Letters | July 25, 2007 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - July 25, 2007


South gets safety snub


I read in last week's Palo Alto Weekly that there was a delay for the stop lights being put into place at the corner of Ventura and El Camino Real in south Palo Alto.

I took my grandchildren over to Baskin Robbins Ice Cream store after dinner Wednesday night and on the way back, while on Oregon Expressway, we were passed by a Palo Alto Police car with its lights and siren on.

We turned onto El Camino and proceeded south. Coming up on the very corner of El Camino and Ventura, there, under a blanket, near the crosswalk, was a body of a woman. She was being attended to by emergency personnel from the fire department.

My eyes gazed a little further and I saw an empty stroller. My heart sank. I then noticed a person holding an infant. He took the infant over to the emergency vehicle and the paramedics placed the infant onto a stretcher. The police were directing traffic down Ventura as a detour while also tending to the injured body being placed into a ambulance.

Well-done job by the Palo Alto Fire Department and the police. They really have been having their share of emergencies these last few weeks. But that is more than what I can say about how Caltrans is snubbing the south side of our town.

How many more accidents can we endure here?

Geraldine Kinyon

Terman Drive, Palo Alto

Cheers and jeers for council


I want to congratulate the Palo Alto City Council for tabling the sit/lie ordinance, the redundant, unconstitutional, absurd ordinance that would again had given a bad name to Palo Alto all round the country (as did the first one ). I am writing through the newspapers so that my fellow Palo Altans have a chance to join in the praise.

Since we are on an ecological topic, I want to urge the City Council to ban all plastic balloons from any public functions. I was horrified when I found that the inauguration opening of the municipal elections campaign was celebrated with balloons!

Where were my fellow Palo Altans when pictures of birds choking on plastic balloons were published everywhere, again and again?

Christiane Cook

Emerson Street, Palo Alto

Blum's false charges


Columnist Jeff Blum referred in the July 11 issue of the Weekly to "charges that the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center promoted anti-Semitic believers and beliefs." Since he cited no evidence of such an accusation, his assertion that the problem is serious enough to merit discussion by the Human Relations Council is irresponsible. It is all the more so because according to the attribution at the end of his column, Blum is an official of the City of Palo Alto.

As a long-time member of PPJC I can attest to the fact that anti-Semitism, along with all racial and ethnic prejudice, is antithetical to everything the organization stands for.

It is true that PPJC has sponsored many speakers and films that are critical of Israel's continued occupation -- a recent speaker on this subject was a conservative Israeli rabbi. The target of criticism in every case has been Israeli government policy, however, not the Jewish people. Our own government is an even greater target of PPJC speakers.

The reason Mr. Blum's statement was so disturbing is that conflating criticism of Israeli government policy with anti-Semitism is a method of silencing that criticism.

I am sure this was not what he had in mind but I am sorry he saw fit to give credibility to charges that have no basis in truth.

Rachelle Marshall

Alvarado Road, Stanford

Man's inhumanity


The concept of the United States as a kind and gentle nation has been punctured time and again. This time the puncture wounds are raw, bloody and hard to heal.

Dog fights are a projection of man's inhumanity to all lives. In this case, man's "best friend" has no choice but to try to stay alive by inflicting hideous injuries on another dog.

The media pictures and stories of these fights, of the agony during the deaths of the animals, shove into our minds the ever-fresh projections of torture and killings in the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those are wounds which carry their blood and pain into our national psyche. How can we heal?

Trish Hooper

Portola Road, Portola Valley


Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 25, 2007 at 6:49 am

Ms Marshall sums up the problem that some of us have with PPJC quite nicely with one sentence in her letter above:

"The target of criticism in every case has been Israeli government policy,however, not the Jewish people."

At least she admits that all the criticism is focused on Israel, while no blame or criticism is ever directed against hamas, fatah or hezbollah--organizations that have refused to accept a real peace with Israel and continue to call for Israel's destruction.

as I have stated in another thread i believe that this constant stream of one-sided criticism directed at israel comes from both an undercurrent of anti-semetism at PPJC and a subtle admiration for the above mentioned organizations.

However PPJC can pontificate all they want about about Israel. this is america. I am sure that PPJC is not even on the Israeli government's radar.

Like this comment
Posted by Relativitiy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2007 at 7:14 am

Trish: Your assertion and conflation of illegal dogfights with torture and killings in Afghanistan and Iraq is absurd.

I doubt you are talking about the much applauded and condoned suicide/murder bombings of innocents and the physical torture followed by executions and beheadings done by Al Qaeda?, Or the preceding tortures and killings of at least 300,000 Iraqis by Saddam??....NO, I suspect in your mind you are trying to conflate the humiliation and embarrassment of prisoners (caught with the remote control or bomb in their hands and therefore housed in Abu Graihb) by a few renegade low level soldiers who have been tried and convicted by our own American military law courts, with real torture and murder, and conflate it further with dog-fights.

We are a kind and gentle nation, the most generous per capita, the highest rate of volunteerism and giving both at home and abroad of any nation. We show the best of humanity.

We also have humans who are truly horrible and do horrible things who show the worst of humanity, like in every country. The difference is that the news about them is public, and we try and convict them, and most of the rest of the world doesn't.

Good try to spread hate about us, though!

Like this comment
Posted by Stan Weitzman
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2007 at 9:42 am

Rachel Marshall's assertion that she and her friends are against Israel, but not anti-Semitic is preposterous. But she seems to be very pro-PLO to me.

I am reading Brigitte Gabriel's book about living through the Lebanon Civil War in the 1970's. The book is entitled "Because They Hate." The real story of that "Civil War" was that the Muslim PLO and the Muslim members of the Lebanese Army joined forces to wipe out one Christian town after another. They would stop cars and as for their ID's and if it was family of Christians, they would execute them on the spot. This is the moderate PLO that you champion at every turn. Yet this was never reported because the press was in Beirut which was controlled by the PLO. Israel helped save many of the Christians in Southern Lebanon and helped arm them. Choose your bedfellows carefully. Israel also gave free medical care to any Christians in South Lebanon who needed it.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 25, 2007 at 3:25 pm

Ms. Marshall has a long record of denying the right of Israel and the United States to self protection. The Peace and Justice Center has been in the forefront of every condemnation of the United States since Hector was a Pup. They obviously delude themselves that they are above the struggle, better than the rest, but they are the personification of "The idiot who praises with enthusiastic tone, all centuries but this and every country but his own." They are redolent with "Better Red than Dead".

Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Jul 25, 2007 at 4:34 pm

1000 years ago Palestine was 99.5% Arab.

200 years ago Palestine was 99.5% Arab.

100 years ago Palestine was 93% Arab.

60 years ago Palestine was 70% Arab.

Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 25, 2007 at 6:49 pm

And now Palestine is 100% arab since Jews are not welcome to live in Palestine (and the Jews have their own country, israel)

Like this comment
Posted by Just Sayin'
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 25, 2007 at 6:55 pm

Daily Reminder: Israeli law forbids a Jew to wed a Gentile.

Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 26, 2007 at 5:52 am

It is not forbidden--you can have a civil marriage, just not one done by a rabbi.
Web Link

I am sure that a Catholic priest will not marry a catholic and a non-catholic and i am also sure that the marriage of an arab to a jew would be seriously frowned upon in any of the Israel's neighboring countries (to say the least)

Like this comment
Posted by Just Sayin'
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 26, 2007 at 6:58 am



Israeli law has always forbidden a Jew to wed a Gentile, and this PROPOSED LEGISLATION will not change that.

Read the article more carefully.

There is no such thing as civil marriage for Jews in Israel. There never has been, and this PROPOSED LEGISLATION will not change that. All Jews, religiously observant or not, must be wed in an orthodox ceremony that follows all Torah dictates. That means all Jews, no exceptions.

And to reiterate, a Jew is absolutely forbidden to wed a Gentile in Israel and this PROPOSED LEGISLATION will not change that fact.

An excerpt from the article you posted:

Web Link

"The suggested law is only meant to apply when both partners are not considered Jewish according to the Halacha (Jewish law), although they may be considered Jewish in the eyes of the secular public (for example, the son of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother)."

To be clear, if an Israeli is not consider Jewish according to the Halacha (Jewish law), then he or she is not considered to be a Jew. So yeah, if you're a Gentile citizen of Israel you are free to marry a Gentile.

Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 26, 2007 at 7:22 am

Just sayin'

Reread the headline:
"Justice Minister Friedmann, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Amar reach agreement on civil marriage for couples ineligible to undergo a religious marriage. "

You state:
"To be clear, if an Israeli is not consider Jewish according to the Halacha (Jewish law), then he or she is not considered to be a Jew. So yeah, if you're a Gentile citizen of Israel you are free to marry a Gentile."

That is according to you and i assume that you follow Halachic law, otherwise why make a point of it. However the Reform and Concervative branches of Judaism have different definitions of what is a jew. This law will allow these jews to marry other jews and/or gentiles/muslims etc.

The rabbinic courts in Israel may not recognize these people as jews but other jewish religious groups do recognize them as jews and this will allow them to undergo civil marriage.

The article further states:
"The Rabbinate said that an agreement had been reached with the Justice Ministry regarding the 270,000 citizens living in Israel who are not Jewish and do not belong to any other religion (most of whom immigrated to Israel from the Commonwealth of Independent States). Some 150,000 of them are not married."

So this law will also allow non-jews to have a civil marriage

But really, just sayin' what is your point? What does this have to do with PPJC and the fact that Palestine is now 100% Arab. If you are unhappy with the laws regarding marriage in Israel, I suggest you go there an dlobby for change. (I actually know what your point is from other postings in other threads--you might want to let me know if non-muslim marriages are allowed in any of the neighboring countries, like Saudi arabia, for example)

Like this comment
Posted by Just Sayin'
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 26, 2007 at 9:05 am


Israeli law forbids a Jew to wed a Gentile.

Israeli law forbids civil marriage to Jews.

Israelii law forbids a Jew who is identified as a mamzer (or bastard) to wed a Jew who is not a mamzer.

Only the Jewish children of 10th-generation mamzers are allowed to wed other Jews.

Here's more information about Israel's mamzer problem: Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 26, 2007 at 9:18 am

Just sayin--and what does this have to do with PPJC?
Not sure why you are harping on this marriage issue--it really gets a big "so what" from most people. Not sure why you posted it as a "daily reminder" (well, to be honest, I do know why you posted it--anything to try to portray Israel in a bad light)

Like this comment
Posted by mitt romney
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 10, 2007 at 3:39 pm

listen Jews, you need to stop reinforcing the stereotype that you're all whiney complainers!!!