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Opinion | How the Left Is Reacting to the Hamas Atrocities

To the Editor:

Re “The Anti-Israel Left Needs to Take a Hard Look at Itself,” by Bret Stephens (column, Oct. 11):

Hamas’s systematic and indiscriminate rape, torture, murder and kidnapping of children, grandmothers, ravers and peace activists are brutal enough. What compounds the despair, however, has been the response in the immediate aftermath by some of my fellow liberals.

These are the people who reflexively see “microaggressions” everywhere, yet are blind to this macroaggression. The people who insist that “words are violence,” yet celebrated actual violence against innocents as a form of “resistance.” The people who are quick to accuse so many institutions of systemic racism, yet glorify an institution (Hamas) that has been publicly and unapologetically antisemitic for decades.

It is possible, as I do, to support and sympathize with ordinary Palestinians, and strive for a future of peaceful coexistence, while also recognizing the unequivocal depravity of these terrorist attacks. This was not a difficult moral test. Yet liberals failed miserably.

Mark Bessoudo

To the Editor:

Bret Stephens is right to call out supporters of Palestinian rights who minimize or even celebrate the atrocities committed by Hamas, and to point to the explicit or implicit antisemitism of some anti-Zionist arguments.

However, his claim that to call for a cease-fire is pro-Hamas is wrong. It is rather to call for the taking of innocent life on both sides to cease. Israeli officials made it clear that they would exercise no restraint in their bombardment of Gaza, and Israeli actions have followed through on these words.

Let’s leave aside questions of “moral equivalence” between actors, and focus on actions. Deliberately killing civilians and deliberately failing to avoid killing civilians are both war crimes under international law.

Stopping criminal killing on all sides and releasing hostages are not only vital for upholding the increasingly fragile and widely disregarded framework of international law, but also an essential step toward attempting to bring a just peace to the Middle East.

Chris Sinha
Norwich, England
The writer is an honorary professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication, University of East Anglia.

To the Editor:

Thanks to Thomas L. Friedman (“Israel Has Never Needed to Be Smarter Than Now,” column, Oct. 11) and Bret Stephens for their brilliant analyses of the situation in the Middle East. I am a secular American Jew, a proud liberal who is appalled at the authoritarian tendencies of the Netanyahu regime.

There is no doubt in my mind that decades of harsh treatment of Palestinians by Israel has led to tremendous frustrations, and that Benjamin Netanyahu has exacerbated the problem, but nothing justifies the terrorist actions taken by Hamas.

Israelis must boot Mr. Netanyahu and his ilk, and elect leaders who will offer Palestinians respect and some measure of hope. The Middle East powers such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan must dislodge Hamas, and blunt the influence of Iran in the area.

New leadership is the only way to achieve a lasting peace. I am not holding my breath.

Bill Gottdenker
Mountainside, N.J.

To the Editor:

In the last few days we have witnessed with horror and disbelief that Israeli civilians, including children, have been killed and captured by Hamas. This is the true definition of terrorists — those who try to intimidate civilians to pursue a political goal.

The stated political goal of Hamas is the eradication of the state of Israel. This is what makes peace so elusive in this region. The right of Israel to exist is reality. When we see Hamas taking up arms and the cheering for the barbarous acts committed on an innocent civilian population in Israel, we too should raise our voices in unison. We should declare that this type of terror has no place in a civilized world.

Deborah Gitomer
Tampa, Fla.

To the Editor:

The horrors visited upon Israeli civilians ought not to be replicated in Gaza. The international community, including the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations, ought to press and support Egypt in immediately setting up refugee centers and opening the border to rescue innocent civilians in Gaza and give them shelter, food and water.

Isebill V. Gruhn
Santa Cruz, Calif.
The writer is emerita professor of politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

To the Editor:

Re “Kennedy Announces He Will Run for President as an Independent” (news article, Oct. 10):

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s candidacy as an independent is an unwelcome development. It serves no purpose other than increasing the chances of a Donald Trump victory by dividing the anti-Trump votes. It is no accident that most of his financial support comes from groups aligned with the G.O.P.

It is telling that no fewer than four of his siblings — Rory, Kerry, Kathleen and Joseph — have publicly condemned Mr. Kennedy’s candidacy. I hope that anyone considering supporting him listens to the warnings of his siblings.

He may share the surname of a political dynasty, but Mr. Kennedy demeans the legacy of his father and uncles, and does the nation a disservice with his candidacy.

Harvey M. Berman
White Plains, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “Travis, Don’t Fumble Taylor,” by Maureen Dowd (column, Oct. 8), and “Trailblazer in Economics Is Awarded Nobel Prize” (Business, Oct. 10):

Ms. Dowd’s concern about successful men who feel intimidated by powerful women offers a striking and poignant example of one attitude that perpetuates the gender inequality and couple inequity that Claudia Goldin, the Nobel prize recipient, has analyzed in the workplace and the home.

The roots of this inequality are so deeply embedded and so historically interwoven in personal behaviors and relationships as well as social and economic structures that lasting change will not result unless there is a simultaneous assault on all these fronts.

Patricia Auspos
The writer is the author of “Breaking Conventions: Five Couples in Search of Marriage-Career Balance at the Turn of the 19th Century.”

To the Editor:

Re “Trump Sharpens His Remarks as His Legal Woes Escalate” (news article, Oct. 4):

I was a career public defender in coastal Mississippi, representing thousands of indigent people charged with felonies. Not one of them ever stood outside a courtroom and harangued or denigrated his or her judge, and I have no doubt about what would have occurred if they had. Off to jail for contempt they’d go.

The media deserves some blame for the problem, for giving Donald Trump the forum he so desires, no matter his blather. Maybe it should back off a bit.

Ross Parker Simons
Pascagoula, Miss.

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