Bibi, Jonathan Is Worried

By Bernard J. Shapiro

Long before I had ever heard of Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi), I had read about his older brother Jonathan, Hero of Entebbe. In 1980, I read a book of Jonathan's letters entitled: SELF-PORTRAIT OF A HERO, The Letters Of Jonathan Netanyahu [1963-1976]. A lot of reviewers at the time spoke about the beautiful prose, the passion and the great potential of this hero cut down in his youth. While I saw all those things, it was Jonathan's deep love of Israel and his fervent patriotism that attracted me most. There was something else that one could sense on every page. That was his deep understanding of Jewish history and the role of Israel in it. One of my favorite passages, which I have quoted often, could have been written today in the context of the Oslo Accords. Here is that excerpt:

"I see with sorrow and great anger how a part of the people still clings to hopes of reaching a peaceful settlement with the Arabs. Common sense tells them, too, that the Arabs haven't abandoned their basic aim of destroying the State; but the self-delusion and self-deception that have always plagued the Jews are at work again. It's our great misfortune. They want to believe, so they believe. They want not to see, so they shut their eyes. They want not to learn from thousands of years of history, so they distort it. They want to bring about a sacrifice, and they do indeed. It would be comic, if it wasn't so tragic. What a saddening and irritating lot this Jewish people is!"

I am sure that Bibi, growing up in the shadow of his fallen brother, must have felt an overpowering need to succeed. There must have been a need to learn more, achieve more, to rise to the top of his chosen field. The struggle was partly to "make his brother proud," and partly to prove to himself that he was made of the 'right stuff." That is, the stuff with which HEROES are made.

And Bibi did it all: military excellence, diplomacy at the highest level, and finally political success in his brilliant campaign for prime minister. He has proven his worth to everyone, including himself. Now, poised at center stage during the most critical time of Israel's history, Bibi seems to have lost his inner direction. Often he speaks with a voice that would make Jonathan cheer, and then his actions leave much to be desired. For example, on October 24, 1996, the Prime Minister's office sent me a list of the ten most egregious PLO violations (printed in this issue) of the Oslo Accords. It was quite devastating: this account demonstrating the PLO's total disregard for its peace obligations.

This impressive list could be used as a part of a major Israeli public relations (hasbara) campaign to justify terminating its obligations to implement Oslo, including the abandonment of Hebron. Unfortunately, Bibi will NOT do this. He should have given the list to PLO terrorist chief, Yasser Arafat, with the admonition that all implementation of Oslo would cease until complete compliance. He didn't. Bibi has spoken often of the need for reciprocity, while continuing to negotiate without it.

I want to tell a little story to explain what I believe is happening to Bibi. My grandfather, Harry W. Freeman, settled in Texas at the turn of the century. He was already fighting injustice to women and Afro-Americans by 1912, liquidating white slavery in Galveston by 1930 and speaking about the dangers of Hitler and Nazism in 1933. Growing up in Texas I used to love the rodeo which came to Houston once a year. One of my favorite contests was the wild bronco bull ride. Cowboys would mount these ferocious creatures and hold on tight until they were thrown. It all lasted little more than 12 seconds. It was much later that I learned that a leather strap was tied tight behind the bull's testicles to make him buck more ferociously. Even the biggest, strongest and most experienced Texans were able to ride the bull for only a few seconds.

This brings me back to Bibi, who is trying to ride the "Oslo bull." The Palestinian Arabs are filled with rage and hatred of Jews with all the ferocity of the bull angered by the leather strap../.. Much of their rage comes straight from Nazi anti-Semitism, brought to the Middle East by their former mufti, Haj Amin el-Husseini. The Palestinian Arabs, filled with both Nazi and Islamic hatred of Jews, make the Oslo bull impossible to ride. Their aspirations for a state that REPLACES Israel is evident to anyone who takes the time to listen to what they are saying. As much as Bibi would like to master the Oslo process and protect Israeli interests, it is impossible. It is a bull he can never ride. This is a harsh reality. There is a history lesson that Jonathan understood well: Enemies must be defeated and destroyed. The idea that one makes peace with your enemies is just a hoax of the Left.

The Americans did not make peace with the Native Americans, they destroyed them../.. The same is the case with Hitler's Germany and the Emperor's Japan. Midge Dector had this to say about says this about peace:

"For there is no such thing as making peace. Nations who are friendly do not need to do so, and nations or people who are hostile cannot do so. To cry peace, peace when there is no peace, the prophet Jeremiah taught us long ago, is not the expression of hope, not even superstition, but a reckless toying with the minds and hearts of people whose very future depends on their capacity to rise every day to the harsh morning light of the truth."

Bibi must recognize the essential truth that both his brother and Dector have expressed so eloquently. He must read his own list of PLO violations. And then he must get off the Oslo bull and lead his people, Israel, to victory. Jews the world over are praying that he will fulfill his great destiny as a leader of Israel. They pray that he will pursue with all his vigor the Zionist goals of settling the Land, protecting the Holy Places, and ingathering the Jewish exiles. They pray that he will strengthen the military and infuse it with the high morale of days past. In my heart I know that Jonathan is watching over Bibi with love and affection. And Bibi, in my heart I fear that he is as worried as me.

../..../..../..Bernard J. Shapiro, Editor

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