Sunday, April 13, 2008

HOW THE OTHER SIDE RESPONDS

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One-sided hate
By Joseph P. Mancuso
4/02/2008

To the Editor

I am tired of reading about the one-sided hate for Israel and Jews that people submit in letters to the editor of The Tribune. These so-called arguments of "facts" are nothing but the same old anti-Semitic hate mongering of the past.It frightens me to think that kind of blind hatred still exists in Ames. Apparently some of this virulent disease thrives in Ames. Be careful, it's contagious. What group is next?

Joseph P. Mancuso
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U.S. aid to Israel pays for crimes, by John Hauptman Ames Tribune 03/30/2008
To the Editor:

"There are lies, damned lies, and statistics" wrote Mark Twain, and every statistician knows you can get more-or-less any number you want by a careful selection of samples. This is the case in the discussion of the fraction of all U.S. foreign aid going to Israel, Mayfield (March 12) claiming 30 percent and Eaves-Johnson (March 20) claiming 10 percent.

Recent direct average annual aid-to-Israel is $1.2 billion economic and $1.8 billion military, for $3 billion out of $20.4 billion total U.S. foreign aid, or 14.7 percent. But, Israel also receives about $2 billion in loans, which by implication must be repaid with interest, but these loans never have been repaid and routinely are converted to "grants" thereby becoming direct aid. Adding these loans increases the aid to 24.5 percent. These numbers are from the State Department.

In addition, Israel collects all the funds at the beginning of the year, unlike all other countries receiving U.S. aid, with the consequent benefit of interest, raising total aid to $5.4 billion, or 26.5 percent. Finally, Israel has negotiated that the U.S. is required to supply Israel with all its oil needs, regardless of price or availability, and that the U.S. DoD must buy a certain fraction of Israeli military equipment. These are also aid. I believe the effective total is actually more than 30 percent. In fact, we Americans who pay taxes may never know how much goes to Israel.

As a consequence, Israel is now a major arms exporter, and it was recently found out that Israel has sold sensitive U.S. weapons systems to China in violation of U.S. law.

The core problem is much worse. Israeli historian Ilan Pappe recently published "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" (2007, amazon.com, ISBN 1851684670) based on newly acquired military and political archives in Tel Aviv, including the personal diaries and personal letters of the early Zionists who bragged about the destruction of 530 Palestinian villages.

Relentlessly, from 1947 through the beginning of 1949, Israeli commandos would enter a village at night, bomb a few homes, round up men and boys over 12, execute a few in the public square, take the rest out for summary execution, and tell the women and old men to walk to Lebanon, Jordan or the desert.

The Palestinians call this the "Nakba," or "The Catastrophe." Ben Gurion publicly proclaimed an "existential threat", but privately was worried because the Palestinians put up no resistance, providing no excuse for their massacre. The killing continues even today; the Palestinian dead and wounded in the West Bank number about 100 per week.

These are full-fledged crimes against humanity, and that is why the aid numbers matter: we Americans are paying for these crimes, by the tens of billions over many years.
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03/20/2008

To the Editor

Betsy Mayfield's rhetoric (Shall we abandon hope? 3/12/08) really deserves no response. However, the editors of The Tribune found it fit to print, and so a reply appears to be required.

Mayfield's borderline anti-Semitism should ward people away from her views. If not, they can easily verify, with original sources, that she is willing to use false facts in support of her assertions. Mayfield says, "The United States gives 30 percent of its foreign aid to Israel." Wrong. USAID publishes its statistics at http://qesdb.usaid.gov/gbk/index.html. Israel receives substantial aid - principally out of comparable obligations to Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. But, in the last three years on record, Israel's aid has not exceeded 10 percent of total U.S. foreign aid.

People can criticize Israel without being anti-Semitic. But, if one is going to malign Jews and Israel as aggressively as Mayfield does, she should at least check the facts.

James Eaves-Johnson
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Leader of courage, strength needed
03/19/2008

To the Editor

Betsy Mayfield's anti-Israel diatribe begins with selected "facts" and concludes that if Israel were left to the fate desired by Hamas and Hezbollah, that justice and morality would be served.

Mayfield, apparently, would like to see the "imbalance of deaths" corrected, apparently by increasing the number of deaths on the Israeli side to match or exceed those on the Palestinian side. Of course, that is exactly what would happen if Israel's military and public resolve were less strong, just as would happen in the U.S. if our military and public resolve were less strong in defending us against enemies, past and present.

War is hell. We all recognize and accept that. Peace is certainly preferable.

As to the accusation of Israel being a "religious" state, Israel is no more a religious state than is England, which has the Church of England as its national religion and certainly much less so that Saudi Arabia and some of the other Arab and predominantly Islamic countries. Israel is, in fact, a muti-ethnic democracy with more than 1 million Arab citizens, and a population that originally came from throughout the Middle East, eastern and western Europe, Africa and elsewhere.

Yes, it gives those of Jewish ethnic background (religious or not) the "right of return" to the area of origin of the Jewish people, but that influx from the diaspora included Jews from Arab, Persian (Iranian), Indian, Chinese, African and virtually all European countries.

In considering the source of the conflict that continues there, consideration of the facts, left out of Ms. Mayfield's commentary, requires acknowledging that it was the Arab nations that declared war on Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973 with no peace in between those specific conflicts. Gaza was occupied by Egypt, which did not grant citizenship to that population, and the West Bank was occupied by Jordan in the first of those wars.

And it was only late in the history of more than 50 years of attacks by Arab entities on Israel and the Jewish population of first Ottoman and then British mandate Palestine that a particularly brave Arab statesman, Anwar Sadat said, "enough killing," and agreed to a formal peace settlement with Israel. This was followed by a similar agreement to the formal end of hostilities with Jordan.

Sadat literally gave his life for that settlement, having been murdered by a countryman representing the same radical element of Arab citizenry that cheered in the street at the recent murder of the Israeli students and missile strikes on Israel sent by Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf war.

There will be peace and justice in Israel and Palestine when another leader of the courage and strength of Anwar Sadat arises among the Palestinians who, in a similar manner to Sadat's bravery and vision, says "enough, no more killing" and agrees to a peaceful settlement that will benefit all of the peoples of that troubled region.

Miles Weinberger
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