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March 28, 2014

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 28, 2014 The answer to BDS bullies and 'Open Hillel' By Ben Cohen It's getting harder these days to survey the latest developments in the Middle East without feeling anxiety about the negative impact they will have on our own policy debate. I see a pattern--some may call it"Obama's Law," though I hesitate to do so--whereby the worse things get for Israel in a strategic sense, the more pressure there is on Jerusa- lem to make concessions. And because Israel cannot make concessions when Palestinian terrorists in Gaza shower the south of the country with missiles, or when Iran tries to smuggle in rockets to its Hamas allies, the image of Israel as an obstacle to a final peace deal becomes more entrenched. It's a perverse state of affairs, to be sure, but we do ourselves no favors by bemoaning the double standards and leaving it at that. Instead, we should be thinking of our re- sponse in the event of bad or worst case sce- narios. Let's say Israel is compelled to reoccupy Gaza. What strategy do American Jews have for making the case that such an operation is necessary to protect Israeli civilians in the south? Or even more dramatically, let's say that Israel feels it has no option other than to launch a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, given that the Geneva deal signed last year is decidedly flimsy, and that Tehran is likely feeling emboldened by Russia's latest attempt to reassert itself as a global power. What do we say then? After all, we know whatwill happen here. The response from the Obama administration will be, at best, a tepid acknowledgement of Israel's right to defend itself, followed by a lecture on conflict resolution best practices. As for much of the media and academia, we should ready ourselves for a typhoon of anti-Israel com- mentary with the usual slanderous themes thrown in: Israel as an aggressor; Israel as an apartheid state; "this is all because of Jewish settlements"; Israel has nuclear weapons, so why not Iran? We know the drill by now. In situations like these, the extremists have another opportunity to mainstream their discourse while engaging, at the same time, in intimidatory behavior. Remember when Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren Letter from Israel On war and politics By Ira Sharkansky One of the best known and most useful lines in the analysis of things political and military comes from Carl yon Clausewitz, a Prussian general who died in 1831. His treatise "On War" contains the phrase that still guides realists, "War is the continuation of Politik by other means" Politik can be translated as "policy" or "politics." The terms may be close cousins, but they have different implications. Americans and others schooled by images of overwhelming power, enormous numbers of military and civilian casualties, and demands for unconditional surrender may have ti, ouble with von Clausewitz. However, the historical record is that disasters like the U.S. Civil War and World Wars I and II belong in their own category. Most wars have been limited, and end with mixtures of victory and loss. Think of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and US diddling about Syria. Israelis have no trouble with von Claus- witz. The trade off between war and politics or policy has been a constant feature of the country's history, with hardly any time between relevant calculations having to be updated in the inner circles of government and the military, in media commentaries, and family conversations. Among the issues always on--or close to--the agendas: Are there concessions appropriate to reach- ing an accord with neighbors or greater powers that will end the threat of violence, or at least postpone the next wave of violence? How much military force to employ when that appears the only course currently rel- evant? What targets to hit? How many casualties would be tolerable without causing an esca- lation that would be more costly in terms of Israeli lives, property, and the IDF's budget? How much care should be employed to avoid civilian casualties, when the enemy is likely to be operating in close proximity to civilians, is using civilian neighborhoods for the stockpile of missiles and other munitions, and will use civilian casualties against Israel in an inter- national propaganda campaign? When to pre-empt, either to deal with an anticipated attack, or the import of weapons by adversaries that will threaten considerable damage if used eventually? How to explain what is chosen as Israel's military option, or its proposals for agree- ments in Israel's own campaign to garner international support? The most recent surge of missiles and mor- tars coming out of Gaza and the IDF's response provide as good an illustration of the process as we are likely to get, More than 60 missile and mortar firings were recorded in a barrage traced to one of the Islamic organizations in competition with Hamas for leadership of the Palestinian struggle. Their spokesmen explained it as a response to what they called Israel's violation of the "cease fire," represented by the killing of three of the organization's comrades who had been involved in their own violation of the cease fire. There had been no physical casualties in Israel from the bombardment, and limited property damage. There were incidents of severe anxiety, some of which required treat- ment.. IDF's response came in a bit more than 30 attacks involving tanks, aircraft both manned and drones. However, the attacks came at night, after it was likely that Hamas and its Islamic rivals had sent their personnel home or into the bunkers. There were no reports of casualties from the Palestinian side. While the prime minister made one of his customary hyperbolic threats about the certain retaliation against any threat to Israelis, and the foreign minister proposed a total conquest of Gaza and ending its problems once and for all time, media commentators had their feet on the ground. While I did not hear any mention of von Clausewitz, a footnote would have been appropriate. One commentator on things military compared it to signals sent Sharkansky on page 15A [THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT.   CENTRAL FLORIDA'S INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE   ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 43 Press Awards Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Chris DeSouza HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- Society Editor Bookkeeping dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage Account Executives paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. Barbara do Carmo * Marci Gaeser POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Contributing Columnists Fern Park, FL 32730. Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bomstein Ed Ziegler MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Production Department Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 David Lehman Gil Dombrosky emaih Joyce Gore was shouted down by leftwing and Islamist thugs at the University of California, Irvine in February 2010? Expect a repetition of similar scenes. Indeed, when I recall the disgraceful spectacle earlier this month at the National University of Ireland, when Boycott, Divest- ment and Sanctions (BDS) supporters chant- ing anti-Semitic slogans tried to shut down a presentation by Professor Alan Johnson, a pro-lsrael academic, I wonder how long it will be before we see similarly hysterical outbursts on campuses this side of the Atlantic. Let there be no ambiguity about this: The BDS movement is rapidly reaching a point where its violent, anti-democratic rhetoric could easily transition to physical violence. Many BDS supporters look like vegan hipsters, but don't be deceived by appearances. That is one of the many reasons why I was glad to learn of the emergence of a new Jew- ish student movement named "Safe Hillel." Founded by Boston University student Rafael Fils and Brandeis University student Daniel Mael, the group is a counterweight to the so-called "Open Hillel" movement--a group of leftwing Jewish students, including many anti-Zionists, who want campus Hillels to violate their established guidelines by host- ing speakers who advocate BDS and other strategies that seek the destruction of Israel. "The BDSers are bullies," Mael told me, in a refreshingly accurate and pithy summary of the nature of the boycott movement. "Why," he asked, "do they have to go after the one place where Jews feel comfortable, given the prevalence of anti-Zionism on campus?" The answer, of course, is that the BDS movement won't be satisfied until it has extin- guished every source of pro-Israel sentiment on campus. This appalling aim is compounded by their deceit in depicting themselves as victims of attempts to shut down free speech. In fact, it's about protecting vulnerable Jewish students in their own space from advocates of Israel's elimination--a nakedly anti-Semitic goal if ever there was one. Some students, Mael acknowledges, have been misled into believing that the debate is about Israel's presence in the West Bank, rather than whether the state has a right to exist. "Open Hillel hides behind the idea that they can't talk about the West Bank within the existing Hillel guidelines," said Mael dismis- sively. "But Alan Dershowitz speaks at AIPAC and criticizes settlements! BDS has tricked a number of people into thinking this is just about Israel's presence in the West Bank." In the final analysis, just as the vast major- ity of us would not include a Ku Klux Klan representative in a debate about race relations in America, neither should we accept the BDS movement as legitimate participants in debates about the Middle East. And as the storm clouds again gather over the Middle East, Jewish communities need to commit to shutting down the BDS movement as a foundational principle of our response in the diaspora. As British Prime Minister David Cameron said in his March 12 speech to the Israeli Knesset, the delegitimization campaign against Israel is "abhorrent... together, we will defeat it." Fightingwords, and much-needed ones in the current environment. Ben Cohen is the Shillman analyst for JNS. org. His writings on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics have been published in Com- mentary, the New York Post, Haaretz, Jewish Ideas Daily and many other publications. Shipley speaks [ Jim Shipley ...... What is Israel? In Herzl's dream, Israel was to be the home of the Jewish people. A home for the Jewish people. Herzl pictured a utopian libertarian place where creative, literary and academic Jews could be Jews. Where their knowledge, their inventiveness would no longer have to deal with anti-Semitism or prejudice of any kind. Ah, but where in the world would this place be? And what about the Jews who did not fit the literary, academic profile? The gentile minds of the time felt that location was secondary to just getting the Jews out of their hair. As time passed it finally became clear that yes, there was a place in the world to which every Jew in the world could trace their ancestry. The place had once been called Israel and at the time the Romans destroyed it, it was the Second Jewish Commonwealth. Herzl's idea was replaced with a much wider vision. The Jewish National Fund collected money (your mama will remember the little blue boxes). That money paid for lawyers to comb through old Turkish land documents to determine who owned land in the place that was once Israel. The JNF found the documents and bought the land for what they hoped would be the once and future land of Israel. The only thing neither they nor the Turks discussed was the fact that most of the land they were buy- ing for Jewish settlement already had people living there. No, those living there did not have owner- ship. Some paid a form of rent or tribute to the Turkish owners. Above all, the wily Turks did not discuss this with the European Jews who were giving them money for deeds to land that was already lived upon. Thus came the problems of settlement, of deadly clashes because not only were Europeans coming to clear people off land on which they had lived for generations, even worse, these people were Jews! So after the Holocaust and in many ways because of it, Israel'was born on one percent of the land of the Middle East. No oil, few natural resources, but the original land of the Jews. The Arabs of neighboring countries as well as the Arabs livingin what the British had called Palestine did not want there to be a Jewish State. So, the war of 1948 was fought and wonl And the war of 1973 was fought and won. And the suicide bombers were finally stopped by a horrendous fence that shut out thousands of Arabs who had never thrown a bomb. The so-called "Peace Process" has dragged on for the past 50 years or more, to no avail. It is time we faced the fact that the "Two-State- Solution" is a myth. The Arabs are truly not interested in an Israel of any size or shape. Israel could and should declare its borders and make that a feat accompli. Yes, it is the "Alon Plan" from the 1950s--and really, what has changed? We are Jews because we were born Jews. It is in our DNA. The Kohanim can be traced back over a thousand years through their DNA. There are those who become "Jewish" through conversion. But a Jew? Remember we were a people for more than a thousand years before we became a religion. To me a Jew is a Jew. As an example, I know some ex-Catholics; but I don't know any ex- Italians. If we are to have a Jewish State than that is what it is. Does this mean that everyone there to become a citizen of the State must be a Jew? Ah--there's the rub. What about all those people who remained behind when the others fled in 1948? The Israeli Supreme Court decided last year that there is a difference between"nationality" and "citizenship." In other words, you can be a citizen of Israel, with all rights and privileges, but you are also identified by nationality--so you are a Jewish citizen of Israel, or a Pales- tinian citizen of Israel, or I guess, whatever. There are those in the world who, if Israel separates its citizens by Jew/non-Jew, will call it an "apartheid State." But Israel is unique among nations. It is the Jewish Homeland. On the other hand, if Israel is a "democracy" then it has to act like one. As should its citizens. Everyone living there should pledge allegiance to the flag of Israel. It should be incumbent upon all citizens to pledge to defend the State, to abide by its laws, to worship in anyway they choose. Does that mean Arab citizens take up arms against other Arabs should the need arise? It certainly means that the thousands of"Haredi" who demonstrated against duty in the IDF, if they are citizens of the State, are bound to serve. There are no easy answers. No, none of it is simple or easy. But who ever said it is supposed to be?