November 28, 2005

Israel Suddenly with Clear-cut Election Choices

By Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director
IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis), November 24, 2005

If all goes well and the survival instincts of the post-Sharon Likud Party brings it to the realization that their only possible chance to beat Sharon is by "product differentiation" then the Israeli electorate may very well have a genuine opportunity to set the Jewish State a new path at the ballot box.

Labor, Sharon and Likud can offer the public distinctly different paths, each with its own distinct logic.

The Labor Party, headed by Amir Peretz, is genuinely convinced that withdrawal to the '67 lines will bring peace. Period. The heavy investment they plan to make in quick final status talks is not because they think such paperwork is really needed for peace but instead in order to come up with wording that will satisfy enough Israelis who don't share their faith to join in supporting the final status withdrawals . And since, according to this faith, Arab violence will end the moment the last Israeli leaves the West Bank (and possibly the Golan), Palestinian security non-compliance before the actual withdrawal is irrelevant.

The Sharon "Kadima" Party, or rather Ariel Sharon (the rest of the ticket is
profoundly irrelevant) is genuinely convinced that Israel can unilaterally impose final status arrangements if it unilaterally withdraws to ostensibly final status borders
. The United States and even the European Union will give Sharon carte blanche, the argument goes, as long as he bulldozes enough Jewish communities in the West Bank.

The Likud is genuinely convinced that Israel is better off managing the stalemate and insisting on Palestinian compliance before final status talks can be expected to continue. By the same token, should conditions warrant Israel's engagement in final status talks Israel will enter those talks confident that the Jewish State's interests would be better served if the talks stalemate over final status terms rather than compromise on what it sees as vital Israeli interests and requirements. National Union and NRP also fit into this line of thought but with a more demanding perception of what are vital Israelininterests and requirements.

In many respects, the Labor-Peretz approach, being faith-based, has both the
advantage and disadvantage of simplicity. Accept the premise that withdrawal to the '67 lines will bring peace as axiomatic and the rest falls into place. Reject that article of faith and the logic falls apart.

The debate between the Sharon and Likud approaches is considerably more complicated as it requires not only deliberating Israel's vital interests but also assessing the limits Israel faces as it endeavors to pursue these interests under the two scenarios.

Both camps can be expected to try to bolster their position by referring to the Gaza experience: Supporters of the Sharon approach can point to the praise Israel earned for withdrawing while advocates of the Likud approach can point out that the Gaza model was based on 100% withdrawal and that that foreign praise did not translate into support for Israel's stand on security interests.

The security fiasco known as "Agreement on Movement and Access" and "Agreed Principles For Rafah Crossing" that Israel was pressured by the Bush team to accept to fill the vacuum created by the retreat from Gaza serves as a stark reminder of just how fleeting the rewards are for retreating.

On the other hand, with elections coming up in just a few months, retreat
advocates can hope that the security consequences of the Gaza retreat won't
play out before the votes are cast.

It is hard to predict how the vote will ultimately be split between the three views. But at least this election may offer the opportunity for the public to consider and choose between them.

Website: http://www.imra.org.il

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2005

The Left and Ariel Sharon distort the memory of Yitzhak Rabin to suit their own misguided agenda

By Dr. Aaron Lerner

As Israel marks a decade since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin many political commentators are speculating just how different the situation would be today if Yigal Amir had never carried out his despicable crime. It is hard to know just how different the Netanyahu administration would have performed if Binyamin Netanyahu had trounced Rabin at the polls (the trend indicated by surveys prior to the murder) instead of just squeaked by Shimon Peres, whose campaign took full advantage of the Rabin assassination.

Would a victorious Netanyahu have simply walked away from Oslo? Would a defeated Rabin have taken a lead role as head of the opposition or retire from political life?

All of the above is a matter of sheer speculation. What we do know is that Rabin, circa 1995, would be shocked to learn of the policies embraced by the Sharon Administration - not to mention the even more radical policies embraced by the folks who claim to be carrying on his vision.

The positions of Rabin circa 1995 are not a matter of speculation. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin made that crystal clear when he addressed the Knesset on October 5, 1995 - a month before he was gunned down - when he presented the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement for ratification.

* No Palestinian State: "We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

* We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority."

[In those days the "demographic problem" - the threat that a Palestinian majority would ultimately vote in the Knesset - was not considered an issue as Palestinian participation in autonomy elections was considered a sufficient expression of self determination. The "demographic problem" only took a prominent role in Israeli discourse when withdrawal supporters found that the Oslo experience made if difficult to argue that withdrawal would improve security and thus turned to the "demographic problem" to justify withdrawal.]

* No return to '67 borders: "The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines."

* Control of Jordan Valley: "The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term."

* Gush Katif as model rather than something to be evacuated: "The establishment of blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif."

* All settlements remain intact during interim period - no settlement freeze: "I want to remind you: we committed ourselves, that is, we came to an agreement, and committed ourselves before the Knesset, not to uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim agreement, and not to hinder building for natural growth."

* Control of border passages remain in Israeli hands (during interim period): "The responsibility for external security along the borders with Egypt and Jordan, as well as control over the airspace above all of the territories and Gaza Strip maritime zone, remains in our hands."

[For a translation of the entire address: www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/1990_1999/1995/10/PM%20Rabin%20in%20Knesset-%20Ratification%20of%20Interim%20Agree]


Would a post 1995 Rabin have abandoned his positions just as so many others did? Possibly. But it is hardly a tribute to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to assert that he would have been no better than the rest of the Israeli politicians who, through a dangerous combination of hubris, blind faith that ultimately retreating to the 1967 lines will miraculously herald a utopian ear in which the Arabs abandon any interest in Jaffa, Haifa and the rest of Green Line Israel, and an almost dogmatic refusal to think more than a few weeks or months ahead, are plunging Israel down into a dangerous abyss.

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

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2005

Abe Foxman’s Unconscionable, Destructive and Inaccurate Fund Raising

By Jason Maoz, Senior Editor
THE JEWISH PRESS, November 18, 2005

For a media columnist facing a deadline and a slow news week, Abraham Foxman is truly a gift that keeps on giving. The national director of the Anti-Defamation League can barely open his mouth without inviting incredulity and ridicule from anyone not currently on the ADL’s payroll (and probably many who are).

Foxman’s latest foray into the absurd came earlier this month when, in a speech at the ADL’s national conference in New York, he drew an apocalyptic picture of conservative Christians laying waste to the citadels of American democracy and urged organized Jewry to come together to man the ramparts.

“Today we face a better financed, more sophisticated, coordinated, unified, energized and organized coalition of groups in opposition to our policy positions on church-state separation than ever before,” Foxman told his audience. “Their goal is to implement their Christian worldview. To Christianize America.”

Foxman warned that conservative Christian groups have “built infrastructures throughout the country” as part of their effort “to ‘Christianize’ all aspects of American life - from the halls of government to the libraries, to the movies, to recording studios, to the playing fields and locker rooms of professional, collegiate, and amateur sports; from the military to Sponge Bob, Square Pants....”

Whew! Either contributions are seriously down at the ADL or Foxman was suffering the kind of acute withdrawal familiar to all publicity addicts who haven’t seen their name or mug in the paper or on the tube for any period exceeding 72 hours. Which raises the question of why publications like the Forward and The Jewish Week, both of which featured Foxman’s outburst as front-page news, continue to cruelly feed Foxman's addiction? A little tough love would seem in order here. If Foxman called a press conference and no one showed up, would he make a sound (and would the public be any worse off)?

Political activist Jeff Ballabon told the Forward that the ADL’s assault on Christians is classic Foxman fund raising by fear mongering.” Foxman a fear monger? Consider this: The ADL commissioned a poll, to which Foxman made reference in his speech, showing that nearly 64 percent of Americans believe religion is under attack, 56 percent say creationism ought to be taught in school, and 64 percent have no problem with religious symbols being displayed in public buildings.

Speaking to reporters after the speech, here’s how Foxman spun the poll’s findings, according to the Forward’s E.J. Kessler:
“If 6O percent think religion is under attack, who do they think is attacking them? Hollywood, the media and the ACLU? And who is behind those three institutions? The Jews, right?”

These are the remarks of a man intent on reading the darkest of implications where it is far from obvious that any exist. It’s as though Foxman wants to feed the perception among some Jews that conservative Christians opposed to liberal policies are by definition opposed to Jews — and the perception among some conservative Christians that the words “Jewish” and “liberal” are interchangeable.

Essayist Hillel Halkin took Foxman to task for hypocritically complaining about Christian conservatives doing precisely what Jewish groups like the ADL have been doing for decades — attempting to influence social and cultural mores in the court of law and public opinion. Halkin wondered “whether there is any wisdom, from the American Jewish perspective, in declaring war on a Christian public that in recent years has been Israel’s strongest supporter in the United State? And whether, in a huge country in which Jews form barely 2% of the population and church-going Christians an estimated 40%, Jews should be telling Christians, as does Foxman, that they have no right to campaign democratically for what they perceive to be their own values?”

Jews, Halkin continued, “are hardly threatened as Jews” by the politics of conservative Christians, but they will indeed feel threatened “if there is ever a Christian backlash against them, which sooner or later will happen if believing Christians come to view the Jewish community not merely as liberal but as anti-Christian.”

A Christian backlash against Jews? Why, business would never be better for the ADL!


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2005

Keeping it a Secret - The Rioters are Muslim

By David R. Sands and Sharon Behn
(THE WASHINGTON TIMES, November 20, 2005)

The rioters who have burned out neighborhoods in cities across France for a fortnight are overwhelmingly of North African and Arab ancestry, overwhelmingly young, overwhelmingly male, overwhelmingly cut off culturally and economically from the larger French society — and overwhelmingly Muslim. But saying they’re Muslim is a subject of angry dispute. French officials downplay the religious connections, and some newspapers, particularly in the United States, avoid identifying the rioters as Muslim.

For the moment at least, the frenzy may be subsiding. With curfews in Paris and more than two dozen other cities, and a 12-day state of emergency in effect, French authorities on Nov. 9 reported a decline in reports of violence. Car burnings fell by nearly half. But vandals attacked a number of sites, including a large store in the north and a newspaper warehouse near Nice.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who has taken a hard line on quelling the violence, ordered the deportation of 120 foreigners detained by French police since the unrest began. Mr. Sarkozy, who has denounced the rioters as “scum” said, “I have asked regional prefects to expel foreigners who were convicted — whether they have proper residency papers or not— without delay.”

Most of the rioters do not appear to be foreigners, but French citizens, young men from first and second-generation immigrant families from Algeria, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia — former French colonies — and other North and West African nations.

Prime Minister Dominique deVillepin blames the rioting on “structured groups,” apparently euphemism for “Muslims” but French officials say they have no evidence that international Muslim radical groups are involved in promoting the violence.

“For the moment, we have no link at all with the networks that we work on” French anti-terrorism judge Jean-Francois Ricard said in Paris. Arrest figures released so far indicate that most of the hoodlums are young and male. About half are younger than 18. They’re techno1ogically savvy. Investigators say the rioters are using the Internet, cell phones and text messaging to coordinate attacks.

Der Spiegel, the German newspaper, quoted one of the text messages from one rioter to another, “We aren’t going to let up. The French won’t do anything and soon we will be the majority!”

Alexis Debat, a former French government counterterrorism analyst, says the ringleaders are “hardcore delinquents” from impoverished Muslim neighborhoods that surround many French cities. They have criminal records that include petty theft, vandalism and drug dealing, but investigators say they see few obvious links to fundamentalist Islamic movements that have declared war on the West.

“This is a problem of poverty and opportunity, not a problem of Islam,” he says, noting that there were fewer incidents in neighborhoods where radical Muslim organizations were strongest. But Mr. Debat says the ringleaders have been joined in the streets by a much larger group of second-generation North African and Arab immigrants who are turning to Islam because they feel alien both in France and their ancestral homes. “The only possible identification left for many of them is Islam,” he said. “They feel betrayed by France, and I don’t blame them.”

Reporters for the French newspaper Le Monde spent a night on the streets with a group of rioters near the city of Aubervilliers. “It’s like driving a dog into a corner,” one of the rioters told them: ”We are not dogs, but we are reacting just as any animal would do?’ They complain of rough intimidation by the French police, condemning as “blasphemy” the tear-gas bomb fired at a mosque in Clichy-sous-Bois, the Parisian suburb where some of the first riots took place for which a government official has apologized. Rioters for their part, have torched synagogues and churches to cries of ‘Allah Akbar” —the Arabic slogan, “God is great.” (of course, that is not “blasphemy.”)

Robert S. Leiken, an immigration scholar at the Washington-based Nixon Center speculates that the riots could lead to a split between moderate and more radical Islamic jihadist groups, especially if the government doe not make lasting reforms.

He notes that the head of a leading moderate French Muslim organization was pelted with rocks when he appealed for calm earlier last week. “We may be seeing a split inside the French Islamic community. It makes sense that the jihadists would very much want this violence to spread.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:44 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2005

Amir Peretz, the man who defeated Shimon Peres

A scathing commentary and prognostication of impending Israeli politics

By Steven Plaut

http://jewishpress.com/news_article.asp?article=5687


The victory of Amir Peretz over Shimon Peres in the Nov. 9 Labor Party
primaries all but guarantees the victory of the Likud in Israel`s next
national election. It also makes it quite likely that the Labor Party will
now shrink into insignificance and irrelevance as the Peretz victory will
serve as a shot in the arm for the nearly extinct left-wing Meretz Party.

The most dramatic ramification of all, of course, is that Peretz's triumph
at long last puts an end to the career of Shimon Peres, the holder of
Israel's record for political failure. Having lost virtually every political
contest he's ever fought, and coming off his shocking and embarrassing
defeat at the hands of the unschooled Peretz, Peres is finished politically.
(Peres responded to his loss to Peretz with a show of ungraciousness, refusing to call Peretz to congratulate him and threatening to challenge the primary results in court.)

The amazing thing is that Shimon Peres managed to impose so many of his
ideas on Israel without ever winning an election. The Oslo "peace process"
was by and large Peres's initiative. It was imposed on Israel by Yitzhak Rabin, who was willing to follow Peres's lead on statecraft even though he'd been elected on a platform flatly rejecting any Oslo-like strategy.

Peres in time managed to use the shock in Israel over the assassination of
Rabin to neutralize what had been growing opposition to the Rabin-Peres
initiative. Later, the visionless leaders of Likud also followed Peres's line and continued to pursue peace through appeasement and national self-abasement.

Enough of Peres; let us turn our attention now to Amir Peretz. The new Labor
Party boss is, to put it politely, a cross between Jimmy Hoffa and Cheech. A
party hack who built his career mainly by establishing a power base in Israel's corrupt Histadrut trade union federation, Peretz got as far as he has in part through fortuitously pinning his political fortunes to the tailcoats of other politicians, and in part because the establishment politicians in Labor never took him seriously enough to neuter him politically.

Born in Morocco, Peretz immigrated with his parents to Israel at the age of
four. He first came to national attention in Israel in 1983 upon his election as mayor of the economically distressed working class Negev town of Sderot. This was long before the days when Sderot morphed into Israel's Stalingrad, routinely taking the brunt of rocket attacks by the PLO and its affiliates. (Peretz has been notoriously absent from Sderot during those attacks, and has had almost nothing to say about them).

A personal note: The only time I met Peretz face to face was when he invited
me to testify before a Knesset committee he was chairing on health policy.
Aware of his reputation as an intellectual lightweight, I made my presentation in monosyllables and simple words, but he just stared at me with uncomprehending wide eyes, apparently understanding nothing that I said.

Peretz served as a warehouse and maintenance officer in the Israeli military, sustaining a leg injury in the Sinai in 1974 when his personnel carrier was involved in an accident. After recovery he was offered the task of running a gas station, but he refused, claiming he was not "prepared to be anyone's boss on the grounds that it would constitute exploitation."Perhaps he was really afraid of the bookkeeping challenges involved.

Instead, he bought a small farm in an agricultural cooperative in the Negev,
where he grew rose flowers. Later, after his stint as mayor of Sderot, he was pushed into minor Labor Party visibility as the token Moroccan Jew recruited by Labor leaders concerned with the party's difficulties attracting working class "Mizrachi" or Oriental-Jewish voters. (While styling itself the party of the working man, the Labor Party has long been the bastion of the middle- and upper-middle-class Ashkenazi establishment.)

Peretz has always been instantly recognizable in the media thanks to his huge Zapatista moustache. He seems to have been made for caricaturists. "I love the moustache," he once confessed to Dalia Karpel of Haaretz. "A small
moustache wouldn't suit me...."

'Laziest Member of Knesset'

Peretz was elected to the parliament in 1988. As a member of Knesset, he
devoted most of his energies to prohibiting the use of out-sourcing and
operation of non-unionized labor exchanges, the result being higher
unemployment among low-skilled Israeli workers.

Seeing that his prospects for a senior position in Labor were close to
nonexistent, he joined the disaffected faction set up by Haim Ramon in the
early 1990's. Ramon considered himself a serious contender for the job of
prime minister but was certain he was being blocked by the party machine.
Ramon and his sidekick Peretz decided to challenge the Labor establishment
inside the Histadrut trade union federation with their own dissident slate named "New Haim" (or "New Life," a play on Ramon's first name).

In the Histadrut union elections, the Ramon team beat the Labor machine and
seized control of the trade union federation, with Peretz as second in command and in charge of strike actions and trade union negotiations. But already by then the Histadrut, once a powerful state within the Israeli state, had lost much of its muscle. It had been a stunning fall for the union behemoth: Histadrut membership cards were a sine qua non for getting a job in pre-1948 Israel and without such membership workers were barred from many jobs even into the 1970's.

Histadrut funds were always misused by the Labor Party to fund its own election campaigns. Before statehood, funds donated by Jews around the world
had been funneled through the Histadrut into the coffers of MAPAI (forerunner to today's Labor) and used to build the party's power base. After 1948 Israeli taxpayer funds were similarly misappropriated for the same purpose.

By the early 1990's the Histadrut was little more than a weak and corrupt
anachronism, stripped of its control of Bank Hapoalim, Israel's largest bank, after the "bank share scandal," a large Ponzi scheme that collapsed in 1983. It also lost control of many of its insolvent pension funds, which had long served as slush funds for Histadrut commissars, and of its captive "General Sick Fund," Israel's largest health service provider.

After beating the Laborites in the Histadrut elections, Ramon quickly tired
of his trade union toy. He resigned from the leadership of the Histadrut in 1995 and turned the job over to Amir Peretz While Ramon made his way back into the Labor Party's upper echelons, Peretz was still seeing his political ambitions stymied by the party machine. In 1999 he decided to use his power base in the Histadrut to challenge the Labor Party and set up his own competing "labor" faction, named Am Echad (One Nation).

Using funds appropriated, Jimmy Hoffa style, from trade union accounts,
Peretz spent his way into the parliament as a small two-seat (later three-seat) party, though he received just 16 percent of the vote in his home town of Sderot. His victory was, however, large enough to force Labor to co-opt Peretz and his people and offer them a power share within the party, including reserved Knesset seats in the elections slate.

In parliament Peretz only bothered to show up for about 11 percent of the
votes and was dubbed the "laziest member of Knesset." His stock reply to
critics was, "I am busy with the Histadrut." The single largest item on his expense account, according to a Knesset report of 2001, was NIS 18,720 for private tutoring in English, a language he has never quite mastered.

*Armchair Revolutionaries' Last, Great Hope*

Politically, Peretz, who likes to describe himself as a "social democrat,"
is associated with the Israeli Oslo Left, and was long a board member of
Peace Now and the left-wing New Israel Fund. His ideas on economics are
little different from those of nineteenth century socialists and syndicalists, and he dreams of turning Israel into some sort of hybrid combination of Sweden and Belarus. He has no patience for and no understanding of market economics.

As the major promoter of an ever higher minimum wage in Israel, Peretz bears
a major share of responsible for the country's high unemployment rate, caused largely by that minimum wage. Peretz also led the campaign against the employment in Israel of foreign temporary workers, who today are the backbone of Israel's agricultural and construction sectors. Had Peretz gotten his way, both those sectors would have collapsed.

While mouthing socialist slogans about the working class, Peretz actually
built his power base mainly on the elitist "unions" of highly skilled, lavishly paid professionals – i.e., feather-bedded workers in government-owned or sponsored monopolies such as the Israel Electric Company, whose "workers," including engineers and technicians, are probably the most grossly overpaid group of people in Israel. Peretz made common cause with the "workers" in this and other sectors – such as the seaportsand airports – in which market competition is suppressed by the Israeli government.

Peretz consistently promoted the interests of the unionized overpaid
professionals and semi-professionals at the expense of blue-collar workers –
those hurt most by the frequent strikes called by the Histadrut. He
single-handedly shut down Israel's airports so often that foreign
businessmen were refusing to come to Israel altogether, not from a fear of
terrorism but from a fear of getting stranded when the airports were shut
down.

In earlier Labor Party primaries, Peretz used union funds to secure more
votes than any other candidate. Even so, given Labor's inability to produce
a serious contender for leadership after the debacle of Amram Mitzna's 2003
landslide loss to Ariel Sharon, support for Peretz in the primaries was far less a vote for him than it was a protest against the machine leaders.

Will Sephardic voters be enticed by a Peretz-led Labor Party? Don't count on
it. Labor may have long viewed Peretz as a magical key to opening the door
to bring in Sephardic voters, but Oriental Jews in Israel remain far more likely to vote for the Likud and the religious parties, and in any case Moroccan Jewish candidates do not have a very good track record in attracting the votes of non-Moroccan Oriental-Jewish voters.

The more likely effect of the Peretz nomination will be to drive away much of Labor's Ashkenazi rank and file – and some of the leaders as well. A good
chunk probably will end up in the semi-Marxist Meretz Party.

The parliamentary strength of Meretz has shrunk almost to the endangered-species level, but the abandonment of Labor by the educated Ashkenazi middle class, who will be repulsed by Peretz's lowbrow blue-collar shallowness, will likely revive Meretz as a political force.

Peretz already is itching to flex his muscles in a national showdown with
Sharon and is threatening to bust up the Labor-Likud National Unity
government immediately to force it. And of course the coming wave of
political jokes about Peretz-as-ignoramus will make all those Bush, Gore,
and Quayle jokes look tame and polite by comparison.

Unless the Labor machine now topples Peretz, which it might yet do, the
party is on course to losing the next election to the Likud by a much larger
landslide than its last loss. But such a prospective landslide will also lower the likelihood that the Likud will abandon its current platform of"Oslo Lite" or take any courageous stand on anything. Already CommerceMinister Ehud Olmert is maneuvering to replace Ariel Sharon as Likud chiefon a platform of escalated appeasement.

While mouthing the slogans of the Left about Oslo, "disengagement" and the
"peace process," Amir Peretz clearly means to make anti-market economics and "social issues" his main banners. One should bear in mind that the Israeli
Left does even more damage when it gets all compassionate and concerned
about "social issues" than it does when it pursues "peace." The way it
invariably pursues "social issues" is through seeking massive tax increases
and budget outlays for "social needs" coupled with massive interference in
market mechanisms.

But Peretz's ambitions go well beyond even that.

Should the Israeli public ever be foolish enough to allow Peretz to seize
the reins of power, he will quite simply destroy the Israeli economy. He
would order massive across-the-board wage increases detached from
productivity considerations, which would drive countless businesses into
receivership while raising unemployment to astronomical levels.

He would promote the interests of state monopolies and seek to nationalize
more industry. He would suppress competition and attempt to restore the
quasi-Bolshevik system of price controls and rationing that nearly caused
Israel to collapse during its first years of independence, controls wisely
trashed by the socialist MAPAI leaders of the 1950's when they came to the
realization that these could not possibly work.

Peretz would also seek to expand the powers of the Histadrut, which all the
while would operate under his fiefdom, turning it back into a state within
the Israeli state – an unelected anti-democratic second government, a
dictatorship of the unionized middle-class pseudo-proletariat.

It is precisely because of his promises to establish a system of socialist
command-and-control central planning with trade union tyranny that some of
Israel`s most foolish professors and journalists have endorsed him with such
enthusiasm. Dreaming of creating a Scandinavian-style welfare state combined
with "class warfare" against the big bad "industrialists," and led by a
bullying trade union mafia, these armchair revolutionaries see Peretz as the
last great hope of leading Israel out of the First World and back into the
Third.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:57 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2005

Judging Supreme Court Nominee Samuel A. Alito, Jr.

(Redacted from an article in the Jewish Press, November 11, 2005)

By Nathan Lewin

What kind of man is Samuel A. Alito, Jr., President Bush’s latest selection to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor?

Alito has spent the past 15 years as a federal appellate judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit headquartered in Philade1phia. Federal courts of appeals routinely sit in panels of three judges and they review the records of cases decided by Federal trial judges. The questions that come before them are issues of law, and decisions are rendered in opinions written by one of the three judges.

Judge Alito is a thoughtful man, recognized even by his critics as a legal scholar. His opinions are finely crafted, and they carefully analyze legal precedent in highly professional style. That brings me to tell the tale of a concurring opinion by Judge Alito that provides an insight into the kind of Supreme Court Justice that he will be.

A hotly debated constitutional issue in the early 1960’s was the constitutionality of local “Sunday Law” that, required businesses to stay closed on Sundays. Several cases involving such laws made their way to the 1960 Supreme Court term. Among them were two cases initiated by shomrei Shabbat (religious observance of the Jewish Sabbath) in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Whereas others who challenged the laws simply objected to the official recognition of Sunday, the Christian day of rest, as the one day on which all commerce was to stop, the shomrei Shabbat case had an additional claim. They said that forcing them to close on Sunday meant they would have to be closed two days each week - Saturday because of their religion and Sunday because of the Sunday Law. One plaintiff said that he would be unable to continue in business if he could not stay open on Sundays.

My colleagues and I presented the case together in January 2001 to the three federal appellate judges of the Third Circuit who were randomly selected to hear this appeal. The Court consisted of Judges Richard L. Nygaard, Marjorie Rendell, and Samuel A. Alito, Jr.

Judge Alito did not ask many questions, but I hoped that the thrust of the argument would appeal to him. I knew that he had been an assistant to the solicitor general and had argued cases in the Supreme Court on behalf of the government. I also knew from at least one important decision he had written that he was sympathetic to the claims of religious observance.

In August 2001 the court issued its opinion in a shomrei Shabbat case involving William Paterson College, Wayne NJ, and a Jewish employee, Dr. Gertrude Abramson. In a lengthy scholarly decision that covers 25 pages of the Federal Reporter, Judge Rendell painstakingly rejected each of the college’s justifications for its treatment of Dr. Abramson and held that she was entitled to proceed with all three of her claims of religious discrimination against the College. It was a total vindication of her position, and there was ample reason to celebrate.

But there was more. Judge Alito saw fit to issue a short concurring opinion that covered one page in the Federal Reporter. He quoted the following paragraph from the brief that I had written:

“When an employer (Wm. Patterson College) deliberately re-schedules important meetings for Friday afternoons, the message to an Orthodox Jewish employee is clear as a bell. Such re-scheduling tells the employee that continued observance of his or her faith will be viewed as incompatible with adequate job performance. Repeated requests that work be done on Saturdays or Jewish holidays — or telephone messages left on a Jewish religious holiday demanding an “immediate” response — are aimed directly at an employee’s religious observance. Criticism of an employee’s effort to reconcile his or her schedule with the observance of Jewish holidays delivers the message that the religious observer is not welcome at the place of employment.”

He went on to revive the preposition of Justices Brennan and Stewart had articulated in the Sunday Law cases. He said that the Civil Rights Act “does not permit an employee to manipulate job requirements for the purpose of putting an employee to the ‘cruel choice’ between religion and employment."
This, he added, was his reason for joining the other two judges in their decision reversing the dismissal of the case.

Nathan Lewis is a renowned Washington attorney who has argued 27 cases in the Supreme Court and teaches Supreme Court litigation at Columbia Law School.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2005

Congressman Jos. Knollenberg (MI) reports on activities re: Israel

JOSEPH K. KNOLLENBERG (Republican-9th District)
Committee on Appropriations

Congress of the United States
House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515-2209

November 8, 2005

Knowing of your interest in issues affecting Israel and the Middle East, I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on some recent activity in the Congress.

On November 4, 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the final version of the Fiscal Year 2006 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. As you probably know, this legislation contains the funding for all of the U.S. foreign assistance programs around the world. I have been a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, which has primary responsibility for writing this bill, since 1995 and I take this work very seriously. President George W. Bush is expected to sign this bill into law in the near future.

Particularly during this challenging time in Israel it is important that the U.S. maintain a robust assistance package to help keep Israel strong and send the message to the world that we remain in steadfast support of this key ally. I am pleased to report the Fiscal Year 2006 bill includes $2.28 billion in military assistance to Israel, an increase of $60 million over last year. It also includes $240 million in economic assistance. A strong military and growing economy are critical to Israel and this assistance gives Israel the support it needs to stay strong.

In addition, this bill includes $40 million in assistance to Israel to help resettle Jewish refugees fleeing anti-Semitism in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere. We cannot ignore the fact that prejudice exists and many people suffering do not have the means to escape persecution. The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program with Israel ensures those seeking refuge in Israel are able to get there and get there safely.

The bill includes other important policies. For example, I am pleased the bill includes strong restrictions on direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority and withholds assistance to Russia unless it fully terminates its nuclear cooperation with Iran. These policies are critical as the United States leads the world in the fight against global terrorism and Islamic extremism.

Once again, I wanted to make sure you were aware of this news. As always, please feel free to contact my office with any specific questions or concerns regarding Israel or any other matter involving the federal government.

Sincerely,

Joe Knollenberg

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2005

Two other Opinions as to Secretary Rice’s Triumphal March

While Israel, the sacrificial lamb, must again pray for divine intervention

ISRAEL SAVES RICE'S “VICTORY”
By Judith Apter Klinghoffer

You will excuse me if I do not celebrate Condoleeza Rice's meager victory. For it she achieved it by forcing Israel to place the security of her own citizens in the hand of European Union observers. What is the US getting for her intermittent support of Israel is the question heard over and over again. Here is one answer: When the chips are down and the American ally needs a favor, Israel will be there. Indeed, it will take serious risks on behalf of its ally.

The US is having a terrible time in the Middle East. Condoleeza Rice has just been dissed in a most public manner by Egypt: In a surprise move, Egypt, which accounts for more than half the Arab world's population and is the second-largest recipient of U.S. aid, derailed the Forum for the Future by demanding language that would have given Arab governments significant control over which pro-democracy groups would receive aid from a new fund.

Last-ditch diplomacy by the United States -- which was represented at the conference by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- failed to get Egypt to budge, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit left before the conference broke up. ``We made a very clear case,'' a senior U.S. official at the conference said on condition of anonymity. "There were intensive negotiations. We made clear it would scuttle the declaration.''

Participants might have to wait another year for a region-wide declaration, Bahrain's foreign minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Khalifa, said at a news conference in Manama. In other words, Rice's trip to the ME was about to be a total disaster. Do I hear anyone questioning the $2 billion dollars the US pays Egypt to spout anti-Americanism and undermine American regional interests? In any case, Rice's Middle East diplomacy needed rescuing and, ultimately, Israel came to the rescue. It was not the first time and will not be the last. Israel, unlike Egypt, Turkey or France, knows that allies do not betray allies when they are in trouble.

I also hope Rice knows what she has done and will feel personally committed to insure that her rescue does not cost Israeli lives.

ISRAEL BACKS DOWN, AS USUAL
By Yoram Ettinger

Yedioth Achronot OpEd, Nov. 11, 2005

Condoleezza Rice is a top Poker player, especially when facing Israelis who are unfamiliar with the Washington ropes and are therefore easily intimidated by the Secretary of State.

The assumption that Israel cannot afford to defy the US is divorced from reality. Such an assumption reflects miscomprehension of 1948-1992 precedents of the wider context of US-Israel relations, of the special role played by the Jewish State in the US Judeo-Christian culture, of the impact by recent global circumstances on US empathy toward Israel, of the US state-of-mind, of the foundations of US democracy and of the declining fortunes of a second term president.

In 1948/49, the Department of State, Pentagon and the CIA pressured PM Ben Gurion to refrain from a declaration of independence and accept a UN Trusteeship, to internationalize Jerusalem, to allow the return of and compensation of Palestinian refugees and to end the "occupation" of the Negev. The ruthless pressure was accompanied by a military embargo and a threat of economic embargo. PM Ben Gurion defied the pressure, in spite of the meager resources at his disposal. In 1967, PM Eshkol launched a pre-emptive strike against belligerent Egypt, Syria and Jordan, in defiance of a French military embargo (then, Israel's key arms supplier!) and pressure by Pres. LBJ. In 1981, PM Begin bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, despite a US threat of military embargo reinforcing international and domestic opposition. The three statesmen withstood pressure, launched unilateral military operations, were victimized by short-term sanctions and criticism, but produced dramatic long-term strategic gains for Israel and for the US.

The three statesmen realized that US-Israel relations did not evolve around the Arab-Israeli conflict, but around the larger scope of joint interests and mutual regional and global threats. Thus, strategic memoranda of understanding were concluded between the US and Israel in 1983 and 1988, despite (or because?) the coarse rejection - by Israel - of the "Reagan Plan", and in spite of the 1982 war in Lebanon and the 1987 eruption of the first Intifada. The memoranda were concluded due to Israel's unique contribution to the US efforts against international terrorism, the USSR and ballistic missiles.

The special strategic ties between the US and Israel are embedded in a foundation of shared Judeo-Christian values, which have prevented a rapture following frequent tensions between the two countries. The 17th century puritan settlers were students of the Old Testament and appreciated Hebrew. The Founding Fathers considered the values of Moses, Joshua and Samuel an inspiration for the Constitution and a basis for political and social relationships. The sculptures of Moses feature prominently in the US Supreme Court and the House of Representatives. A replica of the Tablets sits on the lawn of the Texas Legislature, and hundreds of locations in the US bear biblical names. Most Americans consider the Jewish State as a prime domestic value, rather than a foreign issue.

The potential support of the Jewish State has been enhanced since 9/11, as a result of the daily reporting of US GIs killed by Arab/Muslim terrorists, the July 2005 terror blitz in London, the recent Muslim riots in France and the ongoing campaign of Islamic terrorism from the Philippines through Bali, India, Spain and Mauritania. Never has the image of Arabs/Muslims been so low, and never has Israel benefited from such a high potential of support.

However, the US state-of-mind respects winners with gumption, who defy the odds and stick to principles and values. The US state-of-mind offers sympathy - but little respect - to those who are afflicted by weariness and battle fatigue. Therefore, most Americans loved Reagan. And, therefore, the US upgraded its attitude toward the Jewish State from sympathy to strategic appreciation/respect as a result of the 1948 and 1967 wars, the 1976 "Operation Jonathan/Entebbe", the 1981 bombing of Iraq's nuclear reactor and the 1982 decimation of the Soviet ground-to-air missiles in eastern Lebanon.

The state-of-mind of the US public and its representatives on Capitol Hill is different than the state-of-mind of the Department of State. The latter functions - just like any arm of the Administration - under the supervision of Congress, which has been a bastion of support for enhanced US-Israel connection, empowered with the "Power of the Purse" and with a stature equal to the Executive. Also, as the approval rating of presidents decline (which has afflicted second termers) so rises the assertiveness of the Legislature.

Until 1992, all Israeli prime ministers (from Ben Gurion to Shamir) considered Congress as a major platform for the upgrading of US-Israel strategic ties and for the neutralization of Department of State obstructionism. However, since 1992 all Israeli prime ministers have relegated Congress to the role of a "second team". Until 1992 all Israeli prime ministers were aware that succumbing to pressure by staunch critics in the Administration would pull the rug from under the feet of steadfast supporters in the US. Therefore, they have, usually, resisted pressure, and have consequently enhanced the bilateral strategic ties. However, since 1992, all Israeli prime ministers have adopted the policy of Israel's critics in Washington, and as a result have become role model for concessions and submission to pressure.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:11 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2005

Jews killed in Federal Prisons

By Bill Maniaci

November 6, 2005

Earl Krugel, former Jewish Defense League Member, was murdered after only three days at the Federal Correctional Institution, Phoenix, Arizona.The Jewish Defense League finds this second killing of a JDL member while in Federal custody reprehensible and far beyond the bounds of mere coincidence. The issue is not what Mr. Krugel was incarcerated for, rather whether any Jewish inmate is safe from assassination in a United States prison?

The Bureau of Prisons certainly realized that Mr. Krugel was a high profile target for any one of the many enemies of the Jewish people and the Jewish Defense League in particular. Members of the Jewish Defense League have received death threats from Hamas and other Radical Islamic organizations, as well as White Supremacist groups like the Aryan Nations, Aryan Brotherhood, WCOTC, National Alliance, National Vanguard, and neo-Nazi Skinhead groups just to name a few. All of these terrorist entities have tentacles that reach into every prison in the United States.

Knowing that Mr. Krugel was a target of murderous prison gangs, the Bureau of Prisons was obligated to afford Mr. Krugel protection from those who would certainly take his life. They did not, and just as we hold them suspect in the death of Irv Rubin, we hold them directly responsible for the deliberate murder of Earl Krugel.

As we mourn Earl Krugel, we express our deepest sympathies to his family and the families of all other Jews who have been murdered because they are Jewish. We demand a full and timely accounting and public disclosure of the facts, circumstances, and details of this crime. We also call for an immediate and independent investigation, outside of the Bureau of Prisons, of the murder of Earl Krugel.

Where is the Jewish Outrage?

Did the federal government put Earl Krugel in open population at the medium-security Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix Arizona to squeeze information out him about the Alex Odeh murder? If so, were the same tactics used on Irv Rubin?

According to the New York Times Staff writers David Pierson and Greg Krikorian, a federal law enforcement official involved in the Odeh investigation said he was unsure what effect Krugel's death would have on finding Odeh's killer. "Once he got there [prison], he might have a change of heart and finally cooperate," the official said. "But we weren't counting on it." If this is true, where is the Jewish outrage?

No one finds it coincidental that both Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel were murdered on November 4th, the day before the anniversary of the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane? The prisons seem to keep Muslim terror suspects alive while in custody, they even keep pedophiles alive. But a Jew? Krugel pleaded guilty and was given a 20-year sentence. I beg to differ; he was in my opinion, sentenced to death.

How stupid could anyone be to think that putting him in a medium-security prison amongst white supremacists and Islamic extremists would be justice served? Robert Turk, Jewish Defense League Eastern Regional Director and JDL News Editor stated “It is shameful that our Congressional delegates as well as the media have given more credence and importance to find out who forced Muslim prisoners to wear underwear on their heads, while virtually ignoring the murder of Earl Krugel, killed while in Federal Custody.

Not one word or a call for an investigation has been made by our elected representatives, the news pundits, or any major Jewish organization. It is now perfectly clear that the value of a Jewish life is of no consequence in today’s politically correct America. May G-d help us all. Where is the Jewish outrage?

According to the National Islamic Prison Foundation, the Foundation claims to convert an average of 135,000 prisoners a year in federal prison. The Aryan Brotherhood rules over whites in prison. Is Islamo-Nazism the justice system’s final solution?

The Jewish populations in the prisons are just a grain of sand on the beach. Putting Jewish prisoners in open population is a certain death sentence. Who oversees the security of Jewish prisoners - The ADL, B’nai B’rith, or any other mainstream organizations with their high paid executive staffs? Where are the so-called Jewish organizations, that obtain huge donated sums, supposedly, as defense organizations for the Jewish community?

Bill Maniaci, Jewish Defense League Chief, Intelligence and Security
P.O. Box 10581 Reno, NV 89510-0581
(775) 857-2027 Email: Maccabee@Charter.net

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:01 AM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2005

Thank you President G.W. Bush - a great friend of Israel, the Jewish people and Defender of the Free World

Today, President Bush recognized America's veterans, thanking them for their service and sacrifice in defense of our country.

Jeff Berkowitz
White House Liaison to the Jewish Community

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release November 11, 2005

Redacted from:
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON THE WAR ON TERROR

Tobyhanna Army Depot
Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania

THE PRESIDENT: …

All of America's veterans have placed the nation's security before their own lives. Their sacrifice creates a debt that America can never fully repay. Yet, there are certain things that government can do; my administration remains firmly committed to serving America's veterans. (Applause.)

Since I took office, my administration has increased spending for veterans by $24 billion -- an increase of 53 percent. (Applause.) In the first four years as President, we increased spending for veterans more than twice as much as the previous administration did in eight years, and I want to thank the members of the Congress and the Senate for joining me in the effort to support our veterans. (Applause.)

We've increased the VA's medical care budget by 51 percent, increased total outpatient visits, increased the number of prescriptions filled, and reduced the backlog of disability claims. We've committed more than $1.5 billion to modernizing and expanding VA facilities so that more veterans can get better care closer to home. We've expanded grants to help homeless veterans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, because we strongly believe no veteran who served in the blazing heat or bitter cold of foreign lands should have to live without shelter in this country. (Applause.)

In the four years since September the 11th, the evil that reached our shores has reappeared on other days, in other places -- in Mombasa and Casablanca and Riyadh and Jakarta and Istanbul and Madrid and Beslan and Taba and Netanya and Baghdad, and elsewhere. In the past few months, we have seen a new terror offensive with attacks on London and Sharm el-Sheikh, another deadly strike in Bali, and this week, a series of bombings in Amman, Jordan, that killed dozens of innocent Jordanians and their guests.

All these separate images of destruction and suffering that we see on the news can seem like random, isolated acts of madness -- innocent men and women and children who have died simply because they boarded the wrong train, or worked in the wrong building, or checked into the wrong hotel. Yet, while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology -- a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane.

Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; and still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism, subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Hindus and Jews -- and against Muslims, themselves, who do not share their radical vision.

Many militants are part of a global, borderless terrorist organization like al Qaeda -- which spreads propaganda, and provides financing and technical assistance to local extremists, and conducts dramatic and brutal operations like the attacks of September the 11th. Other militants are found in regional groups, often associated with al Qaeda -- paramilitary insurgencies and separatist movements in places like Somalia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Chechnya, Kashmir and Algeria. Still others spring up in local cells -- inspired by Islamic radicalism, but not centrally directed. Islamic radicalism is more like a loose network with many branches than an army under a single command. Yet these operatives, fighting on scattered battlefields, share a similar ideology and vision for the world.

We know the vision of the radicals because they have openly stated it -- in videos and audiotapes and letters and declarations and on websites.

First, these extremists want to end American and Western influence in the broader Middle East, because we stand for democracy and peace, and stand in the way of their ambitions. Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, has called on Muslims to dedicate, their "resources, their sons and money to driving the infidels out of our lands." The tactics of al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists have been consistent for a quarter of a century: They hit us, and expect us to run.

Last month, the world learned of a letter written by al Qaeda's number two leader, a guy named Zawahiri. And he wrote this letter to his chief deputy in Iraq -- the terrorist Zarqawi. In it, Zawahiri points to the Vietnam War as a model for al Qaeda. This is what he said: "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam -- and how they ran and left their agents -- is noteworthy." The terrorists witnessed a similar response after the attacks on American troops in Beirut in 1983 and Mogadishu in 1993. They believe that America can be made to run again -- only this time on a larger scale, with greater consequences.

Second, the militant network wants to use the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country -- a base from which to launch attacks and conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments. Over the past few decades, radicals have specifically targeted Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Jordan for potential takeover. They achieved their goal, for a time, in Afghanistan. And now they've set their sights on Iraq. In his recent letter, Zawahiri writes that al Qaeda views Iraq as, "the place for the greatest battle." The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. We must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war against the terrorists. (Applause.)

Third, these militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region, and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia. Zawahiri writes that the terrorists, "must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq." He goes on to say: "[T]he jihad … requires several incremental goals. … Expel the Americans from Iraq. … Establish an Islamic authority over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq¼ Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq."

With the greater economic, military and political power they seek, the terrorists would be able to advance their stated agenda: to develop weapons of mass destruction; to destroy Israel; to intimidate Europe; to assault the American people; and to blackmail our government into isolation.

Some might be tempted to dismiss these goals as fanatical or extreme. They are fanatical and extreme -- but they should not be dismissed. Our enemy is utterly committed. As Zarqawi has vowed, "We will either achieve victory over the human race or we will pass to the eternal life." (Applause.) And the civilized world knows very well that other fanatics in history, from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot, consumed whole nations in war and genocide before leaving the stage of history. Evil men, obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience, must be taken very seriously -- and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply.

Defeating the militant network is difficult, because it thrives, like a parasite, on the suffering and frustration of others. The radicals exploit local conflicts to build a culture of victimization, in which someone else is always to blame and violence is always the solution. They exploit resentful and disillusioned young men and women, recruiting them through radical mosques as pawns of terror. And they exploit modern technology to multiply their destructive power. Instead of attending far-away training camps, recruits can now access online training libraries to learn how to build a roadside bomb or fire a rocket-propelled grenade -- and this further spreads the threat of violence, even within peaceful democratic societies.

The influence of Islamic radicalism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They've been sheltered by authoritarian regimes -- allies of convenience like Iran and Syria -- that share the goal of hurting America and modern Muslim governments, and use terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West, on America, and on the Jews. This week the government of Syria took two disturbing steps. First, it arrested Dr. Kamal Labwani for serving as an advocate for democratic reform. Then President Assad delivered a strident speech that attacked both the Lebanese government and the integrity of the Mehlis investigation into the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister.

The government of Syria must do what the international community has demanded: cooperate fully with the Mehlis investigation and stop trying to intimidate and de-stabilize the Lebanese government. The government of Syria must stop exporting violence and start importing democracy. (Applause.)

The radicals depend on front operations, such as corrupted charities, which direct money to terrorist activity. They are strengthened by those who aggressively fund the spread of radical, intolerant versions of Islam into unstable parts of the world. The militants are aided as well by elements of the Arab news media that incite hatred and anti-Semitism, that feed conspiracy theories, and speak of a so-called American "war on Islam" -- with seldom a word about American action to protect Muslims in Afghanistan and Bosnia and Somalia and Kosovo and Kuwait and Iraq; or our generous assistance to Muslims recovering from natural disasters in places like Indonesia and Pakistan. (Applause.)

Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions in Iraq -- claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001. (Applause.) The hatred of the radicals existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse. The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom -- and, yet, the militants killed more than 150 Russian schoolchildren in Beslan.

Over the years these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence: the Israeli presence on the West Bank, the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, the defeat of the Taliban, or the Crusades of a thousand years ago. In fact, we're not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We're facing a radical ideology with inalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No act of ours invited the rage of killers -- and no concession, bribe, or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder. On the contrary, they target nations whose behavior they believe they can change through violence. Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response: We will never back down, we will never give in, we will never accept anything less than complete victory. (Applause.)

The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century. Yet in many ways, this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century. Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses. Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, "what is good for them and what is not." And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that this road -- that this is the road to paradise -- though he never offers to go along for the ride. (Applause.)

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. And this explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life. We have seen it in the murders of Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg and Margaret Hassan and many others. In a courtroom in the Netherlands, the killer of Theo Van Gogh turned to the victim's grieving mother and said, "I don't feel your pain … because I believe you're an infidel." And in spite of this veneer of religious rhetoric, most of the victims claimed by the militants are fellow Muslims.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy pursues totalitarian aims. Its leaders pretend to be an aggrieved party, representing the powerless against imperial enemies. In truth, they have endless ambitions of imperial domination -- and they wish to make everyone powerless, except themselves. Under their rule, they have banned books, and desecrated historical monuments, and brutalized women. They seek to end dissent in every form, to control every aspect of life, to rule the soul itself. While promising a future of justice and holiness, the terrorists are preparing a future of oppression and misery.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples -- claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent. Zarqawi has said that Americans are, "the most cowardly of God's creatures." But let us be clear: It is cowardice that seeks to kill children and the elderly with car bombs, and cuts the throat of a bound captive, and targets worshipers leaving a mosque.

It is courage that liberated more than 50 million people from tyranny. It is courage that keeps an untiring vigil against the enemies of rising democracies. And it is courage in the cause of freedom that will once again destroy the enemies of freedom. (Applause.)

And Islamic radicalism, like the ideology of communism, contains inherent contradictions that doom it to failure. By fearing freedom -- by distrusting human creativity and punishing change and limiting the contributions of half a population -- this ideology undermines the very qualities that make human progress possible, and human societies successful. The only thing modern about the militants' vision is the weapons they want to use against us. The rest of their grim vision is defined by a warped image of the past -- a declaration of war on the idea of progress itself. And whatever lies ahead in the war against this ideology, the outcome is not in doubt. Those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation and decline and collapse. Because free peoples believe in the future, free peoples will own the future. (Applause.)

We didn't ask for this global struggle, but we're answering history's call with confidence, and with a comprehensive strategy. Defeating a broad and adaptive network requires patience, constant pressure, and strong partners in Europe and in the Middle East and North Africa and Asia and beyond. Working with these partners, we're disrupting militant conspiracies, we're destroying their ability to make war, and we're working to give millions in a troubled region a hopeful alternative to resentment and violence.

Because of this steady progress, the enemy is wounded -- but the enemy is still capable of global operations. Our commitment is clear: We will not relent until the organized international terror networks are exposed and broken, and their leaders are held to account for their murder. (Applause.)

Second, we're determined to deny weapons of mass destruction to outlaw regimes, and to their terrorist allies who would use them without hesitation. (Applause.) The United States, working with Great Britain and Pakistan and other nations, has exposed and disrupted a major black-market operation in nuclear technology led by A.Q. Khan. Libya has abandoned its chemical and nuclear weapons programs, as well as its long-range ballistic missiles.

Our coalition, along with our Iraqi allies, is moving forward with a comprehensive plan. Our strategy is to clear, hold, and build. We're working to clear areas from terrorist control, to hold those areas securely, and to build lasting, democratic Iraqi institutions through an increasingly inclusive political process. In recent weeks, American and Iraqi troops have conducted several major assaults to clear out enemy fighters in Baghdad, and parts of Iraq.

Now, Iraqis are gearing up for December 15th elections, when they will go to the polls to choose a government under the new constitution. The new government will serve a four-year term, and it will represent all Iraqis. Even those who voted against the constitution are now organizing and preparing for the December elections. Multiple Sunni Arab parties have submitted a list of candidates, and several prominent Sunni politicians are running on other slates. With two successful elections completed, and a third coming up next month, the Iraqi people are proving their determination to build a democracy united against extremism and violence. (Applause.)

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power. (Applause.)

With the rise of a deadly enemy and the unfolding of a global ideological struggle, our time in history will be remembered for new challenges and unprecedented dangers. And yet this fight we have joined is also the current expression of an ancient struggle -- between those who put their faith in dictators, and those who put their faith in the people. Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision -- and they end up alienating decent people across the globe. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that regimented societies are strong and pure -- until those societies collapse in corruption and decay. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that free men and women are weak and decadent -- until the day that free men and women defeat them.

We don't know the course of our own struggle will take, or the sacrifices that might lie ahead. We do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice, we do know the love of freedom is the mightiest force of history, and we do know the cause of freedom will once again prevail. (Applause.)

Thank you for coming. May God bless our veterans, may God bless our troops in harm's way, and may God continue to bless the United States of America. (Applause.)


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2005

Rapidly dwindling Christian Minority in Palestinian Arab Controlled Territories

By Khaled Abu Toameh

Redacted from an article in The International Jerusalem Post
November 10, 2005

Tourists and pilgrims who visited Bethlehem over the past decade or so must have run into Farid Azizeh, a Christian businessman who, together with his wife, ran a small coffee shop on Manger Square. On the eve of the Millennium, many foreign journalists who converged on Bethlehem turned the place into a makeshift media center. Azizeh’s coffee shop was among the few businesses in Bethlehem that had remained open after the intifada began in September 2000.

About three years ago, unidentified gun men opened fire at Azizeh’s car on one of the main streets of the city hitting him in the head. Shortly after the attack, with the help of Israeli friends, he was transferred to Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, where doctors managed to save his life. However, several surgical operations failed to save his eyesight. Since then, the coffee shop has closed.

Azizeh’s attackers remain at large, although many know their identity. Only days before the shooting, Azizeh had refused to withdraw a complaint he had filed against a Muslim driver who killed two of his relatives in a car accident. The driver’s family is said to have sought the help of local Fatah militiamen in “persuading” Azikeh to back off. Regardless of the motive, the case is seen by many Christians in the context of a campaign allegedly waged by Muslims against the Christian minority in the city.

“The Christians here are perceived as easy prey,” complains a prominent Christian businessman. “In recent years there has been an upsurge in the number of attacks on Christians in Bethlehem.” Muslim and Christian political leaders in the city strongly deny the existence of an organized anti-Christian campaign insisting that the violence is most1y the result of “personally motivated” disputes that are unrelated to religion. The victims of crime include both Muslims and Christians, they add, accusing Israel and Jewish organizations of spreading lies about “Muslim persecution” of Christians. Yet off the record, many Christians in Bethlehem who were interviewed a week ago expressed deep concern over increased attacks by Muslims on members of their community. Moreover, most of them said that they were seriously considering moving to the United States and Latin America, where many of their relatives already live.

Jihad, a Christian merchant born the nearby town of Beit Jala, who has been dealing in antique furniture for over 30 years, says he is planning to leave for good to Chile, where at least 80,000 of his townsfolk now live “There are less than 10,000 Christians living in Bait Jala today;” he explains...”There’s no future here because of the deteriorating economic conditions.”

His friend George, who used to own a souvenir shop, says he’s planning to move this week to Peru, where his brothers and sisters have been living for the past 15 years. The two, who asked to be identified by their first names, are extremely cautious when the issue of Muslim Christian relations is raised. “It’s true that there have been a number of cases of violence against Christians, but generally speaking the situation is not that bad,” George stresses.

Other Christians in Belt Jala disagree. According to a local physician, the plight of the Christians has been aggravated over the past decade in general and since the outbreak of the intifada in particular. “After the Palestinian Authority arrived here in 1995, many Muslim families from Hebron and other parts of the West Bank have moved to Beit Jala,” he says. “What’s worrying is that some of them have illegally seized privately owned lands. One of the Christian owners refused to sell his land to a Palestinian security official and was arrested for a number of days.”

In another case, a 60-year-old Christian man was briefly detained by one of the Palestinian security forces because he had forbidden his daughter to date a Muslim security officer. Other Christians who tried to stop Fatah gunman in Beit Jala from firing into the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Gilo in the first years of the current round of hostilities later reported that they had been beaten or threatened by the gunmen. The same gunmen were also responsible for the rape and murder of two Christian teenage sisters from the Amr family.

The assailants then claimed that the sisters had been murdered because they were “prostitutes” and had been “collaborating” with Israeli security forces — a claim that has been strongly denied by the victims’ relatives and many residents of the town. “The gangsters murdered the two sisters so that they would not tell anyone about the rape,” says a family member. “Some of the murderers were later killed by the Israeli army, but others are now living in Europe after they had sought refuge in the church of Nativity. It’s absurd that Muslim men who rape and murder Christian girls are given political asylum in Christian countries like Ireland, Spain and Italy.”

Last week Beit Jala was once again the scene of religious tensions after a Christian woman complained that Muslim men from the village of Belt Awwa in the Hebron area had harassed her. “Such incidents have become a daily phenomenon,” says Mary, who runs a small grocery in the town. “Many Christian families have sent their daughters abroad for fear they would come under attack by Muslim men.”

Earlier this year tensions between Muslims and Christians in Bethlehem reached a peak after a Christian family complained that their 16 year-old daughter had been kidnapped by a Muslim man. Following the intervention of senior Palestinian officials and Muslim leaders, the girl was re-united with her family after spending a few days in a village near Hebron. With the help of American diplomats, the girl was flown immediately to the US to begin a new life with relatives and friends.

Some Christians point a finger at the foreign media and diplomatic missions in Israel, accusing them of ignoring their predicament for “political” reasons.“ Although most of the foreign journalists and diplomats are Christians, they don’t seem to pay enough attention to what’s happening to the Christians in Bethlehem,” says Bishara, a Christian tourist guide. “They’re obviously afraid of damaging their relations with the Palestinian Authority”

While it’s almost impossible to find a Christian who’s prepared to go public in airing such grievance, Samir Qumsiyeh a journalist from Belt Sahur, is a notable exception in September, he was quoted by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera as saying that Christians were being subjected to rape, kidnapping, extortion and expropriation of land and property.

Qumsiyeh, who was not available for an interview before press time because he was out of the country heads a local TV station called A1-Mahd (Nativity). In a daring step, Qumsiyeh drew up a list of 93 cases of anti-Christian violence between 2000 and 2004.“This file is incomplete and it’s not up-to-date,” he told the Italian newspaper. “Look at the case of Rawan William Mansour, a 17-year-old girl from Beit Sahur. Four members of Fatah raped her two years ago. Even though the family protested, none of the four was ever arrested. Because of the shame her family was forced to move to Jordan. Almost all 140 cases of expropriation of land in the last three years were committed by militant Islamic groups and members of the Palestinian police.”

Qumsiyeh said he was now preparing a book on the conditions of the Christian minority. “I will call it ‘Racism in Action,” he says. “The racism against us is gaining pace in staggering ways. In 1950 the Christian population m Bethlehem was 75%. Today we have hardly more than 12% Christians. If the situation continues, we won’t be here any more in 20 years.”


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:01 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2005

Self-Destructive Jewish Guilt

By Rabbi Meir Kahane

(May his soul rest in peace) Has history proven him wrong?

(January, 1988)

There is a specter haunting Israel and its American Jewish supporters. It is called guilt. Guilt over the "repression of Palestinian human rights". Guilt over the refusal to remove "the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East - the occupation of the Arab land seized in 1967". Guilt over the unwillingness to give the "Palestinians" their own state in the "occupied lands". And now, guilt over the killing of "Palestinians" and innocent civilians in the "Occupied territories". It is a powerful weapon, this guilt; Jews have a difficult time coping with it.

A people that has been the most debased of losers for 2,000 years finds it difficult to cope with victory. It finds it extraordinary difficult to remain normal. It inherits insecurities, complexes, guilt. It begins to believe its enemies' slanders. It loses its self-respect and longs for the love of a hating world. That is especially true for the Jewish liberal! It is important that those who have retained their self-esteem and sense of Jewish survival speak out against the disease of guilt and moral insecurity. No guilt.

Are the lands of 1967, "occupied" by the Jews, the main obstacle to peace? Is the year 1967 the origin of the conflict? How peaceful it must have been in 1966 when Sinai and Gaza were in Egyptian hands and the Golan was possessed by the Syrians to shell, for 19 years, the Jewish settlements below, and when Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem were in the hands of the "moderate" King Hussein. Why did they go to war? What did they want then? When they had all the "occupied lands" before they were "occupied"? When one has East Jerusalem and attacks Israel, can it be that he desires West Jerusalem? And Tel Aviv? And can it be that that is what they really want again? Now? And why did the "innocent Palestinian women and children" take to the streets then, in 1967, when Jordan and Egypt ruled them to call for "Israel in the sea"? What "occupied lands" did they want back then? And could it be that that is what they want now?

And what did they wish in 1947 when they rejected the "Palestine" state offered them by the United Nations and went to war, killing fully 1 % of the Jewish population? And what did they wish in the riots of 1936-38 when there was no country called Israel and they murdered more than 500 Jews? And in 1929 when no "Zionist occupation troops" were in Hebron, why did the "Palestinians" rise up to murder 67 Jews in one day? And why the pogroms in Jerusalem and Jaffa in 1920 and 1921?

What troubles the Arabs is the very presence of large numbers of Jews in the land, and Israel of any size. Zionism. That is what troubles the Arabs. That is the obstacle to peace. Let us inscribe that on our hearts lest we open the doors to a repetition-on a grand scale-of that which the Arabs have done to Jews since 1920. A horror of slaughter by knives and axes. And the bearers of guilt would do just that.

No guilt. There is one sublime reason why we should not give up a centimeter of land...it belongs to us. If we have no right to Judea and Samaria and Gaza, then we indeed have no right to Tel Aviv. Abraham did not walk on Dizengoff Street nor did our ancestors live in Israeli cities that were built in the 20th century. But Abraham, who lived in Hebron, and Jacob who lived in Shechem, now Nablus, and David in Bethlehem are the sole legitimate reasons that Jews can lay claim to a Tel Aviv and the kibbutzim of the guilt-ridden Left. The land belongs to us because the G-d of Israel, creator and Titleholder of all lands, gave it to us. No guilt.

There is no such thing as a "Palestinian people". They are Arabs, part of the Arab nation, possessor of 21 lands. Let them live in peace in any or all of them. But there are no "Palestinians". It was the Roman emperor Hadrian who, after the Jewish revolt against the Romans, angrily erased the name of the state, Judea, and invented the name "Palestine" after the Philistines. In every normal case, an existing people gives its name to a land. The Franks named it France and the Angles, England, and the Germanics, Germany. Only in this ludicrous case does a Roman invent a name, give it to a land, and the arriving Arab trespassers become "Palestinians". One presumes that had Hadrian not changed the name, Israel today would be fighting Yasir Arafat and the Judean terrorists. There are no "Palestinians" and there is no "Palestine" in the land of Israel, Eretz Yisrael. No guilt.

The "Palestinian" civilians in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Lebanon cheered and supported every P.L.O murder and terror of Jews. They are united in hatred of Israel. It would be nicer if they did not stone our soldiers and try to kill Jews. It would be nicer if they did not rise up in revolt in order to force us out of Judea, Samaria and Gaza as the first step to the elimination of the State of Israel. But since they do, let Jews not allow themselves to be destroyed by "Palestinian" women and children. And if the only way to survive is to take the lives of people who attack us we have no choice. I wonder how many Americans and British and French mourned and protested the killing of German civilians during World War II bombings of Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden?

There is nothing ethical about dying or anything moral about another holocaust. There is nothing immoral about winning and nothing necessarily noble in a loser. Let us cast off the chains of guilt and reject the accusations of its bearers. The greatness of Judaism is its spirit, but no spirit can survive without a living body. If we do not want to kill Arabs--and we don't; and if we want to put an end to the nightly television pictures of violence; and if we do not want to see those pictures tomorrow inside Israel itself, with Israeli Arabs fighting soldiers; and if we do not want to see the threat of Arab demography destroying the Jewish State--then let us have the courage to take the one difficult but immutable step that will free us of all this and guarantee a Jewish State: Remove the Arabs from the land and let them live with their brothers and sisters in any of the 22 Arab states. Anything short of that will see the horrors of today escalated a hundred-fold tomorrow. And let us not fear the world. Those who stood by during the Holocaust and when Israel faced destruction in 1948 and 1967 have nothing to tell us.

Faith in the G-d of Israel and a powerful Jewish army are the only guarantors of Jewish survival. Let us not fear the world. Far better a Jewish State that survives and is hated by the world, than an Auschwitz that brings us its love and sympathy. No guilt Rather faith in G-d and a return to authentic Torah laws; rather pride and strength, and the love of our people rather than the enemy that would destroy us. That is sanity; that is Judaism.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:38 AM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2005

Who’s cleansing whom in Kosovo - A lesson for the West?

By Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI), October 2005

In 1999, under U.S. prodding, NATO intervened to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo by Serbian strongman, Slobodan Milosevic. Today the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo is almost done, only the land is now being ethnically cleansed of Serbs, with virtually no notice from the West’s leaders or media.

Jason Lee Steorts, in Frontpage (August 31) describes his visit to Orahovic in Kosovo, escorted by UN guards, in a car with Hungarian diplomatic plates (Serbian license plates were likely to provoke an attack). Over 3,000 Serbs have been killed in Kosovo, an additional 200,000 driven out, their homes torched or occupied by Albanian Muslims. In Orahovac, Serbs live under siege. Residents cannot move without an armed escort so, work is out of the question. Their children cannot go to school so, classes are held in homes. Aid organizations bring them food. The only hospital is run by Albanian Muslims who will not treat Serbs. Their leader says “We call this an imitation of life.”

NATO and the UN have totally failed to bring security. During a major riot, when mobs set fire to more than 800 Serb homes and over 30 Orthodox churches, 17,000 NATO troops stood by and watched the property burn.

Jews especially should be sensitive to Kosovo’s history. Serbs call Kosovo the Serbian Jerusalem because it is the crucible in which Serbian nationalism was forged 600 years ago. The birthright of the Serbian Orthodox Church (intrinsic to the national identity of Serbs) is in Kosovo, the site of many of its historic churches and monasteries.

The overwhelming disparity in population between Moslems and Serbian Orthodox is largely the result of a relatively recent decision by Yugoslavia’s former ruler Tito to invite Albanians to settle there.

And there is surely a lesson for Jews in what is likely to transpire in Kosovo. It will be given its “independence” from Serbia. The remnant of its Serbian Orthodox population will be forced to flee. As Steorts points out, this will “make a mockery of the West’s claim that talks on Kosovo’s final status would follow only upon improvements in the rule of law, freedom of movement, and the protection of minorities.” The message will be that ethnic cleansing pays.

Of course in Israel the Jews are pioneering in a new variation: “ethnic self-cleansing.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:36 AM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2005

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) - a beautifully orchestrated Palestiinian Arab Scam.

Why should it continue to exist?

By Arlene Kushner

Jerusalem Post of October 28th, 2005

As the United Nations celebrated its 60th anniversary this fall with a dramatic World Summit, supposedly sweeping reform proposals sought to remove the cloud of corruption and mismanagement surrounding the organization. Unfortunately, the proposed reforms do not really address the UN's most egregious fault: placing politics before humanitarian goals.

Nowhere is this more visible than in the case of UNRWA, the UN agency dedicated solely to caring for Palestinian Arab refugees. Palestinian refugees - singularly among all refugee groups - enjoy the support of their very own UN agency: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency. All other refugee groups receive assistance from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees(UNHCR).

Since 1951, UNHCR has worked within the regulations of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees to find long-term, "durable" solutions to refugee crises. Through legal protection and emergency relief, UNHCR has successfully helped more than 25 million people restart their lives.

For Palestinian refugees, however, no durable solution has been found in the 50-plus years since their problems began. Originally numbering between 500,000 and 750,000, Palestinian refugees now number more than 4 million, most of whom live in or near one of 59 camps in five countries. Their plight's implications extend far: The Palestinian refugee problem stands squarely in the way of achieving peace in the Middle East. Understanding the unique phenomenon of Palestinian refugees, however, requires first understanding just how anomalous the institution designed to assist them is.

UNRWA WAS established by General Assembly Resolution 302 in December 1949. From the outset, the agency had an extraordinary degree of autonomy, largely due to pressure from the UN's Arab bloc. It was thus free to set its own definitions and guidelines - which were markedly different from those of UNHCR.

For example, UNRWA defines Palestinian refugees as "persons whose normal
place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost
both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict." By contrast, the UNHCR definition - recognized as the international norm - describes a refugee as someone who "is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution."

By emphasizing "country of nationality or habitual residence," UNHCR clearly intends to exclude the transients embraced by UNRWA's definition - people who had only recently arrived in Palestine from neighboring Arab countries in search of work. Moreover, while UNHCR seeks to prevent expansion of its definition in ways that would encourage its improper use for political ends, UNRWA has done just the opposite: Not only has it declined to remove the status of refugee from people who no longer fit the original description, such as the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians granted full citizenship by Jordan, but it indefinitely confers refugee status on refugees' descendants.

By expanding its already problematic refugee definition, UNRWA guarantees
that the problem will remain ever-growing, and thus ever-worsening. For some Arab leaders this may be precisely the aim: So long as the Palestinian refugee problem is visible and acute, Israel remains a convenient scapegoat on which the region's ills can be blamed.

Such differing definitions, unsurprisingly, lead to divergent policies. Indeed, by refusing to consider any resolution other than that demanded by the Arab world - the "right of return" to Israel - UNRWA has effectively denied Palestinian refugees an end to their unwanted status, the very goal UNHCR takes as its raison d'etre with regard to the refugees that fall within its mandate.

OUTSIDE THE Arab world, it is widely accepted among the international
community that an influx of over four million Palestinian refugees into Israel is neither a realistic nor an acceptable goal. Given this, it is remarkable that Palestinian Arab refugees have never been offered a means of resettlement.

With the notable exception of Jordan, the Arab world has denied citizenship to Palestinian refugees and their descendants, many of whom have been born and raised in these countries. UNRWA itself has never promoted resettlement, nor pressured Arab countries into meeting their responsibilities toward these refugees.Instead, UNRWA has followed a policy of reinforcing refugees' collective attachments to their places of origin. A flagrant example of this policy
is the manner in which UNRWA has thwarted offers to Palestinian refugees of permanent housing outside refugee camps.

In 1985, for example, Israel attempted to move refugees into 1,300 permanent housing units near Nablus - without demanding that they
relinquish the "right of return." Yet the UN intervened, asserting that "measures to resettle Palestine refugees in the West Bank away from the
homes and property from which they were displaced constitute a violation of their inalienable right of return."

OF ALL UNRWA's problems, however, the most serious is links to Palestinian terror. According to a 2003 report by the US General Accounting Office, for example, UNRWA employees were arrested and convicted by Israeli military courts of throwing firebombs at an Israeli public bus, possessing bomb-making materials, and transferring chemicals to assist in bomb-making. Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold saw shahid (martyr) posters in the homes of UNRWA workers during a visit to Jenin in April 2002.

"It was clear," he said in a December 2003 interview, "that UNRWA workers
were doubling as Hamas operatives." This should hardly have come as a surprise. As PA Minister of Labor Ghassan Khatib remarked in February 2002, every young man in UNRWA's Balata refugee camp had his own personal weapon because the local steering committee - an official UNRWA body - voted that charitable donations would be used for guns rather than food or other relief.

Whether UNRWA is afraid to interfere with terrorist activity in its camps, or whether it has become so entrenched in the terrorist infrastructure as to be effectively indistinguishable from it, the evidence is clear that an agency mandated to serve a humanitarian purpose has been drafted to further a militant political agenda.

The UN Refugee Convention established international standards with respect to refugees. In its deviation from these it is clear that UNRWA is not only unhelpful to the Palestinian refugee issue, but actually detrimental. Those nations interested in finding a genuine, viable solution to the Palestinian refugee problem, a sine qua non for peace in the Middle East, should be encouraged to work toward the termination of UNRWA's mandate and, in its stead, the application of UNHCR policies to the Palestinian refugee issue.

The writer, a Jerusalem-based journalist, has written four reports on
UNRWA for the Center for Near East Policy Research. A longer version of
this essay appears in the current issue of Azure (www.azure.org.il).

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2005

Golda Meir answers for Zionists everywhere

By Yehuda Avner

From the Jerusalem Post International, October 20, 2005

The metal brute clawed and ripped at the rock-strewn path, up a rugged basalt slope to a ridge that terminated in a plateau designated as the tank replenishment depot. Centurions, much the worst for weather were parked higgledy-piggledy, taking on ammunition and fuel.

From this vantage point prime minister Golda Meir could look over the Kuneitra Valley dubbed the Vale of Tears, so named because it was the site of the bloodiest battle of the Yom Kippur War when catastrophe thundered down on an overextended and unprepared Israel in a juggernaut of armor more numerous than Hitler’s at his peak. On the Golan Heights alone, 1,400 Syrian tanks hurled themselves against Israel’s 160. The defenders fought at point-blank range, lurching and roaring in an unequal entanglement of tanks, armored personnel carriers, howitzers, and other paraphernalia that culminated in a contest of wills which left the Israelis staggering and the Syrians routed.

Golda Meir, her face deeply scored with tragic lines, stared out across this Vale of Tears and her eyes reddened. It was Chol Hamoed Succot, a day in the week of the festival of Tabernacles, 1973, and she had come to see for herself the carnage that had been wrought here. She was accompanied by her one-eyed veteran minister of defense, Moshe Dayan, and her ruggedly handsome chief-of General Staff, General David (Dado) Elazar. Faces gray from lack of sleep, the two warriors watched with the eyes of connoisseurs as squads of dusty men, some staggering with fatigue, loaded tanks with shells, refueled their engines, and waved them off, clanking and snarling back to the front.

The distant thud of heavy guns that was pounding the road to Damascus could be distinctly heard as Dado propped a Golan map on a tank hull, and with sweeps of his pen, resurrected the lines of battle for the benefit of this knotted elderly woman whose ignorance of things military was absolute. Dayan handed her his binoculars, the better to view the far-off valley floor strewn with the hideous debris of war: pulverized howitzers, blown-out trucks, battered armored personnel carriers, burned-out tanks punched through with bull’s eyes, some still smoldering and, the dead. The stench of death, cordite, diesel and exhaust, was everywhere.

As she scanned the cadaverous landscape through the binoculars the creases in her face sharpened, and she fumbled for a pack of cigarettes from her black leather handbag. Dado struck her a match and she inhaled deeply, sparking a blaze of photoflashes from the accompanying journalists. They were in my charge, as director of the prime minister’s foreign press bureau.
The whole inspection tour was a last-minute affair. It was made on Golda’s insistence. She wanted to see this frightful valley, overriding Dayan’s objections; he rightly feared for her safety. So a small, foreign media press pool was hastily mustered - she wanted the world to know the odds Israel was up against - and she was helicoptered in with the intention of rapidly helicoptering her out. Given the improvised and sensitive nature of the trip it was agreed there would be no press conference, but one journalist, with bushy eyebrows, a baggy suit, and a perfectly pitched BBC voice, pugnaciously called out, “Share with us, if you will, prime minister, what’s going through your mind as you look out upon this battlefield.”

Golda stared back at him, her features livid and with a dismissive wave of the hand as though brushing away a fly from her plain gray suit, turned to Dayan and Dado, and said, “Come, I want to talk to the boys at the succa. I want to hear what they have to say.” She moved off in the direction of an armored personnel carrier which, incongruously, was canopied by a succa - a booth thatched with eucalyptus branches in imitation of the fragile huts the Israelites lived in during their wanderings in the desert to freedom and the Promised Land.

And as she walked toward this mobile field succa, pigheaded photographers walked backwards. shooting her every stride. Inside, about 15 soldiers were chanting a prayer, their backs toward Golda and her companions. Each was draped in a prayer shawl, and each clutched a lulav and etrog (the palm, myrtle and willow branches and citrus fruit constituting the Four Species), and gently shook them forward to the East, then right to the South, over their right shoulder to the West, then left to the North, and then up, and then down, in replication of the ancient Temple’s Succot ceremony, symbolizing that God is everywhere. Only when they had completed their, ritual did they notice who was silently gazing at them. “Hag sameah!” called Golda, and the soldiers returned her greeting with wide-eyed astonishment.

They were reservists, plucked from their synagogues on Yom Kippur to frantically re-enforce the desperately stretched olive-green line that was holding back the Syrians along the crest of the Golan Heights in a frenzied effort to stop them from capturing the highway to Haifa below. Now, themselves battle-hardened, they had been pulled out of the line to have their tanks hastily refueled, re-armed and serviced, enabling them to briefly pray and recite the Succot blessings.

Straightening her skirt in an instinctive gesture of modesty as though the circumstances required it, and with the concerned countenance of a grandmother, Golda asked the men about their families, and learned by-the-by she was talking to lawyers, bakers, teachers, falafel vendors, accountants, shopkeepers and executives. Other soldiers were drawn into the circle, and the prime minister asked them many questions. Then she wrapped the session up with, “Now is there anyone who would like to ask me something?” One tank crewmember - he seemed in his mid-twenties - raised his hand. He was caked with black dust from head to toe, his only contrasting feature were the whites of his eyes, like an Al Jolson Sambo. I have a question,” he said in a voice hoarse with exhaustion. “My father was killed in the 1948 War and we won; my uncle was killed in the 1956 war and we won. My brother lost an arm in the 1967 war, and we won. Last week I lost my best friend over there” — he was pointing to the Vale of Tears, “and we’re winning. But is all our sacrifice worthwhile, Golda? What’s the use of our military power if we can’t win the peace?”

An edgy murmur passed through the unshaven, weary and unkempt group.
The prime minister returned the young soldier a long and sad look, and there was a strange reserve in her eyes, a remote stare, as though she was looking way inside herself. I believe she was. For on that Succot day, this indefatigable and implacable old woman embodied the very doctrine of Jewish power; she above all was the fervent agent of the view that it was infinitely preferable to deal with power’s confounding implications than to be powerless again.

So, she answered in a deeply compassionate tone, saying, “I weep for your loss, just as I grieve for all our dead. I lie awake at night thinking of them. And I must tell you in all honesty were our sacrifices for ourselves alone, then perhaps you are right; I’m not at all sure they would be worthwhile. But if they are for the survival of the whole Jewish people, then I believe with all my heart that any sacrifice is worthwhile.”

A faintly bemused smile now slowly tipped the corners of her mouth, and though her face was gnarled with age, a girl looked out of her eyes as she went on to tell the following tale: “In 1948, in this season of the year, I arrived in Moscow as Israel’s first ambassador to the Soviet Union. The State of Israel was brand new. Stalinism was at its height. Jews as Jews had no rights. They had been cut off from their fellow Jews for 30 years, since the Communist Revolution of 1917. Stalin had proclaimed war against Judaism. He declared Zionism a crime. Hebrew was banned. Torah study was banned. One was sent to the gulag or to Siberia for far less.

The first Sabbath after I had presented my credentials my embassy staff joined me for services at the Moscow Great Synagogue. It was practically empty but the news of our arrival in Moscow spread quickly, so that when we went a second time, for the festivals, the street in front of the synagogue was jam-packed. Close to 50,000 people were waiting for us — old people and teenagers, babies carried in parents’ arms, even men in officer uniforms of the Red Army. Despite all the risks, all the official threats to stay away from us, these Jews had come to celebrate the Jewish state’s establishment and to demonstrate their kinship with us.

“Inside the synagogue the demonstration was the same. Without speeches or parades, these Jews were showing their love for Israel and the Jewish people, and I was their symbol. I was caught up in a torrent of love so strong it literally took my, breath away. People surged around me, stretching out their hands, and dying, ‘Shalom aleichem Goldele', [‘Welcome Golda’], ‘Goldele, leben zoist du.' [‘Golda, a long life to you']. ‘Gutt yomtov Goldele.’ (Happy Festival) Golda. And all I could say over and over again was, ‘A dank eich vos ihr seit geleiben Yidden.’ [Thank you for having remained Jews. And some cried back to me, ‘Vir danken Medinas Yisrael.’ [‘We thank the State of Israel.']. And that was when I knew for sure that our sacrifices are not in vain.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2005

Lebanon, Re-born as a Sovereign State, challenges Syrian Authority

(Thanks, in many ways, to much maligned Bush American Foreign Policy)

Syria has one last opportunity to read the writing on the wall

Editorial - THE DAILY STAR (Lebanon) Nov.1, 2005

Through Resolution 1636, Syria has now been put on official notice that it must cooperate with the international probe into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The resolution adopted by the Security
Council on Monday was eerily reminiscent of Resolution 1441, which offered
Saddam Hussein "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" and threatened "serious consequences" if these demands were not met.

It was this resolution, which was adopted unanimously by the Security Council in November 2002, that laid the groundwork for the U.S.- led invasion of Iraq. If there was any room for doubt before, the Syrians, who served on the Security Council in 2002 and voted in favor of Resolution 1441, ought to now be keenly aware of the gravity of their situation.

But unfortunately, the Syrians' track record for recognizing the seriousness
of a situation has so far been exceedingly poor. We have seen failure after
failure on the part of the Syrian leadership to register the negative impact
of Syria's policies in the region. And the Syrian leadership has also failed
to properly gauge the international community's unanimous resolve to uncover
the truth about Hariri's murder.

Reading the writing on the wall should have been the responsibility of the
foreign minister, but Farouk Sharaa has evidently failed to do his job. And
he has most likely also failed to advise the Syrian leadership - whether the
formal leadership of state or the informal leadership of the Assad family -
of the appropriate course of action.

Since the first days after Hariri's assassination, Syrian President Bashar
Assad's official responses to an urgent situation have been remarkably slow.
It took Assad over 240 days to announce that Syrian regime figures who were
found guilty in Hariri's murder would be tried and punished as "traitors."
And although evidence of Syrian involvement in the assassination was
emerging from the earliest days of the UN investigation, it took Assad even
longer to establish a Syrian probe into the murder. The laxity with which
the Syrian leadership has dealt with a grave situation demonstrates how out
of touch the regime is with reality. Unfortunately, the regime's
incompetence has put the Syrian people in harm's way.

Assad has now been given a final opportunity to compensate for the
negligence of his Foreign Ministry and his regime. One hopes that he will
not repeat the folly of Saddam Hussein and fail to take this last warning
seriously. His only option is to cooperate with the UN investigation. Any
other choice will put the people of his country and the region in peril.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2005

The Anxiety of Achievement

How about a bit of philosophy - a respite from our daily chores?

The remarks of Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin, psychiatrist

As reported by Darrell Sifford, Knight-Ridder Newspapers

(Date?- From my own collection of ancient clippings- (jsk))

The letter to me was handwritten on the heavy, personalized stationery of the chairman of the board. In part, the writer said: “I’m a middle-aged guy and I guess you could say that I’ve been fairly successful from a business standpoint. I’m making far more money than I ever thought possible, thirty years ago, when I got out of college. Yet, I know for certain that this is only part of what life is all about.

The letter is one of many I have received over the last few months from men and women who are beginning to question the truth of what they always had accepted as gospel - that the climb up the ladder of achievement was what really matters. It must be an inevitable disillusionment that is approach1ng epidemic dimensions. And indeed, that is how it is viewed by Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin, a New York psychiatrist whose current book, “Reconciliations,” (Viking, $11.95) is geared toward helping people find inner peace in an age of anxiety.

WHY ARE SO MANY so anxious?

It’s the result, Rubin said, of the crazy American culture that pushes people naked into the world and tells them that they can buy the self-esteem they need to survive if they will only achieve, achieve, achieve. But the result of that craziness is the disillusionment that comes with the realization, usually in mid-life, that no amount of success ever is enough and the slightest failure is too much, he said.

“In keeping with our neuroticism, success and failure have nothing to do with what we achieve or fail to achieve but with our expectations of ourselves … we have a compulsive need to make up the self-esteem that’s not there. And that is not possible - with any amount of success. The slightest failure becomes attached to self-hate ... We know this is true. If it weren’t true, we wouldn’t see such an inordinate amount of depression.”

Rubin, president of the Institute for Psychoanalysis, has written 21 books, including the acclaimed “Compassion and Self Hate” and “David and Lisa,” on which the movie of the same title was based. He also writes a column In Ladies’ Home Journal.

Success based on hunger for self-esteem never brings the fulfillment that was hoped for, Rubin said. But since this hunger is the basic thrust for most Americans’ climb for success, it’s no wonder we have become a nation plagued by anxiety and disappointment. “We fall when we succeed in our culture, Rubin said. And often when we succeed in self-realization, we fail in terms of our culture.”

Americans tend to need a reason to like themselves, he said, and “when you have to have a basis for self-acceptance, you’re in trouble. We suffer because we have criteria for self-acceptance. There should be no criteria, no strings attached. To be born human, to have loyalty to self, that should be paramount and sufficient.

People who march to their own drummer and they are rare. Rubin said, truly are in charge of their lives. But people, who jump into the rat race, don’t call their own shots. They are not in charge of their own lives; somebody else is. The people who compete with you are in control of you. They set the standards for you. And, it’s very frightening to know that you’re in a world where everything comes from the outside.”

People who compete at work aren’t able to turn off the competitive mechanism when they come home. So then we get competition between mates and siblings … I think people have the capacity for no rivalry, but a large part of it is taught in the family from Day 1."

Children are compared to children and this produces great conflict. And with great conflict comes great anxiety. And in every home much anxiety is generated. Children can’t be brought up with self-esteem if they’re anxious.”
Children are taught early on that competition and achievement will give them self-esteem, Rubin said. “But it is synthetic self-esteem and it doesn’t last. There always has to be more success, more success.”

Then they teach this to their children and the cycle starts all over again. The emphasis is on achieving things we really don’t want to achieve. It amounts to nothing more than a dash up a blind alley, he said, because “I think it is almost impossible to get self-esteem as an adult — no matter how much success is reaped. “If you don’t get it (self-esteem) in childhood, you never really get it.”

This cycle of achievement and disillusionment can be broken by developing “compassion and loyalty to self, which stand in the way of competition,” Rubin said. “They stand for what is rejected in our culture.”

The blueprint for finding compassion and self-loyalty?

“You need to start investigating values, options, priorities, relationships,” he said. “How many relationships are built on optimism. These are not the most fruitful relationships. To reverse the tide you need to understand these relationships. This is the beginning of loyalty to self … to start to establish relationships that are more meaningful.

The next step, Rubin said, is to figure out what really is important in life - to do what you really want to do rather than what you think society expects you to do. But the most important factor of all, Rubin said, is this: “Refuse to base loyalty to self or acceptance on anything that has to do with achievement. This is easier it your parents have accepted you and loved you even when you achieved nothing, instead of doling out rewards for achievement. But it can be done.”

Anxiety is generated by our doing things that we don’t want to do but feel we should. “The "shoulds" are very powerful. When we do things to be accepted and when we fail, this takes a heavy toll. It isn’t that we’ve failed to do whatever it was, but that we’ve failed as humans. “Our feelings of fright and vulnerability in a hostile world are in direct proportion to our need to compete.”

Rubin said he never had known failure at something somebody really wanted to do to produce depression, because the stakes don’t amount to life and death. “You have no neurotic needs . . . and you have a realistic basis for going into whatever it is. That’s why failure in something you really want to do is not too likely — you’re good at what you’re doing. But even if you do fail, you don’t injure your self-esteem, because (what you’ve tried to do) wasn’t a big balloon you sent up to compensate for self-esteem.”

All this means the real winners in life tend to be those who may be viewed by our culture as the real losers because they turn their backs on competition and the culture’s definition of achievement, he said.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:42 AM | Comments (0)