Editor of the Reformer:
An anti-Israel lie was printed recently in both the New York Times and the Brattleboro Reformer.
The fabrication first appeared in the Times Jan. 8 in an opinion piece by Rashid Khalidi, a former Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman. He is now at Columbia University, occupying the Professor of Arab Studies chair which is endowed with $4 million by the Untied Arab Emirates and 18 individuals, mostly Palestinians.
In his Op-Ed commenting on the war in Gaza, Rashid Khalidi wrote that Moshe Yaalon, the Israeli Defense Forces Chief of staff, in 2002, said in a Haaretz newspaper interview during the second Palestinian Intifada: "The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recess of their consciousness that they are a defeated people."
But that is not what General Yaalon said. He did not say that Palestinians must be made to understand that they are a defeated people but rather that the Palestinians must be made to understand "that terrorism and violence will not defeat us, will not make us fold." (This lie found its way to the Reformer two weeks later when Professor Khalidi's fabrication was quoted in a letter.) On Jan. 30, in response to many complaints about Professor Khalidi's fabrication, the New York Times printed this "Editors' Note" on its Op-Ed page: "This quotation ... does not appear in the Israeli newspaper interview ... and thus should not have appeared in the article."
This is but one example of the lies, boldfaced lies, dehumanizing and demeaning Israel and Jews. Most are told by Palestinian officials and by officials from Israel's Arab neighbors. The number is simply overwhelming. In my files I have the details of just 116 of them -- mostly only those since 2001. Here are just a few: (1) An Egyptian TV movie showing sultry Israeli women deliberately infecting Egyptian men with the AIDS virus. (2) Reports in the Egyptian government press that Israeli planes dropped chewing gum laced with hormones to drive Arab teenagers into a sexual frenzy. (3) Palestinian claims that Israeli helicopters kill Palestinian children by dropping poisoned candies in front of their schools. (4) The blood libel: Jews murder Arab children at Passover to use their blood when making Matza. (5) Palestinian claims that Israel's Mossad carried out the bombing of the World Trade Center to promote American hatred of Muslims. (6) A children's play broadcast on Palestinian Authority TV included a horrific scene of child actors depicting "dead" Palestinian children claiming that Israelis burned Palestinians in ovens. (7) PA TV reports that Israel is making "bombs and mines designed as toys" and dropping them from planes in populated areas where children play with them and are blown up.
But so few of these fabrications find their way into the western media. Why is that? Check out MEMRI: Middle East Media Research Institute (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Palestinian Media Watch (email@example.com).
Whitingham, Feb. 13
Say no to 1% tax
Editor of the Reformer:
In an already extremely competitive and depressed market for our local businesses, the following members of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors urge the Selectboard and Town Meeting representatives not to impose a 1 percent local options tax.
William J. Corbeil, Julie Hamilton,
Jim Hayssen, Stephanie Huestis,
Michael Kelliher, Stacy Kritsas,
Alice Matteson, David McElwee,
Craig Miskovich, Jeff Morse,
Burl Penton, Drew Richards,
Ana Saavedra, Tristan Toleno,
and Ed Toomey,
Editor of the Reformer:
As John Cleese's famous character, Basil Fawlty once opined, "Thank you for pointing out the bleeding obvious."
However, I'm not sure how helpful it is to merely state the obvious about the current economic climate. It doesn't take "expertise" to inform the populace that we're in tough times. I suggest the "I told you so" tenor of a recent desultory philippic on the Opinion pages of the Reformer added not one iota to the debate on, "What next?"
The writing reminded me of similar sentiment in the U.S. Congress recently from the "Grand Old" side of the aisle. When not one vote in the House and only three in the Senate supported Pres. Obama, feeding the fire of negativity seemed more important. It all begs the question, "To what end?"
In the Vermont Statehouse, we recognize it is a time for action, not merely negative rhetoric. We're working with the Obama administration to turn things around. What Vermonters will see from their government are similar changes in how we do business, that average Vermonters are also being forced into. We recognize this may not be as easy or swift, as it is necessary but it reflects how the status quo is evolving. We're refining how state government will work, the scope of what we can do, and how we pay for it. All the while, though, we will keep paramount the reason I sought elected office: the well being of our elders, the young, the disadvantaged and the disabled who depend on those of us who are able to offer help.
Change is rarely easy or fast. It took centuries to effect the change from when Africans were brought to this country in chains to the present day where an African-American serves as our nation's leader. For those who've worked to effect social and economic justice, the election of Barack Obama is as hopeful an event as many have ever seen.
Along with that positive change is the good news that people are changing behaviors and working together like they haven't in a long time. People are spending less, borrowing less, carpooling more, using public transportation more and even driving slower (as evidenced by a marked decline in state income derived from speeding tickets). While our homeless population has unfortunately grown, so has the response. The overflow shelter at the Baptist Church in Brattleboro organized by the Drop-In Center and the nightly meal provided by the various faith communities in the area is another light that's a response to the times.
People don't need to be told times are tough. They recognize the hard times and are responding, in communities and the statehouse. It will take a while to turn this around, just as it took a while to get into this mess. Working together, though, we are slowly moving out of this downturn to a better place, with the power of the positive shining light for the way forward.
Rep. Mike Mrowicki
Windham 5 District; Putney, Westminster, Dummerston
Pot fine is fine
Editor of the Reformer:
I am writing to encourage Vermonters to consider supporting House Bill H.150 to decriminalize marijuana. I am concerned that Vermont is spending too much money and valuable resources criminalizing otherwise law-abiding citizens for using small amounts of marijuana responsibly. Given the state of the economy and the need to prioritize our law enforcement efforts, I support issuing a civil fine in place of criminal penalties. The revenues generated by the fine could be used for drug awareness programs, particularly for our youth.
If this common sense approach makes sense to you and you are interested in engaging in a dialogue about this important issue, please visit the Web site of the Vermont Alliance for Intelligent Drug Laws (VALID): www.validvt.org.
Newfane, Feb. 25
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.