Letters to the Editor

Registered users may submit a Letter to the Editor after they first log in.

While I appreciate the Alameda Sun's commitment to publishing many points of view, isn't there some way to limit the contributions of Jeffrey R Smith? Honestly, his long, long tirades are repetitive and disheartening. Perhaps he could be limited to three short paragraphs or one letter per month. Something to give subscribers some relief. Thanks, if that is possible, if not I'll just keep avoiding his narrow-minded commentary with a sigh.

Editor’s note: The Alameda Sun limits the letter to the editor section to one letter per person per issue. Other than that, the only other limitation is vulgar or insulting language. We welcome all points of view and are appreciative to Mr. Smith and other readers for their letters and furthering discourse in Alameda.

— Pat Lyons

Jeffrey R Smith, self-described champion of rigor in education, has offered another careless rant about liberals ("Augmenting the defunded police force," Jan. 19; https://alamedasun.com/letters/16545). This time his target is woke liberals who want to defund the police. Some of you might recall his grossly inaccurate screed against the hypocritical liberals on Martha's Vineyard ("Sanctuary city," Sep. 29, 2022).

I suspect that Smith's notions of "defund," "woke," and even "liberal" are conveniently defined to fit square pegs into the round holes of his arguments. A minority of Democrats and Black Americans favor so-called defunding. If Smith did a little research, he'd find that defunding is an unfortunate label for shifting some of the burdens of social work from police officers to social workers and programs. A woke person is anyone who is concerned about racial and social issues.

In October 2020, the Alameda Sun published an article about restructuring police funding (i.e. defunding"). Here's a key line from that article: "About 30 years ago (early 1990's) funding was cut from social programs, and services were shifted to local law enforcement." We could go back a bit further, to the 1970s and 80s, to see other cuts in social programs. Smith won't mention any of that. The same article quotes the Alameda police chief: "The APD welcomes the idea that others handle the initial response to mental health calls, homelessness, and minor code compliance issues."

Smith asks what happened to the defund the police movement that woke Californians demanded. I'll ask what happened to the champion of rigor.

— Steven Mason

Joe Heller’s editorial cartoon in the Dec. 22, 2022, issue of the Alameda Sun, depicting Mary and Joseph at the US border with Mexico, seemed to have served as a launch pad for invectives and a stimulus for the usual anti-Zionist screed.

Perhaps Joe should have issued a trigger alert. Paula Raine sees an apparition of commonality between people at our border, who are “seeking safety, opportunity, and basic human rights” and “the Palestinian people in historic Palestine” outside the borders of Israel (“https://alamedasun.com/letters/16547,” Jan. 19).

When the author argues that “People in both communities know the suffering that comes with countless forms of state violence,” is she identifying the criminal violence of drug cartels, south of the border, as “one of the countless forms of state violence?” Or is she identifying Israeli defensive responses to terrorism as “state violence?”

She argues that US-made weapons are traded with Israel, although the weapon of choice in Israel is the Uzi. The Uzi has been exported to over 90 countries and for nearly its entire service lifetime, has been manufactured by Israel Military Industries.

Israel’s chief defensive weapon is the Iron Dome; an all-weather air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries. The Iron Dome was designed and deployed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells raining in from its neighbors who deny the sovereignty of the democratic state of Israel.

Inexplicably Raine labels Israeli an “apartheid state” that denies human rights for Palestinian citizens, yet the democratic values and conduct, as specified in the Israeli Declaration of Independence, affirms and guarantees full religious freedoms and rights to all Israeli citizens, regardless of who they are or where they came from.

Would Raine venture to guess how many Jews are allowed to live in Gaza, or speculate as to the fate of a Palestinian on the West Bank who sells his or her property to a Jew? Does she know the history of dhimmitude extracted from Jews living in Arab lands? Is she aware of the stipends paid to people who murder Jews? How does the writer reconcile the charge of “apartheid” with Israeli demographics?

The current population of Israel is 9,656,000 and is comprised of 7,106,000 who identify as Jewish (73.6%), 2,037,000 who are Palestinian Arabs (21.1%) and 513,000 are Druze and other denominations. New Jersey comprises 7,354 square miles of land; the State of Israel is slightly larger with 8,630 square miles.

California is 18 times bigger than the nation of Israel, yet Israel welcomed approximately 73,000 new immigrants during 2022. Amongst the wave were 37,364 immigrants arriving from Russia; 14,680 from Ukraine; 3,500 from North America; 2,049 from France; 1,993 from Belarus; 1,498 from Ethiopia (as part of Operation Tzur Israel); 985 from Argentina; 526 from Great Britain; 426 from South Africa; and 356 from Brazil. Is this reflective of an apartheid regime?

To say that the “parallels between today’s Israel/Palestine conflict and the crisis at the US/Mexico border are undeniable” is incongruous with any facts. Such rants are typical of anti-Semites, antizionists and BDSers, rooting for the dissolution of Israel, the only successful democratic state in that part of the world. When was the last time the Palestinian Authority held a presidential election?

One can only imagine, looking at Israel’s neighbors, which country (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Gaza, Libya, Lebanon) would the people eager to dismantle Israel use as a model for reconstructing a replacement state?

What is it about people that compels them to leverage ideations of perfection against winners and success?

— Jeffrey R Smith