by David Basch

Today, I heard President Clinton's address at the Jerusalem Convention Hall to Israeli youth. In addressing these Jews, he addressed the side in the Middle East conflict that has long been converted to the idea of peace. The Jews have never been the problem. The unfortunate part of Clinton's talk is that he spoke as the vanguard of Arab propaganda to gain for them a new state.

Clinton made numerous assertions about Arab commitments to peace ­­ all false. Thus, Clinton alleged that it was only "extremists on both sides" that are against peace when the reality is that such "extremists" on the Jewish side are infinitesimal in numbers while the "extremists" on the Arab side is made up of the vast majority of the Arab street. (The only exceptions are Arabs that Israeli leftists know.) Clinton spoke of the necessity of both sides recognizing "the dream" of the other. The problem is that the Arab dream continues to remain the disappearance of Israel, a reality that too many Israelis are unwilling to face.

Clinton also spoke for Islam on its alleged "tolerance" ­­ an a historic attitude by Clinton that ignores the actual history and practice of Islam. So­called "Muslim tolerance" only exists when Islam is victorious, like in Muslim countries, and has rendered others as "dhimmis," servant people. A form of "tolerance" may be shown when Muslims have not the power to do otherwise and shows itself most characteristically in the context of Islamic weakness ­­ like when Muslims live as sub­cultures, say in places like Detroit. But this "tolerance" is merely tactical and disappears in the context of Islamic triumph.

Thus while Clinton urges the endangered Israelis to once again "take risks for peace," no such expectation is laid upon the Arabs. The problem in the Middle East has been the lack of commitment to the goals of peace by the Arabs whose religio­nationalistic culture precludes such a lasting peace arrangement with Israel. All that the Arabs offer Israel is the opportunity for a temporary truce in the context of a "peacemaking" that is a deception, a ruse. Such a ruse is designed to enable the Arabs to make advances in achieving their goal for the elimination of Israel. The ruse is pressed on Israel by some allies for self­serving reasons, to gain momentary and temporary abatements of hostilities, a relief that is, alas, all too often embraced by Israeli leaders for short­sighted political reasons.

President Clinton's words in Jerusalem painted a picture of hope that is not supported by the realities of the nature of the Arab enemy and what is attainable in voluntary agreements. The President, like some used car salesman striving to sell a lemon to a victim, was attempting to lull Israel's people about the grave dangers they face from their determined Arab enemies so that Israelis will acquiesce in continuing to strengthen that Arab enemy through further withdrawals by Israel from her territories and more support for Arab diplomatic goals for "Palestinian" statehood ­­ certain to arrive by May 4, with Israel ready or not. These real Arab gains would disturbingly set the stage for further Arab advances on the road to nothing but further Israeli concessions until the point of war and the replacement of Israel.

I do hope that Mr. Netanyahu can use his persuasive power to reach the idealistic Israeli youth, whose attitude was so evident at the convention center. Perhaps he can waken them from their "trance" to the reality that faces them should Israelis critically weaken their nation. With all that Israeli governments, including Netanyahu's, have done to set the stage for a new Arab state on Israel's land, it is hard to visualize a scenario in which Israeli security and goals can in any way emerge enhanced in this Clinton appearance in the Middle East, an appearance in which he is delivering to the Arabs and the world a powerful illusion that a Palestinian state will irrevocably emerge ­­ an appearance on the first day of Chanukah as though to mock the meaning of that Jewish date.

I also watched Netanyahu on CNN in which he fatuously hopes for the jackal to become a bunny. Obviously, Netanyahu is unwilling to openly show his skepticism of what the Arabs can deliver. Netanyahu spoke about a "negotiated solution" to the conflict that is his own desire and that of US policy. The problem is that the Arab enemy will not make any arrangement that does not leave itself enhanced. In every earlier case, in order to "buy" the illusion of making advances toward peace ­­ for domestic Israeli reasons ­­ Israel has agreed to the concessions that have by now led to the trappings of a new armed Arab state within the borders of Israel. It is too much to hope that this will not happen again. Already, Netanyahu shows he is caving in on the requirements of section 33 of the PNC Covenant that requires a 2/3 vote to amend this covenant, the kind of cave­ins that have made Israel a paper tiger in Arab eyes and have surely emboldened Arab expectation that they will indeed have their state by May 4, 1999.

The reality is that what Netanyahu proposes as new Arab "turning" toward peace can only realistically come about from a resounding and unmistakable military defeat of the Arab enemy, which, in stark contrast to the Arabs, Israelis have not been prepared to inflict.

Arab assurance of their expectations for a new statehood was conveyed on the same CNN program by the Arab negotiator, Nabil Sha'ath. He told CNN's worldwide audience that, indeed, there will be such a new Arab state by the 4th of May. He spoke with confidence and with pride and, definitely, without fear. There is no doubt as to the Arab intention and what will in fact happen by that date ­­ an intention believed and expected by all the Arabs. Would that Israeli leaders conveyed the same kind of commitment for Jewish goals on their side. That Israeli leaders don't have such commitment will be once again shown if, in the face of this Arab challenge, there are continued Israeli withdrawals for whatever reason before the magic Arab date that the Arabs have proclaimed. The Arabs have once again thrown down the gauntlet to Israel before the world. Will Netanyahu and the Israelis notice?

I, for one, notice the difference between Arab rhetoric and he Israeli. The rhetoric of the Arab street is, regularly, tinged by a pained skepticism that highlights the alleged "egregious injustices" done to them by Israel and the inadequacy of the performance of the despicable Israeli enemy in fulfilling Israel's obligations. In other words, this rhetoric is based on the ignoring of history and the requirements of justice for Israel and is tactically designed to discount any Israeli concession or magnanimity toward achieving some kind of peace with security for Israel. It is a rhetoric designed to continue to gain the moral high ground on the road to gaining ever more concessions from Israel at the expense of Israel's survival.

Meanwhile, Israeli rhetoric is all too often based on similar denials of history, ancient and modern. Israel's sterling, legitimate claims to live as a nation in its historic ancestral lands are scarcely believed by a majority of Jewish Israelis. The rhetoric of the Israeli street tends toward an ignorant self­criticism, blind to the nature and ominous designs of the Arab enemy. It is "high" on utopian goals for peace in which the "peace partner" is imagined in the image of the Jew and not of the Arab jackal as he is. It is such Israeli viewpoints that are the perfect foils for the continuation of Arab designs as it saps Israel's people of "the gaul to make oppression bitter." Israelis cannot rouse themselves to put aside personal predilections to face the imperialist Arab threat since they are unwilling to make the Arab oppression bitter, to react against the desire of the Arabs to steal the land away from the Jewish people, a goal toward which they are making rapid and ever increasing gains, thanks to the ineptness of Israeli governments unwilling to face reality.


David Basch is an architect in New York and an expert on the Jewish roots of William Shakespeare. His web site, which can be found on the Other Links page of the Freeman web site, proves Shakespeare's Jewish origins. He also serves as the Freeman Center's political philosopher.

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