Our condolences to the families and friends of three heroes

On May 8 and 9, Resolve, in collaboration with various other community groups, hosted an “Interrupting Hate in Public Spaces” workshop. Rabbi Deborah Kolodny, from Portland’s Resolutions Northwest, took us through the steps of interrupting hatred by securing the safety of the individual(s) being targeted. It is clear that Ricky John Best, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche (an Ashland High School graduate) did just that.

As Elizabeth Hallett from Peace House stated, "The attempt to protect two Muslim girls in public transport played out more grievously than we would have imagined when we did the role plays in (these) workshops." In collaboration, Peace House, Unite Oregon, the Multicultural Association of Southern Oregon, Unete, the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, and the Racial Equity Coalition, first and foremost want to express our condolences to the families of the victims.

We are sorry that we live in a world where Islamophobia, racism and hatred of The Other is present and tolerated. We are sorry that people of good will died in what should have been a routine commute. We are sorry about the senselessness of all of this. We are clear that now, more than ever, we need to shift the culture of our cities, regions, states and country to be reflective of the values of inclusion. We call on folks to follow up on what Taliesin Meche's family has asked, that “In honor of his memory, we use this tragedy as an opportunity for reflection and change."

Alma Rosa Alvarez, Racial Equity Coalition, and Elizabeth V. Hallett, Peace House

On behalf of the Racial Equity Coalition, Peace House, Unite Oregon, the Multicultural Association of Southern Oregon, the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission and Unete

Learn the true facts

On May 25, Herb Rothschild cited several “fake” facts and one-sided statements taken out of context about Israel. Although Israel certainly has faults, as a country not yet 70, with incredible challenges, it deserves compassion.

He says that Israel performs “on-going theft of Palestinian land and water.” False: the approval of water projects in the West Bank is made by the Joint Water Committee (JWC) through mutual agreement. (www.ngo-monitor.org/reports/)

He boasts that the BDS movement is making inroads against Israel. However, on May 17, the American Jewish Committee announced their Governors United Against BDS initiative had successfully earned the support of governors from all 50 states.

No mention is made of the refusal of the Palestinian Authority of any peace agreement, their government corruption, the terrorism they support, or the 30 percent of U.S. and international funds given to families of martyrs for their grim handiwork.

Here are some reasons to be supportive of Israel, the only country in the Middle East that: is a democracy; protects and supports the rights of women, gays and minorities; has freedom of speech and the press; and even funds the national mosques as well as churches and synagogues.

Open your mind — it’s time to learn the true facts.

Rabbi Jacqueline Brodsky

Ashland

Now we know

In his comedy routine, Flip Wilson used to say, "The devil made me do it." In her column May 23, Froma Harrop, referring to liberals on college campuses who violently oppose free speech, said conservatives made them do it. In other words, according to Harrop, campus liberals rioted, beat people, started fires and destroyed public and private property, all because they were inflamed by conservatives and had no alternative other than to become violent.

Following Harrop's logic, the Germans murdered 6 million Jews because the Jews made them do it. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor because America made them do it. Now we know how it all works.

Maynard Telpner

Talent