ARAB PSYCHOLOGICAL/PROPAGANDA WARFARE AGAINST ISRAEL...How Israel Can Defend Itself And Counterattack....Bernard J. Shapiro
THEY'RE DYING AND AM YISRAEL CHAI!...Guest Editorial....Ariel Natan Pasko
ANATOMY OF A DISASTER...Guest Editorial....Shmuel Katz
THE BATTLE FOR ERETZ YISRAEL
STRANGERS IN A FAMILIAR LAND....Stewart Weiss
ANESTHESIA....Prof. Paul Eidelberg
A PALESTINIAN DECLARATION OF WAR....Michael Freund
A WALL DOES NOT MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS....Gary M. Cooperberg
ANTI-SEMITISM / THE JEWISH LEFT
WHY THE MEDIA BOTCHES IT....Bret Stephens
WHERE ARE THE "HUMAN SHIELDS" FOR ISRAELIS?....Ariel Natan Pasko
"WE": THE MENTAL BLOCK OF THE LEFT....P. David Hornik
ARAB INDOCTRINATION FOR SUICIDE - Results of the Shahada Indoctrination
THE CONTROVERSY OF ISRAEL....Bret Stephens
AN INTERVIEW WITH NORMAN PODHORETZ....Manfred Gerstenfeld
ONLINE [ISSN 1087-9404] Edited by Bernard J. Shapiro
WARFARE AGAINST ISRAEL
How Israel Can Defend Itself And Counterattack
By Bernard J. Shapiro
The Arabs have always been adept at psychological/propaganda warfare due to their culture of lies and verbal skills. Students of Islamic practices have long recognized that in Arab society it is the norm to prevaricate and deceive. An Arab who tells the truth about serious events affecting ideology, history, and "disputed" matters is considered foolish and naive. How this sociological pattern manifests itself in the Arab War of Extermination Against Israel is the subject of this article.
History is very illuminating on the changes and evolution of Arab psychological warfare against Israel. In the beginning (1888-1939) the Arabs in general, and the Arabs of British Mandate Palestine tended to operate on the basis of religious fanaticism and anti-Jewish incitement. Arab leaders like Haj Amin el-Husseini, the British appointed Mufti of Jerusalem, began to organize squads of terrorists (the called fedayeen) to attack Jews as early as the 1920's. The massacre of the Jews of Hebron in 1929 preceded the establishment of Israel by almost 20 years.
In these early years the motivation was to sow fear in the hearts of Jews and prevent their integration into the country. It was also meant to scare away potential new Jewish immigrants. A very important other motivation for the Arabs was to convince the British that the influx of Jews into Palestine was the cause of instability and war and thus should be stopped. This policy succeeded dramatically in 1939 when the British White Paper, limiting Jewish immigration into Palestine, was issued. The White Paper trapped millions of European Jews seeking refuge from the Nazis by closing the doors of the Jewish Homeland.
During World War II, the Arab goal shifted as Haj Amin el-Husseini became a regular guest of Adolf Hitler in Berlin. There he watched as Hitler's plans to exterminate all of European Jewry emerged. Greatly please with the Holocaust, he lobbied Hitler to bring the gas chambers and crematoria to Palestine after the war. He drew up plans to set up extermination centers near Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Of course we know that the Nazis lost the war and these plans never came to such an evil fruition.
After the war, the palestinian Arabs continue a war of terrorism against the Jewish community of Palestine. Again, they hoped that the British would abandon their promises to allow the development of a Jewish National Home. Frustrated with the fighting between Jews and Arabs and the growing Jewish resistance their rule, the British turned the entire issue over to the United Nations. This resulted in the Partition Resolution passed on November 29, 1947, which divided Palestine into two states (one Jewish and one Arab).
The Arab States declared war on the new Jewish State and Israel was reborn (1948) in blood and fire. Arab psychological warfare shifted gears in the following years (1948-67) and the cry was to "throw the Jews into the sea." This cry was repeated often by palestinian Arab leader Ahmed Shuqeiri, both in the media and in the halls of the United Nations. Israel was seen as a potential victim of Arab aggression until the Six Day War when it suddenly became Goliath to the Arab David.
The Arabs understood after the wars of 1967 and 1973 (Yom Kippur War) that Israel could not be defeated by military means. They were forced to come up with a new psychological/propaganda plan. This new strategy ceased calling for the extermination of the Jews and the destruction of Israel.
The most important improvement in Arab propaganda is its ability to utilize Jewish and left-wing groups for its anti-Israel campaign. Extreme left-wing political parties like Meretz and Labor joined pro-Arab organizations like Peace Now, Betzelem, Peace Forum and Tikkun to form a broad coalition of Jews willing and anxious to be political pawns in the hands of those that sought Israel's destruction. Since 1967 that propaganda has changed to emphasize "Palestinian self determination", Palestinian "rights" and to enlist the support of "human rights" and leftist groups.
It is important to note that the Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran are still the world's largest publisher 'a of "hard core" anti-Semitic literature like the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION. Syria's Defense Minister recently wrote a book to prove that accusations of "blood libel" against the Jews were true. That is that "Jews kill Christians, especially children, to use their blood in the preparation of rnatza during Passover."
Arab propaganda is based on deception and misdirection through the following demands and claims:
1. Self determination for "palestinians" in a new State of Palestine
2. Return of the "occupied" territories
3. Return of the Arab refugees
4. Return of all property of Arabs who lost it as a result of their failed attempt to exterminate the Jewish population of Palestine
1. The State of Israel dispossessed the "palestinians" and stole their country
2. The Jews/Israelis were racists
3. The Jews/Israelis were worse than the Nazis
4. The Jews/Israelis were guilty of genocide against the "palestinians"
5. Jews had no historical connection to Eretz Yisrael (Israel)
6. The "palestinians" were the indigenous people of Palestine
7. Terrorism by "palestinians" is justified as resistance to "occupation"
"It is time that Americans and Europeans realize that these teeming masses of Zionists who infest their cities and sit astride the arteries of their commerce are, in every sense of the word, aliens."
The above quotation, in passion and paranoic ring could have come from the pen of anyone of our local or international hatemongers, whose rhetoric we have come to know well over the past half century. Yet, these words are neither the work of a professional rabble-rouser, nor of a right-wing extremist; rather they come from a presumably scholarly work written by Musa Khuri, an Arab college professor.
This points up two rather disturbing realities: That Arab propaganda and it psychological warfare against Israel has broadened into an attack Jewish populations outside of Israel. It has, in effect, joined forces with anti-Semites, both from the extreme right and the extreme left to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people and facilitate their destruction. Secondly, this Arab, European and Jewish left wing propaganda apparatus, sanctioned, as it is, by duly recognized governments which together form an influential political power bloc, has lent these local anti-Semitic efforts the aura of respectability.
What do the Arabs hope to gain by this great effort and expense? Bluntly speaking: to bring about conditions that would facilitate the destruction of the State of Israel They concentrate most of their propaganda in the United States, Europe, the United Nations and Islamic nations. A lot of emphasis in recent years has been on the United States, because they feel that this country was the greatest single influence that contributed to the creation of Israel and that it still is the major force standing in the way of Israel's destruction.
The Arabs, therefore, aim to neutralize the impact of America on the Middle East and, if possible, to draw her over to their side. This requires that the propaganda apparatus achieve the following effects: To drive a wedge between Israel and the American Jewish community; to alienate the Jew from the rest of America, and destroy his political and economic strength; and to convince the American people, and through them the American government, that it must adopt a pro-Arab, anti-Israel foreign policy.
To achieve these goals, Islamic organizations like the Arab Anti-Defamation League, the Council of Arab Affairs have published voluminous materials and have distributed them extensively. School and public libraries regularly receive large amounts of unsolicited propaganda; civic, church and political clubs are treated to a host of polished Arab speakers who are able to lecture on a wide variety of subjects but always manage to direct the discussion to the Arab-Israeli conflict; hundreds of anti-Israel letters are kept flowing to large and small papers across the country. Of even more importance, almost every major American university has an Islamic Studies Center financed and funded by Arab money. The centers are teaching a false biased anti-Israel history of the Middle East to a whole new generation of students, including uninformed Jewish students.
The themes and techniques exploited in the letters, books, pamphlets and speeches follow a pattern. Virtually all Arab propaganda is based on the following postulates:
* The establishment of Israel represents a great "imperialistic" injustice to the Arabs.
* The Arabs of Palestine were expelled from their homes by "alien" invaders who seized their country.
Muhanimad T. Mehdi spells this out explicitly in his pamphlet The Question of Palestine:
"The question of Palestine is basically a problem of intrusion of a group of foreigners, largely Europeans, into the Arab land of Palestine, against the will of the Arab people, but with British and later American and Western support."
A wide variety of proposals, arguments, themes and accusations based on these postulates appear periodically in Arab propaganda. In all of their efforts the distinction between Zionist and Jew is blurred, although the Arabs frequently claim to have no quarrel with the Jews, but only with the Zionists. We deal with this lack of precise distinction, when we discuss the use of anti-Semitic themes in its propaganda. Here, then, are some examples of recurrent themes:
An 'international" Zionist (often Zionist-Jewish or Zionist-Jewish-Communist depending on the audience) conspiracy was able to take aver Palestine because:
(a) It controls the mass media in this county.
(b) It controls the wealth of this country.
(c) It controls both political parties
1. Israel is guilty of stealing land and property that belongs to Arabs; of military aggression; of creating tension to help its pleas for aid.
2. The UJA is not a charity; therefore contributions should not be tax-exempt.
3. Highly Organized, well financed "minority groups" pressure the American government to adopt programs that are supposedly in their respective private interest, but are, in fact, detrimental to the United States.
4.The Zionists (Jews) are, in reality, loyal to Israel, and, therefore, disloyal to America.
5. Israel benefits from anti-Semitism in the sense that it uses it as an excuse to increase immigration and ask for more aid.
6. Israel preaches peace, but is guilty of aggression since it desires territorial expansion.
7. There would be peace if Israel accepted U.N. Resolutions.
8. American prestige in the Middle East is damaged, end Arab-American friendship is inhibited by American supporters of Zionism.
9. Israel desecrates Christian and Moslem holy places.
10. Israel commits atrocities.
11. Israel persecutes the Arab minority.
12. The Jews have been worse than even the Nazis in their relations to the Arabs.
Here is how the Arabs take this and-Semitic theme and exploit it for their purposes: Haj Amin el-Husseini, former Mufti of Jerusalem, Grand Mufti of Palestine, Hitler's Middle Eastern propaganda specialist during the war and head of the Arab Republic of Palestine" in exile in Baghdad said:
"The Palestine tragedy is unequaled in history. The Zionist imperialistic plot against Palestine was most inhumane and base. World Judaism plans to take over most of the Arab countries to fulfill its so-called historical dream of a homeland between the Nile and Euphrates. The Imperialist Jewish plot is not aimed at Palestine only....."
The Palestine Liberation Organization, which has been recognized as the world's highest moral arbiter recently asked the United Nation's Secretary General Kofi Anan to draft a resolution condemning Israel and calling for sanctions. Something is obviously wrong with this picture. It is time for Israelis and their supporters to recognize that Israel has a public relations problem.
The actions Israel take to defend its security are quite moderate by Middle East standards. Its ability to explain what and why it took such action is inadequate. Along with most of the pro-Israel community, I'm a frequent critic of Israeli information policies.
What is needed is a whole new approach to Israeli public relations. Let's call it: THE MARKETING OF ISRAEL, and look at the problem from an advertizing perspective. About eight years ago, I discussed with an executive of a major advertising company the possibility of producing television spots supporting Israel's positions on various political issues. I became discouraged upon learning that the major stations do not permit "advocacy" commercials.
I think it is time to take a second look at my concept but expand it to include radio, magazines, cable television (cable will accept this type of commercial) and newspapers. The ads should range from the very soft evocative travel type to some hard hitting but subtle political messages. Pretend that Israel is a corporation with a vast market in the United States. Receipts from that market top $6 Billion Dollars (including US economic and military aid, UJA, Israel Bonds, JNF, plus all the other campaigns from Yeshivas to the Technion). What would you spend to protect a market of that magnitude? One percent would equal $60 million. You can run for president with sixty million dollars. In a wild fantasy, lets say we have that much money. And let's say we hire a talented creative ad man to develop a multi-faceted, multi-media, and multi-year campaign to win the hearts and minds of the American people (and later the Europeans).
This should not be an impossible task. Israel is a good product, lots of virtues, few vices. (Can you imagine convincing the American people to love Saddam or Osama bin Ladin?) We could do nothing, but the consequences are not so good. Public opinion polls are beginning to show the Arabs winning more and more sympathy despite terrorism. Today the movement of university students and their professors, blacks, and the leadership of the Democrat Party toward support of Arab anti-Israel goals is truly frightening. Yes, Arabs who keep their women in bondage; Palestinians who disembowel pregnant teachers in front of their classes; Syrians who peddle narcotics to American inner city youth and commit mass murder if provoked; Saudis who threaten to behead a man for practicing Christianity; all of these and more are almost as popular as Israel. The Arabs are good at smearing the good name of Israel. Just listen to Hanan Ashrawi some time. No matter what the question, she manages to fit in a lie about Israel in her answer. Israel has already lost the college campus, half of the Afro-Americans, a good portion of the Protestants except for the Baptists and the Evangelicals and some in the Jewish community.
A FINAL NOTE
Israel must stop being inhibited from its national Zionist mission because of Arab psychological intimidation. The Israelis must know that they are NOT racist despite accusations of racism from racist Arabs and their left wing fellow travelers. In their military/strategic policy, Israel must act in its own best interests and that of its citizens and NOT at the command of any other nation. The security and survival of Israel and the Jewish community has the highest priority in Jewish law and MUST be observed. And I mean by that, the Israel Defense Forces must be given complete freedom to destroy the enemy. Israel's political establishment MUST NOT negotiate with an enemy seeking its destruction in the false hope of preventing the final battle between the forces of good and evil (light and darkness).
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Israel government needs to realize that we are living in a new world where telecommunications brings us closer that ever before to each other. In the fifties when Israel was criticized, Ben Gurion used to say, "Its not what the world thinks, but what the Jews do that is important." It is a different world now and for every Israeli policy, the public relations aspect must be examined. I am definitely not calling on Israel to submit to public opinion but instead to organize and mold it for their benefit. I don't want Israel immobilized by fear of bad public relations. I want Israel to plan, with the help of experts, a strategy to counteract the negative effects of any public policy move. Would Sharon send his soldiers into battle without a detailed plan and strategy to win? The time has come for Israel to develop a strategy the win the public relations battle. The Jewish community in this country is more than willing to lend its money and advertizing talent to aid in this task. Let's do it! (Are you listening Sharon?)
Bernard J. Shapiro is the executive director of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies <http://www.freeman.org> and the editor of its monthly Internet magazine, THE MACCABEAN ONLINE <http://www.freeman.org/online.htm> and its email broadcast Freemanlist.
THEY'RE DYING AND AM YISRAEL CHAI!
By Ariel Natan Pasko
Am Yisrael Chai - the People of Israel lives! It is a traditional phrase that has been sung, danced to, and has uplifted generations of downtrodden Jews in the darkest depths of the nearly 2,000-year exile from their homeland Judea, the Land of Israel.
Christianity and Islam are commonly portrayed in world culture as the "daughters" of Judaism. Starting with Christianity - who claimed to supersede Judaism - and then Islam - who claimed to replace both - there's been a type of competition between them; or at least between Christianity and Islam. You see both are missionary, i.e. they try to convince you they are "right", that only they have the absolute truth, and you should join them. Judaism, in its quiet strength of belief, isn't a missionary religion, although it does accept converts.
This lack of missionary activity on the part of Judaism over the centuries, along with Christianity and Islam's seeming "victory" over their "mother", has led many to mistakenly characterize Judaism as "old" and "feeble", an anachronism. The famous historian Arnold Toynbee complained, that he could not understand why the Jews didn't just disappear, they were a "fossil". The Nazis, inheritors of all that was evil and corrupt in European culture; bought into this line of thinking and tried to eliminate the "fossil". Islam today is moving closer and closer to this position as well.
Take the recent meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Malaysia. Leaders from the 57 member states attended. The then Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad - recently retired - in his keynote speech urged Muslims to unite against the Jews and against Israel. However, he said that it should be done by emulating the Jews themselves, who "survived 2,000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking. They invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy, so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others." Appear to be wrong? Persecuting Jews is really OK? Jews enjoying equal rights is somehow "wrong"?
He named Israel as, "the enemy allied with most powerful
nations." Mahathir claimed, "The Jews rule the world by
proxy. They get others to fight and die for them...They have
gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny
community, have become a world power. We cannot fight them
through brawn alone, we must use our brains also." Well,
at least he recognizes Jews are not a "fossil".
He said that, "1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way. And we can only find a way if we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to plan, to strategize and then to counter-attack." Mahathir then called for a "a strategy that can win us final victory." Is this another Holocaust in the making?
Then turning to peace treaties with the Jews and others, in what should open the eyes of all - Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, and others - he reiterated the Muslim view that such treaties are tactical, and are a prelude to victory, rather than peace: "The Koran tells us that when the enemy sues for peace we must react positively. True, the treaty offered to us is not favorable. But we can negotiate. The Prophet did, and in the end he triumphed." The lesson: treaties are meant to be broken. Israel and the world, beware!
The speech drew a standing ovation from the assembled leaders, who included Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri. "This was a pep talk to the Muslim countries for them to work hard and look to the future," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said. "But as soon as you have any criticism of Israel, then there are people who are very eager to rush to condemnation, without comprehending what it's all about." Karzai, asked by The Associated Press whether he thought the speech was anti-Semitic, responded: "No, I don't think so. Dr. Mahathir spoke of the inhibitions within the Islamic world and that those inhibitions must go away, and I entirely agree with that," Karzai said. "I don't think they were anti-Semitic at all," said Yemen's foreign minister, Abubakar al-Qirbi. "I think he was basically stating the fact to the Muslim world." They don't even recognize their Judeopathy.
Later, in Thailand US President George W. Bush rebuked the Malaysian Prime Minister for his Judeo-pathic comments. But Mahathir later shrugged it off, claiming that the global reaction to his words, including condemnation from many international leaders - including Bush - just "shows that Jews do control the world."
Which brings us to who's dying and who's thriving. The Pope, John Paul II and Yasser Arafat are both on their last leg, so to speak. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, "spiritual" leader of Hamas, isn't far behind. And Europe has been "morally" dead for quite some time.
The Pope symbolizes for many around the world, Christianity itself. And although this Pope, the man Karol Wojtyla, is said to have had good relations with Jews back in his native Poland, in the "old days", and has done a lot to promote better Christian-Jewish relations; he represents an institution that has persecuted and murdered Jews - when not trying to convert them - for century upon century, until the modern era.
I won't now get into the question of whether Pope Pius XII - the "Holocaust Pope" - did all he could to stop the Nazi mass murder of Jews in that period. But what I do want to emphasize is that the current Pope has a golden opportunity to right a historical wrong; to open up the Vatican vaults and return all the stolen Jewish property that the Catholic Church has confiscated over the centuries. It's well known that the Church "collected" Jewish books, manuscripts, and ritual objects for over a thousand years. Such cultural pillage can never be tolerated. Now before he dies, the Pope has to apologize for the Catholic Church, repent, admit to its sins, open up its vaults to inspection, return the stolen property, ask forgiveness, and promise that the Church will never to do such a horrendous thing again. Nothing less should be expected from a so-called "religious" institution. Regarding the Jewish people, this is the Pope's greatest opportunity before he dies. Will he take it?
Another couple leaders, Yasser Arafat and Sheikh Yassin are also making plans to meet their maker in the not too distant future. Given their track record of terrorism and murder, there doesn't seem much hope for them. That's why I want to point out that one door remains open. I therefore call on them to admit their evil ways, ask forgiveness from Jews and Israel, and publicly admit that the Land of Israel belongs exclusively to the Jewish People. Truthfully, even the Koran states so, although it's been ignored for a more "politically correct" interpretation. Arafat portrays himself as a good Muslim, and Sheikh Yassin claims to be a "religious" leader. Therefore, they should be very concerned about the life of lies and murder that they've been living. Now is the time to repent!
Now Europe. You thought until recently that they were repentant for their centuries of Jew-hatred culminating in Holocaust era behavior, didn't you? And then comes the massive 59 percent of Europeans, who said they believed that Israel is the biggest threat to world peace. According to the European Commission's October survey of about 7,500 Europeans, that's about 500 in each of the EU's 15 countries; given a list of 15 countries around the world, including countries such as Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, China, Pakistan, India, and Russia; Israel topped the list. Have they been listening to Mahathir and his Islamic Jihad buddies?
In contrast to the coming demise of such antagonists to the Jewish people, one has to look at the State of Israel today. Jews from over 100 countries - literally all over the world - have returned to their ancient-modern homeland. They have built a thriving society, economy, military force, and are well on the way to a spiritual revival that's been gaining ground since 1967. I know I often criticize what's going on in Israel, but it's the constructive criticism of love and concern. And one should never overlook all the good that G-D has bestowed on Am Yisrael -the nation of Israel; how He's kept the promises He made through the Hebrew Prophets in the Bible. The beginnings of National Redemption are afoot, in our generations. One can see in the last 100 years, the re-birth of the Jewish people; they are a far cry from being "fossilized". The State of Israel today is far from "old" and "feeble". According to the Malaysian Prime Minister, "the Jews rule the world..." Well, if he senses the Jews and Israel as a threatening young upstart against the decadent and backward history and traditions he represents, then he's on to something.
While the world heard about his Judeo-pathic outbursts, few probably heard his internal criticism of the Muslim world and Muslim leaders. "There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right. They believe that things can only get worse. The Muslims will forever be oppressed and dominated by the Europeans and the Jews. They will forever be poor, backward and weak," Mahathir said.
"The early Muslims produced great mathematicians and scientists, scholars, physicians and astronomers etc. and they excelled in all the fields of knowledge of their times, besides studying and practicing their own religion of Islam...At the time the Europeans of the Middle Ages were still superstitious and backward, the enlightened Muslims had already built a great Muslim civilization, respected and powerful, more than able to compete with the rest of the world and able to protect the ummah [nation] from foreign aggression. The Europeans had to kneel at the feet of Muslim scholars in order to access their own scholastic heritage...But halfway through the building of the great Islamic civilization came new interpreters of Islam who taught that acquisition of knowledge by Muslims meant only the study of Islamic theology. The study of science, medicine etc. was discouraged. Intellectually the Muslims began to regress. With intellectual regression the great Muslim civilization be gan to falter and wither. But for the emergence of the Ottoman warriors, Muslim civilization would have disappeared with the fall of Granada in 1492," Mahathir continued.
But, "The early successes of the Ottomans were not accompanied by an intellectual renaissance. Instead they became more and more preoccupied with minor issues such as whether tight trousers and peak caps were Islamic, whether printing machines should be allowed or electricity used to light mosques. The Industrial Revolution was totally missed by the Muslims," He admitted. There you have it in a nutshell, the cause of "Muslim rage", and it's self-inflicted.
Another Muslim "thinker" has recently criticized the Arab world. Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi's analysis of the Arab world - reported by the Libyan newspaper al-Shams - began with a romantic look at the 1948 war of Israeli independence, "the only time that all the Arabs fought as one people and as one nation." The Arab leaders of the day, Qaddafi explained, are today seen as "reactionaries", but "they were 1,000 times better than the Arabs of today, who have no courage, honor, blood, or pride." Today, however, the Libyan dictator declared, "you cannot speak of Arab unity and pan-Arab nationalism." Qaddafi complained that Libya had stood up for Arab unity and the Palestinian cause. That "Libya became the enemy of the Jews and the entire West for the Arabs, and without this there would have been no problems between Libya and the US and even between it and the Jews, or between Libya and Europe. If we had not gotten ourselves in trouble in battles because of pan-Arabism and Arab unity, we would have been spared all the tragedies caused us."
Bitterly, the Libyan leader declared, "If we were not an Arab country, [the Arabs] would not be cursing us...Leave us alone! Are you attacking us because we are Arabs? We're fed up. We are Africans. Treat us like Africans." He asked, "What is the connection between Libya and Kuwait? One country is situated in Africa and the other in Asia." He sarcastically called for all Arabs to leave Africa and return to Arabia, "at least to receive their quota of oil," Qaddafi then continued: "The Arabs have become the joke of the world because they do not think of their future..."
"The Arabs are completely useless...." Qaddafi declared, "We will not be finished together with them. We will be, ultimately, in our African nation and on the African continent...by means of which we will become stronger, like the American continent and the European continent. The Arabs have written a mark of disgrace in history that they will never be able to eradicate. They watch what is happening in Iraq and in Palestine from the sidelines. They are finished. They have no honor and they have no blood. There is no longer any Arab blood or pan-Arab blood, Arab unity, Arab manliness, Arab femininity. There is nothing. The situation has gotten so bad that the women are the ones who take the initiative. Today was the most dangerous "fedaii" [terror] operation in so-called Israel - and it was carried out by a young Palestinian woman, not by a man." The Libyan leader repeated, "The Arabs are completely useless. We must not waste time. The Arabs are through. Tomorrow, Asia will es tablish great unions and Africa is already united - and where are you, Arab?"
As for Africa, Qaddafi apologized for having "brought Mauritania, Djibouti, Somalia, and the Comoro Islands into the Arab League...Look what an injustice I did them. I brought them into a failed nation, a failed regime, and failed people..." And of the Libyan people he asked that they, "agree to quit the Arab League, without wasting time. These people [the Arabs] are useless. Their situation is terrible. We must be rid of them, of their curses and of their problems."
The Arab and Muslim world, by self-admittance is crumbling. Although blaming outside forces is still popular, a growing number of self-incriminating "thinkers" are demanding that they look inward for the causes of their misery. Although blaming Israel, "the Jews rule the world..." still satisfies many; others are beginning to blame themselves for their problems. The moral decay of Islam can still be clearly seen.
Take for example the recent publication of a group of Arab academics, The Arab Human Development Report 2003, commissioned by the United Nations Development Program in Amman, Jordan. It found the Arab world lacking in three areas they deem fundamental to development: freedom of _expression, access to knowledge, and the empowerment of women. The report covered 21 Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority areas. One of the authors, Clovis Maksoud, said he hoped the report would generate debate among the Arabs to seek "objective and constructive change from within." The report said, for instance that Arab media outlets operate "in an environment that sharply restricts freedom of the press and freedom of _expression and opinion." Journalists, the report pointed out "face illegal harassment, intimidation, and even physical threats." Again, the real source of "Arab rage", we find out, isn't Israel but self-inflicted backwardness.
Today the Arab and Islamic world vis-?-vis Judaism and the Jews - and their unfolding process of National Redemption in their ancient homeland, Israel - seem pale in comparison, rather than "victorious" over their "mother". Yet, after having stolen elements of our heritage, Islam is trying to usurp our homeland as well.
In contrast to earlier Christian attitudes, Toynbee, and the Nazis; the American author Mark Twain so accurately wrote in Harper's, September 1899:
"If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but 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 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 commercial 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 obtuse learning are also way out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all the 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 splendor, and 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 s prung 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. Beat 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?" And the famous Russian author Tolstoy wrote in 1908, "The Jew is the emblem of eternity. He who neither slaughter nor torture of thousands of years could destroy, he who neither fire, nor sword, nor Inquisition was able to wipe off the face of the earth. He who was the first to produce the Oracles of God. He who has been for so long the Guardian of Prophecy and has transmitted it to the rest of the world. Such a nation cannot be destroyed. The Jew is as everlasting as Eternity itself."
Both Twain's piece, and Tolstoy's words are as true today as then. So I ask you, who's ready for retirement or the grave? They're dying and Am Yisrael Chai, the People of Israel lives!
Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. He has a Master's Degree in International Relations & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites, in newspapers, and can be read at: http://www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko
(c) 2003/5764 Pasko
Jerusalem Post, October 8, 2003
ANATOMY OF A DISASTER
by Shmuel Katz
Very few knowledgeable observers believed that the pretentiously named road map - suggestive of a well thought-out, cut-and-dried plan - could really succeed any more than all the previous plans for peace in the Arab-Israeli confrontation.
Those few who did believe no doubt presumed that it was Saudi Arabia, one of the pillars of the plan, whose influence among the Arabs would ensure it a promising send-off - by the promised Palestinian action against Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other assorted terrorist groups. According to the text of the map, even the Arab League, meeting in Beirut, had been consulted.
The line-up was most impressive. As official authors of the map, there was as solid a bunch of international pro-Arab Israel-bashers as could be found anywhere in the world. There was the Quartet comprising the European Union, the United Nations, the US State Department and Russia, backed at the front line by an authoritative Israelophobic British government. While the central object of the map was to be a final settlement of relations between Israel and the Arabs, Israel was not consulted, and the planning operation was kept secret from its government. Historically, this may thus legitimately be described as the road-map plot against Israel. That Israel was thus slapped by her American ally was undoubtedly the reason why the Palestinian Authority, when officially shown the text of the road map, gleefully accepted it, and in the same breath demanded that Israel also accept it at once.
But the road map never got off the ground. Its first condition was never fulfilled. Former PA prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), when asked what he was doing about implementing the first - and crucial - condition of the map, seemed surprised at the idea that he was expected to fight, eliminate and disarm the terrorists. "I," he said, "am not going to start a civil war."
Soon afterwards, Abu Mazen, with a terrorist past for diplomatic credentials, and a doctoral thesis denying the Holocaust under his belt -was at once taken to America's official bosom, and declared a veritable savior.
He was immediately afforded a meeting with US President George W. Bush, and acclaimed by all as "America's Man." He was then dismissed by PA boss Yasser Arafat for showing various signs of independence. Abbas was replaced by Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) - a faithful yes-man to Arafat - who has resumed complete control of the Palestinian Authority.
WHAT, THEN, has happened to the road map, with its detailed sequence of events to come and an exact timetable leading like clockwork up to the date when a Palestinian state would be born?
Only two months ago the European Union's foreign policy representative, Javier Solana, reminded the world that the road map was the only way to peace. US Secretary of State Colin Powell was in a more somber mood. Inured by State Department tradition not to be able to distinguish between murderers and their Israeli victims, he foretold dire biblical-sounding punishment for those who did not fulfill the road map. "Both sides," he said, would "fall off a cliff" if they didn't stick to the road map. No less.
How come that the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, then headed by Abu Mazen, welcomed the road map with enthusiasm when they knew they had no intention of fulfilling its first commandment - fighting the terror? Had the Saudi Arabians who helped mastermind the road map not promised their American, European and British collaborators that (unlike Arafat's bluff at Oslo) the Palestinians would really fight the terrorists and take away their arms? How come that when the Arabs refused to fulfill their commitment nobody fell off Powell's cliff? More significantly, neither he nor any of his international roadmapping colleagues even uttered a word of criticism of the Palestinians who had with such demonstrative eagerness welcomed the road map.
AND HOW come that even after Arafat's return to full power, putting the final stamp of failure on the road map, secretary Powell calmly announced last week that the road map was alive and kicking? How is it that the senior American official handling the road map project, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, speaking on August 25 (days after suicide bombers in three attacks had murdered 37 Jewish men, women and children in Jerusalem), reported that "despite the recent horrific events" there was progress towards "peace for Arabs and Israelis" - and never mentioned that the road-map peace plan had been vaporized by the Arab leadership's refusal to take action against the terrorists?
This is not merely misleading, nor even mere cynicism. The road-map makers have simply changed their policy. They have quietly canceled the Palestinian obligation to fight the terror and consigned it to oblivion.
After their shoddy and demeaning behavior toward Israel in preparing the road map, the Roadmappers are now even ignoring the Arabs' implacable persistence in the murder campaign. Here is what the US national security adviser told the Veterans' Meeting at San Antonio on August 25: "Israel must fulfill its responsibilities to help ensure that a democratic, peaceful Palestine State is created."
Rice also lectures Israel: "It is in Israel's interests for Palestinians to govern themselves in a state that is viable and peaceful and democratic and committed to fighting terror."
It is not enough that the US and her strange collection of anti-Israel collaborators issued the road-map diktat to Israel. The complacent remarks of both Powell and Rice suggest that with the Arabs having failed them, the US is now hinting broadly at a new diktat to Israel - and even describing it as Israel's "responsibilities."
Now the Palestinians are repeating an old Arafat trick. He and his followers actually denounce the murders committed by the terrorists - as they have done after the mass murder in Haifa. They do it in English for the foreign media; they do it in Hebrew for gullible Israelis. In Arabic they continue to celebrate every murder; they sanctify every terrorist leader, and they canonize every suicide bomber.
One must hope that the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will not wait to be offered such a new and more serious attack on Israel's vital interests. The government should take the bull by the horns and establishonce and for all that the road map, distasteful to Israel from the start, certainly contains no obligations or responsibilities in its new manifestly emasculated state.
Israel will not participate in any new plan affecting the future of the country and its interests, except as a matter of direct negotiation with a prior agreed agenda.
Furthermore, Israel will continue to direct her energies to the defense of its people and the rooting out of terrorism in all its forms, wherever it occurs in the Land of Israel.
The writer, a co-founder with Menachem Begin of the Herut Party and member of the first Knesset, is a biographer and essayist.
The Jerusalem Post, Nov. 2, 2003
STRANGERS IN A FAMILIAR LAND
By Stewart Weiss
Whose country is it, anyway? Last week, my wife decided to pay a visit to Rachel's Tomb, which she had not seen for several years.
Although the building housing Rachel's Tomb has been extensively renovated and is quite impressive, the experience of visiting there is a harrowing one.
The road between the border of Jerusalem and the tomb itself is just 300 meters long, but is open only to bulletproof vehicles private cars are banned which must proceed, snail-like, in single-file procession.
Civilians are not allowed outside, so the vehicles pull up as close as possible to the tomb, at which time the visitors run like scared rabbits into the fortress-like complex.
Unfortunately, the situation at Rachel's Tomb is not a unique one; at virtually every one of our holy places, free and comfortable access is the exception rather than the norm. Every pilgrimage has the feel of a military mission, and it's a major struggle to safely get in and get out.
The Machpela Cave in Hebron the ancient burial place of
the Patriarchs and Matriarchs established that city as one
of the four holy cities of Judaism. Visitors to the Cave
encounter a heavy police and army presence, understandable in the
light of numerous Palestinian terror attacks. After being
thoroughly searched, Jews are permitted to pray in the
"Avraham" and "Jacob" areas, but not in
"Yitzhak" the largest of the chambers as
that is reserved for Arabs only.
On 10 days of the year, the Cave is open to either only Arabs or only Jews.
It will be interesting to see what transpires this year, when the yahrtzeit for Sarah the first of the Matriarchs to be buried in Machpela coincides with the end of Ramadan; both communities have requested exclusive access.
Outside, near the entrance to the Cave, is a spot called "the Seven Steps." For many years, when the Muslims were in control of the complex, Jews were barred from actually entering the Cave itself.
They were restricted to praying at the side of the building, on several steps that led nowhere. There they pitifully lit candles and recited Psalms, so near and yet so far from the holy place itself.
The Palestinian Authority our erstwhile "partners" in the "peace process" have boasted that if and when they again take total control of Hebron, Jews will once again be banned from the Cave and forced to huddle as beggars at the Seven Steps. In reality, I doubt we would even get that far.
And what of the Temple Mount, Har Habayit? The primary site of our ancient Temple Judaism's holiest spot is essentially Judenrein. Even on those rare occasions when Jews are allowed up there, the Muslim Wakf zealously watches them to be sure they do not move their lips in prayer or so much as bow in homage to God. If they do, they are rudely shown the exit, and often even arrested.
While it is true that many rabbis forbid Jews to enter the Temple Mount because of the prohibition to walk in certain sacred areas there, other rabbinic authorities most prominently the late chief rabbi Shlomo Goren ruled that there are clearly some places on the Mount that are not hallowed ground, and thus religiously accessible.
Our failure to visit the Temple Mount has emboldened some of our own politicians, whose ties to tradition are pragmatic, at best, to offer full control of the site to the Wakf. It also weakens our case that this is a Jewish treasure that must remain in Jewish hands. As one (non-Jewish) US Congressman asked me: "How can you Jews claim to revere this place so much if you won't even set foot on it?"
And then there is Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. Just two weeks ago for the second time in two years wild mobs of rampaging Palestinians set fire to the holy place, gleefully torching any prayer books or holy texts they found there. This is where Rabbi Hillel Lieberman was murdered two years ago when he tried to rescue Torah scrolls left behind when the IDF abandoned its post at the Tomb. Our presence there is sporadic and fraught with danger.
All this combines to send two distinct messages. The first is that the Arabs have never and will never respect the sanctity of Jewish holy places, regardless of world pressure. Just as the Jordanians systematically destroyed every last synagogue in Jerusalem's Old City when it fell into their hands in 1948, so will the Palestinians desecrate and destroy any place sacred to us if, God forbid, they wrest it from our control.
And that includes the Western Wall; I have no doubt whatsoever that the Palestinians would attempt to do what even the Romans could not accomplish turn the Wall into a heap of rubble. Moshe Dayan's catastrophic decision to turn the keys to the holy sites over to the Wakf should be reversed, not reinforced.
But the second message is meant solely for us. We, in a sense, have become prisoners in our own homes. While our enemies roam free, and sleep the sleep of the just, we are restricted and restrained all over our land. At times I can understand why so many nations question our legitimacy in Israel; by our fear to assert full rights of ownership in our own homeland, we appear more like tenants than landlords.
If we have any sense of Jewish pride, if we want to finally and fully establish our sovereignty over the land of Israel, then we must sing, in full voice, "This Land is My Land." We must hold our heads up high and end this self-imposed national house arrest. We must take back that which is rightfully ours.
The writer is director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra'anana.
By Prof. Paul Eidelberg
Ariel Sharon's ability to anesthetize the people of Israel - including many academics - while Israel is soaking in its own blood makes him this country's most dangerous prime minister.
Such has been the depth of Israel's decline and degradation under Sharon that, in January 2002, only ten members of the Sharon-controlled Knesset had enough intestinal fortitude to vote YES on a resolution to abrogate Oslo -- this, even though more Jews have been murdered by Arab terrorists under Sharon's reign than under all of his four predecessors!
Moreover, even though the U.S. destroyed the Taliban and the al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Mr. Sharon has continued to negotiate with the "irrelevant" Yasser Arafat-of course via Arafat's flunkies. Not even the U.S.-led conquest of Iraq has prompted Sharon to alter his policy of self-restraint against Arab suicide bombings and rocket attacks, a policy requiring, as one general put it, "educating the [Jewish] population to absorb blows." This pusillanimous policy has dehumanized the Jews of this country.
In April 2003, Prime Minister Sharon accepted a document concocted in secret, hostile in purpose, and prepared in collusion with some of Israel's worst enemies-the Road Map to a Palestinian state. The document was apparently inspired by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, but foisted on the uninformed people of Israel by a "Quartet" consisting of the U.S., the UN, the European Union, and Russia. Without cabinet or Knesset discussion, Mr. Sharon accepted a document that would retreat Israel to its 1949 borders, which Abba Eban famously called Israel's "Auschwitz" lines. This would be the inevitable consequence of establishing an Arab state in Judea and Samaria. The leaders of such a state, life-long terrorists, are openly committed to Israel's annihilation, and they have educated a generation of Arab children to fulfill this genocidal objective.
The borders for that Arab state have already been constructed under the Sharon Government. It is called a "security fence"; it is nothing of the kind. First of all, more than 200,000 Jews live east of that multi-billion dollar "security fence." Second, even military commanders openly admit that the only thing that prevents suicide bombers from entering cities west of that fence is the presence of the IDF in "Palestinian" cities. Finally, and as pointed out by one commentator, "While Israel, in building [the fence] is renouncing its claims to everything on the eastern side, the Palestinians, in objecting to [the fence], renounce none of their claims to the western side." Israel's degradation under the Sharon Government is awesome. In forming his Government after the January 2003 elections, Mr. Sharon appointed two leaders of the ultra-secular Shinui Party, chairman Tommy Lapid and Avraham Poraz, to head, respectively, the Justice and Interior Ministries. These two ministries have the power to secularize and deJudaize the State of Israel. Mr. Lapid announced that he would oppose any reform of the mode of appointing judges of the Supreme Court-a self-perpetuating oligarchy that scorns the abiding beliefs and values of the Jewish people. This cannot but accelerate the Left's crusade for a "secular revolution" in Israel.
Meanwhile, Mr. Poraz, in addition to fostering commercial violation of the Sabbath, facilitated the entry of gentiles into the country by "flexible" interpretation of the conversion and immigration laws. Under his secular agenda, citizenship may also be granted to the children of foreign workers, as well as to any non-Jew that could make some contribution to the country, whether financial, artistic, scientific, or even athletic. Mr. Sharon raised no objection to this blatant attempt to deJudaize Israel, despite the fact that the Jewish majority in Israel has plummeted from 82% to 71% in twenty years!
If further proof is wanted regarding Sharon's betrayal of the millions of Jews who have come to this country because they wanted to live in a Jewish state, (1) he opposed any amendment of the "grandfather clause" of the Law of Return, which has enabled hundreds of thousands of gentiles to enter Israel; (2) in justifying his choice of Poraz to promote immigration to Israel, he said: "I see that [a Jew is] whoever comes, sees himself as part of the Jewish people, serves in the army, and fights"; (3) he even referred to Judea and Samaria as "occupied territory"! Clearly, Mr. Sharon has spoken and acted as the Left's surrogate prime minister-while nonetheless preserving his persona as a nationalist, thereby anesthetizing the people. This is why he is the most dangerous prime minister in Israel's history.
The Jerusalem Post, October 29, 2003
A PALESTINIAN DECLARATION OF WAR
By Michael Freund
Two weeks have now passed since Palestinian terrorists attacked an American diplomatic convoy in Gaza on October 15, deliberately killing three US citizens in a wanton act of murder.
The attack, of course, was astonishing, if only because it marked the first time in years in which the Palestinians have singled out Americans as their target.
But what is even more startling is what took place back in Washington on that very same day, when US President George W. Bush signed a six-month waiver of the 1987 Anti-Terrorism Act, allowing the PLO's offices in America to remain open.
In a short letter addressed to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Bush declared, "I hereby determine and certify that it is important to the national security interests of the United States" that the PLO offices continue to function as usual. So, even as Palestinian terrorists were brazenly killing Americans, the White House was generously rewarding them with a six-month extension of their lease.
To be fair, Bush did condemn the Gaza attack, and went so far as to publicly blame "Palestinian authorities" for their failure to combat terror, a lapse, he noted, which "continues to cost lives".
Nevertheless, in the time which has elapsed since the assault, there have been no indications that the Palestinians will be made to pay a price for their actions. And that is where the Bush Administration is making a very big mistake.
By all accounts, the Gaza attack left America's emissaries in the area in a state of shock, and rightly so.
The evidence clearly indicates that this was no case of mistaken identity. The perpetrators are said to have used a remote-controlled device, allowing them to set off the explosion only once a Palestinian police vehicle accompanying the Americans had safely passed by.
The vehicles targeted all bore diplomatic plates, and they were traveling on a road that is closed to Israeli cars. Hence, there can be no doubt that this was a calculated and premeditated assault on Uncle Sam.
In effect, it was a Palestinian declaration of war against America.
Indeed, on October 10, just five days before the attack, the official Palestinian television station broadcast a Friday prayer sermon delivered at the Sheikh Zaid Bin-Sultan mosque in Gaza, where the preacher exhorted his listeners as follows, "We hear statements by the little US President. We hear unfair and tyrannical statements in which he says Israel has the right to defend itself. These statements carry destruction for the United States itself."
"From this place," he continued, "we warn the American people that this President is dragging them to the abyss."
Remember, this sermon was delivered in Gaza, where the attack itself took place, and those words of warning were uttered before it had occurred.
Similarly, on September 10, Yasser Arafat's official TV station broadcast yet another fiery anti-American sermon delivered, once again, in Gaza, in which the preacher vowed that, "We will defeat America as long as it supports our enemy we consider America to be our No. 1 enemy."
Thus, even if Arafat and the Palestinian Authority are not directly behind the attack, they most certainly bear responsibility for stirring up anti-American sentiment and inciting and encouraging the terrorists to strike against the United States and its representatives.
The Bush Administration's response, or lack thereof, to Arafat's latest outrage is quite simply a recipe for further attacks, because the terrorists now see that they can act with virtual impunity, even against America and its diplomats.
To set the record straight in this regard, and send a strong message to the terrorists, it is time for Washington to adopt a series of steps aimed at punishing the Palestinian Authority.
To begin with, Bush should waive the waiver he signed on October 15, and order PLO offices in America shut down permanently. There is simply no excuse for allowing an organization involved in killing Americans to continue to operate freely on American soil.
In addition, all PLO assets, and those of its leadership, should be frozen forthwith, to prevent the flow of funds to an entity that harbors, encourages and engages in terrorism. Likewise, Palestinian officials should be declared persona non grata, and barred entry to the United States.
Secondly, the Administration can work towards implementing the Koby Mandell Act of 2003, a bill before Congress that would create a special office in the US Justice Department to ensure that firmer measures are taken against killers of Americans. For most of the past decade, Washington has done little to bring Palestinian terrorists to justice for their crimes. In the wake of September 11, it is time for that to change.
Finally, if America truly wishes to see justice served, it can once and for all remove the constraints it has placed on Israel, and give Prime Minister Ariel Sharon the "green light" he needs to do some "regime-changing" of his own in the Palestinian-controlled areas.
For over a decade, the PA has been in the business of killing Jews and Israelis. The October 15 attack indicates it may now be looking to expand its franchise and take out Americans as well. Better to shut down this menace now, and free us all from the danger which it continues to pose.
The Palestinians have declared war on Israel and the West. If America, for whatever reason, is unwilling to fight it, the least they can do is allow Israel to finish the job.
The writer served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Prime Minister's Office under former premier Binyamin Netanyahu.
A WALL DOES NOT MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS
by Gary M. Cooperberg
October 29, 2003
Jews are famous for trying to avoid problems by paying for them. When Yitzchak Shamir was prime minister and the first "intifada" was in full swing, rather than simply shoot the hooligans and be done with the problem, he chose to avoid creating "bad publicity" by allowing the stoning to continue and arranging for the government to pay for all the damages and to equip cars with stone proof plastic windows. Not only did this very expensive decision fail to solve the problem, it only exacerbated it. It emboldened our enemies to upgrade their stoning attacks to bullets and bombs.
Again, rather than being done with the problem by destroying our enemies, bullet proof buses were purchased and most Jews stopped driving their cars! It seems that to purchase bullet proof cars would be more than the budget could handle.
Just as the plastic windows for our cars did not appease our enemies, the bullet proof buses may have made riding the roads a little safer, but still did not stop the attacks and the murders.
Again, rather than honestly face the problem and vanquish our enemies, our leaders continued to seek some kind of compromise to try to appease them and stop the terror. They ignored a fact which every child knows. When you appease bullies it only makes them bolder. Peres actually sat with Arafat and promised him a state. The State of Israel gave weapons and bases on Jewish soil to the PLO and was surprised when they used both to attack Jews. Again, rather than learn from bitter experience, we continued efforts to pacify. Rather than take back the guns and the bases and throw our enemies out of our country, we permitted them to keep all that we gave them and built new roads so we could travel in relative safety. It cost a fortune and, in the end, really didn't make travel much safer.
Today the government finally is beginning to understand that there is no compromise which will enable us to live in peace with our enemies. But, once again, they fail to muster the courage to throw them out. Instead a "brilliant" new idea has been conceived. We are going to build a huge wall around ourselves to protect us from our enemies! The cost of this wall is more expensive than anything we have tried before, but, aside from the many other reasons why it will not help, it fails to separate Jews from Israeli Arabs who hate us just as much as their brothers on the other side of the wall and who have participated in many of the suicide murders. So, after wasting billions more dollars we still will not have solved the problem.
If some Arabs wish to call themselves "Palestinians" that is their right. But we Jews are under no obligation either to recognize that contrived entity, or to find them a place to live. It is high time for our leaders to worry at least as much about the Jewish population of Israel as it does about our Arab enemies. Consistent terror is not something one learns to live with. It is something which our government is obligated to completely destroy. No normal government will sit down and negotiate anything with murderers. Let us, at long last, understand that we are at war with those whose only goal is to destroy us. Our only option is to destroy them first. So let's stop fooling ourselves and stop wasting lives and money. We don't need a wall. We need a quick and ruthless war.
The Jerusalem Post, October 17, 2003
WHY THE MEDIA BOTCHES IT
In 1962, an American historian named Roberta Wohlstetter wrote a book that is required reading at Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon. It ought to be required reading for every foreign correspondent, too. The book, Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision was an effort to explain why the United States had failed to anticipate the Japanese attack, despite quantities of intelligence indicating that an attack was soon coming. For years, Americans had known of this failure, and that knowledge spawned the view that Franklin Roosevelt had taken the U.S. to war "through the back door," or, as Clare Booth Luce put it, that he had "lied us into a war because he didn't have the courage to lead us into it."
Wohlstetter saw it differently. In the run-up to December 7, she noted, U.S. intelligence knew not only that Hawaii was a potential target for the Japanese, but that Siberia, the Panama Canal, the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies were, too. All this information created what she called "noise," an overwhelming barrage of signals in which significant information tended to be drowned in trivia.
The analysis holds good in other situations. In the spring of 1941, Stalin had ample information that Hitler was massing troops on their shared front. In the fall of 1973, Israel knew the movements of the Egyptian and Syrian armies. The Soviets and Israelis were taken by surprise not because of faulty information. The problem was one of faulty interpretation, which in turn came from faulty assumptions about enemy motives. Stalin was convinced Hitler was maneuvering toward negotiation, not war; Israel thought the Arabs would never launch a war they were bound to lose.
Now fast-forward to August 3, 2000. On that day, The New York Times published a story by reporter John Burns, headlined "Palestinian Summer Camps Offer Games at War." "Last summer," Burns wrote, "some 27,000 Palestinian children participated in the camps, where they receive weeks of training in guerrilla warfare, including operation of firearms and mock kidnappings of Israeli leaders. A common theme in the camps was preparation for armed conflict: 'slitting the throats of Israelis' is one of the children's exercises at these camps."
To its credit, the Times ran this piece on the front page. [But] within a month the story was pretty much forgotten. When fighting broke out on September 30 most of the news media were prepared to believe that it was Ariel Sharon who had started it by taking a walk on the Temple Mount.
To me, Burns's reporting is of a piece with the early warnings about Pearl Harbor. Who, reading his dispatch now, can fail to see that it foretold the coming war? Yet with a few exceptions, everyone failed to foresee it, certainly everyone in the foreign media. As late as September 27, two days before the beginning of hostilities, Burns's colleague Deborah Sontag was writing that Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat had succeeded in "breaking the ice" over dinner, thereby providing "fresh momentum" for negotiation.
Now consider all this in the light of Wohlstetter's analysis. During the Oslo years, the dominant framework was roughly this:
First, Yasser Arafat, a reformed terrorist, had made a strategic decision for peace based on the calculation that a state in Gaza and the West Bank was the most he would ever get. Second, Yitzhak Rabin [had] concluded that the Jewish state was more secure with the majority of Palestinians outside smaller borders than it was with those Palestinians inside larger borders. He too wanted to cut a deal, and the PLO was the only really credible partner for it. Third, this new political center represented by Arafat-Rabin was threatened by Palestinian fanatics who would not abandon their claims to Haifa and Jaffa, and by Jewish fanatics who would not abandon theirs to Hebron and Shechem (Nablus). Fourth, the solution lay in strengthening the center, chiefly by supporting Rabin diplomatically and Arafat financially and militarily. Israelis would be moved to withdraw from their territories to the East if they felt more secure in th! eir friendships with the West. As for Arafat, he needed guns and money to suppress "militant" Palestinian factions and establish the institutions of statehood.
That was the compelling logic of Oslo, and it was a logic to which most of world media subscribed. How often did we hear it said [that] peace was threatened by "extremists on both sides"? How much ink was expended on the question of Arafat's personal chemistry with Rabin/Peres/Netanyahu/Barak? And how little attention was devoted to countervailing data: for example, Arafat speeches that reaffirmed, in Arabic, his commitment to the PLO's old "plan of stages"?
No wonder, then, that Burns's August 3 dispatch did not cause the upset is should have. The idea that the Palestinian Authority was not part of the vital center for peace [was] information that could not be adequately explained within Oslo's interpretive framework.
The media was dutiful in reporting the terrorist summer camps. But it was not dutiful in asking the necessary follow-up questions about why these camps were there and what they betokened. Instead, we had what Thomas Schelling, in the foreword to Wohlstetter's book, described as "a routine obsession with a few dangers that may be familiar rather than likely"--settlers, terrorists, Sharon and so on.
Since then, things have changed somewhat. Whereas once there was one dominant interpretive framework, now there are three competing ones.
The first of these is the "occupation" framework. Its subscribers include all the Arab media, most of the European media, the BBC, the Economist magazine, and some U.S. news organizations. According to this framework, this is a conflict that began in 1967 when Israel "conquered" Palestinian land, attempted to settle it, and in the process dispossessed and eventually enraged the Palestinian people. Palestinian "militancy" is a consequence of this.
Then there is the "cycle-of-violence" framework. In this view, the conflict did not begin in 1967 or even in 1948 [but] sees Israelis and Palestinians as two tribes caught in a kind of blood feud, with each fresh assault demanding retribution.
Finally, there is the "Arab rejectionism" framework. Its votaries in the media include the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Fox News and the Christian Broadcasting Network. This framework holds that the conflict has its roots in the Arab world's refusal to accept a Jewish state in its midst.
From these separate frameworks identical headlines will often emerge. But the stories will read differently. Consider a hypothetical example: A Palestinian suicide bomber detonates himself in a Jerusalem bus and kills 20. Hamas takes responsibility.
A reporter from the "Occupation" school [discovers] that the bomber is from the Dehaishe refugee camp near Bethlehem; his family was originally from Ramle; his father used to work construction in Israel but has been unable to get to his job due to IDF closures. As for the bomber himself, he had a talent for carpentry but never found a job. He was recruited by Hamas after his brother was shot by the IDF; he hoped that his own martyrdom would bring honor and money to his parents and nine siblings.
Then there's the reporter from the "cycle of violence" school. [She notes] that a leading Hamas spokesman had recently been killed in an IAF helicopter attack and that the group had vowed revenge.
Finally, we have our reporter from the "Arab rejectionist" camp. He describes the scene of the bombing, interviews the families of the bereaved, attends the funerals. Little attention is paid to the personal circumstances of the bomber. Perhaps it will be noted that the bomber's brother was killed by the IDF while attempting to plant a mine on the road to a nearby settlement. Perhaps, too, the family expects to receive money from abroad. There's a story there about Saudi funding of terror.
My point simply is to illustrate how different interpretive frameworks put reporters on the trail of different sets of facts. All of these facts may be true. The question is, which of them are significant? To a certain extent, the answer is in the eye of the reporter. But the suicide bombings belong to a larger narrative, and it's important that readers not be consistently misled as to where this story might be going.
Few people anticipated the collapse of Oslo because few reporters bothered to ask themselves whether incitement in Palestinian schools, corruption in Palestinian officialdom, or the collusive relationship between groups like Hamas and the PA, weren't really bigger stories than, say, new construction in Gilo.
Similarly, had a moderate Palestinian leadership taken control of events in the past few months and stamped out terrorist groups, the Arab rejectionism camp would have a hard time making sense of things. It might have resorted to rationalization or conspiracy theories. By the same token, the persistence of Palestinian terror aimed at targets in pre-'67 Israelis should put a heavy onus on the "Occupation" camp to explain Palestinian motives. As for the "cycle-of-violence" camp, they ought to be puzzling out why the August 19 bus bombing in Jerusalem preceded Israel's targeted assassination of Ismael Abu Shanab, which Palestinian spokesmen now claim was what brought the hudna to an end.
Every reporter and editor needs at least some kind of framework to make sense of the news. I am certainly not coy about the framework to which this newspaper subscribes. I believe it is solidly grounded in historical fact, and I think its predictive record has been good. Still, I admit it's a sign of media vitality when no single framework dominates news coverage as it did in the 1990s. And I will try, at least occasionally, to pose the sorts of questions my colleagues in the other two camps so routinely ask. The wiser journalists among them will return the favor.
WHERE ARE THE
"HUMAN SHIELDS" FOR ISRAELIS?
By Ariel Natan Pasko
The Israel Defense Forces Advocate-General has ordered the military police to launch an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting of a British pro-Palestinian activist who lies clinically dead in a London hospital, after being shot by Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip last April. Tom Hurndall was shot in the head on April 11 while acting for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which positions direct action activists as "human shields" around Judea and Samaria - the West Bank - and Gaza.
The IDF has criticized ISM activists and their "human shield" activities. "It is important to keep in mind the danger posed by the illegal, irresponsible, and dangerous behavior of the ISM group that led to the tragic death and sad results," the IDF has said. The ISM knowingly puts people into dangerous situations - taking advantage of! young naive idealists - it seems Hurndall might have got caught in the crossfire between IDF troops and Palestinian terrorists. My question is, where are the "human shields" for Israelis? Why not send some people to protect innocent Israelis from suicide bombers?
Israel's embassy spokesperson in London said the decision to launch the investigation was made independently and was not a response to the family's allegations that Hurndall was deliberately shot. Investigators would talk to "all elements involved in the incident," both military and civilian, she said. The IDF has already produced a field report about the shooting, which says that Hurndall approached an army position "wearing a combat uniform and carrying a weapon". But Hurndall's father Anthony has dismissed it as "a fabrication." Hurndall's parents claim he was helping Palestinian children cross a street - to get out of the line of fire - in Rafah/Rafiach, near the border with Egypt, and was clearly identifiable as an unarmed peace activist by his bright orange jacket.
Even if Hurndall's parent's facts are true, I ask you, couldn't Hamas or Islamic Jihad terrorists put on an orange jacket? How would IDF troops know Tom Hurndall was indeed a "human shield" and not a terrorist hiding behind Palestinian children, as they often do?
Both Hurndall's injuries and the death in Israel of American ISM activist Rachel Corrie in March, have led to calls for investigations into what pro-Palestinian activists say is a concerted campaign by the IDF to chase them away from conflict areas. Rachel Corrie was killed by an IDF bulldozer while attempting to stop it from leveling Palestinian homes in Gaza, the homes of terrorists. But again I ask, where are the "human shields" for Israelis? Why not send out some people to protect innocent Israelis from suicide bombers?
Notice all these "do goody" "human shield" types always go to trouble spots to "protect" the people there from western armies, armies from democratic countries. There were the "human shields" that went to Iraq to protect people from British and American troops - Hurndall was there - and the "human shields" that went to protect Arafat in his Ramallah compound, after the Israeli cabinet decided to "remove" him. There are the IMS "human shields" that protected the terrorists from arrest in Bethlehem last spring, and those who protect terrorists in Gaza.
I guess it's safer to be a "human shield" against the Israeli, American, or British armies, as opposed to, for example, the Chinese or Burmese armies. Where were the "human shields" at Tienamen Square? What happened to protecting human rights activist Aung San Sui Kyi in Burma, before she was arrested again? Why not go to Lebanon and protect people from the Syrian army, the most vicious occupation in the Middle East? Where were the "human shields", when the Iraqi people really needed them? When Saddam Hussein was ruling, and killing and killing and killing. Doesn't being a human shield mean exactly that, putting your life in danger?
If no one ever got killed in the "human shield" business, it wouldn't be much of a danger, would it? Who needs "shields" that complain if it gets a little dangerous? Don't get me wrong, I don't want to minimize the loss of human life, it's just that it seems to me that these "human shield" people, minimize the value of some human lives - such as Israelis - by getting in the way of IDF activities to catch or kill Palestinian terrorist murderers. It's OK I understand to help Palestinians to "liberate" themselves, but it's not all right for Israelis to protect themselves in defensive military operations against murderers without "human shield" interference.
Maybe I'm confused. But it seems the world's media paints these "human shield" troublemakers - wherever they go - as some type of hero or made of morally better stuff. But all I see is their criminal interference in the legitimate activities of democratic governments trying to protect themselves and civilized society from the barbarians of the world.
Maybe it would be better for ISM or other groups like them, to stop and think about whom they are "protecting" and why they need protection. They should ask themselves why they would want to be the willing dupes of the likes of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Arafat. Then again, a death or two every once in a while, is good for media propaganda, and fund raising efforts, isn't it? So, why not send some "human shields" to protect a few Israelis?
Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. He has a Master's Degree in International Relations & Policy Analysis. His articles a! ppear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites, in newspapers, and can be read at: http://www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko
(c) 2003/5764 Pasko
"WE": THE MENTAL BLOCK OF THE LEFT
by P. David Hornik
October 31, 2003
"We are being attacked." On the face of it, there's nothing so notable about that statement; it's a well-known human phenomenon. Yet, particularly in Israel, where the Left-Right divide refers mainly to security issues, it's the one thing the Left is unable to say, and that inability defines its leftism more than anything else.
By now, the great majority of Israelis understand that we are simply being attacked by the Palestinian Authority (backed by much of the Arab world and Iran) through no fault of our own. Some understood this as far back as the fall of 1993, when the new wave of Oslo terror began soon after the PA was established; some needed until the suicidally "generous" Ehud Barak offers at Camp David in the summer of 2000, and the even more reckless Barak-plus offers at Taba the following winter, to understand that the PA was an unappeasable aggressor. But the Left -- what's left of it -- still doesn't get it; and it can't, because saying the words "we are being attacked" would mean abandoning its identity.
The Left, to be sure, has shrunk in recent years. The membership of Peace Now and other appeasement groups has declined substantially; the last elections saw Meretz's mandates plummet from 12 to 6, as many of its former voters shifted to the centrist Shinui and other parties; gone are the huge, ecstatic "peace" demonstrations in Tel Aviv heralding the new, messianic age of Arab-Israeli amity. But events of recent weeks have underlined the fact that a hard-core Left small in size, but still concentrated in the country's elites remains. First, there was the news about the Geneva Initiative, Yossi Beilin & Co.'s latest back-channel (read: back-stabbing) venture in selling the store for promises from terrorists. Then, on Saturday evening, Peace Now was able to muster a few thousand people to demonstrate outside the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, having been re-energized, it said, by Beilin's latest escapade.
Why is this small but influential segment of the population still unable to call naked aggression what it is and grasp that the whole diplomatic process was a sham? Why does it cling to its symmetries about "moderates" and "extremists" on both sides -- thereby implicitly equating the majority of the Israeli population, which does not believe in peace with the PA, at least as currently constituted, with fundamentalist terror organizations? Why does it treat a Jewish democracy and a Third World dictatorship, which systematically indoctrinates its children in racist hatred, as equal players in a game aimed at peace? Why does it ignore a steady stream of poll data showing that overwhelming majorities of the Palestinians share the views of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Fatah Tanzim, et al. and applaud their acts of massacre?
Although there is no single answer to these questions, I think the main answer is: the reason the Left perseveres in its attitudes and behavior, and cannot change, is that doing so would mean saying, "We are being attacked" -- i.e., joining the general Israeli population, renouncing its sense of being separate and superior. Put differently, it would mean acknowledging that the conflict is one between two nationalities, an uncivilized, aggressing one and a civilized, self-defending one, and that one is part of a national struggle, rather than a quest for peace based on universal principles.
The implications of viewing the situation that way -- as it is -- are unbearable for the true Left. Anybody who knows Israeli leftists knows that much of their emotional life, their socializing, and their identity revolves around expressions of hatred toward right-wing prime ministers and politicians and toward right-wing and religious parts of the population (not all leftists are like this, but most are). Predominantly college-educated products of intensive Marxist and postmodern indoctrination at Israeli and foreign universities, they view themselves as an enlightened, rational elite with a sophisticated grasp of politics that is beyond the reach of their benighted countrymen.
Yet, once you say, "These bloody bastards are attacking us, even though we bent over backwards to make peace with them" all that is lost. At that moment, your basic grasp of the situation becomes no different from that of a taxi driver, of segments of the population that you disdain and despise. At that point, too, a wall goes up between you and most of the visiting professors, the foreign journalists, the various international luminaries you consort with. Instead of acquiescing in their derogations of Israel and its leaders, you would have to defend your country, stand up for it -- and thus dissolve, before their eyes, into the rabble.
This -- unequivocally saying "We" -- is the Rubicon that the Left cannot cross. Leftists do not hate war and violence, fear for the safety of themselves and their loved ones, more than other Israelis do. What they do fear is losing their identity, wholeheartedly joining the nation, becoming a nationalist. It doesn't matter how many times the Islamofascists make chillingly clear that their genocidal target is all Israeli Jews -- "settlers" and kibbutzniks, haredim and Tel Avivites -- everyone and his brother and his children. The leftist will go on insisting that we are in a peace process, that the government is not being "creative" enough in pursuing diplomatic solutions, that "both sides" have noble goals, but are hampered by "extremists."
After these last three years, we've learned who the true leftists are, how deep-seated their anti-nationalist pathology, their resistance to reality, really is. True Israeli leftists are people who cannot be bombed and massacred into changing their way of viewing things.
What is to be done? Yes, the Left has shrunk, but, as we see in the recent Geneva Initiative, it still has the capacity to do great damage -- undercutting Israel's political position, sowing doubt and discord, playing straight into the hands of our deadliest enemies. All we can do is, through democratic means, fight the Left hard; expose its flouting of facts, logic, and experience, its inability to adopt the normal, sane perceptions of people under a brutal siege. Everyone must do his utmost to keep the Left's political parties small, confront its voices in the media, try -- when at all possible -- to counter leftism in everyday life by opening civil, constructive arguments with leftists or people tempted in that direction.
Other democracies, too, have their leftists who cannot say "We," or view enemies as enemies, or refrain from treasonous shenanigans in wartime. But in our situation, the need to combat leftism is more acute; our future depends on it.
ARAB INDOCTRINATION FOR SUICIDE
Results of the Shahada Indoctrination
Palestinian polls show that 72% - 80% of Palestinian children
desire death as Shahids. In games and in conversation, the
yearning to die for Allah is an integral component of the
Palestinian child's worldview. Children are already acting on the
indoctrination a 17-year old girl has blown herself up in
a terrorist attack in a Jerusalem supermarket. 14-year-old
children have written "farewell letters" to their
parents, incorporating expressions from PA propaganda film-clips.
In the letters they took pride in their ea! gerness to die as
Shahids and then set out on attacks in which they did, in fact,
die. Following are some examples, listed by age groups.
Playing Death Games
Palestinian children have embraced honoring Shahada from an early age, as expressed in the "Shahid Game," in which children act out a Shahid's funeral. An interesting note on this game: the children argue who will have the honor of playing the dead child. "I am younger than you. I should be the one to die!" is the 6-year-old's assertion. Even at this young age, they have already internalized the message that thonorable role is the Shahid.
The "Shahid Game" as described in the PA media:
"Nada, a seven year old girl, says to her friends: 'Let's play the Shahid Game!' The children fetch an old sheet that they spread on the ground, and then they argue who will play the Shahid. Fa'iz, 6 years old, says: 'You were the Shahid yesterday, today it's my turn! I'm younger than you. I will be the one to die!'
"Then he lies down on the sheet. Nada, playing the role
of 'mother of the Shahid' cries and yells as the rest of the
children lift Fa'iz up, wrapped in his 'shrouds'. The children
walk, chanting 'Allah Akbar! Make way for the Shahid!' As they
brandish plastic toy Kalatchnikov [AK-47] rifles
[PA official daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 26, 2001]
Children Play the Shahid Game
Expressing the Wish to Die
1. 11 Year-Olds: Shahada is Preferable to Peace
In July 2002, two articulate 11-year-old girls were interviewed in the studio of official Palestinian Authority TV. Among other topics, they spoke of their personal yearning to achieve death through Shahada Death for Allah and of a similar desire they said exists in "every Palestinian child." It is striking that their desire for death was expressed as a personal goal, not related to the conflict with Israel, having been convinced that dying for Allah is preferable to life. Their goal in living is not to experience a good life, but to achieve the proper death Shahada.
The following are portions from the TV discussion:
Host: "You described Shahada as something beautiful. Do you think it is beautiful?"
Walla: "Shahada is very, very beautiful. Everyone yearns for Shahada. What could be better than going to Paradise?"
Host: "What is better, peace and full rights for the Palestinian people, or Shahada?"
Walla: "Shahada. I will achieve my rights after becoming a Shahida. We won't stay children forever."
Host: "OK. Yussra, would you agree with that?"
Yussra: "Of course Shahada is a good thing. We don't want this world, we want the Afterlife. We benefit not from this life, but from the Afterlife. And so all young Palestinians are not like other youth, they are hot tempered. Of course they prefer Shahada; since they are Palestinian."
Host: "I want to ask you, do you actually love death?"
Yussra: "There's a difference between death and Shahada."
Host: "No, I mean the absence that is in death, the physical absence. Do you love death?"
Yussra: "No child loves death. 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."['Letter of the People', PA TV, June 9, 2002]
2. Public Opinion Polls
"72% of the children sampled from all the districts of
Gaza expressed the hope of becoming Shahids in the
['Sout Al-Nissa'-Voice of the Women, Al-Ayyam, January. 24, 2002]
79-80% of the children expressed willingness to be
[PA official daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 18, 2002]
3. Children's Poetry
"I swear to you by all that I hold dear that I will
purify your land
For your land we will die, we shall
advance to Shahada in groups!"
[10th grade boy reads a poem, PATV, August 23, 2002]
4. Three Girls go to Seek Shahada
"The residents of the village Yassid found the 3 girls who had disappeared two days ago, following a full day of extensive, strenuous searching. Yassid residents said that the three girls, aged 10,11 and 12, packed clothes, food and some money, and left eastward, looking for the way to Jerusalem, in order to achieve Shahada there. The girls got as far as a PA checkpoint, and there the officer on duty convinced them to go back. The children said they had wanted to get weapons and to go to Jerusalem in order to achieve Shahada there, and that the Israeli Army checkpoint would not have prevented them from their aspiration to achieve Shahada."
Embarking on Suicide Attacks
The PA indoctrination has already led to the death of Palestinian children. Young chlidren have written "farewell letters" to their parents in which they express pride in their desire to die, and have set out on suicide terrorist attacks. These children's farewell letters included phrases identical to "farewell" phrases from the propaganda films produced by the PA: "Mother, don't cry for me," indicating a direct link between the PA propaganda and the children's desire for heroic death. In addition, a 17-year-old girl blew herself up in a suicide terrorist attack in Jerusalem.
Following are the stories from the press:
1. Leaving Farewell Letters: "Do Not Cry for Me"
Three 14-year old boys set out to attack an Israeli village, hoping to be killed. They left farewell letters which included phrases from the TV clip "Farewell Letter" which was broadcast hundreds of times on PA TV: "The child Yussouf Zaakut wrote: ' Don't cry for me. Bury me with my brothers and with the Shahids '"
[The New York Times, April 25, 2002]
2. Brothers Leave Farewell Letters: "Don't Cry for Me,
Two brothers who took part in the confrontations left farewell letters to their parents expressing their hope of being killed:
"He wrote phrases of love of the counrty and love of Al-Aqsa and becoming a Shahid, for liberty and independence. He referred to himself as a Shahid. On one of his notebooks he wrote: 'The hero Shahid, Yasser Sami Al-Koussba died as a Shahid on the land of Palestine '"
"Sammer wrote the following phrase on one of his
notebooks, a few days before he became a Shahid: 'Mother! Don't
cry over me if I am killed. Death does not scare me, my
aspiration is to be a Shahid.'"
['Sout Al-Nissa-Voice of the Women', Al-Ayyam, Feb. 28, 2002]
3. 17-year-old Girl commits Suicide Terrorist Bombing in
Ayyat Al Achris, wearing a belt of explosives, walked into a supermarket in Jerusalem's Kiryat Yovel neighborhood, on March 29, 2002. She was 17 years old. The security guard at the door, suspecting she was a terrorist, pushed her outside, and she detonated her explosives, killing the security guard and a 17-year-old Israeli girl.
THE CONTROVERSY OF ISRAEL
By Bret Stephens
Since when are the Shaba farms "disputed"?
According to the United Nations, this uninhabited strip of land 14 kilometers long and two kilometers deep falls squarely on the Israeli side of Blue Line dividing Israel from Lebanon. But because the farms are also on the Golan Heights, the UN insists they properly belong to Syria.
In the language of news agencies such as Reuters and the Associated Press, that would mean the farms are in "Israeli-occupied" territory. But there's a catch. Syria which otherwise is so jealous of its territory that it refused Ehud Barak's 1999 offer to return the Golan Heights minus a strip of shoreline does not claim the farms as its own.
Instead, in 2000 Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Shara informed the UN that the farms are Lebanese. Syria claims it made a gift of them to Lebanon in 1951 as part of what one Lebanese official described as a "kind of oral agreement," but neither government has been able to produce any documentation proving it.
The Lebanese government has also produced some handwritten deeds for the farms dating from the 1940s. But even if these are not forgeries, the fact that they predate the 1951 land transfer renders them inoperative if indeed there was a land transfer. According to Lebanese military maps from the early 1960s, the farms fell squarely in Syrian territory.
So why did Reuters and the Associated Press describe the farms as "disputed" following this week's Hizbullah rocket attacks? Because, one inside source helpfully explains, the Golan Heights are "disputed" by Israel and Syria. But in that case, why do the news agencies otherwise describe the Heights as "occupied"? And if they are now so sensitive to Israeli claims, why not also describe the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as "disputed"?
The fact is, Syria and Lebanon jointly pretend the Shaba farms are Lebanese in order to furnish Hizbullah with a pretext for continued attacks on Israeli targets. By calling the farms "disputed," Reuters and AP only lend credibility to what should be described as a fraud.
I EXPATIATE on this topic to make a simple point: Just because someone disputes something whether it's land, law, history, received opinion or whatever does not mean it's disputed. A controversy is not created by the act of controverting alone.
Take a homely example: I may swan into your living room, refuse to budge and claim your house as my own. That does not make it mine. Nor does it make it "disputed territory," except semantically.
Still, if some camera crew were to arrive on the scene to report not on my invasion of your property but on this "dispute" of ours, it would go a long way toward shoring up my case. Let it go on for a month or two, and you might even be tempted to compromise. The basement apartment, perhaps?
What goes for your house and the Shaba farms goes also for the Jewish state. Israel's existential legitimacy has been widely assailed for years but that came, or comes, mainly from Arab, Islamic and Soviet corners. By contrast, Israel's critics in the West usually confined themselves to arguing about Israel's borders. As for the rightness of the Zionist dream itself, that was ideological territory upon which they dared not trespass.
Now that's changed. A line has been crossed. With the media's help, Israel has become "controversial." As usual, Israelis and Jews have blazed this particular trail.
In August, Haaretz ran a long profile by Ari Shavit of "neo-Canaanites" Haim Hanegbi and Meron Benvenisti, two Israelis who have come to the conclusion that "Israel as a Jewish state can no longer exist here."
In September, former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg penned an article for Yediot Aharonot in which he argued that "after two thousand years of struggle for survival, the reality of Israel is a colonial state, run by a corrupt clique which scorns and mocks law and civic morality." The article was reprinted in the International Herald Tribune, Le Monde, The Guardian, the Suddeutsche Zeitung and (of course!), The Forward.
All this was bound to spill over on American shores, and earlier this month it did. In the New York Review of Books, Tony Judt, a British Jew who is a professor of history at New York University and director of the Remarque Institute, has announced "the depressing truth that Israel today is bad for the Jews." Judt's article is titled "Israel: The Alternative" the alternative (actually, the "desirable outcome") being the binational state propounded by Benvenisti and Hanegbi. His argument is that Zionism "arrived too late": By the time the Jewish state was born in 1948, the world had moved beyond nationalism to globalism, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism.
Israel, however, remains a state defined by ethno-religious criteria, even as a growing percentage of the population within its borders is not Jewish. So it faces a dilemma: It can either retreat to borders within which it may remain both Jewish and democratic; it can expel its non-Jewish population, meaning primarily the Palestinians; or it can become a binational state.
Judt implies that he prefers the first alternative. Only he doesn't think it's going to happen: "There are too many settlements, too many Jewish settlers, and too many Palestinians" for the two-state solution to work. American pressure could help, but none is forthcoming because Bush "has been reduced to a ventriloquist's dummy, pitifully reciting the Israeli cabinet line."
As for that cabinet, it is composed of extremists to whom the the fascist label "fits better than ever." The government, Judt claims, is moving Israel in the direction of "full-scale ethnic cleansing as a state project."
Thus we arrive, with Hegelian inevitability, at history's juncture. Either the Zionist fascists of the present government will get their way, leading to the permanent estrangement of decent Diaspora Jewry from their fanatical cousins in the Holy Land. Or the decent people will prevail, leading to a binational state of which Jews everywhere, and the whole world, can be proud.
This second outcome, Judt writes, "would not be easy, though not quite as impossible as it sounds." All that's required is "brave and relentlessly engaged American leadership"; "international force" to guarantee "the security of Jews and Arabs alike"; and "the emergence, among Jews and Arabs alike, of a new political class."
ABOUT JUDT'S scheme, many things can be said, the least of which is its mind-boggling impracticality.
A binational state? Surely Judt is aware of where that path led to in Lebanon, where the animosities and differences between Christians and Muslims were nowhere near as deep as they are between Muslims and Jews.
A new political class? Had Palestinian Arabs had such a class in the 1930s, a binational state may have come into being with the end of the British mandate, for there was no shortage of Jews advocating as much at the time.
"International forces" to guarantee the mutual security of Jews and Arabs? We know too well what such forces recently accomplished in Srebrenica and Kigali.
Then there's Judt's sense of history. He says that Israel threatens to become the first modern democracy to engage in ethnic cleansing. Well, no: The United States and Australia, both modern democracies, did far worse with their aboriginal peoples.
He says that Jewish nationalism came to fruition too late. Wrong again: India and Pakistan and Indonesia were born alongside Israel; the Indochinese states emerged a decade later; the African states a few years after that. Should we do away with them, too, under the auspices of "international forces"? This is a cry for colonialism.
He says that US support for Israel has been "a disaster for American foreign policy." (Syria, by contrast, is praised "for providing the US with critical data on al-Qaida). In fact, what has been disastrous for US Middle East policy has been its support for Arab and Muslim autocrats such as Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and the Shah of Iran.
Judt is equally bad when it comes to understanding Israeli politics. He tells us that the current Likud government is the heir to Herut and the Revisionist Zionism of Vladimir Jabotinsky. Which is partly true, except that Sharon himself is an old Laborite who in recent months has sidelined the true heirs to Revisionist Zionism championed by Binyamin Netanyahu.
He says that Israel's security fence is like the Berlin Wall.
But the Berlin Wall was built to keep people in, whereas the
security fence is being built to keep people out. A better
analogy for the security fence is the American border with
He tells us that the forcible expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank is an option seriously being considered by Israeli decision makers. Please.
Judt's resort to classic anti-Semitic tropes should also not be overlooked. He tells us, twice, that US policy is being conducted to suit Ariel Sharon's convenience. This is a view that finds wide expression in Arab media.
But does Judt seriously believe that the foreign policy of a superpower is being manipulated by its own client state? Truly it is an amazingly wily and manipulative client who can so hoodwink its patron.
Judt tells us that Israel is bad for the Jews because the actions of the Sharon government taint Jews by implication everywhere. What's more, he says, they contribute to "misdirected efforts, often by young Muslims, to get back at Israel" by torching synagogues in Lyon or attacking Jews in the streets of Berlin. But as Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic points out in a devastating critique of Judt, "if you explain anti-Semitism as a response to Jews... you have not understood it. You have reproduced it."
Then too, notice Judt's use of the word "misdirected." For an Algerian youth to stab a Parisian rabbi is "misdirected." Everything the Israeli government does is unadulterated fascism.
The fact that Judt is Jewish does not acquit him of the charge of anti-Semitism. It aggravates it.
A gentile with little or no knowledge of classic anti-Semitic tropes may make a comment that sounds anti-Semitic "the Jews control Hollywood," for instance without recognizing it as anti-Semitic.
That's stupid, but it is not necessarily ill-intentioned. But it is unforgivable for a man of Judt's pedigree and education to make similar kinds of comments. Explain, please, the difference between Judt's line that Sharon plays Bush like a "ventriloquist's dummy" and Mahathir Mohamad's remark to the Organization of the Islamic Conference that "the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them." I see none.
SO MUCH for Judt's arguments. They collapse on first inspection, rather like Syrian and Lebanese claims regarding the Shaba farms.
Yet Judt remains a figure of respect. Not only was his essay allowed in the New York Review of Books, as far as I can tell he remains a contributing editor to The New Republic, the very magazine in which Wieseltier savaged him.
But will TNR sack Judt the way the American sports channel ESPN recently sacked Rush Limbaugh for making an arguably derogatory comment about a black football player? I doubt it.
No: Judt has merely exercised his right to free speech. It was a foolish speech, perhaps, but wasn't it Jefferson who said that error of opinion may be tolerated where freedom is left free to combat it? Instead, we will argue with Judt, show him the error of his ideas. Ostracism is not the democratic way. Engagement is.
Except that's not true. Polite society in the US has ruled that racist comments, or anti-Semitic comments, or sexist comments, or comments that hint at racism or anti-Semitism or sexism, are out of bounds. Rightly so. Especially in a free-speech country, some things must not be said.
It is the obligation of the people who rule polite society academics, editors, teachers, TV producers and so on to enforce the norms when government will not. Fail to do so, and you take the lid off the gutter and let the sewage run in the streets.
This is what is happening now with Israel. It does not really matter what Judt thinks about the dummy's ventriloquist. It matters that his views are being published in prestige magazines. It matters that his views are on this side of acceptable discourse.
It matters that his views are a matter of controversy, not disrepute.
It will be said that I am trying to quash debate. That is exactly what I would have done, were it still possible. It no longer is. The controversy of Israel's borders is over. Our enemies have won. The controversy of Israel is now upon us.
AN INTERVIEW WITH NORMAN PODHORETZ
By Manfred Gerstenfeld
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs | October 28, 2003
"A trend toward increasing indifference in the Jewish community is being countered by a return to religious observance."
"The second Palestinian uprising in 2000 had a profound effect on American Jewish attitudes toward Israel. Most American Jews who care about Israel take their cue from the Israeli government, and in Israel, public opinion had also shifted, leading to the Labor party's dramatic demise in the 2003 elections. But had the Israeli left won the debate, American Jews would have gone along as well."
"An important characteristic of American Jewry is that it remains stubbornly liberal despite realignments and evidence that neither the friends nor the enemies of yesterday have the same attitudes today. Like most non-Jewish liberals, the majority of American Jews were against the war in Iraq. Nevertheless it has been assumed all over the world that support for the war was disproportionately high among Jews."
As early as 1969 I wrote that the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism was only theoretical and was becoming invisible to the naked eye. Jews and non-Jews alike attacked me for saying this. By now, the truth of this observation has become so obvious that fewer and fewer people deny it.
The main target of anti-Semitism is now the State of Israel. Anyone who truly cares about the Holocaust and wants to avert another one has to be absolutely firm about the safety and security of Israel.
Greater Indifference, Greater Observance
Retired editor of Commentary Norman Podhoretz told a conference a few years ago that in his youth: "I was infected with the virus of utopianism, from which I have spent the last forty years recovering." He analyzes developments in the American Jewish community with this in mind.
For Podhoretz - a radical in his younger days who was never a communist - the community's main characteristic is the presence of two countervailing trends, which are difficult to measure by opinion polls or sociological analysis. "The first is the increasing indifference manifesting itself in assimilation and intermarriage, and attitudes toward Israel. Israel was the one subject almost the entire elder Jewish generation cared about. Now a large slice of the community is indifferent. Some are even unfriendly.
"The second trend is the return to religious observance and the move to the 'right' by parts of the Reform movement and the Reconstructionists. I went to a bar mitzvah at a Reconstructionist synagogue in Philadelphia with much Hebrew in the liturgy. In Reform congregations one also finds more Hebrew and many people are now wearing kippot (skullcaps) and tallitot (prayer shawls).
"The Conservative synagogue I belong to has become almost indistinguishable from an Orthodox one, except that women participate fully in the service and sit alongside the men. Midge Decter, my wife, once wrote a book called Liberal Parents, Radical Children. Today, a title for another book might be Conservative Parents, Orthodox Children."
"No sociologist in the 1950s anticipated such a development. They were focusing on increasing Jewish assimilation and attenuation of loyalty to the community. When I was an undergraduate at Columbia University in 1946-1950, Jews formed a minority of about 17 percent in the college without a visible campus presence. Nobody wore a kippa. Today, one sees kippot all over the Columbia campus. At Harvard there is a strictly kosher kitchen with two stoves; likewise in Princeton.
"One sees many observant young Jews around; some are bothered by questions one would expect only from the ultra-Orthodox. They go on dates but the men and women - some of them Harvard seniors - wonder whether Jewish law permits them to even hold hands. Orthodox congregations of young professionals have sprung up all around America; lawyers, doctors, stockbrokers, scientists, and other academics are serious about their orthodoxy.
"Similarly, people who were largely uninterested in Judaism for most of their lives now send their children to day schools like the Orthodox Ramaz or Conservative Solomon Schechter ones. Their numbers may not be that great, but in many areas of life - including politics - intensity is more important than numbers."
The Impact of Renewed Palestinian Violence
"The second Palestinian uprising in 2000 had a profound effect on American Jewish attitudes toward Israel. Most American Jews who care about Israel take their cue from the Israeli government. After the Oslo Agreement, Israeli government leaders like the late Yitzhak Rabin or Shimon Peres said such things as: 'We are making peace and it's great; we must not permit the terrorist acts still going on to discredit the process.' It was to be expected that American Jews would echo these attitudes; and they did.
"I spoke and wrote frequently against the Oslo process from its beginning. I wasn't against it in principle, but I did consider it a disastrous misreading of reality. It was clearly going to lead to war rather than peace. The Jewish audiences to whom I lectured usually reacted by saying, 'Who are you to know better what is vital to Israel's security than great generals such as Prime Ministers Rabin or Ehud Barak?'
"My answer was, 'They are no longer generals but politicians, and they think and act accordingly.' Then, after Barak offered the Palestinians incredible concessions at Camp David in July 2000, the second uprising began. We have since learned that preparations for violence had started well before.
"This new eruption of violence led many American Jews to reconsider their position. Again they were taking their cues from Israel where public opinion had also started to shift. This led to the Labor party's dramatic demise in the 2003 elections. But had the Israeli left won the debate, American Jews would have gone along as well."
Evading the Unbearable Reality
After the renewed outbreak of Palestinian violence, Podhoretz published a Commentary article in December 2000 entitled "Intifada II: Death of an Illusion," in which he wrote:
The unbearable reality being evaded was that Israel's yearning for peace was shared neither by the Arab world in general nor by the Palestinians in particular - that their objection was not to anything Israel had done or failed to do, but to the very fact that it existed at all. Then, as time went on, and episode after episode occurred exposing the delusion of Oslo for what it was, more and more rationalizations had to be invented, and more and more lies had to be told to keep it alive. Too much hope - and too much political capital - had been invested in the "peace process" to allow any opening of eyes that had been blinded and minds that had been closed by the dazzling mirage on the White House lawn.
Podhoretz now adds: "Though the road map process is still in its very early stages, we may be witnessing a similar drama here. History never repeats itself fully, and Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush are likely to be tougher on terrorism and entertain fewer illusions about the Palestinians than their predecessors. But with the inauguration of a new 'peace process,' one already sees a softening in American Jewish opinion which will continue as long as the Israeli government indirectly encourages it by the positions it adopts."
A Stubbornly Liberal Community
"Over time, the Jewish community will probably become less influential in American society than it is today when - despite its small numbers - it is still politically important because Jews are so politically active and contribute so much money to political causes. This is how American democracy works. Each interest group is expected to press its own agenda as far as it can, which means that if American Jews become less passionate about Jewish interests as such, those interests will be neglected or ignored by the political powers that be.
"Another important characteristic of American Jewry is that it remains stubbornly liberal in a rather vague sense despite changes, traumas, realignments, and evidence that neither the friends nor the enemies of yesterday have the same attitudes today. As generals are said to do, much of the American Jewish community is always fighting the last war. In this case, since the right was traditionally more hostile to Jews than the left, it goes unnoticed that a reversal has taken place in recent years, with the right becoming much friendlier to Jewish interests - and especially Israel - than the left.
"As my generation dies out, a more serious Jewish move away from liberalism may very well occur. It has started already, though it is not yet statistically very significant. Depending on what happens it might accelerate. The resurgence of overt anti-Semitism all over the world - again, more on the left than on the right - will probably have a big impact on American Jewish attitudes.
"Even today, Israel is the one issue where most American Jews depart from the politically correct liberal position. Though dovish in general, they tend to sympathize with the Israeli military. Even so - like most non-Jewish liberals - the majority of American Jews were against the war in Iraq."
"Nevertheless it has been assumed all over the world that support for the war was disproportionately high among Jews. In fact, it has been charged that the Jews - euphemistically called 'neo-conservatives' - captured the White House and cajoled the Bush administration into invading Iraq solely to serve the interests of Sharon. This is a ridiculous idea, based on the absurd notion that the few intellectuals of Jewish origin in the administration - my own son-in-law Elliott Abrams is one of them - could manipulate such formidable leaders as George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condoleezza Rice.
"Nor is it correct to characterize these leaders as neo-conservatives. None of them began on the left and moved to the right, which is what the neo-conservatives did: hence the 'neo,' meaning new. To understand the true role of the neo-conservatives, one has to go back to the Reagan administration. Unlike Bush and his main foreign-policy advisers, all of whom are lifelong conservatives, Reagan himself was in effect a neo-conservative: he had been a liberal and a Democrat until his fifties. Be that as it may, in running for president against Jimmy Carter in 1979-80, he found that the view of the world and America's role in it held by the neo-conservative intellectuals represented a coherent and persuasive statement of what he himself had come to feel.
"This view was powerfully vindicated by the taking of American hostages in Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Much the same thing happened to George W. Bush on 11 September 2001, when the United States under his presidency was attacked out of the blue. Once again the neo-conservatives had a ready explanation for this huge act of terrorist aggression, as well as the outlines of a policy for dealing with it. The explanation articulated what Bush understood intuitively, which is why he accepted and acted upon it. Many people who opposed his policy in both America and other countries then attempted to discredit it by suggesting that he had been manipulated by a bunch of cunning Jews who cared only about the interests of Israel."
Two Ancient Anti-Semitic Canards
"This slander draws on two ancient anti-Semitic canards. The first one derives from the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It asserts that a sinister Jewish conspiracy aims to control the world in its political, financial, and other major aspects. The Nazis talked about the Jewish domination of culture in Berlin and Vienna in the 1920s. Today's modified defamation asserts that the manipulation is always in favor of Israel.
"The other, related, canard accuses Jews of dual loyalty. This fallacy has been a major component of American anti-Semitism, which has been much milder than the overseas variety. It flourished in the sewers and margins of society and drew on the idea that the Jews' primary loyalty is to their own 'tribe.' Once Israel came into existence, it mutated into the charge that Jews were loyal to Israel at the expense of the United States.
"This charge was so threatening that some American Jewish leaders - mainly of German origin - were opposed to the establishment of Israel out of fear that it would give even greater credence to the suspicion of dual loyalty. The truth, of course, was and is that Jews have found a true home in America, and that they know it. In fact, their support of Israel has consistently been based on the conviction that such support is entirely consistent with the interests of the United States."
The Resuscitation of Slander
"For this and many other reasons, the dual-loyalty slander seemed to have died out, but it re-emerged during the first Gulf War and has now erupted again. The special genius of anti-Semitism has always been to attack Jews from both directions. Jews have been accused of being responsible for communism as well as for capitalism. They have been portrayed both as revolutionaries and as counter-revolutionaries. The first allegation comes from the extreme right and the second from the extreme left, who have never had any trouble joining forces when it comes to maligning the Jews. Today we see the same phenomenon at work.
"On the extreme right, Pat Buchanan, for one, openly accuses the neo-conservatives - by which he means the Jews - of dual loyalty and of dragging America into a war solely for the benefit of Israel. On the left, the same line is propagated, even though it doesn't care about loyalty to the United States.
"As early as 1969 I wrote that the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism was only theoretical and was becoming invisible to the naked eye. Jews and non-Jews alike attacked me for saying this. By now, however, the truth of this observation has become so obvious that fewer and fewer people deny it. The result is a merging of the Jewish concern about Israel with a new anxiety over the resurgence of anti-Semitism, especially in Europe. As I noted earlier, this development is the one factor which could frighten American Jews to the point where they would mobilize once more around their Jewishness."
The Left's Abuse of the Holocaust
"For some years now, the great uniting factor has been the Holocaust. I have always been uneasy about its elevation to a central position because it stresses victimization as the major motif of Jewish life and Jewish history, and I consider this unhealthy.
"The Holocaust has also been exploited and abused by many people on the left. They can weep about the murdered Jews of the past while at the same time taking political positions which, if acted upon, could lead to the destruction of Israel. Dwelling on the Holocaust of the past thus provides 'anti-Zionist' leftists with a protective cover for hostility to the endangered Jews of the present.
"For many years I have been arguing that the main target of anti-Semitism is now the State of Israel. Anyone who truly cares about the Holocaust and wants to avert another one has to be absolutely firm about the safety and security of Israel."
Conservative Christians as Friends
"This is why I defend the conservative Christians who have taken such a strong stand in favor of Israel. True, one of their leaders, Pat Robertson, has bought into hoary anti-Semitic fantasies about the alleged conspiracy of Jews and Masons in the eighteenth century, but bad as this is, it seems to me trivial - or academic - as compared with his support of Israel in the living present.
"Many liberal Jews don't want the fundamentalist Christians as friends, which is absurd. Israel needs all the allies it can get. Again, it is true that the support of some Christian fundamentalists derives from a belief that the second coming of their Messiah must be preceded by Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land, followed by a mass conversion of the Jews to Christianity. But as Irving Kristol has quipped, at the end of days we'll find out whether these fundamentalists are right, and in the meantime we can embrace them as the friends and allies they now are.
"In political life one survives by the ability to tell who are one's friends and who are one's enemies. Many American Jews seem amazingly deficient in this elementary ability. In the past, as I indicated earlier, it was the parties of the left that favored civil liberties, civil rights, and emancipation for the Jews, while the parties of the right resisted such measures. But in the last thirty-five years - beginning with the aftermath of the Six-Day War of 1967 - we have seen more and more evidence of a historic reversal where Israel is concerned. On the left there has been increasing hostility toward Israel, while on the right there has been increasing friendliness.
"Many Jews resolutely refuse to accept this. They are blinded by an atavistic anxiety which takes the form of the belief that these Christians want to convert their children and turn America into a place where Jews would be less than fully at home. This anxiety has no connection with contemporary realities. Another quip of Irving Kristol is that the main danger to Jews from Christians nowadays is not that they wish to persecute or convert the Jews, but that they want to marry their daughters."
No Civil Liberties Crisis
Podhoretz considers that there is no civil liberties crisis in the United States. "Anyone who was alive during the Second World War - I was a child then - will remember how Earl Warren, then the governor of California and later the very liberal Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, supported the internment of the Japanese Americans. Nothing remotely comparable has happened to American Muslims.
"Just the opposite, in fact. For example, Muslims with overt connections to terrorist organizations have even been invited to the White House. At airports, the fear of being accused of racial profiling has made inspectors reluctant to search people who look like Arabs or Muslims, while old ladies and even government officials are treated as though they might be terrorists.
"This kind of thing is simply silly, but there is nothing silly about taking serious steps to make it more difficult for terrorists to attack us again. Like most Americans, I support a number of intrusive measures. If the choice is between giving the FBI or the CIA a little more power as against increasing the dangers of other terrorist attacks, normally sensible people will always go for the first option. Civil liberties are sufficiently protected by the Constitution and fully independent courts, and nobody suppresses watchdog organizations such as the ACLU. Like most Americans, I reject the idea that the Justice Department under Attorney General John Ashcroft represents a threat to civil liberties."
Hiding the Truth about Muslims
"Political correctness causes severe problems for homeland security. In the media there is almost nothing about Muslim religious leaders who support terrorism and preach jihad in their mosques. In the Muslim community itself, we hear only very weak protests - if any at all - against extremism, and hardly any Muslim clerics speak out against it. One of the leading opponents of Islamic terrorism, Fouad Ajami, who grew up as a Muslim in Lebanon, is a brilliant and courageous exception. But he cannot be considered a member of the Muslim religious community.
"In general, the media give us a highly selective picture of Islam, which is represented as a 'religion of peace,' with hardly a word about the doctrine of holy war." Podhoretz wrote on this in the April 2002 issue of Commentary in an article entitled, "The Return of 'The Jackal Bins'":
Television...was soon inundated with material presenting Islam in the most glowing terms...it was from the universities that the substantive content of the broadcasts was derived, from interviews with Muslim academics whose accounts of Islam...were selectively roseate. Sometimes they were even downright untruthful, especially in sanitizing the doctrine of jihad, or holy war, or in misrepresenting the extent to which leading Muslim clerics all over the world had been celebrating suicide bombers as heroes and martyrs.
Now he adds: "Many American Jewish liberals bend over backward in endorsing the view that Islam is a religion of peace and that Muslims are against terrorism. Of course we should all do everything possible to encourage reformist elements within the Muslim world. But before that can be done the reformers must make themselves heard and show us that they exist."
The Increased Visibility of American Muslims
"Muslims became more influential in the United States after 9/11, though one might have expected that they would be less so. There is a current in the Republican Party headed by Grover Norquist. He has close ties with the Muslim community, which he considers a potentially good source of Republican voters. He is among those responsible for the meetings at the White House to which I referred earlier.
"I would guess that most Americans are not fooled by the sanitized picture of Islam which is accepted by many liberals and sometimes even the Bush Administration. The administration is so eager to prove that the war against terrorism is not a war against Islam that it twists itself into pretzels to demonstrate how much it admires Muslims.
"Despite my own criticisms of the American Muslim community, I would not say that it is a big threat to America. I also suspect that the next generation of American Muslims will become more Americanized than its immigrant parents, because the melting pot still seems to be more effective in promoting assimilation than 'multiculturalism' is in promoting separatism and balkanization."
Paying the Price for the Iraqi War?
Some political analysts estimate Israel will have to pay the price for the Iraq war as a compensatory Western gesture to the Arab and Muslim world. Podhoretz says, "I am putting my money on George Bush and betting that he will not force Israel to pay such a price. Bush understands that Israel - on a small scale but much more intensively - has been for a long time in the same predicament in which the United States now finds itself. For that reason, I think he will resist asking of Israel what he would not demand of the United States.
"Of course, Bush is being subjected to pressure from people inside his own Administration and from Tony Blair. They still imagine that Israel is the main obstacle to peace, and this will, as it already has, lead to temporary lapses on Bush's part. But unlike Blair, and unlike his father as well, Bush feels a strong kinship with Israel and he also recognizes its need to defend itself against terrorism. He is probably the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House."
Podhoretz considers most Jewish leaders self-appointed and wonders "how many divisions they have behind them." Yet he says, "there has been a change since the second intifada, 9/11, and the war in Iraq. Several heads of organizations seem to have become more realistic in their political assessments and to have had their spines stiffened.
"Until 2001 the American Jewish leadership was far too monolithic in its liberalism. Furthermore, few of the lay leaders know much either about Jewish history or about Judaism, and they therefore lack a strong sense of what there is to defend and protect. For many of them the most important thing is 'access,' which means getting invited to the White House or the State Department.
"But Jews are no longer in the same situation as they were before World War I, when such 'access' was so difficult that it took a major figure like Louis Marshall to achieve it. In any case, there is no Jewish leader today with the stature of Louis Marshall. I, for one, fear that the current leadership will regress into a knee-jerk liberal position as time goes on."
Podhoretz speaks from experience about people's opinion swings. As he has repented of his radical positions consistently over decades, he points out that these have not oscillated backward and forward like those of several current Jewish leaders.
* * *
Norman Podhoretz was born in 1930. A graduate of Columbia and Cambridge Universities, where he studied liberal arts and English literature, he also earned a degree from the Seminary College of Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary. In 1960 he became editor of Commentary, a position from which he retired in 1995. At present he is Editor at Large of the magazine, and a Senior Fellow of the Hudson Institute. The most recent of the nine books he has published are Ex-Friends (New York: Free Press, 1999), My Love Affair with America: The Cautionary Tale of A Cheerful Conservative (New York: Free Press, 2000), and The Prophets: Who They Were, What They Are (New York: Free Press, 2002).
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where he founded and directs the Center's Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism program. A version of this interview will appear in his forthcoming book, provisionally titled Changing Jewish Attitudes and Expectations in the American Public Square, as part of the Jews in the American Public Square project initiated by the Pew Charitable Trusts.