Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Two Views on the NYTimes' Tax-Exemption Piece - and Another

These are two letters that were published on the issue:

Re “Tax-Exempt Funds Aiding Settlements in West Bank” (front page, July 6):

I compliment you for reporting on this scandalous use of American taxpayers’ funds to support illegal and ill-conceived activities in the occupied territories of the West Bank. You clearly point out how the actions of groups of naïve American evangelists are obstructing any eventual peace process for the Middle East.

And while the total of $200 million in tax-deductible funds spent over the last decade is shocking, it pales when compared with the more than $30 billion in economic and military aid that the United States government has given to Israel over the last decade. This is much more than we have given the whole impoverished continent of Africa and is by far the largest single destination of official foreign aid. This aid should be stopped immediately.

Richard L. Huber
New York, July 6, 2010

To the Editor:

Some questions:

Why should it be controversial for tax-exempt charities to aid people who live in disputed territory?

Why is it that Jews living in the ancient Jewish cities of Hebron or Jerusalem on Jewish-owned land are constantly called an obstacle to peace, while the Arabs of Jaffa or Haifa are not?

Why is it that the term “apartheid” is applied to Israel, where Arabs and Jews live together, while it is assumed that ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank must precede the establishment of a Palestinian state?

The hypocrisy is blatant.

I repeatedly see in your newspaper the phrase “a two-state solution.” The solution under discussion is not a two-state solution at all. It is a state and a half for the Palestinians, and half a state for the Jews. In other words, it is just a subtle plan for the dissolution of Jewish sovereignty.

If the creation of a Palestinian state necessitates transfer of Jews from Har Bracha in the West Bank, then the creation of the redefined Israel ought to necessitate the transfer of its Arab minority as well.

Richard Gertler
Teaneck, N.J., July 6, 2010

And here's mine that didn't get published:

Your review of the tax-exempt status of charities providing humanitarian assistance to Jews in territories that are disputed ("Tax-Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank", July 6) insinuates that the tax breaks should be challenged on the basis that American government policy views the Jewish communities there as "unhelpful".

However, since a strong legal claim can be made that those territories are part of the intended reconstituted Jewish national home sanctioned by the League of Nations, most supreme international body 90 years ago, when the Jewish people was guaranteed the right of "close settlement of Jews on the land" as Article 6 of the Mandate states, it would appear that the tax-exemption of such charities should be inviolable from the quirks and vagaries of political winds, ill or otherwise.

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Anonymous said...

I agree with Huber about one thing: We should stop taking U.S. aid, trust in The Creator of the world for our sustenance and cut the umbilical cord between Israel and the U.S.

Doug Greener said...

My letter was in the same direction as Gertler's, but to tell the truth I prefer his and was happy to see the Times published it.

Here's mine:

Dear Editor,

I note that within your report, "Tax-Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank" (July 5), is the phrase that Jewish "permanence in the Israeli-occupied territories -- effectively obstruct[s] the creation of a Palestinian state." Indeed, the assumption that Jewish towns and villages in the West Bank are anathema to a Palestinian state is accepted without question throughout the article.

Yet it doesn't have to be this way. Is it so difficult to imagine an independent state of Palestine which includes Jewish citizens within its borders? After all, the Jewish State of Israel includes a sizable minority (over 20%) of Arabs, more than one million citizens. Instead of contemplating the forcible removal of people from their homes, wouldn't it be more humane and, ultimately, more politically feasible, if the Jews living in the West Bank were allowed to remain in their communities, even under Palestinian sovereignty?

Doug Greener