Hearing from Jews who criticize Israel
I must congratulate NOW for coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict (NOW, October 19-25). It is rare and important that we hear Jews who have the courage to criticize their own state.
Those Israelis with the courage to speak truth without compromise take their place in a long line of Jews throughout history who have been an inspiration to all people in the struggle for justice, a living testament to a people whose art, science and philosophy will not perish, though their nation just might.
Unless Israelis begin to make substantial concessions to the Palestinians (return of refugees, pullback of settlements), the Jewish population will simply become more and more arrogant in its refusal to understand the anger of an occupied people.
Jews try to survive in a hostile territory
your article about Pro-Palestinian Jews is quite interesting, although it would have been more accurate to describe the Jews in question as pro-peace rather than pro-Palestinian. (At present, Palestinian politics is based primarily upon hatred of Jews, a viewpoint that few Jews can easily adopt.) It's clear that both Jews and Palestinians are to blame for this horrible conflict, and blaming people is not going to solve the problem.
Trouble in the Middle East causes trouble everywhere -- even here in peaceful Toronto there have been a number of unfortunate incidents of vandalism. This festering conflict has poisoned global politics for over half a century. And it could get much worse.
It is simply not strategically viable for Israel to be in its present location. Despite the obvious and overwhelming Jewish historical connection to that region, too many other people there are fundamentally opposed to having a Jewish state in the Middle East and will never stop fighting about it (regardless of any peace accords that may be signed). Personally, I would not choose to live somewhere I am not wanted (if I have any choice about the matter).
Ariel Sharon should be exiled from Israel
I agree with Uri AVNERY'S article Barak Betrayed Peace (NOW, October 19-25). This crisis is not about Israel or the Palestinians.
It is about Ariel Sharon. His visit to the Temple Mount was an attempt to provoke Muslims into rioting. Jewish life in Israel and beyond has become more dangerous thanks to Ariel Sharon. I hope he will be sent into exile.
Palestinians collect trash, Israel holds land
Re Sheldon Gordon's
letter (NOW, October 19-25). The recent "peace process" and "negotiations" were an Israeli attempt to legitimize control of Palestinian lives and resources and annul international laws with the approval of some Palestinian leaders.
Israel figured, why not give the control of the inner towns and crowded Palestinian centres to Palestinians? Let them do the trash and tax collection while we (Israel) continue to control their borders, water and skies and have the right to interfere any time we say we feel "threatened."
This is no peace -- this is capitulation, and the Palestinian people know it.
Keep dunums straight to preserve credibility
"Since 1993, 140,000 dunums (about 59,000 hectares) of land have been confiscated by Israeli settlers in the Occupied Territories" (NOW, October 19-25).
The dunum is defined as 1,000 metres, 10 acres or 1/10 hectare. I believe it derived from a Turkish measure of land that Israel inherited from the Ottoman occupation of most of the Middle East.
The question is, then, how much land has been confiscated by Israeli settlers since 1993 -- 140,000 dunums (14,000 hectares or 1,400 square kilometres) or 59,000 hectares (590,000 dunums or 5,900 square kilometres)?
Quite a difference, don't you think? Please, get your figures straight. It helps your credibility.
Don't blame Islam for legacy of colonialism
I am utterly disgusted
with the letter by Martin Darwish (NOW, October19-25). He highlighted the plight of Muslims throughout the world to counter Bilal Abdullah's suggestion that homosexuality can "inhibit happiness and healthy functioning" (NOW, September 21-27).
It's ludicrous to compare the quality of life enjoyed in Canada to countries in "Africa, Asia and the Middle East." Maybe people there are living in what he calls the dark ages, but that is a direct result of the total upheaval of social and economic stability by barbarian invasions from Europe.
Freedom from colonization by the West is yet to be realized -- these nations are kept subordinate by unjust international trade policies, cruel foreign aid disguises and militant nations desperate to maintain their hegemony. Darwish should re-examine his notion of the dark ages, and his own ethnocentrism.
Will we see PM visit Church Street steps?
Glenn Wheeler's item on Jean Chretien's new-found affection for the gay community (NOW, October 19-25) has a typical throw-out-a-sentence-and-see-if-it-lands-on-its-feet Chretienism: "We're not going to put the whole of Canada back into the closet." Apart from the logistical difficulties, does the genius from Shawinigan really think that everyone in the country is gay? Second Cuppers at Church and Wellesley might welcome such a uniting idea, but they know it's probably just another of the Boss's strangulated thoughts.
We know his heart's in the right place. But would he appear at Gay Pride Day? Luckily for Chretien, the election's in November.
I was on time for work, am I a real native?
ACCORDING TO THE ARTICLE by Drew Hayden Taylor (NOW, October 12-18), there are no real natives left in this world, because every one I know has been late at one time or another. I wonder if they know they are not real natives now? I woke up a real native, but now I am a cultural void because I was five minutes late for work this morning. What am I to do?
Taylor has arrived a little "late" to the 21st century in failing to realize that promotion of racial stereotypes by anybody is not acceptable, and sometimes professionalism can mean more than just being on time.
Don't pick up trashy habits of Toronto Star
Kudos for exposing some of the most trashy coverage of Toronto's recent garbage battles. Your coverage has been so great, I almost hate to mention that you've inadvertently repeated an important factual error in Royson James's recent column about us in the Toronto Star (NOW, October 19-25).
James gave the impression (which you repeated) that the Toronto Environmental Alliance is funded by the city. We are not. We have one project-specific contract with an arm's-length agency of the city, but we receive no direct funding.
James thinks that, as an organization that "receives grants from the city," we shouldn't encourage people to vote for David Miller and against Bill Saundercook in Parkdale-High Park.
He is wrong. Our responsibility is to our membership, our volunteers and the planet, not to the powers that be at City Hall. Given Saundercook's fiendish role in the Adams Mine debacle, our supporters would be disappointed in us if we didn't speak out.
Executive Director Toronto Environmental Alliance
They'll cheat to get Radiohead tickets
Reports of scalpers
getting upwards of $5,000 U.S. for concert tickets (NOW, October 19-25) definitely make good grist for the hype mill, but more deserving of ink is the story of everyday, banal corruption that surrounds an event of this popularity.
I waited outside at the Yonge-and- Bloor Ticketmaster outlet for an hour in a lineup that stretched around the block.
Directly in front of me was a group of six older men and their "leader," a 40-something, smiley-faced guy who would occasionally remind his team of the name of the band and what to ask for when they got inside.
About 20 minutes after tickets went on sale, a heavyweight outfitted in ball cap and cellphone came out to announce the concert was sold out.
As he made his way down through the line, he stopped and said to the men in front of me, "You're OK, though. I got yours. Follow me." I rounded the block behind them just in time to see money change hands.
To buy tickets from scalpers is to endorse a system of unfairness, dishonesty and greed. And no band -- especially one with a reputation for integrity -- should be worth sacrificing yours to see.