Letters to the Editor
Published 12:00 am, Sunday, December 31, 2017
The Jerusalem protest is significant for not just what the speakers said, but what their signs read: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” meaning Israel would cease to exist. This, too, is the mantra of their leaders, which is the principal reason for Palestinian intransigence.
Let’s look at the “facts” that were cited:
Palestine’s connection to Jerusalem predates the creation of the state of Israel. True, only if one ignores that since 1000 BC, when King David established Jerusalem as the capital of his kingdom, there has been a continuous Jewish presence in the city, the holiest city in Judaism.
The “nabka” that caused about 700,000 Palestinians to leave their homes, was exceeded by a similar exodus of approximately 850,000 Jews from Arab and Muslim countries.
That “Jerusalem is very sacred to three religions,” was claimed by one of the speakers but it is Israel that has allowed for more open access for all, Muslims, Christians, and Jews. From 1948 to the Six-Day War in 1967, Jerusalem was under Arab control, specifically Jordan.
The Jewish Quarter of the Old City was destroyed, synagogues demolished, and their contents looted and desecrated. Some religious sites were turned into chicken coops or animal stalls. The Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, where Jews had been burying their dead for over 2,500 years, was ransacked, graves desecrated, and thousands of tombstones smashed and used as building materials.
Perhaps America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will be a wake-up call for the Palestinians: Do they want to co-exist, side by side, with Israel or do they want their leaders to squander another opportunity for peace?
To the Editor:
The reporting of a demonstration against President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel contained several false statements made by demonstrators.
To say “Palestine’s connection to the city dates back to before the creation of Israel” is incorrect.
Jerusalem was founded by King David as the capital of a Jewish state three thousand years ago. Jerusalem was liberated from the Syrian-Greek Seleucid empire by the Maccabees twenty one hundred years ago, as commemorated by the Jewish holiday of Chanukah.
Jerusalem was the capital of Judea when it was a province of the Roman Empire and Jerusalem was taken by the Romans to put down Jewish revolts. Jews have since prayed every day for the return of their capital. Jerusalem has been the capital of Jewish states and the focus of Jewish worship for over three thousand years. No other country or people ever had Jerusalem as its capital.
What is Palestine’s connection?
Not much. First, there is no country of Palestine and never has been. Second, when modern Israel was founded in 1948, culminating 75 years of effort by modern Zionists, the Palestinian Arabs did not regard themselves as a Palestinian nationality.
They rejected a partition that would have given them a lion’s share of the land. They and the neighboring Arab countries fought a war to destroy Israel, but they lost. Did they think to establish “Palestine” at that time in the parts of Judea and Samaria they held from 1948-1967? No. The Palestinian Liberation Organization was only founded in 1964, years after, not before, the creation of Israel. The first leader of the PLO, Yassir Arafat, was born in Egypt. Indeed most of the current “Palestinians” have recent family roots in Egypt and in lands that became Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon after World War I. Others have roots going back to the Arab conquest of the area in the 7th century. The Bible was written much earlier and mentions Jerusalem hundreds of times: The Koran has no reference to the city. Further, the Koran has numerous passages about Jewish kings and the land given to the Jews. It has no reference to the Palestinians.
Finally, the statement by Sen. Blumenthal that “Trump’s announcement did nothing to advance these vital negotiations” is a slick way to avoid saying that that the policy of nonrecognition has been a complete failure that has not led to negotiations.
The new recognition policy doesn’t stop a peace process, as that process has been dead for some time. Maybe the new policy will lead to a settlement in the context of a larger regional rapprochement between Israel and the Sunni Arab states. Before condemning it, why not wait and give peace a chance?
To the Editor:
This past summer BackCountry Jazz had the good fortune of having our summer music program hosted by the Klein Auditorium. This is a major performance space and a treasure for the Bridgeport community. Our students were inspired by the opportunity to work on a daily basis in this beautiful space. We would like to thank the Klein executive director, Laurence Caso, and his staff for their hospitality. Everyone in the area should be aware that the Klein provides performing arts education to students in the Bridgeport area throughout the year. We would like to commend them for this great service.
Artistic director, BackCountry Jazz
To the Editor:
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., to crack down on extreme animal cruelty, taking a critical step toward enactment of the first general federal animal cruelty law. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, if approved by the House of Representatives, would prohibit malicious animal cruelty that occurs in interstate commerce or on federal property, providing federal enforcement authority to supplement state anti-cruelty frameworks.
The PACT Act would help address bestiality, which often involves transporting animals across state lines and the use of internet forums to facilitate the abuse — and is often linked to child pornography and other sexual crimes. Our society has long agreed that cruelty to animals should not be tolerated, and the PACT Act reflects these common sense values.
We thank Sen. Blumenthal for his leadership and urge the House to move quickly to pass the PACT Act into law.
President and CEO of the
Humane Society of the United States
To the Editor:
We need a serious comparison of the costs and benefits of tolls vs. higher gas taxes.
Some obvious issues are:
Costs: It should cost next to nothing to raise gas taxes, while tolls might involve significant capital and operating costs.
Equity: It would seem fair that all drivers pay a share of maintaining and improving roads, not just ones using particular highways.
Contribution from drivers from out-of-state: How would the two options compare?
Congestion pricing: Would a toll system really be put at locations that enable effective congestion pricing? Border tolls would not do so. Could congestion pricing really be fair and effective in a state with limited alternative transportation options and limited number of lanes on highways?