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The authors of the counterpoint "Cease-fire resolution neither distracting nor divisive" (Opinion Exchange, Jan. 16) apparently think that repeating the word "genocide" multiple times persuades readers. And that devoting zero words to what happened on Oct. 7 will cause them to forget it. And devoting zero words to what Israel should have done in response to the Hamas attacks will remove that issue, too. Perhaps give Hamas enough through "negotiation" to show that killing, raping and taking Jews hostage is a winning strategy?

If Israel's goal is genocide, it's doing a very poor job, since it has watched Gaza's population double in 20 years and increase eight-fold in 60, a growth rate higher than that of Israel itself.

Perhaps the authors' silence about Oct. 7 reflects their view that Israel deserved what happened because of its treatment Palestinian Arabs. What, then, did it do to deserve Arab attacks on Israel immediately following the United Nations' creation of the state in 1948? Or the surprise attacks by surrounding Arab states in 1967 and 1973? Or the indiscriminate Palestinian bombings in the Second Intifada following Israel's agreement to the Oslo accords in the 1970s?

The authors claim there is nothing divisive about their demand for an immediate and permanent cease-fire. Everyone should agree on it. Debaters call that assuming the conclusion. The tactic never persuades anyone. There is legitimate disagreement about what Israel should do, and no debate within our City Council will change or affect that.

Peter Lancaster, Minneapolis


I support the Minneapolis City Council's call for cease-fire in Gaza. While, as others have written, the council's primary task is to tend to the likes of public safety and streets, it doesn't mean that council members have to ignore threats to humanity's moral foundation occurring elsewhere. And although members can advocate as individuals, their collective role is to take policy positions on behalf of the city. It does not require deep understanding of this conflict to conclude that in its massive response to the October Hamas attack, the government of Israel has crossed moral boundaries with the slaughter of many thousands of Palestinian children and other civilians. I believe that every individual or corporate body has a right, if not an obligation, to speak out whenever and wherever such behavior occurs.

Chip Halbach, Minneapolis


Like many Jews, I anguish over the death and destruction in Gaza. However, in "Cease-fire resolution neither distracting nor divisive," the authors are more committed to progressive talking points than to the truth.

To correct the most egregious mischaracterization:

Zionism is not a racist ideology. Zionism was the dream, and since 1948 the reality, that Jews should make a nation of their ancestral homeland. The authors fail to mention that 2 million Arabs live in peace with Jews in Israel, while virtually all Jews have been banished from countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen. I've never understood why so many progressives want to unravel the Jewish nation, which embraces multiple religions, but not any of the countries rooted in other religions which basically ban all but their religion.

As a nonpartisan, I agree with some of what progressives advocate for, but their MAGA-like rigidity and stubbornness are deeply concerning.

If we're to solve our problems in Minneapolis, all solutions, not just those that progressives have endorsed, must be on the table. Mayor Jacob Frey is intelligent and willing to compromise. I would encourage the City Council to follow the mayor's lead in thinking with flexibility and independence.

Richard Stever-Zeitlin, Minneapolis


While opinion writers and even a City Council member ("On Gaza, council out of its lane, meeting out of control," Jan. 11) seem baffled that events in Gaza have anything to do with our state or the city of Minneapolis, statistics tell another story.

Every year, the U.S. government writes Israel a blank check for at least $3.8 billion for military funding. How much of this annual $3.8 billion do Minneapolis residents pay through federal tax dollars? The average individual taxpayer gives $25.25 in weapons to Israel each year, according to the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. The campaign has calculated that Minneapolis residents pay a total of $6,674,042 to fund these weapons.

How could our city residents use this money for real needs? It's calculated that this money could fund 72 elementary school teachers or provide over 2,300 children with free or low-cost health care. These moneys could instead fund almost 800 households with public housing for a year. And this is just right here in Minneapolis!

While a recent letter writer states she does "not pay Minneapolis taxes for this" (the cease-fire resolution), she certainly pays for war and the killing of nearly 30,000 Palestinians through weapons funding.

Showing support for a cease-fire and adding to the pressure on federal elected officials to do so is not complicated!

Diane Haugesag, Minneapolis


There is much to say in response to the commentary "Cease-fire resolution neither distracting nor divisive" from two members of Jewish Voice for Peace — a fringe organization within (or, I should say, outside of) the global Jewish community. But I will limit my response to noting a critical irony underlying their position. In decrying the "conflation" of "Jews and Judaism with Israel," the authors quote a portion of Deuteronomy: "Justice, justice, you shall pursue." The authors would do well to read the rest of sentence: "Justice, justice, you shall pursue, that you may thrive and occupy the land that your God is giving you." That "land," of course, is Israel, a land that has since shaped the way we practice today, from facing Jerusalem when we pray to observing holidays celebrating our autonomy within the region. The overwhelming support Jews have for Israel today, particularly in the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre, is merely a continuation of this fundamental theme.

The "voices for peace" are entitled to extricate themselves from this connection to Israel. But it certainly isn't Jewish.

Judah Druck, St. Louis Park


Barbarism was downplayed

The Associated Press article "Who are the Houthis and why did the US and UK retaliate for their attacks on ships in the Red Sea?" that the Star Tribune published online on Jan. 12 was grossly inadequate. Readers should know that the Houthis' slogan is "God is the greatest, Death to America, Death to Israel. A curse upon the Jews, Victory to Islam."

That's what the Houthis told their child soldiers to shout in battle, according to the U.N., which in 2022 found that nearly 2,000 children between the ages of 10 and 17 had died fighting with this terrorist group.

That's who we are dealing with in the Red Sea.

Leslie Martin, Inver Grove Heights


A quote for our times

Former President Donald Trump's win in Iowa reminds me of a definition of democracy from H.L. Mencken: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

Red Lyons, Bloomington