Israeli oppression what's really hated

Regarding the letter, "Israelis fight Islamist threat to whole world" on Aug. 1: no, Muslims do not hate Jews.

For centuries, Arabs and Jews lived harmoniously together in Yemen, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco and Spain.

No, Arabs do not hate Jews. During World War II, hundreds of thousands of Jews who escaped Nazi Germany were welcome with open arms. By whom? Not the United States, but by the Arab countries of the Middle East.

What Arabs do hate is the suffocating blockade of Gaza, where neither people nor products can move in or out. They hate the humiliating checkpoints and the never-ending settlements built on the West Bank. Most of all, they hate seeing crowds on a hill in Israel cheering every bomb explosion in Gaza and hearing them chant, as reported, "Tomorrow there's no school in Gaza, they don't have any children left."

Mary Hanna

Oakland

Candidate Parker looks good for city

Recently, I had an opportunity to listen to some candidates for Oakland mayor. Bryan Parker was one of them, and I was impressed.


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Finally, not a politician. Well educated, has a law and business management background, and he is a member of the Oakland Port Commission, a vital income producer for Oakland.

I support his views on safety, employment and education as the most important issues. They are the right priorities. His business background would make Oakland a business-friendly place again. While there are also other candidates, he is the person who in our racially diversified city can and should be elected.

Being a businessman in Oakland for 44 years, I believe that jobs are the answer, also for safety. San Francisco is overpriced for business and housing. With good leadership and support for business, we can attract the good jobs we need here and revitalize the city.

Nicholas Balas

Oakland

Trash pickup rate hike is outrageous

I find it very difficult to fathom how our Oakland City Council could sign off on a new waste pickup contract that sticks us all with a 23 percent rate hike.

If I am not mistaken, we were forced into an automatic hike of about 2 to 2.5 percent every year for as long as I can remember, and I believe those hikes were equal to or higher than the inflation rate and Consumer Price Index increase over that period of time. So what could possibly justify a 23 percent increase? Was there a public input meeting on this that I missed?

I am also wondering what yearly increase we will be stuck with this time. Big increases with EBMUD, PG&E and now this.

John Murray

Oakland

Williams' suicide another warning

Robin Williams' suicide underscores the tragedy of the effects of mental illness.

Of those who take their lives, 90 percent have some form of mental illness. When someone with this level of external success and financial access to resources cannot go on, it is devastating -- and only serves to remind us of the terrible and horrific struggles so many others deal with on a daily basis.

We need to open our hearts and support appropriate, kind and nonstigmatizing interventions.

Peggy Rahman Marsha McInnis Liz Rebensdorf

local affiliate presidents, National Alliance on Mental Illness

Community's deaths should be punished

How many times must we relive the nightmare of a young, unarmed, African-American male being shot and killed by the police? This is the question confronting our nation once again; the question continuously haunting the African-American communal psyche.

Michael Brown's killing must be contextualized within the broader historical narrative of racialized violence enacted by law enforcement. Tragically, it is merely the latest chapter of what feels like an unending canon chronicling the infamous legacy of police brutality nationwide.

Brown's name is now forever associated with other unarmed black victims killed by state-induced violence: Fred Hampton, Amadou Diallo and Eric Garner.

In Oakland, this narrative of young African-American men killed by law enforcement officers is all too familiar: Bobby Hutton, Alan Blueford and Oscar Grant.

Moreover, the agony of these deaths is exacerbated by the slap on the wrist officers frequently receive. We must foster change. We have to decriminalize blackness, change how law enforcement officers are trained and legislatively hold officers accountable for their crimes against humanity and our communities.

Dominique DuBois Gilliard

Oakland