Letters to the Editor: We fund Israel’s weapons, so don’t ask Americans not to take sides

A woman holds a flag out a car window while another woman on the roadway waves another flag.
A motorist holding a Palestinian flag interacts with a pro-Israel demonstrator during a protest in Westwood on May 16.
(Ringo Chiu / Associated Press)

To the editor: Rob Eshman criticizes comedian John Oliver for the observation that Palestinian suffering outweighs Israeli suffering, and recommends that outsiders stay out of the debates.

It seems like sensible advice, unless one considers that the land grab that started the recent events was endorsed by the last U.S. president, and the weapons used against Gaza are paid for by U.S. taxpayers and made in the USA.

Maybe we “outsiders” ought to be more engaged in Israeli wars, not less.


Michael Provence, San Diego

The writer is a professor of modern Middle Eastern history at UC San Diego.


To the editor: Eshman is exactly right that Americans need to find a way to focus on the “voices of reconciliation on both sides” instead of spending yet more time, treasure and talent on the conflict that has again erupted between Israel and the Palestinians.

I have a dear friend in America with three grandchildren in the Israel Defense Forces. She prays for their safety every day. I also have a grand-niece who decided to spend a year before college in Israel. Her parents, my sister and our entire family pray for her safety every day.

Sadly, at this point, far too many are already not coming home, and offering up prayers for their surviving loved ones is the best we can do.

Joan Walston, Santa Monica



To the editor: I appreciate Eshman’s point of view and agree that we must support organizations that fight for the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians and hold both sides accountable for their actions, good and bad.

I accept his challenge but suggest that we take it to the next level.

America currently supports Israel to the tune of $3.8 billion each year. Let’s take $800 million and directly support these groups that are working across the divide. Let’s take another $500 million and directly support economic development in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

This would still leave $2.5 billion in aid to the Israeli government. What would Eshman say to this?

Tim Bowler, Santa Monica