To the Editor:
Lewis Brackett refers to the “inconvenient truths” that Palestinian Arabs were immigrants, and that Palestine was a desert until Zionists fixed it up. Actually, only extremely uninformed people still consider these hoary myths to be “truth.”
The “Palestinians were immigrants” canard has been demolished by Norman Finkelstein, Bill Farrell, Albert Hourani, and others. A number of people, such as Howard Sachar and Yehoshua Porath, have put immigrants at a twelfth of Palestine’s population in 1948. What does Brackett make of recent DNA testing, reported by Haaretz, that indicates half of Palestinians have roots going back to the Canaanites?
The desert business is a partial truth. In 1947 the United Nations Special Commission on Palestine reported that half the country was desert. They also stated that Arab agriculture had made considerable strides. According to Don Peretz, in the area that became Israel there were 30,000 acres of Arab-owned citrus groves, and 90 percent of the olive groves were Arab-owned.
Since Brackett cites Mark Twain, we should perhaps recall Twain’s remark about how fast a lie travels.
“Satan and His Minions”
Regarding Lewis Brackett’s letter in the December 29th issue, I hope I’m not getting too personal here, but as soon as anyone starts talking about “Satan and his minions,” I know I’m dealing with a religious zealot. Synonyms for zealot include fanatic, extremist, radical, diehard, bigot, sectarian, maniac, and nut. Indeed, the original zealots were a group of Jews who imagined they could topple the Roman Empire and set up a world Jewish theocracy.
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
There Are None So Blind…
In a recent visit to New Hampshire, presidential candidate Nikki Haley did not mention slavery as a cause of the Civil War.when asked by a local citizen. She cited other reasons such as “states rights,” the federal government, etc. Of course these were factors, but the overriding issue was the fear that the federal government would abolish slavery. States rights was a code word for the south’s desire to maintain slavery and even expand it to new states joining the union. In fact, South Carolina, the first state to secede and Haley’s own state, stated in its declaration of secession that “an increasing hostility on the part of non-slaveholding states to the institution of slavery,” was a major factor cited for secession. It is also noted that every state that seceded listed slavery in their declaration of secession. To ignore, deny, forget or otherwise try to diminish the role of slavery as a cause of the Civil War is an insult to those who died fighting to end this abomination, including over 4,000 N.H. Union soldiers.
Unfortunately, the denial or rewriting of uncomfortable history, banning books, punishing teachers, disenfranchising voters, taking away women’s rights, demonizing LGBT people, immigrants and others has become the unwritten platform of the Republican Party. And candidates like Nikki Haley are either too cowardly to speak the truth, or they have bought into this Trumpian/DeSantis version of historical reality. This is especially hypocritical coming from someone like Haley. A child born to immigrants who were not citizens when she was born here, yet she became a citizen at birth, something her party wants to deny other children born to immigrants. A child whose father, an immigrant from India, was denied employment by two South Carolina Universities because of his dark skin, but was hired by a historically black university in South Carolina. Did Ms. Haley forgot this history as well?
America needs leaders who do not try to erase or minimize our historical mistakes, but acknowledge them and try to make sure those mistakes are never repeated and that the pain and suffering they caused is never diminished. Ms. Haley’s refusal to acknowledge important history that still impacts our nation demonstrates her lack of the necessary integrity, character and courage for the position she seeks.
Do Nation-States Even Have Rights?
I really appreciate your thoughtful reporting on the genocide in Gaza. I was surprised reading the following line in W.D. Ehrhart’s recent piece, Let’s Get Real: “The simple fact is that the state of Israel exists, has now a right to exist, and isn’t going to stop existing. Israel is a fact.” Nope. People have rights. But no nation-state has a right to exist. Nation-states are power systems established by violence. A nation-state has no rights according to international law. It has never been custom to attribute nonexistent rights to a state, apart from the case of Israel where this seems to be a media talking point used to hush up those who say, “Hey wait, maybe Palestinians have rights, too?”
I also take issue with the idea that any nation-state is here to stay forever—they’re often militant and expansionist resulting in shifting boundaries and labels, and things sure have changed over the years—heck, remember Empires? It seems clearer than ever that displacing an entire population of people and taking away their rights in order to create an ethnostate doesn’t work, and can’t exist perfectly in perpetuity.
Let’s not ascribe nonexistent rights to nation-states—especially one commiting a genocide and charting a course toward ethnic cleansing while the U.S. supplies its state-of-the-art killing machines and most of the world watches in horror. Here’s hoping for a ceasefire.
P.S. I haven’t seen my favorite “War is Theft” ads in a while, I hope they haven’t been hijacked.
Thanks for this truly eye-opening take on the matter.
Our “War is Theft” advertiser is alive, well, and at liberty, we’re happy to say—just temporarily deploying assets elsewhere. Care to pitch in? Could probably be arranged….
Ewing Attempts a Come-Back
To the Editor:
Is public education’s main purpose to provide jobs or to prepare children for productive futures?
[Approximately 250 pedantic and misleading words deleted. – The Ed.]
The [Education Freedom Account] program should expand until all N.H. students are provided a quality education in public or alternate schools.
Nice try, but no. Your “alternate schools” are an attempt to hijack public funds, indoctrinate children, and undermine the union movement. We’re not having any of that.
Spain’s Judges Do Not Want To Be Investigated For Their Actions Against Catalan Independence
To the Editor:
From the outside, it is usually said that Catalonia and Spain should negotiate to find a way to continue together. But from Catalonia we have tried many times, since Spain subjugated Catalonia by force in 1714, and we have come to the conviction that there is no possible understanding and that the only solution is for everyone to go their own way. After General Franco’s 40 years of dictatorship, the international situation forced a transition to a system that is democratic as long as the unity of Spain is not questioned. And that has been translated through the alternation of two parties in government: the Popular Party founded by seven former Franco ministers and the PSOE, a social democratic party but as nationalist as the PP. In 2004, Catalonia made a last attempt with a new Statute to find a way to recognise Catalonia as a nation within the Spanish state, but the PP, the PSOE and the Constitutional Court cut back the Statute until it became clear that Spain does not want to favour plurinationality or recognise Catalonia, but that its nationalism seeks the opposite path: to dilute Catalonia in order to homogenise Spain.
That is why, in 2010, a powerful movement for the independence of Catalonia arose, which has organised the largest demonstrations in Europe, year after year, until today, and in the absence of dialogue, a referendum was even self-organised in 2017. The reaction, both from the PP government, and later from the PSOE government, has been repression with a combined action by judges, the police, the secret services, the State sewers and the entire political and media network. Very serious things have been done against Catalonia and we hope that they will now come to light and will not be discredited as in the past.
And this could become possible because there has been a big change due to the election result last July. The PP won, but did not have a majority to form a government with the extreme right, so its adversary, the PSOE, could form a government if it received the support of the other parties. Then, the pro-independence supporters of Junts, Carles Puigdemont’s party, demanded an amnesty for those persecuted by the justice system and negotiations in Geneva, with an international mediator, to address the right to self-determination. Pedro Sánchez’s great lust for power has led the PSOE to accept conditions that are diametrically opposed to what it had defended until now.
Puigdemont had also set another “small” condition: to create three parliamentary commissions to investigate Operation Catalonia (a clandestine operation by the secret services, police and judges to destroy the Catalan independence movement by inventing false evidence, accusing corruption, bribery…), another commission on the jihadist attacks in Barcelona in 2017 (he wants to investigate how the Spanish police had the head of the jihadist group on their payroll? ), another commission on the jihadist attacks in Barcelona in 2017 (how come the Spanish police had the head of the jihadist group on their payroll? Why didn’t they prevent the attack if they were spying on the terrorists’ phones? And why didn’t they warn the Catalan police?) and another commission on illegal spying with the Israeli software Pegasus (the Canadian university centre Citizen Lab discovered that at least 67 phones of pro-independence politicians, activists and lawyers had been spied on with this illegal software).
In order to justify these commissions of enquiry, the PSOE has had to admit that there has been “lawfare” (dirty war using the justice system to destroy political opponents) against Catalan independence, something it had denied until now. And this has set off alarm bells within the right-wing parties and the judiciary, because until now the pro-independence movement denounced these lawfare practices, but in Spain it was said that they were lies and the pro-independence movement was criminalised by inventing stories that were disseminated with great media power. That is why Spanish citizens are reacting with astonishment, disbelief and anger at the fact that they are making a pact with those they had been told were coup plotters and terrorists.
The PSOE has recognized the “lawfare,” because it wants the support of the independence movement, but it would not have done so if it were not true, and the General Council of the Judiciary, the judges of the Supreme Court and the corporate bodies of the judges have come out in a whirlwind to criticize the fact that they want to investigate them and that they are summoned to testify in parliament. And they have even asked for the disqualification and conviction of the deputy Míriam Nogueras who, in the Spanish Congress, pointed out the magistrates, according to her, most involved in the “lawfare”: Carlos Lesmes, Manuel Marchena, Pablo Llarena and Carmen Lamela. Until now they had had impunity to do and undo in everything that went against Catalan independence, but now they feel that this impunity could end and they are exposed. They believed that, because they are judges, they could not be prosecuted and they refuse to be held accountable.
We do not know how far Pedro Sanchez will go because of his need for pro-independence votes, but at last there is a juncture that makes the truth of what has happened in Spain emerge. Europe should be attentive and not succumb to the temptation to cover it up or justify it to help an EU member, on the contrary it should help to clarify the truth and press for Catalonia to be able to exercise the right to self-determination that it deserves. The truth and a straight and democratic action will also help Europe.
Jordi Oriola Folch
On receiving your lengthy dispatches we ask ourselves, “How can we shorten this?” Then we read, realize that a fascinating and complex topic has just been made wonderfully clear, and publish them as they come. Granted, you write as a Catalan, not an objective observer. However, your account is sufficiently detailed for any reader to discover other perspectives. Thank you.
Let Them In—We Need Them
To the Editor:
In the first week of December, I called the garage I always use for my state inspection. Instead of being given a date two to four days away I was told the first opening was January 3rd. The next Friday my boiler failed leaving me with no hot water for bathing. I went to Planet Fitness to get a monthly membership to use their showers only to find they were closed on the weekends because they did not have the staff. These are just two symptoms of America’s labor shortage.
America lost 1.1 million people to Covid. People close to retirement decided to leave the workforce early rather than risk their lives serving others who refused to wear masks or get vaccinated. This country has shortages of teachers, bus drivers, nurses, doctors, nursing home and day care workers, truck drivers and many other professions.
Businesses have responded by raising workers’ pay by 20 and 30 percent and more for those at the bottom of the pay scale. Still, they cannot find enough workers. One reason is that workers can now earn the same amount working 40 hours at $15/hour as they did working 60 hours at $10/hour. Thus, they are less willing to work two or three jobs at low pay.
The GOP’s response to this labor shortage has been to chant “build a wall” and stop asylum seekers from coming into this country. It is amazing that those who scream the loudest about inflation also scream the loudest about stopping immigrants from coming here.
The time has come to admit America needs the people coming to our border and invite them in.
Republicans stopped caring long ago about the nation’s real needs. All they care about is their own power.
Trump, the Hitler-Cribbing Loser
It should be obvious to every responsible journalist that anything the Loser of the 2020 election says ought to be fact checked. The number of Trump’s documented lies while President exceeds 30,000. By printing the AP story (“Trump Claims Ignorance About Hitler Comparisons”) without doubting Trump’s word, the editors lend credence to his claim of ignorance.
While Trump is undoubtedly ignorant about many things a President ought to know, Hitler’s speeches would not be on that list. Vanity Fair magazine reported in September, 1990 that ex-wife Ivana Trump told her lawyer that Donald “reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed.”
Trump certainly knows he lifted Hitler’s vile language into his recent campaign speeches. He was following the example of a master propagandist and genocidal ogre.
Editors who republish AP stories, need to fact check that source as well.
The draft-dodging traitor hides his fascism in plain sight, and his minions eat it up.
Write In Joe Biden
January 23, 2024 is an important date! It is the New Hampshire primary! On this day we will decide the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. I urge everyone to make time to vote and Write In Joe Biden for president.
North Hampton, N.H.
Israel Has Much to Answer For
To the Editor:
To readers that defend Israel’s massive, ongoing bombardment of Gaza and believe Israel is a peace-seeker to rabid Palestinian intransigence:
A reality check. In 1947 Britain was ending its control of Palestine. What followed, according to the UN Charter, should have been Palestinians voting to form their own state. Instead, powerful U.N. members acceded to the Zionist movement and gave half of Palestine over to Jewish control (Jews were a minority and many were recent European immigrants). This decision ripped apart the bonds of Palestinian society as Jewish identity was privileged over Palestinian identity.
The new state, Israel, quickly established a Jewish majority through expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians. Look up Plan Dalet, Benny Morris, and Deir Yassin. This is the foundational dispossession that fuels the Palestine/Israel conflict. Many of the expelled Palestinians were forced into Gaza and were never allowed to return.
Within Israel, complex, discriminatory laws keep indigenous non-Jews as second-class citizens. See Israel’s Adalah Project and the 2018 Nation-State law.
Far from offering peace, Israel’s ever-expanding settlements in the West Bank are pure aggression, displacing and dispossessing more Palestinians. These settlements are illegal under international law.
Israel clearly states its intent to erase Palestine from the map. Prime Minister Netanyahu stated in 2015 that no Palestinian state would be allowed under his administration. His party’s founding platform stated “…between the Sea and the Jordan [River] there will only be Israeli sovereignty.” Sound familiar? How can anyone claim that Israel wants to make peace with Palestinians?
As Israel kills over 21,000 Palestinians and buries children in the rubble of their homes, who is threatened with annihilation? As Israel pummels Gaza, destroying homes, churches, mosques and schools, who is threatened with extinction?
I condemn Hamas for committing atrocities but Israel has much to answer for.
U.S. Army veteran
Democrats’ Ulterior Motive?
It’s time that clueless young Democrats get a history lesson.
Democrat Presidents have been responsible for the great preponderance of the foreign carnage America has bestowed upon the world since the beginning of our republic.
Democrat warmongers have included James Polk (Mexican War), Woodrow Wilson (World War I), Franklin Roosevelt (World War II), Harry Truman (Korean War), John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson (Vietnam War), Bill Clinton (Bosnia and Yugoslavia) and now Joe Biden (Ukraine and Gaza).
Republican warmongers include William McKinley (Spanish-American War), and the two Bushes who gave us the Afghanistan, Gulf and Iraqi wars.
Anyone venture a guess why Democrats are such voracious warmongers and Republicans are less so?
Here’s your answer. Republicans busy themselves with monopolizing private enterprise. Democrats work hard to monopolize the public sector. Foreign wars historically provide the fastest way to permanently grow the federal government and enable Democrats to take over state and local health, education, criminal justice, and welfare programs.
War takes away self-determination everywhere.
Woods Cross, Utah
Considering the Democrats’ apparent failure to perceive, much less defend, themselves and the nation against the Republicans’ Long March to capture the Judicial Branch, we are flabbergasted that you credit them with so much agency.
Where is Republican Honor?
I recently finished reading Liz Cheney’s book Oath and Honor. Liz Cheney represented Wyoming in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2017 to 2023. She held the third-ranking position in House Republican leadership from 2019 to 2021 and served our nation honorably in other vital capacities, not the least of which, as vice chair of the Select Committee (at then Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request) to investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol. For accepting what she considered an honor and her duty, she sacrificed her seat in Congress and has been receiving death threats ever since.
It’s a well-written book, encompasses 368 pages and contains quite a bit of American history, much of which Cheney’s family seems to have made a significant contribution to. It’s a hard book to put down once you start.
I was reminded that Thomas Jefferson was the first president to take the oath of office in Washington, DC, March 4th, 1801. Four years earlier, President George Washington had handed power to President John Adams (both Federalists) but this was the first time the presidency had passed from one party to another. Those who observed that occurrence well understood how miraculous it was for power to change hands absent the “confusion, villainy, and bloodshed” that usually accompanied transfers of power.
Some of us recall such peaceful transfers; Truman to Eisenhower, Eisenhower to Kennedy, Johnson to Nixon, Ford to Carter. President Ford had lost his voice so his concession was read to President Carter over the phone by Ford’s Chief of Staff, Dick Cheney (Liz Cheney’s father). The concession read: “As one who had been honored to serve the people of this great land—both in Congress and as President—I believe that we must now put the divisions of the campaign behind us and unite the country once again in a common pursuit of peace and prosperity. May God bless you and your family as you undertake your new responsibilities.”
As Liz Cheney reminds us, from George Washington in 1801 until January 2021 (220 years) every American president had fulfilled his solemn obligation to safeguard the peaceful transfer of power.
Donald Trump changed all that and practically the entire Republican Party, who by their active participation or by their silence, and with unconscionable indifference, helped and allowed him to do it and thus far, be held unaccountable. Do we, who live in Western North Carolina, hear any voices in the Republican Party rise to condemn the former president for his behavior or speech? At the town, county, state or federal level, do we hear one word of condemnation from the party responsible? No, not a peep.
In a just world, a man who mobilized a violent assault on his own Capitol, attempting to overturn an election he knew he’d lost, would have no political future in a free society.
We believed (erroneously, it appears) that our system of laws, of checks and balances, our constitutional system, would constrain Trump. Such is not the case. Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked the judiciary and ignored the rulings of dozens of courts. Anyone who seeks to hold Trump accountable for his many crimes, they and their families are immediately subjected to death threats by deplorable people claiming they’re only trying to “make America great again.
Donald Trump’s actions violated the law and the oath he swore to the Constitution. Those of us who serve (or served) in uniform took a similar oath. I took it five times and served under six presidents.
In November 1800, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, after he had spent his first night in the White House. The letter read, in part, “May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”
Donald Trump is not such a man and history will not be kind to those who took an oath to protect our way of life but support a twice-impeached former president facing four criminal indictments across four states (91 total charges) who seems bent on destroying the country he swore to protect. Our country cannot survive such a man.
Oath and Honor is the title of Liz Cheney’s book. The Grand Old Party once knew what taking an oath meant, respected and considered honor of vital importance, and highly valued the rule of law. I will dare to hope they will find the courage to do so once again—very soon.
David L. Snell
The Union [Mis]Leader
To the Editor:
Letters printed in newspapers often employ mis-information and dis-information.
A letter in the Union Leader on December 26, mentioned gang rapes by Hamas, babies burned alive in their beds, Israelis tortured, then killed, slaughter of “kids” at a music festival, called Nova Rave. The writer called Hamas “butchers,” “monsters,” and she used the word “slaughtered” four times, and “butchered” three times.
Might that word “slaughtered” also be applied to the 20,000+ Palestinians killed, including 10,000 children in Gaza?
A simple search reveals there is no evidence of gang rapes or that Hamas ordered any. (Source: Journalist Jonathan Cook, Middle East Eye, December 15th). Interestingly, not a single Israeli woman released by Hamas said anything about rape or other abuse. Moreover, the report of babies being “burned” and “50 beheaded” is false, (Source: Washington Report, November, 2023, and Rami Khouri, Al Jazeera, November 13th). President Biden later retracted his earlier comment on this topic.
What is not mentioned is that Israeli authorities have admitted that in a “counter attack,” Israeli Apache helicopters fired missiles during the Hamas attack at the “Rave” and it is estimated that some 400 Israelis were killed by Israeli military forces. (Source: Asa Winstanley says “Israel admits to “immense” amount of “friendly fire” on October 7th, Electronic Intifada, November 22nd).
Perhaps, in the future, the Leader may wish to require letter-writers to list sources where they obtained their sources and not print hearsay.
N.H. Veterans for Peace
Perhaps pigs will fly.
Energy Policies in Portsmouth Need Revisions
To the Editor:
The recent controversy regarding Ms. Moodey’s effort to install solar panels on her roof in the South End has resulted in many voices speaking up. These include Ms. Moodey, the Historic District Commission (HDC), City Council and Ms. Lusky in a recent letter to the paper.
Each of these voices bring up very valid issues.
Considering the minimal actions that our city has undertaken so far to encourage solar energy generation, is it any wonder that Ms. Moodey took the initiative to install panels on her home? That initiative was rejected by the HDC, although the panels were on the back side of her home not visible from the street. Then the City Council weighed in to suggest that the HDC should not be deciding Climate Change actions and solar energy related disputes. Finally, Ms. Lusky, in a letter to the Herald, pushed back insisting that the HDC needs to perform its mission of protecting the historical character of our city.
I would suggest that all parties have good ideas to contribute.
As a scientist with many years of energy-related experience and a member of the Portsmouth Energy Advisory Committee (PEAC) I believe that the HDC should do a comprehensive review of its energy related regulations.
We all now live in the 21st century which is why our historic district enjoys electricity, water and sewer services, and indoor plumbing (not exactly historic characteristics). At the same time many historic buildings in that district from homes to churches are prohibited from using some modern materials and technologies to improve energy efficiency and comfort, e.g., triple-pane windows, insulated outer doors, and super-insulation of building envelopes.
I doubt very much that the residents of 18th century Portsmouth insisted on living in drafty, poorly ventilated and energy inefficient homes. They did not have a choice, but we do.
Many European cities have much older historic buildings (e.g., 2000-year-old Strasbourg, France). Nevertheless, their historic buildings are energy efficient and preserve their external historic character.
Our HDC can do the same, and at the same time support Climate Change efforts and combat energy inefficiency.
Considering the ways Portsmouth’s history, hydrology, and economy interact, it’s to be expected that its adaptation to a climate that gets weirder every year will hit a few rough spots.
Fortunately, the people working on this issue locally seem far more trustworthy than those in Congress.