Letters the NYT Wouldn’t Print

Photo by Jakayla Toney

Since last October, I have sent some 14 letters to the editor of the New York Times.  To date, the Letters Editor has declined to accept any of them. The first seven of my letters are copied below.

October 29, 2023

It’s not just Biden’s age that causes me to oppose his reelection as President. His October 10 endorsement of Netanyahu’s genocidal bombing of Palestinians in Gaza caused me to deregister as a Democrat.

December 10, 2023

My shared grief with Israelis for the barbarous massacre by Hamas waned as IDF bombs and missiles rained death and destruction on mostly women and children in Gaza.

More weapons for Ukraine won’t allow Zelensky to retake Crimea and expel Russian troops. More arms for Israel will only make Biden more complicit in Netanyahu’s ongoing genocide in Gaza.

Only ceasefires in both conflicts can end the carnage and allow for diplomatic solutions–in Ukraine/Russia and in Israel/Gaza.

December 19, 2023

Netanyahu and Zelensky are both wedded to illusions.  For the Israeli Prime Minister, it’s the belief that Hamas can be completely eliminated.  For the Ukraine President, it’s the belief that his forces can recapture Crimea and drive out the Russians.  President Joe Biden has bought into both illusions.

The reality is that Hamas will endure in one form or another until the underlying injustices toward Palestinians are ended. The reality is that Ukraine is unlikely to regain Crimea or expel Russian troops, given Russia’s size and greater resources.

Diplomacy (mediated ceasefire and peace negotiation) is the only reasonable solution for both conflicts.

December 28, 2023

Why only now are critics, “both within Israel and outside” beginning to doubt that “resolving to destroy [Hamas]…was ever realistic?”  From the war’s outset, it seemed apparent that the utter destruction of Gaza would not eliminate “such a deeply entrenched organization.”

If Netanyahu’s unexpressed intent was not primarily to destroy Hamas, but rather to eliminate altogether the Palestinian presence in Gaza, he may soon see that wish fulfilled.

The relentless IDF bombing and shelling of both North and South and severe food, water and medicine shortages have forced almost all the Gazan population to seek safety in the limited spaces near the Rafah crossing.

It appears unlikely that Egypt, even militarily, could stop a massed forced breach of its border by two million desperate Gazans seeking food and safety.  What could happen next is the forced relocation of the expelled Palestinians into a massive refugee tent camp in the Sinai desert.

Netanyahu can then take credit for reenacting the 1948 Nakba. 

January 5, 2024

Two Biden administration officials, Tariq Habash and Josh Paul, have publicly resigned their senior posts in protest over U.S. support of Israel’s war on Gaza. Habash gave up his advisor job with the Education Department on January 3 while Paul left the State Department last October.  Both men expressed the courage of their conviction that the Gaza war is morally wrong.

Similar sentiments have been expressed by other government officials who have written “anonymous open letters calling for the administration to support a cease-fire.”

Government employees whose opposition to the war has led them to resign or to risk firing by signing petitions are, in my view, modern heroes.

January 14, 2024

Enabling Netanyahu to commit genocide in Gaza; widening the Middle East conflict with attacks on Yemen; vetoing ceasefire resolutions in the Security Council; fighting a proxy war in Ukraine; promising to go to war to defend Taiwan and engaging in a media campaign against China.

Are these wise policies?

February 2,2024

Politicians and columnists like the author debate long-term solutions for post-war Gaza.  But why do they and the media at large avoid a more immediate question: where do the Gazans go now? Crowded into the limited spaces near the Rafah border with Egypt, a million or more Palestinians are increasingly suffering from cold, injuries, hunger and disease. Colder weather and a cutoff of UNRWA aid loom.

As the IDF shifts its targeting priorities from Khan Yunis to Rafah, will Israel force the resettlement of Palestinians to other countries? Or will the desperate Gazans (who have no homes to return to) use their sheer numbers to break through the formidable Egyptian barrier in search of food and safety?

Let’s see more opinions on what’s next for Gaza.

Why is the NYT seemingly unwilling to post criticisms of the Gaza and Ukraine wars?

L. Michael Hager is cofounder and former Director General, International Development Law Organization, Rome.