September 28, 2007

The Quandary of Conservative Judaism

An excerpt from a thought-provoking brave article by:

Jack Wertheimer, Professor of Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary

Commentary Magazine September 2007

CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM, a movement situated at the center of the religious spectrum between Orthodoxy and the various versions of liberal Judaism, was in the news this past winter when its committee on Jewish law ruled on the status of homosexuality. Hot-button issues of this sort have historically proved agonizing for the movement—as they have not for Orthodoxy, which has tended to side almost automatically with traditional religious laws, or for liberal denominations, which have reflexively accommodated themselves to societal change. By contrast, the underlying assumption of Conservative Judaism has been that any dissonance between shifting social mores and long-established religious laws should and can be harmonized.

In the present case, that assumption proved untenable. The issue was this: how can one maintain fidelity to the Torah’s explicit prohibition of male homosexual intercourse, as well as later rabbinic rulings extending that negative judgment to lesbianism, while simultaneously remaining open to new social perspectives and scientific research on the nature of sexuality? After deliberating over the matter for a period of years, the committee on Jewish law and standards voted to approve not one but three different and frankly contradictory rulings.

All three welcome homosexuals into Conservative synagogues. Two, however, uphold the traditional disapproval of homosexual behavior and ban openly gay men and women from holding positions of religious leadership, while the third, even as it restricts male homosexual activities to specific acts not prohibited by the Bible, nevertheless sanctions the ordination of gays and lesbians. When the ballots were tallied, it emerged that, on the issue of gay ordination, equal numbers had voted in favor and against, enough in each case to leave both as equally valid positions for Conservative Jews.

Movement officials lauded the committee’s work, characterizing its acceptance of diametrically opposite rulings as proof positive of Conservatism’s successful commitment to religious pluralism. But to judge from a follow-up opinion poll, rabbis and presidents of Conservative synagogues felt otherwise. Far from welcoming the exercise as a success, two-thirds of the former claimed to have been “somewhat embarrassed” by the contradictory rulings, and over half of the lay leaders pronounced themselves “confused.”

… If anything, one cannot help wondering whether another approach entirely would not have a better chance of attracting the wayward and, above all, strengthening the hearts of the already committed. Such an approach would, quite simply, get back to basics. Instead of asking what the consumers seem to want at any given moment, it would ask what Conservative Jews need to know, observe, and believe if they are to connect to traditional Judaism.

Rather than reaching for a short-term cultural fix, it would focus on building a cadre of Jews who can observe Jewish rituals and conduct their spiritual lives by the Jewish calendar, who can read the Torah and grasp its inmost meanings, who are at home in the Hebrew liturgy and inspired by its grandeur.

Such a frankly traditionalist approach would emphasize high quality Jewish education and lifelong Jewish learning, rather than the expedient of simply preparing young people to perform at a bar or bat mitzvah. It would work to nurture belief rather than deconstructing Judaism to the point where no particular beliefs are required. It would invest its resources in fostering the skills and knowledge and dedication that would enable its members to rise to the commandments of Judaism. And it would thereby help Conservative Judaism regain its role as a true religious force.

In returning to its roots as a traditionalist movement, such a Conservative Judaism would also re-think its relationship to the larger American culture. As I noted at the start, the prevailing disposition of the movement has been to eliminate discord between that culture and Jewish doctrine The time has long since come to ask whether this headlong flight into accommodation has been either beneficial or necessary. The assumption that religious communities must capitulate to the often contradictory or even self-canceling principles of advanced contemporary life - egalitarianism, autonomy, “choice” -may not only weaken religion’s ability to remain faithful to its own moral truths but deprive society of valuable contrapuntal voices. A traditionalist Conservative Judaism would do well to emphasize its counter-cultural understanding of what Judaism demands, especially when that understanding is at odds with conventional secular opinion.

In contemplating such an alternative approach, there are important lessons to be learned from the social history of religious life in America. Four decades have passed since a general process of decline began to empty the pews of liberal Protestant churches. All the while, the more conservative churches have grown. Much of American Judaism has blinded itself to this reality, insisting that the Jewish case would be different. But the demonstrable fact is that liberal versions of Judaism, too, have proved far less successful than most traditional versions at retaining the allegiance, and in many instances even the bedrock Jewish identity, of their young.

Investigating the phenomenon of “strict” churches, the sociologist Laurence Iannacone found that congregations willing to make reasonable demands of their members tended not to wither but to thrive. Setting expectations, he concluded, does more to strengthen morale and a common sense of purpose than does a laissez-faire approach that, in honoring individual autonomy above all else, leads to indifference if not contempt.

Whether the Conservative movement is capable of absorbing or acting on this lesson is a hard question. In offering a clear and demanding religious program, the movement might have to prepare itself to live with some further shrinkage in the short term in order to insure growth in the future. What price, what sorts of trade-offs, could it afford as it built an engaged base that, perhaps for the first time, might feel itself to be part of a real religious movement - A hard question indeed, as hard spiritually as strategically; but perhaps the only one worth pondering.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:15 AM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2007

Explaining the 9/11 Twin Towers/Pentagon Attack

Redacted from an article in the Weekly Standard, September 17, 2007

(The 9/11 Commission’s explanation of al Qaeda’s appeal is unfortunately, misguided, dangerous and wrapped in Western civilization’s socialistic misconceptions.) jsk.

The article states, ... “As political, social, and economic problems created flammable societies, Bin Laden used Islam’s most extreme fundamentalist traditions as his match.”

It is, of course, true that Islamists seek to exploit social problems for their own ends. But Islamism is not an ideology that ignites protest as it rubs up against social injustice, On the contrary, what provokes Islamist violence is any sign of modern development in the Muslim world as scientific inquiry, political or personal self-determination, economic progress, women’s equality freedom of expression in cinema and theater.

The radicalization of Islam is less the consequence of poverty and lack of opportunity than their cause. The refusal to see this and to recognize the substance of Islamist ideology - The death cult, the hatred of Jews, and the profound hatred of freedom leads back again and again to the mistaken “discovery” that the “root cause” of terrorism is U.S. policies. Ultimately, the refusal to recognize at Qaeda’s true motives results in a reversal of responsibility: The more deadly the terrorism, the greater the American guilt. The appeal of this approach is related to the specious hope it holds out: If suicide terrorism has its roots in U.S. policy, then a change in U.S. policy can assuage terrorism and the fear it induces. Al Qaeda, meanwhile, benefits, since the bloodier its attacks, the greater the anger against the United States.

The same pattern explains the bizarre reaction to the Middle East conflict that is widespread in the West. The average observer, ignorant of the anti-Jewish content of the Hamas Charter, has to find some other explanation for terrorism against Jews, which must be Israel. It is not the terrorists who are guilty, but their victims. Finding suicide terrorism incomprehensible, Westerners rationalize it as an act of despair that invites sympathy. Here, too, following the principle of “the more barbaric the anti-Jewish terror, the greater the Israeli guilt,” the bombers’ victims become the scapegoat for global terrorism. The old stereotype of Jewish guilt is thus amplified in contemporary form and only encourages the terrorists.

A struggle against Islamism waged in ignorance of Islamist ideology weakens the West. The attribution of guilt to Israel and the United States adds fuel to the flames of Islamist propaganda and drives the wedge deeper into the Western camp rather than where it belongs—in the Muslim world.

Such blindness is especially hazardous in the case of the Iranian nuclear program, whose danger arises from the unique ideological stew surrounding it: the mishmash of Jew-hatred, Holocaust denial, and Shiite death-cult messianism that is the context for Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and advanced missiles. Here the worst-case scenario is not an increase in suicide bombing attacks against individuals, but a perhaps suicidal nuclear attack on the Israeli state.

Back in Munich in 1938, many believed they could resolve the Sudaten German problem with Hitler without considering how it fit into the Nazis’ overall strategy. In the same way today, in U.N. Security Council decisions and the positions of the Permanent Five, the technical aspects of Iran’s nuclear program are often divorced from their ideological context.

The problem is not that the Islamists hide their goals. The problem is that the West does not listen. Osama bin Laden’s chief reproach of the Americans in his “Letter to the American People” is that they act as free citizens who make their own laws instead of accepting sharia law. The same hatred of freedom can be found in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s letter to the American president: “Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems.”

Not to confront the ideological roots of Islamism— notably its well-documented connection to Nazi Jew hatred—stymies any Western push for political, economic, and cultural modernization in the Muslim world. Yet, only such modernization can split the majority of Muslims, who would benefit from social progress, from the Islamists, who are willing to die to prevent it. Without challenging the ideological roots of Islamism, it is impossible to confront the Muslim world with the real choices before it: Will it choose life and hope, or does it prefer the cult of death? Will it stand up for individual and social self-determination, or will it finally submit to the mullahs’ program of Jew-hatred and jihad? ...

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2007

GW Bush, C. Rice, James Baker III promote November Kangaroo Court to destroy Israel

Redacted from article
By Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East Analyst & Commentator

September 20, 2007

Is America to be dragged down into a reputation of betrayal as Hitler stained Germany with the Genocide of the Jewish People? Hitler had two objectives. One was to satisfy his pathological hatred of Jews. The other was to stir up not so latent anti-Semitism across Europe as his troops conquered all the European nations. In any case, it was a successful diversion and 6 million Jews paid the price. It has been 62 years since Germany and the Europeans completed their human sacrifice to Moloch (a flesh-eating god) always demanding more human sacrifice. The monster is back again, demanding his due and, regrettably, we observe the nations gathering once again to feed Jews to Allah as their sacrifice.

The Shame for America is that we have leaders who are leading and guiding all others to use Israel as the selected sacrifice. The American people who are decent, generous and honest will come to hate those scurrilous leaders for shaming all of us in order to bribe the Arabs for a "good deal" on their oil. Think about what some American leaders have already done mostly without the knowledge of the American people.

The State Department, with the approval of several Presidents funneled Billions of American tax-payers’ dollars to the arch-Terrorist and grandfather of modern Arab Terrorism, Yassir Arafat, little of which passed through to the Arab Palestinian people. Instead, those who provided American dollars knew for a certainty that the money was being used to arm Arafat’s Terrorist Army and the hundreds of Terrorist operations against Israeli civilians, to include children and women.

Rice-Bush-Baker know and just don’t care that Saudi Arabia has been the deep pockets for Global Terrorists, many of whom migrated to Iraq to kill American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. For years, there has been a group at the highest levels in Washington dedicated to protecting Syria - despite knowing that they were planning Terrorist actions. Recall the 242 Marines from Pennsylvania who were blown up in their barracks in Lebanon in 1983. When President Ronald Reagan ordered our battleship in reprisal to fire its 16 inch guns at Syria positions, then Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger countermanded Reagan’s orders. Weinberger shielded Syria while carrying on a deadly vendetta with Israel.

James Baker III, a frequent visitor to Hafez al Assad could, no doubt speak to the matter of who was responsible and why Syria was never held accountable for its many Terrorist operation against America and Israel. Why did Congress never ask, "Who are these guys and what are they receiving as agents for foreign countries?"

Would you believe that the U.N. just voted on September 17th for Syria to serve as Deputy Chairman for its 51st session in Vienna of the General Conference of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) - the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog. This was just two weeks after Israel’s bombing raid in Syria, to take out North Korean nuclear materials. And, of course, the Syrian news agency SANA proudly announced "the Israeli nuclear deterrent arsenal is an item on the agenda of the conference." While Iran will be a focus of the discussions, the agenda does not refer to the Iran Islamic Republic by name.
The Director of the IAEA is Mohammed El Baradei. (1) Arab Muslims, be they Arab League or Palestinian Terrorists (either Fatah or Hamas) have detailed, non-cancelable Charters and Fatwas calling for the elimination of Israel by any means possible. Rice-Bush-Baker, knowing all of this, still insist upon the corrupted Olmert give-away of vital tracts of Jewish Land vital to the defense of the small State of Israel.

Olmert offers this defensible Land to hostile Arab Muslim Palestinians who will and have already brought in Al Qaeda, Hezb’Allah, Hamas, Al Aksa Martyrs’ Brigade of Fatah, Tanzim, and other proxies of Iran and Syria to battle Israel from within and without. Rice and Bush and especially Baker know all of this from U.S. and Israel Intelligence but, even knowing these truths, they insist that Israel commit national suicide for whatever good it will do them with a species of killer who will not ever be appeased.

Knowing is being a collaborator in the next Jewish Genocide. Rice, Bush and Baker know with certainty that Syria has acted both as an entry point for Terrorists going into Iraq to kill American soldiers and has chosen NOT to respond. After Arafat died, Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen), his 40 year companion, financier, fellow leading terrorist took over Fatah, which is the main operational Terrorist organization of the PLO. The U.S. not only ignored the on-going Terror against Israel through her many factions but also paid money, trained and armed Arafat’s Army still in place under Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas).

-Syria and North Korea have been extremely close in the exchange of missile technology and supposedly recently discovered interchange of nuclear technology and materials.
-The Europeans insisted on funneling money, arms, explosives and terrorists into Fatah and Hamas - despite continued attacks against Israel through Kassam Rockets and Katyusha Missiles - both with increasing range and accuracy.
-Russia’s President Putin wanted to supply armored vehicles to Fatah along with weapons transited through Iran and Syria.
-Egypt also played its nefarious role by winking and blinking when shipment of arms to the Palestinians went either through the Sinai or was shipped via the Suez Canal. (Not a word of condemnation from the U.S. State Department or the Bush Administration.)

I have mentioned only a fraction of what has been happening with Bush, Rice, Baker and earlier Father Bush have either watched in silence or even assisted.
The SHAME I have mentioned earlier is that the Bush Administration is perfectly willing to gather all of the above gang of cut-throat nations to judge Israel and hang her as appeasement bait to the murderous Arab Muslims. The names of nations are the same used by Hitler in his Genocidal march to his 1000 Year Third Reich. Why must Bush and Rice leave a legacy that will mark America with an ugly stain much as remains on Germany and participating nations?

Certainly, the nations made every effort to kill off G-d’s messengers leaving only perhaps 15 million Jews on the planet today. Now you and yours are diligently trying to eliminate even this remnant. So, will this be your legacy, namely that President Bush and nations eliminated the last Jew on earth?
This then is what Rice, Bush and Baker are planning for Israel in the coming November Kangaroo Court, arranged just for the Jewish Nation and staged by Washington. Americans will then have to share in the Shameful history of Germany.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:31 AM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2007

Ex-President For Sale

By Alan M. Dershowitz

(This article has been distributed before, but you might want to keep it on file and forward it whenever to organizations, magazines, and newspapers promoting Jimmie Carter and his usual anti-Israel, anti-Jewish and often anti-American opinions.)

Jimmy Carter is making more money selling integrity than peanuts. I have known Jimmy Carter for more than 30 years. I first met him in the spring of 1976 when, as a relatively unknown candidate for president, he sent me a handwritten letter asking for my help in his campaign on issues of crime and justice.

I had just published an article in The New York Times Magazine on sentencing reform, and he expressed interest in my ideas and asked me to come up with additional ones for his campaign. Shortly thereafter, my former student Stuart Eisenstadt brought Carter to Harvard to meet with some faculty members, me among them. I immediately liked Jimmy Carter and saw him as a man of integrity and principle. I signed on to his campaign and worked very hard for his election.

When Newsweek magazine asked his campaign for the names of people on whom Carter relied for advice, my name was among those given out. I continued to work for Carter over the years, most recently I met him in Jerusalem a year ago, and we briefly discussed the Middle East.

Though I disagreed with some of his points, I continued to believe that he was making them out of a deep commitment to principle and to human rights. Recent disclosures of Carter's extensive financial connections to Arab oil money, particularly from Saudi Arabia, had deeply shaken my belief in his integrity. When I was first told that he received a monetary reward in the name of Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, and kept the money, even after Harvard returned money from the same source because of its anti-Semitic history,

I simply did not believe it. How could a man of such apparent integrity enrich himself with dirty money from so dirty a source? And let there be no mistake about how dirty the Zayed Foundation is. I know because I was involved, in a small way, in helping to persuade Harvard University to return more than $2 million that the financially strapped Divinity School received from this source.

Initially I was reluctant to put pressure on Harvard to turn back money for the Divinity School, but then a student at the Divinity School --Rachael Lea
Fish -- showed me the facts. They were staggering. I was amazed that in the 21st century there were still foundations that espoused these views. The Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-up - a think-tank funded by the Sheik and run by his son - hosted speakers who called Jews "the enemies of all nations," attributed the assassination of John Kennedy to Israel and the Mossad and the 9/11 attacks to the United States' own military, and stated that the Holocaust was a "fable." (They also hosted a speech by Jimmy Carter.) To its credit, Harvard turned the money back. To his discredit, Carter did not.

Jimmy Carter was, of course, aware of Harvard’s decision, since it was highly publicized. Yet, he kept the money. Indeed, this is what he said in accepting the funds: "This award has special significance for me because it is named for my personal friend, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan." Carter's friend, it turns out, was an unredeemable anti- Semite and all-around bigot.

In reading Carter's statements, I was reminded of the bad old Harvard of the 1930’s, which continued to honor Nazi academics after the anti-Semitic
policies of Hitler's government became clear. Harvard of the 1930s was complicit in evil. I sadly concluded that Jimmy Carter of the 21st century has become complicit in evil. The extent of Carter's financial support from, and even dependence on, dirty money is still not fully known.

What we do know is deeply troubling. Carter and his Center have accepted millions of dollars from suspect sources, beginning with the bail-out of the
Carter family peanut business in the late 1970s by BCCI, a now-defunct and virulently anti-Israeli bank indirectly controlled by the Saudi Royal family, and among whose principal investors is Carter's friend, Sheik Zayed. Agha Hasan Abedi, the founder of the bank, who gave Carter "$500,000 to help the former president establish his center...[and] more than $10 million to Mr. Carter's different projects."

Carter gladly accepted the money, though Abedi had called his bank-ostensibly the source of his funding-"the best way to fight the evil influence of the Zionists." BCC isn't the only source: Saudi King Fahd contributed millions to the Carter Center- "in 1993 alone...$7.6 million" as have other members of the Saudi Royal Family. Carter also received a million dollar pledge from the Saudi-based bin Laden family, as well as a personal $500,000 environmental award named for Sheik Zayed, and paid for by the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.

It's worth noting that, despite the influx of Saudi money funding the Carter Center, and despite the Saudi Arabian government’s myriad human rights
abuses, the Carter Center’s Human Rights program has no activity whatever in Saudi Arabia .The Saudis have apparently bought his silence for a steep price. The bought quality of the Center's activities becomes even more clear, however, when reviewing the Center's human rights activities in other countries: essentially no human rights activities in China or in North Korea, or in Iran, Iraq, the Sudan, or Syria, but activity regarding Israel and its alleged abuses, according to the Center's website.

The Carter Center's mission statement claims, "The Center is nonpartisan and acts as a neutral party in dispute resolution activities." How can that be, given that its coffers are full of Arab money, and that its focus is away from significant Arab abuses and on Israel's far less serious ones? No reasonable person can dispute therefore that Jimmy Carter has been and remains dependent on Arab oil money, particularly from Saudi Arabia.

Does this mean that Carter has necessarily been influenced in his thinking about the Middle East by receipt of such enormous amounts of money? Ask
Carter. The entire premise of his criticism of Jewish influence on American foreign policy is that money talks. It is Carter-not me-who has made the point that if politicians receive money from Jewish sources, then they are not free to decide issues regarding the Middle East for them. It is Carter, not me, who has argued that distinguished reporters cannot honestly report on the Middle East because they are being paid by Jewish money. So, by Carter's own standards, it would be almost economically "suicidal" for Carter "to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine.

By Carter's own standards, therefore, his views on the Middle East must be discounted. It is certainly possible that he now believes them. Money, particularly large amounts of money, has a way of persuading people to a particular position. It would not surprise me if Carter, having received so much Arab money, were now honestly committed to their cause. But his failure to disclose the extent of his financial dependence on Arab money, and the absence of any self reflection on whether the receipt of this money has unduly influenced his views, is a form of deception bordering on corruption.

I have met cigarette lobbyists, who are supported by the cigarette industry, and who have come to believe honestly that cigarettes are merely a safe
form of adult recreation, that cigarettes are not addicting and that the cigarette industry is really trying to persuade children not to smoke.These people are fooling themselves (or fooling us into believing that they are fooling themselves) just as Jimmy Carter is fooling himself (or persuading us to believe that he is fooling himself).

If money determines political and public views-as Carter insists "Jewish money" does, then Carter's views on the Middle East must be deemed to have been influenced by the vast sums of Arab money he has received. If he who pays the piper calls the tune, then his Saudi Arabian paymasters have called Carter’s off-key tunes.

It pains me to say this, but I now believe that there is no person in American public life today who has a lower ratio of real [integrity] to apparent integrity than Jimmy Carter. The public perception of his integrity is extraordinarily high. His real integrity, it now turns out, is extraordinarily low. He is no better than so many former American politicians who, after leaving public life, sell themselves to the highest bidder and become lobbyists for despicable causes. That is now Jimmy Carter's sad legacy.


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2007

Jews and Power

By Ruth R. Wisse
Harvard College Professor, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature , and Professor of Comparative Literature

Redacted from a marvelous review by Brett Stephens, member of the Wall Street Journal, Editorial Board and previous editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. Commentary Magazine, September 2007

(The veneration of political weakness. If you don’t truly understand who you are as a Jew or as an American or as both, you surely must read this book - especially, if you are deluded in your own evaluation) jsk

From the review:
… The recurring tendency of Jews, both as individuals and as communities, to pay greater attention to their own moral performance than to the necessities of survival—a tendency Wisse characterizes as “moral solipsism”—is what animates her fascinating, subtle, and immensely learned study. Why, historically, did Jews feel such ambivalence about the acquisition and exercise of political power when they did not have it and were defenseless in the face of their oppressors? And why does that ambivalence persist today, when they do have political power and the measure of safety such power affords?

An answer of sorts was offered by the 19th-century German-Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz, who argued that millennia of exile had transformed the very nature of Judaism from “a constitution for a body politic” into an ordinary religion devoid of politics. Yet far from being a cause for regret, this very transformation struck many Jews in Graetz’s day and later as, in Wisse’s words, an opportunity for Jewish moral and civic uplift: “Purified of the dross of politics, no longer bound by their own territory Diaspora Jews could become better citizens of the countries in which they lived.”

…In fact, ambivalence toward the exercise of power predated the Diaspora itself. The biblical prophets, Wisse writes in an early chapter of her book, had “linked a nation’s potency to its moral strength, putting the Jews on perpetual trial for their political actions before a Supreme judge.”

…On the one hand, this led to a culture that stressed the importance of personal responsibility. On the other hand, by placing so much stress on what the Jews themselves had done to incur and perhaps deserve their defeats, it all but ignored the role played by their enemies.

…Diaspora Jewry was also profoundly vulnerable to internal treachery, in the form of malcontents succumbing, in Wisse’s words, to “the corrupting temptations of powerlessness” and seeking advantageous deals for themselves at the expense of the community kind of Jew. That was the Jew Gentiles were likeliest to get to know,” Wisse notes acidly in commenting on past centuries, “ the disloyal kind whose emergence they encouraged.”

…Perpetual vulnerability also inflicted a more subtle damage on the Jewish psyche. A “politics of accommodation,” as Wisse calls it, was clearly necessary to Jewish survival in the Diaspora, even if it sometimes failed. And yet, the pride Jews could legitimately take in their sheer survival despite their political weakness “could cross the moral line into veneration of political weakness. Jews who endured exile as a temporary measure were in danger of mistaking it for a requirement of Jewish life or, worse, for a Jewish ideal.”

… IF anything, this idealization of political weakness grew more intense with the civic emancipation of European Jewry (at least its Western half) beginning in the late 18th century. Eagerly accepting the terms proposed by the Count of Clermont-Tonnere in the French National Assembly—that “Jews should be denied everything as a nation, but granted everything as individuals”—’ European Jews seized the proffered opportunity to escape the ghettoized confines that had marked them as distinct and, therefore, as targets. Where previously they had attempted to negotiate their existence in various host societies while maintaining their own corporate identity; now, as citizens, they could join those societies, and become, in effect, politically invisible. Of course, things did not work out as planned.

… As a result of things not going “as planned” Jews and Power can also serve as a basis for pondering the broader self-doubt, often cloaked in pretensions of superior morality; that today infects much of the liberal democratic West. For providing that lesson, and for doing so with passion, eloquence, and peerless intellectual verve, Ruth Wisse deserves all honor and immense gratitude.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2007

North Korea’s Kim Jong II once again hood-winking eager, gullible US State Dep't.


The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2007

The Six-Party talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program have now
descended into a miasma of "working groups," one of which, on U.S.-North
Korea bilateral issues, will meet this weekend in Geneva. It is worth paying
attention to the outcome of this gathering. North Korea wants to be taken off the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism and, as soon as possible, to enjoy full diplomatic relations with Washington. Pyongyang may well succeed, as many in the U.S. State Department seem more eager to grant full recognition to the Pyongyang dictatorship in North Korea than to the democracy in Taiwan. This would be a profound mistake on our part.

Nearly 200 days have passed since Feb. 13, when the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program produced an "agreement" to eliminate that program. Despite encomiums about the virtues of diplomacy, little real progress has been made in eliminating Pyongyang's program. Negotiations in July ended without agreement on a timetable, despite repeated State Department assurances since February that the North would be held to strict deadlines.

The Yongbyon reactor is shuttered, but that reactor was not frequently
operational in the recent past and may well be at the end of, or even beyond, its useful life. The return of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to Yongbyon provides North Korea with a new patina of respectability, despite the near certainty that significant nuclear activity is happening anywhere but Yongbyon.

In fact, the key change is that economic assistance is once again subsidizing and reinforcing Kim Jong Il's hold on power. Heavy fuel oil, food and other "humanitarian" assistance from South Korea, and substantial
unpublicized aid from China are all flowing North. Cheeky Pyongyang is once again demanding that the outside world supply it with light-water nuclear reactors. The second North-South Summit in Pyongyang, postponed until October--closer to South Korea's presidential elections-- will provide
renewed legitimacy to the North Korean dictatorship, and may bolster the
political chances of South Korean advocates of appeasement, in turn
providing Kim Jong Il even more breathing room.

Kim is once again besting the U.S. in accomplishing his two central
strategic objectives: staying in power and preserving his nuclear-weapons
The working groups currently underway do nothing to achieve the proper ends of U.S. foreign policy. A few weeks ago in Shenyang, China, the "denuclearization" working group met without visible progress, even on
permanently dismantling Yongbyon.

There is still simply no evidence that Pyongyang has made a decision to abandon its long-held strategic objective to have a credible nuclear-weapons
This inconvenient fact should make it impossible for the State
Department to concede on other issues, even if it were inclined to do so.
Creative minds are therefore working on ways to explain that any forthcoming North Korean declaration of its nuclear capabilities is "full and complete," thus eliminating the remaining troubling obstacles to full normalization of relations.

Precisely because our knowledge of the North's nuclear program is incomplete, we need an intrusive, indeed invasive, verification mechanism before having any confidence that North Korea's nuclear program is in fact being dismantled. We need smart, extensive verification activities inside North Korea, including no-notice inspections, a full range of sensors and sampling, unrestricted interviews and document reviews. If, the North rejects effective verification, that is yet another basis to repudiate the Feb. 13 quicksand deal.

We need to know, among other things, precisely how many nuclear weapons the North has manufactured, how and where it manufactured them, how many it now has, and how much reprocessed plutonium remains available for weaponization. If any devices, fissile material or nuclear manufacturing equipment have left North Korea, we need to learn the specifics. We need to understand the full extent of its uranium enrichment program, and if weapons-grade enriched uranium was produced, where it is and how much there is of it. We also need to know specifically if North Korea possesses any enriched uranium metal or any weapons- or missile warhead-design information.

President Bush has stressed that we must also deal with Pyongyang's biological, chemical and ballistic missile programs. We must address these
programs, especially the missiles, soon. Failure to make explicit the
important connection between weapons and delivery systems will certainly
come back to haunt us, and we are on the verge of allowing this point to
slip away entirely.

Finally, we need to learn the details of North Korean nuclear cooperation
with other countries. We know that both Iran and Syria have long cooperated
with North Korea on ballistic missile programs, and the prospect of cooperation on nuclear matters is not far-fetched. Whether and to what extent Iran, Syria or others might be "safe havens" for North Korea's nuclear weapons development, or may have already participated with or benefited from it, must be made clear. For our own safety's sake, and that of allies like Japan and South Korea, there can be no compromises on these points.

Mr. Bolton, Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the U.N. and Abroad," forthcoming this fall from Simon & Schuster.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2007

Iraq as a Viet Nam Analogy?

By Mark Steyn

The Washington Times, September 3, 2007

(Redacted from an excellent historical summary and clarification)

George W. Bush gave a speech about Iraq two weeks ago, and in the middle of it he did something long overdue: He attempted to appropriate the left’s most treasured all-purpose historical analogy, Indeed, Vietnam is so ubiquitous in the fulminations of politicians, academics and pundits we could really use anti-trust legislation to protect us from shopworn historical precedents. But, in the absence thereof, the president has determined that we might at least learn the real “lessons of Vietnam.”

“Then as now, people argued the real problem was America’s presence and that if we would just withdraw, the killing would end,” Mr. Bush told the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention. “Many argued that if we pulled out there would be no consequences for the Vietnamese people.

A columnist for the New York Times wrote in a similar vein in 1975, just as Cambodia and Vietnam were falling to the communists: ‘It’s difficult to imagine he said, ‘how their lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone.’ A headline on that story date Phnom Penh, summed up the argument: ‘Indochina without Americans: For most a better life: The world would learn just how costly these mis-impressions would be.” I don’t know about “the world,” but apparently, a big chunk of America still believes in these “mis-impressions.” As the New York Times put it, “In urging Americans to stay the course in Iraq, Mr. Bush is challenging the historical memory that the pullout from Vietnam had few negative repercussions for the United States and its allies.”

Well, it had a “few negative repercussions” for America’s allies in South Vietnam, who were promptly overrun by the north. And it had a “negative repercussion” for the former Cambodian Prime Minister, Sirik Matak, to whom the US ambassador sportingly offered asylum. “I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion;’ he told him. “ I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty … I have committed this mistake of believing in you, the Americans?’ So, Sirik Matak stayed in Phnom Perth and, a month later, was killed by the Khmer Rouge, along with the best part of 2 million other people. If it is hard for individual names to linger In the New York Times’ “historical memory,” you would think the general mound of corpses would resonate.

But perhaps these distant people of exotic hue are not what the panjandrums of the New York Times regard as real “allies?’ In the wake of Vietnam, the communists gobbled up chunks of real estate all over the map, and ever closer to America’s backyard. In Grenada, Maurice Bishop toppled Prime Minister Sir Eric Gamy. It was the first ever coup in the British West Indies, and in a faintly surreal touch led to Queen Elizabeth presiding over a People’s Revolutionary Government. There were Cuban “advisers” all over the island, just as there were Cuban troops all over Africa. And, what was lost in Vietnam was not just a war but American credibility.

Do the British qualify as real “allies” to the Times? The Argentine seizure of the Falkland Islands occurred because Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri had figured if the commies were getting away with all this land-grabbing, why shouldn’t he get a piece of the action? If the supposed Yank superpower had no stomach to resist routine provocations from its sworn enemy, the toothless British lion certainly wouldn’t muster the will for some no-account islands in the South Atlantic. “The West as a whole was infected by America’s loss of credibility.

Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, Galtieri lost his gamble, but it must have looked a surer thing in the spring of 1982, in the wake of Vietnam, and Soviet expansionism, and the humiliation of Jimmy Carter’s botched rescue mission in Iran — the helicopters in the desert, and the ayatollahs poking and prodding the corpses of American servicemen on TV.

American victory in the Cold War looks inevitable in hindsight. It didn’t seem that way in the 1970s. And, as Iran reminds us, the enduring legacy of the retreat from Vietnam was the emboldening of other enemies. The forces loosed in the Middle East bedevil to this day, in Iran, and in Lebanon, which Syria invaded shortly after the fall of Saigon and after its dictator had sneeringly told Henry Kissinger, “You’ve betrayed Vietnam. Someday you’re going to sell out Taiwan. And we’re going to be around when you get tired of Israel.” President Hafez Assad understood something that too many Americans didn’t. Then as now, the antiwar debate is conducted as if it’s only about the place where you are fighting at the moment.

Vietnam is a quagmire; Iraq is a quagmire - so get out of the quagmire. Wrong. The “Vietnam war” was about Vietnam if you had the misfortune to live in Saigon. But if you lived in Damascus and Moscow and Havana, the Vietnam War was about America: American credibility American purpose, American will.

For our enemies today, it still is. Osama bin Laden made a bet that tests the T-shirt slogan, “These Colors Do Run”: They ran from Vietnam, and they ran from the helicopters in the desert, and from Lebanon and Somalia and they will run from Iraq and Afghanistan. Because, that is the nature of a soft plump ersatz-superpower that coils in the fetal position if you prick its toe. Even Republicans like Virginia Sen. John Warner seem peculiarly anxious to confirm the bin Laden characterization.

Depending on which Americans you ask, “Vietnam” can mean entirely different things. In the New York Times and the people it goes to dinner parties with, Viet Nam had “few negative repercussions. ” And it’s hardly surprising its journalists should think like that when its publisher, Pinch Sulzberger, in a commencement address last year that’s almost a parody of parochial Boomer narcissism, was still bragging and preening about his generation’s role in ending the war three decades late

Joseph Nye, Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (apparently some sort of elite institution for which people pay many thousands of dollars to receive instruction from authoritative scholars told National Public Radio two weeks ago: “After we got out of Vietnam, the people who took over were the North Vietnamese And that was a government which preserved order?’ That’s so, if by “preserved order,” you mean “drove a vast human tide to take to the oceans on small rickety rafts and flee for their lives?’ But, if you’re not a self-absorbed poseur like Mr. Sulzberger, “Vietnam” is not a “tragedy” but a betrayal. The final image of the drama — the US helicopters lifting off from the embassy roof with desperate locals clinging to the undercarriage — is an image not just of defeat but also of the shabby sell-outs necessary to accomplish it.

At least in Indochina, those who got it so horribly wrong — the Kerrys and Fondas and all the rest — could claim they had no idea what would follow. To do it all over again, in the final knowledge of what followed, would turn an aberration into a pattern of behavior. Who will be America’s allies in the years ahead? Professor Bernard Lewis’ dictum would be self-evident: “America is harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend?’ (OUCH!)

Mark Steyn is the senior contributing editor for Hollinger Inc. Publications, senior North American columnist for Britain’s Telegraph Group, and North American editor for the Spectator, and a nationally syndicated columnist.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:58 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2007

Dennis Kucinich, Democrat Presidential Candidate, and his “Peace Racket.”

By Bruce Bawer

The Washington Times, September 3, 2007

Sponsored by Ohio Democrat Presidential Candidate, Dennis Kucinich (along with more than 60 co-sponsors), House Resolution 808 would authorize a Secretary of Peace to ‘establish a Peace Academy: ‘develop a peace education curriculum’ for elementary and secondary schools, and provide ‘grants for peace studies departments’ at campuses around the country. If passed, the measure would catapult the peace studies movement into a position of extraordinary national, even international, influence. [...]

Bruce Bawer, political commentator, writes concerning this project, “The people running today’s peace studies programs give a good idea of the movement’s illiberal, anti-American inclinations:

· Purdue’s program director is co-editor of ‘Marxism Today’
· Brandeis’s peace studies chairman has justified suicide bombings
· University of Missouri program director authorized a mass email urging students and faculty to boycott to protest the Iraq Invasion;
· University of Maine’s program director believes that ‘humans have been out of balance for centuries’ and that ‘a unique opportunity of this new century is to engage in the creation of balance and harmony between yin and yang, masculine and feminine energies.’

(Quite a crew to promote “peace” and probably do “global warming” on the side) Jsk

Bruce Bawer, writing on “The Peace Racket,” summer issue of City Journal

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:44 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2007

Israel’s Naqba:

Olmert, Peres, Barak, Livni and Condoleezza Rice

By Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East Analyst & Commentator
The Jewish Press, August 31, 2007

The power brokers are once again arranging the world’s affairs - and especially Israel’s affairs. Where is this happening? The United States, through President Bush and his State Department have arranged to elevate Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’s status to that of a “peace partner” But they also recognize that he is basically a weak leader so, thus, they need to cultivate a replacement. It seems they have selected Salam Fayvad as the PA’S new prime minister because he is “presentable.”

As the PA’s former finance minister, he “appears” honest with respect to banking the money corning from the U.S., EU, and UN. The reality is that anyone positioned as a temporary leader of the Palestinians can easily be replaced. As for safely dispensing the money, it is common knowledge that it rarely gets to the public without first going through the hands of corrupt terrorist networks. Additionally Arab and Muslim leaders have always been temporary, and replaceable by the next dictator or strongman. So much for stable “peace partners.”

And then there’s the troika of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and their ilk all know that their current recruit – Olmert is weak and someone who will probably soon be replaced as premier. So they seem to be working on two possible replacements who will continue Israel’s blatantly failed policy of attempting to pacify and appease a hostile Islamic world by forcing Israel to give up her ancestral land.

One is Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who appears to meet the qualifications of a pliable Leftist. She agrees that the so-called “land-for-peace” policy is the way for Israel to proceed into the future. In Israel, Livni is not known for deep thinking or important decision-making. Not fluent in English makes her the perfect recruit to be manipulated by foreign interests. She would be a good stand-in for Olmert. Rice loves Livni as a valuable, obedient puppet - and easily manipulated. Having received her position in Intelligence due to her father’s influence there, Livni was never a whiz at it. Instead, she has used it to propel herself to greater political heights.

Livni is a “Golda Meir wannabe.” But without the smarts and experiences, she is a political nothing - pretending she can learn on the job. But, then again, compared to the incompetence of Olmert and his corrupt Kadima cohorts, she can brag about not being under investigation for corruption (so far).
The State Department has indeed selected the perfect puppet they hope will eventually replace Olmert. One can really tell she is in the running when you see the huge spread she received in the July 8 New York Times Magazine. With Peres at her side and Barak advising her on how to abandon Jewish land, she is the perfect pawn. The Quartet’s new envoy to the Middle East, Tony Blair, will enjoy her slavish cooperation in dismembering Israel for what is called a Palestinian state.

Who are the other planned replacements? Having mentioned Peres earlier, let us remember that he is merely an extension of the European Union’s policy of self-abasement to Saudi Arabia and all other Arab oil nations. Keep in mind that Peres was the provocateur of the secret Oslo agreement with Yasir Arafat. His record includes illegally meeting with Arafat in the early 1980’s in order to plan the forced evacuation of all Jews from Judea and Samaria. That’s an ugly chapter in the saga of the Leftists — featuring Yitzhak Rabin and Peres. It is a chapter that later morphed into Oslo.

Now Peres has his clutches on Israel’s presidency, until now considered a ceremonial position. But this will change under Peres. Watch him break from that ceremonial role, as he becomes the principle player in the further destruction of the Jewish state and her Jewish inhabitants.

Then there was the matter of influencing the return to power of Barak, infamous for his surrender in Lebanon. You will recall that as prime minister, Barak ordered the valiant IDF to desert Israel’s security zone in Lebanon in the middle of the night. He reportedly left Israel’s hi-tech weapons there, and abandoned her south Lebanese army allies. The vacuum Barak left in Lebanon was quickly filled with Hizbullah terrorists. This gave them the time and ability to gain strength, and fire thousands of Katyusha missiles (using civilian cover) into Israel during last summer’s war - action that was not stopped by the arrogant, then-IDF chief of staff Gen. Dan Halutz and the bumbling of Olmert and then-defense minister Amir Peretz. In a normal country, such critical dereliction of responsibility in a time of war would have led to removal from office.

With political corruption and governmental incompetence so widespread in today’s Israel, it is sad to conclude that Israel could have been a great nation - truly a “light unto the nations.” The raw material, always there in terms of human talent, still abounds today. But the rewards (in terms of political power) are an irresistible lure for the corrupt and incompetent. The greedy political power brokers have taken over and gained a virtual chokehold over the Jewish state.

Israel has become a hostage of foreign powers. The game plan these power brokers use is to offer Israel’s enemies pieces of Israel’s land (land recovered in defensive wars and cultivated to flourish). This is similar to breaking off pieces of a cookie in order to feed these enemies - one piece at a time. A “piece” of land given by G-d to the Jews - like Gush Katif - would be followed by a “piece” like Judea and Samaria. The Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley, and finally all of those “pieces” of Jerusalem would follow. Exhibiting weakness toward the terrorists so as to please the Saudis and other oil producers, all the while arming terrorists to get their temporary “cooperation”- all for a piece of the Arab oil market. The international community, as usual, is ready to sell out Israel as “pieces” of the cookie — for peace, of course! Isn’t this where the wag would say, “That’s the way the cookie crumbles?”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2007

Tony Blair - Latest puppeteer of the Arab Pseudo-Nation States

By Sarah Kass

International Jerusalem Post, August 30, 2007

(A brilliant analogy and analysis gone awry with the author drifting off into the never never land of the “Peace Process” and a “Palestinian State.” She directs the puppeteers to create yet another entity that has no previous existence in the annals of world history, no rational borders, no resources, no ethnicity different from that of the surrounding multitude of Arab pseudo-nations and no legitimate right to exist, other than as a terrorist state. This state, in fact, confirming the Bible’s “thorns in the eyes” of the Israelis, that G-d, in his ultimate wisdom, had warned Israel’s ancient Hebrew forbearers to destroy) jsk

Why do ventriloquists hide behind puppets? Because they get to say through puppets things ‘they cannot bring themselves to say directly. They get to fashion themselves as refined and reasonable in contrast to their puppet, whom they endow with unruly, atavistic personalities. They get to pose as disapproving superiors to their mischievous sidekicks, while enjoying what really are the voices of their own wilder, darker alter-egos, and they get to feel powerful by controlling and seeming to imbue their inanimate dolls with life.

For half a century, Europe has been ventriloquist to the Middle East, and the Arab strongman rulers have been its puppets. When France and England ended their rule they withdrew their consuls and neglected to address the problem they left behind - that the indigenous institutional infrastructure could not support legitimate statehood. Instead, Europe declared as independent and legitimate a set of faux states it had concocted by first redrawing the paper map of the Middle East, and then arranging for the UN to ratify the unearned legitimacy of those states.

Meanwhile, in the real deserts of Arabia, Europe got to preserve its colonial voice by proxy. Hard colonialism gave way to a softer colonial ventriloquism. Europe could feign shock and dismay at the bloodcurdling atavism of the Arabian strongmen it had engineered into power, and simultaneously, without missing a beat, flap the jaws, bat the eyelids and swivel the heads of those very same strongmen, sucking out Arabian oil to rebuild its own ostensibly refined and reasonable postwar European community.

European hard-colonialism morphed into a European ventriloquism, which, in turn, gave rise to Islamic terrorism. How? Arabs, still looking for their dignity, began to challenge their post-colonial puppet masters, and used the lingua franca, their strongman rulers had taught them - arbitrary violence - to deliver their message. The Arab strong-men, being puppets themselves, complied with the terrorists as easily as they had with the ventriloquists, siphoning off portions of their oil wealth to appease them and, over time, to sponsor terrorist networks worldwide ventriloquist’s conceit of control was trumped by terror.

Sturdy institutions of legitimate statehood, not compliant “moderate” Arab puppets, will uproot the reign of terror in today’s Middle East. Those who prematurely invoke the processes of self-governance – elections, non-state membership in the UN, negotiations for statehood by corrupt leaders who flagrantly renounce the basic rules of state conduct are merely perpetuating the ventriloquists’ dangerous game.

When France and England divested themselves of their colonies they equated the naming of states on paper with the building of states on the ground. Now the advocates of mediation and negotiation are doing the same under the guise of Bush Doctrine and the Road Map. They insist sovereignty can either be imposed or declared through intense engagement of the former imperial powers; that one sovereign state can properly dictate the terms of residency of another sovereign state’s citizenry or, like James Wolfensohn, that negotiation alone can establish political autonomy.

The former Quartet envoy is a fine public servant, but his experience is instructive. Wolfensohn insisted on expanding his mandate to broker - prematurely, it turned out - an as yet unsupportable peace, which failed all parties except those who preferred the Palestinian status quo: the Arab strongman puppets and their European and their Islamo-terrorist overlords. Following the soft-colonial ventriloquist script, he believed it was enough to create a Palestinian state by drawing lines on a map, holding an election, sending money to the strongmen who delivered the votes and having the UN ratify, with pomp and ceremony, the terms of those hoped-for negotiations.

Enter Tony Blair. As a European, he brings from the history of his own region’s miraculous postwar recovery an appreciation of precisely how much work it takes to pull a nation out of devastation. No ventriloquism was tolerated on European soil. When the Europeans rebuilt West Germany, it was institutions first, politics and elections and the trappings of sovereign statehood later. Furthermore, as an Englishman, Blair brings the remarkable British record of enabling so many of its former colonies to become legitimate and effective states: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, South Africa, Israel, Grenada, St. Lucia and, of course, that most successful former colony of them all - the United States of America.

The secret cure for the Middle East’s terror states lies in this particularly English genius for nation-building: a subtle combination of discipline and generosity that writes the elements of self-governance not only into the legal constitutions of its former protectorates but also onto the hearts, minds and spirits of its former colonists. The Blair team cannot, of course, in a matter of months and years put in place in the West Bank what it took the British Empire decades and centuries to accomplish in its former dominions. Nonetheless, the Palestinians could have no better advocate for building an infrastructure of self-governance than the authentic, energetic, and delightfully well-spoken Blair.

FINALLY, as Quartet envoy, Blair has the additional advantage of having been granted exactly the right mandate to do no more and no less than assist the Palestinians in building effective state institutions. He comes with his sleeves rolled up, extending the steady hand of an experienced nation-build reluctant to follow his predecessor’s ventriloquism with its hollow rhetoric and easy money. If, as we believe, Blair is brave enough to resist the pressure to “expand” his mandate, he might well succeed in beginning to clean up the colonial mess the Europeans left behind. He may finally get Europe to stop throwing its voice into the region and, instead, start the painstaking work of’ helping the Palestinians build on the ground a national foundation for legitimate statehood.

With the Quartet’s support, Blair and his British team could:
(1) Help dismantle the easy-money arrangements that stimulate Fatah’s corruption and undermine its credibility and legitimacy.
(2) Help establish effective social and economic institutions to win back the loyalty the Palestinians have given to Hamas’s network of social service and terror.
(3) Affirm a plausible road to statehood which avoids the absurd ventriloquist notion that self-determination comes with a Palestinian “right to return” to a neighboring sovereign state.
(4) Teach the Palestinians the first principle of legitimate statehood - the absolute renunciation of their own evil export — the suicide murder of civilians.

BUILDING legitimate institutions on the West Bank would start to undo the damage of European occupation; debunk the mirage of Israeli occupation as the chief impediment to Palestinian self-rule; begin to stand down the encroaching Iranian occupation and signal the dawning of a new Euro-Arabian alliance that could some day usher in a green Middle East. States powered by the imagination and sweat of their own citizens rather than by the accident of oil and the unbroken influx of petro-euros. Blair could pull this off. He could give the Palestinians their voice back and, in so doing, allows Europe to begin to speak more clearly and directly in its own voice, too.

The writer is the director of strategy and evaluation at the AVI CHAI Foundation.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2007

Rudy Giuliani on Olmert, Bush, and the “Peace Process”

Redacted from an article by Rick Richman

The Jewish Press, August 31, 2007

Rudy Giuliani’s article in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs (‘Toward a Realistic Peace”) marks an important statement about the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” Giuliani wrote that too much emphasis has been placed on brokering negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians; that the problem is not the absence of Palestinian statehood but corrupt and unaccountable Palestinian governance. And that Palestinian statehood must be earned, not simply given, through “sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel.”

The statement was a re-iteration of the fundamental insight that underlay George W. Bush’s landmark June 24, 2002 White house speech: That the principle obstacle to peace has not been the absence of a plan. There have been the Allon Plan, the Rogers Plan, the Clinton Plan, the Tenet Plan, the Zinni Plan (to name just a few that come immediately to mind).

Nor has the obstacle been a Jewish unwillingness to accept a two state solution (which, of course would have been the rational conclusion of any normal, rational, patriotic citizenry – but not the Israelis – jsk) or provide a so-called political horizon. The Jews accepted a formal two-state solution every time it was on the table: In the 1937 Peel Commission, In the 1947 UN resolution, In the Camp David offer by Ehud Barak, In the 2000-01 Clinton Parameters, and in the 2003 Road Map.

Moreover, in connection with its 2005 disengagement, Israel even exceeded its Phase I Road Map obligation (which required only that it dismantle illegal settlement “outposts” erected since March. 2001) by totally dismantling all 21 long-standing Settlements in Gaza and four other settlements in the West Bank. All this was done in an attempt to give the Palestinians the opportunity to demonstrate their willingness to “live side-by-side, in peace and security.”

On the other hand, the Palestinians - obligated in Phase I to commence sustained, visible and effective efforts to dismantle their terrorist organizations and infra-structure - have yet to dismantle a single terrorist group, or even to curb the rockets into Siderot from Judenrein Gaza, more than four years after they formally accepted the Roadmap.

In spite of all this, the Bush administration’s attempts to rush the “peace process” into Phase III negotiations at a November peace conference, with a Palestinian party that was unable even to hold onto its own offices in Gaza and whose control of even the West Bank depends on the IDF, is obviously desperately premature. Giuliani’s important statement restores the balance that has been absent in the Bush administration’s decision to skip over Phase I and Phase II of its own Road Map.

Last week, Giuliani was in Los Angeles, and in the course of a Q&A, session with a group of supporters was asked to expand on the points he had made about a Palestinian state in his Foreign Affairs article. Here is an excerpt from his response (the complete answer can be found in a video in the August 27 post at Jewish Current Issues).

I think there has been a kind of movement, within our State Department, that was best reflected during the Clinton administration, but you can see a little of this in Bush I, and it is still there in Bush II. It is to create a Palestinian state for the sole purpose of creating a Palestinian state, to say that we have achieved peace. (Of course, a gross lie - jsk).

Well, that could be extremely dangerous. We want to create, not necessarily a Palestinian state for creating a Palestinian state — we want to create a state that is now particularly going to help us in the Islamic terrorist war against us, not become another breeding ground for terrorism.

So, if we are going to create a Palestinian state that assists us, and doesn’t become a terrorist state, here’s what they have to do: they have to first renounce terrorism...Secondly, they have to recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. If they do that, we can then begin a process of trying to create a Palestinian state. But, we cannot do it until we are sure that those two things are real, and we’re not getting fooled as we have been fooled in the past.

And, I say a third thing is that they have to show that the Palestinians can sustain that for at least some safe period of time - that it isn’t just a statement for the purpose of lulling people into negotiation. Then we won’t give people false expectations of being able to achieve something. We won’t give the Israeli people false expectations; we won’t give the Palestinian people false expectations; we won’t give the rest of the world false expectations, when the United States will get blamed for why it’s not working.

The reason we have not been able to create a Palestinian state to date is not because of lack of trying by the United States or Israel. It is because of the Palestinians. Clinton got Ehud Barak to agree to every single thing that Arafat wanted, and still Arafat walked away. The major problem of the Palestinian people is a corrupt, dishonest leadership. Arafat was a murderer and a thief.

You can’t negotiate with people like that. This isn’t a matter of being stubborn …There are people that are so dishonest, so dishonorable, that it is counter-productive-to talk to them; it’s counter-productive to empower them. It just delays the ability to solve a problem. It’s like trying to buy a house from somebody who doesn’t own the house. What’s the point of doing it? Maybe you kind of satisfy yourself and others that you are talking to somebody, but you’re never going to buy the house, because the person doesn’t own the house. You keep offering him money for the house, and he keeps agreeing, but then you don’t get the house. It’s just stupid.

When he endorsed the Road Map, Ariel Sharon recognized that peace is produced not by peace agreements, but by conditions on the grounds that are conducive to peace. Speaking at the 2003 Herziliya Conference, Sharon emphasized that the sequence of the Road Map steps was as important as the expressed destination, because the sequence was the only way to get there:

The concept behind [the Road Map] is that only security will lead to peace, and in that sequence. Without the achievement of full security within the framework of which terror organizations will be dismantled, it will not be possible to achieve genuine peace, a peace for generations. This is the essence of the Roadmap.

The opposite perception, according to which the very signing of a peace agreement will produce security out of thin air, has already been tried in the past and failed miserably. And such will be the fate of any other plan which promotes this concept. These plans deceive the public and create false hope. There will be no peace before the eradication of terror.

Sharon’s observation was supported by the long experience with the plethora of plans and formal two-state opportunities that previously marked the “peace-process,” but that never produced peace.

In the Road Map, all of the relevant parties — Israel, the Palestinians the U.S, the UN, the EU and Russia — formally agreed to a process that reflected the hard-learned lessons of the past and the principles Bush had announced in his June 24, 2002 address.

Rudy Giuliani’s Foreign Affairs article and his extended comments last week in Los Angeles, indicate he has learned those lessons and adopted those principles better than the current administration which heads toward a November peace conference on final status issues without having insisted on prior compliance with Phase I or II of its own Road Map. The Bush administration (and the Israelis – Jsk) could use a dose of Giuliani realism.

Rick Richman edits Jewish Current Issues. His articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, The American Thinker, FrontPage Magazine, and RealClearPolitics

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)