NECESSARY WISDOM FROM THE PAST
CHELM COMES TO THE MIDDLE EAST....Bernard J. Shapiro
THE TALE OF THE MYSTIC BUFFALO A Jewish Parable....Bernard J. Shapiro
ABOUT JEWS....Mark Twain
NOTES ON ISRAELI POLICIES....Bernard J. Shapiro
THEY SEE AND ARE SILENT...Guest Editorial....Elyakim Haeztni
SURREALISM VS. REALITY...Guest Editorial....Caroline Glick
MIDDLE EAST SOLUTIONS
DO NOT CONDEMN THEM (Why the "Palestinian state" is bad for the Arabs) 3 Parts....Boris Shusteff
A POTPOURRI OF PEACE PLANS....Shmuel Neumann, Ph.D.
MEL GIBSON -THE REALITY
An Orthodox Rabbi Responds to "The Passion"....Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok
HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE NEW ANTI-JEWISHNESS....Irwin Cotler
SEEING ANTI-SEMITISM IN 3D....Natan Sharansky
SOCIALIST PERES JUST DOESN'T LIKE BEING A JEW!....Ruth and Nadia Matar
A VICIOUS ANTI-SEMITIC FILM - SYRIAN NOT GIBSON!....Joel C. Rosenberg
THE AGENDA OF ISLAM - A WAR BETWEEN CIVILIZATIONS....Professor Moshe Sharon
ROLL OVER AND DIE (World's Advice To Jews/Israelis)....Michael Freund
SECURITY AND FOREIGN POLICY
UNDERSTANDING THE US STATE DEPARTMENT....Bret Stephens
WHAT RUMSFELD'S MEMO REVEALS...and Other Lessons from the War So Far....Angelo M. Codevilla
An End To Red Lines? Inviting a War of Attrition?....Aaron Lerner
THE ROGERS PLAN IS STILL WITH US....Yossi Ben-Aharon
A BRIEF TO THE INTERNATIONAL COURT....Shmuel Katz
SCIENCE AND MEDICINE
ISRAELI MEDICAL DISCOVERIES - DISEASE BE NOT PROUD....Jessica Steinberg
ONLINE [ISSN 1087-9404] Edited by Bernard J. Shapiro
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CHELM COMES TO THE MIDDLE EAST
By Bernard J. Shapiro
As a child my grandfather used to entertain me with delightful tales about the foolish Jews of Chelm. Chelm was said to be a tiny shtetal (Jewish village) in the Russian Pale of Settlement during czarist times. Its inhabitants were known primarily for their foolishness. In most of these tales one finds that a resident of Chelm becomes fixed upon an idea which is totally a variance to objective reality. An example: One day a visitor from Chelm took refuge for the night at the home of a famed Rabbi. He told the Rabbi's housekeeper to wake him early and to lay out his clothes so he could dress and depart the next morning without disturbing the Reb. After waking he dressed in the dark and mistakenly put on the Rabbi's clothes, complete with long black coat and black hat. Upon arriving back in Chelm he saw his reflection in the large mirror in the entryway to his home. Full of anger and scorn, he yelled, "That stupid housekeeper, he woke the Rabbi instead of me!"
Chelm has been on my mind lately as I view the current move to give Israel's sacred patrimony to the Arabs. Israeli PM Ariel Sharon's unilateral withdrawal (retreat) plans have struck as a perfect solution as per Chelmite logic. I raised this issue through one of my computer networks saying, "I wish someone would explain to me why ANY INTELLIGENT Israeli could believe the nonsense that retreat in the face of aggression and terrorism would stem terrorism and the lust for more Jewish blood. Terrorist leaders could easily, AND THEY DO, understand this retreat as their victory and the victory of terrorism. After all it does get results on the ground as Israel retreats behind its "so called" security fence. Sharon and other leftist Israeli leaders are expounding this historically inaccurate strategy.
A wonderful response to this paradox came from Professor Mark Steinberger (Department of Math and Statistics, State University of New York in Albany, New York). He writes: "This has also been bothering me lately. I would say that leftists must inhabit an alternate universe, except that we wind up having to pay the consequences for their detachment from reality.
But while we do live in the same objective world, their vision of it seems to have nothing in common with ours. They do not comprehend reality as we see it, and when challenged with evidence that would seem to buttress our view, they seem either to dismiss it for theoretical reason or ignore it completely.
Indeed, one can point to the fact that warfare, macho-one-upmanship, racist hegemonism and Islamic fanaticism are endemic to Arab cultures, including the more prosperous ones. The leftist response is either to ignore the point or to counter with accusations of insensitivity and racism. To me, this looks like an unwillingness to deal with reality, and it echoes the unwillingness of the Jewish community of the thirties to recognize the threat posed by the Nazis.
Indeed, it seems we have learned nothing at all from our experience with Nazism. The Holocaust has become little more than a tale to frighten children: demons in a morality play. They have turned the Holocaust into an image divorced from real world happenings. Millions more Jews could die in Israel, but they refuse to even imagine the possibility. They will not allow reality to interfere with their myths."
The stories from Chelm have amused Jews for many generations. Many of us, however, are not amused that the leaders of Israel seem to be operating in the best tradition of the colorful inhabitants of Chelm.
THE TALE OF THE MYSTIC BUFFALO
A Jewish Parable
By Bernard J. Shapiro
My interest in the history of the Old West has led me many times to study the buffalo. No creature in America, except possibly the horse, has had as much influence on the course of history as this noble animal. Standing over 6 feet at the shoulder, it was indeed and impressive creature. To the Native Americans of the Great Plains, the buffalo was the source of all their needs. They harvested food and clothes from the buffalo and even used their hides to construct their homes. It was common for a warrior, who had gone many days without finding water, to save his life by killing a buffalo. The warrior would cut out its heart and drink the blood trapped in its chambers. The blood provided enough liquid and nutrition to continue his journey. The buffalo was so important to the Indians that it was worshiped in their rituals and ceremonies.
The buffalo were very brave and would fight vigorously against the wild animals that sought it as prey. But the buffalo had a great weakness: they could not understand man and the devastation that he brought. One could stand upwind from a large herd and shoot one at time with a Sharp's 50 caliber or Hawken rifle. The herd would keep grazing, as if nothing happened. As the white man moved west it became clear that the best way to destroy the Indian was to destroy the buffalo. And so it was done. The vast herds that once covered the horizon for over 20 miles at a time were exterminated. The brave Native Americans were reduced to paupers dependant on government handouts of beef and grain.
Has it ever occurred to you that Jews and the Israelis are unfortunately like the buffalo? The non-Jews have been picking us off for thousands of years, yet we continue to act as if nothing has happened. Then came the Holocaust and we were exterminated in large numbers like the buffalo, but in a more efficient manner. Israel was founded as a rebellion against the impotence and weakness of the buffalo-like Diaspora.
Israelis stopped being easy prey like the buffalo until recently. Then the Palestinians swooped down on the Israelis and started picking them off one by one. First they were cautious. Then when they saw that the Israelis would not react forcefully, they got bolder. The sight of Israeli soldiers, unable to react to 12 year old Palestinian boys throwing stones, strengthened their resolve to throw the Jews out of Israel. Israelis interpreted the behavior of their military as moderate and compassionate, but the media thought it was brutal, and most important the Palestinians thought it was weakness. The poor buffalo (Israelis) were attacked everywhere, on the roads, in the cities, in the countryside. Hunting for Israelis became a great sport.
Then Labor came to power in 1992, with a famed military man, Yitzhak Rabin, at its helm. He would know what to do, said the Israeli people. He would solve this problem. Rabin's solution was simple: The Palestinians don't want us to live in some parts of Eretz Yisrael, so we will retreat. (Much later in 2003, Israeli PM Ariel Sharon began to follow the path of retreat of Rabin.) An so it was with the buffalo, first they were slaughtered in the Great Plains and then in the deserts, the mountains and the forests. Soon there was no place to hide. And the Jews may retreat to the coast, leaving the hills of Judea and Samaria, but the hunters will come after them. There will be no peace, but the peace of the grave.
And what about the heart of the Jewish people. The Palestinians are cutting it out. They have claimed Jewish history as their own. Jesus was proclaimed a Palestinian prophet. They claim descent from the Canaanite, Jebusites, and Philistines as the rightful heirs to Israel. Jerusalem is really theirs and Yossi Beilin has a plan to give it to them. Hasan Tahboub, president of the PLO backed Supreme Muslim council, claims that Jews have no rights in the Cave of the Machpelah. That it is a Muslim site and Abraham was a Palestinian. Palestinians now talk about their "diaspora" and about their "holocaust" at the hands of the Jews. Yes my friends, they are cutting the heart from the buffalo and drinking its lifeblood.
When will the buffalo return to its true self: the Lion of Judah?
Bernard J. Shapiro is the Executive Director of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies <www.freeman.org> and editor its monthly Internet magazine, The Maccabean Online http://www.freeman.org/online.htm
[ This article was originally published in the Jewish Herald-Voice, in Houston, Texas on January 6. 1994, The Jewish Press (NY) on February 25, 1994, and the March 1994 issue of The Caucus Current and The Maccabean Online. Updated recently and published by IsraelNationalNews on January 12, 2004.]
By Mark Twain
If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.
His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendour; then faded to dream-stuff and passed away: the Greeks and the Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.
The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?
The above was written by Mark Twain and first published in HARPER'S magazine, September 1887.
NOTES ON ISRAELI POLICIES
by Bernard J. Shapiro
February 10, 2004
On Israel Policy and Government
1. The Israeli prime minister should not be elected to be "dictator" and should be forced to govern with the consent of the electorate and the Knesset.
2. The Freeman Center believes, as David Ben-Gurion said at the Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1937, more than 65 years ago:
"No Jew has the right to yield the rights of the Jewish People in Israel. No Jew has the authority to do so. No Jewish body has the authority to do so. Not even the entire Jewish People alive today has the right to yield any part of Israel.
"It is the right of the Jewish People over the generations, a right that under no conditions can be cancelled. Even if Jews during a specific period proclaim they are relinquishing this right, they have neither the power nor the authority to deny it to future generations. No concession of this type is binding or obligates the Jewish People.
"Our right to the country - the entire country - exists as an eternal right, and we shall not yield this historic right until its full and complete redemption is realized."
3. Democracy requires that Israel's media (which uses national airwaves) should be removed from the hands of the extreme leftists and placed in responsible pro-Israel hands.
4. Israeli newspapers that incite against any Jewish segment of the population should be prosecuted.
5. Israel's Justice Department, Police, Prosecutors and Supreme Court must be stripped of their political bias in favor of extreme anti-Israel elements and become truly non-political.
6. Israeli industries must take responsibility for the pollution of the soil, air and water and take dramatic action to clean their operations.
7. Israel's Foreign Ministry must cease its failed policy of trying to explain its actions and trying to be nice to the Arabs. It should launch a broad campaign of psychological warfare against the Arabs and an aggressive campaign to win over public opinion. This means showing the world the horror and brutality of the Arabs, their lack of human rights, abuse of women (including genital mutilation), continued slavery, corruption and support (both financial and functional) of international terrorism.
In 1978, Chaim Herzog wrote a book in response to the United Nation's resolution that stated that Zionism is racism. The book was Who Stands Accused: Israel Faces Its Critics (Random House, 1978, 278 pages). Herzog brilliantly defended Israel and portrayed its critics in the harshest terms. Unfortunately, since the Oslo Appeasement of 1993, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has too often found itself in the position of putting a good face on its terrorist collaborators in the Palestine Authority. The result has been disastrous, not just on the ground in Israel in terms of dead and maimed Jews, but also in world public opinion.
By not telling the truth about the Arabs, the Arabs were able to repeat lies about Israel without an effective counter-attack. And lies they told, every hour, every day with constant repetition. Joseph Goebbels' Nazis taught them about how the bigger the lie the more it is believed and the utility of repetition of lies. Today, 59% of Europeans believe that Israel is the greatest danger to world peace. We must not throw up our hands and attribute everything to anti-Semitism (though that is certainly a factor) and must act forcefully and intelligently to present Israel's case to the world.
On Arabs and Terrorism
1. If Arabs do not like living in the same areas a Jews, we should remove the Arabs - not the Jews. This includes Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem.
2. Arabs who are disloyal to the State of Israel should lose their voting rights in national elections. They could still vote in municipal or local elections.
3. Arabs who commit acts of violence against Jews should be either expelled or executed, depending on the degree of the violence.
4. The following will sound harsh, but remember that "he who is merciful to the cruel, will end up being cruel to the merciful." How to properly mete out justice in the case of hostile acts:
A. Throwing stones at Jews (in cars or walking) - Expulsion from Israel.
B. Throwing Molotov cocktails at Jews (in cars or walking) - Death sentence.
C. Collaboration in terrorist plot to kill Jews - Execution with bullets dipped in pork products (this prevents the terrorists from going to "paradise" in Islamic theology and acts a psychological deterrent to terrorism), after interrogation to gain maximum intelligence.
D. Participation in terrorist attack on Jews - Execution with bullets dipped in pork products, after interrogation to gain maximum intelligence.
E. Terrorists found guilty of killing, mutilating, kidnaping, or raping Jews - Execution with bullets dipped in pork products, after interrogation to gain maximum intelligence.
5. No terrorists should be kept alive to prevent future absurd prisoner exchanges.
6. Should an Israeli be captured by an enemy, the IDF should launch massive continuous attacks causing such pain and damage to the enemy as to force the return of the prisoner.
7. Military action should be aimed at "draining the swamp" instead of swatting mosquitoes (targeting just leaders).
8. Military action should be based on one massive campaign with no let up to allow the terrorists to re-group and re-arm. Once must think of fighting terrorism much the way a doctor treats an infection or cancer. If he doesn't root it out completely, the disease will metastasize or grow back with the passage of a short time.
Should the above measures be taken, I believe Israel will put an end to the scourge of terrorism.
THEY SEE AND ARE SILENT
by Atty. Elyakim Haetzni
Arutz Sheva, February 10, 2004
On the eve of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's trip to the United
States, to present there a plan for unilateral withdrawal -
including the towns to be evacuated and the compensation to be
offered - currently being drawn up by a team headed by Giora
Eiland, let us take inventory.
What Have We?
* Sharon's declaration of support for a Palestinian State.
* Acceptance of United Nations supervision, along with that of other superpowers, in the context of the Road Map; which means the loss of sovereignty.
* Sharon's declaration regarding the uprooting of all of the communities of the Gaza region, and the proposal to the Council of Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha) to agree to the immediate destruction of Netzarim, Morag and Kfar Darom.
* The proposal to the Yesha Council to voluntarily uproot Ganim and Kadim, Homesh and Sa-Nur in Samaria.
* The refusal of Ariel Sharon to maintain the Trans-Samaria Highway east of Ariel - a sign of his intention to abandon the stretch of land between Eli and Shilo, the entire hillside region, as well.
* A unilateral withdrawal plan, which encourages the unilateral establishment of a Palestinian State by the Fatah and the rest of the terrorist groups after the withdrawal. Automatically, that leads to the cancellation of the conditions included in the Road Map and in the speeches of US President George Bush; specifically, the dismantling of terrorist groups, democratization and financial accountability.
As for the naive innocents who misled themselves and calculated that the conditions will never be fulfilled - and therefore, there is nothing to worry about and Sharon has no real intention to withdraw - have had their illusions proven false. Have they learned their lesson, yet - that for every conditional concession by Israel, the condition falls and the concession remains?
* In the Palestinian state of disarray that will rise after the unilateral withdrawal, the ruler will be the Hizbullah, and behind them, Iran and Syria. The Hizbullah has already taken control of the terror gangs in the Jenin-Tul Karem-Shechem triangle. The "small" terrorist release - more than 400 - for the benefit of Nasrallah, and the large release - thousands! - already committed to by Sharon, will promise Nasrallah the status of chief leader and general of the Palestinian war.
Lebanon is Here!
* Sharon insists on releasing thousands of terrorists with blood on their hands in exchange for a piece of material from the body of Ron Arad, God forbid, in spite of Arad's mother's will and the desire of the Arad siblings not to release living terrorists. Ron Arad is merely an excuse to acquiesce in the Palestinian demand for the release of all the security prisoners, as written in the Geneva Initiative, which Sharon is implementing incrementally.
* The abandonment of northern Samaria has begun. The military base that separated Jenin from Ganim and Kadim has been evacuated.
* The uprooting of 28 outposts is in the offing. Sharon asked the High Court of Justice for an emergency session to allow him to carry out the expulsions and display "achievements" during his upcoming trip to Bush.
* And the 28 are merely a down payment on the uprooting of another hundred or so outposts, most of which are already full-fledged communities.
The agreement between the Yesha Council and the army to voluntarily evacuate the mobile homes of Ginot Aryeh into the community of Ofra was rejected by Sharon, because he has to have "action"; that is, an unarmed civil war.
* With the settlers, there is a complete severing of relations. They are being pushed outside the consensus through economic sanctions: Half of the Magen David Adom budget has been cut. There is again sniping every night on the roads and ambulances will not be available.
* The "Mivtzar" project, which involved settlers providing security for their communities, has been cancelled.
* An income tax break, even for those communities under regular mortar attacks, has been cancelled.
The Weisglass document, sent to the Attorney General, from June 2003, which includes a commitment by Sharon to Condoleeza Rice, is under full implementation: Any construction outside the currently existing line of homes in Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, including in Maaleh Adumim, has been forbidden. There is no budget for development. State lands can no longer be used for Jewish settlement.
* The separation fence is moving towards the Green Line. The security fence is becoming a political fence.
* Restraint in the face of terrorism has returned. There have been no military reactions in the wake of the murders at Erez Crossing or for the slaughter on bus no. 19 in Jerusalem.
* The closures and checkpoints were removed, and have not returned.
* Sharon allows Sheikh Yassin to openly threaten to kidnap
Israeli Jews, Rantisi marches at the head of armed and masked
demonstrators, the assassins of Rehavam ("Gandhi")
Ze'evi are having fun in Jericho, the wanted men in the Mukata
come and go as they please - there is a celebration of abandoned
responsibility. Sharon is displaying complete fecklessness in
security matters, just like after the Dolphinarium bombing. The
achievements of Operation Defensive Shield are being
* In spite of the terrorism, Sharon repeatedly asks for Abu Ala to do him a favor and meet with him. There is no more demand for the elimination of terrorist infrastructures as a precondition for negotiations. Sharon begs for negotiations with no preconditions. In contrast, Abu Ala sets preconditions refuses to meet until far-reaching concessions are promised to him ahead of time.
Sharon's entire security doctrine has been blown away. The Arabs have successfully identified Sharon's weak point and helplessness, his loss of security and political direction, his current focus on only two things: dismantling settlements, instead of dismantling terror infrastructures, and his criminal investigation.
And They Are Celebrating
* Nasrallah threatens: We will again kidnap Israelis - and this time, alive, not dead!
* The released terrorists on their way to Germany vandalized the Israeli airplane, destroying whatever they could. At their head was the German murderer Steven Smyrek, who announced explicitly that he would continue with terrorism. The days when there was a minimal demand of at least a show of commitment to cease terrorist activities have passed.
* At the Tarkumia checkpoint the released terrorists were greeted by children with headbands like in Beirut and by flags of the Hizbullah, an organization that even America has declared a terrorist group. The freed prisoners chanted: "1,000 martyrs to Jerusalem!" That is how one dances on the corpse of a dead lion.
* The suicide bomber who murdered 11 souls on the bus no. 19 in Jerusalem was a police officer in Arafat's police force and a member of Arafat's Fatah organization. He left from Bethlehem, the only city the IDF has withdrawn from - unilaterally.
Thus, the writing was on the wall, a mere few meters from Sharon's residence, but there was no one to read it.
Along with this panoramic, sickening view, certain past events that we did not necessarily see in their true context fall into place:
* The closure of Arutz-7 Radio.
* The decision not to return to the Tomb of Josef in Shechem.
* The decision to make an alliance with Shinui, without the haredim, breaking the traditional nationalist-religious alliance; a decision that represented the sharp turn to the left.
* The attempt to make a radical change within the Likud,
changing it into a "peace party", adopting the entire
political program of the Left.
* Subordination of Israel to the oversight of the Quartet - Russia, Europe, America and the United Nations; in practice, turning it into a "protected" territory, without sovereignty, even externally.
It is not that important what caused the change in Sharon. Is this the old Sharon, the destroyer of Yamit, striking again, or is this Aryeh Der'i no. 2, taking the whole country hostage to his criminal file - either way....
At the head of the nation stands a man who is acting like someone throwing fuel into the flames. The ship of state is being tossed about by waves of terrorism and international pressure, in a different direction every other moment, as if there is no captain and the deck has been abandoned.
And the government ministers, who see all of this, are silent like the ministers under Menachem Begin were silent for so many months. They saw him in his decline, they saw him lose control, staring helplessly, ill, without presence of mind - and they hid it from the public, making themselves responsible for the forsaking of the matters of state and the people.
The ministers of this government see the decline of Sharon - every day - as a mortal danger, and they too are silent.
History will not forgive them - especially ministers Lieberman, Eitam, Elon, Orlev and their parties, which are still called "right-wing" parties - for their continued presence in the government. That presence is what enables Sharon to bring all of these disasters upon the country.
The Jerusalem Post, Feb. 24, 2004
Surrealism Vs. Reality
By Caroline Glick
The events of this week, which opened with eight Israeli terror victims being buried at the same time as Israel was placed on trial at The Hague for trying to defend itself from terror, have about as much in common with reality as a painting by Salvador Dali.
There is something surreal in the spectacle of thousands of Israelis and our supporters marching through the streets of a Dutch city holding pictures of our terror victims as Israel is libeled in a show trial produced and directed by our murderers.
There is something surreal about the picture of gowned judges marching into a courtroom to hear arguments about how a law is broken when Israel attempts to prevent more of its citizens from being murdered by terrorist armies.
There is something surreal about the televised footage of Avi Ohayon -- whose two small sons Ohad and Matan and ex-wife Revital were gunned down in their home by a Fatah terrorist -- begging cameramen to take his picture with their photographs.
And there is something grotesque about the fact that the British and Swedish governments are paying the salaries of the Palestinian "lawyers" who stand before a kangaroo court and claim that Israel is breaking a law, any law, in trying to prevent more children and mothers from sharing this fate.
Given the surrealism of the show at The Hague, it is difficult to take the proceedings seriously.
How can we be expected to believe that such an evil, crude and disgusting lie can actually have any impact on our lives? But of course it does impact us.
The International Court of Justice will no doubt soon hand down an opinion saying that Israel is wrong to defend itself against the wanton murder of its citizens, killed for the crime of being Jews.
In the aftermath of the ICJ's expected opinion, Israel will come under ever-increasing international pressure to allow in foreign troops who will be tasked with protecting our murderers from our defenders.
How have we arrived at this point? How is it that after three and a half years of absorbing massacre after massacre that Israel now finds itself on trial?
The answer to this question is found in part in the latest State Department Human Rights Report. Released Wednesday, the report finds both Israel and the Palestinian Authority guilty of countless human rights abuses. Of course, it is balanced.
Of course, it duly notes that the PA security services have themselves conducted terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Yet aside from condemning every action Israel has taken to combat terrorism and thereby equating actions aimed at protecting Israeli citizens with terrorism, the report does something even more offensive.
The report very sensitively gives the names of a dozen or so Palestinian children who died during Israeli assaults against Palestinian terrorists who used these children for cover.
Yet, grotesquely, while the names of Palestinian children are listed, the report provides not one name of any Israeli victim of Palestinian terrorism. Not the Ohayon children, not 14-year-old Abigail Litle who was murdered on a bus on her way home from school and not the names of hundreds of other Israeli men, women and children who were murdered last year.
By naming Palestinian victims while not giving names of Israeli victims, the State Department report follows in the path of the general climate that has gripped us for the past 40 months. This general climate is characterized by the dehumanization of Israelis and Jews by the international community.
This dehumanization prevents anyone from ever seeing the victimization of Israelis. By balancing condemnations of Palestinian terrorism with condemnations of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, our critics, even those among us, are cheapening the value of our lives.
By arguing that Israel abuses human rights when it defends itself against an enemy which has declared its aim as genocide, the State Department, like the UN, the EU, the foreign media and international human rights organizations, is creating a false reality where Israel is not fighting a war against an enemy bent on its physical destruction. Rather, Israel is simply being mean.
As if the perfidy of its human rights report wasn't enough of a jolt for us, the next day the State Department also saw fit to criticize the IDF operation Wednesday in Ramallah where our forces seized some NIS 40 million in terror funds.
Dali himself would have been impressed with State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher when he claimed that the operations were "destabilizing to the Palestinian banking system" given the fact that the PA itself uses its banking system to transfer funds to terrorists.
Unfortunately, the surrealism of our current plight doesn't end at The Hague or at the State Department. And it doesn't begin there either. It begins here, in Israel.
As the terror victims marched in front of the Hague to defend Israel's right to build the security fence, Shin Bet director Avi Dichter was at the Knesset explaining that the fence we care so deeply about will not long protect us.
Dichter said on Tuesday that the Palestinians are now seeking to upgrade their arsenals in order to carry out attacks that will render the fence irrelevant. Both the PA security forces and the terrorist cells, Dichter said, are improving their artillery capabilities in order to launch shells over the fence. In addition, they are seeking to attain chemical weapons.
And then there is the terror financing. Our forces went to the banks in Ramallah on Wednesday to dry up terrorist bank accounts and this is all for the good. But our government is the main financier of the terrorists.
Israel transfers some NIS 130 million to the PA in tax revenues every month arguing that the money isn't going to terrorists. Yet we know that PA budgetary funds finance terror.
Dichter himself acknowledged that ten percent of the PA budget is transferred to Arafat's office. And Arafat, he said, is directly involved in financing terrorism.
And the surrealism doesn't end here either. Last week Ma'ariv reported that to date, security forces have prevented nine attempts by Palestinians to take down jetliners taking off or landing at Ben Gurion Airport.
Israel has argued strenuously before the Bush Administration that to protect the flights from rocket and missile attacks it is necessary to construct the security fence far enough away from the airport to keep it out of rocket and artillery range. This involves extending the fence several kilometers north and east of the 1949 armistice lines. It seems to make sense.
And yet, The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "appears ready to abandon a proposed second fence around Ben-Gurion Airport."
Then there is Sharon's newest emissary to Washington -- not
Dov Weisglass or Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom -- but Labor head
MK Shimon Peres.
At the beginning of the week, Peres, fresh from a political powwow with Sharon, turned up in Washington for talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
Addressing a gathering of Washington peaceniks later, Peres said Monday that Israel has no moral right to Judea and Samaria. In his words, transferring one hundred percent of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to the Palestinians, "is not a political decision, it is a moral decision."
So here then we have it from none other than the head of the loyal opposition and the man who Sharon apparently now sees as a possible coalition partner if the National Union and the NRP bolt his government.
In the analysis of Peres, all of Israel's detractors are right. It is immoral for us to be defending ourselves. It is immoral for us to stake our claim to territory against the Palestinian claims. It is immoral for us to refuse to finance a PA that is so immersed in terror there is no way to give it money it without contributing to the finance of our own murder.
It isn't the security fence that stood for trial this week at the Hague. It is Israel's very legitimacy that now stands before an international tribunal.
So at the end of the day it doesn't matter that the fence will not defend us. It doesn't matter that we get criticized for seizing terrorist funds that we ourselves are providing.
What matters is that we ourselves contribute through our apologetics for our need to defend ourselves to the dehumanization of our people and the cheapening of our lives.
DO NOT CONDEMN THEM
(Why the "Palestinian state" is bad for the Arabs)
(Part 1 of 3)
By Boris Shusteff
It is almost a forgone conclusion these days that a Palestinian state should be established on the lands of the West Bank and Gaza. Hardly anyone questions this assumption. After all, it seems only natural, since many Palestinian Arabs live there. However, though no one would try to build a skyscraper on any plot of land without first conducting a proper survey and geodesic work, doing a special traffic study and other pertinent investigations, this incomparably much more complicated task of state-building is approached absolutely irresponsibly.
The world has known countless historical examples of forcing unworkable solutions on people and nations. Born of noble-sounding politically correct slogans, these solutions culminated in disasters at the price of millions of innocent lives. Just recall the clamor all over the world for democracy in Congo and compare it with today's ethnic strife and civil war raging in the now Democratic Republic of the Congo. The price of this "democracy" is evident from a recent demographic study by the International Rescue Committee, which reported that during the last five years "between three million and 4.7 million people in Congo have died ... mostly from hunger and disease thought to be preventable during peace time" (1).
Let us take another example, this time of a struggle against "colonial injustice." Not long ago, Zimbabwe was productive enough to feed the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. In 2000 Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe started to evict white farmers from their farms, in order to return land to dispossessed black farmers. As a result, the country's once-prized national herd dwindled from 1.4 million to 125,000 heads in three years, the level of inflation in December 2003 reached 620%, and unemployment now hovers near 70%. The number of people in Zimbabwe requiring food assistance "... will rise to 6.2 million from January to March of 2004, taking the total [in need of food aid] to well over half the country's population" (2).
These essentially genocidal crimes do not seem discourage the world community from continuing with new experiments. A particularly ill-fated one is the intent to squeeze several million destitute Palestinian Arabs into two tiny disconnected parcels of land and label this entity a "viable, independent Palestinian state." This author has already presented some major problems with the viability of this artificial pseudo-state in "The Stillborn Palestinian State," written in May 2002 [http://www.freeman.org/m_online/jun02/shusteff1.htm]. However, it is extremely important to understand that the establishment of such an entity, first and foremost, presents an existential threat to the Palestinian Arabs themselves. We will concentrate here on two aspects of this threat: the inevitable moral demise of Palestinian society and the total economic non-viability of this artificial entity.
First, let us briefly trace the bloodstained history of the Palestinian Arab leadership, and examine the effect which this has had on the Palestinian Arab society of today. For many years the Palestinian Arabs have been used as cannon fodder for the destructive political ambitions of their leaders. They have been kept in refugee camps in sub-human conditions with only one purpose -- to breed hatred against Jews, who "usurped their land." For decades they have been incited to see the Jews as their archenemies. And while occasionally hope glimmered that coexistence between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jews might be possible, the rule of Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has made the situation irreversible.
The severity of the injustice that has befallen the Palestinian Arabs derives from the simple fact that the PLO, which has been given carte-blanche by the international community to rule over the Palestinian Arabs in West Bank and Gaza, always was and still remains a terrorist organization, capable only of murder and destruction. It did not matter to Arafat and his PLO whom to kill. Whether the victims were Moslems, Christians or Jews, the PLO basked in killings.
In fact, the more free rein the PLO was given, the more disastrous were the results. The first case was Jordan, in September of 1970, when the PLO under Arafat's command tried to usurp power from the Jordanian king. In the ensuing massacre several thousand Palestinian Arabs were killed (Fatah reported that 30,000 fedayeen perished, while the official figure given by the Jordanian army was 1,500).
After this failed uprising, Arafat and his PLO fled to Lebanon, where they immediately set about their next attempt to gain power. Their activities succeeded in plunging Lebanon into a civil war that lasted from October 1970 through November 1976. Thus, Arafat and the PLO played a key role in the destruction of the Switzerland of the Middle East (as Lebanon was called). "Out of a population of 3.2 millions, some 40,000 people, perhaps more, had been killed, 100,000 wounded, 5,000 permanently maimed, and 500,000 displaced from their homes. About 300,000 Lebanese had fled to other lands" (3).
In spite of this barbaric history, the PLO and Arafat were given a free hand again in 1993, under the Oslo Accords. We are all witnesses of the destruction and devastation that has followed after their latest ascension to power. Just the last three years have seen over 3,400 Jews and Arabs killed and more than 30,000 maimed and wounded in the war unleashed by the PLO. We are not even taking into account the economic disaster that has befallen the Palestinian Arabs, with skyrocketing unemployment, pervasive corruption and widespread poverty.
However, the worst and most devastating blow throughout the past ten years was struck against the moral fabric of the Palestinian Arab society. A thirst for killing and death was ingrained into the souls of the people, who became slaves of the PLO's regime. Over two million people delivered to Arafat's control under the Oslo Accords were daily and nightly bombarded with messages promoting hatred and glorifying death in PLO-controlled newspapers, radio and TV stations, and schools.
The first victims of this incessant campaign became children. It is therefore no surprise, that after watching videos provided by Itamar Marcus of Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch, New York Senator Hillary Clinton said that the Palestinian Authority is engaged in "horrific abuse of children." Poll results gathered by Palestinian Arabs show that "72% of the children sampled from all the districts of Gaza expressed the hope of becoming Shahids in the confrontations..."(4). In a different poll, "79-80% of the children expressed willingness to be Shahids" (5).
Just one example from Marcus's documentary will suffice to underline the poll results. In June 2002, official Palestinian Authority TV interviewed two 11-year-old girls. Among other topics they spoke of their personal yearning to achieve Shahada, or martyrdom -- Death for Allah. As one of the girls said: "The children of Palestine have accepted the concept that this is Shahada, and that death by Shahada is very good. Every Palestinian child aged, say 12, says 'Oh Lord, I would like to become a Shahid'" (6).
While it is understandable that the vulnerable minds of children are easy prey for the PLO's and other terrorists' "martyrdom" campaign, the concurrent desire of parents to see their children dead is shocking. Truly frightening statistics come from poll results gathered by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO) in October 2003 among adult Palestinian Arabs in West Bank, and eastern Jerusalem. The poll showed that 18.2% (!) of them "believe that it is important to raise a child to be a Shahid [or martyr]." That means that nearly every FIFTH mother or father dreams of death for their children!
Of course, they do not want their children simply to be killed. They want them to die while killing Jews. The Jews are an obsession for the Palestinians, and the popularity of terrorist groups depends on how successfully they inflict death upon Jews. This tendency was clear from elections to the student governing body at Bir Zeit University (considered to be the most liberal of the Palestinian higher education Institutions), conducted in December 2003. Hamas won 25 seats of the 51 on the council, Fatah took 20, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) - a radical PLO faction - won five and the lesser-known People's Party got the remaining seat.
Ludna Abdel Hadi, a university spokeswoman said that, "The Bir Zeit elections are like a barometer to measure the political mood on the Palestinian street" (7). This barometer clearly points towards a poisoning of the Palestinian society by pervasive hatred, because "the election campaign focused on which party killed more Israelis. ... At a debate, the Hamas candidate asked the Fatah candidate: 'Hamas activists in this university killed 135 Zionists. How many did Fatah activists from Bir Zeit kill?'"(8).02/17/04
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.
DO NOT CONDEMN THEM
(Why the "Palestinian state" is bad for the Arabs)
(Part 2 of 3)
By Boris Shusteff
Thoughts of killing and being killed, which for decades have been drummed into the heads of Palestinian Arabs by the likes of the PLO, Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, have become so engraved in the fabric of society, that even in a hypothetical situation when all Palestinian national aspirations are met, many are unable to stop wishing for the murder. A poll conducted among Palestinian and Israeli Arabs in late September, 2003 by two polling firms, the Public Opinion Research of Israel and the PCPO, revealed that 59% of poll respondents want Hamas and Islamic Jihad to "continue their armed struggle against Israel even if Israel leaves all of the West Bank and Gaza, including east Jerusalem, and a Palestinian state is created [!]" (8).
The propaganda of hatred in the Palestinian society is not limited to Israel and Jews only. Although, since the beginning of the Oslo process, America has donated more than a billion dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority, and Bill Clinton was the most outspoken world leader in promoting the idea of an independent Palestinian state, hatred towards America has also been drummed non-stop into the heads of Palestinian Arabs.
Even after president Bush's trip to Aqaba in June 2003, in an attempt to revive stalled Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, Shaykh Ibrahim al-Mudayris, in a sermon from the Shaykh Ijlin Mosque, the main mosque of Gaza, broadcast live by Palestinian radio and TV stations on June 13, prayed to God, "O God, punish our enemies. O God, destroy those who have harmed us. O God, destroy those who harm Muslims. ... . O God, destroy the United States and its allies."
The surrealism of the situation is complete and unbelievable. On June 3, 2003, at a time when all major American television networks were transmitting George W. Bush's pledges of unequivocal support for a "Palestinian state," Internet news groups were distributing Meg Bortin's article "Poll: Muslims lament Israel's Existence" published in International Herald Tribune. The article talked about a poll conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, which, between April 28 and May 15, surveyed almost 68,000 people across 20 countries and in the territory under the Palestinian Authority including 15,494 people in the Middle East.
The survey demonstrated that today the highest anti-Americanism exists in Jordan (a majority of its population are Palestinian Arabs), where 99% of the people have a "somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the United States" and in the Palestinian Authority, where hostility towards America is at 98%. Or, put another way, virtually ALL Palestinian Arabs express open and widespread hatred towards America, at a time when the American President promises to reward the very people who hate him and his country with another state.
The situation is not encouraging. An optimist might hope that things might change for the better in the future, but there is not much to support that idea, either. Brainwashed by frenzied anti-Israeli and anti-American propaganda, Palestinian Arabs strive to continue fostering a culture of hatred among their children as well, ensuring the continuity of violence for the next generation. The respondents of one of the polls were told to assume that "a peace agreement is reached between the Palestinian side and Israel and a Palestinian state is established that is recognized by Israel." After that they were asked if they would agree to "adopt a school curriculum in the Palestinian state that recognizes Israel and teaches school children not to demand the return of all of Palestine to the Palestinians." The results cannot be more revealing: 42.5% opposed and another 45.1% strongly opposed adopting such curriculum.
These numbers should not surprise anyone. If a culture of anti-Semitism is flourishing in both Egypt and Jordan at a time when both countries have peace treaties with the Jewish state, why should a future PLO pseudo-state be different? And it does not matter whether or not Arafat departs from the scene. Terrorist groups will still dominate the surrogate entity-state. The December PCPO poll shows that Arafat's murderous Fatah, which is currently supported by 25.3% of those polled, loses ground to a combined coalition of more radical terrorist groups: Hamas -- 20.1%, Islamic Jihad -- 4.5%, PFLP -- 2.5%. The ideological grip of terrorist groups on the Palestinian society is so strong that even the CIA recognized the complete lack of readiness to compromise among the Palestinian Arab leaders. It "recently reached the conclusion that it is highly unlikely to see before 2020 a Palestinian leadership ready to make the necessary concessions for reaching a comprehensive agreement with Israel" (9).
It is hard to guess what criteria the CIA used in evaluating the status of Palestinian society, but one thing is clear -- it completely missed the link between the time it expects terrorist groups to continue dominating this society and the damage that they will inflict on it during this time. Twenty more years of hatred and incitement cannot possibly result in a leadership "ready to make concessions." Somehow the causal relationships between the preceding ten years and their violent consequences have passed unnoticed on the CIA's radar screen.
Nevertheless, these ten years have left irreparable damage on the mentality of the Palestinian Arabs. Hundred and twenty months of blatantly criminal rule have transformed a generation of Palestinian Arabs into a generation of brainwashed suicidal machines. Dr. Shafiq Massalha, a Palestinian Arab psychologist, conducted a study that led him to the conclusion that "in about ten years, a very murderous generation will come of age, full of hatred and ready to die in suicide missions" (10). He claimed that "half of Palestinian children age 6 to 11 dream of becoming suicide bombers" (10).
What can be worse than allowing the fate of already psychologically damaged children to remain in the hands of terrorist groups? And yet, this is exactly what will happen if an Arab state is established in the West Bank and Gaza. Can any objective observer question the outcome of this "nation building?" The only thing that can perhaps be questioned is Dr. Massalha's estimate of the time when a generation filled with murderous hatred will come of age. This age group, younger than 14 years of age, which makes up 49.4% of the Arab population in Gaza and 44.1% in the West Bank, has seen nothing but evil indoctrination, which will certainly continue unabated inside the planned pseudo-state.
This indoctrination is simply part of the glorification of Jihad that is so prevalent in radical Islamic culture across the Arab world. And there is already a clear preference for an Islamic character for this planned surrogate state. In late fall of 2003, given the choice between religious, democratic, socialist, or Arab Nationalist as the main characteristic "fundamental in the future Palestinian State", 56.2% of those polled by the PCPO preferred it to be "religious." A month later, in another poll, in answer to the question "What type of legal marriage arrangement would you prefer there to be in the Palestinian state?" 27.8% had chosen religious polygamy, 50.8% religious monogamy, and 11.4% favored civil with mixed religion marriages. To dispel any doubts regarding the nature of the future "Palestinian state" it is enough to read Article 6 of the recently developed "Palestinian Constitution," that states: "Islam shall be the official religion of the state."
Certainly, the Islamic nature of the state does not bode well for any hope of conciliation. As Cardinal Roberto Tucci commented in Rome at the beginning of November 2003: "Throughout the Islamic world-- on their radios, their televisions, in the media, in the schools-- there is an education toward rabid and malicious anti-Semitism. It is the worst anti-Semitism imaginable, except for the Nazis-- or even equal to that of the Nazis" (11).
Taking into account this long list of troubling signs, which all point to a deeply damaged society, it is quite easy to predict what will happen to the Palestinian Arabs if the world community forces the establishment of an "independent Palestinian state" in the West Bank and Gaza under the rule of the PLO (which is exactly who will end up ruling, in spite of pretenses to the contrary by major world powers). The culture of hatred will flourish among them as never before. Condemned to the enduring rule of terrorist murderers, the Palestinian Arabs will be unable to avoid complete moral destruction. The fertile ground prepared by the last ten years will bear only murderously suicidal behavior as its fruit. The Palestinians will be trapped within their self-destructive ideology and the demise of their society will be inevitable.
(End Part 2 of 3)
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.
DO NOT CONDEMN THEM
(Why the "Palestinian state" is bad for the Arabs)
(Part 3 of 3)
By Boris Shusteff
In previous parts of the article we have discussed the inevitable destruction of the moral fabric of the Palestinian Arab society of a potential Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza. However, the Arabs will endure not only the moral demise of their society, but they will suffer the misery of collapsing doomed economy, as well. As this author has previously stressed, the issue of economic viability of a future Palestinian state is even today never seriously addressed in the world political arena. It is certainly impossible to discuss this topic comprehensively here; however, we will touch on some important aspects pertaining to the economic viability of a small state. Our task is significantly simplified due to a study conducted by Vladimir Gligorov, Professor of Economics at the Vienna Institute For International Economic Studies. Following the war in Yugoslavia, he prepared a paper on the economic viability of Kosovo, which he presented to the UNA-USA Conference on "Kosovo's Final Status," held in December, 1999 (12). We can use his methods to examine the economic viability of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.
Gligorov lists several criteria of viability for a small state. He explains that the smaller the state, the more open it should be "both in terms of foreign trade regime and in terms of actual level of foreign trade." Another requirement pertains to the political system of the state: the smaller it is, the more democratic it must be. Discussing the third prerogative Gligorov writes that "legality and rule-based policy should be conducive to the viability of a state." And the fourth condition lies in the self-government of the state: the more opportunities it offers to all its inhabitants the more viable it becomes. If we simply consider the nature of Palestinian Authority governing institutions at the present, it is clear that any potential Palestinian Arab state cannot meet any of the above criteria.
What is more, as Gligorov explains "... a state cannot be viable in the economic sense if it cannot provide for a decent level of employment. Indeed, it may be argued that smaller states, for a number of reasons, should have lower unemployment rates than bigger ones to be economically viable." Even from this perspective, the potential Palestinian Arab state will be stillborn, since by the end of 2002, unemployment among Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza had already reached more than 40%, and over 60% of the population were below the poverty line of $2 a day.
It's also important to remember that employment among Palestinian Arabs completely depends on the jobs they can secure in Israel. Meanwhile, Ariel Sharon made clear in his December 18th 2003 Herzliya speech that Israel is planning to substantially reduce the entrance of Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza into Israel proper. Therefore, after the establishment of a Palestinian state, unemployment among Palestinian Arabs can only increase, and can easily be extrapolated: according to the UN's Information Center, "on curfew days [imposed by Israel] the non-Jerusalem West Bank unemployment rises as high as 63.3%" (13).
Lost employment opportunities for the Palestinian Arabs in the Jewish state, are not likely to be compensated for inside their surrogate state. This became clear during the last ten years of PLO dictatorship, which, in spite of huge monetary donations from various donors, was unable to build anything even remotely resembling economical infrastructure. And this only underscores another of Gligorov's points, which is that "legality and rule-based policy" are necessary for a state even to successfully absorb economic assistance. From this standpoint, the Palestinian pseudo-entity will not be "economically viable even in limited sense of the ability to absorb in the proper way the international and domestic efforts at reconstruction because of the lack of legal and legitimate institutional infrastructure that cannot be substituted with either institutional or monetary aid" (12).
Nevertheless, for many years now the international community has been pouring huge amounts of money into the PA's coffers, but that money has been disappearing with no positive impact on the lives of the Palestinian Arabs. At an average of almost $200 per person per year (compared to $68 per European annually under the four-year Marshall Plan), aid to the Palestinian Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza represents one of the highest levels of per capita official development assistance anywhere in the world. Since 1993, the PA has received more than $6.5 billion in aid from international donors and at the end of December 2003, donor countries gathered in Rome in order to approve "another $1.2 billion to the Palestinian Authority for the 2004 budget" (14). It appears that $1 billion is the amount needed yearly simply to prevent the complete collapse of the PA economy. This was confirmed by staffers at the UN and the World Bank, who estimated that if the international community pulls out and Israel resumes financial responsibility for the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza "the basic maintenance, with no extra investment would cost at least $1 billion a year" (15).
This complete dependence on international monetary aid is one of the main signs of the non-viability of a state. According to Gligorov, a state is economically non-viable if international aid is used for people's everyday subsistence, for financing public services, for financing "the trade and current account deficits," and if "recovery of all economic activities ... is yet to happen." One does not need a degree in economics to see that this is an exact description of the potential Palestinian Arab state. Moreover, as Gligorov explains, the barriers to reconstruction and recovery will be insurmountable because this state will not be "an open economy, but an aid and subsistence economy," will be run in a "paternalistic manner" and self-government and public governance will be poor or non-existent.
Gligorov emphasizes several times in his work that for a small state "... to have a viable economy it has to satisfy at least two conditions: First, it has to be integrated with the economies in the region at least in terms of trade and financing. Second, it has to be a democracy, i.e., a system of popular sovereignty has to be put in place and institutionally secured" (12).
It is obvious that the potential "Palestinian state" will fail to satisfy either of these conditions. Even if by some miracle, it manages to develop the rudiments of an economy its integration with other economies in the region will remain highly doubtful. According to the 2002 United Nations Development (UNDP) Report "... despite the many agreements signed between Arab states since 1950s, inter-Arab trade counts for only around seven to ten percent of total Arab trade." To expect that the appearance of another impoverished Arab state will change the whole picture of relations between the Arab countries is completely unrealistic.
With democracy the story is even more obvious. There is no democracy in the Arab world. Period. To hope against hope that the surrogate Palestinian state, governed by terrorist gangs, will become a prototype for Arab democracy, is certainly self-delusion and wishful thinking of the highest degree. And all of this put together brings us to the unfortunate, but unavoidable conclusion, that a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, will be a complete economic disaster.
This inevitable conclusion evokes very disturbing allusions. Perhaps quite unintentionally, the world community is planning to build an extermination camp for Palestinian Arabs under the cynical name "Palestine." It wants to cram a population of several million people, which exhibits one of the highest growth rates in the world, into two tiny disconnected parcels of land, thus achieving nearly the highest population density on the face of the earth. To settle them in nothing better than a reservation with no drinking water, no natural recourses, nor any hope for a better future for its inhabitants. To create an economically unviable surrogate entity, with millions of miserable people forced to live in utter poverty, goaded by their leaders into being "full of hatred and ready to die in suicide missions."
It is especially disturbing that the idea of establishing a Palestinian Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza is promoted by countless well-meaning people, who have the best intentions, but no understanding of the consequences the establishment of such a state will have. It will be the repetition of the famous legend of the Golem. This clay man was created out of river clay by Rabbi Loew in Prague, in the 16th century, so he would be a servant and guard for the poor and oppressed. But he became a menace to the very public that he was meant to protect and the Rabbi eventually had to unmake his creation, in order to prevent disaster. The Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza will become just such a Golem from which all the well-meaning people will recoil in horror, when they realize what they have created.
However, the inevitable disaster can be prevented. It is not necessary to condemn the Palestinian Arabs to a life in an extermination camp of the surrogate state in the West Bank and Gaza. There exists only one alternative, and it is enough -- separation. If civilized mankind really cares about the well-being of the Palestinian Arabs, it must first and foremost separate them from their leaders. In order to do that, it isn't necessary to reinvent the wheel.
There is a Palestinian Arab state called Jordan, which can accept many of those destined to perish, if they end up being herded into an artificial reservation in the West Bank and Gaza. Freed from political correctness any unbiased observer will admit that Jordan is destined to become "Palestine." Even a senior source within the Iraqi Governing Council said that "the absence of a hostile regime in Baghdad has reduced Israel's strategic dependence on the Hashemite kingdom as a buffer against Iraq, [and] predicted that Jordan would, sooner rather than later, become a Palestinian state" (16).
What is more, at the end of December 2003, Jordanian Prince El Hassan bin Talal, uncle of Jordan's King Abdullah, said in an interview with the Italian newspaper "La Stampa" that "in his opinion Jordan must include all Palestinians" in order to resolve the Middle-East conflict. Therefore, the only obstacle that stands on the road to saving the Palestinian Arabs from the manipulative anti-Israel schemes of their leaders is the world's indifference and an absence of common sense.
Instead of throwing billions of dollars to the wind by transferring money to the PA, these billions can be used for the organized relocation of Palestinian Arabs into Jordan. For instance, instead of wasting $1 billion each year to support the tottering PA economy, the money can be used to guarantee painless resettlement every year of 100,000 Palestinian Arabs in Jordan. Three quarters of this amount - $750 million - can be given to Jordan for development of housing, infrastructure, allocations for social services for the relocated people and other purposes. The remainder can be distributed among the 100,000 people to be relocated. This will come to $2,500 per person or $20,000 per family, assuming an average family size of eight. Since the average monthly salary in Jordan for a skilled worker is $275 and for an engineer is $550 (17), this means that an average relocated family will receive seven times the yearly salary of a skilled worker or three times that of an engineer. This is simply unimaginable, compared with the $2 a day for the over 60% of Palestinian Arabs, who live below the poverty line.
The money transferred in this way to Jordan will be extremely helpful to its economy, especially since Iraqi oil is no longer available to it at pre-war discounts. The CIA fact book says that "... the US-led war in Iraq in 2003 dealt an economic blow to Jordan, which was dependent on Iraq for discounted oil. It remains unclear how Jordan will finance energy imports in the absence of such a deal."
In one easy move, by taking the course of resettling the Palestinian Arabs in Jordan, the world community has a unique opportunity to save the lives of millions of these destitute people, resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, and help Jordan economy to overcome a looming economic disaster (caused by the disappearance of cheap Iraqi oil). The alternative is to condemn the Palestinian Arabs to destruction. The alternative is millions more victims of hunger, violence and misery, similar to what we see today in Zimbabwe, Congo and comparably failed projects. The alternative is murder and death.
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.
A POTPOURRI OF PEACE PLANS
By Shmuel Neumann, Ph.D.
The left keeps repackaging the same Peace Plan each and every time the plan produces catastrophic results. The repackaged plans include the Madrid conference, Oslo I, Oslo II, Wye Agreement, Camp David memorandum, Tenet Plan, Burns plan, Mitchell Plan, the Saudi Plan, the Powel Plan, the Roadmap, the Geneva Accords, and now Sharon's unilateral Peace Plan, an Imposed Peace Plan.
The Right of Center has put forward less varied proposals. The best known is Moledet's Beni Alon's Peace Plan declaring Jordan the Palestinian state and fostering transfer of the population of the so called West Bank to Jordan and of Gaza to Egypt. The Likud branch called Manhigut put forth Moshe Fieglin's plan which strives to make "Israel a Jewish State by providing education towards Love of Israel, Torah and the Land. He advocates granting voting rights to diaspora Jews who tie their fate to the State of Israel, the liberation of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, the cancellation of the Oslo Accords, accelerated application of sovereignty over the settlements, renewal of democracy and the Justice System on the basis of national values, Jewish labor for an effective, creative and moral economy, the forbidding of the employment of foreign workers and to return moral strength and the restoring of the power of deterrence to Israel's Army."
YeshaHomestead and Hamotzi added to the plethora of alternatives. Their position is that not only are the fundamental assumptions made by other plans irrational, but more egregious, they elicit the opposite of the desired effects.
The left makes two basic irrational assumptions: 1) that any Peace can only be achieved by negotiation and 2) that the end result must inevitably lead to an independent Palestinian country. Both assumptions are patently absurd. The last three years of incessant violence and the Palestinians non-compliance with any agreement or inerrant accord demonstrates the futility of negotiated agreements. More importantly, it is the establishment of a Palestinian country that insures perpetual worldwide violence.
National Identity and Status
The fiction of the Palestinians must be brought to an end. The so-called Palestinians are not Palestinian. They are Jordanian citizens living in the so called West Bank and Egyptian citizens living in Gaza. Their status should be no different than that of a Bulgarian citizen who wishes to remain in Israel. Just as a Bulgarian citizen can acquire permanent residency status if qualified, Egyptian citizens that want to remain in Gaza and Jordanian citizens that want to remain in Yehuda and Shomron should be required to obtain either a temporary or permanent residency visa. According to existing Israeli law, permanent residents can vote in local municipal, county and state elections. There is no need to establish any new state as the Arabs already have self-determination in running all local municipal and county affairs.
Citizenship will be restricted to those eligible to serve in the Israeli armed forces. Non-citizens may remain as permanent residents or on a temporary resident visa restricted to a six-month term. Visa violations will be as strictly enforced as they are in the United States. Non-citizens certainly will not receive child welfare checks, free education, free healthcare and subsidized higher education. Furthermore, non-citizens will not be permitted to own property and must deed it to the Jewish state or sell it to private Israeli citizens.
Arabs are the only citizens of the Israel that are not required to serve in the Army or even perform community service in lieu of Army service. While Jewish boys are required to be at risk and sacrifice the best three years of their lives in full time Army service, the Israeli government in a reverse discrimination policy provides University education gratis to Arab adolescents. Israeli Arabs derive all the benefits of citizenship without assuming the obligations of citizenship.
Jews should have this same option. Many Jews hesitate to make Aliya as they are not prepared to forfeit their children's adolescence. That should be an individual decision. When their child reaches the age of maturity, they should be permitted to decide for themselves whether or not they want to be full citizens and serve in the Army. It is impossible for Jews to move to Israel and remain non-citizen residents as a professional license to be a physician, lawyer, social worker, nurse, etc. cannot be processed unless the individual makes aliya. Without making aliya, a Jew cannot become a member of a Jewish settlement. Even after making aliya, a Jew who defers military service may not work. That means that a Jew who wants to live in Israel without obligating their children to serve in the Israeli Army cannot obtain professional licenses, cannot work, and cannot become members of Jewish settlements in Yehuda and Shomron.
It is time to establish two classes of citizens. Full citizenship with the right to vote for those that are eligible to serve and virtual citizenship for those that are exempt from Army service. These virtual citizens could buy houses, get professional licenses, and work even in professions, but would not have the right to vote in national elections, would not get higher education scholarships, and would not receive National Insurance assistance based on the number of children in the family. The Law of Return can be simply revised to automatically grant virtual citizenship to anyone who is a Jew and who wishes to be exempt from Army service. In order to provide closure and an end to the illusion that any form of Palestinian state is viable, abolish the Palestinian Authority and grant virtual Israeli citizenship to the one million Israeli Arabs, three million Palestinians, one million Palestinian refugees, and the thirteen million Jews worldwide.
The Israeli Arab, Palestinian Arab and Jewish virtual citizens will vote only in local elections in the areas in which they reside. The virtual citizens will not be a drain on the taxpayers' pocket. Just as Jewish virtual citizens do not serve in the Army, pay for their own health insurance, pay for their elementary and high school education, and do not receive National Insurance child allowance, the Moslem virtual citizens likewise receive the benefit of exemption from the Army at the cost of self-sufficiency. In contrast, those that bear the burden of full citizenship receive the benefits of full citizenship. Druze and Bedoins that serve in the Army retain their full citizenship, continue to serve in the Army and continue to vote in national elections.
Until virtual citizenship is implemented, the violence can be instantly stopped without a Roadmap or interim State, merely by providing sufficient physical distance between populations so that they are each out of range of sniper or homicide bomb attacks. Simply creating buffer zones around Jewish and Arab towns and villages, along major roads and along the green line ends all possibility of attack.
A system of buffer zones must be imposed to prevent the possibility of attack. In order to prevent Jews from being within range of snipers and bombers, clear a two-kilometer buffer zone around every Jewish holy site and tomb, around each Jewish community and along the roads in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Any Arabs that have houses and farms within these buffer zones who can prove ownership, with papers delineating the chain of title from the Ottoman, British and Jordanian records, should be compensated. Others are squatters who have no rights to this land.
Establish Separate States within the West Bank and Gaza
Just as the Sharon, Upper Galilee, Lower Galilee and Negev are separate jurisdictions within Israel, which could be defined as "states." They are free to pass additional state or municipal ordinances, just as any other state or municipality within Israel has that prerogative.
Rather than an interim Palestinian state by 2005, liquidate the terrorist Palestinian Authority, and in its stead, elect new local governments that provide civil services and enforce local ordinances. The so called Palestinians can begin to lead productive useful lives and enjoy prosperity derived from mutual cooperation rather than the current destructive, empty and useless lifestyle that breeds a culture that idealizes suicide bombing.
Equal Application of Law
Israeli law must be equally applied to all residents, citizens and permanent residents alike; Jews and Arabs alike.
It is unconscionable that Jewish Israeli citizens forfeit due process rights if they live in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, where martial law rather than civil law prevails. Israeli citizens are imprisoned without charges, are prevented legal representation and contact with lawyers, etc. They are citizens and the same due process should apply to them on both sides of the Green Line.
We must insist upon equality under the law. Jews must be guaranteed the right to directly purchase homes and land from Arabs. In the event that Moslem clerics threaten the Arab seller, they must be prosecuted for terrorisic threats in addition to civil rights violations. In the event any Palestinian group impedes fair trade practices, then they must be held accountable and fined and those actively involved, imprisoned. If any Palestinian group kills an Arab that sells to Jews, then Israel must be legally compelled to process this act of terrorism in the same way that they respond to terrorism against Jewish Israelis.
Permanent residents that join a terror organization must have their visas revoked and be deported. The lawlessness of the Palestinian Authority must be brought to an end. Israeli law must apply to the permanent residents who live in Areas A and B. They are free to pass additional municipal ordinances just as any other municipality within Israel has that prerogative.
Just as every Jew that lives in Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria) must prove ownership of their property, every single Arab living in Yehuda and Shomron must be made to show that they have similarly registered their land, proving their ownership through the Ottoman, British and pre-1967 Jordanian records. If they cannot prove ownership, they must be removed from those properties.
Area C, 58% of the West Bank, is legally inhabited by Jews and illegally inhabited by Arab squatters. By fining these squatters and forcing them to move, the entire area can be either purchased by Jews or is Israeli government land and, therefore, de facto annexed to Israel. Of the remaining 42% of the West Bank, Arabs in Area B must prove ownership. Those Arabs in illegal possession of land around the villages in Area B must be compelled to evacuate. This land, together with land in Area B that was purchased by Jews, will also be de facto annexed to Israel.
Annex All of Biblical Israel
There is absolutely no justification in perpetuating the delusion that the West Bank is not Israel. Palestine was a name the Romans gave Israel when they conquered it in 77 CE. It was always a colony, first of the Roman Empire, then of the Ottoman Empire, and, after WW I, a colony of the British Empire. The British divided Palestine along the Jordan River: the East Bank, 80% of Palestine, was given to Arabs and renamed Jordan, and the territory of the West Bank of the Jordan River to the Mediterranean was returned to the Jews for a Jewish homeland. This became Israel - a mere fraction of its original size. In 1948, the Egyptians and Syrians attacked the new Jewish state, and, until 1967, Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank.
In the Six-Day War, Egypt committed an act of war by blockading the Straits of Tiran and Israel used military force to remove the blockade. After the second day of the Six-Day War, Jordan attacked and the West Bank was restored to Israel. The United States takes the position that as Israel fired the first bullet, it technically attacked Egypt and therefore is unjustified in retaining Gaza. However, even the United States must agree that as Jordan attacked Israel, they have no legal claims to the West Bank.
Israeli annexation does not need to be an overt action. Applying Israeli law to this region as it applies everyplace else will have the same effect.
Resolution of Land Disputes:
The holy land of Israel will be restored to the Jews. All so called Palestinians will be required to prove sole ownership with clear title through the Ottoman, British, Jordanian and Israeli land registrations, the same burden of proof that Jews are required to produce in order to register their land. All land and houses that are not privately owned will be nationalized as is all unregistered land and houses in the rest of Israel.
Currently, the Palestinian Authority governs 99% of the Palestinian population. This 99% of the population lives on 42% of the approximately one and a half million acres that comprise the West Bank and Gaza. It is that one percent of the Arab population that is peppered in Area C that is critical to the successful resolution to the disputed 58% land mass. A large part was Jordanian government land and is now either officially a nature reserve or Jewish National Fund land. The small portion that is privately held by Palestinians is what prevents Israeli annexation of this 58% of the West Bank and Gaza.
We can end the conflict simply by investing. By buying out just 1% of the Arab population in Judea and Samaria, Jews can reclaim 58% of the land, because 99% of the Arabs live in concentrated areas on the other 42%. We must flood the courts with motions to compel Israel to evict any so-called Palestinian who does not possess valid title to their land and homes.
We must pool our resources to purchase all property in these buffer zones from the so-called Palestinians. From the standpoint of Israeli security, there will be no need for the security fence, but rather there will be sufficient buffer zones between populations. In the long run, the cost to the government in providing security to its citizens will be markedly reduced. From the standpoint of aliyah, the affluent, accomplished Jews of the world will be attracted to the scenic open space in this newly reclaimed land.
With so-called Palestinians confined to cantons, the option remains open for them to sell and find a better life elsewhere. The United Nations Charter gives them this right. Their right to emigrate is an inalienable basic human right. The so-called Palestinians are prevented from exercising their right of free trade by racist fatwas, or religious decrees, of Moslem clerics who issue a death warrant for any Moslem who sells land in Israel to Jews. In a country of law, this must not be tolerated. Ordering the death of the seller is conspiracy to commit murder, plain and simple, whether the terroristic threats are acted upon or not. The cleric must be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Palestinian web sites proudly display execution of land dealers, complete with video and pictures of the execution.
Purchasing Palestinian's land and homes in Area C, thereby creating buffer zones that are easy to patrol by passive electronic equipment, would substantially reduce Israel's defense budget. The overwhelming majority of these scattered peoples are squatters that have no lawful right to this land and houses. These squatters would, for a small sum, abandon ownership or sell to Jewish Agencies, such as Keren Kayemet, or to investors, or to organizations that have been redeeming the land. The government should also encourage residents of scattered villages in Area B to move, if not out of the country, then into the more settled areas in Area A. Only when Palestinians are confined to Area A, can security forces effectively protect the Israeli citizen from harm.
Each Jewish family may claim their portion of the holy land. They will receive their proportionate share of acreage provided they consent to actively farm it in accordance with Jewish law. This land cannot be sold.
Undeveloped land in Judea and Samaria must be cultivated. Just as farmers may apply for agricultural land within Israel, either in joint co-operative projects, as in moshavim or kibbutzim, or in private farming ventures, permits to farm land in Judea, Samaria and Gaza that is owned by the Israeli government must be offered to Israeli citizens. For unowned land, Israel should copy the United States Homestead Act of 1867, permitting citizens to farm abandoned land and record ownership after a number of years. This would simply reinforce the existing Jordanian law that is in full force and effect in the so-called West Bank that permits farming abandoned property. In order for the homesteads to not become a burden upon the Israeli armed forces, homesteaders must be ex-soldiers with valid permits to carry firearms and who have proven ability to protect themselves from infiltrators.
This law is certainly not in violation of the Geneva Convention when applied only to the so-called West Bank. One may debate whether Egypt's blockade of the Straits of Tiran in 1967 was an act of war. If it was, then even though Israel fired the first weapons, it was a defensive war. If it was not, then Israel's use of military force against Egypt was an offensive rather than defensive act. However, no one can debate Jordan's role. Jordan attacked Israel after the second day of the Six-Day War despite Israel imploring the Jordanians not to enter into the conflict. Jordan is unquestionably the aggressor in that war and their loss of the West Bank is permanent. The Geneva Accords definitely do not apply to this territory. As such, even the most extremist view that the Geneva Convention prohibits citizens of one country inhabiting the occupied territory of a conquered country, could only apply in Gaza. To be above reproach, the Homestead Act should at first be passed on so-called West Bank areas.
Jewish refugees from Europe will waive their right to reclaim the lands, houses and valuables confiscated before and during World War II. To compensate the Jewish refugees, the European Union will build six million houses to house the refugees and their descendants. Middle East countries will compensate the million Jews that had to evacuate their countries with just the shirts on their back. They will build another three million houses in Israel to house the second-generation Jewish refugees that had to flee Arab countries.
The Egyptian and Jordanian citizens who seek to emigrate from the West Bank or Gaza should be permitted to freely emigrate. The Israeli authorities frequently deny these Arabs a pass to leave. Ironically, we have become like the Soviet Union that for decades withheld exit visas of three million Soviet Jews who sought to exercise their basic human right of emigration. We must insist upon equality under the law. Those Egyptian and Jordanian Arabs that wish to emigrate should be categorically permitted the equivalent of an exit visa.
Furthermore, anyone who is either a security risk or participates in the violent overthrow of a government is routinely deported in every democratic country. Just as a Jewish, non-Israeli malcontent who foments racism or is guilty of incitement is deported to his country of origin, Arab malcontents must similarly be deported. Deport the entire terrorist infrastructure from top to bottom.
As the Arabs do not want the return of three million Jews into Arab countries, the Arab countries agree to absorb three million Moslem refugees. The Arab Union will pay all costs for the emigration of Moslems from Israel. The Arab Union accepts that Jews will exclusively occupy Israel. To make sure that the three million Jewish refugees do not return, the Arab Union will pay for a publicity campaign to encourage Jews worldwide to have a second home: their first in Israel, and their second wherever they now live.
Access to Religious Sites
Israel will accept Islam's prohibition of Jews visiting and praying in a minyan in Mecca. The Arab Union agrees that Arabs will be barred from the Temple Mount, the Tombs of the Patriarchs and all other holy places in Israel.
Both citizens and virtual citizens benefit from stimulating the growth of the West Bank settlements and encouraging creation of many new West Bank communities and commercial and industrial zones that will provide jobs and services. As with the Jews and Arabs in the Galil that have amicable working relationships, only by fostering interdependence will both populations find cooperation more in their mutual self-interest than fanatical confrontation.
Currently, the Palestinian Authority governs 99% of the Palestinian population. This 99% of the population lives on 42% of the six and a half million dunam that comprise Yesha. It is that one percent of the Arab population that is peppered in Area C that is critical to the successful resolution to the disputed 58% land mass. A large part was Jordanian government land and is now either officially a nature reserve or Keren Kayemet (JNF) land. The small portion that is privately held by Palestinians is what prevents Israeli annexation of this 58% (3,770,000 dunam) of Yehuda and Shomron. The Palestinian Authority must simply be restructured as a system of local municipal and county administrations.
While implementing this plan will upset a handful of demagogues who corruptly abused their position of power, it is in the best interest of the so-called Palestinian people. Rather than remaining locked into an armed struggle that they can never win and rather than falling victim to fanatical, corrupt self-rule, this is the best accommodation they can hope to achieve.
In the early 20th Century, their families moved to what is now Israel in the hopes of a better future for themselves. In the new Jewish state, there were jobs aplenty, education for their children and the promise of a modern democracy. Instead, they were turned into a scapegoat for the entire Arab world, forced into the role of oppressed refugees by their own crooked leadership, contained in poverty and exploited by the Western anti-Semitic media. This is their chance for freedom.
Hundreds of thousands of so-called Palestinian Arabs have elected to relocate abroad. They want nothing more than a chance for a normal life. They want to live in an area free of tyranny, injustice and free from those who have exploited them for generations. They understand that were they to stay, they are condemning their children to a lifetime of poverty, abuse by the so-called Palestinian leadership, and anarchy. They do not want to become full-fledged Israelis, which in the future would require three years of army service from their boys and girls just like any other Israeli citizen. They certainly do not want to pay the high taxes that other Israelis pay. They want out. The United Nations charter guarantees the right of emigration as a basic human right.
We should help them out.
Shmuel Neumann, Ph.D., is actively involved in creating communities for English-speaking olim, and in an emigration program for Palestinians. He currently resides in the Shomron.
B"H KosherTorah.com Feb. 27, 2004
AN ORTHODOX RABBI RESPONDS TO "THE PASSION"
By Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok
Alright, I have seen the new Mel Gibson film, the Passions of the Christ. As always Mr. Gibson has made a fine movie, as realistic and riveting as "Gone with the Wind" or "Star Wars." To me, the "Passions of the Christ" is just like every other fictional movie I have ever seen. It is a story, it is not real, it is not history, it is not "the way it was." There is much to say about the movie's historical inaccuracies, and in spite of all the public statements to the opposite, the Passion of Christ definitely contains subtle anti-Semitic elements. Let me document some of them here.
Mr. Gibson portrays his view of the Sadduceean Temple Priests, Rabbis, and many of the other Jews of the day who condemned, mocked, jeered and beat Jesus as wearing curled peyos (side locks), in accordance to the same style as those worn today by Orthodox Jews from the eastern European Hasidic tradition. The Priests and Rabbis are also wearing some kind of cloak or shawl that is made with long black stripes, similar in appearance to the eastern European version of the Talit (prayer shawl, worn by religious Jews during morning prayers). It is a clear and indisputable fact of reality that both the side locks and prayer shawls of eastern European design were totally unknown in the days of Jesus. Mr. Gibson clearly uses modern day forms of Jewish identity to make sure that his audiences will be certain to recognize the relationship between modern day Jews and those whom Christians hold responsible for the murder of their lord. (ref. CB 1 Thes. 2:15).
The Jews in the crowd are shown jeering and beating Jesus without cause. Their behavior certainly arouses resentment and anger to anyone watching. By dressing ancient Jews to make them look ever so subtly like modern Jews, Mr. Gibson is making sure that his audience will have no problem transferring their anger and resentment onto those Jews of today. For this appalling portrayal alone, Mr. Gibson ought to be ashamed of himself! Another point, as is known, Mr. Gibson in his own words tried to make the film as historically accurate as he could. He therefore has the characters speaking Latin, Hebrew and Aramaic. While I know nothing of Latin, I am fully versed and fluent in Hebrew and Aramaic. As one familiar with the languages, what made me squirm in my seat was the absolutely horrible Aramaic I heard. Mistakes in dialogue, grammar, usage and translation, every time I heard Aramaic spoken, it felt like someone scratching their fingernails against a chalk board. Yes, it was that bad. There are many modern day speakers of Aramaic, among them Assyrian (non-Catholic) Christians and Sephardic Jews. Mr. Gibson chose a Jesuit priest to write his Aramaic script when it is clear from the job that he did that the man has absolutely no living knowledge of the language.
This indicates Mr. Gibson's allegiance to his religion and his Priests, right or wrong, as opposed to any true desire to be historically accurate and correct. When I, an Orthodox Rabbi, see the Passion I see it in a different light than your average Christian. You see, the death and resurrection of Christ is not a part of my belief system, as such it is not an image etched within my psyche. I have no emotional attachment to the concepts that can be triggered by Mr. Gibson's movie. This does not mean however that the movie will not solicit feelings from non-Christian viewers. While I recognize the movie is only fiction, even fictional accounts evoke within us deep emotion. When I see the character of Jesus suffering, I think of the countless real Jews who have suffered just as Jesus is portrayed in the movie.
When I as a Jew see the character of Jesus being beaten and his mother crying over her suffering son, I do not identify with what is considered by many non-Christians to be a fictional account recorded in the Gospels. Rather, I identify with something much closer to home. I feel the pain of the many Jewish mothers throughout two thousand years of Christian persecution who have cried without comfort over the sufferings and loss of their children. I identify with the Jewish mothers who cried for their sons, suffering from German Nazis, Russian Cossacks, Spanish Inquisitors, and all types of European Crusaders. All of these persecutors of the Jews held one thing in common, they were all Christians, and they had all at one time or another seen a "passion play," similar to Mr. Gibson's movie that motivated them to, in their eyes, take revenge for Christ against those who killed him.
There comes the time when, for the sake of a greater good, we must put facts aside and instead address matters of faith. Mr. Gibson's movie has the potential to set back good Jewish-Christian relations a long way. Judging from the fact that he belongs to a Catholic break-away cult that does not recognize the authority of the Pope or the Vatican, it is quite possible that indeed Mr. Gibson's ulterior intent is to cause such a rupture in these good relations. It is also conceivable that the Passion movie can also serve to seriously harm the support given Israel by America's Christian Zionists. In this respect, Mr. Gibson can be seen as working to support the weakening of the State of Israel. This in turn would only strengthen the enemies of the United States.
So, in a round about way, Mr. Gibson's movie might ultimately serve to strengthen the enemies of peace. This is why I feel it is most important now that we address matters of camaraderie rather than matters of conflict. As peoples of faith, we Jews and Christians have more in common based upon our faith than we have that separates us based upon our divergent views of historical facts, theology and doctrine. As Christians and Jews we both believe in the Biblical code of morality. We both want to live in a society built upon and thriving upon the basic principles as outlined in the Ten Commandments. Christians have adopted our Jewish Bible and placed it alongside their own. Although they call ours the "old" and theirs the "new" Christians still recognize the value and importance of the covenant that G-d made with us, the Jewish people.
Unfortunately there are those indecent Christians who claim that they have become the new Israel and that G-d's chosen people, the old Israel, the Jews, are now nothing more than a nation rejected and hated by G-d, and thus deserving of the hate and scorn of the new Israel, the Church. It is this type of replacement theology and hell fire damnation, held by such people as Mr. Gibson that fuels the fires of anti-Semitism and hatred throughout the world. This must not be tolerated. Sincere G-d fearing Christians around the world must join the Jewish people in opposing this aberration of religion and seek mutual respect however great our differences (ref. CB Rev. 12:17). Faith of any type is a matter of the heart. It can motivate one to rise to the highest of spiritual heights or similarly motivate one to destroy the world and all unbelievers in it.
We look today upon a Moslem world growing more and more fundamentalist and seeking to wage war against the unbelievers in Western society, specifically the Christian world. We here in the West view the growth of radical Islam as an evil that must be eradicated. Yet, one does not see the irony in all this. You see, Islam is not the first world religion to become intolerant of others and desirous of conquering the world. The Christian Church has always held similarly radical tenets with similar designs to evangelize and to convert the whole world to Christianity. 1,000 years ago, during the Crusades, it was Christian terrorists who were invading and attacking Moslem centers, just as Moslems are doing today. Just as a side note, the Moslems today attack Jews as the intermediary to attacking the West just as Christians murdered whole Jewish villages on their way to the Middle East to battle the Moslems.
It seems that we Jews are always in the middle, always the innocent suffering servants of G-d (ref. Isaiah 53). I have heard many commentators on the Passion of Christ state that what is needed is a movie about Jesus' life, not his death. These sincere G-d fearing Christians want to spread Jesus' teachings of love and life. In this respect they might find some willing allies in the Jewish world. Most of Jesus' statements as recorded in the Gospels actually express traditional Rabbinic teachings of the time. If Christians only knew the Jewish source for many of their sacred beliefs, I believe that this would go a long way towards healing a two millennia old conflict that has been nothing other than a desecration of G-d's Name.
One last point, specifically for my Christian readers. If the story of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels were actual fact, and Jesus was actually a righteous Jew persecuted by wicked Sadduceean Priests and their Roman overlords, I myself would have come to his defense, and even carried his cross. More so, most religious Jews I know would have done the same. We Jews are not Christ killers; we are the victims of those who have accused us of such. Please feel free to disseminate the essay.
Please send all responses to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shalom, Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok KosherTorah.com - Yeshivat Benei N'vi'im Koshertorah.com
Copyright © 2004 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.
The Jerusalem Post, February 5, 2004
HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE NEW ANTI-JEWISHNESS
By Irwin Cotler
[This paper was originally published by the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute in November 2002.]
What we are witnessing today... is a new, virulent, globalizing and even lethal anti-Jewishness reminiscent of the atmospherics of the 1930s, and without parallel or precedent since the end of the Second World War... Anchored in the "Zionism is Racism" resolution, but going beyond it, the new anti-Jewishness... can best be defined as the discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon, national particularity and peoplehood anywhere, whenever that national particularity and peoplehood happens to be Jewish. In its more benign form (if it can be called benign), it finds particular expression in the singling out of Israel and the Jewish people for differential and discriminatory treatment in the international arena -- where United Nations human rights bodies are used as the mask or protective cover for this anti-Jewishness (e.g. The 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban). In its most lethal form, it refers to the singling out of Israel and the Jewish people for existential or genocidal assault, as evidenced by the suicide-bombers -- or what I prefer to call genocide-bombers... -- the convergence of both politicide and genocide.
In a word, classical or traditional anti-Semitism is the discrimination against, or denial of, the right of Jews to live as equal members of a free society; the new anti-Semitism -- incompletely, or incorrectly, [referred to] as "anti-Zionism"... -- involves the discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon the right of the Jewish people to live as an equal member of the family of nations. What is intrinsic to each form of anti-Semitism -- and common to both -- is discrimination. All that has happened is that it has moved from discrimination against Jews as individuals -- a classical anti-Semitism for which there are indices of measurement (e.g., discrimination against Jews in education, housing, or employment) -- to discrimination against Jews as people -- a new anti-Semitism -- for which one has yet to develop indices of measurement.
... I would like to propose... a set of indices by which we can identify... and monitor the nature and meaning of the new anti-Jewishness. These indices are organized around a juridical framework and draw upon principles of discrimination and equality as they find expression in both domestic and international law. There are thirteen indices that may serve to illustrate this new anti-Jewishness...
The first and most lethal is existential or genocidal anti-Semitism. I am referring here to the public call for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. Examples include the covenants of terrorist organizations like Hamas which publicly call for... the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews anywhere; religious fatwas -- or execution writs -- issued by radical Islamic clerics, which not only call for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews, but proclaim it also as a religious obligation... and calls by member states of the international community -- such as Iran or Iraq -- for the destruction of ... Israel and its people, as evidenced in the statements by their respective political leadership that call not only for the destruction of Israel but also express the intent to use nuclear weapons to accomplish this genocidal purpose.
In a word, Israel is the only state in the world today, and the Jews the only people in the world today, that are the object of a standing set of threats from governmental, religious, and terrorist bodies seeking their destruction. And what is most disturbing is the silence, the indifference, and sometimes even the indulgence, in the face of such genocidal antisemitism.
There are three manifestations of this phenomenon. The discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon the Jewish people's right to self-determination which, as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, "is the denial to the Jews of the same right, the right to self-determination that we accord to African nations and all other peoples of the globe. In short, it is anti-Semitism... " To the extent that Israel has emerged as the "civil religion" of world Jewry -- the organizing idiom of Jewish self-determination -- this new anti-Semitism is a per se assault, in contemporary terms, on the religious and national sensibility of the Jewish people.
... [I]f classical anti-Semitism was anchored in discrimination against the Jewish religion, the new anti-Jewishness is anchored in discrimination against the Jews as a people -- and the embodiment of that expression in Israel. In each instance the essence of anti-Semitism is the same -- an assault upon whatever is the core of Jewish self-definition at any moment in time...
There is yet another, and third, variant of political anti-Semitism. I am referring here to the "demonizing" of Israel... This is the contemporary analogue to the medieval indictment of the Jew as the "poisoner of the wells." In other words, in a world in which human rights has emerged as the new secular religion of our time, the portrayal of Israel as the metaphor for a human rights violator is an indictment of Israel as the "new anti-Christ" -- as the "poisoner of the international wells"...
Ideological anti-Semitism finds expression not only in the "Zionism is Racism" indictment... but the further criminal indictment of Israel as "an apartheid state," and the calling for the dismantling of this "apartheid state" -- a euphemism for Israel's destruction. If the proclamation of "Zionism as Racism" gave anti-Semitism the appearance of international sanction, the calling for the dismantling of the apartheid state of Israel is even more toxic and virulent, once again giving anti-Semitism the appearance of international sanction. Indeed, the increased characterization or libeling of Israel as a "Nazi state" is tantamount to transforming ideological anti-Semitism into a duty -- the obligation to remove this Nazi state, Israel.
This refers to the convergence of state-sanctioned Islamic anti-Semitism, which characterizes Jews and Judaism, let alone Israel, as the perfidious enemy of Islam... and which finds expression in the proclamation made by Yasser Arafat-appointed and funded Imam, Ahmed Abu Halabiya, from a mosque pulpit and broadcasted on Palestinian state television -- "The Jews must be butchered and tortured: Allah will torture them with your hands. Have no mercy on the Jews...wherever you meet them...kill them."...
As for cultural anti-Semitism, I am referring here to the melange of attitudes, sentiments, innuendo and the like -- in academe, in parliaments, among the literati, public intellectuals, and the human rights movement -- ... as found expression in the remarks of the French Ambassador to the U.K. to the effect of, why should the world risk another world war because of "that shitty little country Israel"; or as British journalist Petronella Wyatt put it, "Anti-Semitism, and its open expression, has become respectable at London dinner tables" once more -- not just in Germany or Catholic Central Europe.
[W]e are witnessing an explosion of European anti-Semitism without parallel or precedent since World War II... Some examples, to which I can personally attest to, following my visits to European capitals these past two years, include assaults upon and desecration of synagogues, cemeteries and Jewish institutions; attacks upon identifiable Jews; convergence of the extreme left and the extreme right in public demonstrations calling for "death to the Jews"; atrocity propaganda against Israel and Jews (e.g., Israel injects the AIDS virus into Palestinians); the ugly canard of double loyalty; the demonization of Israel through the escalating ascription of Nazi metaphors; indifference or silence in the face of horrific acts of terror against Israel and the threatening of sanctions against Israel for exercising its right of self-defense against these acts of terror.
In the words of Joel Kotek of the University of Brussels: "One's position on the Arab-Israeli conflict has become a test of loyalty. Should he become a supporter of Israel, he becomes a supporter of a Nazi state."
Denying Israel equality before the law
I am referring here to the singling out of Israel for differential, if not discriminatory, treatment amongst the family of nations... Some examples include the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, which turned into a conference of racism against Israel, where Israel was the only state singled out for indictment; the UN Commission on Human Rights, where Israel is the only country singled out for a country-specific condemnation even before the annual session begins, where 30 percent of all resolutions condemn Israel alone, while the major human rights violators enjoy exculpatory immunity; the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, where Israel became the first country in fifty-two years to be the object of a country-specific indictment, while the perpetrators of horrific killing fields -- be it Cambodia, Sudan, etc. -- have never been the object of a contracting party's enquiry; the systemic and systematic discrimination against Israel in the major decision-making bodies of the United Nations and its specialized agencies; the exclusion of Magen David Adom, Israel's humanitarian aid agency, from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; the conversion of refugee camps under UNRWA's management into bases and sanctuaries of incitement and terror, in breach of fundamental principles of international humanitarian and refugee law.
The denial of international due process to Israel and the Jewish people in the international arena refers to the disenfranchisement of Israel in the international arena, where, for example, Israel emerges as the only country denied "standing" in any regional grouping in the United Nations, which resulted in Israel (and Jewish NGOs) being excluded from the Regional Conference in Iran, where the regional Asian position for the World Conference Against Racism was prepared.
"Legalized" anti-Semitism refers to the international "legal" character of this anti-Semitism, in which, in a kind of Orwellian inversion of law and language, United Nations human rights bodies become the mask under which this "teaching of contempt" is carried out...
... Classical economic anti-Semitism involved discrimination against Jews in housing, education, and employment; the new economic anti-Semitism involves the extra-territorial application by Arab countries of an international restrictive covenant against corporations conditioning their trade with Arab countries on their agreement not to do business with Israel (secondary boycott); or not doing business with another corporation which may be doing business with Israel (tertiary boycott); or even... conditioning the trade with such corporations on neither hiring nor promoting Jews within the corporation (I was able to document this in the course of my chairing a Commission on Economic Coercion and Discrimination).
The cutting edge of this new anti-Semitism is... Holocaust denial, which moves inexorably from denying the Holocaust, to accusing Jews of fabricating the "hoax"... to indicting Jews for extorting false reparations from the innocent German people, to the building of their "illegal" State of Israel on the backs of the real indigenous owners, the Palestinians. Let there be no doubt about it, those who would seek to deny the Jewish people their past are the same people who, if given the chance, would deny the Jewish people their future.
Racist terrorism against Jews refers to the state-orchestrated incitement to violence and terrorism against Jews... This racist terrorism has been ratcheted up into an alarming case of "mega" or "catastrophic terrorism" as exemplified by the recent attempts to literally incinerate thousands of Israelis by blowing up fuel and gas storage facilities in the Herzliya area and blowing up the Azrieli office towers in Tel Aviv; the attempted use of cyanide poison in a Jerusalem restaurant; the attempted blowing up of residential apartment areas in Haifa; and the recent disclosure of Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda connected plans to target Israeli institutions and Jewish nationals in the Western hemisphere.
This refers to the state-sanctioned "culture of hate" -- integrating both old and new forms of anti-Jewishness -- that finds increasing expression in the incitement to hatred in state-controlled mosques, media, schools, and other institutions, including such recent examples as the broadcasting of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion... and the appropriation of symbols and motifs from classical anti-Semitism to demonize Israel and the Jewish people today. In the words of Professor Fouad Ajami: The suicide bomber of the Passover massacre did not descend from the sky... he partook of the culture all around him -- the glee that greets those brutal deeds of terror, the cult that rises around the martyrs and their families.
None of this is intended to suggest... that Israel is somehow above the law, or that Israel is not to be held accountable for any violations of law. On the contrary -- Israel is accountable for any violations of international law or human rights like any other state; and the Jewish people are not entitled to any privileged protection or preference because of the particularity of Jewish suffering. But the problem is not that Israel as the "Jew among Nations" seeks to be above the law, but that it has been systematically denied equality before the law; not that Israel must respect human rights -- which it should -- but that the human rights of Israel have not been respected; not that human rights standards should be applied to Israel -- which they must -- but that these standards have not been applied equally to anyone else.
Israel and the Jewish people have been singled out for differential and discriminatory treatment in the international arena -- and worst of all -- singled out for destruction. The time has come to sound the alarm -- not only for Israel and the Jewish people whose safety and security is under existential threat and attack -- but for the world community and the human condition as a whole. For as history has taught us only too well, while the persecution and discrimination may begin with Jews, it doesn't end with Jews.
(The Honorable Irwin Cotler, an MP when he wrote this article, is now Canada's Minister of Justice)
The Jerusalem Post
SEEING ANTI-SEMITISM IN 3D
by Natan Sharansky
This week I took part in a conference on anti-Semitism in Europe. Hosted by the president of the European Commission Romano Prodi, the conference brought together leaders from around the world determined to fight the new wave of anti-Semitism that has engulfed Europe over the last few years.
The question is how the sincere intentions of the participants to combat this evil can be translated into effective action.
My experience has convinced me that moral clarity is critical in taking a stand against evil. Evil cannot be defeated if it cannot be recognized, and the only way to recognize evil is to draw clear moral lines. Evil thrives when those lines are blurred, when right and wrong is a matter of opinion rather than objective truth.
That is what makes the battle against the so-called new anti-Semitism so difficult.
To the free world's modern eyes, classical anti-Semitism is easily discernible. If we watch films that show Jews draining the blood of Gentile children or plotting to take over the world, most of us would immediately recognize it as anti-Semitism.
Such movies, produced recently by the government-controlled media in Egypt and Syria and broadcast via satellite to hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, including millions of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe, employ motifs and canards that are familiar to us.
But the new anti-Semitism is far more subtle. Whereas classical anti-Semitism was seen as being aimed at the Jewish religion or the Jewish people, the new anti-Semitism is ostensibly directed against the Jewish state. Since this anti-Semitism can hide behind the veneer of legitimate criticism of Israel, it is much more difficult to expose.
In fact, over the past year, whenever we have criticized particularly virulent anti-Israel statements as being rooted in anti-Semitism, the response has invariably been that we are trying to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel by deliberately labeling it anti-Semitism.
What emerged from this conference was an admission by European leaders themselves that not all criticism of Israel is legitimate. This recognition was evident in the remarks of President Romano Prodi, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and other officials.
If not all criticism is valid, how then do we define the boundary line?
I propose the following test for differentiating legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism. The 3D test, as I call it, is not a new one. It merely applies to the new anti-Semitism the same criteria that for centuries identified the different dimensions of classical anti-Semitism.
The first D is the test of demonization.
Whether it came in the theological form of a collective accusation of deicide or in the literary depiction of Shakespeare's Shylock, Jews were demonized for centuries as the embodiment of evil. Therefore, today we must be wary of whether the Jewish state is being demonized by having its actions blown out of all sensible proportion.
For example, the comparisons of Israelis to Nazis and of the Palestinian refugee camps to Auschwitz -- comparisons heard practically every day within the "enlightened" quarters of Europe -- can only be considered anti-Semitic.
Those who draw such analogies either do not know anything about Nazi Germany or, more plausibly, are deliberately trying to paint modern-day Israel as the embodiment of evil.
The second D is the test of double standards. For thousands of years a clear sign of anti-Semitism was treating Jews differently than other peoples, from the discriminatory laws many nations enacted against them to the tendency to judge their behavior by a different yardstick.
Similarly, today we must ask whether criticism of Israel is being applied selectively. In other words, do similar policies by other governments engender the same criticism, or is there a double standard at work?
It is anti-Semitism, for instance, when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while tried and true abusers like China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria are ignored.
Likewise, it is anti-Semitism when Israel's Magen David Adom, alone among the world's ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross.
The third D is the test of deligitimation. In the past, anti-Semites tried to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish religion, the Jewish people, or both. Today, they are trying to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish state, presenting it, among other things, as the last vestige of colonialism.
While criticism of an Israeli policy may not be anti-Semitic, the denial of Israel's right to exist is always anti-Semitic. If other peoples have a right to live securely in their homelands, then the Jewish people have a right to live securely in their homeland.
To remember the 3D test I suggest we recall those 3D movies we enjoyed as children. Without those special glasses the movie was flat and blurred. But when we put on our glasses the screen came alive, and we saw everything with perfect clarity.
In the same way, if we do not wear the right glasses, the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism will be blurred and we will not be able to recognize this ancient evil, much less fight it.
But if we wear the special glasses provided by the 3D test -- if we check whether Israel is being demonized or deligitimized, or whether a double standard is being applied to it -- we will always be able to see anti-Semitism clearly.
And with moral clarity, I have no doubt that our efforts to combat this evil will prove far more effective.
The writer is Israel's Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Jerusalem.
SOCIALIST PERES JUST DOESN'T LIKE BEING A JEW!
By Ruth and Nadia Matar
Jerusalem, February 27, 2004
Peres is a stereotype. A vain Israeli, without religion or
faith, ironically, living in the Promised Holy Land which has
given birth to the Jewish Religion. Many years ago, Moshe
Sharett, who later became Israel's Prime Minister, correctly
envisioned that Peres lacked character, and represented a danger
and threat to the existence of a Jewish State. Unfortunately, his
predictions were on target, and Peres today remains disloyal to
his People, and by his actions, represents a threat to Israel's
The author and initiator of the Oslo Process, to this day he will never admit to the grave mistake he made. He has caused many deaths and maimings of Jews because of the policies he deceptively maneuvered. He is just incapable of admitting having made a mistake, but instead continues to rationalize his past serious wrong doings.
Typical of his vanity is his unwillingness to see any evil in Arafat whom he persists in calling a man of peace. After Arafat has been proven to be directly linked to terror and responsible for many Jewish and American deaths, Peres still insists, even today, that Arafat was justified in receiving the Noble Peace Prize.
His latest statements made in Washington, D.C. which he no doubt repeated in his meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Powell, and Condelezza Rice, incredulously was that Israel has no "moral" claim to Gaza or to Judea and Samaria, and must give up these "territories." History has no meaning for Peres. He does not believe in G_d or the Bible. That is why he is capable of claiming that Jews have no moral right to Gaza or Judea and Samaria, which is a vital part of Jewish history, religion and its traditions.
No one seems to be bothered by the fact that this man who has no position in our present government, nevertheless meets with Powell and Rice. Such behavior on his part may satisfy his inflated ego, but is tantamount to disloyalty, and leads to divisiveness and confusion at a time when unity of the People of Israel is required. Peres is busy with his own vanity and private machinations rather than acting in behalf of the Jewish State of Israel and its needs, during these critical times. An example of his callousness was demonstrated when his ego initiated an expensive and extensive celebration of his 80th birthday at a time when Israel's economy was sorely in distress.
Peres admittedly is a non-believer, and thinks the Jewish People have no "destiny." His Oslo proposals have proven disastrous. It is fortunate however, that the God of Israel is the factor in determining Jewish Destiny. Thanks to the Almighty, the Jewish People have survived many perilous periods in its long and ancient history. They are here and are alive today despite their many enemies. They will continue to survive, despite the efforts of an aged and barking secularist and socialist, Shimon Peres.
Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
Tel: 972-2-624-9887 Fax: 972-2-624-5380
A VICIOUS, ANTI-SEMITIC FILM
Produced by Syria, not Mel Gibson!
By Joel C. Rosenberg
(WASHINGTON, D.C., February 25, 2004 -- Note: National Review
Online has posted this article as a lead story today. Go to
Israeli Cabinet Minister Natan Sharansky went to Berlin in January to show German, French and other European officials excerpts of a vicious, anti-Semitic film.
With all the media attacks on Mel Gibson and his new film, you might think Sharansky showed excerpts of The Passion of the Christ. He did not.
Sharansky, for whom I briefly worked in 2000, wanted European officials to see a real anti-Semitic film. So he showed them excerpts of Al-Shatat ("The Diaspora"), a $5.1 million, 30-part "mini-series" produced by Syrian television. It was broadcast during Ramadan last year by Al-Mansar, Hezbollah's satellite television network. The film is "a Syrian TV series recording the criminal history of Zionism," according to a November 11, 2003 report in the Syria Times.
Episode Twenty of Al-Shatat -- which aired last November -- depicts a classic anti-Semitic blood libel. A Rabbi, played by an Arab actor, directs a member of his synagogue to help him:
1) kidnap the son of his Christian neighbor;
2) bring the boy to the synagogue;
3) slit the boy's throat;
4) drain the boy's blood into a basin;
5) use the blood to make Passover matzoh bread;
6) serve the matzoh to the members of the synagogue.
In Episode Six of the Syrian film, a group of rabbis and other Jews in a Romanian ghetto gather to torture and kill a man found guilty of marrying a non-Jewish woman. As the man screams in agony, the head rabbi instructs his fellow Jews: "You hold his nose shut. You, open his mouth with tongs. You pour lead into his mouth. You cut off his ears. You stab his body with a knife before the lead kills him. This is a sacred Talmudic court; if any of you fails in his mission I will try you just like this criminal." The men follow the Rabbi's orders.
Sharansky and I met in Washington on February 5, fresh from his trip to Berlin. He told me the European officials he met with initially hemmed and hawed over whether anti-Semitism is really on the rise, or posing a serious threat of any kind - that is, until he showed them video clips of the Syrian film. Then the debate stopped, and everyone in the room sat in stunned silence.
Sharansky then directed me to the Middle East Media Research Institute. There, I found English-language reports about the film, translated excerpts of key scenes, as well as several graphic video clips. Let me warn you. Some of the images are so brutal, so cruel, so evil you should not watch them anywhere near children. You may not want to watch them at all. But you should.
Anti-Semitism in Europe, for example, is not only on the rise, it's almost as bad as it was in the 1930s during the rise of the Nazi party in Germany, says Ambassador Rockwell Schnabel, the U.S. envoy to the European Union.
Foreign Policy magazine, published by the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, notes that ''not since Kristallnacht, the Nazi-led pogrom against German Jews in 1938, have so many European synagogues and Jewish schools been desecrated.''
A recent report in Le Soir of Brussels described a Belgium-Israel football game on January 28, 2004, at which Muslim fans cried out "Jews to the gas chamber!" "Death to Jews!" and "Strangle the Jews!" France's chief Rabbi warns Jewish men in France not to wear their yarmulkes in public to avoid being targets of anti-Jewish attacks.
The evidence is mounting. Most of the verbal and physical attacks on Jews worldwide are being driven by Islamic extremists, not by evangelicals or Catholics.
So what? Attacks against any group based on their ethnic identity and/or religious belief is repugnant to Americans and represents a threat to the foundations of Western Judeo-Christian society. Anti-Semitism is a particularly malignant social disease. Left unchecked -- as it was in the 1930s -- it metastasizes and triggers attacks on other groups until no one is safe.
Americans need to be aware of what Sharanksy calls the "new anti-Semitism," and specifically aware of this Syrian film. Anyone who makes his living as a writer or film-maker understands the power of a narrative to shape hearts and minds; thus it's important to know what a truly anti-Semitic film looks like. Because The Passion of the Christ is not one, and the Syrian-Hezbollah film most certainly is.
The Passion is brutal. It's graphic. As a story of hope and redemption, it's also one of the most moving and important films ever to come out of Hollywood, worthy of multiple Oscars. But it's not anti-Jewish, as Maia Morgenstern -- the Romanian actress who plays "Mary" in Gibson's film, and whose grandfather died in Auschwitz -- attests.
Those Jewish leaders attacking The Passion are thus making a serious strategic error. They're crying wolf, and hurting their own cause by pointing to anti-Semitism where it doesn't exist and thus distracting attention from real and rising evils where they do. Moreover, by attacking a film in which a Jewish person is portrayed as the Savior of all mankind, they're needlessly insulting and alienating millions of Bible-believing Christians, the very people most supportive of the right of all Jews -- and the Jewish state of Israel -- to exist in peace and security.
BLOOD LIBEL: Al-Shatat, Episode 20, Scene 1
Rabbi: "Well, we have a mission from the
leadership, and we must carry it out quickly."
Young Jewish Man: "What is it?"
Rabbi: "Listen. We want the blood of a Christian child before Passover, for the matzos."
Rabbi: "Don't think too hard... Joseph, the son of Helen, your neighbor."
Young Jewish Man: "Joseph? Why Joseph specifically?"
Rabbi: "I'll explain it to you later. First do it."
Rabbi: "Nathan is very late."
Young Jewish Man: "True. I'm beginning to worry."
Rabbi: "If anyone suspects anything, we'll abort the operation, and tell Nathan to say that he brought Joseph here just for a walk."
Young Jewish Man: "Hello."
Young Jewish Man: "Did anyone see you?"
Young Jewish Man: "Are you sure?"
Nathan: "Of course."
Rabbi: "Let's start immediately."
Joseph: "Nathan, I want to go home."
Nathan: "Of course, my dear. We'll go in a little bit."
Joseph: "Nathan, where are you taking me?"
Nathan: "Don't be afraid, Joseph. Don't be afraid."
Joseph: "Nathan, take me back!"
Nathan: "Don't be afraid, my dear, don't be afraid."
Joseph: "Nathan! Help me! Mama! Mama!"
(The men hold Joseph while his throat is slit and his blood is poured into a metal basin.)
Jewish Man: "Hello."
Rabbi: "Good Passover."
Jewish Man: "Good Passover."
Rabbi: "Isn't it a mistake to have Passover without inviting the rabbi?"
Jewish Man: "Never mind, Rabbi. You know me. I'm not religious."
Rabbi: "This is why I am looking for you. I want to let you taste the holy Passover matzo. Then maybe you will come back to your religion."
Jewish Man: "No thanks. I don't want to."
Rabbi: "No, no. You must eat this, if not for my sake, for the sake of God."
Jewish Man: "Thank you."
Rabbi: "How is it? Tasty?"
Jewish Man: "Plain. Like all the matzos in the world."
Rabbi: "No, make no mistake. This one is tastier and holier because it was kneaded with pure blood, the blood of Joseph."
(English translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute)
THE AGENDA OF ISLAM -
A WAR BETWEEN CIVILIZATIONS
By Professor Moshe Sharon
December 24, 2003
There is no Fundamental Islam.
"Fundamentalism" is a word that came from the heart of the Christian religion. It means faith that goes by the word of the Bible. Fundamental Christianity, or going with the Bible, does not mean going around and killing people. There is no fundamental Islam. There is only Islam full stop. The question is how the Koran is interpreted.
All of a sudden we see that the greatest interpreters of Islam are politicians in the western world. They know better than all the speakers in the mosques, all those who deliver terrible sermons against anything that is either Christian or Jewish. These western politicians know that there is good Islam and bad Islam. They know even how to differentiate between the two, except that none of them know how to read a word of Arabic.
The Language of Islam
You see, so much is covered by politically correct language that, in fact, the truth has been lost. For example, when we speak about Islam in the west, we try to use our own language and terminology. We speak about Islam in terms of democracy and fundamentalism, in terms of parliamentarism and all kinds of terms, which we take from our own dictionary. One of my professors and one of the greatest orientalists in the world says that doing this is like a cricket reporter describing a cricket game in baseball terms. We cannot use for one culture or civilization the language of another. For Islam, you've got to use the language of Islam.
Driving Principles of Islam
Let me explain the principles that are driving the religion of Islam. Of course, every Moslem has to acknowledge the fact that there is only one God.
But it's not enough to say that there is only one God. A Moslem has to acknowledge the fact that there is one God and Mohammed is his prophet.
These are the fundamentals of the religion that without them, one cannot be a Moslem.
But beyond that, Islam is a civilization. It is a religion that gave first and foremost a wide and unique legal system that engulfs the individual, society and nations with rules of behaviour. If you are Moslem, you have to behave according to the rules of Islam which are set down in the Koran and which are very different than the teachings of the Bible.
Let me explain the difference.
The Bible is the creation of the spirit of a nation over a very, very long period, if we talk from the point of view of the scholar, and let me remain scholarly. But there is one thing that is important in the Bible. It leads to salvation. It leads to salvation in two ways.
In Judaism, it leads to national salvation - not just a nation that wants to have a state, but a nation that wants to serve God. That's the idea behind the Hebrew text of the Bible.
The New Testament that took the Hebrew Bible moves us toward personal salvation. So we have got these two kinds of salvation, which, from time to time, meet each other.
But the key word is salvation. Personal salvation means that each individual is looked after by God, Himself, who leads a person through His word to salvation. This is the idea in the Bible, whether we are talking about the Old or the New Testament. All of the laws in the Bible, even to the minutest ones, are, in fact directed toward this fact of salvation.
Secondly, there is another point in the Bible, which is highly important.
This is the idea that man was created in the image of God. Therefore, you don't just walk around and obliterate the image of God. Many people, of course, used Biblical rules and turned them upside down. History has seen a lot of massacres in the name of God and in the name of Jesus. But as religions, both Judaism and Christianity in their fundamentals speak about honouring the image of God and the hope of salvation. These are the two basic fundamentals.
The Essence of Islam
Now let's move to the essence of Islam. Islam was born with the idea that it should rule the world.
Let's look, then, at the difference between these three religions. Judaism speaks about national salvation - namely that at the end of the story, when the world becomes a better place, Israel will be in its own land, ruled by its own king and serving God. Christianity speaks about the idea that every single person in the world can be saved from his sings, while Islam speaks about ruling the world. I can quote here in Arabic, but there is no point in quoting Arabic, so let me quote a verse in English. "Allah sent Mohammed with the true religion so that it should rule over all the religions."
The idea, then, is not that the whole world would become a Moslem world at this time, but that the whole world would be subdued under the rule of Islam.
When the Islamic empire was established in 634 AD, within seven years - 640 - the core of the empire was created. The rules that were taken from the Koran and from the tradition that was ascribed to the prophet Mohammed, were translated into a real legal system. Jews and Christians could live under Islam provided they paid poll tax and accepted Islamic superiority. Of course, they had to be humiliated. And Jews and Christians living under Islam are humiliated to this very day.
Mohammed Held That All the Biblical Prophets Were Moslems Mohammed did accept the existence of all the Biblical prophets before him.
However he also said that all these prophets were Moslems. Abraham was a Moslem. In fact, Adam himself was the first Moslem. Isaac and Jacob and David and Solomon and Moses and Jesus were all Moslems, and all of them had writings similar to the Koran. Therefore, world history is Islamic history because all the heroes of history were Moslems.
Furthermore, Moslems accept the fact that each of these prophets brought with him some kind of a revelation. Moses, brought the Taurat, which is the Torah, and Jesus brought the Ingeel, which is the Evangelion or Gospel - namely the New Testament.
The Bible versus the Koran
Why then is the Bible not similar to the Koran?
Mohammed explains that the Jews and Christians forged their books. Had they not been changed and forged, they would have been identical to the Koran.
But because Christians and Jews do have some truth, Islam concedes that they cannot be completely destroyed by war [for now].
Nevertheless, the laws a very clear - Jews and Christians have no rights whatsoever to independent existence. They can live under Islamic rule provided they keep to the rules that Islam promulgates for them.
Islamic Rule and Jihad
What happens if Jews and Christians don't want to live under the rules of Islam? Then Islam has to fight them and this fighting is called Jihad. Jihad means war against those people who don't want to accept the Islamic superior rule. That's jihad. They may be Jews; they may be Christians; they may be Polytheists. But since we don't have too many Polytheists left, at least not in the Middle East - their war is against the Jews and Christians.
A few days ago, I received a pamphlet that was distributed in the world by bin Laden. He calls for jihad against America as the leader of the Christian world, not because America is the supporter of Israel, but because Americans are desecrating Arabia with their filthy feet. There are Americans in Arabia were no Christians should be. In this pamphlet there is not a single word about Israel. Only that Americans are desecrating the home of the prophet.
The Koran sees the world as divided into two - one part which has come under Islamic rule and one part which is supposed to come under Islamic rule in the future. There is a division of the world which is very clear. Every single person who starts studying Islam knows it. The world is described as Dar al-Islam (the house of Islam) - that's the place where Islam rules - and the other part which is called Dar al-Harb - the house of war. Not the "house of non-Muslims," but the "house of war." It is this house of war which as to be, at the end of time, conquered. The world will continue to be in the house of war until it comes under Islamic rule. This is the norm.
Why? Because Allah says it's so in the Koran. God has sent Mohammed with the true religion in order that the truth will overcome all other religions.
Within the Islamic vision of this world, there are rules that govern the lives of the Moslems themselves, and these rules are very strict. In fundamentals, there are no differences between schools of law.
However, there are four streams of factions within Islam with differences between them concerning the minutiae of the laws. All over the Islamic world, countries have favored one or another of these schools of laws. The strictest school of law is called Hanbali, mainly coming out of Saudi Arabia. There are no games there, no playing around with the meanings of words. If the Koran speaks about war, then it's war.
There are various perspectives in Islam with different interpretations over the centuries. There were good people that were very enlightened in Islam that tried to understand things differently. They even brought traditions from the mouth of the prophet that women and children should not be killed in war.
These more liberal streams do exist, but there is one thing that is very important for us to remember. The Hanbali school of law is extremely strict, and today this is the school that is behind most of the terrorist powers.
Even if we talk about the existence of other schools of Islamic law, when we're talking about fighting against the Jews, or fighting against the Christian world led by America, it is the Hanbali school of law that is being followed.
Islam and Territory
This civilization created one very important, fundamental rule about territory. Any territory that comes under Islamic rule cannot be de-Islamized. Even if at one time or another, the [non-Moslem] enemy takes over the territory that was under Islamic rule, it is considered to be perpetually Islamic.
This is why whenever you hear about the Arab/Israeli conflict, you hear - territory, territory, territory. There are other aspects to the conflict, but territory is highly important.
The Christian civilization has not only been seen as a religious opponent, but as a dam stopping Islam from achieving its final goal for which it was created.
Islam was created to be the army of God, the army of Allah. Every single Moslem is a soldier in this army. Every single Moslem that dies in fighting for the spread of Islam is a shaheed (martyr) no matter how he dies, because - and this is very important - this is an eternal word between the two civilizations. It's not a war that stops. This was is there because it was created by Allah. Islam must be the ruler. This is a war that will not end.
Islam and Peace
Peace in Islam can exist only within the Islamic world; peace can only be between Moslem and Moslem.
With the non-Moslem world or non-Moslem opponents, there can be only one solution - a cease fire until Moslems can gain more power. It is an eternal war until the end of days. Peace can only come if the Islamic side wins. The two civilizations can only have periods of cease-fires. And this idea of cease-fire is based on a very important historical precedent, which, incidentally, Yasser Arafat referred to when he spoke in Johannesburg after he signed the Oslo agreement with Israel.
Let me remind you that the document speaks of peace - you wouldn't believe that you are reading! You would think that you were reading some science fiction piece. I mean when you read it, you can't believe that this was signed by Israelis who are actually acquainted with Islamic policies and civilization.
A few weeks after the Oslo agreement was signed, Arafat went to Johannesburg, and in a mosque there he made a speech in which he apologized, saying, "Do you think I signed something with the Jews which is contrary to the rules of Islam?" (I have obtained a copy of Arafat's recorded speech so I heard it from his own mouth.) Arafat continued, "That's not so. I'm doing exactly what the prophet Mohammed did."
Whatever the prophet is supposed have done becomes a precedent. What Arafat was saying was, "Remember the story of Hodaybiya." The prophet had made an agreement there with the tribe of Kuraish for 10 years. But then he trained 10,000 soldiers and within two years marched on their city of Mecca. He, of course, found some kind of pretext.
Thus, in Islamic jurisdiction, it became a legal precedent which states that you are only allowed to make peace for a maximum of 10 years. Secondly, at the first instance that you are able, you must renew the jihad [thus breaking the "peace" agreement].
In Israel, it has taken over 50 years in this country for our people to understand that they cannot speak about [permanent] peace with Moslems. It will take another 50 years for the western world to understand that they have got a state of war with the Islamic civilization that is virile and strong. This should be understood: When we talk about war and peace, we are not talking in Belgium, French, English, or German terms. We are talking about war and peace in Islamic terms.
Cease-fire as a Tactical Choice
What makes Islam accept cease-fire? Only one thing - when the enemy is too strong. It is a tactical choice.
Sometimes, he may have to agree to a cease-fire in the most humiliating conditions. It's allowed because Mohammed accepted a cease-fire under humiliating conditions. That's what Arafat said to them in Johannesburg.
When western policy makers hear these things, they answer, "What are you talking about? You are in the Middle Ages. You don't understand the mechanisms of politics."
Which mechanisms of politics? There are no mechanisms of politics where power is. And I want to tell you one thing - we haven't seen the end of it, because the minute a radical Moslem power has atomic, chemical or biological weapons, they will use it. I have no doubt about that.
Now, since we face war and we know that we cannot get more than an impermanent cease-fire, one has to ask himself what is the major component of an Israeli/Arab cease-fire. It is that the Islamic side is weak and your side is strong. The relations between Israel and the Arab world in the last 50 years since the establishment of our State has been based only on this idea, the deterrent power.
Wherever You Have Islam, You Will Have War The reason that we have what we have in Yugoslavia and other places is because Islam succeeded into entering these countries. Wherever you have Islam, you will have war. It grows out of the attitude of Islamic civilization.
What are the poor people in the Philippines being killed for? What's happening between Pakistan and India?
Furthermore, there is another fact that must be remembered. The Islamic world has not only the attitude of open war, but there's also war by infiltration.
One of the things which the western world is not paying enough attention to is the tremendous growth of Islamic power in the western world. What happened in America and the Twin Towers is not something that came from the outside. And if America doesn't wake up, one day the Americans will find themselves in a chemical war and most likely in an atomic war - inside the U.S.
End of Days
It is highly important to understand how a civilization sees the end of days. In Christianity and in Judaism, we know exactly what is the vision of the end of days.
In Judaism, it is going to be as in Isaiah - peace between nations, not just one nation, but between all nations. People will not have any more need for weapons and nature will be changed - a beautiful end of days and the kingdom of God on earth.
Christianity goes as far as Revelation to see a day that Satan himself is obliterated. There are no more powers of evil. That's the vision.
I'm speaking now as a historian. I try to understand how Islam sees the end of days. In the end of days, Islam sees a world that is totally Moslem, completely Moslem under the rule of Islam. Complete and final victory.
Christians will not exist, because according to many Islamic traditions, the Moslems who are in hell will have to be replaced by somebody and they'll be replaced by the Christians.
The Jews will no longer exist, because before the coming of the end of days, there is going to be a war against the Jews where all Jews should be killed.
I'm quoting now from the heart of Islamic tradition, from the books that are read by every child in school. They, Jews will all be killed. They'll be running away and they'll be hiding behind trees and rocks, and on that day Allah will give mouths to the rocks and trees and they will say, "Oh Moslem come here, there is a Jew behind me, kill him." Without this, the end of days cannot come. This is a fundamental of Islam.
Is There a Possibility to End This Dance of War?
The question which we in Israel are asking ourselves is what will happen to our country? Is there a possibility to end this dance of war?
The answer is, "No. Not in the foreseeable future." What we can do is reach a situation where for a few years we may have relative quiet.
But for Islam, the establishment of the state of Israel was a reverse of Islamic history. First, Islamic territory was taken away from Islam by Jews. You know by now that this can never be accepted, not even one meter. So everyone who thinks Tel Aviv is safe is making a grave mistake. Territory, which at one time was dominated by Islamic rule, now has become non-Moslem. Non-Moslems are independent of Islamic rule; Jews have created their own independent state. It is anathema.
And (this is the worse) Israel, a non-Moslem state, is ruling over Moslems.
It is unthinkable that non-Moslems should rule over Moslems.
I believe that Western civilization should hold together and support each other. Whether this will happen or not, I don't know. Israel finds itself on the front lines of this war. It needs the help of its sister civilization. It needs the help of America and Europe. It needs the help of the Christian world. One thing I am sure about, this help can be given by individual Christians who see this as the road to salvation.
Professor Moshe Sharon teaches Islamic History at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. This article appeared on the Betar UK website (http://www.betar.co.il)
The Jerusalem Post, Feb. 24, 2004
ROLL OVER AND DIE
(The World's Advice To Jews)
By Michael Freund
South Korea has one. So does Kuwait, Lithuania, Namibia, South Africa and India, not to mention Spain, Slovakia, and even the US.
What these disparate nations all have in common is that each one has built, or is in the process of building, a security fence along one of its borders, either to keep out smugglers, thwart infiltrators or simply control the flow of people and goods across its boundaries.
But unlike Israel they also share another conspicuous trait:
none of their barriers has been threatened with condemnation by
the International Court of Justice; nor have they received
round-the-clock coverage on CNN.
Each of these countries erected a fence for the simple reason that that is what states tend to do when they feel their interests are being threatened.
Kuwait's was put up for fairly obvious reasons, thanks to a once-hostile Iraq, while South Korea's barrier is intended to stave off a possible invasion from its communist neighbor to the north.
Lithuania saw fit to draw a line in metal along its border with Belarus, just as Namibia did to neighboring Angola, India has done with Pakistan, and the US to Mexico. Slovakia and the Ukraine are similarly demarcated, while Saudi Arabia recently considered building a fence along its border with Yemen.
And the list does not end there.
Five years ago, Spain spent more than $35 million erecting a 10-foot-tall fence around its North African enclave of Melilla, cutting it off from the rest of Morocco. It consists of two rows of barricades, hi-tech security cameras, fiber optic sensors and a road to accommodate police patrols. The Spanish government went to all this trouble to stem the tide of Moroccans seeking to cross the border illegally.
Hey, now doesn't that sound familiar?
Even South Africa, which so brazenly criticized Israel at Monday's opening hearing at The Hague, has invested tens of millions of rand in recent years to reinforce its own border fence along the Limpopo River, which delineates the boundary with Zimbabwe.
The reason? To keep out cattle that might be carrying foot-and-mouth disease.
To which I cannot help but ask: Why is it ok for South Africa to keep out the cows, but not for Israel to bar entry to suicide attackers?
For goodness' sake, there is even a border fence stretching for some 10 miles between England and Scotland, and they haven't fought a war against each other for centuries.
NOR CAN it be argued that the problem with Israel's fence is that it is not on a recognized border. Pakistan is protesting an elaborate fence erected by India in disputed Kashmir. Yet the world does not cry that India is stealing "occupied Pakistani territory."
"The fence will be a permanent barrier to prevent militants from entering," the head of India's Border Security Force in Kashmir told the Washington Post last summer. "Why should we wait for them to come in and attack our people?"
With so many fences going up in so many places around the world, why then is it Israel, and only Israel, which finds itself in the dock over this issue? The answer, it seems, is quite simple: The world is essentially telling the Jewish state to roll over and die.
They criticize us when we actively defend ourselves through military means, and now they aim to condemn us for adopting passive measures such as putting up a lousy fence.
Take, for example, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Shortly after the Palestinians launched the present terror campaign in September 2000, Annan ascended the podium at the UN Security Council and called on Israel "to use non-lethal methods" when quelling outbreaks of Palestinian unrest.
And yet, when Israel proceeded to do just that by initiating construction of the security fence, Annan decided to lead the charge against it. In a report submitted to the UN General Assembly on November 24, 2003, he berated Israel for erecting the barrier, calling it "a deeply unproductive act."
So if Israel's use of military means against Palestinian terror is unacceptable to Annan, and he considers nonmilitary means such as the fence to be "unproductive" -- how exactly does the secretary-general expect the Jewish state to protect its citizens?
Now don't get me wrong; I think the construction of the security fence is a pitiful substitute for an effective counterterrorism policy on Israel's part. Indeed, rather than encircling the perpetrators of terror, the government is fencing in their intended victims.
But that in no way gives the nations of the world the right to stand in judgment on the Jewish state. Were they to find themselves in a similar situation they would no doubt act to ensure the safety and security of their citizens.In truth, it is not that the fence incorporates parts of Judea and Samaria that troubles our accusers, nor do they really care about the inconvenience it might cause to some Palestinians.
What truly seems to disturb them is that it just might save some Jewish lives. And that, as far as they are concerned, is perhaps the most unforgivable crime of all.
The writer served as deputy director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Prime Minister's Office under former premier Binyamin Netanyahu.
The Jerusalem Post
UNDERSTANDING THE US STATE DEPARTMENT
by Bret Stephens
The other day, Richard Boucher, spokesman for the US Department of State, made one of those comments that has a way of sending people like me into fits. Addressing the subject of Wednesday's IDF raid on Palestinian banks to seize terrorist funds, the spokesman said: "Some of these actions that were taken risk destabilizing the Palestinian banking system. So we'd prefer to see Israeli coordination with the Palestinian financial authorities." Note the keywords: Risk. Destabilizing. Coordination. Authorities.
The first two, in StateThink, are bad. The second two, good. Never mind that the "Palestinian banking system" is a well-known repository of ill-gotten gains, that "Palestinian financial authorities" have consistently resisted every attempt to impose meaningful standards of transparency and accountability, that every attempt at Israeli-Palestinian "coordination" on security and financial issues has run aground on the shoals of Palestinian malfeasance, and that seizing terrorist funds -- in raids not unlike the ones conducted by the IDF -- is a mainstay of American policy.
Never mind, too, that only the other week the US ambassador to Israel scored the Palestinian Authority for doing nothing to stop terrorism or punish the men responsible for the October murder of three American officials travelling in the Gaza Strip. In the mind of the folks at State, anything that involves some kind of risk -- even someone else's risk -- is an intellectual no-gone zone. If these folks had had their way, Israel would never have come into being, Jerusalem would be corpus separatum, the Soviet Union would never have been dissolved, and North Korea would be a chief beneficiary of American foreign aid.
MAYBE I exaggerate. I know a fair number of State Department personnel. Mostly they are intelligent, dedicated, knowledgeable and worldly.
It was American diplomats, led by Richard Holbrooke, who insisted on action against Serbia during the Balkan wars of the 1990s while the Pentagon resisted.
It was American diplomacy (though not, in fact, the State Department itself) that opened China to the West. It was a US foreign serviceman, George Kennan, who furnished the conceptual framework that saw administrations from both parties through to victory in the Cold War.
Yet somehow the State Department manages to be something less than the sum of its parts. Indeed, it's a uniquely awkward institution. It is required to carry out the policies of an administration while also representing the US from one administration to the next.
Of course this is true of every executive department, but in no other department do policy shifts tend to be so radical and sudden. Career officers must be loyal to the policies of the president, but they must not actually be partisans of it.
A career diplomat who is too zealous in defending one set of policies may find himself in bad odor when some future administration seeks to advance the opposite set of policies.
Thus, while State Department officials usually hold strong views on the areas of their particular expertise, they tend to express them cautiously, careful not to stick their necks out by saying, "this is what I believe; either we do it or I resign." Their consolation is the chance to work the bureaucracy either to advance the policies they seek or soften the blow of the policies they oppose, while biding their time until the next administration.
The result, predictably, is a great deal of mush: "All the incentives," writes Henry Kissinger, "are skewed toward compromises reflecting the lowest common denominator and paralyzing the imagination." This is reflected in the language we so often hear coming from people like Boucher: "Both sides must meet their responsibilities," say, or "we need to get the peace process back on track."
Usually such boilerplate is benign but sometimes it can have real-world consequences. In the run-up to the Rwanda genocide 10 years ago, the State Department ignored mounting evidence of Hutu intentions, preferring instead to focus on salvaging the so-called Arusha peace process. "We were looking for the hopeful signs, not the dark signs," recalled then US ambassador David Rawson. "In fact, we were looking away from the dark signs."
The same, of course, went for the way the State Department handled the Mideast peace process during the Clinton years. In hindsight, Israelis and Palestinians agree that at least part of what wrecked the Oslo Accords was that the deal-breaking issues -- Jerusalem, refugees, final status -- were not addressed up front.
But that reflected an institutional tendency to see process itself, not resolution, as the important thing. Process, after all, is what keeps parties to a conflict at the table -- and it's what keeps diplomats busy. The difference is that diplomats never tire of talking, while the contending parties often do.
Of course, a belief in the talking cure is as natural to the State Departmet as an ingrained belief in the occasional necessity of war is natural to the Defense Department.
The problem is that when disputes reach the point when mediation appears to be required, it's already too late for mediation, just as certain cancers are no longer operable by the time the symptoms become apparent.
In other words, mediation tends to work best when it is needed least. Yet the State Department generally operates on the opposite premise, which often leads it to engage in fruitless dialogues with people who are not really susceptible to persuasion.
In the 1990s, State Department officials spent countless hours trying to persuade Slobodan Milosevic to moderate his behavior. Sometimes the talk was gentle, sometimes tough. But for Milosevic, as for Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein, even tough talk was just talk. Only when NATO bombs started falling did the Serb find it expedient to moderate his ambitions.
Then too, the State Department is hobbled by the fact that, just as it must adapt itself to whatever president is in office, it must deal with what foreign governments there are. And because it cannot change its interlocutors, it usually tries to accommodate itself to them, a tendency that leads to a certain amount of rationalization and exculpation.
Here, for instance, is Theodore Kattouf, the former US ambassador to Syria, in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post:
"I would say when you are asking a country, even one whose policies might be quite misguided and inimical to your interests and those of your allies, you need at least try to understand the perspective of the other side's leadership and try to figure out what it is they need and want. To some degree, try to put an offer on the table that is enticing to them within your limits. I'm not sure we've done as well as we could have in that regard."
Here we have a fine example of what Polish essayist Czeslaw Milosz called, in a different context, "the captive mind." One would expect a former American ambassador to this particular regime to be rather more critical of it than he is sympathetic. Yet nowhere in his interview does Kattouf have anything harsh to say about what remains a totalitarian state. He does, however, imply a great deal of criticism of the current administration for its supposed lack of understanding of Bashar Assad's idiosyncratic ways of thinking. (Kattouf is no longer in government service.)
Finally, the State Department suffers from a certain poverty of imagination when it comes to the possibilities for sweeping political change. Perhaps it's because once a diplomat has gotten to know a certain interlocutor well enough, his departure -- however otherwise welcome -- means tediously starting anew. During the first Bush administration, it was obvious that there was some real personal chemistry between James Baker and Eduard Shevarnadze, one reason, perhaps, that the administration was somewhat sorry to see that regime go.
A DIPLOMAT from a certain East Asian democracy once told me the following story. When relations between Washington and his country's adversary were going well, the line from State was: "Don't rock the boat." And when relations were going poorly, the line was: "Don't stir the pot." Either way, it was a counsel of inaction.
The US State Department is often accused of being too liberal. Would that it were so. In fact, it is among the most conservative of all American institutions.
In a world of change and upheaval, it seeks stability, continuity and predictability. No doubt there's something to be said about this -- in most places, most of the time. But not here, which is a pity, because we really could use some imaginative US diplomacy.
What Rumsfeld's Memo
and Other Lessons from the War So Far.
By Angelo M. Codevilla
"I fear that we shall crawl out on a limb to reap the odium and practical disadvantages of our course, from which all countries will then hasten to profit. Such is internationalism today. Why, oh why do we disregard the experience and facts of history which stare us in the face?"
-- Joseph C. Grew,
U.S. Ambassador to Japan, 1937
In October 2003, having occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, imprisoned some 2,000 foreigners, refocused U.S. law enforcement, reorganized the U.S. government, and made "security specialist" the biggest new endeavor in America, President Bush claimed that "the world is more peaceful and more free under my leadership and America more secure."
In 1966, Daniel Boorstin's The Image: A Guide To The Pseudo Event In America, showed that advertising by government as well as business aims to counter reality. If the toilet tissue really were "soft," there would be no need for an ad campaign to persuade us that it is. Russians knew when their government trumpeted good harvests that they had better hoard potatoes. By the same token, if contemporary Americans felt victorious and at peace, claiming credit for that feeling would be superfluous. Since reality tells us otherwise, such claims recall Groucho Marx's story of the husband caught in flagrante: "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" In short, as 2004 loomed, there was no peace from terror, and no prospect of any, because there was no victory.
On October 16, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld secretly asked his top lieutenants to think about why. The questions were not well thought out. The most specific, how America could cause Islamic schools to turn out more moderates and fewer extremists, recalled the foolishness of the CIA's corrupt, counterproductive, covert cultural activities of the 1950s. No one could imagine why any Muslim should accept American atheists as arbiters of what is and is not properly Islamic. Rumsfeld's main request, for better "metrics" of success, was reminiscent of Robert McNamara's effort quantitatively to define victory in Vietnam in terms of operations successfully carried out. Nevertheless, Rumsfeld's questions properly pointed to the heart of the matter: Why have all our massive efforts not produced better results? What else can we do?
Why Isn't It Working?
The root of Rumsfeld's frustration was that the Bush team -- though pulled in different directions by its principals' conflicting priorities -- had ended up doing pretty much all the things that all its members had wanted.
The Doves, Secretary of State Colin Powell and CIA Director George Tenet, plus Tom Ridge and the FBI, had argued for waging "the war" with a combination of foreign diplomacy and domestic security. They got their way. Bush put his heart and soul not only into wooing the U.N. and "the Europeans" but also into securing help from Arab states such as Syria and Saudi Arabia. Bush even incurred serious political costs at home by publicly hiding information detrimental to the Saudis. He angered his own supporters by financing Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, while shielding it from Israel's wrath. Yet none of this brought solidarity with America. Syria mocked us, and ostentatiously helped Iraqi fellow-Ba'athists kill Americans. Saudi Arabia continued to be the mainstay of Arab anti-Americanism. The P.A. showed that all Bush's words and money were unable to shake its status as the focus of anti-Western jihad. As for the U.N. and "the Europeans," nothing dispelled the impression that they were circling the Bush team like vultures eager for it to stumble. Nor did the billions of dollars, the legislation and regulations devoted to "homeland security," the captives "brought to justice" for association with terrorists, bring any more solace. The Bush team knew that for every captive, many more enemies of America were laughing proudly at the fact that they were the reason why every day at airports, a million Americans were taking off their shoes and being frisked.
At the same time, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld himself, the advocates of offense, of "regime change," also had gotten their way. They had thought that rolling into Kabul and setting up command posts in Saddam Hussein's palaces would ignite a democratic revolution in the Middle East, which would make terrorism impossible. They turned out to be mistaken as well.
The reason why operations, each arguably successful in itself and all together covering much of the spectrum of the possible, had brought America no closer to peace is that war does not consist of operations any more than love consists of intercourse. In both cases, all depends on your intentions and on having the proper object. Always, the proper question is what ends do the means serve, and how appropriately do they serve them? What do your operations actually do? In war, the question that gives meaning to all operations is who is the enemy whose death gives us peace? Never, ever, had the Bush team dealt with this question. Here was the root of the Bush team's problems, the reason why it had done a lot, done it wrong, and wound up worse off than before.
Doing "the war" right would have meant not bothering much with al-Qaeda. Evidence of its central role in anti-American terror was always weak, and came from Arab sources that do not wish America well. Most of all, because neither it nor any other organization is the source of hate and contempt for America, wiping it out does America little good. What then is the source of anti-American terror, what leads people to think that fighting America is profitable and has a future? The answer, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman learned from this series of essays, and as the Bush team had yet to grasp fully, is that 98 percent of terrorism is what regimes want to happen or let happen.
It's The Regime, Stupid!
Regimes, as serious people know, are a lot more than governments. They are the priorities, standards, ways of life, embodied by the most prominent persons in the land, and very much by their henchmen. For our purposes, the question is: who makes anti-American violence the standard for others; who are the people whose deaths would diminish it?
By that standard, the Taliban regime was of scarce relevance. The Taliban, like other Afghans, know little and care less about what happens on the other side of the mountain, much less the ocean. Yet the Taliban had developed a symbiotic relationship with a group of Arabs who, with Saudi money, had partially financed them and helped them against their domestic enemies. In return, the Taliban provided these "Afghan Arabs" a base for intrigues they carried on with the regimes and intelligence services of their homelands. Only in this third-hand way were the Taliban part of America's terrorist problem. Once America helped other Afghans sweep the Taliban away, the Afghan tribes realigned with little bloodshed and virtually annihilated the "Afghan Arabs." Al-Qaeda then became scattered individuals, whose importance depended exclusively on the Arab regimes that continued to use them, and others.
These Arab regimes, and nothing else, are the entities that gave and give people the means and above all the hope of success that make anti-American terrorists.
That is why invading Iraq was, potentially, so very useful in convincing those inclined to fight America that there is no future in doing so. But what, in the way that the Bush team fought this battle, convinced America's enemies of the opposite? What did the Bush team do that made these regimes less afraid of us than before, that tilted the balance of fear against us more than ever?
In a nutshell, the Bush team mistook Saddam Hussein's top echelon for the regime itself. Second, it proved unwilling to help Iraqi enemies of the regime pull it up by the roots, or even to allow them to do it. Third, unpardonably, it placed the U.S. armed forces and America's Iraqi collaborators in the deadly position of static defense -- sitting on bayonets pondering the Marine "Small Wars Manual" while being shot at. All this, combined with dovish diplomacy vis-à-vis the rest of the Arab world, told enemy regimes that, once again, America would let a battle won turn into a war lost.
As previously explained in these pages, the dictatorial regimes of the Arab world consist of some 2,000 men, while the Saudi regime is perhaps twice that size. In such places, where regimes exist by brutalizing opponents, changes in regime necessarily involve the bloody settling of bloody scores. Unless and until the "outs" brutalize at least this number of "ins," the regime has not really changed. In such places, "who rules" really means who brutalizes whom unto death or submission. Vengeance, a human drive everywhere, is especially compelling in the Arab world. The Eumenides is not part of Arab literature. Hence the dream of many Americans -- Norman Podhoretz expressed it in the Fall 2002 issue of this publication -- of a gentle imperialism that would hold Iraq together, spreading liberal democracy from it to the rest of the Middle East, is impossible. Most impossible was it in Iraq because its unusual racial and religious divisions further complicate the previous regime's unusual brutalities.
In sum, around the world, as in Iraq, being pro-American was likelier to get you killed than was being part of an anti-American network. Hence, in the third year of the War on Terrorism, America found itself on the short end of the balance of fear. Turning that balance to the enemy's disfavor is the primordial task of our war.
No one should declare war without being clear against whom it is being declared: who the enemy is whose demise will give us peace.
In October 2003, mortar shells fell into the Baghdad compound of the Coalition Provisional Authority, giving U.S. bureaucrats an epiphany. Reversing a decade's worth of CIA judgments, they concluded that elements of Saddam's regime were working together with religious extremists. That was equivalent in perspicacity to cruise ship passengers noticing humidity in the ocean. Saddam's political victory in the Gulf War had consisted precisely of using enmity to America to transcend the many divisions among Arabs, indeed Muslims, and of putting himself at the head of that enmity. Hence his regime, which lived by quotidian, bloody persecution of Islam, became the vanguard of what Saddam effectively defined as the new defining element of Islam: anti-American action.
The spreading sense throughout the Islamic world that anti-American action was good and safe, and that opposing it was bad and dangerous, became a mortal threat to America. This deadly phenomenon took on a life of its own. Like any disease not countered in its early stages, countering it would require ever more radical exertions.
Beginning right after the Gulf War, Saddam's intelligence service put him at the head of otherwise disparate elements. The Soviet Union had left behind a network of mostly secular, nationalist terrorist groups. Iraq's and Syria's Ba'ath parties were parts of that network, as were the P.A. and its various offshoots, e.g., the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. These were headquartered either in Damascus or Baghdad. But third-world nationalism made sympathy with all the above politically significant from Morocco to Pakistan. In most cases these elements were well-connected with the secular governments of the Islamic world. They had pressured those governments to support Saddam against America. On the religious side of the Islamic world's greatest divide were the Islamists -- everywhere except in Iran (and for other reasons in Jordan and Morocco) enemies of their governments as well as of the West. The number of Islamist organizations was legion, including both Sunni and Shi'a. Then there was the divide between the groups that were sponsored by well-financed Saudi Wahabis and the rest of Islam.
The great event of the 1990s was that violence against Israel and America -- correctly perceived as successful -- went a long way toward effacing the differences amongst the Islamic world's activists. Daily veneration of the Palestinian struggle, daily rituals of hate against the West, Jews, Israel (and the American devils behind it), brightened millions of miserable lives. Images of Israel being bloodied, and of America being bloodied, and of Muslim potentates safely offering their observations on the carnage, became a paradigm for a generation of Muslims. Any regime that, assuming it had been inclined to do so, put restrictions on anti-American, or anti-Israeli speech or action did so at its own peril.
America's war would have to consist of reversing that paradigm. Victory for America would be on the way when Muslims around the world would see every evening on the news those to whom they had looked up being tried, discredited, and executed by Muslims for crimes against Muslims, when television audiences would gasp at crowds of Iraqis and Syrians physically dismembering the Ba'athist thugs who had slaughtered the party's political enemies, when Arab news magazines would detail the corrupt, un-Islamic lives of the entire Saudi royal family, when good Muslims, victims of the Wahabi heresy, would detail how the heretics had defiled Islam. What a paradigm-shift it would be were Palestinian members of families victimized by Arab thugs publicly to take vengeance on their tormentors. Such events would change the Muslim world's agenda and place regimes that advocated or allowed anti-American propaganda, the organizations or "charities" that have produced anti-American terrorism, at peril.
To produce such results, America's operations of war would have to destroy regimes -- not build nations nor export democracy. Whereas doing away with Saddam Hussein in 1991 might well have convinced the Muslim world that anti-Americanism had no future, by 2003 evidence that worldwide Muslim elements were helping an Iraqi "resistance" to bleed America, even as the supposedly united efforts of Islam were bleeding Israel, was energizing terrorists. By this time, nothing less than the bloody demise of the most egregious anti-American regimes would convince the others not to foster or allow terrorism. Only this would give us peace.
What Is To Be Done?
In short, the regimes whose death would give us peace have enemies who are eager to kill them. U.S. forces cannot possibly police foreign lands, much less force gentler, kinder ways upon them. Experience in Iraq should have made this plain. Only locals, not foreigners, can do that. Their methods are unlikely to be kind and gentle. Democracy may not be part of their agenda, and liberalism surely will not be. That is their business. It is enough for our peace that there be people who have their own reasons for destroying the people and culture -- the regimes -- that are the effective causes of violence against us. U.S. military operations can and should make it possible for them to do it.
In Iraq, the U.S. government should do in 2003-'04 what it should have done in earlier years. Having destroyed Saddam's main armies, Americans should arm the 80% Shi'ite and Kurdish parts of the population, and wish them well. Most surely, they would destroy the remnants of the Ba'athist regimes. Though they have more detailed knowledge than we possibly could have of who is who, they would be far less careful than we of killing only the strictly guilty.
It is no business of America's whether the people who live between the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea decide that there shall be an Iraq or not. We should have learned from experience in Bosnia that crafting the fiction of a state that does not exist in the hearts and minds of its supposed members -- who think themselves not Bosnians but rather Muslims, Croats, and Serbs -- is an expensive way of gratifying folks in the State Department who should know better. Nor should Americans care that the Saudi royal family and Sunni Arabs in the Gulf would not like an independent or semi-independent group of 15 million Shi'ites near the head of the Gulf because they might ally with Shi'ite Iran. Being Arabs, they probably would not. But whether or not they did would be no problem of America's.
America's interest would be secured by the fact that the regime's anti-American priorities would die with its members. The foreign Islamic fighters would die in ways even more discouraging to anyone inclined to follow in their footsteps.
All too hazily, in 2003 the Bush team perceived that Yasser Arafat's P.A. somehow energized all Muslim terrorism. But Bush sought to remove this regime as a negative factor by negotiating some kind of accord between it and Israel. Wrong. The P.A. regime's interest is entirely incompatible with peace, because the regime lives not by serving its people but -- on the contrary -- by serving as a part of a broader Arab and Muslim anti-Westernism. The only way to remove it as a major energizer of that movement is to do away with it, as a way of crushing that movement.
Destroying the P.A. is easier done than said. The regime lives physically by daily infusions of cash from American and European sources that can be cut off in an instant, as well as by communications, electricity, and other utilities that Israel can cut off almost as quickly. Moreover, its leaders are mostly marked men under Israeli surveillance. Perhaps more important, they have lots of Arab enemies who have saved up much vengeance for them. If Americans and Israelis decide to eliminate the regime's main force, to make clear that death and destruction is to be the lot of anyone who even looks like he might follow the old regime, its enemies are more than likely to finish the job. This is not to say that a generation of Palestinian young people schooled in a culture of death would learn new ways instantly. But regimes are all about a complex of incentives -- moral, social, and material. Surely, though liberal democracy would likely not reign among Palestinians any more than love for Jews, undoing the regime that waged the Arab-Israeli conflict would remove the drug that has done so much to stimulate a generation of anti-American terrorism.
The Saudi regime is the nursery of the Wahabi heresy that for two centuries has vied for leadership of Islam. It is also the source of the billions of dollars by which, since the 1970s, the Wahabis have spread their influence farther than ever before. Anti-American terror would hardly be conceivable without widespread Wahabi influence. The Bush team's belief that the Saudi regime is anything other than an enemy (indeed the reason why Bush excluded the Saudis from the list of those to whom he proposed freedom in lieu of stability) is based on the supposition that the regime can control Wahabism. But the regime is Wahabism's enabler and full partner. There is no way to stop anti-Western terror so long as Wahabism is prestigious, secure in its base, and wealthy. There is no way to make it otherwise except to undo the Saudi regime.
At the end of 2003, some kind of insurgency was under way in Saudi Arabia. The only certain things about it were that it involved some members of the regime against others, and that it involved Wahabism. It was also certain that there were countless Muslims, in and outside the Arabian Peninsula, who wished that at the end of the day the Saudi oil fields would no longer be providing the means by which the Wahabis had troubled the life of Islam, even more than that of America. All this is to say that the necessary undoing of the Saudi regime would not be difficult, and that there was no shortage of Muslims who would approach with alacrity cleansing the peninsula of the peculiarly Saudi combination of heresy and fraud. This cleansing was likely to happen without American involvement. Indeed, only the Bush team's illusion that it may be possible to save the regime as a vehicle for democracy was likely to stand in the way of this healthy development.
Americans, no less than foreigners, are the only ones who can determine the character of their regime, the way they live. Only we can determine what kind of peace will be ours -- what we will put up with and what not.
The titles of America's first post-September 11 operation, "Enduring Freedom," as well as of its first major piece of legislation, the "Patriot Act," suggest Boorstin's The Image as well as any of George Bush's speeches. As I've argued previously, attacking Afghanistan was not calculated to preserve any of America's freedoms, while the Patriot Act's criminalization of association with any entity declared "terrorist" by executive action seems, on its face, not patriotism but rather a double-violation of the United States Constitution. Since the Act did not bite and the invasion of Afghanistan produced exciting TV images, and "the war" was at its beginning, the public found no reason to question the reality behind the titles.
That is, until after the invasion of Iraq. Then Americans there began dying in noticeable numbers without any prospect that the dying would stop. The ease with which irregulars carried out their attacks on Americans and their collaborators in Iraq reminded Americans of how easily terrorists could cause havoc on American streets, and of the fact that neither the Bush team's homeland security nor any number of "patriot acts" could stop it. Once again, it became clear that there is no such thing as a phony war, a war with limited liability. Once blood is spilled, the previously existing order, the previous peace, is broken forever. What peace will prevail in the end depends on who, by killing and willingness to be killed, can force the other to accept his version. And so, after the invasion of Iraq had raised the stakes, the American people were closer to realizing that what they wanted out of the war was a certain kind of peace, and that to get it they needed a certain kind of victory. This would involve identifying their enemies and doing away with them. Otherwise, there would never be peace.
Beginning just after September 11, I have sought to show that America's peace depends on America's victory, and to show that the path to victory is the destruction of the main regimes without which terrorism would not exist, pour encourager les autres. The obstacles to our peace, our victory, flow not from the strength or cleverness of our enemies, but rather from the tendency of America's leaders to deal with images rather than with reality.
An End To Red Lines? Inviting a War of Attrition?
By Aaron Lerner
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Only a year ago the citizens of Israel gave Ariel Sharon an unprecedented massive victory against his Labor Party challenger in a campaign that focused on a proposal to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip.
Candidate Sharon savagely attacked Labor party candidate Mitzna's retreat proposal as the idea of a "novice".
The Likud Party mandates swelled while Labor and Meretz shrank as a result of this national referendum on retreat. Even many voters who previously supported the radical Left Meretz Party opted to support the Shinui Party, a party that warned in their campaign against the dangers of retreat ("We will not withdraw without an agreement, since the Palestinians would interpret this as a victory for terror that would invite the continuation of terror from the point we withdraw from.").
A year later, Mr. Sharon is discussing taking steps that even "novice" Mitzna would not have considered. He is doing everything in his power to try and create circumstances that will enable him to somehow force the Government and Knesset that were elected as a result of the public's rejection of retreat to embrace retreat.
Does Sharon have "red lines"? Is there anything the he sees Israel as requiring regardless of what Washington says? Apparently not. Speaking to a meeting of angry and frustrated Likud MKs this week Sharon threatened that if they gave him anything less than carte blanche that Israel could find itself "with nothing". That is to say that there are no red lines that Israel would stand by come what may, just lines that it would prefer not to cross.
And as Sharon gave his party's leadership a taste of the fear campaign he plans to run in order to try and force the nation to embrace retreat, the shocking details of the retreat Sharon is willing to entertain became public.
In a move that separates Sharon from all but the most radical Israeli Left, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has proposed that instead of striving for a demilitarized Palestinian Gaza Strip, Israel should invite the Egyptian Army to deploy in place of the IDF, thus putting Egyptian forces essentially at the gates of Ashkelon and within around 40 miles of Tel Aviv. So far Egypt has rejected the opportunity to remove the key element of the Egyptian Israeli peace treaty that made possible Israeli withdrawal from the entire Sinai: a series of progressively more restricted limited force zones spanning the Sinai to protect Israel against surprise invasion.
And if the Egyptian army won't come in, Sharon proposes that Israel also retreat from the Egypt/Gaza border, thus removing the last obstacle to massive weapons flows from Egypt to the Palestinians. Security officials warned that this move would turn Gaza into one large "Karine A".
As for the West Bank, Sharon is entertaining the possibility of large retreats - this at the same time that security officials warn of Palestinian intentions to develop artillery and rockets capabilities so that they can attack over whatever security fences will be in place. As bizarre as it sounds, Sharon is working to create a situation on the ground in which the IDF would ultimately not be deployed in a way that it would interfere with the flow of these weapons throughout the West Bank.
Retreat supporters cite what they interpret as a stalemate in Lebanon as evidence that the Palestinian threat can be held at bay regardless of what arms capabilities they acquire.
Such an interpretation of what has transpired since Israel
retreated from Lebanon and Hezbollah brought in 12,000 Iranian
missiles might follow if the Hezbollah were Israelis. But they
aren't Israelis. They don't think in terms of days or weeks. The
crusaders weren't expelled from the region overnight and they
have the patience to invest just as much time to achieve
the goal of ultimately cleansing the region of what they see as the modern day crusaders.
When an Israeli timeframe is applied to Lebanon, the "stalemate" that preceded the massive inflow of weapons to Lebanon is seen as a permanent outcome rather than a strategic Arab achievement in their ongoing war of attrition against the Jewish State. A war of attrition in which the interim goal of demoralizing the Jewish enemy might be achieved by a low intensity conflict whose resolution by decisive action Israel cannot justify due tothe heavy costs associated with breaking the stalemate.
Today the IDF bombs empty buildings on Lebanon in response to Hezbollah attacks out of fear of the consequences if a stronger response may be met with the blanket bombing of northern Israel by Hezbollah's 12,000 missiles. A post retreat situation in Gaza and the West Bank promises the rapid development of a Palestinian deterrent of such a magnitude that Israel might choose to essentially absorb even medium intensity Palestinian terror rather than risk bearing the heavy costs of breaking the "stalemate".
There can be no greater irony than that the man who so despised stalemates in his military career should now be investing all his efforts into what in the best of all reasonably possible outcomes will be a bloody and costly permanent war of attrition/stalemate.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review
& Analysis)(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: email@example.com
The Jerusalem Post, February 25, 2004
THE ROGERS PLAN IS STILL WITH US
By Yossi Ben-Aharon
In March 1969 the Nixon administration had barely begun its term when ambassador Yitzhak Rabin was called in for an important meeting with secretary of state William Rogers. Accompanying Rabin were his deputy, the late Shlomo Argov, and myself.
What transpired in that meeting may be considered ancient history. However, two issues that were raised then have remained vitally relevant to this day.
Rogers summoned Rabin to outline the main contours of a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israel conflict that soon became known as the Rogers Plan. The goal was to have Israel withdraw to the pre-June 1967 armistice lines in return for peace. Rogers and assistant secretary of state Joseph Sisco made their presentations. Rabin was dumbfounded. Argov's face turned red as Sisco read from a top secret -- "nodis" (no distribution) paper. I took notes, trying hard not to miss one word.
"The territorial issue is the crux of the matter," Sisco intoned. As for the nature of peace, "the US believes that the type of relations existing between neighboring states that have long lived in peace is unattainable in the Middle East at this stage in history."
Argov exploded: "And for this 'unattainable' peace you want us to withdraw to lines which are indefensible?" he asked.
Rabin pressed on: "You are destroying the chances of achieving an agreement via direct negotiations. Maybe we can get a better deal through a direct give-and-take process with the Arabs." Our arguments fell on deaf ears.
SUBSEQUENTLY the Americans confided their position on borders to the Soviets, then to the Arabs. Sure enough, the Arabs soon adopted the position that a total withdrawal to the previous armistice lines was not negotiable. Later, it turned out to be one of the main causes for the stalemate in the talks with Syria and with the Palestinians.
Our heated exchanges with the Rogers team next turned to the strategic dimension. Again, Argov led the discussion: "What Israel do you want to see in the Middle East?" he asked the secretary.
"An Israel that lives in peace and normal relations with its neighbors" responded Rogers.
"In that case, you are doing the exact opposite of what you say you want to achieve," Argov retorted. "Your focus on territory will only promote friction and war, not peace nor normal relations. The Arabs will interpret your stance as an invitation to press for more concessions, until they push us with our backs to the wall.
"And if we are pushed to the wall we will respond until no target in the Middle East, including the Persian Gulf, will be beyond our reach."
Argov was intimating, of course, that in an all-out confrontation in which its existence might be threatened Israel would not hesitate to hit the Gulf oil fields. Still our arguments fell on deaf ears. Thirty-five years later we are struggling with the same basic and vital issues. Neither the lesson of the Yom Kippur War, nor the rise of PLO and Islamic terrorism have brought about an American reappraisal of its policy, or of its perception of Israel's role in the region and its impact on an Arab-Israel settlement.
Successive American administrations have persistently adhered to a settlement formula -- regardless of the name given it -- which focuses on territory and disregards the long-term consequences of a weakened Israel. A strategically emasculated Israel invites further Arab attempts on its existence.
A convergence of American and Israeli interests can contribute immensely to regional stability. But it will not become a reality until Washington finally turns its back on the Rogers Plan and on the entire approach that gave birth to it.
The writer is a former director general of the Prime Minister's Office under Yitzhak Shamir.
The Jerusalem Post, February 23, 2004
A BRIEF TO THE INTERNATIONAL COURT
By Shmuel Katz
Over the next several days, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hold hearings so it can render a legal opinion on Israel's security fence. But the court has already indicated what its verdict is likely to be.
In a letter addressed to the Israeli authorities the ICJ refers blandly to the case of Israel's building a wall in the "occupied Palestinian lands." It is as if, at the opening of a trial, the judge were to announce "this is the case of the thief Mr. X."
The "occupied Palestinian lands" is indeed the term used by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its request to the International Court of Justice to present a legal opinion. This is the common language of Arab anti-Israel propaganda, a part of the Arabs' fictional history, which it has succeeded in disseminating throughout the whole wide world.
Its use by the UN, no mean participant in the propaganda war on Israel, is not surprising. The name ICJ, however, denotes a juridical body completely free of political leanings.
The ICJ can surely not be blind to the fact that there are two sides to the dispute in Palestine, and that Israel rejects absolutely the notion that it is illegally holding "Palestinian lands."
Israel has a very valid claim to these lands, and to its right to do what it is doing there.
It is a claim backed not only by historical fact -- which a modern judge may well ignore -- but by substantial modern legal and historical testimony.
Regrettably, the court has already shown a sign of bias, apart from echoing the UN's "Palestinian lands."
Responding to Israel's objections to one of its members who had in the past made anti-lsrael statements, and its request that he consequently recuse himself, the court made it clear that the opinions he expressed did not matter to the court because he made them before he became a member of the court.
The source usually quoted in support of the charge of illegality in Israeli occupation of Judea and Samaria is the Fourth Geneva Convention. The charge, however, is not upheld by the text of the Fourth Geneva Convention. To the contrary, the convention is simply irrelevant to the issue. It is, after all, a document containing a text, easy to read and understand, and this is what it says in Clause Two:
"The present Convention shall apply to cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party."
The territory wrested from Jordan by Israel (in a war of defense) was not territory of a High Contracting Party. Transjordan, Eastern Palestine, which was renamed Jordan after its invasion of Western Palestine and its illegal occupation of the provinces of Samaria and Judea, including the Old City of Jerusalem, did not thereby become their sovereign possessor -- it was not a High Contracting Party at all, but an illegal occupier as a result of its aggressive war in 1948. It had no title whatsoever to land across the River Jordan.
We must go back a little to complete the picture -- a task which should have been the first step by the ICJ before accepting the task of forming an opinion. After World War II, in 1948, Britain had to relinquish its Mandate for Palestine, which had been promulgated in 1922 for the express purpose of laying the groundwork for the Jewish National Home.
The United Nations -- successor and heir to the League of Nations -- decided to recommend the partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Jews accepted this recommendation.
HAD THE Arabs -- the League of Arab States -- accepted the UN recommendation, they could have set up an Arab state at once. They did not do so. Instead, they invaded the territory of the Jewish state. They proclaimed that their objective was to destroy it.
They believed the infant state, alone and very poorly armed, would not be able to withstand the attack by five well-armed states -- Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Transjordan -- with their armies and their arsenals. It would be destroyed in short order. The surviving Jews would be subjected to Arab rule over the whole of Palestine.
Hence the call of the Arab League to the Palestinian Arabs to leave home -- and get out of the way of the invading armies. They would be able to return to their homes in a few weeks, they were told, and take over the property of the defeated Jews.
This proved wrong. After fierce battles and heavy casualties Israel survived, and the deluded Arabs who had left their homes could not return. But Transjordan retained the lands of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
Even then an additional Arab state could have been set up in the territories occupied by Jordan. Jordan did not try -- it even annexed them; nor did the other Arab states sponsor such a state.
As for the Arab inhabitants, the Palestinians -- who did not yet call themselves Palestinians -- cheerfully accepted and held Jordanian citizenship.
In 1967 the Arab states once again made war, once again believing Israel could be defeated -- indeed, the Egyptian leader of the combined Arab forces, Abdel Nasser, publicly promised Israel's annihilation. They lost, and it was then that the territory that had been occupied by Jordan for 19 years was taken by Israel.
Amazingly, a third chance was now given the Arabs, after their defeat, to declare another Arab state: Israel offered, in exchange for an overall peace with the Arabs, to return all the territory it had just won back.
The reply of the League (from a conference in Khartoum) was a resounding NO -- no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no peace with Israel.
Soon afterwards the Arabs achieved, with the help of their friends in the media, what was to be arguably their greatest propaganda success. The Security Council, after a long debate on the outcome of the Six Day War, passed Resolution 242, which called for Israel to withdraw from territories captured in the war to "secure and recognized boundaries."
This resolution manifestly meant that the sides -- Israel and Jordan -- would have to negotiate where those boundaries should be. A counter-resolution by the Arabs' friends on the council was submitted, adding the word "the" to territories, which meant that Israel, which had suffered the attack, been threatened with destruction, and had yet won the war, must accept defeat.
The counter-resolution was defeated -- but no negotiations between Israel and Jordan based on Resolution 242 ever took place.
The Arabs' propaganda, using the defeated resolution as though it were Resolution 242, has persuaded many people that the falsified resolution justifies their claim that the Jewish presence beyond the Green Line in Judea and Samaria is illegal. It is thus on the basis of that falsification of Resolution 242 that the UN General Assembly requested a "legal" opinion from the ICJ.
There is no need for a new opinion.
The true facts of the matter enshrined in the original UN and League of Nations documents are quite clear. The General Assembly of the UN is not an educational institution and its proposal to the ICJ is patently political.
The ICJ should not -- for the sake of its own standing -- let itself become complicit in this purely political manipulation.
Shmuel Katz cofounded the Herut Party with Menachem Begin and was a member of the first Knesset, is a biographer and essayist.
The Jerusalem Post, February 27, 2004
ISRAELI MEDICAL DISCOVERIES -
DISEASE BE NOT PROUD
By Jessica Steinberg
How does one define a discovery? According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, it is "that which is discovered; a thing found out, or for the first time ascertained or recognized; as, [William] Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood." A discovery isn't a cure or a solution. It is a means to end. An exploration, an examination. In the action of discovering, one is exposing something to view, allowing for further insights and breakthroughs.
When determining Israel's top medical discoveries, the first stipulation was, of course, discoveries. Not cures, not even necessarily methods of treatment, nor medicines. Rather, discoveries that have led to further discoveries; findings that may lead to treatments and one day, maybe, cures for the long list of debilitating chronic diseases.
All that said, this is clearly a short list - and in no particular order - of medical discoveries. But you have to start somewhere.
When Eli Hurvitz, the former long-time CEO of drugmaker Teva Pharmaceuticals, first heard about a Weizmann Institute of Science mixture of polymers and amino acids that could possibly be used to treat multiple sclerosis, a disease of the nervous system, his eyes lit up, said Irit Pinhasi, Teva's vice president for innovative research and development.
"We knew this was a disease that was waiting for a medication, but molecules are problematic," said Pinhasi. "Could we take this mixture and make it into a drug?"
They could and they did. Scientists at Weizmann had been working on the research since 1971, and Teva, which had previously produced only generic drugs, took it over in 1986. It took until 1995, including scores of clinical trials, to receive the seal of approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. In 1997, Copaxone was being prescribed by doctors as a treatment for the earlier stages of MS.
"It doesn't get rid of MS because no one knows how it starts, no one knows the trigger for MS," said Pinhasi. "But Copaxone is worth taking as soon as there is an MS diagnosis because its effect grows over time. The patient sees stabilization, less shakiness, more steadiness.
"For many MS sufferers, Copaxone is the drug of choice because it makes them feel that they can deal with the illness and continue living their lives."
Copaxone, however, wasn't the first Israeli drug to deal with multiple sclerosis. In 1968, a young molecular biologist and physician came to the Weizmann Institute from France, and two years later began working on interferon, a human gene that acts as a natural defense of the human body against viruses. Ten years later, Prof. Michel Revel discovered that interferon also modulates the immune system.
By 1979, Weizmann had persuaded Swiss pharmaceutical giant Ares-Serono Group to open Interpharm, an Israeli subsidiary in Rehovot, near the institute. The company offered the money necessary to express human genes to reproduce interferon and to isolate beta interferon. By 1981, Revel was producing the beta gene.
Twenty years later, Interpharm Laboratories' leading product is bulk recombinant human interferon-beta-1a, otherwise known by its commercial name, Rebif. With $700 million of Rebif sold worldwide, 80 percent of the estimated 700,000 MS patients worldwide are treated with interferon, although there are three companies - including Interpharm - that make the gene. It isn't a perfect solution: Interferon's side effects are flu-like symptoms, but it quiets down the immune system and reduces attacks by over 50%, and it also reduces the disease's progression rate. Unlike Copaxone, which is for relapsing-remitting MS, beta-interferon is prescribed for patients with other types of the disease.
Revel is currently working on combinational drugs that will repair the damage done to the nervous system.
Of course, the history of Israeli medical research goes back much farther than the 1960s. Perhaps it's best to start at the very beginning, with the first medical emergency of the Zionist enterprise: malaria. When European Jews came to settle the land of Israel, they found more mosquitoes than milk and honey. With Arabs settled primarily in the mountains, Jews were settling the coastal plains, the swampy stretch from Haifa to Gedera, and hundreds of pioneers, as well as soldiers in Gen. Allenby's army, died of the disease.
By the time Dan Spira, a Czech immigrant and concentration-camp survivor, made his way to Israel and the Hebrew University in 1948, he was preceded by several scientists examining what was considered the "No. 1 enemy of the establishment," according to Spira.
"I have a feeling that the first medical research in this country was done on malaria," he said.
Following his predecessor's work in the field - Spira studied with Aviva Zuckerman, who worked on a broad malaria project in the US in the 1940s - most of their work was theoretical, since malaria had all but disappeared, particularly in the Hula Valley with the help of DDT and chlorophyll, which kill mosquitoes.
Nevertheless, to this day, there is still no vaccine against malaria, with some two million people dying each year from the disease, according to the World Health Organization.
"At a certain point, I realized I wasn't going to find the vaccine to malaria," said Spira. "Then again, I'm not sure anyone will."
Imagine swallowing a video camera the size of a multivitamin, and allowing this video-imaging shell to glide through your digestive tract, transmitting images of your intestines to a portable data recorder worn around your waist, which are then downloaded onto a computer for examination.
To date, more than 65,000 patients worldwide have swallowed the M2A capsule, and more than 140 million Americans currently can be reimbursed by their health plans for capsule endoscopy procedures to diagnose Crohn's, an inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and other small-intestine conditions. For Given Imaging, a company that has dedicated itself to imaging solutions for the gastrointestinal tract - the company name stands for GastroIntestinal, Video, and Endoscopy - the wave of approval is "incredible," according to Sandra Ziv, who heads the marketing department at the Yokne'am-based company.
The capsule endoscopy procedure was invented by Gavriel Iddan, an electro-optical engineer who spent a good chunk of his career at military manufacturer Rafael, the armaments development authority, developing guided-missile technology. During a sabbatical year in Boston, his neighbor, an Israeli gastroenterologist, challenged him to invent an endoscope that could make its way through the entire gastrointestinal tract. It took about 20 years, but in 1997, Iddan, then the company's chief technology officer, signed a patent for capsule endoscopy. The Nasdaq stock market-traded company hopes to eventually create imaging solutions for the entire gastrointestinal tract, including the large intestine and colon.
Embryonic stem cells
It was December 1985 when Joseph Itskovitz, a gynecologist involved in assisted reproductive technology at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, went to visit Madison, Wisconsin, to learn about embryonic stem cells, which have the ability to proliferate and differentiate into all the tissues of the body.
Thirteen years later, in 1998, Itskovitz and his team of researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology began studying stem cells in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin, launching Israel's stem cell research program and generating the embryonic stem cells as the "raw material" necessary to the research.
It was the infrastructure for in-vitro fertilization and micro manipulation that first offered the solution for entering into stem cell research. While stem cell research had been around since the early 1980s, having the embryonic cells at the Technion allowed Itskovitz and other teams to research and develop different theories.
The scientists developed embryonic stem cells in mice and began looking into possible applications. They first used the stem cells on rats with spinal injuries, helping them partially recover from paralysis.
They then created beta stem cells that produce insulin and injected them into diabetic lab rats to help reduce their hypoglycemia.
Another team of Technion scientists at the cardiovascular research laboratory grew heart cells from embryonic stem cells that have electric and mechanical characteristics of young heart tissue.
Stem cell research could help solve chronic diseases like juvenile diabetes and create a-beta cells for Parkinson's and spinal cord injuries and bone marrow transplants. Stem cells also allowed Itskovitz to learn about the processes tied to fetal and blood development.
"It's exponential," he said. "First there were two labs, now there are tens of labs worldwide researching human embryonic stem cells. It's almost without borders."
More stem cells
As Itskovitz and his Technion team worked on heart cells, another major stem cell breakthrough took place at Hadassah-University Hospital in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem when Prof. Shmuel Slavin, who heads the bone marrow transplantation department, used a bone marrow stem cell transplant and gene therapy to cure two toddler sisters born without immune systems, a genetic disease known as severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID. The disease is caused by the lack of an essential enzyme, adenosine draminase, or ADA, that creates a functioning immune system.
After working with a team of Israeli and Italian researchers from the San Raffaele Institute in Milan, Slavin took one of the children's stem cells and introduced the adenosine draminase replacement gene into her stem cells. The experiment was mostly successful, but she remained immune deficient because the number of cells treated were few and ineffective compared with the overwhelming number of unhealthy cells still in her body. Slavin then took bone marrow from her healthy brother, who was a successful stem cell match for his sister. He isolated the stem cells and transplanted them in the toddler, successfully treating and curing her of the condition.
In the gene-therapy procedure, Slavin's team developed a protocol that would allow the genetically coerced cells to prevail in the patient's field of stem cells. He injected the virus-enriched, genetically altered stem cells into the toddler's body, adding medication to suppress her sick cells and to allow the new, healthy cells to develop and multiply for several days before encountering competition from the sick cells.
Two years later, Hadassah is now taking a multipronged approach to embryonic, fetal, and adult stem cell research, focusing on developing stem cells for the blood system and for the treatment of cancer, and working toward preparing nerve cells required for treating Parkinson's disease.
"It's a formidable undertaking," said Rafi Hostein, CEO of Hadasit, Hadassah's research and development company. "If we inject right neurons into the brain, we can fix the problem of Parkinson's."
As the story goes, Prof. Avraham Hershko doesn't hold any patents for one of his greatest discoveries, the ubiquitin system of regulated protein degradation - a fundamental process that influences vital cellular events, including the cell cycle, the appearance of cancerous cells, and responses to inflammation and immunity.
"Nobody else seemed interested in this then, but I thought it was important. Proteins have a set lifespan, after which they break down in a process called proteolysis. Many people knew how the body produces proteins, but not how they were destroyed," said Hershko.
"Proteins provide ways to moderate the body's machinery."
It was more than 20 years ago that Hershko and his then-student - now Technion biochemistry professor Aharon Ciechanover - were intrigued by how cells go about discarding proteins and what impact the process has on disease. Working with proteins from bacteria and other organisms, they finally succeeded in purifying the agent that caused this degradation. They named it APF-1 (for ATP-dependent proteolysis factor 1) or ubiquitin.
While at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a post-doctoral degree, Ciechanover worked with another research team, uncovering the ubiquitin system and its role in DNA repair, the cell cycle, and the understanding that cellular protein turnover is vital to understanding how cells malfunction and cause disease.
Ubiquitin also seems to have a role in inflammation of tissue, so that applications of the team's basic scientific discoveries could eventually be developed for chronic inflammatory diseases such as asthma and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. The biochemical mechanism of ubiquitin could also help improve the efficacy of chemotherapy drugs.
First things first. B-Stent does not stand for Beyar Stent, although its inventor, Prof. Rafael Beyar, an invasive cardiologist and biomedical engineer at the Technion and former dean of its medical school, did come up with the original design for a metal stent, used to keep clogged arteries open.
"The B is for balloon expandable, not Beyar or best," said Beyar, who developed the idea with his brother, Motti, a mechanical engineer.
It was 1989, and the Beyar brothers were considering a heart stent based on the stent used by urologists.
"People didn't believe you could have a stent for the heart," said Beyar.
"But our concept was, if you could do it for urology, why not for cardiology?"
The advantage of a stent, which is a wire mesh tube used to prop open an artery that's recently been cleared, is its ability to hold arteries open while offering enough flexibility for "the tortuous path of arteries," added Beyar.
The stent stays in the artery permanently, holds it open, improves blood flow to the heart muscle, and relieves symptoms such as chest pain.
"The results in patients were remarkable," said Beyar. "You could see where the [diseased] artery starts and ends. You could get around curves and get good results. No one else had that."
By then, Instent, the brothers' startup, had been formed, and clinical trials in the early 1990s led to the final product in 1995. By that time, Instent merged with the American company Medtronics, which took the product to market worldwide.
"We were racing against the clock to get it out there," said Beyar. "Some investors said we were wasting our time, that it was too risky. But we stuck with it because we saw the results and believed it would change the world."
When it comes to medical discoveries and research, everyone is looking to cure cancer, or at least, to conquer it.
Cancer research was introduced to Israel in the 1950s by the Weizmann Institute, with the first studies engaged in understanding malignancy and finding weapons to fight it.
One of Israel's first cancer-research discoveries was made by Prof. Isaac Birnbaum and Prof. Leo Sachs, who laid the foundation for differentiating between cancer cells and normal cells, and understanding the transformation of a normal cell into a cancerous cell. While working on blood cells, Sachs discovered that cells have to "make decisions" as to whether they will grow or differentiate further, explained Prof. Benny Geiger, dean of the faculty of biology at Weizmann.
"He understood that the balance between the decision to stay on line in normal growth patterns or to continue proliferating is a critical event, and that a malfunction could throw a cell into a cancerous state," Geiger said.
That early discovery led to other cancer-cell discoveries, including the properties, activities, and biology of the P53, a protein that is central to cancer biology, and was characterized, cloned, and studied extensively by several research groups at Weizmann. P53 can be mutated in a large percentage of human cancers because it acts as a guardian, instructing cells to stop proliferating and die, rather than mutate into cancerous cells. But when P53 mutates, there is nothing to prevent cells from developing cancer.
The P53 research brought about more recent discoveries, including a DNA repair mechanism that could enable cells to repair damage and reconstruct a normal gene from a damaged one, as well as the existence of programmed cell death, an apparently common process that is activated when something goes wrong with a cell.
"Discovery is understanding something you didn't understand before," said Geiger.
"It's understanding a process in both specific and intuitive terms. If you want to know the difference between a cancer cell and a normal cell, it is very clear. If you can fix a gene, you can think of a therapy."