Letters to the editor

Middle East

Singling out Jews is anti-Semitism

When one people is singled out as too powerful for their numbers, well, that’s just prejudice. When that people so singled out are Jews, that’s anti-Semitic.

When one people is characterized as being rich or greedy or clever and those traits are assumed to apply to every member of that group, that’s prejudice. When those people happen to be Jews, that’s anti-Semitic.

When someone spray-paints symbols of death and racial hatred on Vashon High School, as they did at least twice in the last few years, that’s bigotry. When they paint a Swastika, that’s homophobic, anti-gypsy and “anti-anything but white.” It’s also anti-Semitic.

When one country is singled out for constant censure and held to a standard no other country is held to, that’s prejudice. When that country is Israel, it’s anti-Semitism.

When folks criticize Israel for its many questionable policies, that is dissension, discussion and free speech. There is nothing wrong with that; indeed, challenging governments is our duty as world citizens. However, when folks supposedly about peace criticize Israel virulently and repeatedly while never or seldom mentioning the half a million people murdered in Rwanda, the strangling of dissent by intellectuals through murder and prosecution in Islamic countries, the torture and oppression of women through most of the Middle East and North Africa, the still unresolved theft of Holocaust victims’ property by Swiss insurance companies, Chinese annihilation of Tibetan culture, the disenfranchisement of Jews from nearly every Arab country, the two million Christians and Animists killed in the Sudan and the distinct possibility that many of us Islanders now hold title to land once belonging to loyal Japanese citizens forced to sell by circumstances imposed on them by their own government — well, that would be, quite simply, anti-Semitism.

Incidentally, did you know that some Jews on Vashon feared naming our community building anything in Hebrew because they thought it best to keep a low profile? Crazy, huh? Yet, as our economy enters a potentially terrible time, I remember who historically gets blamed for such things, and I now see their point.

Gene Lipitz

Let’s keep exploring peace

Regarding the Palestinian refugee situation, I wrote two commentaries, one in 2006 and one in 2007, that address some of the issues that were raised in the column in last week’s Beachcomber from two Islanders who identified themselves as being interested in peace in the Middle East. The Islanders who wrote this letter said that we shouldn’t oversimplify the issue. I agree with that.

I would like to offer readers links to my two commentaries so they might read some of my thoughts as background information if an honest discussion in this paper or in this community will now be attempted. Here are the links: http://www.gpln.com/israel.htm and http://www.gpln.com/bushjewsisrael.htm.

My views, I must admit, are not widely held or discussed in public by either side, and that, in and of itself, might be of some help to those who are interested in peace in the Middle East.

Mark A. Goldman

Water quality

Quartermaster Harbor stinks

Re: The water quality of Quartermaster Harbor. It stinks. I have been writing these letters, handing out fliers and talking to everyone who has a home near the beach that I can find for five years now. No one gets it. The water is still full of crap, and it shows up as fecal coliform bacteria which poisons the beach, shellfish and us. We still can’t eat the shellfish because it’s full of this sewage, and the culprits are still dumping their sewage in the bay and either lying about it or hiding it — or they just don’t give a damn.

Even worse, the sewage feeds the bad PSP algae, or red tide, and that can kill us. You would think that in five years at least some of the culprits would get a clue and clean up their act. But no, the harbor is just as full of sewage as it was when I started.

The big stink going on over Glacier and another big stink over the green muscle at Dockton haven’t polluted the water nearly as much as residential sewage, but they are getting all the attention. I spoke to the Seattle-King County Health Department and they still can’t do anything about failing septic tanks or raw sewage plopping right in the harbor because they have to be invited to check out a septic system. Well, no one is concerned enough about their sewage going in the harbor to do anything. They know it will cost them money to clean up their act, and that of course is out of the question unless they are forced to do it.

This has gone on long enough. The Health Department already knows where the sewage is coming from; they just need to be able to check out the properties so they can put a stop to it. If not, the shellfish will continue to be unfit for human consumption. This is more important than Glacier or a green mussel. It’s our health.

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