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By J. Zel Lurie
DELRAY BEACH, Florida–The story appeared in the Jerusalem Post of September 21. It was headed “Oren urges Jewish leaders to support peace moves.” The story described a meeting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren held in Washington with Israeli and Jewish reporters.
Ambassador Oren’s request that American Jewish leaders publicly support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was almost completely ignored.
Some background. Since 1948 American Jewish leaders have listened closely to the Israeli Embassy. The ambassador never had to ask for support. He described Israeli policy and Jewish leaders followed even when Israeli actions were contrary to American policy.
Support for Jewish settlements in the West Bank is a notable example. The United States has opposed every settlement as contrary to international law on occupied territory and a serious obstacle to peace . But American opposition to settlements, for political reasons, was never forceful, and almost 300,000 Jews have settled in the West Bank.
Which explains why, for the first time, Ambassador Oren’s plea for support was greeted with silence. Even by Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League. For years he has acted as the self-appointed spokesman for Israeli policies. Now he is occupied in wiggling his opposition to the Islamic center, two blocks from ground zero. Read more…
By Bruce S. Ticker
PHILADELPHIA — Editors at Time Magazine may be unfairly accused of anti-Semitism, but they are reckless with their semantics. As experienced journalists, they should understand that misleading language can be dangerous.
The magazine’s Sept. 13 cover headline – “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace” – brought its editors condemnation from supporters of Israel. The Anti-Defamation League slammed the Time article for stressing Israelis’ inclination to make money.
Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, a staunch gentile supporter of Israel, called Time “anti-Semitic” because of the headline and its accompanying article inside which contends that Israelis are apathetic toward the peace process with the Arabs.
Karl Vick, the writer, indeed succeeds in reaching this conclusion. Who can blame the Israelis?
Hostilities resulted from the offer of a Palestinian state in 2000 and withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.
Personally, I long ago ceased understanding what Israel gets out of negotiating a pact with Arabs over Israel’s territories.
Vick and his editors made three mistakes. First, a Time spokesman boasted that the article is a scoop. Oh yeah? A Newsweek article reached the same conclusion last January.
The article carelessly states: “They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money; they’re enjoying the rays of late summer.”
No doubt that claim is factually true for many Israelis, but the phrase “they’re making money” is delicate wording when applied to Jews, who have been stereotyped as greedy throughout the ages.
The most gaping blunder is the headline, which presumes that Israel is apathetic to peace.
“Peace” is not what Israelis need from Arabs in the territories. They already have a relative level of peace within Israel proper. Terrorist bombings from the West Bank ended after the security barrier started going up. Rocket attacks from Gaza and southern Lebanon dwindled after recent military confrontations with Hamas and Hezbollah.
Time would have been more factual, if tedious, had they composed this headline: “Why Many Israelis Don’t Care About Reaching Terms.”
The word “peace” is tossed around too casually in the context of this conflict, and Time is far from alone in committing this offense. “Peace” has evolved as shorthand for a process that is too convoluted to be reduced to a single five-letter word. It allows for a catchy phrase, but Time editors may disdain letting the facts get in the way of a good headline.
The only objective that seems plausible is the handover of land – namely, Gaza and the West Bank – so the Arabs can form their own society. That’s fine, but a treaty will not ensure “peace” and “peace” need not be achieved through a treaty. Even if it agrees to a near-perfect deal, Israel must still worry about Iran’s nuclear designs and the ongoing arms build-up in Gaza and southern Lebanon.
The same obstacles persist – security needs, excessive Arab demands, settler resistance, Hamas’ control of Gaza and right-wing pressures within the Israeli government.
Hawkish advocates for Israel will insist that the West Bank is not peaceful, but what do the settlers expect when they choose to live amid a hostile population? “Peace” can only be accomplished there by removing the settlers, even unilaterally; expelling the Arabs; or negotiating a pact that is fully enforced. Israelis who live in Israel proper care about West Bank “peace” when their sons and daughters in uniform are assigned to protect the settlements.
For the record, it would be valuable if an accord is reached, but it is still a feat that most Israelis can live without…in peace. Violence can erupt at any time, as was the case with riots in east Jerusalem and the murder of four settlers in recent weeks. Even if a “peace” treaty is ever implemented.
Ticker is Philadelphia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World
Prodigal Sons by Sheldon Greene; self-published; 340 pages; no price listed.
By Norman Manson
SAN DIEGO — This is a fascinating, suspenseful novel, replete with violence, intrigue and romance, but is flawed in several significant ways.
The main protagonist, Jan Goldberg, alias Horst Vogle, plays a variety of roles as this saga unfolds. Ostensibly an art historian and assistant curator at a major museum, he’s also a cold-blooded killer and nazi hunter, a guerrilla fighter during World War II, a soldier in the Haganah during Israel’s War for Independence and an accomplaished athlete, especially in tennis and soccer.
His family having been wiped out in nazi Germany’s onslaught in Poland, Jan joins the Jewish Partisan forces as they try to sabotage German efforts on the Russian front. Surviving the war, he arrives in the future state of Israel aboard a ship that runs the British blockade. After fighting in some desperate battles defending a kibbutz against the invading Arabs in 1948, he settles briefly on the kibbutz, but finds this life not to his liking so accepts a chance to again fight nazis in Germany as a member of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence force. This means a new identity as Horst Vogle and a cover job as assistant curator of Munich’s Alte Pinakothek Museum He had studied art history in Germany before the war. Read more…
By Morton A. Klein
NEW YORK –Under relentless pressure by the Obama administration, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed, last November, to a one-sided one-time, 10-month Jewish construction freeze on the six percent of the West Bank where Jews live. Since the Oslo accords were signed in 1993, Israel hasn’t built a single new settlement and has only built within the settlement borders as of 1993. On November 30, 2009, Netanyahu pleaded with Israelis to accept this unilateral and extraordinary concession by promising, “This is a one-time decision and it is temporary.” Now that the 10 month freeze period has ended, Netanyahu has done the right thing by ending the freeze and he has urged Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas “to continue the good and sincere talks that we have just started.”
It was hoped that the unprecedented Israeli construction freeze was to have motivated the Palestinians to implement their yet unrealized pro-peace actions. Tragically, no positive actions were taken by the Palestinians during this ten-month period.
They haven’t arrested anti-Israel terrorists, outlawed terrorist groups or ended the incitement to hatred and murder against Jews in their PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. They have even refused direct negotiations until now.
The PA still glorifies terrorists and violence. Last month, Abbas told Arab journalists in Jordan that, “If you [the Arab states] want war, and if all of you will fight Israel, we are in favor.” In July, he honored Muhammad Daoud Oudeh, the mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympics where Palestinian terrorists murdered eleven Israeli athletes. Abbas called him ‘a wonderful brother, companion, tough and stubborn, relentless fighter.’
The PA has obscenely and publicly celebrated the 1978 coastal road massacre carried out by Palestinian terrorists led by Dalal Mughrabi, in which 37 Israelis, including a dozen children, were murdered. The PA has also named two youth summer camps in Mughrabi’s honor. Abbas has named literally scores of streets, schools, computer centers, sports teams and other institutions after terrorists who have murdered Israelis.
All of these continuing and horrifying anti-peace, pro-terror actions by the Palestinian Authority makes it clear that even major Israeli concessions like the freeze, giving up all of Gaza and half of the West Bank won’t cause the Palestinians to change their belligerent actions.
Until this incitement ends, all talk of peace is a farce. As the distinguished British historian Paul Johnson has written in his History of the Jews, ‘one of the principle lessons of Jewish history has been that repeated verbal slanders are sooner or later followed by violent physical deeds.
And look at the history of concessions since Oslo began in 1993. Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, but this did not lead Hizballah to become peaceful and moderate. On the contrary, Israel was subjected to new assaults and waged a war in 2006 which cost the lives of over 100 Israeli servicemen. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, only to face an exponential increase in rocket assaults and the violent seizure of the territory by Hamas.
When Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat huge concessions in 2000 it resulted in a terrible terrorist campaign by the PA which claimed almost 2,000 Israeli lives and over 10,000 wounded and maimed.
Unilateral concessions don’t work. Clearly, the Palestinians simply want to continue these unilateral concessions. Why else would they consider to now refuse to negotiate when negotiations will only lead to more Israeli land concessions to them – but will require Palestinian concessions and a final written peace agreement ending all Palestinian claims.
We must understand that peace can only occur when the Palestinians realize they will receive no more concessions and no more international support, which includes the $1.3 billion the US now provides to the PA, until they change their schools, media, and political speeches from supporting violence and the Jewish state’s destruction to supporting peace and the right of Jews to live in their sovereign ancient homeland.
Had Israel decided to continue the freeze, a message would be sent that, by applying pressure, Israel can be made to increase and expand any concession it has already made. Ending the freeze makes it clear to the Palestinians that time is not on their side and they must finally act to promote a real peace.
Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and other Democrats apparently are circulating a letter calling on President Obama to pardon convicted spy Jonathan Pollard in exchange for Israel’s agreement not to build houses for Jews in places the Administration doesn’t want them built. (The Palestinians don’t want them built between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, but that’s another matter.)
The letter, according to Ha’aretz, “notes the positive impact that a grant of clemency would have in Israel, as a strong indication of the goodwill of our nation towards Israel and the Israeli people…This would be particularly helpful at a time when the Israeli nation faces difficult decisions in its long-standing effort to secure peace with its neighbors.” Our thoughts:
- Jonathan Pollard has been in jail a really, really long time for the crimes he committed. It seems to us that a parole board might reasonably decide that he had spent long enough in jail and could be released without posing a threat to security. We would be OK with that but not with a pardon that erases the criminality of what he did. Has Pollard had a parole hearing? Why don’t Mr. Frank and company petition the Justice Department for one?
- The goodwill of “our nation toward Israel and the Israeli people” is not in doubt; concerns about policies pursued by one President or another are something else. If Israel has concerns about the policies of President Obama, its democratically elected government has an obligation to raise and deal with them. But in this case, Mr. Frank appears to be saying that Israel’s policies are problematic – and maybe a bribe by the President will cause Israel to change those policies. That should be beneath the Government of the United States.
- Israel does indeed face “difficult decisions” about its future. The U.S. government appears to have dropped the requirement that the Palestinians and Arab States acknowledge the legitimacy of Israeli sovereignty and provide the “secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force” that are due to Israel under the terms of UN Resolution 242. For the United States to suggest that Israel ignore the real issue and make decisions based on “goodwill” from an American bribe should similarly be beneath our government.
Mssrs. Frank and Weiner appear to have re-election issues and may be looking for support among left-of-center American Jews who oppose “settlements” under any circumstances and might appreciate American lawmakers who put the bait in front of the Israeli government. But that should be beneath an American Congressman.
Note on Stuxnet – The Internet was awash over the weekend with stories about a virus that appears to have infected a variety of computers around the world, including, perhaps, some in Iran and, perhaps, some involved in Iran’s nuclear program. According to a Yahoo report, “It is the first malware known to target and infiltrate industrial supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software used to run chemical plants and factories as well as electric power plants and transmission systems worldwide.”
Take the idea of a virus taking control of factories; note that it could be used as a weapon; throw in the possibility that it was invented by the Israelis; and surmise that it was sent to destroy Iran’s reactor complex without planes, cruise missiles and/or collateral damage. Voila – a story so enticing as to invite a total suspension of disbelief! Too enticing, maybe. Stay tuned.
Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member.