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June 20, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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June 20, 2003

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 20, 2003 PAGE 5 I I IBy Jonathan S. Tobin As far as friends of Israel are concerned, the history of the presidency of George W. Bush will be divided into two parts: pre-Aqaba and post-Aqaba. Prior to the summit last week at which Bush formally launched his "road map" to peace in a scorching desert Photo op, centrist and right- wing American Jews saw Bush as their hero. His June 24, 2002 speech enunciated prin- iples of peace that they had longed to hear for decades. Bush demanded that the Palestinians renounce terror, and throw out their corrupt and murderous leadership be- fore they could even hope fora state alongside Israel. In do- ing so, Bush drew a bright line between his policies and those of his predecessors, who al- Ways looked to lean on Israel to accommodate the Arabs, not the other way around. Bush Promised the Palestinians a state, but only as a reward for good behavior. These statements dismayed the Jewish left, which saw the June 24 speech as nothing more than warmed-over Likud rheto- tic. They saw Bush's rejection 0f pressure on Israel through- out the Jewish state's counter- Offensive against Palest,n,an terror bombings and shootings an unwillingness to engage Irl the peace process." Combined with their natu- ral inclination to view the Re- publican as the spawn of the devil, Jewish doves saw Bush as an obstacle to peace. Their despair was compounded by the landslide victory of the nationalist parties in Israel and the collapse of the Israeli left. The worm turns But nothing in politics is permanent, and to the amaze- ment of all, the right and the left have both switched their opinions of Bush. The right is in despair over the president's decision to ap- ply the heavy-hand of Ameri- can pressure on Israeli pre- mierAriel Sharon, forcing him to make concession after con- cession to advance a "road map" to peace that Bush has wholeheartedly pushed. Sharon has actually been backed into a position where he must start dismantling set- tler outposts in exchange for Palest, n,an double-talk about eventually halting the terror campaign launched by Yasser Arafat 1,000 days ago. After Aqaba, the only part of the June 24 speech that Bush seems to have really meant was the part about the birth of a Palest,n,an state. Bush did appear to mean business when he said that Arafat had to go as the Pales- tin,an leader. That led to the promotion of longtime Arafat aide Mahmoud Abbas to the By Edwin Black stand as soon as they are identified or self-identify. When it comes to Israel's By"eliminate," I mean kill. fight against Hamas, a triple By "as soon as they self-,den- Standard seems at work. tify," I mean as soon as parad- Israel is now completely ing militants don the green- atwar with Palest,n,an ter- masked and explosive-be- groups, no less than decked uniform of a suicide is at war with AI bomber, or publicly proclaim laeda worldwide and themselves aswaiting for or- loyalists in Iraq. ders to do so, whether the Israel must escalate militantisbeatinghischestin rules of engagement, a rally or cradling a mega- those recently phone in a press conference. Stablished by American By 'hvhere they stand," I mean our own war against wherever they are located--in in Iraq and Af- a car, in a training camp, or in As such, Israel a public protest procession. )reemptivelyand un- Israel must hit Hamas mere- ,eliminate Hamas bers while marching in uni- company where they form in the West Bank and HERITAGE welcomes and encourages letters 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 'Schmatta' is in poor taste ity. Regarding her opinion of 1/% would like to voice our Ms. Freeman's looks, Gloria at the recent Yousha should judge herself made by Gloria before judging others. June6edition)regard- We do not support Ms. the case of the Muslim Freeman's refusal to uncover to remove her her face, however, Ms. photo. Yousha's supposedly comedic the veil that Sul- comments were in poor taste. Freeman wears as a Daily we, as Jews, are faced displays Ms. with the dilemma of religious lack of religious tol- intolerance. It is unfortunate Yousha that the newspaper represent- Orlando Sentinel re- ing our Jewish community, by erred to our tallit as publishing these comments, is perpetuating religious ,g- Reference to reli- norance and insensitivity. ;" is disre- BARRY and PAM LEVIN promotes animos- Altamonte Springs / new post of prime minister most beside the point W ,t Ig'W L, Bush continues to promote all this means is that Bush, [ ~lU~, GOT ] Abbas as if he were a hot Re- like Bill Clinton before him, [[ ~'~4~ I~fi~ ] publican prospect to run for has become so entranced by the U.S. Senate, but even the the prospect of brokering a president knows that Abbas is peace deal that he has lost his merely a front man for Ararat, moral compass. Bush's unam- who retains control over the biguous war on terrorism has Palestinian "security ser- morphed into yet another vices." Washington fantasy about a Abbas says the right things "peace process" that is geared about an end to violence, but towards rewarding terrorism. he has as much influence over On the other hand, Jewish Hamas, Islamic J,had and liberals are suddenly praising Arafat's own Ai Aksa Martyrs Brigade as the president's kid brother, Jeb. That was amply demon- strated on Sunday by a Hamas attack on an Israel Defense Forces outpost in Gaza that took the lives of four soldiers. When Israel targeted terrorist chieftain Abdel Aziz Rant,s, in a missile strike, Hamas an- swered two days later with an especially horrifying terrorist bombing in Jerusalem in which 16 Israelis were mur- dered. President Bush's response to this might have been writ- ten by any of his more "even handed" predecessors: A blan- ket condemnation of "all the killings" but he pronounced himself especially "deeply troubled" by Israel's attack on Rant,s That Bush's attack on Israel was hypocritical in light of America using the exact same tactics against terrorists is al- the " Gaza before they change clothes into Hassidic garb and " Israeli pop attire and then board buses in Jerusalem. For precedent, we need only look to recent tactics employed by our own military and coali- tion forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere. Within recent days, Ameri- can forces in Iraq launched Operation Peninsula Strike, which chased down and killed a group of Saddam loyalist ambushers, first reported as 27 but then adjusted down- ward to just 7. The day before, Americans located and utterly destroyed a loyalist training camp, killing 70, and detain- ing about 400 other suspects. Even as I type, these successes are being repeated in a new sweep across the width of Iraq, locking down towns as U.S. troops go door-to-door hunt- ing for Saddam loyalists and arm caches. And of course ev- eryone remembers the first shot of the Iraq Waria preci- sion "decapitation strike" in the heart of a residential neigh- borhood. "Decapitation" is military lingo for pre-emptive assassination of top leadership. Speaking of aerial assassi- nation and assault, last No- vember, a joint CIA Predator tracked an AI Qaeda cell in a private car speeding across the Yemen, desert. A Hellfire mis- sile incinerated the car and its six occupants. In Afghanistan, American bombers, Predators and gunships incessantly bombed suspected Taliban and A! Qaeda wherever they were discovered, in a cave, in a hut, on a mountaintop, at a wed- ding. America has done all this on the other side of the world. Israel is fighting a similar war for survival but right down the street. Yet there seems to be a triple standard at play. America can assassinate and decapitate, Bush and urging him to stick with the r ad map" The left' F~" ~~~ "~ which always thought that the . ~U'r ~'0 [~ process would eventually re- I I -nqE CAR / F coucD / I turn to a point where the ex- I SLEw uP A ! put, L, or,n" II treme concessions offered to Arafat in 2000byEhud Barak I / I i O1= "n4t[ h l would be back on the table, now feels vindicated. But those (including this writer) who imagined that Bush would never do to Israel what he did last week are forced to come to grips with the fact that he is, after all, his father's son. For Americans who fear that Israeli conces- sions will cost Jewish lives, Bush is, to put it mildly, no longer the flavor of the month. So is the debate over? Not by a long shot! Compliance is key The grim terrorist reality of Palestinian politics has already rendered Bush's plan point- less. The question is: As Abbas Doubly blessed See "Tobin" on page 6 send in gunships and missiles, surround and lock down whole towns, and round upand de- tain suspects by the hundreds in its war on terror creating one standard. Hamas, in the minds of some, is engaged in mere "rogue resistance," and its bus bombs and murder squads should be overlooked as incidental to polite roadmap discourse--thus creating a second standard. At the same time, Israel is expected to ex- hibit restraint and not fight back as vigorously and pre- emptively as America does-- creating a third standard. Such restraint is as absurd as it is self-destructive. Naturally, the issue of col- lateral damage and innocent civilians arises. Therefore, Is- rael should do as America did before launching its war against Iraq. Remember? America issued instructions and leaflets to Iraqi civilians not to stand near any member of Saddam's military or its in- frastructure. Israel should do the same: issue warnings that the Palest,n,an populace avoiding standing near any- One self-identifying or identi- fied as Hamas or a terrorist. That said, Israel should deploy long-range snipers, helicop- ter gunships, assassination and decapitation and all the other tactics regretfully needed in a war against terror that has been embedded within a civilian setting. And then, Israel should con- tinue to eliminate Hamas ter- rorists where they stand until the forces of peace within the Palest,n,an community can rise to the occasion. Edwin Black is the author if New York Times best-selling author of IBM and the Holo- caust (Crown 2001). His next book, War Against the Weak (Four Walls Eight Windows)will be published in September. As American Jews we are doubly blessed as we celebrate both the American Indepen- dence Day 227th anniversary on July 4 (1776) and Yore Ha'azmaut, Israel's Indepen- dence Day, 55 Fifth of Iyar, this year, May 7 (1948). How fortunate we are to be able to participate in both cel- ebrations pointing to our suc- cess as American Jews in both lands. America has been good to us, it is indeed, "The Goldene Medinah"; our people have flourished here, enjoyed com- plete freedom and equality both as individuals and as a community, free from hostil- ity or anti-Semitism. The only challenge we have faced from the beginning till now has been to preserve our Jewish iden- tity and lofty spirituality. Ac- cording to Rabbi Robert Gordis, we Jews in America have a sense of belonging to the Jewish group and are even taking pride in that relation- ship. Moreover, most Jewish parents insist on a Jewish edu- cation for their children which is a strong indication ofadeep- seated basic loyalty of our American Jews to Judaism and the Jewish People. Two months ago we ob- served Israel's Independence Day, its 55th anniversary as a nation, celebrating its monu- mental successes despite Arab hostility and worldwide anti- Semitism. Israel's accomplish- ments in all fields of human endeavor have been outstand- ing despite its challenges re- garding security, large-scale immigration and seeking unity in its diversity. Like U.S. Jewry, Israel has been blessed with outstanding leaders at the right time just as we read in today's Bible portion, telling the story of Moses' retirement and Joshua's new leadership. Since Biblical times, we Jews were always blessed with good and wise leadership which has been available both in the American as well as in the new Israeli community. I am opti- mistic about our future in both countries. American Jewry has created a healthy community with the help of multiple organizations, community centers, syna- gogues, Hadassah, B'nai B'rith, youth groups and oth- ers which have grown over the years and have been staffed by professionals and competent people. They have assisted with the integration of newcomers and made life easier for our people to feel comfortable and more accepted in their new surroundings. Israel also has done well with its new immi- grants from all over the world. The common Hebrew lan- guage, history, archaeology, ethnic backgrounds, religion, army service, all were respon- sible in hastening the absorp- tion and unification of the newcomers. Both of these communities, Israel and American Jewry can be proud of these miraculous, outstand- ing accomplishments as we observe our independence an- niversaries. We must also congratulate U.S. Jewry and the State of Israel for the millions of dol- lars raised to pay for all these social and religious services, rendered to their respective communities. There was also mutual assistance in fundraising and a generous program of providing essen- tials for the fledgling State of Israel by our U.S. government, because Israel is the only de- mocracy in the Middle East. There is one other blessing our two communities could share with beneficial results, namely to have a healthy in- terchange with Israel's He- brew culture and creativity, increasing our spiritual life in both communities. We should exchange teachers, professionals and students devising an educational-reli- gious program which would assist-both communities to raise our level of the sacred and holy in our daily life. This co-operation would require a special effort by both parties, See "Adler" on page 6