September 30, 2004

A Pot Pourri of Current Small Pertinent News Items

I JESSE JACKSON'S NEW STAFF MEMBER

Jessie Jackson has added former Chicago Democrat congressman Mel Reynolds to Rainbow/PUSH Coalition's payroll. Reynolds was among the 176 criminals excused in President Clinton's last-minute forgiveness spree. Reynolds received a commutation of his six-and-a-half-year federal sentence for 15 convictions of wire fraud, bank fraud and lies to the Federal Election Commission.

He is more notorious, however, for concurrently serving five years for sleeping with an underage campaign volunteer. This is a first in American politics: An ex-congressman who had sex with a subordinate...won clemency from a president who had sex with a subordinate...then was hired by a clergyman who had sex with a subordinate. His new job? Youth counselor!
IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY OR WHAT?


II The Media and 9/11

Michelle Malkin (Creators Syndicate)

The third anniversary of September is upon us. We remain at war yet the media remains in denial. How many times have you picked up a newspaper and read about terrorist attacks perpetrated not by Muslim terrorists but by generic “militants” or “guerrillas” or “rebels” or, as Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes noted, the Pakistan Times called them, “activists’?

The mainstream media pounded President George W. Bush for trying to explain that the war on terror is unwinable in a conventional sense. The mainstream press proves the president's point every time its reporters disguise the deadly fanatical nature of our opponents in this global war. How are we to win a war against blood splattered enemies whom our own free press continues to protect through politically correct sanitization?They tell us to “never forget.” First, lets stop misremembering.


III President Putin calls a spade a spade.

By Burt Herman, Associated Press

Putin rejects Western calls for negotiations with Chechen separatists. Russians rallied against terrorism today in response to a hostage taking that claimed more than 350 lives and President Vladimir Putin denied a link between Russia’s policies in Chechnya and the standoff in this southern city. In an interview late Monday with foreign journalists and academies, Putin again rejected Western calls for negotiations with Chechen rebel representatives. Britain’s Guardian daily reported.

Why don’t you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give into him so he leaves you in peace?” the Guardian quoted Putin as saying sarcastically. “You find it possible to set some limitations in your dealings with these bastards, so why should we talk to people who are child-killers?”

Putin said foreigners should have “no more questions about our policy in Chechnya” after the attackers shot children in the back, and said the Chechen cause was aimed at undermining all of southern Russia and majority-Muslim regions of the country.“ This is all about Russia’s territorial integrity” Putin was quoted as saying. Militants seized the school at Beslan on Sept. 1, a day after a suicide bombing in Moscow killed 10 people and just over a week after two Russian passenger planes exploded and crashed killing all 90 people aboard — two attacks authorities suspect were linked to Russia’s war in Chechnya.

A prosecutor said the militants belonged to a group led by radical Chechen rebel Shamil Basayev. A man identified by authorities as a detained hostage-taker said on state TV that he was told Basayev and separatist former Chechen President Asian Maskeadov were behind the attack.

IV PM SHARON MEETS WITH RUSSIAN FM LAVROV: "ONLY A UNIFIED AND ASSERTIVE INTERNATIONAL FRONT CAN DEFEAT TERRORISM."

Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser), 6 September 2004

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and welcomed him on his first visit to Israel as Russian Foreign Minister in four years. Prime Minister Sharon expressed his shock over the wave of terrorism, which has struck Russia in the past two weeks and expressed his deep sorrow over the hundreds of victims who were killed as a result of these deplorable terrorist acts. Prime Minister Sharon said that the Israeli people understand better than any other what Russia is going through in these difficult times: "Israel knows too well the scenes of security forces and medical personnel carrying wounded people and victims of all ages on their shoulders." Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov thanked Prime Minister Sharon both for his remarks and for various Israeli officials' words of support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian people. The two men agreed to enhance bilateral intelligence, operational and humanitarian coordination and cooperation. Prime Minister Sharon said that,"Only a unified and assertive international front can defeat terrorism.Terrorism is terrorism and there can be no compromise either with those who perpetrate terrorism or with those who sponsor it. "Prime Minister Sharon presented Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov a chart which showed that if one compares the number of Israelis killed since the start of the intifada in proportion to the population of the two countries, Russia would have lost 23,901 killed and over 160,000 wounded.

V U.S. to sell Israel 5,000 smart bombs

By Aluf Benn
Haaretz Newspaper, September 21, 2004

(A big thank you to President Bush and Secretary of State, Donald Rumsfeld and the U. S. Congress)

The United States will sell Israel 5,000 smart bombs, for $319 million, according to a report made to Congress a few weeks ago. The funding will come from the U.S. military aid to Israel, and the bombs range from airborne versions, guidance units, training bombs and detonators. The bombs are guided by satellite, in a system already in the Israel Defense Forces arsenal. The guidance unit receives a signal from a satellite, correcting the bomb's course to the target. The Pentagon told Congress that the bombs are meant to maintain Israel's qualitative advantage, and advance U.S. strategic and tactical interests.

VI Majority of Israeli-Americans will vote for President Bush
Jerusalem Post International, September 24, 2004

Record numbers of Americans in Israel have registered to vote in the US presidential race, both Republican and Democratic representatives stationed in Israel told The Jerusalem Post following a bipartisan discussion on the election held in Jerusalem last Monday. Both parties estimate at least a doubling in the number of people casting ballots from 2000. In that election, 14,000 Americans in Israel registered, most of whom voted.

A week before registration closes, both parties said they have helped several thousands sign up to vote. Well over 100,000 Israeli residents are eligible to vote in the election by the parties’ tallies. If the numbers prove correct, that will put Israel among the top three — if not No 1 — in terms of expatriate Americans participating in the contest, according to Mark Alan Zober, chairman of the Democrats Abroad in Israel.

While Canada and Mexico have more Americans residing within their borders than Israel, Zober said they don’t see voter turnout as high as in Israel. Zober’s organization also anticipates a historic shift in terms of how votes are split. In the past, the group loosely estimated that 80 percent of Americans voting in Israel backed the Democratic candidate, roughly equivalent to voting patterns in the US Jewish community.

This year Democrats abroad acknowledge edged that it expects only 60 percent support for its candidate, John Kerry. According to Kory Bardash, chairman of Israel’s Republicans Abroad the Democratic Party assessed that 35 percent, not just 20 percent, of ballots cast here in 2000 went to George W Bush. But he agreed Bush has picked up support among Americans in Israel and predicted that a majority will back him this time.

Uzi Amit-Kohn was one Democrat turned-Bush-voter who showed up at last week’s event. “This is a business-before-pleasure election and I’ll be voting for Bush along with a lot of other life-long Democrats that I know,” he said, referring to acquaintances in Israel and abroad, Jewish and gentile. “There is an enormous groundswell of people who considered themselves liberals or Democrats and after 9/11 have changed their world view” he added “It will show in the exit polls in November.”

When Zober began to speak at the forum addressing the impact the American elections will have on Israel, sponsored by the World Jewish Congress, he admitted he faced an uphill baffle recruiting Kerry votes from the Jerusalem crowd. “I know that I’m a little bit alone today,” he said before launching an attack on the Middle East policies of the Bush administration, which he accused of equivocating and pandering to Arab oil interests and Evangelical Christians. The only spontaneous applause in the crowd erupted when Republicans Abroad Honorary Chairman Marc Zell took the podiumm and announced, “What we have just been witness to is a Michael Moore take on the election.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:42 AM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2004

A Real Shocker from Ariel Sharon and the State of Israel

Rubbing Elbows with Arafat

By David Bedein, FrontPageMagazine.com, September 27, 2004

The man who has been the most visible diplomat representing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in negotiations with the Palestinians and with the U.S. government has been a lawyer by the name of Dov Weissglass, the man who created and engineered Sharon’s withdrawal plan, and the man whom Sharon has delegated to negotiate for Israel with U.S. National Security Advisor Condeleeza Rice and with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Weissglass’s power in the government of Israel with Ariel Sharon at the helm has eclipsed the influence of the highest officials of the Israel Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense. Yet Weissglass has another identity. Back in December 2002, Israel Resource News Agency uncovered the fact that Weissglass, then the office manager of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, was still in private business, listed in the Israel Corporate Registrar as the owner and operator of his law firm, Weissglass-Almagor and a business trust by a similar name That finding was publicized in the weekly Israeli newspaper, Makor Rishon.

Why is that so important? Well, it would be one thing if Weissglass's firm represented Zogloveck, Israel's kosher sausage firm. However, Weissglass's law firm and business trusts represent the financial interests of the Palestinian Authority, including Muhammad Rashid, the treasurer appointed by Yassir Arafat to manage Arafat’s illusive accounts which amount to several billion dollars.

Two Israeli journalists, Amos Harel and Avi Issacharov, have just published a book titled THE SEVENTH WAR, in which they report that Weissglass actually celebrated the electoral victory of Ariel Sharon in the company of Muhammad Rashid on election night in February 2001. In June, 2003 Israel Resource News Agency uncovered the fact that Weissglass's law firm and business also represent the Palestinian casino firms, which are in part owned by PLO security chief Jibrl Rahoub, and by Yassir Arafat himself. Why is that important, in light of the demise of the former Palestinian casino in Jericho that was closed down when the Palestinian Intifada began in October 2000?
According to the Palestinian tourist publication THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE, plans are under way to build a new Palestinian casino and resort for tourists in "Southern Gaza", in place of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif that now reside there. And who stands to profit? None other than Dov Weissglass, the architect of the Sharon plan to withdraw those very Jewish communities from Gush Katif.

The logical question to ask would be: Where is the law enforcement system in Israel that would act against any such conflict of interest and possible breach of security? In January 2003, after it was revealed that the Prime Minister’s office manager, Weissglass, still maintained his law firm and business outside his government job, the Israel Civil Service Commission looked into it and affirmed that Weissglass was indeed still registered in the Israel Corporate Register as part of that law firm. But they dismissed its importance, after Weissglass wrote to the commission that he had divested himself from his law firm and that he had sold all financial interests in his business. To support that claim, The Israel Corporate Authority in April 2003 reported that Weissglass finally removed his name from his law firm in the Israel Corporate Authority records and provided us with a document from the Israel Corporate Authority to prove it.

However, in April 2004, our agency uncovered what the Israel Civil Service! Commission did not know, which was that Weissglass's name was still registered as the lawyer of record for two other firms that bore virtually the same company name, while also located at the same corporate address.

In May 2004, the Israel Civil Service Commission declared that this represented a conflict of interest for Weissglass. So in July, 2004 Weissglass quietly resigned his position as the Prime Minister’s office manager, but received permission from the Israel Civil Service Commission to assume a new position as the all-powerful official advisor to PM Ariel Sharon.

In other words, although the highest echelons of the Israeli government are cognizant of the fact that Weissglass represents the business interests of Yassir Arafat, Weissglass was still allowed to continue to conduct negotiations on behalf of the state of Israel with all official levels of the Palestinian Authority and the United States government, even though Weissglass continues to represents the business interests of the Palestinian Authority.

You might call this a legalized conflict of interest, Middle East style.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 26, 2004

Bush or Kerry for the United States, Israel and the Jews?

By Marc S. Weinbaum

The Detroit Jewish News, September 17, 2004

Much has been written on the subject of which presidential nominee would be best for Israel and our war on Islamic terror. These back and forth missives ignore the most significant point differentiating the two candidates, and the one that convinced me to chair the Michigan Jewish Coalition for the Bush campaign.

I am no ideologue. I consider myself neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I voted for Bill Clinton in 1996 and Al Gore in 2000. In fact, I disagree with President Bush on many issues. But on the issues that matter most, there is no doubt in my mind that George Bush is the right leader for this time.
The primary reason I support President Bush, and what Israelis understand better than most, is that a war against terrorism that rejects the doctrine of preemption or avoids the issue of regime change in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran cannot be won, because it has never been joined.

It matters little how “engaged” the U.S. is in a peace process. If certain Arab regimes remain the most corrupt, repressive and economically and educationally stagnant in the world, the situation is destined not only to remain, but also worsen as their populations explode.
President Bush’s policy of preemption, coupled with a forward strategy of promoting democracy in the Middle East, is the most compelling, long-term policy formulation in the post 9-11 world.

For those who suggest that Arab democracy is a fanciful delusion and cannot succeed, study the history of Imperial Japan, the forerunner of today’s great Asian democracy. It was a racist, religiously fanatical regime based upon emperor worship, with suicidal proclivities.

If you are troubled by the slew of beheadings in the Middle East, ask those who flew in the Pacific during World War II what fate awaited them if captured by the Japanese. Japan was hardly fertile ground for a fledgling democracy. Today, it serves as a beacon of democracy and our steadfast ally.

The birth pangs of democracy have never passed lightly. The U.S. occupied Germany for five years, Japan for seven. Some claim that our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq have made matters worse. Similar claims were made in the past. In 1946, the Saturday Evening Post wrote, “We have got into this [German] job without understanding what we were tackling or why.
Not one American political leader fully realized at the outset how formidable our [German] commitments would prove to be.” In that same year, Life magazine wrote, “Never has American prestige been lower [in Europe]. A great many feel that the cure has been worse than the disease.

The Price Of Peace

To be sure, our efforts in the Middle East have cost a tremendous amount in both blood and treasure. But what price do you place on 8 million Afghanis, including more than 3 million women, who have registered to vote in their country’s first election in history.

In Iraq, for the first time in more than 30 years, the school curriculum is free from institutionalized hatred toward the West and Israel — a poison that has infected generations of Arabs.

Consider that as Iraqi political candidates now begin their media buys on pan-Arab satellite channels such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya — the Arab equivalent of CNN — Iraqis along with the entire Arab world will be watching. They will see campaign commercials, debates, press conferences and town hall meetings. They will watch Arabs participating in an Arab democracy and holding an Arab government accountable to its people for the first time in history.

When they see options other than repression and corruption, premised upon some external Zionist threat, isn’t it reasonable to expect that they will ask, “Why can’t we? Seeds of freedom are strange and powerful things, whether they germinate in the gulags of the former Soviet Union, or the ruins of Saddam’s torture chambers.

This potential to stimulate reform from the bottom up is enormous, and at the end of the day, it is this opportunity for a true and lasting transformation of the region — not a paper titled “Oslo Accords” or “Road Map” that will provide Israel, the U.S. and the world with the kind of long- term prospect for peace that we all hope and pray for. This is President Bush’s vision for the Middle East and the centerpiece of his foreign policy.

A Worthy Vision

Will this be easy? No. Throughout history great strides on the path to freedom have been marked by great turbulence. The spread of democracy and freedom is the noblest enterprise in our arsenal, and today, millions of people are free, peaceful and prosperous because the United States supported their quest for freedom.

Will these policies work? We will never know unless we try. But I do know that the policies of the past quarter-century; the objectives of “stability” and a foreign policy determined by the lowest common denominator among allies with divergent interests, are ineffective in a post 9-11world.

President Bush believes that we must take a proactive stand against terror and states that sponsor it — united if we can, alone if we must. He believes that lasting peace for Israel and its neighbors will come when freedom reigns throughout the region, not by well-intentioned peace agreements foisted upon Israel by nations interested in expediency; rather than lasting results.

George Bush has been labeled arrogant and a warmonger, words once used to describe Winston Churchill as he was shouted down while warning a misguided parliament of Hitler’s looming threat to Europe. So too, I am confident that history will judge favorably George Bush’s vision, a vision that, like Ronald Reagan’s confrontation with Soviet tyranny, may only bear fruit years from now.

This is a policy that decisively confronts the world’s preeminent threat — militant Islam. It is a vision to which I, and many like-minded members of our community have committed our names, time and - resources. When our grandchildren ask how we defeated the Hitler of our time, we will reply that we learned from history and relied upon our two most powerful weapons — the universal desire for freedom and our resolve to make it a reality.

Marc S. Weinbaum is a Bloomfield Township resident and a pro-Israel political activist.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:18 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2004

Two Sobering Commentaries Re: Ariel Sharon and the State of Israel

Asking Sharon the Right Questions

Aaron Lerner Date: 23 September 2004

Speaking in his Yom Kippur eve interview broadcast on Israel Radio Wednesday
morning, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon conceded that during the last election
campaign that when he said he was willing to make "painful concessions" that
those were "painful concessions" in return for peace - not unilateral
"painful concessions".

Sharon went so far as to identify his disengagement plan as a unilateral
action that is not in return for peace and thus has nothing to do with his
"painful concessions" campaign message.


Add to his that Sharon's television campaign ads included spots in which he
sharply criticized the very concept of unilateral withdrawal and there is no
room left for doubt. Scores of retreat supporting Israeli journalists,
columnists and editorial writers notwithstanding, there is absolutely no way
to contend that the Israeli citizens who supported Sharon's Likud Party in
the elections thought that they were giving Sharon a mandate to retreat.

But the journalists interviewing Sharon didn't bother to follow up on Sharon's remarkable admission.

In fact, there are a whole slew of questions that Sharon's holiday
interviews with the press were rarely - if ever - raised:

What kind of freedom of action can Israel genuinely expect in a post-retreat Gaza Strip with the presence of foreign observers/human shields?

Sharon claims that the Roadmap could be in the deep freeze for years until
the Palestinians meet a series of obligations. But what happens if a PA
prime minister takes even the most minor and insignificant photo-op move and
the Palestinian street goes against him and the White House presses for
Israeli concessions to bolster the standing of the "brave reformer"?

For years Egypt has facilitated the ongoing war of attrition against Israel
through its control of the flow of weapons, explosives and terrorists across
its border to the Gaza Strip as it acts to preserve the various Palestinian
terror factions. Why enhance their position so that they can do even more
damage?

These and other questions must be asked. And they must be answered.

The critical question for the media today should not be if Sharon can pull
off the retreat but instead what challenges the Jewish State will face after
such a retreat.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

Sharon's deepening crisis of legitimacy

By Bradley Burston, Haaretz Correspondent 23 September 2004

It is the High Holidays, the time of year when Jews are commanded to have
second thoughts.

Accordingly, in Israel, it is at this time of year that, in taking an honest
look at themselves, their actions and interactions, their findings may be
the most refreshing. And disturbing.

Perhaps inevitably, much of the rethinking has shown itself on the Israeli
left, which has at times raised the concept of second thoughts to the level
of an art form, an alternative ideology, even a state religion.

This month, as the right massed in tens of thousands to assail Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon for the conduct of his disengagement campaign,
denouncing his drive to evacuate settlements as lacking all legitimacy, one
of the most respected advocates of the withdrawal initiative lent her voice
in unlikely backing for the prime minister's critics.

"The central question is that of legitimacy," said Ruth Gavison, one of
Israel's foremost professors of law and a founder and former president of
the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

"The Sharon government today has no clear legitimacy for the move that it is
making," she said of the disengagement campaign, noting that the plan has
yet to be approved either by the cabinet or the Knesset.

"It is not at all certain that we should cooperate with this move, which
threatens to take people out of their homes under the authority of such a
shaky [legal] basis, without even so much as a cabinet decision."

In fact, a number of attempts by Sharon to win formal backing for the plan
have either been blunted or brusquely rebuffed.

In May, the prime minister's bid to garner momentum for disengagement
through a referendum of members of his Likud party ended in a humiliating
defeat.

A month later, Sharon's cabinet balked at ratifying the initiative. So
divided was the cabinet that the prime minister ultimately sacked two
far-right National Union ministers to ensure a majority.

But even then, three of his five senior Likud ministers withheld their votes
until the prime minister agreed to limit the decision to an anemic
resolution on preparations for a possible future disengagement, which would
then be subject to a potentially crippling series of phases and cabinet
reconsiderations.

In no small part, the secret weapon of the right in battling the
disengagement has been the pointed, even ideological absence of second
thoughts which has long been a hallmark of the Israeli right in general and
of the religious right in particular.

"This prime minister is weak - the Emperor has no clothes," Yesha settlers'
council official Moshe Yogev declared this week in a meeting with
pro-disengagement cabinet minister Gideon Ezra.

"There's no security, there's no peace. Only withdrawal after withdrawal,
and surrendering to terrorism. If Sharon can take a bulldozer and raze the
study house set up by my parents in [the Gaza settlement of] Atzmona, I'm
allowed to take a bulldozer and drive out to Sycamore Ranch [Sharon's
home]."

Second thoughts as second nature

For many on the left, meanwhile, the Intifada, in particular Palestinian
grass-roots support for deadly terror attacks in the hearts of Israeli
cities, has shattered long-held tenets of belief.

Bereft of a peace process, devoid of leadership, for many doves, second
thoughts have become second nature.

The legal ambiguity of the disengagement procedure - coupled with long-held
suspicions regarding Ariel Sharon's true motives - has done little to
generate leftist enthusiasm for the proposed withdrawal.

"Had there been a stable government, and had it approved the move by a large
majority, in my view there would have been no problem of legitimacy,"
Gavison told Israel Radio.

"Not only was this very, very important condition not fulfilled, but even
more significantly, the cabinet apparently failed to approve the
disengagement because if it had taken a decision, the government would have
fallen apart."

Noting that the central party of the government, Sharon's Likud, was so
divided over the disengagement that it showed signs of actively opposing it,
Gavison said:

"From the standpoint of a representative democracy, this is a very defective
situation. There is no doubt, therefore, that Israel is currently suffering
from what may be called a severe deficit of legitimacy."

The legitimacy gap has prompted sharp recent debate over holding an
unprecedented referendum over the disengagement. The prime minister has
turned aside the calls, with his aides calling them a ploy by the right to
stall for time in an effort to bring the disengagement to a halt.

In the meantime, Sharon's campaign has begun once again to pick up steam.
Last week, in the first concrete step toward disengagement, his security
cabinet voted 9-1 to give a green light to down payments on compensation for
settlers willing to voluntarily leave their homes in the 21 Gaza Strip
settlements and four northern West Bank enclaves slated for removal under
the plan.

"It is indeed peculiar that a government can begin a move toward uprooting
from their houses citizens that the government originally sent there -
without a decision by the cabinet," Gavison said.

Some of the steps the government is currently taking may be irreversible,
she continued.

Despite efforts by Sharon's predecessors Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu
to nudge Israeli governance in the direction of a more American-style
presidential rule, the Knesset has never relinquished the governmental
center of gravity. The prime minister and his cabinet serve at the pleasure
of parliament, which can topple a government in a single vote.

Sharon, for his part, sees no legitimacy gap. He indicated in a radio
interview Wednesday that the cabinet's muted decision to green-light
preparations for the disengagement amounted to approval of the plan.

"I am acting in a democratic manner," Sharon said. "The cabinet has accepted
the decision. I will bring this decision to the Knesset. A decision of the
cabinet and the Knesset is certainly appropriate legitimacy."

Gavison saw it differently. "With all due respect to the prime minister, we
have no presidential system. Sharon has been functioning like de Gaulle.
Sharon needs to understand that his has no power other than that of his
government. And his government, for the time being, is stuttering over the
disengagement."

Gavison compared the state of affairs to the waning months of the Barak
government. "There was a great debate at the time in Israeli society, as
Ehud Barak, with elections already imminent and it appeared headed for
defeat, continued to conduct far-reaching negotiations on peace accords. I
felt then that this was improper."

The deepening legitimacy crisis has prompted senior IDF officers to advise
Sharon that a "clear democratic process," which may mean new elections, a
referendum, or Knesset ratification, could markedly smooth an avacuation
process, particularly among settlers and Orthodox soldiers.

Sharon has ruled out a general referendum or early elections as measures
that would be unduly costly in time and money, and would in the end only
serve to delay the disengagement. "We must make a maximum effort to refrain
from elections, or to postpone them for as long as possible, until the
central missions and goals facing us are carried out," the prime minister
argued.

But Gavison concluded that precisely in order to carry out the
disengagement, Israel must be able to state that the people had had their
say, and that a clear decision had been made.

"Then it will truly be possible to do things that are among the hardest of
all, in the name of the rules of the game of democracy.
"As long as this situation is not in effect, I fear that we cannot do this.
We cannot demand of people that their life's work be destroyed without a
clear decision of the elected government."


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2004

Re-visiting the UN, Kofi Anan and the Oil for Food Caper.

Excerpted from a shocking expose’ article by Caudia Rosett
Commentary Magazine, May 2004

(What with the United Nations back in session, should we not re-visit Kofi Anan and the role that he and his son played in the oil for food scandal that completely undermined President Bush in his attempts to get the UN and the EU on board for the war in Iraq?)


IT IS true that Oil-for-Food managed to deliver to Iraqis some portion of what it promised. On sales totaling $65 billion, some $46 billion (by Annan’s uncheckable reckoning) went for “humanitarian” spending. Of this amount, an official total of $15 billion worth of food and health supplies—the original rationale for the program—had been received by the time Saddan fell. The actual figure was no doubt considerably less if you factor in the kickbacks and spoiled goods; from the remainder came the equipment for Saddam’s oil monopoly, the construction materials, the TV studio systems, the carpets and air conditioners for the ministries, and all the rest.

But at what cost? Are we supposed to conclude that, in order to deliver this amount of aid, the UN had to approve Saddam’s more than $100 billion worth of largely crooked business, had to look the other way while he skimmed money, bought influence, built palaces, and stashed away billions on the side, at least some of which may now be funding terror in Iraq or beyond?

No, something was at work here other than passive acquiescence. At precisely what moment during the years of Oil-for-Food did the UN Secretariat cross the line from “supervising” Saddam to collaborating with him? With precisely what deed did it enter into collusion? Even setting aside such obvious questions as whether individual UN officials took bribes, did the complicity begin in 1998, when Saddam flexed his muscles by throwing out the weapons inspectors and when Oil-for-Food, instead of leaving along with them, raised the cap on his oil sales? Did it come in 1999, when, even as Saddam’s theft was becoming apparent, the UN scrapped the oil-sales limits altogether? Or in 2000 and 2001, when Sevan dismissed complaints and reports about blatant kickbacks?

Did it start in 2002, when Annan, empowered by Oil-for-Food Plus, signed his name to projects for furnishing Saddam with luxury cars, stadiums, and office equipment for his dictatorship? Or did the defining moment arrive in 2003, when Annan, ignoring the immense conflict posed by the fact that his own institution was officially on Saddam’s payroll, lobbied alongside two of Saddam’s other top clients, Russia and France, to preserve his regime? Certainly by the time Annan and Sevan, neck-deep in revelatory press reports and standing indignantly athwart their own secret records, continued to offer to the world their evasions and denials, the balance had definitively tipped.

Annan’s studied bewilderment is itself an indictment not only of his person but of the system he heads. If anyone is going to take the fall for the Oil- for-Food scandal, Sevan seems the likeliest candidate. But it was the UN Secretary-General who compliantly condoned Saddam’s ever-escalating schemes and conditions, and who lobbied to the last to preserve Saddam’s totalitarian regime whilethe UN Secretariat was swimming in his cash.

Annan has been with the UN for 32 years. He moved up through its ranks; he knows it well. He was there at the creation of Oil-for-Food, he chose the director, he signed the distribution plans, he visited Saddam, he knew plenty about Iraq, and one might assume he read the newspapers. We are left to contemplate a UN system that has engendered a Secretary-General either so dishonest that he should be dismissed or so incompetent that he is truly dangerous—and should be dismissed.

The final perfidy, though, is not personal but political. The UN, in the name of its own lofty principles, and to its rich emolument, actively helped sustain and protect a tyrant whose brutality and repression were the cause of Iraqi deprivation in the first place. What can this mean? The answer may be simply that, along with its secrecy, its massed cadres of bureaucrats beholden to the favor of the man at the top, its almost complete lack of accountability, external oversight, or the most elementary checks and balances, the UN suffers from an endemic affinity with anti-Western despots, and will turn a blind eye to the devil himself in order to keep them in power. Certainly there is much in its history and its behavior to support this view.

Perhaps, then, the complicity was there all along, built in, and was merely reinforced year after year as the UN collected the commissions and processed the funds that transformed Oil-for-Food into the sleaziest program ever to fly the UN flag and the single largest item on every budget of all nine UN involved, plus the Secretariat itself. That, in the end, may be the dirty secret at agencies the center of the Oil-for-Food scandal.

And is this the same United Nations that, now, we ar planning to entrust with bringing democracy to Iraq? ##

(By the way, is this not part of the platform of John Kerry? – jsk)

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2004

Re-thinking Israeli Settlements (Communities)


By Saul Singer
The International Jerusalem Post, September, 2004

For years any expansion of Israeli cornmunities, known as settlements in Judea and Samaria and known (by the uninformed) as the West Bank, was met by knee-jerk American opposition. Now it seems the automatic embrace of this policy is being reconsidered. It’s about time!

"What we have asked of the Israeli govereminent is to let us know what it is that they are doing.” said US National Security Adviset Condoleezza Rice, Thursday when asked about the thousand West Bank housing starts Israel had just announced. The clear sense is that Washington is beginning to view some form of growth in consensus areas — the settlement blocs near the Green Line—with equanimity.

Not surprisingly, the Palestinians have responded to this hint of a new policy with alarm. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said, “1 don’t believe that America says now that Settlements can be expanded. This thwarts and destroys the peace process.” The Palestinian leadership, of course, has no basis to wave the Road Map it has trampled in the Americans’ faces. The days in which the Palestinians could cry foul at Israeli behavior without lifting a finger to fulfill their own obligations to fight terrorism are long gone.

But the reasons for an American re-think are, or at least should be, deeper than a quiet recognition that it makes no sense to try to impose unilateral Israeli compliance with a “peace process” that the Palestinians have blown to bits. The whole obsession with settlements is a holdover from a pre-9/11 era. Since then, American thinking has rightly been turned upside down. Once upon a time it was a given that the Palestinian predicament was at the center of, or coterminous with, the Arab-Israeli conflict or even the stability of the Middle East as a whole. The current terror offensive against lsrael punctured this world view even before 9/11.

“What occurred in October 2000 is not only that a particular political-diplomatic strategy, the Oslo strategy collapsed,” Ari Shavit wrote in Haaretz in that first month of the current war, “an entire Israeli culture (of which Oslo was the product, its political and symbolic expression) collapsed. An auto-centric world picture, immutably spherical, which had dominated most thinking in Israel for a generation, became extinct.”

According to this defunct worldview, peace depended on one thing: lsrael relinquishing territory. From this it naturally followed that settlements were, as they were called in the Carter era, “an obstade to peace.” Since then, however, Israelis came to understand that it wasn’t their own intransigence that blocked peace but that age-old source of the conflict - the Arab refusal to accept Jewish national rights in Israel within any borders. Next came 9/11, which convinced Americans that allowing the Middle East to remain a glaring exception to the post- Cold War wave of freedom did not contribute to stability, but to its opposite.

Combine these Israeli and American insights and one sees that neither Arab Israeli peace nor regional stability has much to do with how much land Israel sits on, and therefore with settlements. Rather the virus of Arab enmity of Israel and America has the same cure, the transformation of the region from an incubator for militant Islamism to one in which representative governments allow people to focus inward and better their own lot.

In June 2002, President George W. Bush applied these insights to the Palestinian situation and called for “a new and different [Palestinian] leadership, not compromised by terror.” Since then, neither the US nor lsrael has shown the stomach for seeing this policy to fruition, but despite the detour of disengagement, it is this policy, not the old settlement-centric one, that embodies the ultimate hope for peace.

Once upon a time, settlements were seen as the way to block a Palestinian state. But now that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has displayed such incredible determination to dismantle just such settlements, it makes all the more sense for the US to stop playing into the perennial Palestinian attempt to change the subject from its own rejectionism, despotism, and aggression.

We welcome the signs that the US may put away its settlement microscope, and support the growth of the settlement blocs, which take up less than a tenth of the West Bank and do not block the creation of a Palestinian state. Far from harming the “peace process,” this overdue shift would help compel the Palestinians to make one possible.

Saul Singer is an editorial writer for the Jerusalem Post



Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2004

What will happen if Kerry defeats Bush?

A very small excerpt from a magnificent 37 page article in the September, 2004 Commentary Magazine, written by their editor at large and long time political pundit, Norman Podhoretz.

“The analogy is obviously not perfect, but the resemblances between the political battles of 1952 and those of 2004 are striking enough to help us in thinking about what a few moments ago I called the most decisive of all the questions now facing the United States. To frame the question in slightly different terms from the ones I originally used: What will happen if the Democrats behind John Kerry defeat George W Bush in November?

Will they follow through on their violent denunciations of Bush’s policy, or will they, like the Republicans of 1952 with respect to Korea, quietly forget their campaign promises of reliance on the UN and the Europeans, and continue on much the same course as Bush has followed in Iraq? And looking beyond Iraq itself, will they do unto the Bush Doctrine as the Republicans of 1952 did unto the Truman Doctrine? Will they treat Iraq as only one battle in the larger war—World War IV—into which 9/11 plunged us? Will they resolve to go on fighting that war with the strategy adumbrated by the Bush Doctrine, and for as long as it may take to win it?

From the way the Democrats have been acting and speaking, I fear that the answer is No. Nor was I reassured by the flamboyant display of hawkish- ness they put on at their national convention in July. Yet as a passionate supporter of the Bush Doctrine I pray that I am wrong about this.

If John Kerry should become our next President, and he may, it would be a great calamity if he were to abandon the Bush Doctrine in favor of the law-enforcement approach through which we dealt so ineffectually with terrorism before 9/11, while leaving the rest to those weakest of reeds, the UN and the Europeans. No matter how he might dress up such a shift, it would rightly be interpreted by our enemies as a craven retreat, and dire consequences would ensue.

Once again the despotisms of the Middle East would feel free to offer sanctuary and launching pads to Islamic terrorists; once again these terrorists would have the confidence to attack us and this time on an infinitely greater scale than before.

If however, the victorious Democrats were quietly to recognize that our salvation will come neither from the Europeans nor from the UN, and if they were to accept that the Bush Doctrine represents the only adequate response to the great threat that was literally brought home to us on 9/11, then our enemies would no longer be emboldened—certainly not to the extent they have recently been by our national discord over the war.”


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:35 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

The Israel Referendum. Please sign

The Web page IsraPundit.com has been kind enough to help circulate a general petition wherein any interested citizen can register his opinion as to whether or not there should be a Palestinian State.

Please read additional information below and then take a moment to go to the designated web page and vote.

Thank you for your help.

Jerome S. Kaufman

THE ISRAEL REFERENDUM - BULLETIN #1 Israel Referendum" is an initiative sponsored by AFSI (Americans for a Safe Israel) and GIA (Global Israel Alliance). In contrast to conventional petitions, the Israel Referendum asks people, "Do you support the creation of a PLO state in the Land of Israel? - yes/no". The object is to collect signatures and present them next month to President Bush and the Congress. The referendum is open to all - US citizens as well as non-citizens, regardless of religion.

The goal of the project is to receive up to one million votes, with the vast majority presumably voting against such a state. The organizers then plan to put all the ballots in an 18-wheel tractor-trailer and drive them to the White House, followed by tens of thousands of supporters, in advance of the presidential elections. The message to President Bush will be: "Your core group of 20 million voters will vote for you if you adopt a policy against a Palestinian state - but about a quarter of them will stay home and not vote at all if you ignore them on this issue."

The emphasis on US Christians, the core constituency of President Bush, is more than obvious. Since the Referendum's inception, however, several non-Christian individuals and groups, both in the US and throughout the world, have demanded that they too be included, so the Israel Referendum is now open to all, even though the emphasis on US Christians remains in place.

Now, please take out a minute to vote "No to a PLO state in the Land of Israel".

The ballots are available at:

http://www.globalisraelalliance.com/referendum/ref.html


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 12, 2004

Appeasement And Defeatism

By Jerome S. Kaufman

The Detroit Jewish News, September 10, 2004

Finally, I am able to pour out the anguish that has resulted from watching Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dismantle the land of the Jews. Moshe Dann, Detroit Jewish News contributor, living for years in Israel, supplied me with a phrase that opened the emotional floodgates. I had e-mailed him a simple question. “What is going on?” He replied, “Ehud Olmert’s [Sharon’s deputy prime minister] latest statement says it all: ‘unilateral withdrawal to whatever the international community will allow’”

Moshe calls it “the policy of defeatism and appeasement.” How perfect! Who then is running Israel, the supposed land of the Jews? The “international community?” Certainly not the Jews. Did they leave one ignoble Diaspora existence where their destiny was dictated by others to create another entity, supposedly of their own, wherein these same powers control the lives of the Jews?

Leslie Susser of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency writes of “quick action” by Sharon, averting a “showdown” with the United States over “settlement building in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].” How did Sharon avert this “showdown?” By a policy of” appeasement and defeatism," of course. You may remember that Sharon had coerced his cabinet into approving a preposterous Road Map plan in 2003 designed by Israel’s “friends” — the United Nations, the European Union, the Russians and the American Department of State. Sharon, in the document, agreed to dismantle “illegal” settlements and not expand existing ones.

The Israelis are thus to remain in what Abba Eban called the “Auschwitz borders” of the former Green Line — a narrow corridor along the Mediterranean coast in which a much smaller Israeli population existed prior to the 1967 Six-Day War. This is to be the dictated destiny of the Jews while the Arabs expand all over Judea and Samaria and, of course, in so-called Israel proper and Jerusalem itself! What is this garbage about negative demographics in Israel? The Arabs don’t even need demographics. Whole masses of tiny Israel are being given to them by the Israelis themselves in this insane policy of “appeasement and defeatism.

The Arab Role

By the way, what was to have been the Arab obligations under the infamous Road Map, now a companion piece to the disastrous Oslo “peace” accords?
The very first paragraph of the Road Map agreement, just like all the very first paragraphs of all the duplicitous “peace” agreements that the Arabs have signed before and the Israelis have swallowed since, says, “In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below; such action should be accompanied by supportive measures undertaken by Israel. “Palestinians and Israelis resume security cooperation based on the Tenet work plan to end violence, terrorism and incitement through restructured and effective Palestinian security services. Palestinians undertake comprehensive political reform in preparation for statehood, including drafting a Palestinian constitution and free, fair and open elections upon the basis of those measures.”

Has any of the above ever happened since the Oslo agreement and the Israeli-orchestrated return from Tunisia of a totally defeated Yasser Arafat in 1993? Of course not. Does any realistic political pundit or historian believe it will ever happen? Nevertheless, Israel marches on with its woeful policy of appeasement and defeatism.

Recently, General Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s chief of staff and another general many of us thought genuinely embraced a policy of strength and containment, and, most probably, like Ehud Olmert, acting as point man for Ariel Sharon, declared that Israel could return all of the Golan Heights to Syria without compromising security!

This statement is contrary to an evaluation of a coterie of American military analysts that visited the Golan after the Six-Day War. Syrians for years, with the most modest of weapons, rained terror down upon the Israeli farmers of the Hula Valley beneath the Golan Heights.

Courting Egypt

Equally outrageous is Sharon’s courting of the Egyptians to take over policing of Gaza and the underground tunnels that reach directly from Egyptian land
in the Sinai through Rafuah to Palestinian homes from which the weaponry is dispersed. IMRA, the Independent Media Review and Analysis news agency, reported that the Israeli deputy director-general for information declined to raise the issue of Egypt’s failure to act against the smuggling of weapons from Egypt to Gaza as the focus is currently on explaining the Israel Defense Forces operation in Gaza! Shades of Oslo. The Israelis deliberately turn a blind eye on complete non-compliance and continue on the inane path of appeasement and defeatism in the preposterous hope that their centuries-old enemy will simply change their mind and go away and leave the Jews alone!

Where is this all leading? One can only shudder in contemplation. Perhaps the HaShem of those that truly believe will, once again, save the Jews from their own self-destruction? ##

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2004

A Reversal of History: Turning the State of the Jews into a Jewish State!

By Shmuel Sackett, Co-founder and International Director of the Manhigut Yehudit (Hebrew for Jewish Leadership) Party

THE MODERN STATE OF ISRAEL HAS FAILED IN MANY WAYS. The goal of the founders of the State, and of every Prime Minister and government since that time, was to create a nation like all others. With no clear direction on how to achieve that goal, the state was set up as a combination of Democracy and Socialism. On one hand, Israel was set up as a Democracy with all citizens, Jews (secular and religious) as well as Arabs, having a fair and equal say in all areas. On the other hand, Israel was set up as a Socialistic society where the government controlled all key areas of life such as religion, media, justice system, land purchases, banks, medical care, telephone networks, sports teams and even the food industry!

One does not need a Master’s Degree in Political Science to see how this system has failed. Israel’s desire to be accepted by the “family of nations” has been crushed by the UN and policies based on the principles stated above have lead to the death of Zionism... and far more tragically- to thousands of Jews themselves.

Various “experts” have offered many answers to Israel’s problems and some of these programs have even been implemented. Yet, reality has proven them all wrong. It is clear to all that Israel’s problems won’t be solved by more “security” or by adding another 25 “settlements.” Supplying every Israeli with bulletproof vests is ridiculous, and changing Prime Ministers has not worked as well.

What is needed is not a change in “faces” but a change in direction
Israel has to realize its special and unique place in the world and stop playing imitation. Her elected officials must lead the country with policies based exclusively on Jewish values and concepts. The main focus must be on Jewish Identity and the question of-the-day is simply: Are we a state of the Jews or a Jewish state?

To date, Israel has simply been a state of the Jews. G-d has been left out of the equation and has been told to stay in His place. Geo-politics has ruled Israel’s every move and acceptance by the world has received the highest order of priority. Not one party in Israel is looking to change this situation.
The religious parties are mere “special-interest” groups or lobbyists working on behalf of their specific constituents. The nation at large doesn’t interest them.
The right-wing parties constantly and exclusively talk about settlements or Arabs and never deal with Israel’s crumbling morality, ethics or lack of Jewish values.
The major parties; Labor and Likud, exchange fancy slogans such as “Peace with security” or “Security with peace” and have completely boggled the minds of millions of Israelis trying to figure out the difference between them.

Nobody... but nobody Is talking about Jewish identity, authentic Jewish education for every child in the country, Jewish labor or a massive aliyah program — designed and implemented by the Israeli government - so that every Jew in the world can come home!

Our goal is a bold one: To take over the leadership of Israel’s ruling Likud party. Once that has been accomplished, we will forge ahead towards our next goal: Leadership of the State of Israel. The program has begun and is well on its way.

What started as a dream in November 2000 has become a reality. Already today, the Manhigut Yehudit Party is the largest bloc inside Likud’s “Central Committee”. In a very short time we became known as the group which “does not come with a price tag”. Our weapon is our ideology and tens of thousands of supporters have already joined our ranks. Political experts believe that we are the future of Israel’s political life and the path we have chosen is a correct and viable one.

We still have a long way to go and this is why we need you to join our team!
Become in formed with our program. Get excited by our hope and optimism.
See a bright future for the State of Israel Help us take over the leadership and turn Israel into a true’ and authentic Jewish state!

Shmuel Sackett – shmuel@manhigut.org

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

September 08, 2004

American Israel Public Affairs Committee responds to alleged spy charges.

September 3, 2004

The American Israel Public
Affairs Committee
440 First Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20001

Dear Friend:

We are writing to update you on the situation regarding AIPAC that many of you have been following in the media. As you are by now aware, the press is reporting that the government is investigating an employee of the Department of Defense for possible violations in handling confidential information. Media reports have alleged that this individual disseminated internal White House policy deliberations on Iran to Israel through two AIPAC staff members

First and foremost, we want to reiterate that any allegation of criminal conduct by AIPAC or our employees is false and baseless.

Neither AIPAC nor any of its employees has violated any laws or rules, nor has AIPAC or its employees ever received information they believed was secret or classified. AIPAC is filly cooperating with the authorities and is eager to assist them in any way in order to help bring closure to this issue. We are confident that the government will find absolutely no wrongdoing by our organization or its employees.

You, the members of AIPAC, can rest assured that nothing will distract us from our core mission: advocating for America’s interests in the Middle East and for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.

The tragic bus bombings in Be’er Sheva this week clearly underscore the challenges facing us, and when Congress reconvenes next week, AIPAC will continue to focus on our legislative agenda. Today, we are writing to you from the Republican National Convention in New York, where AIPAC has been hosting a series of events that have attracted the same attention and high level of participation as our events at the Democratic National Convention in Boston several weeks ago. More than 60 members of Congress, 5 governors, 8 senators and dozens of other political leaders have attended AIPAC events.

The Jewish community continues to express, its confidence in AIPAC in the aftermath of these media allegations. A letter to us from Hadassah says that the organization feels “tremendous pride in all of AIPAC’s accomplishments and stands behind you.”

Abe Foxman, Executive Director of the Anti-Defamation League, has urged us: “Focus on your good work, secure in the knowledge that your friends support you.” A variety of other community leaders have also sent notes and made calls of support. AIPAC is deeply appreciative of their continued confidence in our institution.

Over the course of the last several days we have received tremendous support from our nation’s political leaders.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told the Associated Press: “I know A1PAC, I know the AIPAC leadership. It is an outstanding organization”

. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle expressed his respect for AIPAC, saying “For more than five decades, America as a country and Americans as individuals have stood by Israel. AIPAC and its members have tirelessly led that effort; and America is better and stronger for it. It is vital work—work I know AIPAC will continue to lead effectively.”


House Majority Whip Roy Blunt echoed these sentiments, stating: “AIPAC has worked hard to build its credibility with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. While the House will want to look carefully at any allegations that might endanger our national security, it will begin that look with a record of great confidence in our relationship with AIPAC and our strongest ally and the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel”

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer also expressed his confidence in the institution, stating: “I have worked with AIPAC for many years, they are a very successful, strong, and committed organization and do a tremendous job advocating for the important U S - Israel relationship”

Meanwhile, there is a growing chorus of those raising questions about how this issue has unfolded in the press. An editorial in The Wall Street Journal observed that press reports in recent days indicate that the situation is a “far cry from CBS News’s original report last Friday that the ‘FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation underway.’” The paper also expresses incredulity with the logic of some of the allegations, writing “It is hard to believe that the Israelis would need secret sources to illuminate this issue, given the close ties between the two countries. The Iran question has also been widely aired in the press” -.

During the last several days it has become clear that not only is AIPAC under attack—the US -Israel relationship itself is also under assault. Several media outlets, including ABC’s Nightline have portrayed the U.S.-Israel alliance as a series of alleged espionage events rather than the kind of special relationship that has been reaffirmed by every President and every Democratic and Republican platform since 1948. This signals that we at AIPAC have work to do.

Now, more than ever, we must continue our efforts to promote and enhance cooperation between our nations, whether it is working jointly on strategic cooperation and counter terrorism to collaborating in the areas of medical and scientific research and development.

It is essential that you continue to demonstrate your confidence as Americans, supporters of Israel and members of AIPAC. We ask you to please continue reaching out to your fellow AIPAC members and your members of Congress and to continue expressing your strong support for AIPAC and the U. S. -Israel relationship.

Sincerely,

Bernice Manocherian. President
Howard Kohr, Executive Director

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2004

Introducing Moshe Feiglin – A Political Phenomenon many Israelis believe long overdue

By GIL HOFFMAN, The JERUSALEM POST

When Education Minister Limor Livnat warned that a gang of right-wing extremists, who have infiltrated the Likud, posed a serious danger to the state and its ruling party, she paid the Manhigut Yehudit (Hebrew for Jewish Leadership) Party leader Moshe Feiglin the ultimate compliment.

After years of failed experiments that included challenging Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the Likud leadership and trying to elect a religious-Zionist president, Feiglin suddenly gained a platform for expressing his ideas about what he calls “Jewish leadership.” At the Likud convention, Feiglin went from camera to camera to respond to Livnat’s charges on all the local television stations. With ministers and MKs banned from speaking at the convention, Feiglin became the main opposition to Sharon, and his speech, carried live on television and radio, was the most anticipated at the event other than the prime minister’s.

Not bad for a man who, less than a decade ago, had to resort to aggressive street rallies in order to gain attention for his Zo Artzenu (“This is our land”) protest movement, which tried to put a stop to the Oslo Accords. Feiglin served six months in jail after being convicted in 1997 of sedition and unlawful assembly, charges that his supporters considered a political attempt to punish him for highlighting the dangers of Oslo.

Manhigut Yehudit ironically began the same night that Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing extremist. Hours before the murder that much of the Left blamed on the instigating of right wing rallies, a meeting took
place at Feiglin’s Ginot Shomron home in which the need to start a new movement focusing on Jewish leadership was first discussed. That meeting ended early when news reached them about the assassination.
Feiglin and his partners decided that even if they succeeded in toppling the Left, the Likud that dismantled the Sinai settlement of Yamit (During Camp David I) would be no more loyal to the cause of settling the entire land of Israel.

At first, Feiglin didn’t dream of joining the Likud. Manhigut Yehudit which was first unveiled at an April 1997 press conference, first considered running on its own as an independent party, then made news when it tried to run BenGurion University Professor Herman Branover as a candidate for president against Shimon Peres and Moshe Katsav.

Four years ago, when Ehud Barak was in power in 1999 and the Likud hit its nadir, two veteran Likud activists approached Feiglin and asked him to bring his movement inside the party. Feiglin joined along with thousands of supporters in 2000. “I thought it was crazy at first,” Feiglin says. “For me. the Likud was almost a leftist party and I had nothing in common with it. But ideologically, we decided it was the best party to represent the nationalist camp and the best way to reach our ultimate goal of establishing Jewish leadership in the country.”

When no other candidate could be found, Feiglin tried to challenge Sharon for Likud chairman in 2000, but he was not permitted to run, because he had only been in the party for seven months. He later challenged both Sharon and Binyamin Netanyahu in the 2002 Likud primary and despite not campaigning, finished with four percent of the vote, more than MK Haim Ramon achieved when he finished third in a concurrent race in Labor.

FOLLOWING A membership drive that drew more than 10,000 people to its ranks, Manhigut Yehudit won an impressive 132 seats in the 2,900 member Likud central committee.
The movement tried to use its new power to propel candidates into the Knesset, but Feiglin lost the seat on the Likud list reserved for a settler to Sharon supported Yehiel Kazan and its candidate, for the immigrant slot lost to Netanyahu backed Michael Gorlovsky.

Feiglin, who won the 39th slot on the national Likud list, would have been the next name to join the Knesset ahead of cosmetics queen Pnina Rosenbaum, but the chairman of the Central Elections Committee, Supreme Court Justice Mishael Cheshin, ruled that Feiglin’s sedition charge involved moral turpitude and that he was therefore barred from running for the Knesset for seven years.

After Feiglin was pushed off the list, many Manhigut Yehudit members voted for other parties in the January 2003 election, which angered many in the Likud who continued to see the movement as a foreign element in its ranks. But Manhigut Yehudit’s failure in the Knesset election only strengthened the group’s resolve to make changes inside the Likud. Ahead of last month’s decisive Likud convention, Manhigut Yehudit members proposed dozens of changes in the Likud charter, the most famous of which would block MKs and ministers who defy the central committee from running for Knesset with the party for five years. If the proposal had passed Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Livnat could have faced being banned from running with the party in the next election.

“We are saying that the Likud is not a rag that the prime minister or other elected officials can throw into the garbage,” Feiglin says in the proposal’s defense. “The Likud has its charter, and its institutions and the MKs are mere representatives.” Feiglin was convinced his proposal could pass, but efforts in the Likud prevented it from coming to a vote.

Regardless of what happened in the convention, Manhigut Yehudit is positioned as a force to be reckoned with in upcoming years, and no judge will be able to prevent Feiglin from getting elected to the’ Knesset next time around. “There is a feeling in the public that our ideas are taking root,” Feiglin says. “We will have our ups and downs in the tactical steps that we take along the way to implementing our long-term strategy. But we have maintained the same goal all along: Building a layer of Jewish leadership and eventually taking over the state.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2004

Is not the friend of my enemy also my enemy

And the enemy of my enemy, my friend?

KERRY WINS THE ARAB VOTE

By AMIR TAHERI

August 18, 2004 -- ALTHOUGH attempts at linking President George W. Bush to the Arabs have generated a veritable industry in the past two years, there is evidence that most Arabs favor his Democratic Party challenger Sen. John F. Kerry. A Zogby poll taken this month shows that in the November presidential election Kerry is likely to collect more than two-thirds of the Arab-American vote. A similar pattern is emerging in the Arab world itself.

"If it were up to us, it would be 60 percent Kerry, 40 percent Bush," says Iyad Abu-Chaqra, an Arab columnist who has followed American politics for years. "Most Arabs have one dream this year: to see George W. Bush booted out."

Dislike for Bush has created the most curious Arab coalition in a long time.
The pan-Arab nationalists are angry at Bush because, toppling Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime in Baghdad, he destroyed the illusion of a "strongman" leading Arabs to unity and socialism. "It may take a generation before anyone talks of Arab unity without being laughed out of the room," says columnist Ahmad Rabii. "Those who dreamed of an Arab superpower will never forgive Bush."

The pan-Islamists also dislike Bush, but for different reasons. They see his talk of democracy as an attempt at preventing them from establishing their "ideal Islamic" system based on the Shariah rather than elections. Bush's "Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative" is seen by Islamists as "a plot to impose a Western model." "The Muslim world is not a blank sheet on which Mr. Bush could draw what he likes," says writer Walid Abi-Merchid, who would vote for Kerry if he could.

Opposition to Bush's plans for democratization in the Middle East is put even more dramatically by Muhammad Shariatmadari, a mullah of Arab origin now acting as an advisor to Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi. "Bush is trying to develop an American Islam," Shariatmadari says. "He thinks that Americans will not be safe in their homes until the Muslim world is dominated by pro-U.S. governments."

That view is echoed in sermons preached at mosques throughout the Middle East, Europe and the United States in recent weeks with an eye on the forthcoming American election. One theme of these sermons is that Bush's call for free elections and reform in the Muslim world amounts to "an act of cultural aggression." "Our Prophet did not run for office in any election," the sermon says. "He did not win any political debate. [Instead] he won the war against the infidel."

A deep-seated fear of elections is one key feature of the Islamist political psyche. The Koran includes a chapter entitled "Parties" (Ahzab), to warn against splitting the Umma (the community of the faithful) into rival political groups vying for power. "Kerry's recent statement that he would abandon Bush's democracy campaign in the Muslim world will please many Islamists," says the novelist Rubee Madhoun.

At an official level, most Arab and other Muslim governments are careful not to take sides. But it is clear that most want Kerry to win. Since almost all Arab regimes could be described as despotic, it is clear that they all feel targeted by Bush's calls for reform and democratization.

Bush has committed himself to changing Washington's 60-year-old policy of supporting the status quo in the region. It is, therefore, no surprise that all regimes in the region feel threatened to some degree. Their hope is that under a President Kerry, the United States would abandon Bush's "adventurous attempt to remould the region."

"America needs a new perspective," says Javad Zarif, the Islamic Republic's ambassador to the United Nations. "The United States must change attitudes that have harmed its interests in the region." Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa has echoed similar sentiments in private conversations. He describes the liberation of Iraq as "the opening of the gates of Hell." In a recent meeting in Cairo, he told a visiting European diplomat that Kerry would be able to "close those gates."

The anti-Bush sentiment of the ruling elites in the Middle East is reflected in efforts to screen "Fahrenheit 9/11," Michael Moore's celluloid attack on the U.S. president. Last week, the mullahs running the Farabi Cinema complex in Tehran scrapped the season's program to screen Moore's "documentary." "This film unmasks the Great Satan America," a spokesman said. "It tells Muslim people why they are right in hating America. It is the duty of every believer to see [this film] and learn the truth." With the exception of Kuwait, which has banned it, Moore's film is shown or sold in pirated cassette form throughout the Arab world. Anti-American Arab television stations, including one owned by the Lebanese branch of the Hezbollah, have broadcast chunks of Moore's attack on Bush with commentaries more virulent than the original.

"We may not be able to drive the Americans out of Iraq," says Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader in Lebanon. "But we can drive Bush out of the White House by heating things up in Iraq." Bush is also seen as too pro-Israel in his Middle East policy. "I would rather have [Israeli Premier Ariel] Sharon than Bush," says Abu-Chaqra. "The Palestinians may have a chance with Sharon; they have none with Bush."

Bush, however, has some supporters in the Arab countries and in the broader Muslim world. "The Arabs have never known what is good for them," says Iraqi columnist Adnan Hussein. "This is why they hate Bush. But what is Bush saying? He is telling them that their regimes are corrupt and bankrupt and that they have no future without democracy."

The Nobel prize-winning novelist Neguib Mahfouz expressed similar sentiments in a recent column published in a Cairo newspaper. He warned that any reversion by the United States to the policy of supporting the status quo is a setback for democracy in the region. Mahfouz believes that Bush is right in his diagnosis that lack of democracy breeds terrorism in the Middle East.

Other pro-reform writers, notably Daoud Kuttab, Ahmad Bishara and Abdul-Mun'em Saeed have also called on the United States to remain true to Bush's promise of supporting reform and democratization in the Muslim world.


Some Arabs, however, believe that, whoever is elected in the United States, there will be little change in Washington's policies in the Middle East. "What we have is the madness that strikes the Arabs every four years when the Americans have a presidential election," says Walid Jumblatt, a Lebanese former minister and leftist leader. "The truth is that there is nothing in this [the American election] for the Arabs. Whoever wins, the fact remains that the United States is against the Arabs on all key issues, starting with Palestine."

Amir Taheri was born in Iran and educated in Tehran, London and Paris.
From 1984 to 1987 he was editor-in-chief of Jeune Afrique, the French weekly specialising in Africa. Between 1980 and 1984 he was Middle East editor for the London Sunday Times. Between 1972 and 1979 he was executive editor-in-chief of Kayhan, Iran's main daily newspaper. He has been a columnist for the pan-Arab daily Asharq Alawsat and its sister daily Arab News since 1987.
Between 1989 and 1995 Taheri was editorial writer for the German daily Die Welt. Taheri has published nine books some of which have been translated into 20 languages. In 1988 Publishers' Weekly in New York chose his study of Islamist terrorism, "Holy Terror", as one of The Best Books of The Year.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2004

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch to a NYC Jewish voter and a Director of Reform Judaism.

(An excerpt from The Jewish Press, August 20, 2004)

Jews have priorities and are entitled to them just like every other ethnic group in America. Mexican- Americans are especially interested in the position of the presidential candidates on amnesty for illegal aliens. African-Americans are understandably interested in the safety of Africans in the Sudan who are subject to genocide at the hands of the Arab dominated Sudanese government. Christians surely will be very concerned about the murders of and injuries to Christians attending Mass at five churches by Islamic terrorists in Iraq. I could list many more. All Americans should be concerned about these outrages. Having such priorities does not make you less American, but more American.

For Jews, it is the security of the State of Israel. When 200 French Jews recently left France out of fear of persecution by Muslim toughs in that country, they knew that Israel would take them without condition, which was not the case when Jews were fleeing Germany before World War II.

However, you are misinformed on my position as to why I support President Bush for reelection. I support him because of the Bush Doctrine — “We will go after the terrorists and the countries that harbor them.”

He has demonstrated that he means it by invading Afghanistan and Iraq, both threats to their regions and to the U.S. I do not believe that the Democratic Party, which is now dominated by those who preferred Governor Dean for president but decided he could not win, has the stomach to take on worldwide terrorism. Indeed, a New York Times-CBS poll of the delegates at the Boston Convention demonstrated their opposition to John Kerry’s position, which is not to get out of Iraq now. It is the party activists whom the candidate has to rely on to get elected and whose positions generally prevail.

I have held public office for 23 years. I was elected five times as Congressman and three times as mayor with super majorities after the first election for each office. New Yorkers trusted my insights and common sense, and I believe they still do. The Islamic terrorists, in the words of Lee Hamilton, “want to kill us” and there are hundreds of millions of them.

I want a president who is willing to go after them before they have the chance to kill us. There is nothing wrong with American Jews, concerned for the safety of all Americans to be grateful that President Bush supports the State of Israel when European states in fear of terrorism capitulate to the demands of the terrorists and are hostile to Israel.

I do not expect to convince you, but I do hope that you will respect my opinion and experience. For those who say that John Kerry would he just as good as George Bush on the issue of Israel, let me cite an article from The New York Sun dated August 4, 2004:“In a speech he made last December at the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry said he would consider sending Mr. Carter or Mr. Baker as his personal envoy to make peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Both men are associated with using America’s special relationship with Israel to pressure the nation into untenable concessions.”

The article went on, “Mr. Levine told The New York Sun yesterday that Mr. Kerry instantly regretted making those comments. ‘The truth on the envoy issue is that his staff got out ahead of him and released a statement he had not seen; when he saw it he was extremely upset about it and it did not reflect his views. Rather than withdraw at that moment, he allowed it to stay in the speech. He regretted it before he said it, but made the decision that taking it out of the speech at that time would call more attention than leaving it in. He has subsequently made abundantly and repeatedly clear he would not appoint an envoy that does not have the trust of both sides.’”

Does anyone seriously believe that Kerry saw the offending reference for the first time when he delivered that major speech? A major speech on foreign policy would have been vetted and practiced by the candidate and his advisers a dozen times before delivery. Does anyone believe that if he disagreed with a statement in that speech, he would not have deleted it? Does anyone believe that while disagreeing with the statement, he delivered it anyway thinking there would be less damage than if he removed it?

I found it both interesting and disturbing that Kerry omitted any reference to Israel during his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention. To his credit, vice presidential candidate John Edwards did think it important to mention the need to protect the security of the State of Israel.

I am convinced that President Bush will never trade Israel’s special relationship with the U.S. for political support, be it domestic or international. I doubt that John Kerr)’ and the “Deaniacs” who now embrace him, would have the same resolve.

I am appalled at the refusal of so many in the Jewish community, particularly in New York City to support the president’s re-election. I know them well. When I was mayor, receiving 75 and 78 percent of the vote in my second and third re-elections, I did better with Catholics than I did with Jews. The exit poll numbers in one of those elections showed that 81 percent of the Irish and Italians Catholics) voted for me, while only 73 percent of the Jews did. I always cited those numbers to reporters and editorial board writers with a laugh, but like Taddeo, the clown of the opera Pagliacci, that laugh masked a lot of pain. I was not sufficiently liberal for the so-called upper West Side Jews.

We Jews know that there has never been a president of the United States as supportive of the Jewish community and its overwhelming concern - the security of the State of Israel — as George W. Bush. Nevertheless the Jewish community, which should he supporting his re-election, has not and, it appears at the moment, will not to the extent he deserves. Jews are expected to vote overwhelmingly for John Kerry.

In the election of 2000, George W Bush received 19 percent of the Jewish vote. Ronald Reagan, when he ran against Jimmy Carter in 1980 won the support of 39 percent of Jewish voters. While Reagan terrific in his support of Israel even he was not as good as George W Bush. (Reagan’s domestic philosophy was similar to that of Bush.

Current Jewish supporters of the president hope to secure for him somewhere in the range of 30-35 percent of the Jewish vote. He is in my opinion deserving of an absolute majority - more than 50 percent.

If— after taking on the European Union and the Muslim states around the world and incurring the wrath of almost all the members of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council by casting vetoes against unfair Security Council resolutions that singled out Israel for condemnation – President Bush does not receive a majority of the Jewish vote, we would be an ungrateful people.

Recently, Rabbi David Saperstein director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Jewry sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell enclosing a resolution which directly and by implication criticized the president for not demonstrating “real leadership in the peace process” and the Congress for failing “to recognize the need for withdrawal to be directly linked to a return to the negotiating table and for not addressing “the troubling humanitarian conditions of the Palestinians”

I sent Rabbi Saperstein the following letter along with an earlier draft of this column

Dear Rabbi Saperstein
Your criticism last week of President Bush and the Congress outlined in your letter to Secretary of’ State Cohn Powell was about as foolish and destructive as any statement on the subject could have been
. I thought that you might like to have my statement which was made not with respect to your letter which was brought to my attention today, but to what I intend to do in the forthcoming election.

Before today, I never fully understood the statement that, “Jews are their own worst enemies.” Today I understand. Your own statement made it abundantly clear to me.

When non-Jewish supporters of the American Jewish community receive letters and resolutions from Jews and Jewish organizations criticizing members of Congress and the President for doing too much for Israel and not enough for the Palestinians, the members of the Congress and the President will undoubtedly think to themselves, “Why do I do anything for these people? It I am silent, no one will berate me. When I demonstrate strong support for Israel, I am assailed by supporters of the Palestinians joined in now by leader of a sector of the Jewish community having 1.5 million adherents and more than 900 congregations”

Why are we so intent on engaging in masochistic, some might say, suicidal behavior? We Jews must learn to support our friends. God knows our enemies are numerous and the threat they pose is growing by the day

Ed Koch served as mayor of New York City from 1978-1990. He is currently a partner at Bryan Cave LLP.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)