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Letters to the Editor

Divestment Not The Answer

IT CONCERNS ME that a number of well-meaning students on college campuses and others are advocating divestment of Israeli securities and imposing trade sanctions with the ill-conceived purpose of forcing peace negotiations between Israel and the Muslim inhabitants of the area. Although thoughtful consideration of these proposals will probably not result in widespread action, I am urging those who are the least bit interested in implementing them to reconsider for the following reasons.

There can be no peace in the Middle East until Israel feels secure. While there is no absolute security for any nation, Israel is surrounded by a large population which includes many who have stated intention to destroy it. It follows that even moderate levels of security are impossible while states with the potential power to accomplish the goal prevail in that intent.

There are numerous citizens of Israel and others, including Muslims, that are urgently working to increase security for Israel and the world, including such organizations as the American Friends Service Committee and J Street. Divestment and trade restrictions would obviously be seen as destructive to Israel's security as they are really a form of war and only increase the tension in the area, and would be counter productive and undermine the efforts of many to increase goodwill and security.

Arthur Frank Adamson, Santa Cruz County

They've Done It Again

OUR RESOURCE CENTER for Nonviolence has done it again ("Finkelstein Returns," Bullhorn, May 12). Through Scott Kennedy, this misnamed institution has probably done more to promote bigotry in Santa Cruz than any other organization. For a second time they have brought terrorist apologist Norman Finkelstein to town. The RCNV's criticism of Israel is really politically correct anti-Semitism. Natan Scharansky, who spent years in a Soviet Gulag because of his religion, has articulated when opposition to Israel is anti-Semitism as opposed to legitimate political criticism. He uses the 3Ds: Deligitimization of Israel, Demonization of Israel and the Double Standard use to judge Israel. The RCNV has hit the trifecta. Kennedy and Finkelstein embody this bigotry. Finkelstein compares the deaths of Arabs who were used by Hamas as human shields to the murder of a over a million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis. Kennedy condemns Hamas for shooting at rockets at Israel, but condemns Israel for fighting back. The RCNV supports groups who advocate boycotts of Israeli scholars and products, not dissimilar to the Nazi tactics in 1930s Germany. Finkelstein has a right to speak here, just as do members of the KKK. It just seems ironic that the RCNV, which says it supports non-violence, promotes someone who supports terrorist groups like Hamas and Hizbollah and opposes those who fight terrorism. On the other hand, it is consistent with the RCNV's policies of bias and prejudice.

Gil Stein, Aptos

Big Oil Has It Coming

AS I WATCHED footage of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico this morning, I felt a tremendous sense of grief and horror. This is only the most recent environmental catastrophe we have caused. I think "Do no harm" is a better bottom line than profit. If we can't clean up a mess, then we have no business creating one. Corporations seem willing to take any risk, anyplace, anytime. But it's suicidal. And Superfund sites reflect the ability of corporations to avoid responsibility. Will BP really pay the full cost of what they've done? The cleanup, the lost revenues, the health impacts? And how do you quantify the damage to fisheries and the environment? Residents and anyone involved in the cleanup are likely to suffer health problems from the oil and fumes for years. Think 9/11 Ground Zero.

I would like to see those who run the companies involved and the agencies charged with regulating them held accountable. And not just with slaps on the wrist or fines they can easily pay and write off. Let's get real. If terrorists caused this kind of damage they'd be facing life imprisonment at least. And this looks like terrorism to me.

Moss Henry, Santa Rosa

Buffaloed By The Rich

READING ABOUT or listening to the Goldman-Sachs executives before the Senate Committee, I remember that the real division in this country isn't conservatives and liberals, or Republicans and Democrats, or even the extreme right or extreme left. The real division is the same one that's been here since the first human who figured out he wanted what another human had: greed. The real division is between the haves and the have-nots, the rich and the poor. And to this we might now add: the used-to-be-rich or the middle class.

After gutting the poor, and convincing the middle class that these were the parasites depleting the system, the rich in recent years have gone after the middle class. And in the process robbed many hardworking people of their livelihoods or retirements, things that they themselves—the rich—enjoy quite brazenly, thank you very much.

Meanwhile the Goldman-Sachs guys look down their noses at working class folks foolish enough to trust them with their hard-earned cash. And then stare back with contempt at the politicians who dare to question them. Not an ounce of humility between them. No regret and, apparently, no regard for the enormous suffering they are responsible for.

In my field we have a term for people like this: sociopaths (i.e., people with no human empathic feeling for others, just an all-consuming regard for oneself).

And what is our punishment for men so adept at robbing others? Give them more money! Big mistake, I think. These guys represent the absolute worst of our society, our species, and the capitalist system. Personally, I'm disappointed they are not being severely punished for their crimes against the middle class. A logical punishment in my view, and one worse than prison, would be that they are forever banned from working in the banking industry, their band accounts seized and they are forced to get real jobs to support themselves and their families. The fairest punishment I can imagine is these white collar thieves working at 7-Eleven or driving a truck or being greeters at Walmart.

Kevin Russell, Sebastopol

Crops Would Rot

JOYCE KELLER'S solution to the illegal immigrant problem ("Another Citizen for Amnesty," Posts, May 12) seemed reasonable. What needs to be corrected is the idea that crops would rot if the illegals could not come in. October 2008 President Bush signed an executive order to allow as many workers from other countries to work on farms as the landowner deemed necessary. This is just one of the more than 20 visa programs allowing entry into the United States. We all need to be aware of the fact that Chualar, a town in the center of California farming country, has 40 percent unemployment.

Elaine Myers, Scotts Valley

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