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Letters to the Editor: July 23, 2014 

Sex surrogacy; Attack on Gaza

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Great Sex Article

Great article about sex surrogacy ("Sexual Healing," July 16). I can't really complain that you interviewed Vena and Isadora. They're both legends in the field of human sexuality. But did you know you have a sex therapist right here in Santa Rosa? (It's me.) Now you do!

Santa Rosa

Israel's War in Gaza

The North Bay is a long way from the carnage in Gaza, but the political support for the mass killing there comes from all over the United States—including our area, represented by Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman in Congress.

On July 11, the House of Representatives approved by unanimous voice vote—with no objections or dissent—a resolution expressing "United States support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks."

At that point, the ratio of reported deaths among Palestinians and Israelis was running at more than 100 to 1.

This was in keeping with standard political operating procedure—rhetoric aside, a routine devaluation of Palestinian lives in sharp contrast to Israeli lives.

Sadly, there's nothing conspicuous about the keep-your-head-down behavior of Thompson and Huffman on this matter. They're going along to get along with the prevailing biases of the sort reflected in a July 18 editorial by the New York Times.

The Times editorial declared that Hamas leaders "deserve condemnation" for military actions from civilian areas in the dense Gaza enclave—but the Israeli government merited mere expressions of "concern" about "further escalation." Absent from the editorial was any criticism of Israel's ongoing bombardment of homes, apartment blocks, hospitals, beaches and other civilian areas with U.S.-supplied ordnance.

In the morally skewed universe that the Times editorial board evidently inhabits and eagerly promulgates, Hamas intends to "terrorize" Israeli citizens while Israel merely intends to accomplish military objectives by dropping thousands of tons of bombs on Palestinian people in Gaza.

While sprinkling in a handwringing couple of phrases about dead and wounded civilians, the editorial had nothing to say in condemnation of the Israeli force killing and maiming them in large numbers.

Between the lines was a tacit message to Israel: Kill more. It's OK. Kill more. And to Israel's patrons in Washington: Stand behind Israel's mass killing in Gaza. Under the unfortunate circumstances, it's needed.

When the editorial came off the press, the Israeli military was just getting started. And no doubt Israeli leaders, from Netanyahu on down, were heartened by the good war-making seal of approval from the New York Times.

After all, the most influential media voice in the United States—where the government is the main backer of Israel's power—was proclaiming that the mass killing by the Israeli military was regrettable but not objectionable.

The night after the Times editorial went to press, the killing escalated. Among the calamities: the Israeli military shelled the Gaza neighborhood of Shejaiya throughout the night with nonstop tank fire that allowed no emergency services to approach. Eyewitness media reports from Shejaiya recounted scenes of "absolute devastation" with bodies strewn in the streets and the ruins.

Two days after the editorial reached Times newsprint, over 150 more were counted dead in Gaza. No media enabler was more culpable than the editorializing voice of the Times, which had egged on the Israeli assault at the end of a week that began with the United Nations reporting 80 percent of the dead in Gaza were civilians.

The Times editorial was in step with President Obama, who said—apparently without intended irony—that "no country can accept rockets fired indiscriminately at citizens." Later, matching Israeli rationales for a ground invasion, the president amended his verbiage by saying: "No nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders or terrorists tunneling into its territory."

An important caveat can be found in the phrases "no country" and "no nation." The stateless people who live in Gaza—70 percent of whom are from families expelled from what's now southern Israel—are a very different matter.

We get plenty of lofty rhetoric while the intermittent mass killing continues. By the lights of the Oval Office and the New York Times editorial boardroom, as well as hundreds of congressional offices, the proper role of Palestinian people is to be slaughtered into submission.

Inverness Park

Dept. of Corrections

The painting shown in last weeks events calendar, Shame by Jenny Honnert Abell, is not showing at Healdsburg's Hammerfriar Gallery, but is on display at the Petaluma Arts Center. It's part of a group show titled: "(n) collage: a mixed media collage exhibit (n)="new." The exhibit runs from July 25 to Sept. 14. Abell's work is also on display at a new Hammerfriar Gallery solo show entitled "Cry, Love Life." The show runs until Sept. 7. The Bohemian regrets the errors.

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