Readers’ comments: March 1, 2024

City Council: stay in your lane
Dear editor: 
Pamela Casey Nagler [“Viewpoint: In support of a local resolution for a cease-fire in Gaza,” February 23] wants our Claremont government to spend time on a Gaza cease-fire resolution because it’s apparently the duty of our City Council (and city employee support staff) to get involved in foreign policy. One recalls this recent war started when Hamas launched a sneak attack on Israel Oct 7, 2023, resulting in 1,200 Israeli civilian casualties, some horribly mutilated. Additionally, Hamas took 250 Israelis hostage to be used as negotiating pawns in prisoner swaps and as human shields. Israel’s response shouldn’t be surprising as Hamas will neither surrender nor return the hostages (which would end this war). Somehow I doubt our City Council had much to do with those actions.
Even so, according to Nagler, it’s sufficient that Claremont, as a U.S. city uniquely containing taxpayers, presents a reasonable financial nexus for City Council to officially opine on foreign policy. But why should we stop at City Council when other key departments within our city could issue similar resolutions? CUSD, engineering, police … maybe the Joslyn Center has its own opinion on the resolution since many of their constituents were around in 1948 when Israel was created in the tragic wake of the Holocaust.
What about our Senators Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler, not to mention House Reps Judy Chu and Norma Torres, or even state reps Chris Holden and Anthony Portantino: Should we ask those national- and state-level representatives to work on Claremont’s budget planning process while City Council works out a two-state solution? We want an end to this horrible war and weep at the ongoing destruction of Gaza but forcing foreign policy decisions on the Claremont City Council isn’t a good use of anyone’s time.
David Ochroch


Cease-fire resolution must include affirmation of Israel’s right to exist
Dear editor:
I recently sent this letter to the members of the Claremont City Council:
I am a citizen of Claremont since 2001. I was away on a trip through February 29, otherwise I would have attended the February 27 City Council meeting to comment in person on a possible Israel-Hamas cease-fire resolution. Had I been present, my comment would be as follows:
If a cease-fire resolution comes before you, please keep in mind that Hamas, the party that initiated the current conflict by its murderous actions on October 7, 2023, has as its mission the destruction of Israel as a state, and the killing of Jews.
If you do vote in support of a cease-fire resolution, I respectfully request that you include a strong statement affirming, unconditionally, the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Absent such a statement, please do not vote in favor of a cease-fire resolution. If possible, please include my comment in the public record.
Mark Levine


Activist group responds to City Council resolution
Dear editor:
On February 28, the Claremont City Council unanimously voted against a resolution affirming support for an immediate cease-fire, the release of all hostages, and urgent humanitarian aid sent into Gaza. It took a further authoritarian step and codified the city’s long-standing practice of not issuing “social or political” resolutions.
The city militarized the hall with visible and undercover armed police. Before the meeting, Zionists blocked the entrance of the chambers, resulting in disruptions for anyone going in; senior community members and families with young children who could not access hall seating were forced to sit outside. Throughout the meeting, Claremont Community for Palestine documented them filming and verbally harassing pro-cease-fire community members.
Despite these intimidation tactics, over 70 Claremont residents — including representatives from Claremont Community for Palestine, the Islamic Center of Claremont, the Arab American Civic Council, Jewish Voice for Peace-LA, and Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine — spoke in support of a cease-fire resolution, and hundreds more stood in silent support outside.
Neutrality is a political stance. By choosing non-action during Israel’s ongoing genocide and occupation of Palestine, City Council averts its gaze from murder. It’s not surprising that council members stuttered over even speaking the word “Palestinian,” calling the 30,000 martyrs “other” lives lost.
The city privileged its own settler-colonial present — built from Claremont’s attempted elimination of Indigenous Serrano and Tongva off their land — and its own ongoing history of anti-Black, anti-migrant segregation and exploitation. Council members insisted resolutions on political issues would sow division, as if upholding oppression is not the root cause of division. Hiding behind empty condolences, Claremont chose the wrong side of history again.
And yet, this was not a loss for this campaign. The vote exposed Claremont City Council as frauds who claim to hold “anti-racist” values only when convenient.
Claremont Community for Palestine and its community members are organized, disciplined, and ready to continue holding Claremont’s representatives accountable to Palestinian liberation.
Free Palestine.
Claremont Community for Palestine


‘Handmaid’s Tale’ lurking in Alabama IVF decision
Dear editor:
The recent Alabama state court decision on in vitro fertilization rests on the idea that from the moment of conception, of fertilization, of the joining of a human sperm and human egg, the resulting biological entity, an embryo, is a person, a human being.
There are other ideas about when a person comes into being, including when an embryo (or a fetus) can feel pain; when there is a fetal heartbeat; when the fetus is capable of existence outside the womb; or when birth occurs. None of those can be called “the correct view,” for it is not a scientific issue. The notions of personhood, of being a human being, are moral notions, something which gives a being moral status, a place in humanity. Science cannot establish such a matter. The most it can say is that the creature is Homo sapiens. Rather when we decide that a being is a person, we are supplying not the correct answer but the best answer.
The idea that personhood begins with the union of a Homo sapiens sperm cell and an egg cell is not at all the best answer (witness for example the absurdity of Alabama’s court decision). The only reason “personhood begins with conception” is in the current discussion is that it is pushed by those with a very particular religious view: those who want to assert that at the moment of conception God makes the new cell a human being by implanting a soul in the resultant embryo. That is not, as proponents claim, the view of Christianity; many orthodox Christians reject it. It is both extremely narrow view of what a person is and by writing it into law, it forces the rest of the community to abide by the view of a religious minority.
The Handmaid’s Tale” is lurking.
Merrill Ring

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