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August 22, 2014

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 22, 2014 , [ our name By Ben Cohen counter outside the 59th St. subway station, where pro-Palestinian demonstrators were now gathering. The word "naive" would be I recently journeyed to Columbus Circle in the least of it, I reflected. As if on cue, a car Manhattan to savor the atmosphere at two whizzed around Columbus Circle, with one of rival demonstrations over Israel's military the passengers brandishing a Palestinian flag campaign in Gaza. out of the window. Over the din of the traffic On one side, by the entrance to Central and the songs and chants of the pro-Israel Park, and adjacent to the hot dog stands and demonstrators, I heard a voice from inside "I Love NYC" souvenir outlets, I found about the car boom in Our direction, "F**k YOU!" 60 or so pro-Israel demonstrators. The sky As the afternoon wore into the evening, I was gray and leaden, the humidity threatened crossed the street to seewhatwas happening on a thunderstorm, and the news coming out of the Palestinian side. The turnout was smaller Israel was pretty bleak, but their mood veered than I'd expected--600 at most--but there in the joyous direction. They danced and was a tangible feeling of anger. Someone was sang, they recited prayers for the IDF's fallen yelling "Allahu Akhbar!" into a megaphone soldiers, and they held signs that were--dare and plenty of banners with slogans like ,'End I say it--almost kumbaya-like in their tone. Aid to the RACIST State of Israel" and "Israel There was no anger and no hate, but rather a is an Apartheid State" were on display. For a series of appeals to behave rationally andwith few minutes, I spoke to a man holding a sign humanity. "For Real Peace, Gaza Needs Good reading, "Zionism threatens us all." He was Education, Not Bombs," read one message, polite and cordial but predictable, his remarks "Israel Left Gaza For Peace," declared another, to me pepperedwith catchphrases like"wealthy almost imploringly. Jews" and claims such as "9/11 was chiefly an As I read these and similar signs, I imagined attack on U.S. support for israel." the response these demonstrators would en- I surveyed this crowd and saw Arab and Ramadan A month of peace? By Ed Ziegler month for renewing one's piety, and jihadists see their jihad attacks as acts of worship, it According to the Islamic holy is not surprising to see such attacks increase month of Ramadan is much more than just during Ramadan. not eating and drinking. During this period Ramadan observance in Indonesia seems Muslims are to re-evaluate their lives in light to include detonating bombs at Buddhist of Islamic guidance. They are to strengthen temples during prayers. Muslims were angered ties with family and friends, do away with bad over sectarian violence between Buddhists habits--essentially to clean up their lives, their and Muslims. thoughts, and their feelings. The Arabic word In some Muslim countries, failing to fast for "fasting" (sawm) literally means"to refrain" or the open flaunting of such behavior during not only refraining from food and drink, but Ramadan is considered a crime and is pros- from evil actions, thoughts, and words. Dur- ecuted as such. For instance, in Algeria, in ing Ramadan, every part of the body must be October 2008, the court of Biskra condemned restrained. The tongue must be restrained six people to four years in prison and heavy from backbiting and gossip, fines. A Christian man in Iran has been sen- They are also to make peace with those who tenced to have his lips burnt with a cigarette have wronged them. But it appears that many for eating during the day in the Muslim holy are more concerned with the enforcement of month of Ramadan. The punishment was Muslims and non-Muslims observing the does carried out in public. and don'ts of Ramadan, Islamic fanatics still In Muslim countries, non-Muslims must find time to continue warring throughout conformtheirbehaviortoMuslimsensibilities. the world. And in non-Muslim countries, non-Muslims Channel 2 News reported that Kermanshah must conform their behavior to Muslim sen- province's Chief Justice All Mozafari said sibilities, or unleash Islamic violence. that every year the Iranian authorities issue (Reuters)- Islamist militant's spokesman warnings to respect Ramadan by not eating saidtheyset offseveral explosionsin the Somali or drinking in public. Yet people ignore the capital to demonstrate al Shabaab's ability to warning. In Kermanshah five people were attack the heart of government and impose publicly flogged as punishment for eating in their (strict) interpretation of Islamic law on public in violation of the rules of Ramadan. the country, al Shabaab managed to indoctri- In Saudi Arabia an interior ministry urged nate many fighters to die in the holy month." non-Muslims to "respect the sentiments of Boko Haram Islamic extremists killed eight Muslims by not eating, drinking or smoking people in an attack targeting teachers and during Ramadan in daylight hours in public Muslim clerics in northeast Nigeria. Military places, including roads andworkplaces."Those spokesman Lt. Col. Sagir Musa also warned whoviolate the regulationswill be deported or that the Boko Haram terrorist network plans sacked, according to the statement. "They are more such killings and"massive attacks" dur- not excused for being non-Muslim." He said ingtheEidal-Fitr."Thatcelebrationmarksthe that "anyone living in this country should fop end of the Ramadan fasting period. low the laws of the kingdom. It is interesting No Christian would insist that non-Chris- that many Muslims in westernized countries tiansfastduringLent.NoJewwouldinsistthat preach following Islamic law not the law of non-Jews fast on Yom Kippur. But Muslims the land. have the cold-hearted audacity to demand Reuters reported that, in Iraq, Muslim that others observe their faith. It is time that insurgents had killed over 1000 people in we require that they conform to the laws of the month of July (Ramadan) the highest our freedom loving country. monthly death toll since 2008, according to EdZiegler can be reached at Brooklyn13@ the United Nations. Since Ramadan is the or352-750-3298. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. ISSN 0199-0721 CENTRAL FLORIDA'S INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE ~ ~ Winner of 43 Press Awards Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Edit~ Gene Stam Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email: Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Lori Apple Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore south Asian Muslims, solemnqooking Quak- ers, and younger hipsters wearing what can only be described as terror chic--faces covered with keffiyehs and t-shirts emblazoned with ultra-radical declarations. But most of all I saw my own people. The Jews. These Jews, I hasten to add, were "good" Jews, unlike me and probably you. That was apparent from their Jewish Voice for Peace stickers and from their signs such as "No war on Palestinians, NOT IN OUR NAME." In terms of age, they were much older than I'd expected, baby boomers still nostalgic for.the days of hippiedom. Once they had Vietnam, I thought to myself. Now they have "Palestine." Now, although I've been writing about Jewish anti-Zionism for years, there is always something disturbing about encountering it in the flesh. Palestine differs from Vietnam, in the sense that it's an issue these folks feel a connection to by dint of rejecting the Jewish state as Jews. Indeed, they've built an identity around it--their Judaism is expressed in a manner in which they separate themselves from other Jews, like when they say, "NOT IN OUR NAME." It's also important to understand that these demonstrators are not affiliated with J Street or with American Friends of Peace Now or similar groups. Many of them would probably find Peter Beinart, the American Jewish columnist who has reinvented himself as (he thinks) the voice of the decent Jewish conscience, a little too vanilla. What they have embraced is the non-violent (they think) route to ridding the world of its only Jewish state: boycotts, Passover seders dedicated to the Palestinian struggle, endless rhetorical condemnations of Zionism. It is, one might argue, a little like a cult. And like many of the cults that come and eventually go, this one is apparently in a growth phase. At least that's what Rebecca Vilkomer- son, the head of Jewish Voice for Peace, told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in a recent interview. The same report noted that J Street members disillusioned with that organization's craving of mainstream acceptance are finding a new political home further to the left. Should this exodus continue, we may find that the "pro-Israel, pro-peace" Jewish left, which was all the rage five years ago, is eclipsed and rendered irrelevant. More American Jews are understanding that every time Israel is compelled to defend its own citizens, the cries of "genocide!" will surely follow--and that is a cry they reject decisively. Equally, a smaller but still visible number will continue to organize themselves as the Jewish section of the movement to abolish the Jewish state. Any debate over how to regard these orga- nizations shouldn't encourage comparisons with J Street. For all my strong disagreements with J Street, I believe they are committed to a two-state solution. I cannot say the same about Jewish Voice for Peace and those of the same ilk. They are, quite simply, the enemy, and we must guard against them. They have embraced anti-Zionist eliminationism in the name of Judaism. For that reason, while I still--just about--believe that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible, I cannot envisage making peace with the Jewish haters of Israel. Why do I say that? Because betrayal by a brother always hurts more than the venom of a declared enemy. Whenever they shout"NOT IN OUR NAME," we should remind them that their name is not our name. Not anymore. Ben Cohen is the Shillman analyst for and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal Commentary, Haaretz, and other publications. His book, "Some Of My Best Friends: A Journey Through Twenty-First Century Antisemitism" (Edition Critic, 2014), is now available through Amazon~ Letter from Israel A cynic's paradis By Ira Sharkansky As I look around me this mid-August morn- ing in 2014 1 see a number of crap shoots, or games of chance. We can argue what historical events they reflect. Among the candidates are the estab- lishment of Israel in 1948, the Arab Spring that began toward the end of 2010 with a promise of democracy but now unraveled to barbarism, or the spread of independence throughout the Third World after World War II and then the conquest of the UN General Assembly and several ancillary bodies by governments that barely--if at all--meet the criteria of being civilized. The crap shoots continue by no rules that are apparent. Barack Obama's dream of no victors and no vanquished may waft somewhere in the air, butwith no practical effect. Proposals float, conferences convene, reports will be offered, agreements may or may not be signed, but implementation of anything will be illusory. Participants may pat one another on the back, but whether the world, a region, or a country becomes a better place will be nothing more than fodder for academic seminars. Close at hand are multiple efforts to settle the issues of Gaza, and further away but hardly less interesting are maneuvers focused on what used to be Iraq until George W. Bush broke it. My own view of what is most pathetic are two units of the United Nations. One is the Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which has appointed a man described as an anti-Israel extremist to head a commission to investigate war crimes. Israeli officials have already signaled their unwillingness to cooperate with a commission bound to be biased, coming from a council with a long record of animosity. The chances of balanc- ing charges against Israel with allegations of Hamas war crimes against its own civilians as well as against Israel appears some place on the wrong side of zero. The other UN agency worthy of being ignored or destroyed is UNRWA, the refugee agency for Palestinians that has been operating for six decades and seems about to get another lease for several more decades. It coddles Palestinians with the title of refugee unto the third, fourth, or more generations; feeds and schools those not allowed to find their own way in Arab societies; provides employment for thousands anti-Israel incitement and facilities for thg storing of weapons and launching of missiles against Israeli civilians. Best would be to declare UNRWA and its personnel appropriate targets for the IDF, and to assure their early and permanent "neutral- ization" in Gaza and elsewhere. Sadly, that prospect is as much of an illusion of anything useful coming out of the UNHRC. Israel's government is betting on a forum currently underway in Cairo, managed by Egyptians whom the U.S~ views as unaccept- able, but which appears to be our best chance of getting something decent from a month of warfare, about 60 dead and 150 injured Israelis, a modest level of destruction on our side of the border, and much more misery and destruction in Gaza. We're hearing conflicting reports--from significant progress to none at all--alongwith competing threats from Hamas and Israel of what may happen at the end of the 72-hour cease fire. No one knows what will come out of those meetings, either their present round or what may happen if there is another bout of missiles from Gaza and destruction by the IDF. The words heard andwrittenwill be less important than what occurs, either soon or whenever a mad faction of Gazans decides that their future depends on killing Jews. Israelis are not innocent in these crap shoots. Yair Lapid became a minister in Israel's government and a member of its inner Cabinet with no more experience in international affairs than the present or im- mediate past presidents of the United States. George W. Bush was not an academic star at Yale, but at least he emerged with a degree. Obama has a better academic record. Lapid learned how to give a rousing address from his years as a media personality, but some of his ideas as government minister remind us that he did not finish high school. The latest embarrassment is Lapid's proposal to convene an international conference to deal with the future of Gaza. Participants would include Egypt, the Palestine National Author- Sharkansky on page 15A