Friday, March 22, 2024

Saranac Lake letter-writing group aims to end violence in Gaza

People concerned about Gaza gather at the Adirondack Center for Writing in Saranac Lake.

Each Monday of this year, in a writing studio in Saranac Lake, two dozen people or so have participated in an eclectic gathering that has elements of a ’60s war protest, the Algonquin Round Table, and an ice cream social. The goal is to end the violence in Gaza, not with anger, signs and chants, but with literature, fundraising and art. Along the way, new friendships are made and community ties strengthened. Most of all, those who have felt a visceral reaction to events in the Middle East now know they are not alone.

PS: Letters for Ceasefire has its seeds in protracted discussions between Tyler Barton, communication and programming manager for the Adirondack Center for Writing, and his wife Erin Dorney in long, cross-state drives to visit relatives over the holidays.

“We were in the car for 15 hours, and we both felt, as writers, we had to say something,” Barton said. “We decided to practice democratic engagement by teaching the usefulness of having a space in the community open to channel some of our feelings, make friends and build community.”

From there, the idea snowballed, as people heard about the meetings at ACW’s storefront at 15 Broadway, from 5 to 7 p.m., by word of mouth, or just walking past and seeing something interesting happening behind the plate glass.

“A couple of tourists from Brooklyn stopped in and asked, ‘Why don’t we have something like this in our neighborhood?’” Barton said.

People, sometimes with children and dogs in tow, hand-write postcards, hundreds of them, draw, converse and eat. There is no standard demographic — participants represent all ages, races, economic and social standings. If there’s one thing in common, it’s that everyone has a story that makes the gathering meaningful.

artwork and postcards
Artwork and postcards produced by PS: Letters for Ceasefire in Saranac Lake. Photo by Tim Rowland.

“Pretty much my entire life was sculpted by wars in the Middle East,” said Emily-Bell Dinan, who was growing up in Manhattan when the Twin Towers came down. “When I was becoming an adult huge things were happening — one war started, then another. Even as a teenager, before I could vote, I knew that wasn’t a good idea.”

As a student of the Holocaust and having worked in the Museum of Jewish History, Dinan was unsettled by what she was now seeing play out in Gaza — but she wasn’t sure the gravity was on anyone’s local radar. “I felt really alone,” she said.

Then she read a commentary Barton had written in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, and knew her feelings had found a home. She wrote her own letter to the paper. “I may be naive to think we can educate our way out of global problems, but I believe we can,” she said.

Stephanie Gubelin, of Lake Placid, said she recalled the Vietnam War protests in the 1960s, but was conflicted. “I spent so many years wondering, ‘Is this a smart thing to say?'”

In Gaza, she has found a voice. “At the age of 74, I decided I was just going to say what I think,” she said. “I can feel confident in being against the killing of innocent people, no matter the unknowable consequences. It’s time for us humans to move beyond our reliance on violence and subjugation. Who knows what wonderful gifts we may be given on the other side of such a move.”

Stephanie Gubelin writes letters asking for peace in the Middle East.
Stephanie Gubelin writes letters asking for peace in the Middle East. Photo by Tim Rowland.

Like Dinan, Gubelin sees  uneasy parallels between Gaza and 9/11. “A powerful country gets caught with its pants down and they react with rage because they are so ashamed that their omnipotence has been shattered — and innocent people die.”

Diana Strablow of Saranac Lake said she heard of Letters for Ceasefire by word of mouth and decided to drop by. “The death toll is going up by the thousands, and I was horrified that our tax dollars were funding this,” she said. “Rather than sitting back and feeling helpless, I came here to have an impact.”

The camaraderie helps mitigate the disappointment of rumored cease fires that never seem to materialize, as do activities of “writing, discussing and thinking hard about what can be done, what we believe, and the kind of world we want to live in,”  Barton said. “We raise money; we share food; we meet new faces weekly; we write hundreds of letters, postcards, poems, and pleas to local, state, and federal elected officials urging them to support a ceasefire in Gaza; we make art and we plan actions.”

Pre-stamped postcards are provided, and everyone, and all opinions, are welcome, he said. While the best way to bring change might be debated, the central need for a cease fire is a view shared by one and all.

“Children are getting bombed wherever they go,” Strablow said. “In this day and age, what a way to solve problems.”

Photo at top: People concerned about Gaza gather at the Adirondack Center for Writing in Saranac Lake. Photo by Tim Rowland.

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Tim Rowland is a humor columnist for Herald-Mail Media in Hagerstown, Md., and a New York Times bestselling author. His books include High Peaks; A History of Hiking the Adirondacks from Noah to Neoprene and Strange and Unusual Stories of New York City. He has climbed the 46 high peaks, is an avid bicyclist, and trout tremble with fear when they see his approaching shadow. He and his wife Beth are residents of Jay, N.Y.




64 Responses

  1. Harv Sibley says:

    All violence should be called out and this group is doing their part, duly noted. The one quote says Israel “got caught with its pants down.” 1269 people died on 10/7/2023, another 253 taken hostage, 134 still as hostages. Pants down? Diminishing the cause of the current crisis is not very thoughtful or honoring. Hamas is an evil force, even to its own people. You can stop the war but it may not stop the harm Hamas continues to cause daily. We need to end the crisis, the war, the bloodshed, and that starts with returning the 134 still held by Hamas. Then perhaps a civil conversation can commence. When someone steals your child, it takes more than letters to right the wrong. Sadly

    • Pete Wirth says:

      Har,

      What about the thousands of Palestinian’s killed by Israeli defense forces since the year 2,000. They are human beings, with familes, wives, husbands, brothers, children ….If we should call out all violence Palestinian’s killed by Istael
      count also.

      • Mike says:

        Pete, When your military strategy is to hide in hospitals, schools, and neighborhood’s many wives, husbands, brothers, children, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc. are sadly lost.

  2. Lori Kirman says:

    Israel has the right to defend itself. It needs to eliminate Hamas. Unfortunately, it means people will die on both sides. A cease-fire only gives Hamas time to equip themselves with more weapons. Why don’t the other Arab countries allow the Palestinians to come to them. That is the question.

  3. Linda says:

    Kudos to all sorry not to be there. Cease Fire Now.

  4. Bob Meyer says:

    Nice sentiment from the ( relative) safety of S. L.
    Go live in Israel as I have and experience the constant edge of vigilance ( ebbing and flowing, but ALWAYS there) of violence and threat to the very existence of Israel ( read Jews).
    All violence is bad and I make no excuses for Netanyahu and the IDF’s action… but remember Hamas hides behind the skirts of women and children and then cries foul when the IDF goes after them.
    Humm?

    • Linda says:

      Bob, it’s not necessary to agree with every person who seeks a cease-fire, their analysis might differ from yours, but the longer the war goes on (And Netanyahu has pretty much said he’ll stay in office with no elections until “the war is over”) The more children, families, etc. are suffering. This is hardly going to create safety in Israel or for American Jews. And yes, Americans have some reason to speak since we are sending military aid.
      Thousands of American Jews are calling for a cease fire and they are hardly against the Jewish people. ( and settlers stealing land in the West Bank do not follow the principles of Judaism. )
      There is a pay wall for this article and I apologize but for those who do read the New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/23/world/middleeast/gaza-missing-bodies-deaths.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare

      • Bob Meyer says:

        Linda,
        If you read what I say, you will understand I am no fan of BiBi Netanyahu Nor am I a fan of the settlers in the West Bank. I am a firm supporter of a two solution with a viable Palestinian nation alongside and Israeli nation.
        I’m also a pacifist thus violence of any type is abhorrent to me. Nonetheless, the facts that I have stated are undeniable. Israel has been living under more or less constant threat since its founding 75 years ago.
        I too want a cease-fire. I also want Hamas to stop calling for the destruction of Israel.
        I want Hesbollah, Syria, Iran and other others to stop calling for the destruction of Israel. That will do to change the politics in Israel, then any Kumbaya.
        There are a lot of people, including American Jews, who really do not understand the reality on the ground in Israel.
        Rather than write letters and protest about what’s happening over there, I think it would be better to double down on electing progressive people in our own nation because what happens here influences and effects not just our nation, but the whole world.

        • Linda says:

          I’m struggling with what is your opposition to the folks advocating for a cease fire?
          You were fortunate to get conscientious objector status, but thousands went to Vietnam. And thousands protested the war in the US helping bring the war to an end.
          So peaceful advocacy against bombings etc is just kumbaya? I don’t get it.
          For any child that might otherwise be killed by bombing or trapped under rubble, I’d say these efforts are meaningful. Maybe Bibi can bring his leadership to the people and see if they are really behind this,

          • Bob Meyer says:

            I’m not objecting in fact, I advocate for a cease-fire.
            I’m just trying to explain to you folks that the reality is that until groups like Hamas, Hezbollah , Iran and others stop advocating and acting towards the destruction of Israel that this is just Going to keep happening and allowing terrible leaders like nut yahoo to remain in power.
            There seems to be an almost total absence of calls for those terror groups to stop their behavior..
            I am supportive of our troops and the necessity for a strong defense force. As for Vietnam. we all know that it was a tragic episode in our history that cost many brave men and women their lives. And for what? The whole narrative and raisin d’ete getting involved with false.

          • Pete Wirth says:

            Thanks Linda.

            I did not apply for CO status as I felt WW2 had to be fought to stop facism. I saw the inside of the DC lock up on more than one occassion protesting against the war.

            Today folks say Hams is evil and has to be destroyed. During the Vietnam war it was Communists were evil and had to be destroyed.

            People make excuses for killing thousands of Palestinians children and women and during Vietnam excuses were made for kiliing tens and hundreds of thousand of civilians. The famous phrase was “We had to destroy the village to save it.”

            Both sides have done their share of killing. Permant ceasefire now and negotiate a settlement.

            • Bob Meyer says:

              N Vietnam unlike Hamas did advocate for the destruction of a nation and by definition a people. To equivocate the two is inaccurate and ignorance of history.
              And, no I do not condone the killing of any innocent people Palestinian , Israeli or anyone else.

  5. Peter Wirth says:

    A special thanks to the folks in Saranac for their efforts to end the war in Gaza.

    As a hiker in the Daks since the early 70’s I have always been drawn to the Saranac area, winter fest etc.

    In 1967 I was a freshman, enrolled in Army ROTC (Officer Training Corp). I read a lot of books, decided the war made no sense and after my first year
    did not continue in the program. Like Israel today the US had lost its way. There was “free fire zones” in Vietnam where yes, anything that moved could be killed.

    When it was all said and done we lost over 50,000 soldiers and an estimated two million Asians (Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia) were killed – mostly civilians.

    If Kissinger could negotiate with the North Vietnamese Israel can negotiate with Hamas.

    Israel is not a monster. However, like the U.S. during Vietnam it has lost its way. This war must be stopped now.

    This crossed my desk this morning. It reminded me of what we did in Vietnam.

    From Common Sense

    ‘Everyone in the World Needs to See This’: Footage Shows IDF Drone Killing Gazans

    “There is no way they could have been considered combatants,” said one writer and analyst. “This is unreal.”

    By Jessica Corbett • Mar 21, 2024

    Graphic scenes: An Israeli army drone pursued four civilian youths who attempted to reach their destroyed homes and killed them with missiles in Khan Younis at the start of last February.

    https://www.commondreams.org/news/palestinians-killed-by-israel?

  6. Bob Meyer says:

    Yup … all war has these same senseless killings.
    That’s why I was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war .
    You are correct at Israeli government under yahoo has as you say “lost its way”.
    I will remind you that unlike some previous conflicts Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran Have their stated goals, destruction of the state of Israel and by definition death to Jews. Not a whole lot different than the Nazis of the 20th century and just one more attempt to eradicate people that has been going on for more than 2000 years.
    Think about that before they pontificate.
    And yes, Sarah Lake is a very special and wonderful place and I have dear friends there.

  7. Peter Wirth says:

    Since the year 2,000 to 2023 (Prior to attack by Hamas) according to Israeli human rights organizations Israel killed 15,000 Palestinians and destroyed about 80,000 Palestinian homes.

    Perhaps Israel has its goal to drive out/destroy all Palestinians.

    Just as the U.S. negotiated with North Vietnam Israel can negotiate with Hamas. It took the loss of many Americans before we came to our senses.

  8. Bob Meyer says:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/22/opinion/israel-american-jews-zionism.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare&sgrp=c-cb

    This is an essay in the New York Times today that everyone should read, especially American Jews, such as myself.

  9. Pete Wirth says:

    Spain, Ireland spearhead push for EU recognition of Palestine

    Since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, both Ireland and Spain have repeatedly expressed readiness to recognise Palestine, and spearheaded efforts to toughen the EU’s stance on Israel in response to the excessive loss of life in Gaza.

    In a breakthrough on Thursday, the EU’s 27 leaders unanimously called for a ceasefire in Gaza for the first time since the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas.

  10. Bob Meyer says:

    All good. Will Hamas , Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and others agree to stop trying to destroy Israel?
    Can’t any of you be realistic?
    For the record: I hate Netanyahu and his racist ministers.. but like any bad government I detest , like Iran N Korea etc I do not transfer that feeling to the people .

  11. Pete Wirth says:

    Bob – You seem to have no problem with the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians, the killing of thousands of Palestinians men, women and children by IDF forces or the destruction of thousands of Palestinian homes all before the attack by Hamas.

    This reminds me so much of people who supported the Vietnam war. No matter how many atrocities were committed in our name they always supported more war. You see Hama as evil and will justify whatever Israel will do.

    I’ll end on the note that just as we negotiated with the North after they killed 50,000 of our troops Israel can negotiate with Hamas.

    • Bob Meyer says:

      You are “dead” wrong when you say I have no problem with the expulsion, Violence or death death of Palestinians.
      You seem not to be able to understand what I write.
      How many ways do I have to say that I hate what is happening.
      As for negotiating with Hamas versus negotiating with the North Vietnamese… The north VietNamese just wanted us to get out. Hamas wants to destroy Israel… Wipe it off the map.
      There’s a difference you don’t seem to get.
      And finally, once again, I see no mention of the violence and death perpetrated Israelis.
      Humm?

  12. JohnL says:

    Give them a state? They already have a state, and they used/use it for 1 purpose, the destruction of Israel. Have any of you seen videos and/or eyewitness reports of the murder/rape Hamas did on Oct 7th. If not, you should. They’re pretty horrific and the deaths were 75% civilian. That’s over now, but you can be sure Hamas/Hezbollah/Iran are in the planning stages of the next attack. Hamas as an organization must be destroyed as completely as possible and that’s what Israel is doing now. One more thing. If Europe is so convinced that Palestine should have ANOTHER state, they could open their borders to them. Oh wait, they’re doing that today. How’s that working out for them? Everyone that lives their comfortable life in the North Country should ask themselves: Would you want Hamas living on the other side of the Blue Line?

  13. Linda says:

    Unfortunately, the complex history does not translate into simple bits of info .. my father, a WW2 vet, and in his youth a supporter of Israel, would be horrified at the violence by Hamas. But he also understood that leaders like Netanyahu, corrupt and ideological, aren’t going to problem solve.

    Instead, they are enabling land theft https://wapo.st/3xfHH30
    As if anyone thinks that this is going to build security for Israel.?
    We as Americans have a role to speak about the war rather than blindly finance this: https://www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/the-children-who-lost-limbs-in-gaza

    • JohnL says:

      Netanyahu is a duly elected official in the parliamentary democracy.of Israel. The ONLY democratic country in the Middle East, I might add. They (Israelis) don’t care if you think he’s ‘corrupt and ideoloical’ or not. Neither do I. They elected him (something that happens nowhere else in the Middle East) and they’ll ‘unelect’ him when they want to. We should support Israels’ fight to remain free and free of fear of attacks from those ‘crazy neighbors’ of theirs. You know, the ones that throw homosexuals off buildings for being homosexuals and cut off the hands of petty thieves. Those people.

  14. Pete Wirth says:

    Ideology blinds us. Mant Americans couldn’t see how a peasant army could defeat the most powerful army in the world during the Vietnam war. Than it happened again in Afghanistan.

    Today there are people who will justify the killing of Palestinains whether it is in the West Bank, Gaza or Jerusalem – today, 10, 20, 30 years ago. Israel can do no wrong.

    They will come up with reasons why the killing of Palestinians is acceptable just as Americans thought it was acceptable in other wars. These folks will never understand history.

    Increasingly Israel is becoming a pariah in the world. They can go down that path or negotiate.

    During the Vietnam war we were given all sorts of reasons why we couldn’t negotiate with the North Vietnamese. They are Communists, They want to take over all of South East Asia (Domino Theory) , Better Dead than Red. The one I loved the most was Better to fight them over there than over here. I wasn’t losing any sleep the Vietnamese would attack NY.

    Finally we negotiated and the war ended.

    Today our war ships dock in Vietnam.

    • Balian the cat says:

      I am reading your comments with great interest, Pete. If I may, I will mention a couple of other things: Ho Chi Minh fought alongside the allies against the Japanese, valantly. He asked for one thing in return, that he and his people be allowed to to have autonomy in the new order that followed WWII. I am sure he was promised that and left to the cruelty of the French after his use to us ended. Also, and I think this is a direct anology to what we’re talking about on this thread – how many Vietnamese citizens died, never knowing what the “war” was even about, so that we could stem the evil red tide? Was October 7th an abomination, absolutely, but how many innocent peoples lives are we willing to exchange for the impossible to achieve ideal of peace in the middle east? I say impossible because to have it you would need to completely elliminate one side of the equation to do so. Does anyone remember the debacle in Iraq? How do you think it would go in Iran…and yada yada. When does the victem become the bully? I havent got the answer but I think we need to start with the notion that people are not govenrments. Palestinian doesn’t equal Hamas any more than American equals (insert devisive sobreqet of your choice.) As long as the black and white of “you’re with us or agin us” exisits and we cannot see nuance or, god forbid, compromise, these things remain Conflicted.

      • Pete Wirth says:

        Yes. When I was a freshman in 67 and in Army ROTC I read a lot of books as I would be an officer and shipped off to Vietnam when I graduated. I thought if my job was to kill Vietnamese I should know why. I learned what you said that Ho was our ally in WW2 and than betrayed by the French who decided to hold onto Vitenam as their colony. In 1954 the French were defeated at Dien Ben Phu (something like that) by Ho’s troops.

        Longer history but by the end of my Freshman year I came to the conclusion the “COMMUNISTS” had a legitimate case and this was a war of national liberation. Just like it is almost impossible to have a conversation with people who see Israel as GOOD and Hamas as EVIL the same was true during the Vietnam war. The communinists were portrayed as pure evil. Did the troops from the North and the VietCong commit atrocities. I’m sure they did.

        So much killing for what? Today we go to Vietnam for vacations and as I said earler our war ships sail in their harbors.

        My perspective is Israel has a “colonizer mentality.” Reminds me of Nelson Mandella and the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Nelsom Mandella, who is revered around the world was a friend of Arafat and the PLO. Mandella was clear that Palestinians had a legitimate right to fight back just as the ANC did in South Africa. Most Americans don’t realize we opposed the ANC in the early days and supported the racist S. A. govt. Ironically, Russia suported the ANC early on. We eventually came around.

        These things are complicated.

        At the end of the day I firmly believe that Palestinians and Israelies can live side by side. Our job now is to call for a lasting cease fire.

        It took the antiwar movement years of organizing to get the US to the table. So many Americans and Asians died for nothing while that process was going on.

        Now that I’m 74 I’m proud to say I was arrested for civil disobedience in Washington DC on more than one ocassion. I wasn’t a big time organizer just one of thousands who ended up in jail.

        I’ve never met a Vietnam vet who was angry at me when I share my story. They almost all agree the war was a waste of life.

        Thanks for your comments.

        • Linda says:

          For those who have not yet seen Raoul Peck’s Exterminate All the Brutes its a brilliant documentary series:https://www.hbo.com/exterminate-all-the-brutes

          Making people “the other.”
          And of course, Zone of Interest is a must see. It’s not just a Holocaust film.

        • JohnL says:

          Just one comment on your 1st conclustion.. ‘I firmly believe that Palestinians and Isrealis can live side by side’. Really?? They were living side by side until Oct 7th. Israel didn’t attack the Palestinians. Hell, over 20% of the population of Israel is Arab of some stripe or the other. They seem to be doing OK.

    • Alan R says:

      The comparison with our role in Vietnam is a false one. The VC and the PAVN were not interested in blotting the South Vietnamese people from the face of the Earth. Hamas clearly could give ethnic cleansing lessons to the Waffen-SS. You can’t negotiate with such a foe and they’ve forced the legit Palestinian Authority
      out of office.

      • Bob Meyer says:

        This is what I have been saying but it seems to fall on many deaf ears. It is obvious that much of the world including some in the North Country hold Israel – read Jews to a different standard than others.

        • Balian the Cat says:

          The comparison, in my mind, is only true in that killing Palestinian people in the name of rooting out Hamas is akin to killing Vietnamese citizens to defeat communism. Hamas is evil to it’s core, the lengths we are willing to go to, as a civilized society, is a topic worth discussing. If we cannot get past the notion that to have concern for the average Palestinian equals antisemitism, then why bother talking about it?

        • Linda says:

          Bob,
          I think it does a disservice to Jews to equate criticism of Israel as = to criticism of Jews. There are many in Israel who have historically opposed the government’s policies towards the Palestinians, And there is opposition in Israel now to Netanyahu’s continued bombing with so many civilian deaths. .Asking the Government of Israel to stop the war is not holding Jews to a higher
          Standard. Read the articles of Holocaust scholar and former IDF soldier Omer Bartov as one example.
          I’m sorry that this discussion seems so pointless but we can’t stand by while Gazans- read children – are being killed.

          • JohnL says:

            You’re right Linda. There is opposition to Israels policy in Israel, just as there is opposition in this country to our Presidents disastrous border and energy policies. The good news is that, in each country, these issues will be sorted out in our respective elections BY ISREALIS AND AMERICANS. We shouldn’t be unduly influencing Israels policies and vice versa.

            • Linda says:

              Problem is we’re providing billions in military assistance to Israel.
              Besides, Netanyahu has said no elections till “ the war is over.” Whatever that means.
              And we have obligations under US law. 22 U.S. Code § 2301
              I consider it entirely appropriate as a member of the global community as well as a US citizen to call on Israel to pursue a cease fire.

              • JohnL says:

                We’re gonna have to agree to disagree Linda. Calling for a ceasefire now is akin to calling for a ceasefire in 1944 because Germany held some of our soldiers as prisoners. Evil has to be destroyed and sadly, innocent people are usually caught up in it.Been that way since time began.

          • Bob Meyer says:

            You are obviously not a Jew.
            It’s like white people telling black people that certain behaviors are not really racism… please.

  15. Bob Meyer says:

    Thank you Pete Wirth for your last comment.
    Your Vietnam comments are so true.
    As for the Israel Gaza / Palestinian-read Jew, Arab (Muslim/Christian) history of tragedy:
    When the Israelis get rid of their present government and elect those who are serious about real solutions: kicking illegal settlers out of the West Bank and restoring land that has been stolen from Palestinians.
    When Hamas , Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Iran and others stop being terrorists vowing to destroy Israel and kick the Jews into the sea.
    When other Arab countries, Russia, China and yes the US stop using the Middle East as a pawn in the chess game.
    When our nation stops electing extreme politicians of both the right and the left who use division fear hatred etc and elect people who work for unity equality acceptance and economic/ social fairness.
    I could go on and on but you all know in your hearts what needs to happen.
    Then there can be a real lasting peace in the Middle East and elsewhere and the wealthy nations can step up to the plate and help not only rebuild Gaza but help do the other things necessary to create peace and prosperity cooperation and legitimacy for all the people.
    Tall order? It can be done! If we put 1/2 the energy and resources as we did in WWII into this just think what can be achieved!
    Salam, Shalom, Peace.

  16. louis curth says:

    As I watch this discussion unfold, my hope that Explorer/Almanack might show us a viable alternative to the hate filled yelling of social media has been on a seesaw.

    I compare the comments in response to “Hard Times for Bobcats” now up to 77, while comments in reply to the S.L. letter writers trying to end violence in Gaza stands at 29.

    My first reaction is; are Adirondackers really more concerned about Bobcat well being than they are about innocent starving and dying children who are suffering unspeakable horrors in Gaza? What kind of people are we becoming?

    The success of this forum must be measured by whether it can move us to action! It must educate us, and help us to see our greatest needs with the objectivity to recognize our differences as our strengths. If we can turn that corner, the hard job of working together in “community” and solving our worsening problems becomes much more possible.

    Put another way; “We cannot sow seeds with clenched fists.”

    • JohnL says:

      Not to be a smart aleck, but 77 comments in 5 days (Bobcat) is 15.4 comments/day. 30 comments in 2 days (Middle East) is 15 comments/day. Pretty close. Give it time LC. People will respond to this important subject.

    • JohnL says:

      As of 3:30, 60 comments in 3 days. 20/day. See, I told you LC. This subject would pick up.

  17. Peter Wirth says:

    Bob – It is intersting that you describe a country that now has over 700,000 settlers on land that formerly was occupied by Palestians up to 1967 and drove out 750,000 Palestinians in 1949 as being persecuted.

    It is clear and has been stated by numerous politicians that Israel’s long term goal is to settle all of the West Bank and Jerusalem. Every year there are more and more setters on what was formerly Palestinian land.

    When Palestians apply for permits to expand their homes 92% are denied. If they build the govt. comes in bulldozers their home. Systemic racism just like the Blacks in South Africa which is why South Africa and Nelson Mandela were sympathetic to the Palestinians. If you want to defend those practices that is up to you.

    Israel can change just like South Africa changed. The sooner Israel addresses these issue than the process of reconcillation between the two people can start.

    • Bob Meyer says:

      Guess you are not aware of the expulsion of over 800.000 Jews from Arab countries in 1949… or you choose not to mention that.
      Both actions were wrong. However, in the case of Arabs leaving Israel 1/2 of them did so because of
      false information from their leaders. All the Jews were expelled by the governments of the Arab nations.
      None the less, I want to make it clear that I abhor this war and every other war. I am particularly ashamed of Netanyahu and his government and the atrocities committed by any Israeli citizen against any innocent human being. unfortunately, it does reflect a knee and every other Jew in the world, even though it is an unfair reflection with at least shades of antisemitism. You gotta be one to experience it folks.
      Do you have armed guards protecting your churches? We now have to at our synagogues.
      How many times do I have to say what I’ve said over and over and which seems to be misconstrued?

      • Pete Wirth says:

        The 700,000 settlers since 1967 plus recent settlements that were approved is all part of Israel’s plan to settle all of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel has publically stated the Palestinians will not be allowed to have their own state. Every year there are more and more Israeli settleters.

        They have also publically ststed that the land is Biblically theirs.

        You do no favors to Israel by justifing their policies. I’ve spoken to Israels who left their country and now consider themselves expats. because they did not want to support the expansion of Israel into the West Bank and Jerusalem.

        • Bob Meyer says:

          Pete, I’ll say it again! I am totally against the expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank, and I am against the settler movement in the West Bank. It’s shameful a blight on this previous governments in Israel.
          Much like our own previous history against indigenous people this makes Israel a colonizing nation That treats some of his citizens unequal to others.
          I hate it! Is that clear enough?

  18. Bob Meyer says:

    I will say it again. The difference between the North VietNamese and Hamas; the North VietNamese just wanted us out of there, and we’re not trying to destroy the people of South Vietnam… A.k.a. throwing them into the sea. Hamas wants to destroy Israel and throw all the Jews into the sea. Please get it straight folks. These are the facts. Read the Hamas charter!
    I am all for Hamas repealing their charter, a complete seize fire, a rebuilding of Gaza , A real two state solution or a real by national country from the river to the sea… Whatever will really work for real peace.
    I don’t have the answers and neither do you.

    • JohnL says:

      Comparing this present Israel situation to Vietnam is ridiculous. Theyre totally different situations.. You wanna compare it to something?Compare it to WW2. Let’s just hope we agree that Hamas today is evil, Germany in the 1940 era was evil and Japan in that same era was evil..Well, in the1940s we (USA and our allies) had to kill hundreds of thousands of ‘innocent’ people to destroy Fascism (the real Fascism). Would it have been better to let Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito continue to invade and kill more people in their attempt to control what ‘they’ thought was rightfully theirs.. Again, I hope we can agree that that wouldn’t have ended well if we had. Sadly, sometimes you just have to say…enough.

  19. Pete Wirth says:

    Bob – I hear YOU hate it.

    However, that is the policy of Israel that Palestinians live under. Every year since 1967 Palestinians in the West Bank & Jerusalem have seen more of their land settled by Israelies. What happened in the US when settlers took land from the Native Americans. The tribes fought back. Eventually all the tribes were put on reservations. It took us about 150 years to do that.

    The Native Americans had every right to fight back and I believe the Palestinians have the same right. Israel is strong and powerful and probably will do to the Palestians what we did to the Native Americans.

  20. Pete Wirth says:

    Immediate Cease Fire Called for by United Nations

    The United Nations Security Council on Monday passed a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza for the month of Ramadan, breaking a five-month impasse during which the U.S. vetoed several calls for ending the war, even as the humanitarian toll climbed higher.

    The resolution passed with 14 votes in favor. The U.S. abstained, allowing the resolution to pass. The chamber broke into applause after the vote.

    • JohnL says:

      Just wanted to point out what a coward this President is. If he supported a cease fire, he should have voted for it. He tool the cowards way out. This way, if things go sideways, he can say he didn’t support the resolution. Can’t say it enough….coward. Don’t take my comment as favoring a cease fire. I don’t! Just wanted to point out what I thought of this ‘president’.

  21. Pete Wirth says:

    U.N. just passed a ceasefire resolution.

    The resolution passed with 14 votes in favor. The U.S. abstained, allowing the resolution to pass. The chamber broke into applause after the vote.

  22. Bob Meyer says:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/24/opinion/gaza-israel-war.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare&sgrp=c-cb

    I urge all of you who care about this situation to read this New York Times op Ed from today. It is gut wrenching to the least. It lays blame on all sides.
    He talks about the future, the tough choices, the tragedy, and the hope.
    I am the first one to say that I do not have the answers
    And neither do you. And neither does the writer and he admits it.

    • Pete Wirth says:

      Bob – I think the op-ed title should be What should the Palestinians do to protect themselves from Israel. Prior to the attack by Hamas:

      1. IDF forces killed thousands of Palestinians from the year 2,000 on.
      2. Tens of tousands of Palestian homes were bulldozed by Israeli govt and IDF Forces
      3. Hundreds of thousands of Israel settlers settled on Palestinian land

      Perhaps it is the Palestinians needing protection from Israel that we should focus on.

      A cease fire is a step in the right direction. The United States finally did not block it.

      • Bob Meyer says:

        Damnit! You just don’t get it from your privileged I presume Christian perspective.
        All you say above is true but why don’t you also mention the 75 year history Palestinian terror attacks on Israel.
        I am just going to say it, many of you hold Israel and by definition Jews to a different standard of behavior than everybody else.
        Time to admit your prejudice.
        I’m done trying to reason with this group because you’re no help in achieving what I want as much as anyone else which is real peace and coexistence. Goodbye

  23. pete wirth says:

    Bob – Thanks you for understanding the death, destruction and theft of Palestinian land by Israel which has been going for decades, long before the attack by Hamas. I would say these are Isreal’s “terror attacks” just as the PLO and Hamas did their terror attacks.

    If the Palestinians are willing to negotiate after all that Israel has done than Israel should negotiate after all that the Palestinians have done.

    The Vietnamese sat down at the Paris Peace Accords after the US killed hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese. I remember vividly quotes by Curtis Le May onf of our high ranging military officers that We (the US) should bomb the Vietnamese back to the stone age.” He called for the annihaliation of North Vietnam. Ho put that aside and sat down at a table with the U.S. A negotiated settlement is the only just way out of this madness.

  24. JohnL says:

    Just wanted to point out what a coward this President is. If he supported a cease fire, he should have voted for it. He tool the cowards way out. This way, if things go sideways, he can say he didn’t support the resolution. Can’t say it enough….coward. Don’t take my comment as favoring a cease fire. I don’t! Just wanted to point out what I thought of this ‘president’.

  25. louis curth says:

    What is my takeaway after 62 comments of robust discussion in response to Tim’s article about the steadfast efforts of the people in S.L.?

    1. This discussion of the on-going suffering that worsens day by day in Gaza has ripped the scabs off a lot of raw wounds involving the worlds most powerful and least powerful people and nations. It exposes the huge profitability of an economy that thrives on endless wars,. It explains, to anyone who chooses to look,,how lies and political chicanery continue to be used by many of the world’s political elites, including our own leaders and wanna-be leaders, to further their own political agendas.

    2. With violence and suffering rising in Gaza, Ukraine, Haiti, and all over the world, we Adirondackers, like people everywhere, have largely become inured to the worsening conditions being endured by the children of Gaza.

    3. Sadly, “Hard Times for Bobcats” is easier for us to discuss than seeking practical ways to end violence against innocent children. Gaza.

  26. JohnL says:

    All this talk of Ukraine, Gaza, China, Haiti etc makes me homesick for those times just a few short years ago when the world was relatively peaceful for a change.

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