A Lofty Memory
To the Editor:
Carla Occaso’s article “Birth of the Hunger Mountain Co-op” in the Oct. 18 issue of The Bridge implies that the co-op went from the ground floor of the tenement building (which was torn down) to the present location on Stone Cutters Way in Montpelier, but there was another location that I vividly remember. It now houses the Montpelier Veterinary Hospital, previously the Berlin Vet Clinic. I remember a feature that you don’t find anywhere, and that was a loft where kids could play while parents shopped. I don’t recall how long it was there, but it must have been a while, since there were 18 years between when the Co-op started and the move to the present location in 1996.
Renee Lagala, Montpelier
To the Editor:
I really loved the details and content of Jenni Bee’s cartoon in the Oct. 18 issue. I hope you’ll feature her regularly.
Buffy Aakaash, East Calais
Public Streets are Not Permanent Parking Spots
To the Editor:
Street parking is NOT residential, private property parking. Imagine not being able to have relatives or friends, some you haven’t seen in years, or health or repair services to your home. This is because of private homes using spaces for their personal, long-term, private parking on the street.
Take Wilder Street in Montpelier. Only six spaces on one side are allowed. There have been two vehicles (owned by one family with more vehicles than drivers) back to back at the entrance to Blanchard Park, going on now for two months, never moving. They even have other vehicles they park in one or more of the three remaining spaces at the same time. During winter, this family frequently parks on BOTH sides at the same time blocking vehicles trying to travel up further. Another residence occasionally moves a vehicle even though they have two spaces behind their home. Three or more out of six spaces taken up. Residents can’t have people come to celebrate birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. Folks who can’t walk distances or hills cannot visit other residents. How narcissistic and cruel. Forget driving to park and go up Blanchard Park!
Throughout the United States, cities have RESIDENTIAL PARKING PROGRAMS, i.e., VISITOR ONLY or PERMIT PARKING to deal with this problem. Ridge Street has PERMIT PARKING near VCFA. District 3 Council Members need to address this matter. A lot to rent space is located at the corner of Hubbard and Wilder streets. Please fix this. It just isn’t fair! Tired of not being able to visit my friend.
Brian Resnick, Montpelier
Praying for Peace is not Enough
To the Editor:
In response to a recent letter to The Bridge in your Oct. 18 issue, the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7 were horrific. There is no justification. Anti-semitism, without exception, must be condemned.
At the same time, criticizing the actions of the state of Israel is not by definition pro-Hamas nor an expression of anti-semitism. This is not a fine point to cast aside.
Anti-Palestinian-ism, that is the discrimination and unjust treatment of those who identify as Palestinian, must, without exception, also be condemned. Most notable in this moment is the collective punishment of millions of Palestinians in Gaza. Nearly half this population is under the age of 18. They have never voted. They are children. They are not “animals,” as Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant recently declared, that should be deprived of food, electricity, water, and fuel.
Hence, most Gazans, subject to Israel’s military response, are arguably also victims of the Hamas attacks. Nearly 5,800 have now died, 40% are estimated to be children. There has not been an election in Gaza for 17 years. As such, can anyone credibly assert that the Hamas terrorists actually represent the will of the people of Gaza whose lives are now being devastated in mass?
To those praying for peace and rightly decrying anti-semitism, where is also your public condemnation of the cruelty raining down on the Palestinian people of Gaza? Can we not criticize Israel’s leaders, policies, and actions without being anti-semites or self-hating Jews?
Where are our voices united and infused with the deep connection to our purpose, to repair the world — Tikkun Olam?
Praying for peace is not enough.
Ron Koss, Montpelier
End the Cycle of Violence
To the Editor:
As Vermont Jews, we were saddened to read a letter in the last issue from leaders of some Vermont Jewish congregations condemning the Oct. 14 rally in support of Palestinian freedom. Some of us spoke at this rally, deep in our grief over lives lost in the horrors of the Hamas attack and the ongoing devastation in Gaza since. We needed to stand with Palestinians in that moment, listening, and calling together for an end to this violence.
The letter conflated support for Palestinian freedom with support of Hamas. It misunderstood ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ as an incitement to killing Jews. As Palestinian-American historian Maha Nassar explains in the “Forward,” this chant expresses Palestinian grief at the division of the once-unified land of Palestine during the establishment of Israel, and at so much oppression since. It is a yearning for beloved homelands and for freedom.
As Jews, we cannot let our own grief and anger prevent us from standing with Palestinians to demand an end to this cycle of violence. We know there is no way to peace through violent efforts to silence Palestinian resistance while oppression remains intact. The only way to safety, for both our peoples, is through justice and liberation for Palestinians.
The state of Israel has the power to end this oppression. As Vermont Jews, we urge our leaders to demand a ceasefire now, and to press for justice for Palestinians.
Central VT Chavurah for Justice and Liberation
Jewish Voice for Peace VT
Jason Hirsch, Montpelier
Jay Greene, Plainfield
Rachel Fish, Braintree
Alyssa Chen, Burlington
Perry Bellow-Handelman, Middlesex
Jamie Spector, Plainfield
Brian Tokar, East Montpelier
Joseph Alper, Peacham
Tevye Kelman, Washington
Party for Socialism and Liberation: “Free Palestine”
To the Editor:
On Oct. 14, hundreds gathered peacefully in Burlington to condemn the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel and the use of U.S. tax dollars for the systematic extermination of Palestinians. A letter was submitted to The Bridge (“Praying for Peace,” Oct. 18) mischaracterizing this demonstration as hateful. Since the Burlington rally, there’s been a marked increase in hostilities toward peaceful activists nationwide, united in their support for Palestine. Despite these adversities, solidarity with Palestine has not only persisted but grown, with numerous individuals, including those of Jewish faith, voicing their opposition to Israel’s actions. Emphasizing this dedication, just last week, over 300 protesters from Jewish Voice for Peace faced arrest during a sit-in at the U.S. Congress building.
In its 75 years of existence, Israel has utilized massacres and many more violent tactics to steal Palestinian lands. Today, Israel is a racist, apartheid state where Palestinians have virtually no rights. Earlier this month, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant called Palestinians “human animals” to justify Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza, which is denying two million people access to food, water, and electricity as they are relentlessly bombed by Israel’s military.
Colonized people have a moral and legal (under international law) right to resist their oppression. Many anti-apartheid activists in South Africa, including Nelson Mandela, were once demonized. In hindsight, we know they were on the right side of history. The struggle against Israeli apartheid too will be vindicated in the history books. This is why around the country and across the world, thousands are taking up the cry “Free Palestine!”
Damian Taylor, St. Johnsbury
Party for Socialism and Liberation
Vermonters for Justice in Palestine
Vermont Peace and Antiwar Coalition
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