CAFI
Newsletter #174     Friday, February 27, 2004

  1. SURREALISM Vs REALITY
  2. THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST:
    JEWS AND CHRISTIANS ARE WATCHING DIFFERENT FILMS
  3. ANTI-SEMITISM IN 3D
  4. WHY ISRAEL WAS REALLY DRAGGED TO COURT
  5. QUOTES AND QUICK NOTES
  6. HIGHLIGHT ARTICLES

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1.   SURREALISM Vs REALITY

By Caroline Glick - Jerusalem Post - February 20, 2004

The events of this week, which opened with eight Israeli terror victims being buried at the same time as Israel was placed on trial at The Hague for trying to defend itself from terror, have about as much in common with reality as a painting by Salvador Dali.

There is something surreal in the spectacle of thousands of Israelis and our supporters marching through the streets of a Dutch city holding pictures of our terror victims as Israel is libeled in a show trial produced and directed by our murderers.

There is something surreal about the picture of gowned judges marching into a courtroom to hear arguments about how a law is broken when Israel attempts to prevent more of its citizens from being murdered by terrorist armies.

There is something surreal about the televised footage of Avi Ohayon – whose two small sons Ohad and Matan and ex-wife Revital were gunned down in their home by a Fatah terrorist – begging cameramen to take his picture with their photographs.

And there is something grotesque about the fact that the British and Swedish governments are paying the salaries of the Palestinian "lawyers" who stand before a kangaroo court and claim that Israel is breaking a law, any law, in trying to prevent more children and mothers from sharing this fate.

Given the surrealism of the show at The Hague, it is difficult to take the proceedings seriously. How can we be expected to believe that such an evil, crude and disgusting lie can actually have any impact on our lives? But of course it does impact us.

The International Court of Justice will no doubt soon hand down an opinion saying that Israel is wrong to defend itself against the wanton murder of its citizens, killed for the crime of being Jews.

In the aftermath of the ICJ's expected opinion, Israel will come under ever-increasing international pressure to allow in foreign troops who will be tasked with protecting our murderers from our defenders.

How have we arrived at this point? How is it that after three and a half years of absorbing massacre after massacre that Israel now finds itself on trial?

The answer to this question is found in part in the latest State Department Human Rights Report. Released Wednesday, the report finds both Israel and the Palestinian Authority guilty of countless human rights abuses. Of course, it is balanced.

Of course, it duly notes that the PA security services have themselves conducted terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Yet aside from condemning every action Israel has taken to combat terrorism and thereby equating actions aimed at protecting Israeli citizens with terrorism, the report does something even more offensive.

The report very sensitively gives the names of a dozen or so Palestinian children who died during Israeli assaults against Palestinian terrorists who used these children for cover.

Yet, grotesquely, while the names of Palestinian children are listed, the report provides not one name of any Israeli victim of Palestinian terrorism. Not the Ohayon children, not 14-year-old Abigail Litle who was murdered on a bus on her way home from school and not the names of hundreds of other Israeli men, women and children who were murdered last year.

By naming Palestinian victims while not giving names of Israeli victims, the State Department report follows in the path of the general climate that has gripped us for the past 40 months. This general climate is characterized by the dehumanization of Israelis and Jews by the international community.

This dehumanization prevents anyone from ever seeing the victimization of Israelis. By balancing condemnations of Palestinian terrorism with condemnations of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, our critics, even those among us, are cheapening the value of our lives.

By arguing that Israel abuses human rights when it defends itself against an enemy which has declared its aim as genocide, the State Department, like the UN, the EU, the foreign media and international human rights organizations, is creating a false reality where Israel is not fighting a war against an enemy bent on its physical destruction. Rather, Israel is simply being mean.

As if the perfidy of its human rights report wasn't enough of a jolt for us, the next day the State Department also saw fit to criticize the IDF operation Wednesday in Ramallah where our forces seized some NIS 40 million in terror funds.

Dali himself would have been impressed with State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher when he claimed that the operations were "destabilizing to the Palestinian banking system" given the fact that the PA itself uses its banking system to transfer funds to terrorists.

Unfortunately, the surrealism of our current plight doesn't end at The Hague or at the State Department. And it doesn't begin there either. It begins here, in Israel.

As the terror victims marched in front of the Hague to defend Israel's right to build the security fence, Shin Bet director Avi Dichter was at the Knesset explaining that the fence we care so deeply about will not long protect us.

Dichter said on Tuesday that the Palestinians are now seeking to upgrade their arsenals in order to carry out attacks that will render the fence irrelevant. Both the PA security forces and the terrorist cells, Dichter said, are improving their artillery capabilities in order to launch shells over the fence. In addition, they are seeking to attain chemical weapons.

And then there is the terror financing. Our forces went to the banks in Ramallah on Wednesday to dry up terrorist bank accounts and this is all for the good. But our government is the main financier of the terrorists.

Israel transfers some NIS 130 million to the PA in tax revenues every month arguing that the money isn't going to terrorists. Yet we know that PA budgetary funds finance terror.

Dichter himself acknowledged that ten percent of the PA budget is transferred to Arafat's office. And Arafat, he said, is directly involved in financing terrorism.

And the surrealism doesn't end here either. Last week Ma'ariv reported that to date, security forces have prevented nine attempts by Palestinians to take down jetliners taking off or landing at Ben Gurion Airport.

Israel has argued strenuously before the Bush Administration that to protect the flights from rocket and missile attacks it is necessary to construct the security fence far enough away from the airport to keep it out of rocket and artillery range. This involves extending the fence several kilometers north and east of the 1949 armistice lines. It seems to make sense.

And yet, The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "appears ready to abandon a proposed second fence around Ben-Gurion Airport."

Then there is Sharon's newest emissary to Washington – not Dov Weisglass or Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom – but Labor head MK Shimon Peres.

At the beginning of the week, Peres, fresh from a political powwow with Sharon, turned up in Washington for talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

Addressing a gathering of Washington peaceniks later, Peres said Monday that Israel has no moral right to Judea and Samaria. In his words, transferring one hundred percent of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to the Palestinians, "is not a political decision, it is a moral decision."

So here then we have it from none other than the head of the loyal opposition and the man who Sharon apparently now sees as a possible coalition partner if the National Union and the NRP bolt his government.

In the analysis of Peres, all of Israel's detractors are right. It is immoral for us to be defending ourselves. It is immoral for us to stake our claim to territory against the Palestinian claims. It is immoral for us to refuse to finance a PA that is so immersed in terror there is no way to give it money it without contributing to the finance of our own murder.

It isn't the security fence that stood for trial this week at the Hague. It is Israel's very legitimacy that now stands before an international tribunal.

So at the end of the day it doesn't matter that the fence will not defend us. It doesn't matter that we get criticized for seizing terrorist funds that we ourselves are providing.

What matters is that we ourselves contribute through our apologetics for our need to defend ourselves to the dehumanization of our people and the cheapening of our lives.


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2.   THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST:
JEWS AND CHRISTIANS ARE WATCHING DIFFERENT FILMS

By Dennis Prager - townhall.com - October 28, 2003

Early this past summer, Mel Gibson invited me to see "The Passion," his film on the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. The invitation was significant in that I was the first practicing Jew and active member of the American Jewish community to be invited. He did so because he believed, correctly, that he could trust me. I have long worked to build trust between Jews and Christians, especially traditional Christians.

The increasing tension over this film has reinforced impressions I offered Mel Gibson that day. When watching "The Passion," Jews and Christians are watching two entirely different films.

For two hours, Christians watch their Savior tortured and killed. For the same two hours, Jews watch Jews arrange the killing and torture of the Christians' Savior.

In order to avoid further tension between two wonderful communities that had been well on their way to historic amity, it is crucial for each to try to understand what film the other is watching and reacting to.

First, what Jews see. The Jews in the film (except, of course, for those who believe in Jesus) are cruel and often sadistic. One prominent Christian who saw the film along with my wife and me said that while watching the film he wanted to take a gun and shoot those who had brought such pain to Jesus. I couldn't blame him. The Jews in the film manipulate the Romans -- who are depicted as patsies of the Jews and in the case of Pilate, as morally far more elevated -- into torturing and murdering a beautiful man.

Why does this bother Jews so much? Because for nearly 2,000 years, attacked as "Christ-killers," countless Jewish men, women and children were tortured and murdered in ways that often caused more suffering than even Jesus endured (e.g., not only tortured and murdered themselves, but also seeing their families and friends raped, tortured and murdered). For Jews to worry that a major movie made by one of the world's superstars depicts Jews as having Christ tortured and killed might arouse anti-Semitic passions is not paranoid. Even though Islam denies the crucifixion, it is difficult to imagine that this film will not be a hit in the virulently anti-Semitic Arab world.

It is essential that Christians understand this. Every Jew, secular, religious, assimilated, left-wing, right-wing, fears being killed because he is Jewish. This is the best-kept secret about Jews, who are widely perceived as inordinately secure and powerful. But it is the only universally held sentiment among Jews. After the Holocaust and with Islamic terrorists seeking to murder Jews today, this, too, is not paranoid.

However, what Jews need to understand is that most American Christians watching this film do not see "the Jews" as the villains in the passion story historically, let alone today. First, most American Christians -- Catholic and Protestant -- believe that a sinning humanity killed Jesus, not "the Jews." Second, they know that Christ's entire purpose was to come to this world and to be killed for humanity's sins. To the Christian, God made it happen, not the Jews or the Romans (the Book of Acts says precisely that). Third, a Christian who hates Jews today for what he believes some Jews did 2,000 years ago only reflects on the low moral, intellectual and religious state of that Christian. Imagine what Jews would think of a Jew who hated Egyptians after watching "The Ten Commandments," and you get an idea of how most Christians would regard a Christian who hated Jews after watching "The Passion."

Jews also need to understand another aspect of "The Passion" controversy. Just as Jews are responding to centuries of Christian anti-Semitism (virtually all of it in Europe), many Christians are responding to decades of Christian-bashing -- films and art mocking Christian symbols, a war on virtually any public Christian expression (from the death of the Christmas party to the moral identification of fundamentalist Christians with fundamentalist Muslims). Moreover, many Jewish groups and media people now attacking "The Passion" have a history of irresponsibly labeling conservative Christians anti-Semitic.


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3.   ANTI-SEMITISM IN 3D

By Natan Sharansky - Jerusalem Post - February 23, 2004

This week I took part in a conference on anti-Semitism in Europe. Hosted by the president of the European Commission Romano Prodi, the conference brought together leaders from around the world determined to fight the new wave of anti-Semitism that has engulfed Europe over the last few years.

The question is how the sincere intentions of the participants to combat this evil can be translated into effective action.

My experience has convinced me that moral clarity is critical in taking a stand against evil. Evil cannot be defeated if it cannot be recognized, and the only way to recognize evil is to draw clear moral lines. Evil thrives when those lines are blurred, when right and wrong is a matter of opinion rather than objective truth.

That is what makes the battle against the so-called new anti-Semitism so difficult. To the free world's modern eyes, classical anti-Semitism is easily discernible. If we watch films that show Jews draining the blood of Gentile children or plotting to take over the world, most of us would immediately recognize it as anti-Semitism.

Such movies, produced recently by the government-controlled media in Egypt and Syria and broadcast via satellite to hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, including millions of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe, employ motifs and canards that are familiar to us.

But the new anti-Semitism is far more subtle. Whereas classical anti-Semitism was seen as being aimed at the Jewish religion or the Jewish people, the new anti-Semitism is ostensibly directed against the Jewish state. Since this anti-Semitism can hide behind the veneer of legitimate criticism of Israel, it is much more difficult to expose.

In fact, over the past year, whenever we have criticized particularly virulent anti-Israel statements as being rooted in anti-Semitism, the response has invariably been that we are trying to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel by deliberately labeling it anti-Semitism.

What emerged from this conference was an admission by European leaders themselves that not all criticism of Israel is legitimate. This recognition was evident in the remarks of President Romano Prodi, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and other officials.

If not all criticism is valid, how then do we define the boundary line?

I propose the following test for differentiating legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism. The 3D test, as I call it, is not a new one. It merely applies to the new anti-Semitism the same criteria that for centuries identified the different dimensions of classical anti-Semitism.

The first D is the test of demonization.
Whether it came in the theological form of a collective accusation of deicide or in the literary depiction of Shakespeare's Shylock, Jews were demonized for centuries as the embodiment of evil. Therefore, today we must be wary of whether the Jewish state is being demonized by having its actions blown out of all sensible proportion.

For example, the comparisons of Israelis to Nazis and of the Palestinian refugee camps to Auschwitz – comparisons heard practically every day within the "enlightened" quarters of Europe – can only be considered anti-Semitic. Those who draw such analogies either do not know anything about Nazi Germany or, more plausibly, are deliberately trying to paint modern-day Israel as the embodiment of evil.

The second D is the test of double standards.
For thousands of years a clear sign of anti-Semitism was treating Jews differently than other peoples, from the discriminatory laws many nations enacted against them to the tendency to judge their behavior by a different yardstick.

Similarly, today we must ask whether criticism of Israel is being applied selectively. In other words, do similar policies by other governments engender the same criticism, or is there a double standard at work?

It is anti-Semitism, for instance, when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while tried and true abusers like China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria are ignored.

Likewise, it is anti-Semitism when Israel's Magen David Adom, alone among the world's ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross.

The third D is the test of deligitimation.
In the past, anti-Semites tried to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish religion, the Jewish people, or both. Today, they are trying to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish state, presenting it, among other things, as the last vestige of colonialism.

While criticism of an Israeli policy may not be anti-Semitic, the denial of Israel's right to exist is always anti-Semitic. If other peoples have a right to live securely in their homelands, then the Jewish people have a right to live securely in their homeland.

To remember the 3D test I suggest we recall those 3D movies we enjoyed as children. Without those special glasses the movie was flat and blurred. But when we put on our glasses the screen came alive, and we saw everything with perfect clarity.

In the same way, if we do not wear the right glasses, the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism will be blurred and we will not be able to recognize this ancient evil, much less fight it.

But if we wear the special glasses provided by the 3D test – if we check whether Israel is being demonized or deligitimized, or whether a double standard is being applied to it – we will always be able to see anti-Semitism clearly.

And with moral clarity, I have no doubt that our efforts to combat this evil will prove far more effective.

The writer is Israel's Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Jerusalem.

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4.   WHY ISRAEL WAS REALLY DRAGGED TO COURT

By Jerusalem Newswire Editorial Staff - February 25, 2004

Over the past ten years of failed "peace" efforts, the Palestinian Arabs have held only one card for use in negotiating with Israel - terrorism.

While the Israelis are prepared to make peace for the sake of peace, the Palestinians, by their own admission, desire more than a compromise deal and coexistence.

According to Yasser Arafat, the signing of the Oslo Accords was only the first step in a phased plan that would eventually put the Muslim Arab world in a position to again attempt the annihilation of the Jewish state.

But more steps, more Israeli concessions, were needed before the Arabs could seriously consider launching another full-scale war against Israel.

And the "Palestinians", for their part, had agreed to put an end to the terrorist murder of Israel's Jews, leaving the Arab states with little leverage.

However, it was never Arafat's intention to keep that promise, so he promptly broke it, refused to make terrorism against the Jewish state a thing of the past, and retained the terrorism card.

It is no coincidence that in each of the seven major "peace" agreements Israel has signed with the Palestinian Authority since 1993, the Arabs' obligation has always remained the same - to stop the flow of illegal weapons, eliminate incitement, and curb terrorism.

The Palestinian Arabs need terrorism as a political bargaining chip. Without it they bring little to the table with which to extort concessions from Israel.

Which brings us to this week's international court case against Israel's right to build a security fence.

Israel's separation fence threatens to, at least partially, remove their one card from the "Palestinians'" hands. Their inability to perpetrate out terror attacks would leave Israel firmly in the driver's seat, as far as the negotiations go.

Israel would no longer "need" the PA to provide security for it.

(It is important to note that even Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the fence's main proponent, acknowledges that the barrier will not provide a total preventative to Palestinian terrorism. And as Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter reported to the Knesset Tuesday, the Palestinians are actively enhancing their artillery capabilities so as to bypass the fence and continue killing Jews.)
Such a situation - a peace process wherein Israel holds all the cards - would constitute an intolerable situation for the international community.

The ability of the nations to cultivate their relationships with the oil-rich Arab world depends largely on their willingness to push Israel to allow the creation of a Palestinian Arab state on ancient Jewish lands.

As such, the world will suffer no attempt by Israel to unilaterally remove the scourge of "Palestinian" terrorism, and by doing so prove it doesn't need to negotiate the creation of "Palestine" in order to provide true security for its people.

(This logic is also behind the world's regular and virulent rejection of Israel's right to militarily confront the forces of Palestinian Arab terrorism. For Israel to actually defeat Islamic terrorism would put everyone but Israel in a much weaker position.)
Thus, Israel was dragged before the UN's International Court of Justice in The Hague on Monday to be tried for building a fence and attempting to unilaterally defend its citizens.

All this leaves us with the impression, then, that the Jews of Israel are not allowed to provide security for themselves, but must rather buy protection by dolling out parcels of land through farcical negotiations.

Any attempt by Israel to bypass the "land-for-security" formula is slated as illegitimate if not downright criminal.

The US and much of Western Europe came out in opposition to the court hearing. These nations don't want the court in The Hague to rule on Israel's fence, because it would "politicize" the issue - meaning they all have similar issues they don't want brought before the court. But, all of these nations have openly opposed Israel's right to unilaterally build the fence where it deems necessary, and by doing so protect its people.


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5.   QUOTES AND QUICK NOTES

”Today, in The Hague, you will sit in judgment. Today, I will bury my husband, my heart has been cut in two.

”People will enter your hall today, who will speak, who will accuse. Mourners will enter my home and I will be unable to understand and I will certainly not be consoled. This evening, you will go home, kiss your spouses, hug your children - and I will be alone.

”True, the politics are far from me, but now as the pain is far too close to me, I think that I have acquired, with integrity and with tears, the right to appeal to you and say: If there had been a fence all along the length of the state, then maybe I, just like you, could kiss my husband this evening. Do not judge my country; do not restrain it from preventing additional people from becoming victims. Today, I am burying my husband; don't you bury justice."

- from an open letter by Fanny Haim, widow of Yehuda Haim who was murdered in the bus bombing Sunday.
"If any country in the world would be attacked the way Israel is they would be carpet-bombing the Palestinian territories. If this was America that was attacked we would be using B-52 bombers."
- US Representative Jerrold Nadler (Dem.-NY) at the site of Sunday's (Feb.22) bus bombing.

6.   HIGHLIGHT ARTICLES

  • The Human Rights of Israelis  The International Court of Justice is at a crucial juncture in its history: to become another weapon in the terrorists' arsenal or to reject the gross abuse of the rule of law and the attempt to deny the equal value of the human rights of Israelis.
  • The UN and the Jews  Perhaps it is time to stop holding seminars and conferences on whether the UN glass is half-full or half-empty. The contents of the glass have been poisoned.
  • Do Not Condemn Them  It is especially disturbing that the idea of establishing a Palestinian Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza is promoted by countless well-meaning people, who have the best intentions, but no understanding of the consequences the establishment of such a state will have.

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