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October 17, 2003

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H ERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 17, 2003 PAGE 13 or warns that U.S. defense of l By Rachel Pomerance NEWYORK (JTA)--No mat- ter what kind of anti-Israel resolutions Arab countries bring to the U.N. Security Council, the Jewish state can almost always count on the United States for support. But that soon could change, says Israel's ambassador to the United Nations. In a conference call Wednes- day with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Ambas- sador Dan Gillerman said he fears the United States may seek to curry favor with the Arab world by backing future resolutions that pressure Is- rael-for example, demanding Israel implement the "road .map" peace plan or stop build- ing its West Bank security fence. One resolution on the fence already is in the works. At Syria's request, the Security Council will meet Friday to discuss a Palestinian-drafted resolution calling for the elimination of Israel's secu- rity fence. It will be the first time the Security Council will be meeting to discuss the mat- ter. Since Security Council resolutions technically are binding, Giilerman said, a re- fusal by Israel to implement them would put the Jewish state in violation of the coun- cil. Such a move could have negative public-relations im- plications, but it would not jeopardize Israel's U.N. status or put it at risk of retaliatory measures. But the public-relations fall- out could be significant. Malcolm Hoenlein, execu- tive vice chairman of the Con- ference of Presidents, said that if Israel violates the Security Council, the Jewish state "be- comes Iraq"--that is, Israel could be labeled, like Iraq, as a rogue nation. Unlike Israel, Iraq's viola- tions of Security Council reso- lutions resulted in sanctions because the international body, dealt with Iraq under a sepa- rate U.N. legal provision. Gillerman said a resolution mandating implementation of the road map could "change the rules of the game" by trans- ferring leadership on the peace plan away from the U.S. to the diplomatic "Quartet'--the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia-- that devised the plan. The Quartet generally is seen as less sympathetic to Israel's concerns than the United States. The Security Council might "take over and hijack the road map," Gillerman told Jewish leaders on the conference call, which included JTA. He said the United Nations is a biased entity that tilts wildly in favor of the Palestinians. Palestinian officials could not be reached for comment. But it's precisely assess- ments of the world body like Gillerman's that gives some Jewish leaders a different im- pression of the situation. Dan Mariaschin, executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International, thinks the United Nations' bias on Middle East issues undercuts the cred- ibilityofits resolutions---even when they win U.S. support. "When it comes in a U.N. Jews reach out to S. African blacks context, the place where Is- rael is consistently battered year in and year out, then the currency is minimal because of the place where it comes from," Mariaschin said. The United States has served as a safeguard against that bias. Last month, the United States vetoed a proposed Se- curity Council resolution call- ing on Israel to desist from "removing" Palestinian Au- thority President Yasser Arafat. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, also indicated that he will use U.S. veto power again if Syria puts forth a resolution condemning Israel's airstrike on Sunday in Syria. After two vetoes, however, the Americans may feel like they "have to give something to the Arab side," Gillerman said. "The fence and the Quar- tet may be easy things to give." An Israeli U.N. official said Gillerman's assessment is based on information from diplomatic sources, including Arabs and Europeans. In the meantime, diplo- matic sources say Syria is ad- j usting a resolution it proposed Sunday criticizing Israel's airstrike earlier that day on an Islamic Jihad training base near Damascus. Syrian repre- sentatives could not be reached for comment. The airstrike in Syria came after a deadly suicide bombing in Haifa carried out by Islamic Jihad, which is based in Syria. The bombing killed 20 people. The Syrian resolution, deemed too one-sided by most members of the Security t U.N. may change Council, now includes amend- ments by France and Spain that condemn terrorism. Syria, however, does not con- sider attacks on Israel to be terrorism. Officials say the United States prefers that the United Nations steer clear of the Is- raeli-Palestinian conflict. No resolutions "impact positively on what's going on on the ground in the region," a U.S. official told JTA. Israel and the Palestinian Authority need to come together to ne- gotiate on the road map plan directly, he said. Still, the official said, even a watered-down version of Syria's resolution on the airstrike won't pass unless it meets the "Negroponte Doc- trine." Last year, Negroponte, who currently holds the rotat- ing Security Council presi- dency, said the United States would veto any resolution on the Middle East that doesn't contain a denunciation of ter- rorism, explicit condemnation of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the AI-Aksa Brigade, and a call to destroy terrorist groups' infrastructure. Another U.S. official said he was not aware of any existing or pending U.N. resolutions that would press for imple- mentation of the road map or strengthen the Quartet's dip- lomatic role. He refused to comment on what America's position might be if a resolu- tion on either of those issues were to come to the fore. As for the draft resolution on the fence, he said, "We're studying it." AS recently as last weekend, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell blasted the fence in an interview with the Washington Post. "We have made it clear that the fence is a problem," he said. "If you warit to put a fence on something that is a recog- nized border, the 'Green Line' "--the boundary that divides Israel proper from the West Bank, captured from Jordan in 1967--"then puta fence on your property line. But the more you intrude in Palestin- ian areas and the more it looks like it could be contiguous intrusion around large sec- tions of Palestinian land that " would prejudge subsequent negotiations as to what a Pal- estinian state may look like, that's a problem." The "Green Line," which was established as the armistice line between Israel and Jordan at the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, is not a recognized international boundary. In any case, many Jewish observers 'are not as alarmist about developments at the United Nations as Israel's U.N. ambassador. "The U.S. wants to avoid using its veto as much as it can" because it isolates both Israel and the United States, observed Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti- Defamation League. However, he said, "at the end of the day, the United " States will not permit Israel to stand alone in a situation" where Israel would be consid- ered in breach of the Security Council. "We always have to be con- cerned, but I'm not worried," Foxman said. photo by Moire Schneider/JTA Students participate in a cross-cultural workshop at the South African Jewish Museum Qrranged by Tikkun, the South African Jewish community's outreach initiative. By Moira Schneider a past president of the South "I feel that is probably the African Jewish Board ofDepu- next step in the evolution of AIrCAPETOWN (JTA)--South ties to say last month that the theprocess--thattomewould ica is a country as much community had failed "the define an authentic, genuine JUDAISM Concerned with its apartheid struggle," as the fight against relationship," Schneier said. DISCOVER past as with its futm',e . apartheid generally is termed "At present, it's something of Now, the country s Jewish here. a one-way street. Before the With Rabbi Aaron D. Rubinger COmmunity is responding to But as South Mrica madefall of apartheid, the Jewish the transition to democracy, group World ORT, which pro- qu:t nsabt?utt e an:::ubr Mondays, beginning Oct. 20th, 7:00-9:15 pm p " y the Jewish community era- vides educational resources Strengthening its drive tobarkedonanoutreachcam- and technological training,~l/ .reach out to South African paign to assure their compa- refused to operate in SouthAre you .Considering blacks and help rebuild this triots that Jews intended to Africa. ORT now sponsors a (Eonverslon? /II racially divided country, make their mark in rebuilding variety of education and train- That has won praise from the country. To do that, many ing projects in the country I i Jews turned to social activ- "~ IP ! / ~,:~%~ ::~ ~l rn~er South African presi- When the groups' board of Would you hke to strengthen "~ entandanti-apartheidleader ism. directors held a meeting here i ~lelsonMandela: Thatcampaignisstiilgoing last year, the then-mayor of your Jewish Spirituality? Mandela called the pro- strong, and with South Mri- Cape Town, Gerald Morkel, This curriculum introduces the il B c~arns of Tikkun, the Jewish can Jewry marking its 100th said he was grateful for ORT's ~urnnaunity,s outreach um- anniversary this year,work. essence of Jewish faith from a ! group, "a miracle." Tikkun--which is Hebrew for "In the midst of mass un-Conservative perspective and I[ a ere are many good men "repair"--is redoubling its employment and resultant u Women in all communi- outreach efforts, poverty, we suffer from a des- incorporates the study of Hebrew lI es, but I never expected that For the most part, Jewish- perate shortage of those skills :Y WOuld have organizations black ties in South Africa are which are necessary to oil the for synagogue use. Upon completion,conversion candidates this nature that havemarked largely in terms of wheelsofthemoderntechno-must meet traditional requirements. For fees and registration, .rought hope," Mandela said Jews' involvement in social- logical state," Morkel said. --n a visit to one of Tikkun's as projects--a kibbutz- welfare projects that benefit "ORT s vocational and educa- contact Stacy at 407-298-4650 or rabbi blacks, tional training opportunities :')'e agricultural settlement On a recent trip to South will equip our people with CONGREGATION OHEV SHALOM ~ ltrainingcenteriniace theprov- Africa, Rabbi Marc Schneier, those skills and competencies ^, . of Gauteng, which in- president of the New York- without which they will never 015 Goddard Avenue Orlando ~'Rl(les Sc:h~. a farm, bakery and based Foundation for Ethnic hope to succeed in the brave (OffofLee Road, One mile west of I-4) Jilet Understanding, which builds new world." Nompucuko individual ties between Jews and Ameri- Pamela Ncapai participated in 407"298-4630 a^ g he most activewhitesJeWs were can blacks, said black-Jewish one of ORT's training pro- ~ PP seapartheid, thecom- ties in South Africa had not grams. Now a lecturer at ORT/ unityasawholedidnottak.e, reached the stage of recipro- Tech, the group's Western ~tandagainstthesystemuntd cai Concern as in the United MEMBER OF THE UNffEO SYNAGOGUE OF CONSERVATWE JUDAISM " ": rnld-19 ,That States. See "Blacks" on page 20