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Letters to the Editor

Cuddle Positive

I ATTENDED a Cuddle Party in Sebastopol last month and had an incredible experience there. I was disappointed in the recent article you published about these events ("The Rub Club," Cover Story, Feb. 10), since it sounded like the author had made up her mind long before she even attended the event. Maybe it's my age or the location that made the difference, but I found this event to be incredibly nurturing, safe and a wonderful way to fill my tactile reservoir since I am choosing not to date for a while. I urge your readers to check it out for themselves and make up their own minds.

Renee (last name withheld),

Santa Rosa

Meddling in Her Mud

REBECCA THISTLETHWAITE's response to the Santa Cruz Weekly photojournaling her TLC animal slaughter was one which I had a hard time accepting ("Meat Story Got Her Goat," Posts, Feb. 17). Thistlethwaite terms the author's concern for animals as institutionally killed as one of "out-of-touch urbanites participating in meat watching." Wow! I didn't realize there was such a genuine, hay-straw-in-the-mouth rancher gal in our vicinity! Damn them urbanites for meddling in her mud.

But wait, I never read about a true rancher calling the practice of raising slaughter animals so that the "provenance of the animal is as paramount as its sacrifice." What city did that baloney come from? Does Thistlethwaite get delusions that she is the latter-day Moses at Mount Sinai? These are human-generated words, folks, intended to veil the humans from the ugly reality of turning a breathing animal into a limp mass of flesh. It doesn't do a thing for the doomed animal.

News flash: observers, whether urban or not, have full entitlement to empathize with the animals' awareness of their doom.

Theodore F. Meyer,

Santa Cruz

Profoundly Un-Jewish

GIL STEIN ("Cut Israel a Break, Bullhorn, Feb. 24) categorically denies the tremendous power of Israeli propaganda, yet provides ample evidence for the existence of just such a machine.

As he correctly points out, Israel can be lauded for sending teams of rescuers to aid Haiti following the earthquake. Why, though, were the Israelis the only rescuers among a highly diverse international group of emergency responders consistently identified in the press by their national origin?

Stein hails Israel as a haven wherein "Arabs enjoy equal rights of Jews" with the exception of "compulsory military service." In a largely secular, militarized nation, the inability to perform compulsory military service results in second-class citizenship; indeed, the most desirable jobs in Israel are available only to veterans. Arab citizens are grossly underrepresented in the Knesset, and Arab Israelis confront anti-Arab racism on a daily basis.

Stein describes Gaza as "no paradise"—an understatement if ever there was one—but fails to mention the Israeli blockade that has kept the free passage of people, food, medicine, and building supplies from entering Gaza for years, making a life there one of abject desperation (particularly after last year's military siege resulting in the deaths of 1,400 people, of which 300 were children). His assertion that the Palestinians should be grateful for the "higher standard of living" they enjoy under occupation brings to mind the doublespeak that characterizes Holocaust denial.

I deplore the suffering of every Jew—indeed, of every human being—who has ever fallen victim to intolerance. But to use one's past victimization as a justification for the dispossession and ethnocide of another people is more than immoral. It is profoundly un-Jewish.

Megan McNamara,


Form Your Own Opinions

ON ONE POINT we agree with Gil Stein's Bullhorn piece from last week. It is easy to spread lies and half-truths. He writes of an "Arab propaganda machine." As one might imagine, we see instead an Israeli propaganda machine.

However, just reading letters like these shouldn't convince anyone. We encourage you to learn about the issues on the ground in the Middle East. Attend talks sponsored by Mr. Stein's group (their recent talk by Rabbi Cooper got a large turnout) and attend our "Israeli Apartheid Week" events (details at

Apartheid Week brings an impressive array of speakers to Santa Cruz beginning on March 4 with prominent Israeli activist Jeff Halper. Hear directly from people working towards finding a nonviolent solution that includes justice and security for both peoples, ask questions, and form your own opinions.

Sami Abed,

Palestine-Israel Action Committee

'Special Relationship' Destroys Ideals

I JUST came across the excellent op-ed titled "Walk the Talk on 'Tolerance'" (Bullhorn, Feb. 10), describing Rabbi Abraham Cooper, representing the Wiesenthal Center for Tolerance, calling for people to support the building of a "Museum of Tolerance" on top of an old Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem, already desecrated a few decades go when Israel built a parking lot on top of it.

As an American Jew and resident of Santa Cruz for over a decade, I can only be ashamed and saddened. American foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere has already destroyed two perfectly good words, and even the concepts they represent: "democracy" and "freedom." One can no longer utter these words, let alone promote the concepts, without being reminded of the horrendous pain our country has inflicted upon others in their names.

Now, our "special relationship" with Israel is leading us to destroy yet another important concept, tolerance, by promoting a parody of tolerance built on the blatant disregard for the rights of others, who are not only barred from their land when they are alive, but not even allowed to rest their bones in peace.

Empires rise and fall. Unless Americans challenge, and stand up against, these Orwellian distortions of language and consciousness, years from now we may be saying: "Then they came for me, yet nobody was left to speak out."

Claudia Chaufan,

San Francisco


A letter published last week about the light brown apple moth ("People Damage," Posts) contained a potentially misleading typo. The last sentence of the first paragraph should read, "All this is for an insect that, according to CDFA's own report, does no crop damage!" We regret the error.

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