Your letters, Aug. 11: Bus ads, food donations and compassion

August 9, 2013 

Triangle advocacy group Voice 4 Israel and a Los Angeles-based group Stand With Us are paying to put this advertisement on Chapel Hill Transit buses for the next year. The ads could be posted by September to replace a controversial ad that the Church of Reconciliation paid to post in August 2012. The new ad's sponsors hope it will be a "more conducive" approach to talking about Israeli-Palestinian peace.


Less vitriol and more compromise

Regarding “Chapel Hill Transit to debut new Mideast peace ad” (CHN, Aug. 5,

It is encouraging that both parties displaying their ads support peace. That is a fine foundation upon which to build. But I fear that one side’s “calls for justice” have a way of becoming unquenchable, when they mask a desire for the dismantling of a state – in this case the Jewish state.

It is Israel which shares our values, is the only democracy and our only dependable ally in the current Middle East sea of turmoil. Injustice can be real, precipitated, manufactured or imagined. But claims of injustice can all serve to perpetuate intransigence and violence.

We feel the path to reconciliation is through dialogue that is less vitriolic and more compromising in spirit. V4I (Voice for Israel) envisions a future where both sides live in peace and, as stated in our own Declaration of Independence, share opportunity for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Mike Ross


Editor’s note: The writer is the chairman of Voice for Israel.

Update perceptions

The Salaam-Shalom Committee of the Church of Reconciliation sees the new bus ad sponsored by Voice For Israel as another opportunity to continue the ongoing dialogue that we began since launching our own bus ad in August 2012.

The new Voice For Israel bus ad states: “Israel Seeks a Partner for Peace.” However, an equitable partnership specifically implies equal responsibilities and benefits for each partner. Sadly, facts would indicate that Israel’s definition of partnership requires the Palestinians to quietly agree to all of Israel’s actions and demands while Israel continues to steal even more Palestinian land and also continues to illegally occupy Palestinian territories. Furthermore, the Voice for Israel Bus Ad calls for “…peace and prosperity,” which is an illusion without justice where the Palestinian homes, lands and people are as secure and protected as those of the Israelis.

Michael Ross, chairman of Voice For Israel, is quoted on as saying, “(The Salaam-Shalom Bus Ad) promoted that Israel did not have the right to defend itself.” Ross’s quote distorts our message and beats a dead horse. To imply that ending U.S. military aid to the powerful state of Israel would leave Israel defenseless is plainly contradicted by the facts. The state of Israel is the undisputed military superpower of the region and has the fifth most powerful military in the world. High-tech weapons manufacturing and exporting is a flourishing sector of its economy. The $3.1 billion in military “aid” from the U.S. annually is not needed for Israel’s self-defense. This aid is being diverted instead to maintain an aggressive military occupation of Palestinian territories and to fund illegal settlement construction on Palestinian land.

It’s time to update our perceptions: The state of Israel is no longer the brave little David of the Scriptures with his slingshot and stones. Rather, Israel has become the Scriptural giant Goliath. Israel’s right to defend itself is unquestioned. The real issue is what Israel doesn’t have a right to do, namely, to use U.S. taxpayer dollars to systematically violate Palestinian human rights. The Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act explicitly forbid it. The real question is whether a critical mass of informed citizens will exercise their collective conscience and demand that the state of Israel play by the same rules as every other member of the international community.

To reiterate: the Salaam-Shalom Committee of the Church of Reconciliation continues to call for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel for three main reasons. No. 1: The powerful state of Israel is fully capable of defending itself; No. 2: Respected Jewish and international human rights organizations have strong evidence of Israeli human rights violations; No. 3: The U.S. has pressing unmet human needs of its own.

Sharon Shohfi

Chapel Hill

Editor’s note: The writer is the chairwoman of the Salaam-Shalom Committee at the Church of Reconciliation.

PORCH says thanks

I am one of many volunteers with a program offered by PORCH called “Food For Families,” which, in cooperation with Chapel Hill-Carrboro School social workers, identifies and distributes food to families in need in our community.

Like so many others who have been involved, I have been struck by the extraordinary generosity of the people in the many neighborhoods who contribute on a regular basis to this endeavor.

Recently I have learned that several local businesses are also generously helping out, and I want to be sure that they are publicly recognized and lauded for their participation in this hunger-relief effort. As volunteers, we get to see for ourselves the happiness it brings.

A big thank you to Cliff’s Meat Market, Maple View Farms, and Harris Teeter!

We couldn’t do it without you.

Diane Race

PORCH volunteer

Time for compassion

Eyes Ears Nose and Paws has experienced the tragic loss of Worthy the dog, and the tragedy is compounded by the fact that the loss was seemingly preventable; Worthy died after being left too long in a car. But the tragedy did happen, and the organization and the community must find ways to heal.

As others have expressed in letters to the editor, this is an organization which has done such good! Deb Cunningham and Maria Ikenberry have had a vision of how service dogs can change lives, and they have made that vision come alive. It is remarkable that these two young people have started a nonprofit from scratch and brought service dogs to people with seizure disorders, diabetes and many other issues.

They are gifted women and they have created an incredible organization. Their vision comes from their wish to be helpful in the world and to be compassionate, i.e. to help others by providing these wonderful dogs. Maria and Deb have recognized the sense of agency and independence a service dog can bring to clients, as well as the pure joy of joining with a service dog. They are people of strong values and deep commitment who would never, never harm a dog with intent.

Let us as a community be compassionate, too, and support this young organization as it moves forward.

Stella Waugh

Chapel Hill

Editor’s note: The writer is a former EENP board member.

Chapel Hill News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service