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March 30, 2012

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 30, 2012 PAGE 5A I The day after and the Jewish community remains open for business By Paul Goldenberg In Europe, Jewish synagogues the entire Jewish community tion of this initiative is the flow been forever shattered. Across buses, shop at malls, or sit and NEW YORK (JTA)--The breaking news from France yesterday [March 19] morning was tragic. Just after 8 a.m., a lone assailant on a motorcycle pulled up in front of the Ozar Hatorah School in a quiet neighborhood in the eastern part of Toulouse and opened fire with two high-powered handguns. The fusillade of gunfire was at close range and lethal. Four were killed in the attack, including a father and his two young children, and a third child, literally executed at point-blank range. A fourth student was critically injured. The attack lasted all of a min- ute. French President Nicolas Sarkozy rushed to the city n0rth of the Pyrenees and declared, "This isadayofnational tragedy because children were killed in cold blood." The world was horrified by the massacre of Jewish children in France, but it should not be surprised by it. In 2004, I traveled to Eu- rope as the senior U.S. law enforcement representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE. I spent four years assessing vulnerable houses of worship and community centers across the continent. and day schools are often sur- rounded by rows of concertina wire, a bank of surveillance cameras, and a phalanx of heavily armed counterterrorist police. Law enforcement agen- cies have assessed their small Jewish communities tactically, the way they would an embassy or a financial center, an4have created--by no fault of their own--fortresses in the process. The sight of Jewish com- munities, some that have been forced behind walls out of concern about terror, saddened me. The dream of being able to worship freely, and to send one's children to school without the fear of random violence, was one of the foundations this na- tion was built on. In the United States, synagogues are not just houses of worship, and Jewish schools and community cen- ters are not mere facilities for education and gathering places. They areAmerican institutions. An attack against any of these symbols is an attack against all of us. The question of whether or not the American Jewish com- munity is targeted by hatred and terror is not up for debate. Jews here and abroad remain targets. Tripwires around the world can trigger an attack; global conflict serves to put on alert. In this country, both law enforcement and the Jew- ish community recognize this unique reality and have taken proactive and outside-the-box steps to create a culture of security that joins the mission of the Department of Homeland Security with the concerns of the Jewish community. In 2004, the Jewish Federa- tions of North America and the Conference of Presidents of MajorAmerican Jewish Organi- zations partnered with DHS to create the Secure Community Network (SCN). Since then, CN has advised community leaders around the country on measures to enhance the physi- cal security of their schools, community centers and houses of worship. SCN has trained se- curity staffers at these locations, and served as a liaison for local and federal law enforcement. This flow of information enables community leaders to prepare Jewish facilities and to increase vigilance. The lifeblood of this effort is the flow of accurate information to community security heads and leaders. SCN also operates a national emergency notification system with the capability to alert hun- dreds of senior Jewish leaders of terrorist threats and security alerts in real time. The founda- of accurate, real-time informa- tion about potential or actual threats. The Jewish community cannot be held hostage by fear generated from "breaking news" flashes or Internet rumors. Fear cannot be the currency of day- to-day life for this or any other community. It must thrive and survive, and accurate informa- tion and security protocols are vital to this equation. Recently, thanks to the assis- tance of Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and with the support of JFNA, SCN has introduced the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign; an effort that has helped safeguard New York City transit, the American Jewish community and oth- ers. The partnership with law enforcement and homeland security creates confidence and empowerment that nurtures a culture of security. A culture of security prevents us from suc- cumbing to terror and violence. Empowerment comes through knowledge, awareness and bet- ter understanding of how'to mitigate risk and threats to our community and institutions. The day after has come to France, and the 15,000 Jews in Toulouse mourn their dead and ponder the future now that their sense of security has Obama is not a Muslim00not that there's anything wrong with that By Aaron J. Hahn Tapper SAN FRANCISCO (JTA)-- Pundits have been pointing fingers since a recent poll found that 50 percent of Mis- sissippi and Alabama GOP supporters said they believe that President Obama is a Muslim (with approximately another 40 percent in both states saying they are unsure). Some accuse Republicans of attempting to raise ques- tions about Obama's Christian identity. Republican presiden- tial candidate Rick Santorurn insists he has said repeatedly that Obama is a Christian. But in January, during a town hall event in Florida, Santorum did not correct a woman who said that Obama "is an avowed Muslim," responding to her false statement by saying that he agreed With some of the things she said. A few weeks later, in February, the Penn- sylvania Republican referred to the president as adhering to a non-Christian faith-- "some phony theology, not a theology based on the Bible." Santorurn later argued that he was suggesting Obama's religion was secularism. But many observers weren't buy- ing it. Obama on page 27A Beinart's boycott plan deals a blow to peace bid By Steven Bayme NEWYORK (JTA)mFar from charting a path toward peace for Israelis and Palestinians, Peter Beinart's advice, "boycott the settlements to save Israel," would make peace far less likely. Beinart's boycott plan as- sumes that Jewish settlement on the West Bank is what is holding up a deal for a two-state solution. Therefore, his logic goes, branding the settlements as "nondemocratic Israel" and declaring economic war on their residents will somehow induce an Israeli pullback and the emergence ofa Palestinian state at peace with its Jewish neighbor. Yes, Jewish settlements cre- ate difficulties for Palestinians both in their everyday livesm having to wait at checkpoints is no pleasure--and in the eventual creation of a geo- graphically viable Palestinian state. That is why a succes- sion of Israeli governments, including the present one, has endorsed Palestinian statehood and acknowledged that many settlements will have to go. It is a position endorsed as well by the American Jewish Com- mittee and the mainstream of American Jewry. But that can only happen, and a Palestinian state be created, through bilat- eral negotiations. For that Israel requires a Palestinian partner. Beinart has things back- ward. Time after time, Israel has mad e territorial offers to the Palestinians and each time was rebuffed. It is not settlements that obstruct peace talks, but the Palestin- ians' refusal to engage in such talks that makes the Israeli government reluctant to risk domestic political capital to take on the extremist settlers in the absence of any foreseeable payoff at the peace table. We must face the sad fact that there is today no Palestinian leadership ready to negotiate peace. Hamas, which controls Gaza, still says it wants to de- stroy the Jewish state and allows an unending barrage of missiles to be launched from its terri- tory onto civilians in southern Israel. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denies historical Jewish ties to Jerusalem and prefers to seek statehood through the United Nations rather than talks with Israel, andinti-Israel propaganda continues to be taught in Palestinian schools and conveyed in their mosques. Beinart, so ready to declare economicwar on Israelis living "across the Green Line, makes but minimalist demands of the Palestinians to address any of this, as if they are not to be held accountable for their behavior. Is it not an act of shocking intellectual condescension to expect so little of a people that aspires to join the family of nations? Can such a people, its leadership so unwilling to make peace a reality through mutual concessions and recognition, be declared ready for statehood and sovereignty? A boycott of the settlements cannot, as Beinart believes, be confined to the West Bank. Inevitably it will tar all of Israel as beyond the pale, a pariah state, the equivalent of old apartheid South Africa. In fact the very term "nondemocratic Israel" undercuts a major pillar of U.S.-Israel relations--the affinity of fellow democracies for each other. Finally, the n6tion that a boycott will weaken the settlements and lead to their disappearance is absurd. By painting the settlers as martyrs, a boycottwould only embolden them to dig in and might in fact increase sympathy for them within Israel. Beinart apparently has a "binary" vision of the situation. He thinks there are only two possible paths--continued oc- cupation of the West Bank, or American andAmerican Jewish pressure td end the occupation. AJC, however, endorses a third path--taking down illegal settlements, rejecting religious extremism, reaching final agreenientwiththePalestinians on a two-state solution, incor- porating into Israel those large settlementblocs thatwilibe part of Israel, and dismantling those that fall outside the Jewish state. But this solution is predicated on an end to terroristactivities both within and outside the Green Line, and explicit Palestinian recognition--in Arabic and in Ramailah--of Israel's right to exist. In the final analysis, unfortu- nately, there are no simple and neat solutions to the world's longest-running conflict. Both sides need to come to the nego- tiating table and recognize the hopes and fears of the other. Requiring unilateral conces- sions of Israel as the occupier will only enhance the angst of Israelis concerning the security of their families and friends. Norwill such concessions allay the fears of Israelis that Pales- tinians desire the elimination of Israel as a sovereign state--a fear that Peter Beinart himself readily acknowledges. Steven Bayme is director of the American Jewish Com- mittee's Kogpelman Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations. the ocean, the day after war- rants that the American Jewish community consider building a culture of security through empowerment, not fear. There can be no copycats of Toulouse here in ffi;ountry. Attacks that specifically target and kill Jewish children are so abhor- rent and unthinkable that they paralyze a community's ability to function and thrive. That was exactly the mur- derer's objective when he pulled the trigger with the first of his victims in his sight. It is, there- fore, of the greatest importance that the fanatics and terrorists are denied their cold-blooded goals. In Israel, citizens who are now numb to the reality of daily termristviolence refuse toallow suicide bombers to-interfere with their daily need to travel on unwind in cafes. During World War II, the resolute British na- tion endured the Blitz under the banner of Stay Calm and Carry On, a statement that the com- plexion of their national identity and their national resolve could not be deconstructed by Nazi bombs. The American Jewish com- munity must follow these brave leads. They must remain vigilant, maintain their level of alert, and most imp6rtant- ly, they must broadcast the message loud and clear that we are op, en for business as usual and, mostimportantly, "If You See Something, Say Something." Paul Goldenberg is the national director of the Secure Community Network, an initia- tiveoftheJewishFederationsof North America. Letters To The Editor HERITAGE welcomes and encourages let- ters to the editor, but they must be typed or printed and include name and phone number. We will withhold your name if you so request. Please limit letters to 250 words. Due to space limitations, we reserve the right to edit letters. Send letters to P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. Or e-mail to Passover 2012... A message from JFS' executive director As we prepare to celebrate the holiday of Passover in a few weeks, we are reminded of the exodus of the ancient Israelites from Egypt, some 3,200 years ago. After 400 years of enslavement in Egypt, the Hebrew Bible recounts how, with the help of God, the Israelites broke their chains of oppression and became a free people. The story of Passover has many lessons for all people. For all of us, it is a time that we can embark on our personal journeys from, slavery to freedom. We all have our personal slaveries--biases, bad habits, hurtful relationships and ha- tred, to name a few. Passover is a time for us to examine those personal slaveries and look for ways to break those "chains" and become better people. Another-message of Pass- over is that we should remem- ber the enslavement of the ancient Israelites in order to help our children understand and know the terrible nature of slavery. Unfortunately, there are millions of people trapped in modern day slav- ery. Human trafficking, debt slaves and modern day "sweat shops" and a few examples of slavery today that we can end if we are so motivated. In its most common form, slavery is very undesirable in our society. In its broader meaning, Passover directs us to break the shackles of all forms of slavery. ,The message of Passover is universal. It is a time to not only recall actual events from years past, but to look forward as to how we can improve our- selves and in turn, our world. On behalf of our JFS Board members and staff, warm wishes for a very Happy Pesach. Eric S. Geboff, MSW JFS executive director Dry Bones pAs00v00 ir:00