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October 8, 2004     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 8, 2004

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PAGE 4 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, Bornstein The first step This Yom Kippur I chanted a Torah portion during my synagogue's morning service. I'd practiced for weeks. I knew every trope, every nuance, every note and syllable and word back- wards and forwards. I was prepared, ready. I could hear the melody in my head. And I froze. The first note I uttered was off. I stumbled. I stuttered. I asked for help, which only made it worse. Finally, I started over, got back on track, and sang the verse fine. My rabbi's comment to me when I concluded: "Nice landing." And he was right. I started off rough but ended well. We canonly hope the same can be said at the conclusion of this year's presidential election. That first step determines so much--wheth- By Carl Alpert Europe seems unaware of the basic threat HAIFA--The inhabitants of every country naturally tend to look upon various world problems from the perspective of "how does it affect us.~" To Israelis, Islamic terrorism, which has already taken a toll of a thousand local citizens in buses, cafes, hotels, on the roads and elsewhere, has been regarded as opposition to the existence of a Jewish state. In recent times, however, we have come to the realization that Israel is a relatively minor target of a fanatical Muslim movement. The very recent horrible tragedy with the children in Russia, the attack on the twin towers in New York, the Muslim murders of some30,000 na- tives of Sudan and numerous scattered killings elsewhere in the world, all perpetrated in the name of the same religion, make it clear that the civilized world as a whole is faced with a major threat. To avoid charges of indiscriminate in- crimination it has been said that the fanatics represent only a small minority of the world's Muslims. If that is so, we wonder where is the vocifer- ous program of disavowal on the part of the decent Muslims? Where are the mass meet- ings, the protest parades, the pulpit sermons condemning the atrocities that are being perpetrated in the name of their faith? Why have the millions of Muslims in the United States found it necessary to maintain a strange silence? Are they afraid of retribution from their killer co-religionists? Can it be that in their hearts they agree with the crusade to Islamicize the world? What other interpretation can be placed on their silence? If the spirit of the extremists is understood correctly we have not seen the end of the large- scale terror. Next week, next month there will be more horrible attacks against innocent and unsuspecting Christians, Buddhists, Jews and others. Will the "decent" Muslims (and this time we put the word in quotation marks) continue their suspicious passivity? Here and there we do find scattered reaction that proves that there is iff'deed a conscience in the Islamic world. Susan Sevareid, of the Associated Press, finds an Arab columnist who is ready to admit "the painful truth: all the world's terrorists are Muslims."Abdulrahman AI-Rashid, general managerofAI-Arabiyatele- vision writes:"Most perpetrators of suicide op- erations in buses, schoolsand residential build- ings around the world for the past ten years have been Muslims." He urged that Muslims should not try to ignore the facts, and that they will be unable to cleanse their image unless "we admit the scandalous facts The picture is humiliating, painful and harsh for all of us." At the same time, a group ofex-Muslims assert that they have "seen the face of evil and have risen to warn the world." Voices such as these are still too few. Prof. Robert S. Wistrich, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, believes that there are other sane elements in the re- ligion of Allah and he urges that innovative ways be found "to achieve dialogue with the sane, but largely silent moderate elements in the Muslim world; they are surely aware that radical Islam is their enemy, too." The civilized world has thus far not burst out with blanket condemnations or, with demands for boycott of everything and everybody associated with the murderous religion. Instead, we are witness to a strange growth in anti-Semitism, overtly manifested in many ways. Innocent, individual Jews are killed. Jewish tombstones are mutilated or destroyed in large numbers. Synagogues are burned. Anti-Jew- ish literature, filled with obscene lies, is being widely distributed. And lies, no matter how absurd, can have an effect if they are repeated again and again - like the. charge that the Jews, not the 19 Muslims, were responsible for the September 11 tragedies in The U.S. What makes all this so strange is that it is taking place in what is supposed to be an intelligent, civilized world. There is indeed a threat, but it is not from the 13 million Jews in the world. It may come as a shock to marly to learn that there are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world and their number is increasing rap- idly. Their presence is assuming a dominating position in many European cities. History teaches us that the Jews do have a function on the world scene. Christianity is well aware of its debt to Judaism for the religious, social and humanitarian values that today serve as the basis for modern civilization. But the Jews have served in a passive role as well. Sixty and seventy years ago they served as an early warning barometer of Hitler's threat to Europe, but the world paid little heed until it was almost too late. Once again the barometer is issuing warning signals, but once again the civilized world pays little heed. May the awakening not be too late. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. O CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE O ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 36 Press Awards HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $34.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($41.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, inc 207 O'Brien Road, Suite I01, Fern Park, FL 32"/30. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, EO. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER EO. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 emaih Hentagefl@aol. om F, di~blisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Assistant Editor Gene Stare Lyn Payne Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Elaine Schooping Account Executives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Carl Alpert Michael Gamson Tim Boxer David Bornstein Gall Simons Product/on Otoartmeat David Lehman Teri Marks Jessi Meyers er your takeoff and landing are smooth, how notbethewishy-washy"girb you present yourself and how you're remem- has made him out to be, but he has bered, and whether, if and when you stumble, acted throug you have the composure, thefortitudeandthe are too tight. He has done ability to admit your mistake, start over and American people know who he is make amends, stands for. He has laid out no credible To date, neither of our candidates has shown for the future, any of these qualities, tough as Bush, only better. Go figure. George W. Bush and his Republican cro- I suppose all of the above are why nieshaveproventhemselvestobeduplicitous, politicians. I wish they'd take lessons mean-spirited politicians who will warp the history, in particularBiblical history, tol truth, exploit meaningless weaknesses and Maybe they'd be better men as well turn positives into negatives for their own gain. representatives. Perhaps the most amazing turn of events in this election has been the Bush camp's abil- taking the first step across the parted' ity to turn John Kerry's service in Vietnam of the sea as well as the final ste into a detriment. There should be no doubt in journey across the desert. anyone's mind that the swift boatveteranswho They could remember that Moses, theg have opposed Kerry have been coordinated, est figure in Jewish history, funded and approved by the Republican party acknowledged his imperfection and President Bush, regardless of claims to he broke the tablets and hit the rock. the contrary. That Bush has turned Kerry's They could remember that inte volunteer time in Vietnam, during which he from standing ur waswoundedandwonthreePurpleHeartsand opinion pits you against the hordes numerous awards for heroism, into questions Roman Empire. about his integrity, may remain one of the They could remember that there greatest accomplishments in the history of thing as Hillel's "Golden Rule," that spin doctoring. Of course, this has occurred bites are as twisted as a forbidden even while there are cred~le doubts about anapple, that you score points, Bush's own service in the National Guard. compassion, humanit A news commentator recently stated that not by ridiculing and trivializin it is easier to research the life and times of nent. They could remember David Jesus Christ than it is to get information on Esther and countless other real heroes~ George Bush's military service from 30 years humanastheywere, ago. Go figure, to be true, courageous, wise. John Kerry, on the other hand, while not the I was reminded this Yore Kippur of i flip-flop artist Bush makes him out to be, has imperfections. I can freeze forgotten who he is and has backpedaled, not stumble. I found out I can start ove~ on issues as much as his own identity. He need fine and be better for it. If our only look in the mirror and remind himself of for President were willing who he was when he returned from Vietnam and, as ayoung man, had the courage to protest thewar and speak his beliefs. Today, he has gone from trying to make his service as a soldier the cornerstone of his campaign to attacking Bush on the war in Iraq, attacking Bush on the economy, attacking Bush on terrorism. He may might have someone worth voting for. That s the good word until next week. ! andnot the "Heritage"orang agency or organization. Send comments and critiques to the e-mail . By Jonathan S. Tobin In his speech to the U.N. General Assem- bly two weeks ago, President George W. Bush mentioned with disfavor Israel's "humiliations" of Palestinians. The irony of the president's misplaced concern (though the speech contained other passages reflecting this Country's friendship with Israel) was highlighted when, a day later, a female Palestinian suicide bomber was halted at a checkpoint near a Jerusalem bus stop. Just before border guards were about to"hu- miliate" her by asking questions or searching her bag, the woman exploded her bomb, killing two soldiers. For all of the outcry about Israeli behavior, few noted that this attempt to question the woman saved the lives of dozens of innocents who might have perished had the soldiers failed to prevent her from boarding a bus. But the president isn't the only one who has been misled on this issue. Some churches are using the concern about Palestinian sensibili- ties to push an agenda of anti-Zionism. Following the outcry about the recent vote by the Presbyterian Church USA to endorse divestment of Israel to express their condem- nation of Israeli measures of self-defense, it wasn't clear whether other mainline liberal churches would follow suit-- or listen to the better angels of their nature and refrain from such despicable behavior. But the Presbyterians' high-church Epis- copal cousins seem ready to follow in their footsteps. The decision to recommend a divestment of Israel was announced last week in Jerusalem by representatives of the church's 75 million adherents. They did so after a ten-day tour of the country, which included a meeting with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah lair but no meetings with Israeli officials other than one with an Arab member of the Knesset who actually opposes the country's continued status as a Jewish state. They seem particularly unwilling to listen to any evidence -- such as the thousands of dead, wounded and maimed Israelis over the course of the last four years of Palestinian terrorism ---that would justify any measures of Israeli self-de- fense. They seem especially irate about Israeli moves, such as checkpoints and the of a security fence, which hamper of Palestinian killers with impunity. The motive of the Anglicans country as the Episcopal church), they ! to bring an end to the conflict between~ and Palestinians. But proposed solution, the on] really want to end is Israel's existence. They intend to follow up on with the Episcopal Church USA. incendiary nature of many ments made by local and national leaders, the chances of this ste must be assessed as good. It is interesting to note that call for divestment from companies business with Israel is makin church groups, it seems to be fadin campuses. That found to be more can universities really says something a the current state of the Protestant As in the case of the of Episcopal activigts toward support Israel measures is not necessarii the general membership of the ordinary American Episcopalians, Presbyterian counterparts, will up to discover that their re signed on to a measure that obligates wage economic warfare This will be a surprise to most of them will not make the problem any less Divestmentisj those who excuse Palestinian motivated not by a real concern for the of Palestinians, who, it should bq would be living in their own by now had their leaders accepted fers of peace. Instead, the embrace ment will send an unmistakable the Palestinian war to exterminate terror is This as to render the church unqualified to with any moral authority on the very real suffering of the Though American Jews have See "Tobin" on page 14