Senate votes based on doing right thing

The author of the July 23 letter, "Won't any officials stand up to Israel?", expresses disgust that not one member of the U.S. Senate voted against a resolution supporting Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas, which she attributes to the "Israeli lobby."

Consider the facts: Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, begins indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel. It ignores warnings and escalates attacks to the point where millions of Israelis are fleeing to bomb shelters. It builds tunnels for the purpose of attacking and kidnapping civilians and soldiers, and for smuggling in rockets and other weapons. It locates missile launchers and command facilities amid civilians and advises residents not to evacuate after Israeli warnings that their location is to be targeted. And finally, it rejects repeated cease-fire proposals from the international community.

While the civilian casualties in Gaza -- and Israel -- are tragic, deliberately acting to cause the deaths of innocent Gazans is part of Hamas' strategy. That is a war crime.

Gilbert R. Serota

Oakland Board member Anti-Defamation League

Israel must defend itself from attacks

To try to answer those who bash Israel sitting in the comfort of homes not under attack by rockets is probably pointless. But one can try.

What would you do if 80 percent of your country were under rocket attack for years? But then, attacking Jews through the ages has never been considered a crime against humanity.


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The Arabs were offered their own state at least six times since 1937, and they rejected it. Their goal then and now is to destroy Israel, not to live in peace. I was there in 1967 when, because of a defensive war foisted on her, Israel moved into Gaza and the West Bank. Israel offered to give back all in return for true peace, and the Arabs again rejected this offer.

Israel left Gaza in 2005 and got Hamas and rockets. Israel left southern Lebanon and got Hezbollah. What would you expect if they left the West Bank?

Israel gets less money than Arab countries, and 90 percent of this military aid is spent in the U.S. providing jobs. Israel is the only reliable ally in that cesspool known as the Middle East. Israel has the right to defend herself.

Marvin Engel

Piedmont

Wishes of the public ignored by selection

Deaf to the public's wishes, the Oakland school board picked a superintendent who knows nothing about Oakland, knows nothing of the California education system, knows nothing about the Brown Act open meeting law.

But, worse than not knowing anything about complexities of Oakland, or California's education system, the board picked a superintendent trained by the Broad Foundation.

Years of testimony before the school board since the state takeover has established the district's finances had been made worse under the administration of the state's three Broad Foundation-trained, no-excuses state administrators.

Now the board's pick for superintendent is Antwan "no excuses" Wilson, trained in the Broad Foundation reformist agenda. Déjà vu?

Jim Mordecai

Oakland

Death penalty won't deter if it isn't used

A July 27 column about the death penalty mentioned the firing squad. That would be the best method; quick, fast and accurate.

It's been almost 10 years since we executed anyone in California, and the experts say it doesn't deter crime. Of course, it doesn't because they never execute anyone. I'm sure if they executed one or two people a year, it would definitely deter crime.

These experts seems to care more about the bad guy than they do the victims and their families. Come on, California, let's get busy and start getting these death row inmates off death row. It's been way too long.

Cathy Ledbetter

Newark