I wanted to let you know that I appreciated the article written by Lisa Zaid on the IHH-sponsored effort to run the Isr aeli blockade to Gaza. This is simply a terrorist front organization, and it is time that people realize what is going on.

She did a good job of setting the record straight, and I thank you for publishing it.

Neal Andrews

Whose homeland is it?
Ms. Zaid sees every move by Palestinians protesting the theft of their land by the Israelis as an unwarranted, unjustified, “act of terrorism.” We Americans have just celebrated our 234th anniversary of independence from England. The British conceived of the patriots as “terrorists” for forcibly taking over “King’s property.” In turn, the dispossessed and decimated native Indian tribes were considered “savage terrorists” by the land grabbing colonists. In the current Palestinian/Israeli conflict, who is the aggressor, who is the “terrorist”?   In the last century, as Jews sought refuge from their WWII Holocaust, they made claim to vast lands which, unfortunately, already were occupied by another people — as they had been for centuries. What happened next has been thoroughly documented by two Israelis who have exhaustively studied the issue, history professor Ilan Pappé and writer and peace activist Uri Avrenry. Their findings show that the great majority of the land taken over by immigrating Jews was taken by intimidation, terror and force from terrified Palestinians. Attempts now by Palestinians to regain their homeland are labeled as “terrorism” by the uninformed.

We are Jews whose parents were all born in Eastern Europe during the latter half of the nineteenth century. We currently have close family living in Israel. According to Israeli law, we have the right to move to, and settle in, Israel and to buy land stolen from a Palestinian family, but that same Palestinian family does not have the right to return to his homeland for any purpose. Is this fair? There can be no peace in Palestine until grievances such as these are dealt with fairly and justly.

We Jews must face the fact that Zionism, wrapped in extreme nationalism and militarism, has taken on unmistakable forms of racism as well (i.e., the clearing of Palestinian property to make way for Israeli settlements, the various techniques for keeping Palestinians and Jews apart, the unequal access to public services such as segregated schools etc). In supporting violations of human rights and violations of international law, and approving total reliance on brute, military force to resolve crucial social and political problems, Jews have relinquished the high moral ground they held after World War II, ground they can win back if they stop considering all attacks on Israel as terrorism and begin to see Palestinians as people like themselves who wish to live in peace and dignity.

Norman and Betty Eagle

Green energy, not oil
It only takes one blowout to ruin the “clean records” of the oil companies. This blowout is so great that it is threatening the future of deep sea drilling. The nuclear industry is in the same precarious situation: one Chernobyl accident away from being a viable energy source. When will we get the message that fossil fuels and nukes are inherently dangerous: to the environment, to people/animals living nearby, to national security, to the economy. We have solutions in green energy. The government needs to make these a mandate and back them the way it has backed the oil industry.

Katie Fagan
Oak View

Always so negative
Erik Hayden’s movie reviews.

Let me know when you actually like something …

Not EVERY movie can be horrible …

Or better yet, why don’t you critique something you like for a change?

Terry W. Ventura

Understanding Gaza
Re: Lisa Zaid’s passionate and detailed “Power to Speak” in a plea for “actual facts”
Taking a longer historical view, Israel is an expansionist (compare 1948 with 2010) ethnically based (a Jewish state), apartheid (placing the subject population in restricted cantons or bantustans) state. Gaza is an example of this, where 1.5 million people are basically held prisoner and deprived of numerous rights, including the right to leave (as in Soviet days). The Israeli invasion of 2009 sped up before Obama took office, deliberately laid waste to Gaza, destroying the productive infrastructure, bulldozing agricultural land, and leveling buildings. This collective punishment and blockade are designed to create an undernourished, unproductive, undereducated class of untermenschen. It is in this context that activists from many nations have sought to break this illegal and inhumane siege.

As an American, one can hardly take a moral high ground, not simply because the U.S. government uncritically supports any Israeli government’s actions, but the U.S. was also conceived in the same sin. The U.S. is expansionist, its original documents racist, and its people massacred and stole the land of the indigenous peoples, relegating them to poverty on bantustans or reservations. So, as President Bush said on his last visit, the two countries have historically a lot in common. The U.S., however as an immigrant nation has accepted those of different faiths, unlike Israel. It is not the first time that American citizens have conflicting loyalties. German-Americans, Italian Americans before World War II, Irish Americans in the struggle against Britain and notably Cuban Americans, like Jewish organizations, have had an enormous impact on American foreign policy. And now, because of Israel, dual nationality is permitted when some 50 years ago serving in a foreign army or voting in foreign elections cost you your citizenship.

The question in this era of nation states is whether these pressure groups, so effective with the media and politicians depending on election, best serve the overall interests of the United States.

J. Becket, Ojai

Thanks to Santa Barbara search and rescue
On the evening of July 3, about 6 p.m., I started hiking with my friend Angel and dog Val at the Tangerine Falls trail in Santa Barbara. Val is a 6-year-old, 80-pound female German shepherd mix. At the base of the falls, about an hour later, Val slipped and fell approximately 20 feet into the ravine below the falls, injuring her right hind leg, and could not walk.

We managed to scramble down into the ravine, support her leg with a homemade splint, and tow her back up the embankment to the trail. We knew, however, that we would not be able to carry her back to the trailhead without hurting her more or injuring ourselves in the process. Night was upon us, Val is quite a large dog and was struggling due to pain, and the trail itself had many steep rocky sections and exposed edges.

Fortunately, we both had our cells phones with us, and by the grace of God we had cell reception at the back of the canyon. We called 911 and were routed quickly to Santa Barbara search and rescue. After giving our location to one of the members, we were told that a team was on its way. About a half an hour later, we received a text that two teams were on the trail, along with an Animal Control officer. At about 9:40 p.m., the teams reached us. We were amazed that they were able to get to us so fast in the dark, over very rough terrain, while carrying a lot of heavy equipment.

The team secured Val to the stretcher and used several belays to lower her down the rough sections. We were touched by the care and compassion they showed for Val while efficiently and safely moving her down the trail. The team showed the highest degree of professionalism and teamwork throughout the night. We arrived back at the trailhead about 1:30 a.m.

We then took Val to an emergency pet hospital in Ventura, where she was diagnosed with a dislocated hip. Although she will require surgery for a total hip replacement, which she is receiving at CARE in Santa Barbara, we are grateful she has received a second chance and did not suffer severe internal injuries.

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Santa Barbara search and rescue team members: Stephen Allcott, Jim Frank, Kevin Hess, Mike LoMonaco, Nelson Trichler, Juanita Smith and Kerrie Valdiviezo, and also Animal Control Officer John Perry for an outstanding job. They rescued our beloved Val on a moment’s notice, with kindness and compassion. No words can sum up our appreciation for their dedication, heart and professionalism.

Randy Tan Angel Golis Val

Equine love and thanks
The Humane Society of Ventura County would like to thank the people of Ventura County for supporting us in the rescue of 50 horses from the Lockwood Valley in October of 2008. The last horse was adopted on July 13.

After almost two years of caring for these horses, we feel that the outpouring of support that we have received for the shelter staff has given us courage to continue doing what we do best – caring for the neglected and abused animals.

We are very proud of the staff and the volunteers who devoted their time to all of the shelter animals. Cleaning corrals in 100-plus-degree weather was very difficult on everyone, yet nobody complained. These people are the true heroes.

We would like to say a special thank you to the Ventura County District Attorney’s office, Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, Department of Animal

Regulations Director Kathy Jenks and personnel, Marta Grandstedt, DVM, and the five other veterinarians who assisted. There are so many people whom we would like to thank, but the list is too long. There will be a special thank you listing on our website, HSVC.org.

Thank you again for your continued support from the Humane Society Board of Directors and staff at the HSVC shelter.

Sherry Brockus
Executive Director
Humane Society of Ventura County