Synagogue shooter does not deserve clemency
Abraham Jacob Bonowitz and other Jewish anti-death penalty activists are sadly misguided in their call for clemency to be extended toward convicted mass murderer Robert Bowers (“Remember the victims but not with more killing’: Protesters object to death penalty for synagogue shooter,” online June 28, this issue Page 1). Bowers, who took the lives of 11 congregants in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue building in 2018, has forfeited any claim to life he might have previously enjoyed, by virtue of the malicious crimes he committed. His offenses not only targeted Americans of Jewish extraction, but the entire national community as a whole.
Offering the shooter any level of mercy desecrates the memories of the precious souls swallowed up in his carnage. We can only pray the court hearing this matter will inflict the most severe penalty upon him!
David L. Blatt
Get on the Peace Train, Summer Lee
I was disappointed (but not surprised) to see that, once again, Rep. Summer Lee has voted against Israel, this time as one of just 13 congressional representatives to vote against bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1268) mandating the Biden administration to appoint a special envoy for the Abraham Accords (“House passes bill to create special envoy for Abraham Accords; Summer Lee votes no,” June 23). The special envoy, housed in the State Department, will be tasked with strengthening the existing normalization agreements with Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, as well as encouraging additional Muslim-majority countries to follow this lead. She was also one of 19 members who opposed a resolution celebrating 75 years of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and most recently, was one of 19 progressive members of Congress who urged the departments of State and Homeland Security to keep Israel from joining a coveted program that would enable its citizens to travel to the United States without a visa.
By combining peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, with existing peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, Israel and the majority of Muslims living in the Middle East now have normalization agreements. As a result, in 2022 alone, around 5,200 tourists entered Israel from the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, Kosovo and Sudan, and approximately 470,700 Israeli tourists visited those same countries. The Abrahamic Family House, an interfaith compound which includes a synagogue, church and mosque, opened in the UAE. Just four months ago, Israel and Morocco signed new economic and trade agreements.
In addition, the Pentagon’s recent decision to relocate Israel to the Area Of Responsibility of the U.S. Military’s Central Command is a direct operational reflection of the Abraham Accords, further solidifying Israel as America’s strongest and most reliable ally.
By voting against HR 1268, Summer Lee is discouraging normalization of the world’s only Jewish state into the fabric of the Middle East. In her short time in office, she consistently demonstrates her antipathy to Israel as a solid voting member in lockstep with the Squad. Summer Lee should get on the peace train and abandon her friends in the Squad. If not, let’s hope she will be unemployed next year.