Letters to the Editor: Israel is backsliding democratically. But it didn’t kill the two-state solution

A banner depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen during a protest against his far-right government
A banner depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen during a protest against his far-right government in Tel Aviv on Jan. 21.
(Tsafrir Abayov / Associated Press)

To the editor: I share columnist Nicholas Goldberg’s despondency over the current Israeli government and its attack on democratic institutions, including the judiciary. I support Israel’s patriotic protesters and the goal of a two-state solution.

However, I vehemently disagree with his blame of Israel for the failure of peace efforts.

Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip in self-defense. In 2000, Israel offered the Palestinians there a state born in peace. The Palestinians rejected it and responded with terrorism, massacring Israelis in schools, buses, discos and pizzerias.

Current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has called the Holocaust a “fantastic lie,” rejected another Israeli peace proposal in 2008. Instead, the Palestinians honor terrorists who murder Israeli children.


Blame for the impasse lies overwhelmingly with the Palestinians.

Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco


To the editor: I share Goldberg’s sorrow over Israel’s failure to live up to the promise of a democratic state existing alongside a Palestinian state, and I resent that the “theocrats” to whom he refers try to claim ownership of Judaism.

Their “Judaism” is a travesty of the religion that I hold dear. The Torah contains many inconsistencies, yet the fundamentalists represent themselves as possessing absolute authority.

But even divine plans change. Iconic heroes like David and Solomon would never pass muster for these gatekeepers. Like fundamentalists of so many religions, these theocrats use a litmus test that is purely an exclusionary ideology that has nothing to do with purity or holiness — or Judaism.

They simply want control. They sacrifice others on the altar of their bigotry and ignore the dignity that is our common, human birthright. That dignity demands a two-state solution and equality for all who live there.


Carl Selkin, Pasadena


To the editor: I never cease to be amazed by the amount of op-ed space The Times devotes to highlighting the flaws in Israel’s leadership, while virtually no editorial space addresses the completely anti-democratic Palestinian Authority, whose citizens have no rights compared to those of Israeli Arabs.

Yes, Israel is far from perfect. What nation isn’t? But anyone relying solely on the editorial pages of The Times would probably view Israel as a pariah nation among all others.

As the Christian Bible says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Bruce Friedman, Los Angeles


To the editor: I agree 100% with Goldberg’s assessment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s destructive policies against a two-state solution.


As an American Jew, I have always seen Israel as a refuge for all Jews because of historical antisemitism. I no longer see it that way.

Benny Wasserman, La Palma