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Letters week of Septemer 2, 2010

September 2, 2010
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Peace Talks: What Exactly Are We Talking About?

What does the 75-year-old Mahmoud Abbas have to offer Israel? He's afraid to hold elections in the West Bank for fear of losing to Hamas. He lacks the personal courage to recognize Israel's right to exist; even if he did, how long is he going to live? Will his successor abide by agreements he signs? In the Middle East, today's moderates are tomorrow's extremists.

Given the U.S. track record in dealing with Iran and North Korea, Israel cannot rely on such help for its own security. Only when the Palestinians want peace as much as Israelis will the madness stop. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it well on "Larry King Live": "It takes courage to make peace with Israel."

A real leader would change the Palestinian hateful propaganda and culture of martyrdom. A man of courage would recognize Israel's right to exist. Such a man would find Israel a truly eager partner.

Until then, the two-state solution is nothing but kalam fadi ("empty words" in Arabic).

Gadi Naaman
Newtown

Remember, God Does Not Judge; God Simply Loves

How and why do people with control problems believe that they are authorities on God and how people should live their lives (Letters: "Unhappy With Placement of Story 'Ad' on Cover," Aug. 26).

I kind of get it when Christian right groups are so opinionated. Giving up on manipulating how people should live and think would destroy their millenniums of brain-washing and their hold on power. But how and why would any Jewish person, with all of his or her knowledge, possibly believe that God would apply a value system to any of his creations?

One of life's lessons is not to attempt to get someone else to change because they don't fit your beliefs. People should apply that energy to themselves, trying to make themselves more loving and positive so we can feel a sense of fellowship.

The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love, compassion, patience, tolerance and humility. We are all on this journey together, so let's allow each other to live our lives.

And remember, God is part of all of us. God does not judge; He loves all of His creations.

Bob Shuman
Philadelphia

Sestak's Disingenuous When It Comes to CAIR

The Sestak supporter (Letters: "Sestak: He's a Staunch Supporter of Israel," Aug. 26) and Joe Sestak himself are disingenuous concerning the Council for American-Islamic Relations.

CAIR's ties to the Holy Land Foundation and its history as a front for Hamas were well-known and raised red flags in 2007, including from the Anti-Defamation League.

Sestak should have made it a condition of his appearance that CAIR condemn Hamas and Hezbollah, publicly and unequivocally. But in the more than two years since this infamous fundraising dinner, Rep. Sestak has not done so.

As to the flotilla incident, a 30-year vice admiral knows the legality and the military necessity of a defensive blockade.

The Israeli Defense Force does not need lectures from us. It's a phenomenal fighting force with a record of success that is near miraculous.

Sestak's hostile, imbalanced public statement cannot masquerade as "tough love."

Robert R. Guzzardi
Robert B. Sklaroff

Philadelphia

If Evidence Is Needed, Look Who's Behind Sestak

I find it interesting that Republican ex-Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who has a long history of antagonism toward Israel, has endorsed Democrat Joe Sestak for Senate. Some weeks before the endorsement, Congressman Sestak spoke of Hagel as "the guy I most admired in the Senate."

Also, almost all the commentaries say that Hagel -- who is now one of President Barack Obama's key national security advisors since he's become co-chairman of the president's Intelligence Advisory Board -- has for years sought to be Secretary of Defense.

If the Democrats still control the Senate when the present Secretary of Defense Robert Gates retires next spring, Hagel will probably be a leading candidate for the job.

Arthur Rabin
Havertown

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