Letters to the editorOpinion


Readers respond to Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle stories

(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

Remembering Kent State and the Krause family
It was with great sadness and reflection that I read your recent article about Laurel and Allison Krause (“Jewish Pittsburgher remembered on 50th anniversary of Kent State shootings,” May 15). An unimaginable tragedy for the Krause family and for America.

Fifty years ago I had just returned from serving as an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam. I can assure you that the National Guardsmen unequivocally violated every rule, regulation and protocol regarding crowd control and should have never had ammunition or fired on unarmed students.

On a more personal note, in the mid-’80s I delivered the Krauses’ mail on Bryn Mawr Road and it would fill me with sadness knowing how heartbroken they were losing Allison.

Thank you for your thought provoking article and may we pray “never again.”

David G. Beistel

Advice to the helpers
In this day and age when we’ve seen a return to racism and anti-Semitism, it is heartwarming to see so many organizations and individuals giving to others. Giving forward is beneficial to the hearts of those who are giving to others, too.

Recently, I came across an expression that I’d like to pass along to those who are giving forward, whether by financial help, phone calls, visits to shut-ins or free food distribution.

I thought this expression was written by Mark Twain but it was one he often quoted and I have not been able to trace the origins of the author. The expression is this: “Do not judge my story by the chapter you walked in on.”

Please, please think about this as you help people. Their lives were not always like they are now and you may lighten their mental load by asking about their past.

Shirley Holtzman Schwartz
Squirrel Hill

Annexation of the West Bank is not in Israel’s best interest
Regarding Jonathan Tobin’s column of May 22, 2020 (“Is the Jewish state asking for trouble by annexing settlements?”) and Stuart Pavilak’s letter of May 29, 2020 (“Sovereignty not annexation”), Tobin and Pavilak argue that Israel should proceed with annexing parts of the West Bank following the Trump peace plan announced earlier this year. Arguments are presented for why Israel has a right to the land, why this does not damage prospects for peace, and that the settlements should be considered accepted facts on the ground. Both writers are persuaded that annexation is morally acceptable and is best done now when the Trump administration supports annexation.

But what is best for Israel? Rather than discuss what is defensible or feasible, is annexation good for Israel? Will Israel be better off annexing the parts of the West Bank in the Trump plan? Here is the best informed answer: “Any unilateral annexation of territory or extension of sovereignty to the West Bank will put Israel’s security and safety along with the well-being of its citizens at risk.’’ Those are the unequivocal views of 25 retired military leaders from Israel, including heads of Mossad, Shin Bet, national security advisors and commanders of the Israel Defense Forces from an Aug. 27, 2019, letter to our House of Representatives. I will take their views over those of the letter writers or Jared Kushner.

Annexation is most likely to lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, increased insecurity for Israel in controlling the West Bank and reduced prospects (however dim they are now) of peace and a negotiated two-state solution. Annexation does not change the life of the settlers or the facts on the ground; their lives will remain the same. There are almost no national security officials who can speak freely who support annexation. You will not be able to find them. That tells me annexation is not in Israel’s best interest. Hence, it is not in the United States’ best interest.

Mark Fichman

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