Letters to the editor


The Thomas affair

Re “Don’t single out Thomas,” Opinion, June 12

It is no surprise that professor Saree Makdisi downplays the offensiveness of Helen Thomas’ remarks; like her, he also refuses to acknowledge that the land of Israel is the rightful homeland of the Jewish people.

The Jewish claim to a home in historic Palestine is not due to the Holocaust but to religious ties rooted in historic fact. Thomas’ attitude that the Jews are European interlopers in the Middle East was also held by the Palestinians in 1948. This destructive and hateful belief led them to refuse to share a tiny part of the Middle East and to start a war that caused their own displacement.

Samuel Goldenberg
Thousand Oaks

Makdisi has used the Helen Thomas affair as a vehicle to make another of his diatribes against Israel. In doing this, he resorts to meaningless generalizations, unproven and out-of-context quotes and subjective interpretations of historically ambiguous events. He again brings up the apartheid canard and the disingenuous “single democratic and secular state for both peoples” Trojan horse.

None of this changes the facts. Makdisi wants to give Thomas “the benefit of the doubt.” Doubt about what? She said that Jews should go back to Germany and Poland. If she had added “back to the ovens,” would it be more clear to Makdisi?

Laszlo Regos
Santa Monica


My praise for Makdisi’s article regarding Thomas’ remark about Israel. It is unfair that the Palestinian people are paying the cost of the Nazi Holocaust, whereas the German people have their own sovereignty and a healthy economy.

Mary Juhl
Los Angeles


I read Makdisi’s Op-Ed with great sadness. He starts off in such a promising manner, saying that a “just and lasting peace in the Middle East fundamentally requires reconciliation between Palestinians and Israeli Jews.” I certainly agree with that.

But he turns bitter. Referring to Israel, he says that “such a state could only have been created in a multicultural land by ethnically cleansing it of as many non-Jews as possible.”

This is hateful. It illustrates why peace is so elusive. Peace will only come when people on both sides are willing to see beyond their prejudices and agree to compromise. Sadly, that time seems to be a long way off.

Spike Kaplansky
Sherman Oaks


In his misguided plea for a single, secular democratic state that would eliminate the Jewish homeland, Makdisi asks, “Are we seriously to accept the idea that some people have more rights than others?”

I would remind him that in Israel, Arabs serve in the Knesset and enjoy the freedom to worship as they please.

Perhaps the professor is suggesting other countries in the region rewrite their constitutions and change their form of government. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, you can practically be prosecuted for BWJ: Breathing While Jewish.

Rich Siegel
Culver City

What’s good for Gaza

Re “Gaza’s plight a crisis with a difference,” June 13

In the truly heart-wrenching story concerning the death in Gaza of the little boy who had been born with a heart blockage, The Times neglected to include an important part of the story.

If Gaza would make a very few concessions to Israel, such stories could be prevented in the future. If Gaza would forswear sending deadly rockets into Israeli neighborhoods, if Gaza would agree to forswear bringing about the annihilation of Israel and its population, there could be uninhibited travel and trade between Gaza and Israel.

And if Gaza’s neighboring wealthy Arab nations would help it financially, instead of smuggling in weapons, the little boy’s unemployed father could be living in a country with a vastly improved economy.

Lou Charloff


Terrorists, including Hamas, have repeatedly said that they love dying more than we love living, and that is why they will win this struggle with Western values. This article only proves their point: They would rather have their people suffer under their rule than have peace with Israel.

The Times’ editorial page has asked when will Israel realize the blockade is not working. The answer is quite simple: As soon as Hamas realizes that terrorism will not work. Then the blockade will end.

Stuart Rubenstein
San DIego

Where are all the voters?

Re “Unrest is not enough to get voters to polls,” June 13

Democratic political veteran Bill Carrick bashes voters and demonstrates why they decline to vote en masse.

Americans are neither stupid nor fools. The reason so many don’t bother going to the voting booths is that they recognize that voting in America is largely an empty ritual with utterly no meaning or significance.

Contrary to their behavior indicating that “they don’t care,” their behavior shows political sophistication. Pols who complain are like kids who cheat at marbles and then blame the other kids when they won’t play with them.

Paul L. DuNard Jr.


I am an election inspector and oversee one precinct in Los Angeles County. We have about 640 registered voters in our precinct, but only 148 voted (including those who voted by mail.)

I hear so many complaints about our government, yet I don’t see people voting. In my 56 years, I have never been so afraid of “change” for this country. I am afraid the wrong kind of change may occur.

I suppose people’s reasons for not voting are that they are “too busy” or that their vote “won’t make a change.”

This is not so. If voters don’t voice their opinions, that wrong change is more likely to come true.

Please get out there and vote. It takes just about 10 to 15 minutes, especially if you fill out your sample ballot and know who and what you are voting for.

J.J. Steiner

A plea to Jerry Brown

Re “Brown compares foe to Nazi,” June 11

When did it become an acceptable practice for Democrats to disparage Republicans by calling, labeling or referring to them as Nazi or Nazi-like?

After hearing candidate Jerry Brown put that label on Meg Whitman and criticize her for (perhaps) wanting to be president, I am reminded how Gov. Jerry Brown would run for president or senator at the drop of a sound bite and abandon the citizens of California to campaign.

Please, Mr. Brown: Not all people in this state have short memories, and your hypocrisy on presidential aspirations is smarmy and condescending at best.

My question to candidate Brown is, how do you govern a state that is ungovernable, and what is a real solution to a ship of state that has already hit the first set of icebergs?

Robert Hows
Dana Point

Speeding up the trains

Re “Fast track for high-speed rail is sought,” June 12

To date, the high-speed rail program hasn’t lifted a shovel of dirt. Now our governor wants to bring a “European-style” high-speed train out to demonstrate on the L.A.-San Diego corridor by November? Could this be so the state won’t miss the deadline to fish or cut bait with the feds’ grant money?

How about an “American-style” train instead? The trains that operate on that line today could make L.A. to San Diego in the article’s proposed 2-hour, 10-minute schedule right now, provided they didn’t make intermediate stops and didn’t have to wait for opposing trains. It seems to me that if a demonstration of feasibility is needed, then use what’s available now and run expresses on the faster schedule.

In a state that can’t seem to pony up a relatively small amount of money to complete improvements that would promise faster trips on the existing corridor, do we honestly think we’ll see high-speed rail in our lifetimes? I (hopefully) have a few decades left to wait and see.

Burt Hermey
Costa Mesa