A collection of the week's news from Israel
A service of the Bet El Twinning Committee of Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto
A collection of the week's news from Israel
May 3, 2001
Issue number 377
Sunday May 12, 8:00pm
Journalist David Zev Harris of MediaLine Radio News Service, and formerly with the Jerusalem Post, will speak on “The Palestinian Uprising: A Frontline Journalist’s Report”, at Shaarei Shomayim.
Quotes for the Week..
“Israel is not being disproportionate. It is not sending suicide bombers into Palestinian villages. What Israel is attempting to do is exercise counterterrorism against acts of terrorism. I submit that is a proportionate and responsible use of force by a democratic state against an outlaw band of terrorists trying to kill innocent civilians. That is neither disproportionate nor an unjust escalation.” - Jason Kenney, MP (Canadian Alliance), in Parliament on April 11.
"I've toured Judea and Samaria and stood on the Golan Heights. I didn't see occupied territory. I saw Israel." - US House of Representatives Majority Whip Tom Delay (Republican) in a speech to American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) last Tuesday. (USA Today Apr 24)
"...they say, the only alternative is to destroy the isolated settlements and transfer their 30,000 residents. The problem with this theory is that the various governments of Israel did not establish these isolated settlements just to make the settlers happy. Adura, for example [where four people were murdered by Palestinian terrorists last Shabbat], was built in order to ensure that the IDF, and not a Palestinian army, oversee the city of Kiryat Gat and environs from above. Netzarim, too, as well as Ganim and Talmon, were established where they are because the Israeli governments decided that it is impossible to protect Israel from within its narrow pre-1967 borders. It would therefore not be quite worth our while to have the enemy and its suicide killers deploy in these locations. A sensible Israel need not destroy small isolated towns, but should rather make sure that they stop being small and isolated. A place called N'vei Tzedek was also once small and isolated, until it turned into Tel Aviv…" - Emunah Elon, writing in Yediot Ahronot.
The Solution to the Middle East Crisis: War for Peace by Robert Tracinski
After 10 years of seeking security through "land for peace" deals, Israel has finally rediscovered the formula for real security: war for peace.
Notice what you have seen in the news for the past few weeks: Europeans screaming about civilian casualties at Jenin (the "City of the Bombers"), Prince Abdullah lecturing President Bush to give even less support to Israel, another vague and useless terrorism warning from Tom Ridge, the Catholic Church's pedophile scandal. You might also have read about Jean-Marie Le Pen's upset in France, or, equally sordid, the Robert Blake murder trial.
Now notice the headline that has been missing, the headline that we had grown used to seeing, day after day, week after week, for 18 months. We have not heard about a constant barrage of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.
In March, 108 civilians were murdered and more than 500 injured in terrorist attacks on Israel. Another 22 soldiers and three policemen, by my count, were also killed. It was the climax of Yasser Arafat's uprising and the bloodiest month of terrorism in Israel's history. The terrorist attacks came almost daily, targeting Israelis going about their normal business. On March 2, 10 Israelis were killed -- including two infants in strollers -- when a terrorist from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade blew himself up outside a bar mitzvah. On March 5, three people were killed and 30 injured when an officer in the Palestinian naval police opened fire on a seafood restaurant and nightclub in Tel Aviv. On March 9, two people were killed in a sniper attack near the boardwalk in the resort town of Netanya.
That same day, 11 more Israelis were killed by a Hamas suicide bomber at a sidewalk cafe in Jerusalem. On March 20, seven people died when Islamic Jihad blew up a bus on its route from Tel Aviv to Nazareth. On March 26, international observers from Turkey and Switzerland were shot and killed in an ambush by Palestinian gunmen. This is just a sampling of the terror campaign that reached its peak with the Passover Massacre. If the U.N. wants to investigate massacres, they should start with this orgy of killing.
On March 29, when Israel began its invasion of the West Bank, French President Jacques Chirac sniffed, "Everyone knows there cannot be a military solution to the conflict in the Middle East." I'm sure that's what his predecessor said, six decades ago, about Germany.
The facts have proved him wrong.
About 30 Israeli soldiers were killed in Operation Defensive Shield -- not many more than in the preceding month. But the number of civilian deaths has dropped dramatically. In the past four weeks, there have been only three significant terrorist attacks. On April 10, a Hamas bomber blew up a bus, killing eight off-duty soldiers and policemen. On April 12, a zealot from Islamic Jihad shot an Israeli border policeman and a Palestinian worker at a border crossing. Later that same day, a bomber at a bus stop killed four Israelis and two foreign workers from China.
In the past two weeks, from April 13 to April 26, only two Israelis have been killed. One was a soldier, the other a member of the border police. Not a single civilian has been killed. The barrage of murder has been stopped, for now.
Through war, Ariel Sharon has achieved what he could not even get as a show of good faith from Palestinian negotiators: seven days of quiet. He bought this respite the only way anyone can ever buy peace from terrorism: by killing the terrorists, seizing their stocks of explosives, taking away their guns and imprisoning (or at least "isolating") their leaders.
Bear this in mind the next time you hear someone say that the only path to peace is a "political settlement" to be reached by negotiating with terrorists. Remember it every time you hear that ludicrous phrase "the peace process," referring to the talks that brought Israel nothing but bloodshed.
Think about it when you hear the people who have spent the last four weeks condemning Israel's war of self-defense. Would they rather see 17-year-old girls still being blown to bits in Israeli shopping malls? Judge for yourself.
No, this one military operation will not buy peace forever; more military action will be needed after the terrorists regroup. But this does "chart a path for peace," as diplomats are fond of saying. It is a reminder that the only way to end terrorism is to attack it ruthlessly. (capitalismmagazine.com Apr 29)
Israel's Right and Left Converge By Yoram Hazony
Despite the suicide attacks on trendy hangouts like Cafe Moment, Cafe Rimon and Cafit, Israeli intellectuals still frequent Jerusalem's cafes. Conversations still linger late into the night over espresso, served Italian-style with a small glass of soda. But the atmosphere has changed. Now many of these late-night heart-to-hearts are between lifelong members of Peace Now, the vanguard of the Israeli peace movement, and veteran supporters of the West Bank settlement movement - people who were, until recently, bitterly divided strangers.
For nearly 30 years, we have known an Israel whose political, cultural and social life was dominated by the eternal struggle between these two powerful ideological extremes: one that wanted to cover the West Bank with Jewish settlements, and one that urged recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization and a Palestinian state.
But the 1993 Oslo agreement had an effect no one intended: It destroyed that Israel forever. By withdrawing Israeli authority from the Arab population centers of the West Bank, Oslo made the ideology of the old Israeli right irrelevant; in bringing the carnage of Lebanon to the pedestrian malls of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, it demolished the ideology of the old Israeli left, which held that giving the P.L.O. authority over the West Bank would bring Israel peace and security. Now, for the first time in a generation, most Israelis are at neither pole. Instead, they find themselves uniting with former adversaries in the center of the old political spectrum.
Among those who represent this new center is Amnon Dankner, editor of Ma'ariv and for decades an icon of the Israeli peace movement. The Oslo process showed "blindness, self-deception, arrogance and a denial of reality," he now says. "All the brilliant minds of Oslo have not succeeded in squeezing the water of genuine acceptance of Israel out of the Palestinian stone." Another writer of the new center is Ari Shavit, a Ha'aretz journalist and one of the founders of Peace Now. After the acceleration of Palestinian terror operations in September 2000, Mr. Shavit wrote sharply against "the conception that held that flooding the country with 50,000 Palestinian Kalashnikovs would bring peace to the Middle East," which he said "has brought Israel to the edge of the abyss."
No one doubts the reason for this reassessment. Israeli casualties at the hands of Palestinian terrorists since the Oslo agreement amount to 774 dead and 10 times as many wounded ‹ numbers that dwarf anything Israel has ever known. At the height of Yasir Arafat's terror-state in Lebanon from 1970 to 1982 (the years of the Munich and Ma'alot massacres and the Entebbe raid), Palestinian terrorists claimed only 162 Israeli lives. In the last 18 months alone, terrorists have taken 469 Israeli lives. Virtually everyone in Israel knows someone killed or maimed in the attacks. In my case it was my next-door neighbor in Jerusalem, a young businessman named Gadi Rejwan, slain by a Tanzim gunman.
Remarkably, this experience has not produced a swing to the right so much as a gathering toward the center. Surveys show that 86 percent of Israelis support convening an international peace conference - once a bête noir of the Israeli right. A poll at the end of March found that 70 percent say they are prepared to remove some West Bank settlements in exchange for a stable peace.
But at the same time, most Israelis are no longer willing to accept the basic assumptions of the Oslo process. A Mina Zemach/Shalem Center poll conducted last week showed Israeli Jews solidly united in the view that Yasir Arafat will not fight terror seriously (82 percent); is not interested in real peace with Israel (87 percent); cannot be trusted to keep agreements (90 percent); and cannot be believed when he condemns terror (98 percent). Most believe that Israel should not conduct substantive negotiations with Arafat (74 percent).
"Even if Arafat will sign an agreement," Benny Morris, a historian long associated with the peace camp, said, "I find it hard to believe, in view of his behavior during the last two years, that he or his successors will abide by it."
For the great majority, these hard-won lessons have meant support for the government of Ariel Sharon, whose Operation Defensive Shield was assessed last week as "the right policy" by 88 percent of Israeli Jews. An overwhelming 83 percent support Mr. Sharon's unity government or would prefer a narrow Likud government, as against 8 percent who wish to see the unity government it replaced by a narrow Labor government. Moreover, 76 percent consider Mr. Sharon "well suited" to his job, while only 28 percent think Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, considered an occasional critic of government policy, would be well suited to be prime minister. Opponents of the government's policies are essentially without a constituency: Shlomo Ben-Ami is thought well suited to lead the country by 11 percent of respondents, Yossi Beilin by 7 percent.
The new Israeli center also exhibits a unified attitude toward the United States: 88 percent support America's present war on terror; 79 percent believe the United States is a "true friend." But at the same time, 89 percent call America's demand that Israel halt its anti-terror sweep in the West Bank "unfair."
I thought of these numbers this week when public radio announced the capture of the gunman who murdered my neighbor Gadi Rejwan. He was seized among a clutch of terrorists after a gun battle in the Kalandia refugee camp in Ramallah on Sunday night. This was 20 days after Washington's call for Israel to withdraw. Had Israel fallen into line, Gadi's murderer would still be free.
The point that seems to escape many observers is that the Sharon government's policies are inseparable from the views of the Israeli public. That public has given Yasir Arafat nine years to show he can live alongside Israel in peace. Now it expects Ariel Sharon to do what is necessary to protect our country ‹ even if it means braving international censure.
This is not to say Israelis have stopped disagreeing with one another on many points. We haven't. But it is a serious mistake to think of Israel as a divided nation, as it was. This is an Israeli government that represents not half of Israel, but an overwhelming, united majority of the people. In a democracy, one could not get a stronger mandate. (New York times Apr 26)
The writer is president of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. His most recent book is "The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul."
The Jenin Probe Ends By David Tell
The United Nations, unhappy about the prospect of seeing Israel exhonerated, decides not to investigate Jenin.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan to send a high-level commission of inquiry to the West Bank Palestinian refugee camp at Jenin--where local UN officials and spokesman for a variety of terrorist organizations allege Israel has recently conducted a "massacre" of unarmed civilians--appears on the verge of collapse. During business hours yesterday, UN political affairs director Kieran Prendergast briefed the Security Council on the status of discussions with the Israeli government about the circumstances under which such a fact-finding body might be admitted to the site. Prendergast then told reporters that Annan was "minded to disband the team" rather than further modify its mission in order to satisfy Israeli concerns about fairness. A serious report on the fighting in Jenin "would not be possible without the cooperation of the government of Israel," Prendergast announced--inadvertently confirming Israeli fears about where the UN's instincts lie. As of late last night, no sign of increased Israeli "cooperation" was forthcoming.
That's a relief. For reasons The Weekly Standard outlines in its current editorial, Annan's fact-finding proposal for Jenin has always been horrible in its very essence. If it does wind up falling apart, no honest observer should mourn the damn thing.
Honest observers do have call to regret, however, the extent to which Western media outlets have proved . . . incurious, shall we say, about what actually did happen in Jenin. There's never been any reason to wait for the UN to figure it out. Or, more likely, fail to figure it out. Or, more likely still, to lie about it--as UN Relief and Works Agency head Peter Hansen has been doing since the fighting stopped. Interesting, relevant facts are flying around all over the place. But somehow very few of them have found their way into the newspapers.
For instance: For a week now, the invaluable Middle East Media Research Institute has had posted on its website an extensive collection of translations from Arab-language news accounts of the Jenin incident. They quote an impressive number of leading terrorist commandos speaking, during and immediately after the fighting, about what exactly went on. Oddly enough, at the time, it occurred to none of these gentlemen to alert their Arabic-speaking audience that the Israelis were busy mowing down women and children.
Several of them did, however, suggest that Palestinians themselves were eagerly placing such "civilians" in harm's way.
"Believe me, there are children stationed in the houses with explosive belts at their sides," Abu Jandal, a Jenin-based Islamic Jihad lieutenant, told Al Jazeera television on April 4, while the fighting was still underway. After the fact, Sheikh Abu Al-Hija, Abu Jandal's Hammas counterpart in Jenin, proudly confirmed that the camp's children had "filled their school bags with explosive devices." And Jamal Huweil, chief of Jenin's Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, boasted to London's Al-Hayat newspaper that at least four such children had rushed Israeli tanks and blown themselves up.
In a lengthy interview with the official Egyptian government publication Al-Ahram Weekly, a one-armed Islamic Jihad operative named "Omar" has described how he and his colleagues rigged more than fifty houses in central Jenin (not all of them vacant--and some of them, presumably, now featured in news photos of "Israeli destruction") with "powerful bombs." Omar has also explained how the ambush and killing of 13 Israeli soldiers on foot patrol through Jenin was accomplished: The mujahedeen sent women out to tell the Israelis that they had run out of ammunition and wanted to surrender. These women then walked the Israelis into a section of street booby-trapped with mines.
On April 10, Islamic Jihad's website announced that its top man in Jenin, Muhammad Tawalbeh, before blowing himself up inside his own home as Israeli commandos moved to arrest him, had acted to prevent Palestinian civilians from fleeing the camp for their own safety. Tawalbeh, jihadonline.org was pleased to report, "had thwarted all attempts by the occupation to evacuate the camp residents to make it easier for the Israelis to destroy [the camp] on the heads of the fighters."
In the past few days, the Israeli Defense Forces have released intelligence reports indicating that a "special public affairs committee" of Palestinians in Jenin has organized extensive preparations for Kofi Annan's fact-finding committee. Specifically, the Palestinians appear to be inventing those facts they wish to be found. According to the Israelis, camp residents "have begun moving bodies buried in the cemetery next to the government hospital prior to operation 'Defensive Shield' into a 'mass grave' of casualties of the operation." Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority has ordered a stop to searches through demolished buildings "so that they will be found only in the presence of the UN committee." The PA has rented houses in the town of Jenin for persons displaced from the UN camp, but has asked them to "arrive back in the refugee camp during daytime (the UN committee operating hours) and sit inside tents."
Meanwhile, Yasser Arafat's operatives are busy hiding evidence of Palestinian military activity in Jenin--and attempting to conceal the fact that at least 21 Palestinian locals have been wounded by unexploded terrorist ordinance since the Israelis withdrew from the scene.
Israel has made six specific requests to the United Nations during the latest, apparently fruitless negotiations over a Jenin fact-finding mission. One of them is that Kofi Annan guarantee his team will look into reports like these, as well. Annan would rather forget the whole thing than provide such an assurance of balance
Just as well. .(WeeklyStandard.com May 1)
The writer is opinion editor of The Weekly Standard.
A Wave of Jew-Bashing in Europe By Jeff Jacoby
The rocks have been lifted all over Europe, and the snakes of Jew-hatred are slithering free.
In Belgium, thugs beat up the chief rabbi, kicking him in the face and calling him ''a dirty Jew.'' Two synagogues in Brussels were firebombed; a third, in Charleroi, was sprayed with automatic weapons fire.
In Britain, the cover of the New Statesman, a left-wing magazine, depicted a large Star of David stabbing the Union Jack. Oxford professor Tom Paulin, a noted poet, told an Egyptian interviewer that American Jews who move to the West Bank and Gaza ''should be shot dead.'' A Jewish yeshiva student reading the Psalms was stabbed 27 times on a London bus. Anti-Semitism, wrote a columnist in The Spectator, ''has become respectable ... at London dinner tables.'' She quoted one member of the House of Lords: ''The Jews have been asking for it and now, thank God, we can say what we think at last.''
In Italy, the daily paper La Stampa published a Page 1 cartoon: A tank emblazoned with a Jewish star points its gun at the baby Jesus, who pleads, ''Surely they don't want to kill me again?'' In Corriere Della Sera, another cartoon showed Jesus trapped in his tomb, unable to rise, because Ariel Sharon, with rifle in hand, is sitting on the sepulchre.
In Germany, a rabbinical student was beaten up in downtown Berlin and a grenade was thrown into a Jewish cemetery. Thousands of neo-Nazis held a rally, marching near a synagogue on the Jewish sabbath. Graffiti appeared on a synagogue in the western town of Herford: ''Six million were not enough.''
In Ukraine, skinheads attacked Jewish worshippers and smashed the windows of Kiev's main synagogue. Ukrainian police denied that the attack was anti-Jewish.
In Greece, Jewish graves were desecrated in Ioannina and vandals hurled paint at the Holocaust memorial in Salonica. In Holland, an anti-Israel demonstration featured swastikas, photos of Hitler, and chants of ''Sieg Heil'' and ''Jews into the sea.'' In Slovakia, the Jewish cemetery of Kosice was invaded and 135 tombstones destroyed.
But nowhere have the flames of anti-Semitism burned more furiously than in France.
In Lyon, a car was rammed into a synagogue and set on fire. In Montpellier, the Jewish religious center was firebombed; so were synagogues in Strasbourg and Marseille; so was a Jewish school in Creteil. A Jewish sports club in Toulouse was attacked with Molotov cocktails, and on the statue of Alfred Dreyfus in Paris, the words ''Dirty Jew'' were painted. In Bondy, 15 men beat up members of a Jewish football team with sticks and metal bars. The bus that takes Jewish children to school in Aubervilliers has been attacked three times in the last 14 months. According to the police, metropolitan Paris has seen 10 to 12 anti-Jewish incidents per day since Easter.
Walls in Jewish neighborhoods have been defaced with slogans proclaiming ''Jews to the gas chambers'' and ''Death to the Jews.'' The weekly journal Le Nouvel Observateur published an appalling libel: It said Israeli soldiers rape Palestinian women, so that their relatives will kill them to preserve ''family honor.'' The French ambassador to Great Britain was not sacked - and did not apologize - when it was learned that he had told guests at a London dinner that the world's troubles were the fault of ''that sh---y little country, Israel.''
''At the start of the 21st century,'' writes Pierre-Andre Taguieff, a well-known social scientist, in a new book, ''we are discovering that Jews are once again select targets of violence.... Hatred of the Jews has returned to France.''
But of course, it never left. Not France; not Europe. Anti-Semitism, the oldest bigotry known to man, has been a part of European society since time immemorial. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, open Jew-hatred became unfashionable; but fashions change, and Europe is reverting to type.
To be sure, some Europeans are shocked by the re-emergence of Jew-hatred all over their continent. But the more common reaction has been complacency. ''Stop saying that there is anti-Semitism in France,'' President Jacques Chirac told a Jewish editor in January. ''There is no anti-Semitism in France.'' The European media have been vicious in condemning Israel's self-defense against Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank; they have been far less agitated about anti-Jewish terror in their own backyard.
They are making a grievous mistake. For if today the violence and vitriol are aimed at the Jews, tomorrow they will be aimed at the Christians.
A timeless lesson of history is that it rarely ends with the Jews. Militant Islamist extremists were attacking and killing Jews long before they attacked and killed Americans on Sept. 11. The Nazis' first set out to incinerate the Jews; in the end, all of Europe was burned in the fire.
Jews, it is often said, are the canary in the coal mine of civilization. When they become the objects of savagery and hate, it means the air has been poisoned and an explosion is soon to come. If Europeans don't rise up and turn against the Jew-haters, the Jew-haters will rise up and turn against them. (Boston Globe Apr 28)
Never Again By Joe McCain
There is a lot of worry popping up in the media just now -- ``Can Israel Survive?''
Don't worry about it.
It relates to something that Palestinians, the Arabs and perhaps most Americans don't realize -- the Jews are never going quietly again. Never.
And if the world doesn't come to understand that, millions of Arabs are going to die. It's as simple as that.
Throughout the history of the world, the most abused, kicked-around race of people has been the Jews. Not just in the Holocaust of World War II, but for thousands of years. They have truly been ''The Chosen People'' in a terrible and tragic sense.
The Bible story of Egypt's enslavement of the Jews is not just a story, it is history, if festooned with theological legend and heroic epics.
In 70 A.D., the Romans, who had for a long time tolerated the Jews -- even admired them as ''superior'' to other vassals -- tired of their truculent demands for independence and decided on an early ''solution'' to the Jewish problem. Jerusalem was sacked and reduced to near rubble; Jewish resistance was pursued and crushed by the implacable Roman War Machine (see Masada). And thus began The Diaspora, the dispersal of Jews throughout the rest of the world. Their homeland destroyed, their culture crushed, they looked desperately for the few niches in a hostile world where they could be safe. That safety was fragile, and often subject to the whims of moody hosts. The words pogrom, ghetto and anti-Semitism come from this treatment of the first monotheistic people.
Throughout Europe, changing times meant sometimes tolerance, sometimes even warmth for the Jews, but eventually it meant hostility, then malevolence. There is not a country in Europe or Western Asia that at one time or another has not decided to lash out against the children of Moses, sometimes by whim, sometimes by manipulation.
Winston Churchill calls Edward I one of England's very greatest kings. Edward embraced the Jews. Actually, Edward didn't embrace Jews so much as he embraced their money. For the English Jews had acquired wealth -- understandable, because this people who could not own land or office, could not join most of the trades and professions, soon found out that money was a very good thing to accumulate. Much harder to take away than land or a store was a hidden sock of gold and silver coins.
Ever resourceful, Edward found a way -- he borrowed money from the Jews to finance imperial ambitions in Europe, especially France. The loans were almost certainly not made gladly, but how do you refuse your king? Especially when he is ``Edward the Hammer.''
Then, rather than pay back the debt, Edward simply expelled the Jews.
Edward was especially inventive -- he did this twice. After a time, he invited the Jews back to their English homeland, borrowed more money, then expelled them again.
Most people do not know that Spain was one of the early entrants into the Renaissance. People from all over the world came to Spain in the late medieval period. All were welcome -- Arabs, Jews, other Europeans.
But in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella, having driven the last of Moors from the Spanish Shield, were persuaded by the righteous fundamentalists of the time to announce ''The Act of Purification.'' A series of steps were taken in which all Jews and Arabs and other non-Christians were expelled from the country, or would face the tools and the torches of the Inquisition. From this ''cleansing'' come the Sephardic Jews -- as opposed to the Ashkenazis or Eastern Europe.
In Eastern Europe, the sporadic violence and brutality against Jews are common knowledge, Fiddler without the music and the folksy humor. At times of fury, no accommodation by the Jew was good enough, no profile low enough, no village poor enough or distant enough.
From these come the near-steady flow of Jews to the United States. And despite the disdain of the Jews by most ''American'' Americans, they came to grab the American Dream with both hands, and contributed everything from new ideas of enterprise in retail and entertainment to becoming some of our finest physicians and lawyers. The modern United States, in spite of itself, is the United States in part because of its Jewish blood.
Then the Nazi Holocaust -- the corralling, sorting, orderly eradication of millions of the people of Moses. Not something that other realms in other times didn't try to do, by the way, the Germans were just more organized and had better murder technology. I stood in the center of Dachau for an entire day, about 15 years ago, trying to comprehend how this could have happened. I had gone there on a side trip from Munich, vaguely curious about this Dachau. I soon became engulfed in the enormity of what had occurred there, nestled in this middle- and working-class neighborhood.
How could human beings do this to other human beings, hear their cries, their pleas, their terror, their pain, and continue without apparently even wincing?
I no longer wonder. At some times, some places, any sect of the human race is capable of horrors against its fellow man, whether a member of the Waffen SS, a Serbian sniper, a Turkish policeman in 1920s Armenia, a Mississippi Klansman. Because even in the United States not all was a Rose Garden. For a long time, Jews had quotas in our universities and graduate schools. Only so many Jews could be in a medical or law school at one time. Jews were disparaged widely. I remember as a kid Jewish jokes told without a wince -- ``Why do Jews have such big noses?''
Well, now the Jews have a homeland again. A place that is theirs.
And that's the point. It doesn't matter how many times the United States and European powers try to rein in Israel, if it comes down to survival of its nation, its people, the people will fight like no lioness has ever fought to save her cubs. They will fight with a ferocity, a determination, and a skill that will astound us.
And many will die, mostly their attackers, I believe. If there were a macabre historical betting parlor, my money would be on the Israelis to be standing at the end. As we killed the kamikazes and the Wehrmacht soldaten of World War II, so will the Israelis kill their suicidal attackers, until there are not enough to torment them.
The irony goes unnoticed -- while we are hammering away to punish those who brought the horrors of last September here, we restrain the Israelis from the same retaliation. Not the same thing, of course -- We are We . . . they are they.
While we mourn and seethe at Sept. 11, we don't notice that Israel has a Sept. 11 sometimes every day.
If it comes to where a new holocaust looms -- with or without the concurrence of the United States and Europe -- Israel will lash out without pause or restraint at those who would try to annihilate the country.
The Jews will not go quietly again.
Joe McCain is brother of U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
My Meeting with Dan Rather By Elliot Mathias
Since Arabs view the world differently, who's to say that we're right and they're wrong?
My recent encounter with CBS News anchor Dan Rather and his producer made me realize that much of the anti-Israel coverage in the media -- which treats Israel with a double-standard unparalleled anywhere else in the world -- is attributable to factors other than anti-Semitism.
I met his CBS producer at a building in Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter that overlooks the Temple Mount where she wished to film from. We proceeded up to the roof which afforded a masterful view of the centerpiece of the Old City. Sprawled out in front of us was the Temple Mount, the place where the two ancient Jewish Temples stood, and currently the shared location of the Western Wall and the Al-Asqa Mosque. Behind the Temple Mount is the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, with the rugged hills of the Judean Desert in the background.
This is the focal point of the entire Arab-Israeli conflict. In fact, Palestinians call the current conflict the "Al-Asqa Intifada."
As we stood side-by-side taking in the extraordinary view, the producer turned to me and said in a sort of apologetic tone, "You'll have to excuse my ignorance, but what exactly are we looking at?"
My stomach instantly dropped. Maybe she was unsure of a specific building?
"No, what is this entire area we are looking at?"
"The Temple Mount!!" I wanted to scream. "It's the most important spot in the entire region!"
I controlled myself and began my first history lesson to a national news producer. I explained how the Jewish people built a Temple in this spot 3,000 years ago, and how, after its destruction, a second Temple was built in the exact same location.
I explained how Jesus visited this second Jewish Temple, which stood until the Romans ultimately destroyed it in the first century. I explained how the Muslims came to Jerusalem in the mid-seventh century, soon after the creation of their religion, building the Al-Asqa Mosque and the Golden Dome. I explained to her that the Western Wall is the remaining retaining wall of the second Jewish Temple.
As I went through these historic points, the producer was taking furious notes on her yellow writing pad, trying to record the details of this place so integral to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A few minutes later, Dan Rather arrived. He climbed the stairs to join us on the roof. As he reached the top stair, he looked out at the view that was spread before him. "Oh, I've been here before," he said. Then, looking at his producer, he quietly asked, "What is this that we're looking at?"
My stomach plummeted again. Not Dan Rather, too?! The expert on world events who is watched by 30 million nightly viewers can't identify the Temple Mount? I knew American viewers were in big trouble.
The producer read the notes on her yellow pad, filling Mr. Rather in on all the details of the place in front of them. During the film shoot, Rather held this same yellow pad of paper in his hand, reading from it on air. So much for in-depth research and media accuracy.
After Dan Rather left, I spent some time with his producer, discussing her viewpoints of what was currently happening in Israel. After seeing the tone of her news segment, I was concerned. I began to question her about accuracy in reporting.
Her answer was even more shocking than what I had already observed. "The thing is," she told me, "it is impossible to be objective in this situation. The fact is that there is no objective truth -- neither side is right or wrong."
"Wait a minute," I asked her. "When a Palestinian straps on a belt of dynamite lined with nails and walks into a pizza shop, blowing up innocent people, that wouldn't be objectively wrong?"
"Of course I would think that is wrong," she answered me. "But the Palestinians believe this is a legitimate form of warfare. And they would say the Israelis are doing the same to them by killing innocent civilians when they retaliate militarily. Who am I to say what is right or wrong? Who am I to say that the Palestinians are wrong in their beliefs?"
"But don't you think there's a difference between a person blowing himself up in a restaurant, and a military that responds by searching for and killing terrorists. Granted that innocent civilians are killed in both circumstances -- but in one situation the innocents are targeted, and in the other situation they are regrettably caught in the line of fire?"
"Well, that's a very Western way of looking at things. You see I'm Christian and American. I see things the way you do as an Israeli -- we have the same moral framework. But the Arabs view things differently, and who's to say that we're right and they're wrong?"
At this point we both realized we weren't going to get any further in the conversation, and we politely thanked each other and parted ways.
This experience gave me new insight into why so much of the media seems biased against Israel. Not only, as I saw with my own eyes, was even the top echelon some of the media unprepared and lacking knowledge of the basic history and make-up of the conflict, but they also possess an extremely dangerous philosophy -- a belief that there is no objective right and wrong.
The world today is being shaped into two conflicting civilizations. This has been happening minimally for decades, but more probably for centuries, and has now become most evident since September 11. One civilization, led by Judeo-Christian ethics, values life with the utmost sanctity. Individual rights and freedoms, equality of the sexes, and peace amongst nations are pillars upon which this half of the world stands.
The other civilization holds very different ideals: the glorification of death and war, totalitarian control of the masses, and oppression of women. The latter civilization sees the former as a direct threat to its way of life and is willing to sacrifice its own children to destroy the other.
This clash of civilizations is being fought on many fronts, including the battlefield. But for most of us non-soldier-types, the war is being fought in the recesses of our own conscience.
Many world leaders, like President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon, have identified this clearly as a fight against evil. But there are others, many of whom are influential in the media, who don't believe that the values of the Western world are "objectively good." Reuters news service refused to call the September 11 attacks "terrorism," finding that even too much of a moral stretch.
This clash calls upon us all to must make a clear choice. Are we confident in our own values and morals? Do we know that they are objectively good and thus worth defending and fighting for?
Unless we can answer these questions with full determination and conviction, we will remain deeply threatened by those who seek to destroy us. Because one thing is certain: The other side has the determination and conviction to carry on their crusade.
The writer is the Director of Hasbara Fellowships, a program, which educates and trains university students to be pro-Israel activists on their campuses.