Friday, February 5, 2010

Letters to the Woodstock Times


Last week's letter entitled 'Anti-Zionist is Anti-Semitic', biblical references and all, was full of mistakes, half-truths and just entirely wrong statements. Normally I wouldn't bother responding but I hate to let such blatant nonsense stand uncontested, especially when it concerns myself and my friends.

First of all, the extensively quoted "Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend" by Martin Luther King Jr. which supposedly appeared in the Saturday Review of 8/67 on page 76 is a complete hoax. There was no such letter that appeared in the Saturday Review or in any other place except for a book written by a one Rabbi Shneier called Shared Dreams who also referenced the same Saturday Review where the supposed letter never appeared. Any check on the web will reveal the letter to be a hoax.

Be that as it may, even if the King letter were real, I would disagree with its conclusions. There are and have been millions of Jews throughout the world, not just here in Woodstock, who have vigorously opposed the Zionist idea of a "Jewish State" with special rights and privileges for Jews and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians - who according to Ben and Batya AmHaAretz - are part of "2000 years of foreign occupation." Hello? You mean because the God of Abraham gave that land to the Jews forever? Please. Get real.

Even the Zionist's own hero, Moshe Dayan once said, "What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred to us? For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived."

Are all anti-Zionist Jews anti-Semetic or self-hating Jews as I have been called by Warren Boroson, whose inane, (if not insane) conclusions are also quoted by the AmHaAretz's?

Millions of Jews who do not accept Zionism, self-haters or anti-semites? Nonsense.

Speaking of the misguided and misinformed Boroson, according to him, "there is no Israeli blockade of food, medical supplies, water, electricity, gas."Are you serious? I suppose the 400 children killed in the invasion in December 2008 were an invention also. I have seen footage of Palestinian infants with bullet holes in their chests.

Had King been alive today, he would side with Nelson Mandela who said, "we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians," and "The so-called 'Palestinian autonomous areas' are bantustans. These are restricted entities within the power structure of the Israeli apartheid system."

King would have unquestionably also agreed with Desmond Tutu, "Yesterday's South African township dwellers can tell you about today's life in the Occupied Territories... More than an emergency is needed to get to a hospital; less than a crime earns a trip to jail... If apartheid ended, so can the occupation."

I was there in Cairo with the Gaza Freedom March - I wonder where Ben and Batya AmHaAretz got this information that we "began pelting the Egyptian Army with rocks" and several of us were arrested? Because that is also nonsense - it never happened. As a group we were committed to nonviolent civil resistance and we stuck to that. The Egyptian police made no arrests of Gaza Freedom Marchers.

Viva Palestina, the 200 truck humanitarian aid convoy that went into Gaza after we had left did suffer some serious violence at the hands of the Egyptian border police with 55 members of Viva Palestina beaten and injured before the trucks were allowed in.

To read a more accurate report of what did happen and to learn about the historical background of Gaza, Woodstock International recently published a special edition Gaza, 20 pages of well written and accurate articles and pictures. You can see it on line at or E-mail me at and I'll be happy to send you a hard copy of the paper. For first hand accounts of what the Hudson Valley contingent went through in Cairo, go to

Tarak Kauff


I deeply abhor the slander to good people aware of the suffering of others who work, give, and suffer hardships to help. Attacking viciously with name calling is the weapon of those of bad faith. Reading this in last week's Times really made my Jewish blood, whatever that is, boil. The people who gave their time and lives for our people during Nazism, Sophie Scholl, the guillotine, Bonhoeffer, the noose, Marlene Dietrich ostracized and spit at on return to Germany, our departed and beloved neighbor Jotje Vos, from Amsterdam, whose housed 23 Jews in her small house and had to deal with her own cramped family, and Samuel Beckett, bicycling around France with resistance messages - these people had hearts in their body, along with brains. While the number of these people were proportionately miniscule among the brain washed anti-Semite mobs and finks of Europe, they attested to the truth. This is not so in the case of the Port Ewen, Ben and Batya, who dare to call my friends anti-Semites, just as they would have spat at Marlene Dietrich had they happened to have been born German. 

I myself do not do roulette. And I make it a point not to present my credentials or prove anything about myself so, like the Jewish whore burned in the Spanish Inquisition who refused to have her neck "mercifully" broken by kissing the cross and from the flames called out "Shmah Israel, Adonoi Eloheinu!" (See film Santo Officio by Arturo Ripstein) I will not state my faith, nor the ways I believe in its true values of solidarity with the downtrodden which in the course of thousands of years our religion evolved to and calls for, nor will I describe how my grandmother, Esther, had a sad face, apparently thinking of the letters that stopped coming from Lithuania, during WWII, a face I mistakenly thought was that of all grandmothers. 
The fact of the matter is that the people in Gaza are hungry and starving. They are mostly under 16 years of age. Gaza is blockaded in a way called War of Attrition, a situation the food and medicines carried by our slandered neighbors attempted to alleviate in a small way. As we are told, to "To save one life is to save the world." If people, like myself, are disgusted by the lies of B & B and past writers to the Times who may believe they have the truth, I suggest to the latter that: They pray for enlightenment; Stop flag worship and remember God; cease from violating the commandment Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness, in their attempt to besmirch the names of those who would feed the hungry as our prophets exhorted; and, finally, that they and we all kindly remember, "empty barrels make the most noise."

Roberta Gould
West Hurley


Dear Batya and Ben AmHaAretz, you are artists and in your art, I realize you apply the concept of "hidur mitzvah," which is the beautification of the commandments...a directive to make commandments and their fulfillment beautiful while doing good. It is a beautiful creation and expression of doing good deeds, when applied by open, informed and non-bigoted individuals. I saw your art and it is indeed beautiful.
The comments in your letter, however, are offensive and hypocritical; as a citizen, as a peace activist, as an artist and as one having Jewish roots I am offended at your comments for the hate they foment and the intellectual hypocrisy they display towards people who dissent and actively voice their criticisms of corrupt governments and murderers.

Before invoking solemn scriptures and in keeping with your sacred artistic genre/spirit, may I suggest you conduct a simple, objective (or as least subjective) examination of how the Israeli government observes and beautifies the "commandments," among which: You shall not steal (as in land from Palestina...); you shall not murder (Palestinian Women Children and civilians...); you shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor (land, water, olive groves...).

Furthermore as fervent and faithful people, Batya and Ben, you perhaps also forget that The Torah (Vayikra 23:40) refers to the etrog as a p'ri eitz hadar, the beautiful fruit of the tree of life; interpretations aside, for the Palestinians that tree, that fruit, is (was...!) the olive; In Palestine, the olive tree is prized for its historical presence, its beauty, its symbolic significance, and most importantly for its economic significance; how many of those holy, life enhancing fruit trees have been destroyed by the Israeli occupation?

Since you are so intent on Scriptural reference, I would also remind you to revisit another commandment: You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God. You did!

And please, do not ever make wrongful use of the name of true patriots who have the courage to criticize! Criticism of corruption and murder is not terrorism! It is a mitzvah towards all people of good will and the oppressed!

Maurizio Morselli
New York, NY

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