Israeli security and Likud Party line

As a Jewish American, I am a supporter of Israel. But, just as one can be a patriotic American while being critical of the American government, support for Israel does not necessarily imply hewing to the Likud Party line.

President Obama's recent speech on negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians was right on target ("Totally committed," May 22). Contrary to the way his words have been portrayed by some in the media and by certain Jewish organizations, the president did not call for Israel to commit suicide by unilaterally and unconditionally returning to the pre-1967 borders. Rather, he stated that those borders should represent a starting point for negotiations, not an ending point. Land swaps would be based on new demographic realities and would ensure Israel's security.

Any Palestinian state would also be demilitarized. This is an approach that Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni has endorsed. Asserting that Obama wishes for Israel to return to the "Auschwitz lines," as the Zionist Organization of America has done, is a gross misrepresentation.

Bill Fanshel

Bryn Mawr

wfanshel@hotmail.com

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Several other useful preconditions

President Obama is correct. Israel must start negotiations with the Palestinians with the 1967 borders as a precondition. But some preconditions must also be agreed to by the other side.

These should include removing the call for the destruction of the "Zionist Entity" and the destruction of the Jew from the Palestinian charter; making sure school books indicate the existence of Israel; and acknowledging that Israel is a Jewish state.

The United States, for its part, must set an example by returning California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas to Mexico.

Ron Nelson

Philadelphia

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Is Corbett's move on loans legal?

After reading Harold Brubaker's Wednesday article, "Corbett seeking to consolidate Pennsylvania's loans to businesses," I found myself asking how this could even be legal.

According to Article 8, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, "The credit of the Commonwealth shall not be pledged or loaned to any individual, company, corporation or association nor shall the Commonwealth become a joint owner or stockholder in any company, corporation or association."

So how is it that we taxpayers have become uninformed partners in an unlawful activity to the tune of $900 million? And why are our elected officials still perpetrating this fraud on taxpayers? And why aren't The Inquirer's reporters asking these questions and holding those officials accountable?

Jeffrey Ney

Elverson

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Albert Barnes' original intention

Inquirer art critic Edward J. Sozanski began his May 22 column about moving the Barnes Foundation's art collection by noting ironies in a recent letter he received from the foundation ("Barnes' soul will stay behind"). I guess he was so taken by those ironies that the missed the one in his column.

The Barnes Foundation Indenture of Trust forbids moving the art not just to Philadelphia, but anywhere. It also forbids copies, such as posters or books. In his column, Sozanski lauded a commercially available catalog of the foundation's American art.

That catalog is available because the court overturned part of the indenture. So it's OK to overturn the indenture to allow more people to see copies of the art, but not OK to overturn it so more people can see the real thing?

Barnes wrote that he wanted the art available to "the plain people, that is, men and women who gain their livelihood by daily toil in shops, factories, schools, stores and similar places."

Over the years the courts have overturned the indenture piece by piece, nudging the Barnes toward providing greater access to the average guy. Sozanski calls the move to Philadelphia a "radical transformation in the nature of the institution."

Good.

Rob Weiss

Mount Laurel

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EPA must resist the coal lobby

Are we really going to let coal-power lobbyists argue that their plants should be permitted to dump ultra-toxic mercury, sulfur, and acid gases into the air that we all breathe ("Getting coal power to clean up its stacks," May 22)? Are they seriously asking the Environmental Protection Agency to waive clean air regulations, permit thousands of deaths and illnesses, and halt the jobs and progress of clean-energy technologies just so they don't have to pay for upgrades to their primitive and polluting power plants? The audacity of that request is staggering. Shame on them for asking. Shame on us for even listening. Our air and water should not be used as a dumping ground for toxic waste, period. The EPA should stand strong, and let the regulations kick in.

Jay Butera

Gladwyne

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Let's just be grateful Chase Utley's back

Finally, after missing 46 games due to a nagging knee injury, Chase Utley made a triumphant return. Apparently, his mere presence in the lineup roused the Phillies' sleeping bats. The result? A much-needed 10-3 win over the Reds.

But, instead of celebrating, Ashley Fox chose to suggest Utley had been less than candid about his "aches and pains" ("Manuel will need Utley to be honest," Tuesday).

Has Fox ever tried living in the moment? Her column was so insufferably typical of our whiny society.

Couldn't she have waited until Utley had at least played a few games?

Stephen R. Schwartz

Medford