September 30, 2005

The Anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s Death to be Again Commemorated, But Why?

By Jerome S. Kaufman

Much to my surprise I just received a promotional package from the new Consul General in Chicago, Barukh Binah. The package contained material extolling the supposed virtues of Yitzhak Rabin. I was advised to use these materials to help commemorate the life of Rabin, what with the anniversary of his death in November. Many of us, historically aware of the life of Yitzhak Rabin, take a completely different view of what, in fact, Rabin accomplished.

Also included was an article by Rabin’s daughter, Dalia Rabin-Pelossof who had been arguably described as the farthest Left Labor member of the Knesset. She was appointed by Sharon to his Unity government of March 2001 as Deputy Defense Minister - in retrospect, certainly a harbinger of what was to come from Sharon. She resigned in July 2002 because of Sharon’s “isolating” Yasir Arafat and attempts to “re-conquer the Palestinian people.”

This commemoration of Rabin’s death happens to be a perennial Left wing ploy attempting to extol and promote the virtues of a “Peace Process” begun by Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin and featuring the now notoriously phony handshakes with Yasir Arafat and under the benign gaze of Bill Clinton on the White House lawn.

Unfortunately, Israel has never recovered from this tragic moment and suffers its consequences to this very day - with no end in sight. Ariel Sharon, for some reason yet to be fully understood, has picked up Rabin’s banner and is now carrying the Road Map “peace treaty.” This is the treaty authored and vigorously promoted by the United Nations, the European Union, the Russians and the American State Department - all known to be great friends of the State of Israel!!

Below is a short article by columnist Ben Shapiro, written November 5, 2003 and re-created here to help commemorate Rabin’s death. It presents a somewhat different portrayal of Rabin’s accomplishments.

Jerome S. Kaufman


By Ben Shapiro

Eight years ago this week, the fate of Israel was sealed. On Nov. 4, 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir. The murder was tragic, not just because Rabin suffered an untimely death but because Rabin became sacrosanct.

The illusory image of Rabin as the tough sabra willing to negotiate with the Arabs, as the invincible general turned peacemaker, as the tolerant, wise leader of the Jewish state, was forever enshrined in the public consciousness.

Rabin's political inheritance, the Oslo Accords, became unassailable. On the anniversary of his death, it is now more necessary than ever to explode the myth of Yitzhak Rabin. As long as Rabin's myth exists, it will be impossible to move beyond his failed policies: negotiation with terror, persecution of the Israeli right wing, and apologies for Jewish existence.

Rabin was no "great general." As Uri Milstein's "The Rabin File" explains, Yitzhak Rabin bears responsibility for many of the most fouled-up military operations in Israeli history. On Dec. 9, 1947, during the War of Independence, Rabin took charge of the Jerusalem sector of the Palmach (the elite striking force of the Haganah, precursor to the Israeli Defense Force). Rabin's task was to secure Jerusalem and access to the city. Under his watch, Israeli forces met with disaster after disaster.

The substantial losses incurred by Rabin's soldiers led the United States to withdraw support for the establishment of the Jewish state on March 19. Rabin's military record extends beyond incompetence. The celebrated soldier actually fled the field of battle in 1948. On April 20, a food and supply convoy set out for Jerusalem. The area fell under Rabin's jurisdiction. His forces failed to secure the road, and the convoy was ambushed. When the ambush occurred, several officers attempted to lead counterattacks; Rabin did not. Instead, he personally drove away for reinforcements. After requesting reinforcements, Rabin did not return to fight with his men -- he went to sleep.

One of Rabin's proudest military moments came on June 22, 1948. Menachem Begin's Irgun, another Israeli military group, was in the midst of negotiating a pact with David Ben-Gurion under which Irgun would join the new Israeli Defense Force. Meanwhile, the Irgun had loaded a ship, the Altalena, with weapons and Jewish fighters (many of them Holocaust survivors) to join the IDF. Ben-Gurion ordered that the Altalena be fired upon. Rabin carried out his orders to the letter. Later, Rabin bragged how he had "bumped them off on the deck of the burning ship and while they were trying to swim to safety." Sixteen Jews were killed, many shot while swimming to shore.

So much for the "great general." More importantly, however, Rabin's true political legacy -- the diabolical "peace process" -- must be exposed. Before his election in 1992, Rabin promised the Israeli public that he would never negotiate with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat or his murderous Palestine Liberation Organization. Yet before the Israeli elections, in May 1992, eight Labor Party members, led by master-appeaser Yossi Beilin, met with Abu Mazen (then the head of the PLO "political wing") in Cairo. This was against Israeli law.

According to Yehoshua HaMe'iri, a journalist then stationed in Cairo, "what was discussed was an attempt to ensure a Labor Party victory in the elections." A quid pro quo was made: Labor would work on behalf of "Palestinians" if the PLO influenced Israeli Arabs to vote Labor. After the election, the Rabin government immediately cracked down on Israelis opposing the Oslo Accords.

Moshe Feiglin, now the head of the Manhigut Yehudit block within Likud, organized peaceful mass protests. Rabin retaliated by putting Feiglin on trial for "raising fear among the public." At future protests, the Israeli police were used as a political organization, blocking protesters and sometimes assaulting them. It is vital to remember that before Rabin's murder, his peace program had been overwhelmingly rejected by the Israeli public.

By April 1994, Rabin's approval rating had dropped to 41 percent. Before his assassination, Rabin was trailing anti-Oslo Likud candidate Benjamin Netanyahu by a wide margin. Only after his murder did the public glorify Rabin. (an incontrovertible fact conveniently forgotten by the Left - jsk).After Rabin's death, the witch-hunt shifted into high gear. The Israeli right wing found itself in a position akin to that of the American right wing after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Eight years later, the madness has not ceased. The government has shut down the radio station Arutz Sheva, a right-wing news service; actions are underway to shut down Arutz Sheva's Internet site as well. Yitzhak Rabin did not deserve to be murdered. He simply deserved to lose the public trust. He deserved to live out his life in obscurity rather than dying a martyr for a detestable cause.

2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

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September 28, 2005

Who is Moshe Feiglin?

Compiled by Rob Muchnick

(Article in part from Manhigut Yehudit's English-language website

Moshe Feiglin was the first person to announce his candidacy to challenge Ariel Sharon for the head of the Likud Party and is currently polling at approximately 10%. He is the only candidate including Sharon, Bibi Netanyahu and Uzi Landau who opposes relinquishing Eretz Yisrael under any circumstances. He is running on a platform to Turn the State of the Jews into The Jewish State and is Chairman and co-founder of Manhigut Yehudit, otherwise known in English as, The Jewish Leadership Movement. Manhigut Yehudit is the largest faction inside the Likud party.

In 1994, Moshe Feiglin began the Zo Artzeinu ("This is Our Land") protest movement that opposed the self-destructive Oslo Accords with a massive civil disobedience campaign.

In 1998, Manhigut Yehudit (The Jewish Leadership Movement) was established as the successor to Zo Artzeinu.

His platform and political statement:

We are simply Jews -- with no added definitions. We do not call ourselves Orthodox, Conservative or Reform -- neither "right-wing" nor "left-wing."
Like the overwhelming majority of Jews, we believe in God, Who has brought us back to our Jewish home --the Holy Land of Israel. In Israel, the natural predisposition of the Jewish People to illuminate the world with God's light is brought to perfection, enabling us to perform our task in the most consummate way. Our aim is to create a genuinely Jewish consciousness in the Land of Israel, motivated by the awareness that our faith and our country are intrinsically woven together. An Israeli society predicated on Jewish faith -- the Torah -- is an ethical and loving society whose ultimate goal is to illuminate the entire world with God's benevolence.

The Zionist movement, which founded the modern State of Israel, was a product of the millennia of longing for return to the Land of Israel. However, it was also a product of the times in which it was born. Basing itself on secular 19th century Western values, Zionism came to fill the need for a safe haven for the Jews of the world. Miraculously, the Zionist movement succeeded in building the complete infrastructure of a modern state -- replete with a strong army, high tech, immigration absorption etc. out of the wilderness.

In its essence, though, the secular Zionism on which Israel was built negates holiness. In doing so, it has stripped itself of the tools necessary to reflect the Jewishness of Israel and its ultimate holy purpose. We are now witnessing a complete unraveling of the fabric of Israeli society. The very Zionist ideology that built the modern state of Israel has now turned against itself as it seeks to counter its Biblical roots and Divine purpose. This self-destructive bent is the ultimate conclusion of the secular ideology upon which Zionism is based.

The Essential Question: Is Israel a State of Jews -- or a Jewish State?

Until now Israel has been a state of the Jews. It is vital to our future to transform Israel into a Jewish state. Israel's elected officials must lead the country with policies based exclusively on Jewish identity, values and ethics.

(For more information about Mr. Feiglin, visit

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:08 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2005

Foreign Affairs “analyst” Thomas L. Friedman says, “The World is Flat”

Excerpted from a book review by Ronald Steel

The New Republic, September, 2005

… Admirers of the Lexus and the Olive Tree will no doubt find much to admire again, and also much that is familiar, in this exuberant and extremely wordy book. But despite its numbing length and its plethora of detail, Friedman’s book tells us very little. And what it does tell us is considerably less interesting than what it ought to be telling us. Friedman waxes on, like a boy entranced by a steam engine, about the marvels of a wired, out-sourced, in-sourced, open-sourced, supply chained world, but aside from describing its mechanics, he really has little to say about its wider significance. And much of what he does say is either wrong or superficial.

…Given Friedman’s position as, in his modest words, “the fifth foreign affairs columnist in the history of the New York Times,” one must ask why he has written a book of simplistic economic determinism in which the politics of globalization—its effect on states—is virtually ignored. The World Is Flat does not offer a persuasive framework for understanding the forces that dominate the post-cold-war world. Nor is it an alternative prism, say, to Samuel Huntington’s gloomy “clash of civilizations” theory, or Francis Fukuyama’s utopian “end of history.” It is rather an exercise in impressionism: an assemblage of dots and squiggles that, from a certain perspective, form a blurry montage. Were it a novel one might call it an “entertainment,” as Graham Greene used to refer to his lighter pieces. It is, above all, a work of excitable reportage.

Since Friedman is an enterprising reporter, his books on business and technology capture the mood of a time and a place. But they do not merely capture it, they also express it, and suffer from it. They lack intellectual and historical breadth, and they fail to ask the hard questions. They are gee-whiz stories, peopled with awesomely brainy entrepreneurs producing incredibly useful things that make the world an infinitely better place.

But the stories are superficial and one-dimensional. Missing are the wider ramifications of how the innovative corporations so beloved to Friedman may also uproot and traumatize our world. It is possible, after all, to write about business and technology in two dimensions or even three. Marx did it, and so did Veblen and Weber. And so did John Kenneth Galbraith, and so does William Greider today.

Friedman seems to think that in the contemporary world being a foreign policy analyst is the same as being a business reporter. But the obligation of a foreign policy analyst is to help his readers see America’s interaction with the world in multiple dimensions—political, cultural, military, economic, environmental, psychologica1—and not through a single lens. This means providing an insight into the complexities not only of money and technology, or the Middle East, but as citizens of the world’s most powerful nation - of just about everywhere.

The task is a tough one, but it does not demand a genius. It requires rather a knowledgeable and thoughtful person who can help us understand what we are not getting from the headlines—someone who sees the world in its many aspects, and who is able to connect the present not only to the future but to the past. For this, readers do not need a glib enthusiast or a clever simplifier. And they certainly do not need a salesman for the Next Big Thing. What they need is a cool-headed skeptic who will stay away from airports and technology parks, and instead sit at his desk for a while and think.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:50 AM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2005

Introducing Uzi Landau - Candidate for Leader of Likud and Prime Minister of the State of Israel

Redacted from an interview by Ruthie Blum
Jerusalem Post International, September 22, 2005

Uzi Landau is a married father of three who lives in Ra’anana. Landau first became a Member of the Knesset (MK) in 1984. He has chaired or been a member of numerous Knesset committees since then, including foreign affairs and defense, economic affairs, justice, and immigration and absorption.

Between March 2001 and February 2002, he served as minister of public security and as minister without portfolio between February 2002 and October 2004, when he resigned from the cabinet due to his fierce opposition to disengagement from Gaza.

Question: Why do you want to be prime minister? Don’t you have enough troubles?

Excellent question. I believe I have no choice because I have a family and over the past two years, everything in this country is failing apart. Politics are corrupt down to the core. The prime minister and his son are methodically ruining the Likud. They have turned it into a playing field for wheeling and dealing; for buying and selling political appointments for threats and promises. Where diplomacy and defense are concerned, the prime minister has reneged on the voters. We are witnessing active surrender to the brutal terrorism that has been hitting us since Oslo and particularly in the last four years, leaving unprecedented numbers of casualties.

Society too, is being split at the seams by the prime minister. The withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria is not merely a geographical pullout, but the beginning of a process of withdrawal from Zionism. It’s a spiritual withdrawal from Jewish-Zionist values. An entire culture of educating generations of pioneers to settle the country — whether The Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley Jerusalem or Gush Katif - is crumbling before our very eyes - A culture of settlement not only created and encouraged by Likud governments, but by Labor Zionists, who regarded people settling the land as emissaries of the state: As Zionists at their best; and they were.

The communities in Gush Katif, for example, were not only established as a statement of Israel’s sovereignty over the land. You could actually see a whole different culture thriving there. A different Israel, characterized by mutual respect and compassion and living by “honor thy father and mother.”

Now we have a prime minister - a man those policies I supported for dozens of years - who calls this “occupied territory.” and he’s taken this wonderful group of people and demonized them as enemies of the state.
When you look at the government’s attitude toward these people who have just been yanked out of their homes - and you hear stories of the bureaucratic nightmares they are being forced to endure - you realize that this is no longer a political drama over disengagement. It is a human tragedy.

One has to make a distinction between a policy one supports or opposes and the way in which it is achieved - whether through democratic public debate or through wheeling and dealing and threat. I’m not talkng about politics but about the very fact that decisions are being taken contrary to the democratic process. This prime minister has shaken the very foundation on which the democratic decision-making process is based. This, above all, is why he is not worthy of his post

Q. Sharon didn’t emerge from the Likud. He was originally from Mapai. Do you think there is a connection?

There is no doubt that people bring their political upbringing with them. And during the past four years, he and his son Omri have been butchering the Likud with a combination of enticements and threats in order to further some policies and stymie other policies antithetical to what the Likud stands for in order to curry favor with the Leftist media.

Q. Sharon's defenders claim that everything he has done politically has been completely legal.

When a candidate is elected on the basis of one platform, and then turns around and adopts the platform of the candidate he beat, it is fraud.

If that’s the case, why hasn’t there been a major public outcry?

That’s a separate question. I’m not saying that a prime minister can’t change his mind. But then he has to address the public and ask for renewed support.
Sharon, on the other hand, not only cheated his voters, but then he went on to promise the 200,000 Likud members that he would accept their vote on a referendum on disengagement - whatever it was. Yet, when the referendum opposed disengagement by a landslide 60-40, Sharon simply disregarded it.

To top it all off, he marketed disengagement abroad as though it were a plan forged by the government - a plan that didn’t even have a majority in the cabinet. To ensure such a majority he simply fired two ministers, Avigdor Lieberman and Benny Elon. Just like that.

Look, Sharon began with a very reasonable coalition and gradually he shed all his supporters. First, the National Union, then, the NRP then, certain Likud members; after that Shinui, and finally he brought in the Labor Party. So naturally he ended up with an uncontested government. Can anyone witness this and not fear for the future of our democracy? The Sharon I know today is a different man from the one I used to know. He underwent a fundamental metamorphosis …

First, Sharon said we have to withdraw from Gaza unilaterally because Arafat was not a partner for peace negotiations and because of our commitment to the Road Map. But then Arafat dies. Enter Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas]. It’s said of him that he’s a moderate. He wears a suit; he’s clean-shaven and smells of expensive after-shave. If so, then why not negotiate with him? Why take unilateral steps? Why not receive something in exchange?

Q. What makes you so sure that if you were prime minister you wouldn’t make similar withdrawals to those Sharon is making, or those Netanyahu made with the Hebron agreement — or those Begin made in Sinai?

This is not a question of withdrawing from territory but rather of upholding certain principles, such as that of reciprocity. It was on this very principle that I opposed the Hebron agreement and the reason Netanyahu didn’t ask me to join his cabinet.

Look, we’re engaged in a war with the Palestinians. When you’re at war, you don’t talk about compromises; you talk about victory. You have to defeat your enemy, so that when peace talks ensue, it is totally clear that you are making compromises out of generosity that the agreement you’re signing has a chance of being upheld for many years.

The trouble goes deeper than that, though. Israel is our country. What has happened here is that the Palestinians have convinced themselves and everybody else that this land is theirs. All we keep talking about is whether certain territory is necessary for our security. We’re not saying: “This is ours.”

Q. What about the consequences of disengagement on the Palestinian?

All you have to do is listen to Abu Mazen and you know that this is a victory for terrorism. He says they won’t stop until they get Jerusalem.

Q. Is Abu Mazen unable to control terrorism or is he actively encouraging it?

I don’t know. But at the moment he can’t control it, even if he wants to. I’m not so sure he wants to. He was among those who five years ago rejected the generous offers made by Barak at Camp David; he was the one who aided the terrorists at Munich; and he was a Holocaust denier. Today, when he comes out against terrorism, he says it is a tactical mistake, not an immoral act! He also says he’s not going to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure.

Q. Sources in Washington claim that Sharon initiated the disengagement plan without any US pressure and assured President Bush that it would be good for Israel at a time when the Road Map was becoming irrelevant due to a rise in suicide bombings. Do you think this is true?

I know for a fact it’s true. The Americans didn’t want it. Bush was involved in Iraq right before elections, and didn’t want anything like this. Sharon pressured him, with the help of [PM advisor Dov] Dubi Weisglass - someone totally ignorant about foreign affairs and US defense policy. But once the Americans agreed, they said: OK, you want to go ahead with it (the Gaza withdrawal)? Fine, but throw in northern Samaria while you’re at it.”

One of the country’s most momentous moves was made by a handful of people who have no knowledge of foreign affairs and defense - two PR men, the Sharon family lawyer Dubi Weisglass and Sharon’s son.

Q. Are you saying that Ariel Sharon has no knowledge of defense?

Of course he has, but when you do something this monumental, you work with a team of professionals. I mean, even the chief of staff and the head of the Shin Bet were unaware of the plan. It was all done on the sly, as though this were some banana republic.

Q. It is said that because you lack charisma, your integrity won’t help you get elected?

Was Harry Truman charismatic? No. Did he have integrity? Yes. Did he not get to be president of the United States? #

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2005

You will not believe this one!

University of Michigan Hillel Director to invite Muslim students (who, as a group, had sponsored, a couple years ago, a Divestment from Israel Nation-Wide Conference), into the Michigan Hillel building to use as a daily prayer facility!

An Eye Witness Account from the former student Governing Board Treasurer:

To whom it may concern,

When I was elected Hillel’s Governing Board Treasurer at the University of Michigan, I became one of four students on the Hillel Executive Board and one of sixteen students on the Hillel Governing Board. As a first year student without even a semester under my belt I knew little of what I was getting myself into. My preconceived notions were:
(1) That this was the Hillel that prided itself in the fact that students set policy
(2) That Hillel was staunchly Zionlst and
(3) That Hillel’s purpose was to serve the Jewish students
After over a semester as one of the four student executives I can safely and
surely say that these three assumptions are not true.

(1) Any notion that students set policy at the University of Michigan’s Hillel is false. In a landslide vote, of eighty percent or so in favor, the Hillel governing board decided to pass a kosher food policy where non-kosher food would not be allowed to be brought into the Hillel building. However, the Executive Director of Hillel, Michael Brooks, the biggest critic of this plan had other ideas. He brought the plan, without the knowledge of the governing board, to the board of Trustees where he crushed the proposal and had them veto the policy. Clearly, if a bill passed by such a majority by the Governing Board could be overturned at the Executive Director’s will, students do not set policy at Hillel.

(2) When I first got to Hillel I was disturbed by the fact that there was no Israeli flag hanging. As a Zionist, I proudly co-sponsored a Hillel amendment that proposed an Israeli flag be hung in Hillel. The biggest opponent was Hillel’s Executive Director. After endless debate that took nearly two months, the governing board finally voted to pass the amendment. After a week of the flag not being hung, I and several others took it upon ourselves to hang up the flag. Much to our dismay, the flag was taken down. After several squabbles with the executive director, finally, the flag was hung. But low and behold, as the students came back from summer vacation this semester, the flag was again taken down. This anti-Israel sentiment within the institution of Hillel, that so vehemently opposes hanging the Jewish state’s flag, should not be tolerated within a Jewish organization. To even debate being pro-Israel inside of Hillel should be deemed unacceptable.

Unfortunately, the anti-Zionist thoughts in University of Michigan’s Hillel do not end there. The play “An Olive and a Seder Plate” was brought in to perform inside of Hillel. Hillel paid over $1500 to show a play that said and advocated, “I am a Jew, and I am not pro-Israel.” Moreover, the play supported a bi-national state which would effectively dissolve Israel as a Jewish state. But, even worse than the performance itself was the anti-Israel propaganda distributed at that event.

Dozens of “Critical Moment” magazines were given out having quotes that said, “Israel is an apartheid state” and that “Israel has committed genocide against the Palestinian people.” When I removed the “Critical Moment” magazines from the event, I was reprimanded and threatened by the Executive Director that I “could be kicked off of governing board for an act like that.” Mr. Brooks made it clear that he believed it was better for Hillel to remain open minded and consider all opinions on Israel, including being anti-Israel.

True, Hillel can be critical of the Israeli government, but it should do so in the context of a Zionist framework. The fact that Hillel can allow such anti-Israel activities to even be discussed of its building is simply reprehensible.

(3) Presumably, Hillel is an organization for Jewish students. But recently the Executive Director pushed the governing board to approve a motion that allows Muslim students a place to pray within the Hillel building. The question is, is it really a good idea to encourage the Muslim student community to enter a Jewish center? If Hillel wants to make Jewish students comfortable, it is certainly not a good idea to attempt a religious mixer with the Muslim students at a Jewish center. If there were common social or religious interests between Jewish and Muslim students, they would mingle or associate with each other more. Interaction with all kinds of people is wonderful but at a center for Jews, the idea of bringing in a contentious element of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish perspective (albeit that the Muslim community is leading the campaign to divest from Israel at the University of Michigan) is genuinely off kilter.

Why not invite the local Jews-for-Jesus community into the Jewish center? I am sure the education about our religion and people might change their perspective. A Jewish center should be for Jews and Jewish prayer, not a place of refuge for Muslim students to pray to their god. Allowing Muslim students to pray in Hillel will not better the lives of Jewish students on campus, but hinder it by making Jewish students feel uncomfortable in Hillel. Frankly, this proposal makes me and dozens of my peers, who have expressed a strong aversion to this policy, feel appalled. To ignore the discomfort of Jews in their prayer space shows indisputable disregard for Jewish interests on campus. Since the mentioned motion passed, it has become clear that Hillel no longer serves the interests of the Jewish community at the University of Michigan.

Due to the lack of student authority, there is no doubt that serving the University of Michigan’s Hillel as Treasurer and Governing Board member is merely a waste of energy. Still, what is most frustrating and infuriating is the fact that Hillel’s policies are astray I would argue that the University of Michigan’s Hillel is not Zionist and does not servc Jewish students first. What is fact, however, is that the University of Michigan’s Hillel is being questioned as to its Zionist affiliation and, more importantly, whether it serves the interests of Jewish students on campus. Merely questioning these essential, Jewish values should be unacceptable for a Hillel. After nearly a year of unsuccessfully struggling to correct these essential wrongs within the University of Michigan’s Hillel, it is clear that as long as Michael Brooks remains Executive Director, Hillel’s policies will not change. Therefore, in hope to see a new professional leadership, I hereby announce my resignation as Treasurer of the University of Michigan’s Hillel.

In hope for the future,

Robert Weisenfeld
Former Governing Board Treasurer, University of Michigan Hillel

(It is my understanding that this current action by Michael Brooks created enough outrage that the Jewish community has demanded a second student vote be taken this Sunday, September 25th. Hopefully, this vote will occur without the intimidating presence of Michael Brooks and with the presence of outside monitors.) Jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:47 AM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2005

Jewish Leadership Applauds Pakistani Pres. Pervez Musharraf?

By Morton Klein, National President Zionist Organization of America

Redacted from a speech To Jewish Leaders, September 17, 2005

Jack Rosen, Chairman of the Council of World Jewry, invited me and many others to attend dinner with General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, an Islamic nation of 150 million people.

Once there, I was immediately approached by several reporters who asked me what I thought of this event. I told them that “although the organizers mean well, I was worried that this may be giving legitimacy to President Musharraf who:

Allowed thousands of madrassas (religious schools) to indoctrinate hundreds of thousands of Pakistani youngsters in Jihad education and hatred for Jews and the West;

Has allowed terror training camps to operate in his country;

Has refused to take action against the Taliban; and has provided centrifuges useful to nuclear development to Iran.”

It was also troubling that CIA Director Porter Goss had recently said that the U.S. is certain that Osama bin-Laden is in Pakistan – but that Pakistan is really not cooperating in apprehending him.

But, I said I was looking forward to President Musharraf changing my mind.
Almost everyone I met at the dinner felt differently. They thought this meeting would bring Pakistan closer to Israel, will cause more moderation of Musharraf’s views, and even impact the larger Muslim world in a positive way. When President Musharraf entered the dining room, he immediately received a standing ovation by the several hundred mostly Jewish people there, including many Jewish organization heads. (I remained seated.)

Musharraf began by immediately calling Jews “the most influential community in the United States.” (I was frankly troubled by this statement. Since the Muslim world despises the U.S., they will not appreciate the claim that Jews have a great influence over U.S. policy.) He then expressed chagrin that “Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are pitted against each other.” (Really, I thought, Muslims were intentionally murdering Jews and Christians around the world as well as demonizing them – not the other way around.)

He said that “the relationship between Muslims and Jews had always been wonderful and that the past 6 decades are an aberration in the long history of Muslim-Jewish cooperation and co-existence.” Musharraf seemed to ignore the fact that Muslims massacred Jews who refused to convert when Islam first began 1300 years ago. Even in the past century, Arab Muslims murdered Jews in 1920-21, 1929, 1936-39 – before there was a Jewish State.

I was troubled by his implication that it was the re-establishment of Israel six decades ago that caused the problems between Muslims and Jews - this, despite the fact that Israel was re-established on only 12% of original Palestine. Jordan was given 78% of Palestine by the British in the early 20's and 10% of Palestine was offered to the Arabs as a State in 1948 but the Arabs rejected this offer and went to war against the fledgling state of Israel.

Although he acknowledged that the “Jewish people suffered their greatest tragedy, the Holocaust in this century” – he added “the Palestinians also suffered their greatest tragedy in this brutal century.” This was a most bizarre and inappropriate analogy between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Arab experience.

The fact is that the plight of the Palestinian Arabs is almost entirely due to their own rejection of statehood, and their Arab brothers and sisters keeping them in refugee camps and refusing to absorb them into their 22 countries, while the one Jewish country absorbed 800,000 Jews in a short period of time after 1948. In addition the Palestinian Arabs turned down a State in 1948 and also rejected a state in 2000 and also refused to establish one during the years 1948 to 1967 when Arabs controlled all of Judea & Samaria, Gaza, and eastern Jerusalem that they now claim for a state.

It was also disconcerting to hear Musharraf single out only one Jew in his speech because that Jew one who has viciously attacked Israel time and again. His name is George Soros. (Musharraf thanked Soros for helping Muslims.)

While he did make a general criticism of “terrorism” around the world, President Musharraf never specifically mentioned the terrorism or suicide bombing that Israel endures!! That should have been an imperative when speaking to a Jewish audience. Yet he did allege “most of those who suffer the consequences of terrorist acts are Muslims.” He also never mentioned the name of one Muslim terrorism group – not al-Qaeda, not Hamas, not Hezbollah!!

Musharraf did say “we must look at the motivations of the root causes of terrorists...that pushes them to such extremes of desperation.” (When a reporter later asked me about the root causes of Arab terrorism against Israel – I said it was the same as the root cause of the murder of Jews by the Nazis – they educate throughout their society to hate and murder Jews.) Musharraf’s answer to the root cause was, “Palestine has been at the heart of the troubles in the Middle East.

I do not have an iota of doubt that the Israeli-Palestinian problem lies at the heart of terrorism in the Middle East and beyond.” This statement was not only shocking but also ludicrous. Doesn’t Musharraf know Muslims were murdering Jews before Israel existed; that before Israel captured Judea & Samaria and Gaza and the Golan and eastern Jerusalem and the Sinai in 1967, there were 3 Arab wars (1948-56-67) and constant terrorism and no interest in establishing another Arab State there.

Does he really think that al-Qaeda is murdering Westerners because of Israel? Bin-Laden’s first five reasons he gave in 1997 for his war against the West never mentioned Israel. Does he really think the bombing of the World Trade Center; the trains in Britain and Spain; the terrorist murders in Bali, Egypt, the Philippines, and elsewhere is due to the Arab-Israeli issue. Does he think Iraq and Iran were at war for 8 years; that Saddam murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people; that Arafat’s Black September murdered 5000 Jordanians, that Egypt’s war with Chad and Iraq’s war with Kuwait was due to the Israel issue? What utter nonsense.

Musharraf also said “Security for Israel will remain incomplete until the creation of a Palestinian State.” (That could be construed as a threat and not simply as a prediction.) Then he said that Israel must “withdraw from the West Bank...and for durable peace and harmony between Israelis and Palestinian – indeed between Israel and the Muslim world. Then he made a more disturbing statement – “any final settlement must respect the international character of Jerusalem as well as international law and the resolutions of the UN Security Councils.”

It was frightening to hear Musharraf tell a Jewish audience that we must expect “incomplete security” meaning terrorism will continue until there is a Palestinian State and that Jerusalem must be internationalized, and that Israel must fulfill the numerous (anti-Israel) resolutions of the UN.

He claimed that the problems Pakistan has with recognizing Israel is the lack of a Palestinian State. Again he ignores the fact that they could have had a State from 1948 to 1967 when the Arabs controlled the lands now proposed for a State. But we must forget that even before 1967 – when Arabs controlled those lands – Pakistan didn’t recognize Israel then either.

In his entire speech, he only made demands about what Israel must do – but not a single statement about the obligations of the Palestinian Authority to Israel and to the world, under Oslo and the Road Map.

I was surprised, disappointed and troubled that President Musharraf would give such a non-conciliatory speech that was unfriendly to Israel in front of a Jewish audience. It seems to me that if he was not ready to give a more conciliatory speech, he shouldn’t have been invited and shouldn’t have accepted this invitation. I am also concerned that since this speech was given in an apparent effort to reach out to Jews, the extreme hostile Arab Orthodoxy promoted by Musharraf, that the Israel issue is the real cause of terror, that Israel should honor all (anti-Israel) UN Resolutions, that a Palestinian State will solve everything, and that Jerusalem should be internationalized, can only become more entrenched in the eyes of Muslims and the rest of the world.

This is especially true because these statements were made by a man that some now view as being “moderate” toward Israel. The nature of this speech made it more clear to me that his real purpose was better relations with the U.S., not Israel, primarily motivated by concerns of his personal safety and his problems with India.

In a more positive note, I should say that although his speech was disquieting, the fact that he gave this speech to a Jewish audience under the auspices of a Jewish group, in front of Pakistani and other Muslim TV cameras might have some positive value. Muslims will have heard President Musharraf say that Jewish groups were visible in opposing ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia. He also stated that Jews and Muslims “have many similarities and divergences in their faith and culture. He also said that Moses is the prophet most mentioned in the Koran. He also thanked Jews for their help to Muslims in the U.S. These comments may help to improve the image of the Jew to Muslims.

But his speech was still painful and disappointing. It is therefore unnerving to see President Musharraf receive a standing ovation by this mostly Jewish audience. This ovation can only send a message to him and to other Muslims that we agreed with most of his points which were not favorable toward Israel, including his public refusal to recognize Israel diplomatically especially after Israel and the world has recognized the Palestinian Authority.

It seems that we Jews are much too willing to accept any overture at all from a hostile world. After 2000 years of we Jews being hated, persecuted, massacred, pogromed, and Holocausted, we are all too acquiescent to accept even a most minimal overture in order to, in a sense, plead with the world to stop hating us and stop killing us. But I believe that strength and courage and standing up for truth are the only ways we will gain the world’s respect and reduce their animosity.

When Pakistani TV stations and the U.S. media interviewed me after the speech, I expressed my concerns about Musharraf’s speech clearly and respectfully. I hope other Jewish organizations will stand up for the truth about this and other issues and not simply try to appease a hostile world.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:21 AM | Comments (1)

September 20, 2005

Another view of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

By Yehudit Tayar

The pathetic appearance of Sharon in front of the international forum of nations was as appalling as it was unsurprising. For Sharon to run to this collection of nations who have continuously contributed to the ongoing terror directed against the people of Israel was expected. Who else would he run to - to his fellow countrymen who are reeling in the aftermath of the premeditated, undemocratic use of army and police to ethnically cleanse Jews from their homes and cemeteries?

The political mechanism that had planned and prepared the deportation so meticulously, also willfully did not prepare any solutions for the Jews who were thrown out of their homes - no place prepared to live for them to live collectively - no schools were prepared for the thousands of children from pre-school through high school age - no chance of finding jobs for almost all of the deportees - none of the minimum preparation for any of the most basic needs for families with special needs: handicapped, small infants, and the elderly.

Yes Sharon, you received the warm acceptance of a crowd of those who incredulously saw you who was supposed to protect his citizens, instead capitulate to terror, split the nation, and stand there in front of the world gloating on what is a personal agenda, while ignoring the most important issues at hand.

Not one word regarding the desecration of synagogues, not one word about the destruction, and continued terror attacks even while we were dragged out of our homes. Not a word about the lies, deception, not a word about those citizens of Israel who were deprived of the most basic human civil rights under your regime of decadence, corruption and terror.

Of course they embraced you. You did the work for all of those who hate us and wish to destroy us. You answered the long awaited dream of all those who wish for us to disappear and you yourself implemented what they believe to be the first steps toward this goal: to destroy the Jewish homeland.

You Sharon, along with Peres, Mofaz, Mazoz and all of your puppets, will be remembered through eternity with the same shame that other traitors are remembered. All of those who collaborated with the enemy, who persecuted their own people for power, political gain, money and prestige.

We will never forget that you turned the Israeli Defense Forces into robots of shame, and that instead of using all of the resources put into throwing us out of our homes and Land, you should have used these resources to prevent and respond to terrorism, and protect Jewish lives.

Presently we are trying to get our lives back together. We are in mourning for all that was lost - not only our communities, our cemeteries, our schools, and synagogues - but also the loss of faith that we had in those who were elected to protect Jewish lives.

We know that not only was this a tragic mistake for us personally, but also for the country, for we will have to go back in there, take control from the chaotic terrorism rampant there, and pay in blood as usually happens when governments are irresponsible and make dangerous decisions.

You, Sharon, along with Peres and company fool yourselves into believing the embraces and handshakes of all of those who greeted you at the United Nations. You, however, Ariel Sharon are the epitome of the fame of shame, famous because of the shame that you brought upon yourself and the shame that you brought to our country.

It will now depend on us to pick up those pieces too and turn our country into what it is supposed to be : a haven and homeland for the Jewish people and a light to the world. We must find true leadership that will restore the faith that you have destroyed along with our beautiful communities. We must teach those gloating terrorists, who under your protection, continue to attack us and destroy any symbol of Judaism.

We must bring honor back to the State of Israel after you not only destroyed it, but collaborated with all those who wish to destroy us as you stood on the stage of the United Nations, while the world mocked us and you. Yours is the fame of shame forever more.

The writer is a veteran spokesperson for the Settlement Movement and lives with her husband and family in the Shomron with the entire family serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2005

Mort Klein, ZOA President defines Palestinian Arab Problem


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) finds it painful to see that 12 years after Oslo began, after major concessions of giving away one-half of Judea & Samaria and all of Gaza, arming the Palestinian police, forcibly removing 10,000 Jews from their homes, and billions of dollars in international aid; it is still necessary for the Israeli Prime Minister once again to plead in his United Nations speech yesterday with “the Palestinian leadership to end terror and its infrastructures, eliminate the armed gangs, and cease the incitement and indoctrination of hatred toward Israel and the Jews.”

ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “Who would have believed 12 years ago that this sort of speech would still be necessary. It is high time for Israel and the US to stop its pleading, stop its funding, and stop its negotiating with the Palestinian Authority (PA). There must be serious consequences to the PA’s unending anti-peace, pro-terror actions. Sharon and Bush should simply cut off all aid and continuously and severely respond to terror until the terror and incitement stops. Negotiations and concessions have failed. It is clear that the Arab war against Israel is not about economics or land but about the existence of a Jewish State within any border.

“Israel does not exist on any map in the PA schools or offices. Recent speeches by PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas calling for a ‘mixture of populations in Palestine’ indicate Abbas’ real aim is ending the Jewish State of Israel. In fact, when President Bush asked Abbas to publicly refer to Israel as the Jewish ‘state,’ Abbas refused. Each May, the Palestinians rally and call the creation of Israel ‘a catastrophe’”

Klein added that “It was also painful and incomprehensible to hear Sharon say he ‘respects’ the Palestinians. How can the leader of the Jewish State make this complimentary characterization after 12 years in which Palestinians have murdered 1500 Israelis and maimed 10,000 more.

How can Sharon say he ‘respects’ the Palestinians days after they destroyed over 40 holy synagogues, looted the homes of the Gaza Jews, and destroyed the Jewish greenhouses left behind for their own use that Jewish millionaires bought for them. How can Sharon respect a people the majority of whom still support suicide bombings against Jews. How can he respect a people who refuse to arrest murderers of Jews and disarm and dismantle the anti-Jewish terror groups. How can he respect a people who refer to killers of Jews as martyrs and heroes.

“We are also puzzled as to why Sharon, in his speech, again calls for a sovereign Palestinian State. Doesn’t Sharon understand that such a state will now simply be a terror state? Sovereignty doesn’t end terror, it only strengthens the underlying culture to promote their agenda. Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Iran are sovereign states. Are they lovely and peaceful. A Palestinian State would only join the list of rogue states and cause more problems for Israel and the U.S.

In a recent poll, by McLaughlin and Associates, by a margin of 3 to 1, Americans said a Palestinian State would be a terrorist state whose goal is to destroy Israel and not to live in peace. Americans understand. There should be no discussion of any Palestinian state unless and until the Palestinian Arab society is transformed and lives peacefully with Israel for many years.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 17, 2005

How to Describe the Self-hating Jew?

By Jerome S. Kaufman

You could conceivably refer the person to the grossly overrated egomaniacal, inane opinions of Thomas Friedman and the New York Times.

Or, you could refer them to a review in World Jewish News Agency of an article, written by Ms. Oz-Salzberger that recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal:

Or, you could direct them to an article by Leon Wieseltier that just appeared in The New Republic (TNR) of September 2, 2005. Excerpts from that article appear below. Weiseltier is commenting upon the withdrawal from Gaza. His opening paragraph reads:

“EVEN FACED WITH the idea of Greater Palestine, it is impossible not to rejoice in the defeat of the idea of Greater Israel. It was always a foul idea, morally and strategically. It promoted the immediate ecstasy of the few above the eventual safety of the many; it introduced the toxins of messianism and mysticism into the politics of a great modern democracy; it preferred chosenness to human rights; it subordinated laws to visions, and the Jewish state to the Jewish millennium, it worshipped soil in a primitive, almost Un-Jewish way. The settlers of the West Bank and Gaza are not a Jewish vanguard, they are a Jewish sect; and in their insistence that the destiny of their state and their society should be held hostage to the fulfillment of their metaphysical and historical conceptions, they have always displayed a sectarian self-love.”

Do we really have to go any further? How can one paragraph encompass so much self-hatred and hatred of one’s basic origins and the people from whence he obtained his genetic pool?

What exactly is Weiseltier saying?

“EVEN FACED WITH the idea of Greater Palestine, it is impossible not to rejoice in the defeat of the idea of Greater Israel."

Weiseltier would rather Israel’s mortal enemy, sworn to her destruction, take over the territories and create a “Greater Palestine” than his own people. He abhors that the Jews should have the land G-d dedicated for them - not to mention the declarations of the world’s infinitesimal political powers like the British who rapidly changed its mind and the League of Nations whose Mandate was completely ignored by the United Nations.

"It was always a foul idea, morally and strategically."

How dare this truly ignorant, godless man determine what is “foul” and declare what is strategically not viable!

"It promoted the immediate ecstasy of the few above the eventual safety of the many."

Here this same self-hater resents and begrudges the great joy that the true believer experiences from returning to the biblical homeland of his people and the most likely possibility of sanctuary for his people persecuted and virtually castrated physically and mentally for almost 2000 years of Diaspora. And, in his delusion and ignorance, declares the many will be “safer” having given up Gaza and the rest of the territories.

"It introduced the toxins of messianism and mysticism into the politics of a great modern democracy."

Here the true secularist steps completely forward in his disdain and abhorrence of anything smacking remotely of religion. G-d forbid anyone should believe in G-d! And how could a “great modern democracy” possibly encompass any religion rather than the mirage of “feel good” politics and moral standard?

"It preferred chosenness to human rights."

How embarrassing to the secularist desperately trying to prove to his non-Jewish friends that he is just one of the boys. Of course, he could not claim G-d did not pick the Jews as his chosen people. Never mind that the entire non-Jewish community fully understands that divine act and either loves us or hates us as a result.

"It subordinated laws to vision"

Here he had the audacity to brag about the gross, illegal machinations of Ariel Sharon and how he dismissed anyone that disagreed with his suicidal policies, ignored the public mandate under which he was elected, shamelessly maneuvered an entire political disaster to protect his own hide and that of his sons. And Weiseltier now describes this fatal activity as a true democratic process now somehow resulting in indisputable “law.”

And that is only addressing the first paragraph of this disgraceful diatribe! You could read the rest, if you have the stomach, in TNR, September 2, 2005

Now what to do? Unfortunately the only thing I can do is make the paltry gesture of canceling my subscription to the New Republic magazine for publishing Weiseltier. Because, how far off could they be from his self-hating opinions?

Jerome S. Kaufman

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2005

President Bush’s Fault, Of Course

(For the impossibly complex Iraqi constitutional attempt and for thousands of years of ethnic hatred, as summarized in the liberal New Republic - jsk)

Redacted from article by SPENCER ACKERMAN
New Republic, September 12, 2005

TWO WEEKS AGO, Amar Al Hakim, the son of Iraqi Shia theocrat Abdul Aziz Al Hakim, who occupies a position of enormous political influence in the ruling United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) bloc, arrived in Washington to solicit U.S. support for a radical undertaking.

At a briefing for journalists and think-tankers at Freedom House’s offices, the younger Hakim explained that the constitution, then being drafted by the Shia and the Kurds, needed to ensure that no legislation could “contradict with Islamic law.” Many in the crowd were appalled when, as Eli Lake reported in The New York Sun, Hakim “fell short when trying to detail how an adherence to Islamic law could co-exist with individual rights.”

But, if his audience left the meeting with a sinking feeling— Freedom House’s Nina Shea, who has briefed President Bush personally on Iraq, warned that “the American people are not going to support a regime where rape victims are either stoned for adultery or forced to marry their rapists” — Hakim himself was unconcerned. On Islamist principles, he insisted, there would be no compromise or retreat—and the draft constitution ultimately reflected that sentiment.

But Hakim’s insistence on an Islamist constitution was nowhere near as radical as another objective he pursued in Washington. The Sunnis, furious over what protest banners this week called THE ZIONIST-AMERICAN-IRANIAN CONSTITUTION, have sworn to defeat the constitution — a proxy issue for who controls Iraq—in October’s ratification vote; and, by pushing the document through parliament against vociferous Sunni objections, the Shia and the Kurds have effectively dared them to.

For the first time since the March 2003 invasion, Iraqi politics have cleaved along sectarian lines in a zero-sum game. It is very difficult to imagine that whichever ethno-religious faction loses the October vote will remain part of the political process. And that’s where Hakim comes in. At the Freedom House briefing and elsewhere, Hakim met with a raft of influential officials—including Liz, Cheney, the number-two official at the State Department’s Middle East bureau and daughter of the vice president—to propose, as David Ignatius sympathetically wrote in The Washington Post, “a strategic alliance between Najaf and Washington.” To put it less delicately, the UIA recognizes the imminence of civil war, and Hakim sought to persuade the Bush administration to support its side.

It’s true that the U.S.-backed political process has already empowered the Shia majority. But to actively back a faction in a prospective civil war would push the disastrous Iraq occupation into the abyss. Not only would the United States effectively be licensing sectarian killings, but we would essentially be guaranteeing the mobilization of Iraq’s five million Sunnis into a massively augmented insurgency.

Even worse, a decision to explicitly support the Shia in Iraq would force the United States into a central cleavage of Islam and might prove intolerably provocative to Sunnis beyond Iraq, who make up 85 percent of the world’s billion-plus Muslims — a blueprint for turning the broader war on terrorism into an unwinnable clash of civilizations.

FOR ALL THE talk from the administration about staying the course, after last week, there is increasingly little course with which to stay. Thousands of Sunnis poured into the streets to demand the rejection of the constitution. Saleh Mutlak, the embittered chief Sunni negotiator, urged the consolidation this week of an “anti-constitution front.”

Meanwhile, Shia counter-demonstrators have chanted, “Go die, Baathists” —meaning Sunnis. They intend to make good on the threat: Not only has the UIA’s Bach Corps militia been accused of assassinating Sunnis, but smaller militias have formed to take revenge on an insurgency that has increasingly targeted Shia civilians. The constitution has put the spark to this powder keg, threatening to lead whomever loses the October vote out of the political process and into open armed conflict.

Bush’s response has been to offer up new heights of unreality. At an appearance in Idaho, he called the constitution an “amazing event” and dismissed Sunni fury as “one voice.” Likewise, Donald Rumsfeld equated Sunni threats with U.S. congressional debate. All this unreality is strategic. Facing up to the events of last week carries with it the implicit question of whether U.S. troops should continue to die for a fracturing country or a constitution that effectively establishes a theocracy.

And that gives the UIA an opportunity. With Bush willing to portray the disintegration of Iraq as reminiscent of America’s founding, the UIA hopes to secure intensified U.S. backing by depicting itself as the standard-bearer of democracy. “If I could sum up his theme in one sentence,” Ignatius wrote after meeting with Hakim, “it is that the United States should continue to bet on democracy in Iraq— which of necessity means relying on Iraq’s Shiite majority and the mullahs who speak for it.”

The intellectual work of equating democracy with theocracy has largely been accomplished by scholars like Reuel Marc Gerecht, whose recent monograph The Islamic Paradox contended that there was no significant tension between Shia illiberalism and representative democracy. Fouad Ajami wrote in US. News this week that “talk of theocracy” is merely “a coded attack on the political aspirations of the Shiite majority of Iraq.”

Unfortunately, those aspirations include the placement of clerics on a court that will interpret legislation for its compliance with Islam, a move disturbingly reminiscent of the Iranian system of clerical domination.

“Religious freedom is negated by sharia, and individual rights hinge on religious freedom in a Muslim context,” says Shea. The aspirations of many Shia also surely include revenge on the Sunnis for decades of domination. That suits some in the Pentagon just fine. Proponents of the so-called “Salvador option” contend that U.S. forces should be augmented by Shia and Kurdish commando squads that will attack entire Sunni villages in the name of counterinsurgency (see Jonathan D. Tepperman, “Flash Back,” April 11).

The prospects for the administration portraying all sorts of illiberalism and sectarian bloodshed as consistent with an inexorably advancing democracy was chillingly foreshadowed by Rumsfeld, who told soldiers at Fort Irwin on Monday, “Democracy is not perfect.”

Whether Bush will ultimately embrace Hakim’s proposal is uncertain. According to Gerecht, unease with the Shia exists across the administration, but, he says, “I’m sure there’s receptivity” to the idea of recognizing that “we do have a real partner in Najaf.” But Bush might well remember that his supposed rationale for invading Iraq is to advance the war on terrorism, which is, in no small part, about convincing millions of Sunnis worldwide that the United States is not opposed to their religion. Unfortunately, in Iraq, acting against U.S. interests is about the only thing Bush has done successfully. (Author’s conclusion, not mine - jsk).

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2005

As Christianity burns ...

By Daniel Pipes

(Christianity is being destroyed throughout the Middle East while Episcopalians, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Mainline Christian denominations elect to ignore the real issue finding it much easier to blame the usual suspects.) | September 13, 2005

What some observers are calling a pogrom took place near Ramallah, West Bank, on the night of Sep. 3-4. That’s when fifteen Muslim youths from one village, Dair Jarir, rampaged against Taybeh, a neighboring all-Christian village of 1,500 people. The reason for the assault? A Muslim woman from Dair Jarir, Hiyam Ajaj, 23, fell in love with her Christian boss, Mehdi Khouriyye, owner of a tailor shop in Taybeh. The couple maintained a clandestine two-year affair and she became pregnant in about March 2005. When her family learned of her condition, it murdered her.

That was on about Sep. 1; unsatisfied even with this “honor killing” – for Islamic law strictly forbids non-Muslim males to have sexual relations with Muslim females – the Ajaj men sought vengeance against Khouriyye and his family.They took it two days later in an assault on Taybeh. The Ajajs and their friends broke into houses and stole furniture, jewelry, and electrical appliances. They threw Molotov cocktails at some buildings and poured kerosene on others, then torched them. The damage included at least 16 houses, some stores, a farm, and a gas station. The assailants vandalized cars, looted extensively, and destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary.“It was like a war,” one Taybeh resident told The Jerusalem Post.

Hours passed before the Palestinian Authority security and fire services arrived. The fifteen assailants spent only a few hours in police detention, then were released. As for Khouriyye, the Palestinian police arrested him, kept him jail, and (his family says) have repeatedly beaten him. As the news service Adnkronos International notes, for Palestinian Christians “the fact that the Muslim aggressors have been released while the Christian tailor-shop owner is still being held, at best symbolizes the PA’s indifference to the plight of Palestinian Christians, At worst it shows it is taking sides against them.”

A cousin, Suleiman Khouriyye, pointed to his burned house. “They did this because we’re Christians. They did this because we are the weaker ones.” The Khouriyyes and others recall the assailants shouting Allahu Akbar and anti-Christian slogans: “Burn the infidels, burn the Crusaders.” To which, an unrepentant cousin of Hiyam Ajaj replied, “We burned their houses because they dishonored our family, not because they are Christians.”

This assault fits a larger pattern. According to the Catholic Custodian of the Holy Land, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Christians in the Bethlehem region alone have suffered 93 cases of injustice in 2000-04. In the worst of these, in 2002, Muslims murdered the two Amre sisters, 17 and 19 years old, whom they called prostitutes. A post-mortem, however, showed the teenagers to have been virgins – and to have been tortured on their genitals.“

Almost every day – I repeat, almost every day – our communities are harassed by the Islamic extremists in these regions,” Pizzaballa says. “And if it’s not the members of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, there are clashes with … the Palestinian Authority.” In addition to the Islamists, a “Muslim land mafia” is said to operate. With PA complicity, it threatens Christian land and house owners, often succeeding to compel them to abandon their properties.The campaign of persecution has succeeded.

Even as the Christian population of Israel grows, that of the Palestinian Authority shrinks precipitously. Bethlehem and Nazareth, historic Christian towns for nearly two millennia, are now primarily Muslim. In 1922, Christians outnumbered Muslims in Jerusalem; today, Christians amount to a mere 2 percent of that city’s population. “Is Christian life liable to be reduced to empty church buildings and a congregation-less hierarchy with no flock in the birthplace of Christianity?” So asks Daphne Tsimhoni in the Middle East Quarterly.

It is hard to see what will prevent that ghost-like future from coming into existence.One factor that could help prevent this dismal outcome would be for mainline Protestant churches to speak out against Palestinian Muslims for tormenting and expelling Palestinian Christians. To date, unfortunately, the Episcopalian, Evangelical Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches, as well as the United Church of Christ, have ignored the problem. Instead, they pursue the self-indulgent path of venting moral outrage against the Israeli bystander and even withdrawing their investment funds from it. As they obsess with Israel but stay silent about Christianity dying in its birthplace one wonders what it will take to awaken them.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:04 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2005

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam

By Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer has written five books about Islam. His newest book is “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).

Following is an interview of Mr. Spencer by Amy Doolittle
THE WASHINGTON TIMES, September 4, 2005

Question: Why did you write this book?
Answer: I wrote this book in order to counteract a lot of politically correct falsehood about Islam and terrorism that are hindering our response to this problem.

Q: You’ve written several books on Islam before. What’s different about this one?
A Obviously, it contains different information in an approach that I haven’t taken before. It discusses the Crusades, which I’ve never done at length, and it tries to make the case in a form that people who are in a hurry and don’t wish to delve deeply and can find as a ready reference.

Q:What has been the reaction to the book?
A: It’s either enthusiastically positive or vehemently negative. The negative responses are not only from Muslims.— some have been very positive — but the leftist intellectuals, who are convinced that the West can never be anything but the oppressor and the non-West can never be anything but the victim, are really negative. Everything that I say in the book is amply documented by Islamic sources. I think the prevailing multicultural politically correct assumption that Islam is a religion of peace is founded more on fantasy than on fact.

Q: Where did the belief that it is a “religion of peace” come from?

A: A variety of sources. The idea that it’s a religion of peace was propagated most effectively when the British wanted to enter into an alliaice with the Ottoman Empire. The British people knew of the violence and didn’t want them as an ally to the British state. The British picked up the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, and they propagated that in order to make the alliance more palatable.

Also, you have terrorists themselves insisting that it is a religion of peace, by which they mean the peace that will be established in the world when Islam reigns supreme. The idea also comes from an unexamined assumption that anything that is a religion must necessarily teach the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. But Islam doesn’t teach these things; It makes a sharp distinction between believers and -believers.

It is also fostered by the President’s desire to avoid war with the entire Islamic world, which I think is a commendable desire, but I don’t think he’s going [about] it the right way.

Q: What is the right way?
A: There are states that are claiming to be our allies — Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, most notably. But in Pakistani public schools they still teach warfare and hate against Christians, This is what has to be faced. The simple declaration of being against terrorism is no longer enough, if it ever was.
The president should call upon them to eliminate these elements of Islamic teaching. Too little has been done to try to pressure them to back up their anti-terror words with deeds.

Q: Does it frustrate you to hear leaders say that Islam is a religion of peace?
A: The depth of ignorance and the tenacity of denial never cease to amaze me. At this point, I’m not so much frustrated; it’s just a reality of life.

Q: Do you think American Islam is a lot like American Catholicism or Protestantism in that a lot of believers don’t really understand their religion?
A: It’s true to a very large degree. After all, Islam, like any other religion, has a spectrum and there are some who are very fervent and knowledgeable, and there are others who consider themselves to be members but don’t have any knowledge. Islam is essentially an Arabic religion. It must be prayed in Arabic (Muslims say) God doesn’t hare prayers in any other language. I was speaking with a Pakistani Muslim, and he said he was very proud of being a Muslim and had memorized large portions of the Koran and someday was going to buy a translation to learn what it all means.
People use “Muslim” and “Arab” as synonyms, but they aren’t. Most Muslims are not Arab.

Q: How, then, are people misdirected to believe that it is a religion of peace?
A: They might be taught that, depending on their mosque. There is jihad taught in mosques, but at the same time they might be taught that it is a religion of peace. America is a country of civic religion so that you will find a general imperative to be nice to people. That’s taught all over and is not necessarily bound to one creed at all. I think it’s taught in many American mosques …
I firmly believe that Islam can only exist as a religion of peace if Muslims confront and refute the Muslims who hold to the jihad elements. The problem is that they aren’t going to convince the jihad terrorists to lay down arms if they ignore the elements that terrorists use to recruit new terrorists. The only way they will be able to create a lasting framework is to say “we reject the jihadist understanding of these verses in the Koran and we call upon Muslims to reject them and accept this understanding of Islam that is an alternative?’ This is going to be very difflcult because the jihadists do have the text on their side.

Q: What is your religion?
A. I’m a Christian
Q:Does that change how your approach to this subject?
A: It doesn’t change it one bit. I am forming a coalition of Buddhists, Christians and other relegions - all the potential victims of jihad violence—to resist this together.

Q: Are you advocating a large-scale Christian conversion of Muslims?
A: I’m not doing that I don’t think that’s possible, as a matter of fact. I believe that proselytization should certainly be allowed in countries where it is not and freedom of conscience should be allowed, which is denied by Muslim law. I don’t think it’s realistic that you will see a large-scale conversion.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:08 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2005

Bring Back the British Mandate! (Huh?)


THE JEWISH PRESS, September 2, 2005

Bring back the Mandate to Palestine? What an absurd suggestion, least of all coming from an ardent admirer of Menachem Begin, the man who did more than most to remove the British from Israel. If, however, there is to be a new state of Palestine to be established behind our newest border at Gaza, I say it should be born out of the same mandatory conditions from which the State of Israel emerged. The parallels are interesting and ironic.

The carve-up of the Middle East into “Mandatories” was initiated by the League of Nations at the end of the First World War, using Britain and France as “big brothers” to normalize the territories formerly controlled by the disintegrated Ottoman Empire. While the mandate for Palestine was supposed to be based on the principles of the Balfour Declaration, its British trustees made it their business to frustrate, undermine and ultimately endanger the builders of the Jewish National Home.

The British saw their primary role as protecting the majority Arab population and ensuring that they would not be undermined by Jewish immigrants seeking to take over land and resources. While Jews struggled to procure essential supplies, fuel and, ultimately, arms and ammunition, these resources flowed freely to the Arabs unhindered at checkpoints and seaports.

Isn’t this exactly what is needed for the new state of Palestine? Its Arab population has been undermined for decades by outsiders like Iran’s mullahs, Saudi Arabia’s sheikhs, and Syria’s dictators - not to mention the Egyptian-born Yasir Arafat. The world now waits to see whether the Palestinian Authority will survive as a fledgling state or if it will be overrun by Hamas and turned into a terrorist kleptocracy. Currently all bets are on Hamas.

So I say, let the mandate return to Palestine. Let it support Abbas and his people with the same resolve as the British supported the Mufti of Jerusalem. Let it control the arms smuggling tunnels just as fiercely as the British operated their roadblocks against the Jews. And if Gaza is to have its own international seaport, let the new mandatory force turn back Iranian arms shipments with the same cold-blooded resolve as they turned back Jewish refugees to face certain death in Nazi-occupied Europe. And let them hang Hamas terrorists with the same convenient interpretation of the Geneva Convention as the British justified the hanging of seven heroes of the Irgun resistance in 1947.

The sad truth is that, for Israel, the mandate never really did come to an end. Look at the Jewish state now. With all the world-beating progress Israel has made in 57 years, it has still been living under someone else’s mandate, whether the U.S., the EU, the Quartet or the UN. In all that time the Powers That Be have presumed to re-draw the borders of the sovereign nation of Israel — in order to keep their oil supplies flowing and, move recently, to keep terrorism off their own streets.

Having traveled a treacherous route through Camp David, Madrid, Oslo, Wye, Taba and Sharm (chasing the so-called Peace Process), the State of Israelis now told it needs a Road Map.

How little has changed since the League of Nations’ mandate was created. It was on a Sunday, April day in 1920 in the small Italian town of San Remo, that officials from Britain and France drew up a new map of the Middle East while the American ambassador read a newspaper in his garden. Has this process not continued, with the same indifference to our people, over the last 50 years?

The only way to purge this latent mandate is to utilize the same tactics that were used to force the end of the British mandate. Israel must stop looking and acting like a client state and be prepared to assert its rights to this land with active resistance to external control over its borders and security needs.

However daunting it may seem for Israel to upset its strongest ally in the U.S. or its largest trading partners in the European Union, it is a far lesser challenge than that faced by the fledgling Jewish state in 1948, when the price of ending the British mandate was invasion by five Arab armies.

Zalmi Unsdorfer is chairman of the Likud-Herut party in the United Kingdom

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 08, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI Condemns anti-Semitism

Speaking to representatives from Cologne’s Jewish and Muslim communities, he condemned rising anti-Semitism and called for an end to terrorist violence.

Washington Times September 11, 2005

If the highly regarded showmanship of Pope John Paul II allowed cynics to dismiss the tremendous attendance at previous World Youth Days including 1.6 million people in Poland in 1991 and a staggering 5 million people in Manila in1993 — as merely the appeal of the dynamic and engaging pontiff, then clearly the success of Pope Benedict XVI in Cologne should convey the real reason for the event’s success: the value of the message.

In his first foreign trip as pope, Benedict returned to his German homeland to continue the World Youth Day tradition started by his predecessor in 1984. Benedict successfully subordinated himself to his message, clearly emphasizing the fact that the appeal of the church resides in the potency of the latter rather than the captivating rhetorical quality of the former. Not clearly enough for some, though, as the New York Times’ reporter Ian Fisher muses, “one remaining question seemed to be whether Benedict’s message, if not his stage presence, would have continuing appeal to young people:’ Mr. Fisher, writing the New York Times only article Aug. 22 on World Youth Day, neglects the pope’s message for his own opinion that John Paul succeeded in spite of Catholicism, not because of it.

The message that Benedict conveyed throughout his visit to Germany was one of inclusion, reaching out and embracing others. Speaking to representatives from Cologne’s Jewish and Muslim communities, he condemned rising anti-Semitism and called for an end to terrorist violence.

“If together we can succeed in eliminating from hearts any trace of rancor, in resisting every form of intolerance and opposing every manifestation of violence’, Benedict challenged, “we will turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many people and hinders progress towards peace!’

The real triumph of World Youth Day, bringing together the young people in a spiritual embrace during a formative period of their lives, shone through. Benedict reminded a group of German bishops, “Young people, in fact, are not looking for a church which panders to youth but one which is truly young in spirit?’

Through his entire four-day visit, Benedict never forgot the purpose that John Paul intended the World Youth Day to serve. Nowhere is this more evident than in his charge to Muslin’ leaders:

“Teaching is the vehicle through which ideas and convictions are transmitted. …You, therefore, have a great responsibility for the formation of the younger generations. As Christians and Muslims, we must face together the challenges of our time. There is no room for apathy and disengagement,” the pope reminded us all, “and even less for partiality and sectarianism?’ This, indeed, is what World Youth Day is all about

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September 07, 2005

A Snapshot of Judge John G. Roberts, Jr.

By Guy Taylor

Redacted from THE WASHINGTON TIMES of September 4, 2005

LONG BEACH, IND — By age 16, John G. Roberts Jr., a young Catholic and son of a steel company executive, was emerging as a gifted writer with firmly rooted traditional values. An editorial, the Supreme Court nominee penned for his high school paper in 1972, refers to the Latin texts of Cicero and offers a fervent argument against admitting girls to La Lumiere School - then an all-boys school in northern Indiana. “I tend to think that the presence of the opposite sex in the classroom will be confining rather than catholicizing,” he wrote.

From all accounts, Judge Roberts made his own breaks, beginning at an early age. Several retired teachers and former classmates of Judge Roberts recall an insightful student who excelled in the classroom and on the playing fields, constantly raising the bar for his peers. “He was the finest student in terms of academic ability and raw talent," said David Kirkby, who taught Judge Roberts in math and morals classes and coached him on the football and wrestling teams. “He was just the most powerful student intellectually that the school ever had.”

James L. Coppens, who taught Latin, said Judge Roberts plowed through four years’ worth of the subject in a three-year stretch, requiring the teacher to create a special one-on-one Latin curriculum for the eager student.
“In his senior year, we were reading Virgil’s Aeneid and by the end of the year, he was just about able to translate it as well as I could if not better,” Mr. Coppens said. He was “head and shoulders above” everyone, the “best I ever bad?’ The extra study likely helped Judge Roberts become La Lumiere’s first student accepted to Harvard.

John Glover Roberts Jr. was born in 1955 in Buffalo, N.Y., to Rosemary and John “Jack” Roberts Sr., who was hired that year by the powerful Bethlehem Steel Corp. The family moved to Indiana in 1960, where Jack Roberts, winning high regard for his Japanese-style management techniques, was tabbed as an assistant general manager to run the electrical engineering section of a new plant in Burns Harbor. John Langley, who worked under Jack Roberts at the plant and had a son about the same age as John G. Roberts Jr. said, “He was a really nice man, but a technocrat. There was nothing political about Jack Roberts.”

The family, including Judge Roberts’ three sisters, built a house nearby in the small, resort-like town of Long Beach, just blocks from the southern shore of Lake Michigan. They settled into the area’s large Catholic community, becoming regulars at the Notre Dame Church. The children went to the church’s elementary school, and later, young John enrolled in La Lumiere in nearby La Porte, Ind.

Judge Roberts worked temporarily at Burns Harbor through a program that gave jobs to children of plant managers. John Langley Jr., a schoolmate of Judge Roberts, also worked summers at the plant. “It was labor” Mr. Langley said of his job, which offered “monster money back in the early ‘70s,” paying about $8.75 an hour for cleaning up industrial waste and other “really nasty jobs” that year-round laborers didn’t want to do.

The summer work might have influenced Judge Roberts, but it was at La Lumiere, the small private school founded in 1963 by Indiana friends and business associates, where his intellect was shaped. La Lumiere was not tied officially to the Catholic Church, meaning its teachers were not nuns and priests. However, priests visited to celebrate Mass on Sundays. Nestled on a bucolic pond-side campus, the 90 or so boys accepted to the school interacted with the young teaching staff like a tight knit family, former teachers said. The curriculum was rigorous, and students were expected to participate in sports. In his senior year, Judge Roberts was co-captain of the football team and he won 12 out of 13 matches in the 132-pound weight class as a wrest1er. Judge Roberts had deep friendships with other students, several of whom remember him as their sharpest peer. Although four boys in his class won mention for a single subject, records show that Judge Roberts won graduation prizes for chemistry, English, English essay, French, history, history essay, mathematics and theology!

La Lumiere, which is French for “the light,” also marked a key period when he was intimately exposed to children from other backgrounds. “He was certainly among the brightest of the bright, and I remember him as just a genuinely nice guy. He never wanted to flaunt it,” said Neil A. Barclay, who was one of the first black students admitted to the school. He graduated a year ahead of Judge Roberts in 1972 and is now president and chief executive officer of the African American Cultural Center of Greater Pittsburgh. #

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September 05, 2005

Hagel’s absurd, purposeful and insidious comparison to Vietnam

By Joseph Farah

The Washington Times, September 4, 2005

Let me say this delicately, as a fellow Arab-American: Mr. Hagel is at best confused on the subject of the Middle East and the enemy we face, at worst, compromised by allegiances other than to his own country!

Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican, says Iraq is looking more like Vietnam every day. He says “we’re not winning. The longer we stay there, the more similarities [to Vietnam] are going to come together?’

Now, I’m not going to tell you I like everything about the way the Iraq campaign is being waged, but comparisons to Vietnam are absurd.
Losing even one American life to terrorism is tragic. But make no mistake about it: There’s just one entity that is causing these fatalities — Islamic terrorists. It is the same enemy who attacked us four years ago next month. So we need to keep the numbers in perspective. And by the numbers alone, we are doing very well in overthrowing Saddam Hussein and securing Iraq from terrorists flooding into the country from Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

As of the middle of this month, the U.S. had lost 1,528 military, personnel in combat in Iraq. Christopher Brown, a defense analyst in Washington, points out that this total represents 51 percent of the number of U.S. civilians killed in just four hours Sept. 11, 2001 (9/11). More to the point, at the current rate, it will take 149 years to equal the losses suffered by the U.S. in Vietnam. Vietnam? I don’t think so.

Let me blunt: Mr. Hagel is a politician considering a run for the presidency. But for someone who has received two Purple Hearts and other military honors for his service in Vietnam, he should know better about such comparisons.

You should also know that Hagel has been soft on the fight against terrorism from the beginning. His answer seems to think we have a problem with Islamic terrorism because of our support of Israel. Let me say this delicately, as a fellow Arab-American: Mr. Hagel is at best confused on the subject of the Middle East and the enemy we face, at worst, compromised by allegiances other than to his own country!

In one sense, though, Mr. Hagel is right with regard to his comparisons to Vietnam. The U.S. no more lost the war in Vietnam on the battlefield than we could possibly lose the war in Iraq on the battlefield. We lost the war in Vietnam right here at home —because politicians, the media and anti-American protesters, many of them funded and directed by the Soviet Union and cultivated by the Communist North Vietnamese, attacked the country’s will to fight.

While defending millions of Vietnamese from annihilation and Communist oppression was a noble cause, it was hardly a matter of national security. The same cannot be said about the fight against Islamic terrorists.

America dare not get squishy in this fight. If we do, Isama bin Laden will have won. It will not bring us peace if we run from Iraq. It will bring us more terror - terror on a scale we cannot imagine, terror that will make Sept. 11, 2001 seem like a footnote in history.

In a sense, Mr. Hagel and other politicians like him and people like Cindy Sheehan are fulfilling their own prophecy when they call Iraq another Vietnam. Intentionally or unintentionally, they are giving aid and comfort to the enemy just as John Kerry and Jane Fonda did in the l97Os. It is almost as if these people have forgotten Sept. II.

In Vietnam the protests led to the wholesale slaughter of Vietnamese and others in Southeast Asia — a holocaust, genocide, not to mention totalitarian oppression that continues even to this day. But that is nothing compared to what we here in this country will experience if we do not fight to win on the battlefield against Islamist terrorism. It won’t just be Iraq that suffers. It won’t just be the Middle East that suffers. We will suffer here. This war has already come home. That’s how it started. But the terrorists are hardly finished with us. So we cannot wash our hands of this fight.

JosephFarah is the founder, editor and chief executive officer of He is the former editor of the Sacramento Union.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:15 AM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2005

The Benefits of Israeli Withdrawal with recommendations by the Washington Times and the New York Times

Washington Times Editorial September 4, 2005

In the wake of the poignant images from Gaza, where the Israeli withdrawal is now complete, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is under intensified fire from two sets of critics:

1) Those on the Israeli right who cannot understand why he would withdraw from the territory given the lack of a serious Palestinian peace partner and

2) The usual suspects, most of them on the left, who see every unreciprocated Israeli Concession to the Palestinians as insufficient.

For example, the New York Times editorialized that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza can only be the beginning, and that Mr. Sharon must give up the West Bank next! It would be difficult to find an argument more disconnected from reality. Anyone who thinks that more Israeli concessions comprise the magic way to peace should look carefully at the experience of the past 12 years.

In 1993, Prime Minister Rabin recognized Yasser Arafat and the PLO as the representatives of the Palestinian people. Over the next seven years, Israel ceded most of Gaza and nearly all of the major West Bank cities to Mr. Arafat’s Palestinian Authority and (often with the encouragement of the Clinton administration) (i.e. Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, Samuel Berger, and rest of American State Dept. - jsk).

Israel chose to overlook the fact that Arafat was arming terrorist militias in the West Bank, doing nothing to put Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure out of business and enabling raw anti-Semitic incitement in the Palestinian Authority controlled media.

In July 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Mr. Arafat a Palestinian state that would have included Gaza, nearly the entire West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. Mr. Arafat rejected the Barak offer and opened a war of terror that killed 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians. While the “peace process” was going forward, Israel unilaterally withdrew its forces from southern Lebanon; Hezbollah and its patrons in Tehran and Damascus responded to this Israeli concession by stepping up their weapons and logistical support for the terror war that Mr. Arafat unleashed in the West Bank and Gaza in the fall of 2000.

But the war proved to be a disaster for the terrorist groups, particularly Hamas. One reason why the current Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, could sign a cease-fire deal earlier this year with Mr. Sharon is that Israel, acting on its own, killed two of Hamas’s leaders and destroyed much of Hamas’s capability as a fighting force. Since February Israel has scaled back its operations in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas against Hamas and other terrorist groups in the hope that Mr. Abbas will restrain the terrorists.

In fact, he is doing precisely the opposite. Much like Yasser Arafat following the signing of Oslo in 1993, Mr. Abbas seeks to co-op Hamas by not forcing it to disarm and instead working with it to maintain a temporary “calms’ (In short, to permit the terrorists to re-group and rebuild to target Israel on another day.)

Although Mr.Abbas has consolidated Palestinian security services, he has not dealt with the larger and far more serious problem: the lawlessness and thuggery usually involving armed members of his Fatah organization, that pervades areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Murderous anti-Semitism remains. On Aug. 20, for example, the Palestinian minister of Islamic affairs said the 1969 attack on al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem by a deranged Australian tourist was actually the work of the Israelis.

Further signs of trouble are everywhere. Over the weekend, a Hamas-affiliated Web site announced that dozens of women in the Gaza Strip had, joined its military wing and were planning to carry out attacks against Israel. Hamas boss Mahmoud al-Zahar said two weeks ago that his organization is moving its forces to the West Bank and Israeli towns are “settlements” subject to attack. Even as Mr. Abbas was declaring that the Palestinian Authority would control areas evacuated by Israel, dozens of Hamas gunmen held a “press conference” in Gaza City to announce they would target Israel after disengagement.

Mr. Sharon’s critics on the right suggest that, because Israel has no viable Palestinian peace partner, the Gaza pullout is a mistake, a show of weakness. Hamas and the other terrorist groups are busily spinning it that way. We agree that Sharon’s argument that the defense resources spent on protecting outlying Gaza settlements could be better allocated to protect the country against terrorism. Israel should adopt a policy of relentless and massive deterrence, guaranteeing that Gaza-based terrorists will be hit very hard every time they fire rockets into Israel. For such a deterrence policy to work, it is essential that Washington support Israel when it defends itself against terror.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2005

Netanyahu’s resignation - The Whys and Wherefores

Redacted from his interview by Caroline Glick

The International Jerusalem Post August 18, 2005

In a recent interview of now former finance minister Benjamin Netanyahu it was clear that he was in the midst of a personal struggle as he laid out the ways he felt his presence in the government had mitigated some of the enormous damage the Sharon-Peres government’s withdrawal and expulsion plan from Gaza and northern Samaria will cause to Israel’s security.

Q. Mr. Prime Minister: Will the withdrawal from Gaza affect the western Negev? If so, how?

"First of all, we allocated NIS 300 million in order to protect communities in the western Negev. The very fact of the allocation in the wake of the withdrawal shows that there is a realistic possibility that there will be a deterioration in the security situation because, after all, we did not need to protect these communities beforehand. This is the basic problem and the reason for my opposition to the withdrawal from Gaza."

"This withdrawal is taking place under terrorist pressure. Whether or not terrorism has led to the decision to withdraw, the fact is that the Palestinians believe that terrorism is what made us decide to withdraw. The leaders of llamas and Islamic Jihad say clearly that from their perspective this is a rout, not a choice. Because of this they are becoming stronger politically and militarily, and are encouraged to continue using these methods.

So the question is simple: Will Israel’s security situation be improved or harmed by the withdrawal - and perhaps also by the manner in which it is carried out - that is taking place without any gain and while strengthening terrorist forces? In my view, the situation will get worse. This is why I will oppose withdrawal when the government votes on its implementation."

Q. Will there be consequences from the opening of Gaza to the Sinai through the IDF’s withdrawal from the Phl1adephi corridor and from the opening of Gaza to the world through the operation of a seaport and an airport after the withdrawal?

"Not only is Hamas getting stronger in front of our very eyes, and not only are they openly announcing that they will move their missiles from Gaza to Judea and Samaria in order to rain them onto the suburbs of Tel Aviv. There exists an additional problem of outside terrorists and deadly weapons far worse than what we have seen so far that are liable to stream in from the Sinai to Gaza the minute we abandon our control of the boundaries of the Strip."

Netanyahu has led the campaign to refuse the bizarre American demand that Israel rearm the Palestinian Authority’s militias, which are themselves deeply, rooted in terrorism. He also opposed the government’s recent decision to relinquish control over the strategically vital Philadephi corridor, which connects Gaza to the Sinai, together with its intention to enable the creation of a seaport in Gaza over which Israel will exert no security control. He stated that this “will create a highway for the transfer of terrorists and terror materiel.”

At the end of the day, what difference will it make if, in addition to the Katyusha rockets, the shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, the RPGs and the C-4 plastic explosives that will no doubt be pouring into Gaza the PA gets a million rounds of M-16 and AK-47 ammunition courtesy of the Israelis or American taxpayers!

It is difficult to see what Netanyahu, who wishes to replace Ariel Sharon as prime minister, has to gain politically from his resignation from the government. Sharon, in appointing his lackey, Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to replace Netanyahu in the Finance Ministry, has now effectively taken over the only enclave of the government he did not previously control.

There can be little doubt that he will use the significant financial reserves Netanyahu was able to build up for the country over the past two-and-a-half years to continue buying off ministers, Knesset members and party hacks and so reinforce his power for the foreseeable future. As a regular member of Knesset, Netanyahu today doesn’t even have the ability to gain a leadership position in the parliament. He will have a reduced personal staff and thus a limited ability to reach out to party members to whom, anyway, he will no longer have any favors to offer in exchange for their support In the party.

In spite of all of this, Netanyahu’s decision to resign one week before the expulsion of Gaza’s Jews begins demonstrates three things that are important in and of themselves.

Netanyahu’s willingness to risk his political career rather than share ministerial responsibility for a policy that will wreak strategic disaster on Israel shows a strength of character and a moral backbone that are rare in politics generally and in Israeli politics specifically.

While his detractors were quick to claim that the decision was belated, the fact of the matter is that by holding out in the government for the past year, Netanyahu demonstrated extraordinary responsibility. By remaining in the government he was able to enact the most important economic reforms Israel has ever undergone. The banking reforms he pushed through the government and the Knesset will, for the first time, enable Israel to have a competitive banking system. The tax and welfare reforms he orchestrated will have a long-lasting and positive impact both on the economy and the Israeli psyche.

In his reforms, as in his decision to quit the government, Netanyahu demonstrated a deep faith both in the wisdom of the Israeli people and in their right to have representative government. In both cases his actions show an abiding and healthy respect for the democratic process that is frighteningly absent from the present government, whose central policy of withdrawal and expulsion is the exact policy Sharon was elected to oppose.

AS NETANYAHU himself made clear, there is no way today to prevent the withdrawal and expulsion plan from being implemented. Perhaps now Netanyahu can mitigate some of the damage the plan will cause Israeli society. This he can do by defending the honor of the pioneers of Gush Katif, by upholding the ideal of Jewish settlement of the Land of Israel even as the physical realization of this sacred ideal is being trampled.

Netanyahu’s resignation, as well, may finally force a debate in the US government and media on the merits of Sharon’s plan which to date has been met with irresponsible and unquestioning support from the White House to the Wall Street Journal, from Congress to Commentary magazine.

From the moment Sharon announced the plan in December 2003, Netanyahu was faced with two equally stark choices. He could remain a cabinet minister with no power to change or meaningfully influence the government’s disastrous flagship policy or he could leave the government and continue to have no influence over the policy. The fact that this state of affairs, where a senior government minister has absolutely no influence over national policy, has been allowed to develop is atrocious.

At the same time, the fact that Sharon has managed to engineer a situation where he can trample the wishes of his voters and his party and, through payoffs and odd coalitions supported by the Left, the far Left, the anti-religious secularists and the anti-Zionist Arab parties, maintain and strengthen his grip on power, should long ago have sounded the alarm bells for all who care about the state of Israeli democracy.

More than anything, Netanyahu’s resignation shows that while Sharon’s government has lost all remaining vestiges of integrity, Netanyahu himself, in risking his career to keep faith with his conscience and his voters, has proved his worthiness to lead. Those who care about the future of this country must bury the hatchets that divide them and find the practical, workable and democratic ways to cooperate in calling for elections, with Netanyahu at the helm of the Likud, as quickly as possible.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)