Practicality Should Drive the Peace Process

March 12, 2014

Emphraim Sneh wrote one of the wisest and most hopeful analyses of the Arab-Israeli peace process that I have seen in the New York Times in quite a while (“Lift the Mideast Roadblocks,” Mar. 12).  The politics of the conflict is about settling scores and blaming the other for the impasse, but what Sneh is advocating is more practical.  The crimes of the past are important and relevant, of course, but many of the problems of the present have practical solutions that are worth implementing despite the hard feelings on all sides.  The Arab-Israeli conflict has long ceased to be a conflict between Arabs and Jews.  Over the past few decades, it has morphed into a conflict between those who advance the two-state solution (and its implications) and those who oppose the two-state solution.  When the conflict is conceived in those terms, Arabs and Jews can be (and often are) on the same side.

UPDATE: The Times published my letter!

Climate Change: 15 Years Left

February 24, 2014

Dear Congresswoman Pelosi:

I want to thank you for your efforts in combatting climate change. I fear that our country and China are not taking the problem seriously enough.  A recent New York Times article on the subject found that scientists are saying that “[a]nother 15 years of failure to limit carbon emissions could make the problem virtually impossible to solve with current technologies.” Your efforts at solving the problem are extremely important, indeed, they may be the most important issue you face in Congress right now. I hope you continue to make climate change your top priority.

Thank you.

UPDATE: I received a letter back from Congresswoman Pelosi.  The letter stated that she agrees that energy policy is an important issue and spoke about how many things she has already supported in Congress that is trying to combat climate change and support energy independence.

President Barack Obama’s Rosh Hashanah 2012 greeting

September 13, 2012

[sent to the White House]

Dear President Obama:

I am a Jewish American and I’d like to thank you for your Rosh Hashanah greeting. It was a very gracious gesture. Your message of reconciliation is especially important and echoes some of the most important ideals in the Jewish tradition and in the American tradition. I especially appreciate your continued commitment to “the unbreakable bond” our country shares with the State of Israel.

UPDATE: It took a little less than a month, but Obama wrote me back a boilerplate thank you letter with some reminders about the achievements he made in his first term.

Michael Moore on Israel

November 9, 2011

[sent to MichaelMoore.com]

Dear Mr. Moore:

I have been a fan of your since my high school English teacher played for us a VHS of Roger & Me.  Since then, I have not seen a single film of yours that I did not love.  I have even read a couple of your books and enjoyed them very much.  Even when I disagree with you (which is rare), you are an interesting and entertaining voice.

For this reason, I was disturbed by your comments at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue regarding Israel and the Palestinians.  On that issue, you implied that you were in favor of the unilateral Palestinian movement to get the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state, thus subverting U.S. policy of bringing about a Palestinian state through negotiating a just settlement of the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.  On this point, you not only diverge from U.S. policy, but also from the stated opinions of some Palestinians leaders and left-wing Israeli leaders that moves like this will not bring about peace in the region and will only serve to isolate Israel internationally.

I invite you to rethink your opinions on the Middle East.  I direct you to responsible, left-wing groups such as J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and the American Task Force on Palestine for groups that for you to research, and whose views you may find it useful to endorse.

Thank you.


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