempt to know it, then Mr. Chowes’ words and the pathetic dribble coming out of The White House are secure.

The choices we have supported for the natives of Palestine are 1) disappear, 2) live on your knees, 3) die fighting. Too many of us have the gaul to object when they choose number 3.

John M. Giannone, ST

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Letters to the Editor, August 7

Aug7 Toon Cuomo

Inconsistent landscaping is being ignored

I am a resident of Stuy Town for over 30 years. While a lot of landscaping continues in Stuy Town and you write articles full of the ongoing plantings and landscaping, everyone has ignored the fact that the landscaping to the entrance of many buildings is by and large ignored.

If everyone would just get it right! The T level is the front of the building and the front entrance and exit used 90 percent of the time by the residents, where cars, delivery, moving and mail trucks pull up. The M level, which is actually the back entrance, is scary because it is too quiet and women look over their shoulder when using this entrance. Yet the landscaping focus has been on the M and not the T for a long time now.

Consistently some buildings have pretty landscaping and many others are void of any landscape and are in fact an embarrassment. Check out 1 and 3 Oval. Forever ignored, the Terrace levels which again really are the front entrances of the buildings are indeed quite ugly. Is anyone ever going to do anything about it?

Below are pictures of the 1 Stuyvesant Oval T entrance.


Gazala Chinwalla, ST

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An eye-opening vacation

T&V associate editor takes trip to Israel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Israeli soldiers smile for the camera. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Israeli soldiers smile for the camera. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Through funding from the Israeli government and private donors, the Taglit-Birthright organization allows almost any American with Jewish ancestry the chance to experience Israel through a 10-day trip throughout the country. The possibility of such a trip has been on my radar since I found out about it in college but even though I love traveling, and took the opportunity to study abroad twice in school, I procrastinated until the last few months that I would be eligible. The cut-off age is 27 and my 27th birthday is in the fall, so this summer was the last chance I would have to take advantage of this opportunity. So during the first two weeks of this July, I did.

There were a number of reasons that I initially put off going to Israel through Birthright: I felt like I had plenty of time, I didn’t want to go by myself, I didn’t think I was religious enough. The main reason, though, is the one I imagine most people give for opting not to go on Birthright, even if they are eligible: what if a full-on war breaks out in the middle of my trip?

The safety measures that Taglit implements are no joke. The organization boasts that they have not had any incidents with participants, even though trips continued throughout the 2006 Lebanon War. Despite these statistics, I’m not sure how much it quelled my mother’s anxiety to know that I would be arriving in the country on the day that Israel would be mourning three yeshiva students who had been killed by Hamas and found only a few days before. Only a few hours after I arrived, a Palestinian teenager was lit on fire and left to die in a revenge killing. Three Israeli Jews are now suspects.

On Tuesday, July 8, we spent the night in the middle of the Negev desert in one of the few places for the whole ten days where we were without wi-fi when a man came into our tent to tell us that Israel had started sending missiles into Gaza. He said that the prime minister had told the IDF to “take their gloves off” against Hamas and use any means necessary to restore peace in Israel. He added that although violence should usually be a last resort, it was necessary to bring peace to the country.

The previous Saturday, on July 5, we were supposed to have a political seminar about the current situation in the country but in a weird twist, we were told that the speaker who was supposed to meet us couldn’t leave his city because of rocket fire. We were also told that this was normal and that he was going to be fine, so this just meant that our talk was postponed a day.

While it was true that he was safe, it was clear that my idea of “normal” and the idea of “normal” for everyday life in Israel was vastly different. And while one of our group leaders, Dayna Simon, told us that the low-flying military planes we could hear throughout the night while we were in the desert were there to protect us, the closeness of the planes’ roars was still unsettling.

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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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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 30

Cartoon by Jim Meadows (website)

Cartoon by Jim Meadows (website)

Thoughtless foreign policy will lead to war

Re: “U.S. heading to another war?,” T&V, Jan. 23

To the editor:

I begin my letter with the reminder of something said a few years back by Israel’s current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The prime minister said, “We want to be known as the ‘Jewish State.’” My use of the term is governed by Netanyahu’s risky remark.

In his letter, J. Sicoransa wrote about a bill currently being formulated in the United States Senate, by Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), with co-sponsorship of Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). It is unfortunate that our political leaders, in particular the senior senator from New York, should place The United States of America at the service of “the Jewish State.” Israel developed its nuclear/germ warfare capacity and thereby introduced that sort of awfulness directly into the Middle East. For our part, here in the States, Israel’s possession of a nuclear capacity is something U.S. presidents, including Mr. Obama, have chosen to ignore. The demand that America support “the Jewish State” without regard to what it actually initiates runs counter to Jewish intellectual tradition. Mr. Schumer’s commitment to Israel would draw America into supporting it as a Jewish State rather than as a nation on its own merits, plain and simple.

Mr. Schumer has shown himself a hawk in matters other than those bound by his faith. In an email to me, dated Oct. 24, 2013, responding to my moral doubts about our drone practices, Senator Schumer wrote coolly, “These unmanned aircraft are most commonly known for their operations overseas in tracking down and killing suspected members of Al Qaeda and related terrorists organizations.” Here, in print, a United States Senator puts himself and our foreign policy on record that we kill over there on (mere) suspicion.

Does he imagine that if we kill people “over there,” those actions will not distort life here? To my query about the use of drones over our skies and the meaning of that action given our Constitution, the senator gave the now patented reply about the need for “balance between security and liberty in America.” How awful that we send our troops to other countries where many of them die believing they are protecting our way of life. Yet here on the home front, that way of life, that Constitution and those endowed rights, is the very life Mr. Schumer and others would reason away. “Balance” has become a symptom of severely detached reasoning.

John M. Giannone
Stuyvesant Town

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