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A Letter from Biden, Israeli and Palestinian Humanity, but the Bombing Continues

Picture of part of the thousands of voices calling for ceasefire, led by Jewish Voices for Peace, at New York's Penn Station. 10/30/23. 

By Scott Steward

The White House has acknowledged that there is a war against Hamas. There are also many encouraging humanitarian words for Palestinians and Israelis contained in the November 1st letter from Joe Biden. (see letter below).

The murder of Israeli's is unconscionable, but how many more thousands of penned up unarmed, starving Palestinian women and children will have to die, at the hands of one of the world's most sophisticated military nations, before ceasefire?   

While the President’s reply is far better than the inflammatory language coming from much of our leadership, Joe Biden's letter is not enough to deter the conviction that we need to continue to make space for Palestinian voices - today and tomorrow - for everyone's sake.

The United States policy toward the Israeli, and the Palestinian people, has not contributed to a sincere and consequential path to peace.  Most suggested concessions to the Palestinians have been, in the majority, equated with treason to Israel.  That sanctimonious position is a mistake and has justified 75 years of oppression and has fostered and allowed extremists, who are willing to resort to violence and terrorism, to determine much of the circumstances of Israel and Palestine.

We need to speak to the humanity of the Palestinian right to exist in peace and speak to the security of Israel to live in peace.  We need to listen to the voices of peace that exist on both sides (and around the world).

A majority voted for a UN ceasefire resolution on October 18th, it was vetoed by the US’s ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield. In the meantime, the US has mobilized 2,500 Marines of the 26 Unit, 2 aircraft carriers with an armada of support ships, air force assets and has Patriot missile systems throughout the region. This build up is coupled with Egypt's Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, announcement that "we are prepared to sacrifice millions of lives to ensure that no one encroaches upon our territory" (interpretation: we would rather go to war than accept Palestinians here.)

The USS Gerald R. Ford, arrives in Halifax on Oct. 28, 2022.Andrew Vaughan—The Canadian Press/AP

Why all this instead of a sustained commitment to the humanity and dignity of Palestinians and Israelis?  Do you think this situation might call for a different leadership and approach in Israel and a different approach to forming leadership in Palestine?

Right in front of us, until we have a ceasefire we are all complicit with the bombing of Gaza.  A ceasefire may only mean a way to address some of the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian civilian population. A ceasefire is not forgiveness for Hamas. A ceasefire does not mean that those responsible for atrocities against Israelis cannot be apprehended. A ceasefire does not mean the US and Israel can continue to ignore Palestinian sovereignty.

Without a change what is happening in Gaza is not a war, it is a massacre of Palestinians. A massacre that does not appear to be doing anything to end Hamas now or in the future. The Palestinians in Gaza do not have sway with Hamas leadership.  What the massive bombings are fueling are genocide and an all-out 21st century world war III.

First a ceasefire, and then the harder work to find a path to peace.





Hamas started this, killing 1400 unarmed innocent Israeli citizens including reportedly 40 babies. Hamas has vowed to keep it up until all Israelis are destroyed. The Palestinians voted Hamas into power and danced in the streets after the massacre. They can’t be too surprised that now Israel would go after and try to eliminate Hamas.

Roberta L. Millstein

I have a hard time believing that anything good can come of Israel trying to "eliminate" Hamas through war tactics, especially since it means killing Palestinian civilians in the process. War begets war, and there is the whole Middle East, who has definite opinions on what is happening now, to consider. We might very well be headed for another world-wide war. I don't claim to have any answers to what ought to be done, and I never have, after decades of following events in the region pretty closely. But the current path can't be the answer, it seems to me. I think it's bad for everyone. I'd like to see a ceasefire and some sort of peace process. Call me a die hard idealist, even as I recognize the massive challenges of that path.

Nancy Price

I support a ceasefire now and some sort of peace process. The current state of "war" against the Palestinians must end.
Not in my name.


"I'd like to see a ceasefire and some sort of peace process."

How long have they been trying "some sort of peace process" and look where it got Israel. 1400 dead. Until Israel can weed out Hamas from the Gaza Strip this will keep happening. Hamas has said so.

Roberta L. Millstein

It has been a while since there was any sort of peace process. Certainly not under Netanyahu, who has sought to subvert democracy even in his own country

Your language of “weeding” concerns me, as directed toward human beings.


I made a comment here yesterday afternoon, was it deleted for some reason or maybe just not posted yet?

Roberta L. Millstein

Comments that violate the comment policy will not be posted.

“Do not use hate speech. We encourage bold, potentially unpopular opinions, but attacking others or posting offensive comments on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender and gender expression, age, visible and non-visible disability, nationality, sexual orientation, citizenship status, veteran status, religious/non-religious, spiritual, or political beliefs, socio-economic class, or any of the other differences among people which have been excuses for misunderstanding, dissension or hatred is not allowed “

I won’t discuss this further. Please simply refrain from such comments.


"Hamas is labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S., the European Union, the U.K. and others. "

J.J. Surbeck

Like Keith, I posted a response to Roberta's complaining about the language of "weeding", and it hasn't been posted. I'll repeat here what I have said before about your policy of leaving it to the authors to authorize or not the publication of responses to their articles: how can anyone expect objectivity on their part, especially when are criticized, rightly or not? Additionally, the "Comments that violate the comment policy will not be posted" excuse is all-too convenient to censor posts that authors dislike. Conclusion: there is no point reading the Davisite any more when responses are systematically eliminated. You are no better than the majority of the totalitarian left-leaning media. Good bye.

Roberta L. Millstein

Trust me or don't -- your choice. I cannot get into a prolonged discussion for every time you have violated the comment policy, JJS, which has been frequently. I have posted every comment of yours that has not violated the policy whether I agree with you or not. And although I doubt you will believe this, in fact I am sometimes not posting comments I agree with because they violate the policy. Again, your choice to participate or not. Everyone is welcome to start up their own blog if they choose or to avoid this one if they don't like the policies or the content.

Ron O

Quote from the Chronicle:

“Nazism was acceptable in Germany until people exposed it. Fascism was acceptable in Italy until people exposed it,” said Monadel Herzallah, co-founder of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, addressing the crowd from atop a truck. Now, “we are witnessing what Zionism really stands for, through the practices of the state of Israel.”,of%20the%20state%20of%20Israel.%E2%80%9D

Right - it was "exposed" by those who defeated those two countries. It was certainly not "exposed" from within.

And yes, regular citizens of those countries suffered greatly. Including what Russian forces did after Germany surrendered.

Mass rape of civilians.

And how about what Japan did in China?

Honestly, if the U.S. hadn't dropped those two bombs, a lot more "innocent" American lives would have been lost. And by innocent, I'm also referring to those drafted into the military.

Also "innocent" - most of those vaporized by those bombs.

But as far as I can tell, there were "good guys" and "bad guys" in WWII. But Russia was pretty close to being a "bad guy" as well - to this day. (Referring to governments.)

Do folks have a selective view of history?

More from the Chronicle:

"Then the girl led the crowd, shouting, “Takbir,” or “God help us” in Arabic. The crowd roared back in response, “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great.”

Already lost me, as soon as you mentioned God (in any form). Especially in support of any war.

Here's what I'd suggest as a first step: Recognize Israel as a country, whether or not you "agree" with how that occurred.

And here's my more-naive suggestion: Work with them (Israel), and join with them. You will be better-off as a result.


“Do not use hate speech. We encourage bold, potentially unpopular opinions, but attacking others or posting offensive comments on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender and gender expression, age, visible and non-visible disability, nationality, sexual orientation, citizenship status, veteran status, religious/non-religious, spiritual, or political beliefs, socio-economic class, or any of the other differences among people which have been excuses for misunderstanding, dissension or hatred is not allowed “

Roberta, do you mean like sayings like "OKAY BOOMER" which is based on age?

Roberta L. Millstein

Ok Boomer


So Roberta, the rules don't apply to you?

Roberta L. Millstein

Ok Boomer


So much for your rules when they can be applied subjectively.


And that was the point that JJ Surbeck was making.

Roberta L. Millstein

And yet, here are your comments, getting posted.


"I do, however, want to point out that ageist rhetoric falls under the umbrella of dehumanizing language and should be expelled from our vernacular along with all other derogatory slurs.

What upsets me, even as a young person, about using the phrase “OK, Boomer” is that it reduces older people to their age. The teenagers and young adults who use this derogatory term effectively treat older generations with a general dismissiveness based on nothing beside the fact that the other person is older than they are and may have a differing opinion.

Age is as random and uncontrollable of a trait as gender, race, sexual orientation, ability, or place of origin. If it’s not OK to use racist or homophobic language, which it should not be, then why do some young people think it’s okay to use ageist language?"

Roberta L. Millstein

Keith, you are correct in that it is my judgement call to moderate comments for the things that I have posted -- note in the case of the above article it isn't something I authored or even necessarily fully agree with. It is not acceptable to me that every comment will get posted regardless of how damaging it is, and someone has to make the call. The software isn't set up so that someone else can moderate my comments if I am the one who posted it. So yes, I make a judgement call about other people's comments and my comments when when I post for myself or on behalf of someone else.

Others might have made different judgement calls. I don't always agree with Alan's or Colin's or Tuvia's judgement calls. Only in cases that I consider to be really egregious do I say something -- most of the time I just let it go.

Obviously I disagree with you on "OK Boomer." You can decide for yourself if you can live with my judgement calls or not.

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