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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 31, 2014 By David Bernstein JNS.org Beginning in the early 1990s, Turkey be- came the one Muslim-majority country that maintained a robust strategic relationship with Israel. The two countries developed strong trade ties. Israel helped update the Turkish air force and Turkey allowed the Israeli air force to train in its airspace. There were major plans underway to further upgrade strategic ties~ In an unfortunate turn of events, Turkey's elected prime minister (and now president), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, decided to take the once highly secular country in a very different direction and re-aligned Turkey's foreign policy with other interests in the Middle East. Not long into his tenure, Erdogan became a public critic of Israel, driving awedge between Turkey and Israel in the wake of the 2010 Gaza flotilla crisis. Relations between the two countries remain strained. Israel and its supporters have never fully recovered from the loss of the country's Mus- lim ally and the potential it had to transform Israel's broader relationships in the region. But now, along comes Azerbaijan--the world's first Muslim-majority democracy, which is fast taking the place of Turkey in becoming a crucial ally of Israel in the Muslim world. It's no surprise that of all Muslim- majority countries, Azerbaijan would fill the Jim Shipley With mixed emotions void. Like Turkey before Erdogan, Azerbaijan has proudly and sometimes aggressively rein- forced its secular society, banning the hijab (veil) in schools. In a gathering with the Jewish community held in the Washington, D.C., area last month, Azerbaijan's ambassador to the United States, Elin Suleymanov, recoiled from the criticism his country received from the U.S. and others for its tough line on maintaining its secular- ism. "We are criticized because our girls are not forced to wear the hijab, and this is the worst problem in the Middle East?" he said. The U.S. should keep in mind thatwhile sup- pressing traditional religious practices violates American notions of religious freedom, it's meant to keep radical religious forces in check and to prevent Azerbaijan from going down the same path as Turkey. Unfortunately, in Letter from Israel that culturally conservative part of the world, Jeffersonian democracy is not yet on the menu, and trying to impose our cultural ideals may make these countries less, not more free. Let us not forget that France, a well-established liberal democracy, has also banned the hijab. To date, Israel's relationshipwith Azerbaijan has taken an almost identical trajectory as its early ties to Turkey. As it had with Ankara, Israel has steadily ratcheted up defense ties with Baku. Last month, Israeli Defense Min- ister Moshe Ya'alon visited Azerbaijan, one of a number of such recent defense-oriented visits. As it hadwith Turkey, Israel has established a vital economic lifeline to Azerbaijan, which provides the Jewish state with 40 percent of its imported oil. Bernstein on page 15A Every time I pick up a newspaper (I am of greater in modern times than the Holocaust. that generational bent) I hold my breath. I Born in Germany, but supported, benignly do the same thing in turning on the news. or actively in most of Europe. Ninety per- Matter of fact, wife Rachel will greet me with cent of the Jewish population of Europe was "Anything in the news about Israel?" exterminated. To be a Jew and to live like a Jew, be it Or- And now, two contrary things are happen- thodox, Conservative, Reform orwhatever, you ing. Jewsare returningand Jews are leaving. At must be aware of the Jewish world and what the same time that Jews are leaving France in happens to Jews. Israel. What is happening in record numbers for the U.S. and Israel, young Europe with the rise of Anti-Semitism all of a Jews are returning to Germany--from Israeli sudden? Somebody getsarrestedoraccused-- We have always been a contrarian people. "Oy! I hope he/she is not Jewish." Stiff necked, going against the grain, living on When the financial world collapsed I held after our death has been declared, prospering my breath. But then the names started to in areas where even Jews did not believe Jews come out: Jamie Dimon--Thank God! Angelo could prosper. There would be no Hollywood Mozilo--Thank God! Charles Prince of Citi without the Jews. No Broadway, no "tin pan Group--Whew! alley". And still we wring our hands every time No Jews except maybe Hank Greenberg of a Jew does wrong. AIG but he was no longer in charge. Through- And Jews are going back to Germany. I doubt out most of my life anytime a scandal broke, there is a single Israeli, moving to Germany the ini~ai reaction;has been "O, God! !hope. whodoesnothaveHolocaustintheirpast. BuL he's not Jewish!" they say, things are different now. The Nazis? Then, along came Bernie Madoff. Not only Yes, I read about them--we were taught in was that mumser a crook, he stole from Jews! school. But that was then, this is now. Listen, we've had our share. The guy who fixed Don't they look across the border to France? the 1919 World Serieswas a Jew.The Mafiathat Don't they see the rise of Muslim fundamental- ran Vegas was all Jewish. B.ut, so were and are ism around them? Didn't they see thousands a number of Nobel Prize recipients, way above of Germans--not all of them Muslims--on our percentage of the population, the streets of their new country, Germany, Tiny Israel with its population less than that shouting "Gas the Jews"? of the State of Florida is the twelfth largest Yes, Jews should have the right to live economy in the world. Their percentage of wherever they want. Jews should be granted Nobel Laureates far exceeds any nation in the same rights as anyone else. We fought the world, hard for that in this country. It is the reason Currently our oldest daughter, one grandson the Third Jewish Commonwealth was created. and one granddaughter live in Israel. Theywill But there are over a billion Muslims in this tell you that life is not that easy. But, you don't world. If just two percent are insanely militant, have to sweatwhothe cheaters and the grafters that is 20 million crazies to take to the streets are--they are all Jewish. But, it's Israel, our where they are allowed to and where it is toler- country. Who else is going to game the system ated. Obviously it is in Germany. Obviously it and figure the angles but Jews? is in France. Why would you leave the nation We, here in the U.S., so proud of our Jewish that God gave us and our people fought so heritage, sweat the news about a Jew commit- hard to create and make it prosper just so you ring a crime. Why? Is it shame or fear? Deep could buy cheaper cream cheese? within our souls, our neshuma, we are still Yes, it is a contradictory world. The Millen- the "Other." nial generation is tough to figure out here in Within the lifetime of my parents this na- the U.S. much less in Israel. But some things tion witnessed the "Palmer Raids" where the are built into our DNA. We wince when a Jew attorney general of the United States ordered commits a crime. We cry when a Jew is killed the roundup of Eastern Europeans, over- because he is a Jew. We take such pride in our whelmingly Jewish and shipped them out of Jewish Homeland. the country--including American citizens-- In this contradictory world we are a contra- because in his own words, "Every communist dictory people. There may come a daywhenwe is not a Jew, but every Jew is a communist." don't keep looking over ourshoulder. Someday. We have risen again after every mind- I don't think the first place that will happen numbing disaster pressed against us. None will be Germany. Or France. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 43 Press Awards FLORIDA EWISH NEWS 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. Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Stare Kim FischerChristine DeSouza MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email: news@orlandoheritage.com Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Loft Apple Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bomstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore By Ira Sharkansky Islam is a problem for the faithful, as well as for the rest of us. Its 1600 years of accumulated doctrines may not differ in essence from what Jews have accumulated in 2500 years or Christians in 2100 years. What is problematic, however, are which a majority of members abstained, like they respond to resolutions of the UN General Assembly, i.e., as if the realization of their dream is moments away. Among the comments heard from prominent Palestinians is that Parliament's actions are a step in the direction of atoning for the Balfour Declaration. Could this be the first step of the British- all those Muslims stuck in a cycle of warfare Parliament to cancelthe Balfour Declaration? against heresy and non-believers. It's the same problem that produced cen- turies of killing among Christians from their earliest period, and hopefully has petered out in its last bastion of Northern Ireland. Jews have avoided killing one another over affiliation with the wrong sect or faulty inter- pretations of holy text since the Jewish War described by Josephus. What is said to be 60 organizations fighting Assad and one another is one manifestation of Need we remind the Palestinians who may be hoping for such a thing that such an act, even if accomplished, would not cancel what Israel has achieved? Is it easier for Palestinians to expect someone else to turn back history, in this case by nearly a century, than to accommodate themselves to a state that will have to exist alongside Israel, with the borders and other traits that will attract Israel's acceptance. Palestinians fear making the concessions the problem that troubles Muslims. Another i that might bring them a state, even to~.th is the refusal of Saudi Arabia to countenance , extent of saying that israel is a JeWish sta~e., a rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran They also cannot accept that their state might that will involve a mutual campaign against only be on the land that is left, after a half- ISIS at the expense of tolerating the continu- century of rejecting what Israel was prepared ation of the Assad regime. Turkey's on again to offer since 1967. off again acceptance of a role against ISIS, There are now 600,000 Israeli Jews living even to the extent of letting NATO planes use over the 1967 borders, and it is not wise to NATO airfields in Turkey to attack ISIS, may assume that all, most, or even a substantial also be part of intra-Islamic warfare. Or it number will move for the sake of Palestine. may be mostly an ethnic thing with Turkey A Palestinian heresy of accepting Israel as shying away from anything that will help is, if committed, might get them a violent Kurds anywhere, response from other Muslims or a stoppage of Turkish warplanes have bombed Kurdish the financial aid they receive from elsewhere sites within Turkey, on account of Kurds the Middle East. demonstrating against Turkish refusal to act So the Palestinians remain stuck in the against ISIS forces fighting against Kurds nether-landofbeingthedarlingsofpoliticians in Syria. across the world, but with no accomplish- Among those who suffer from sectarian ments. conflict within Islam are the Palestinians. Currently Muslims are as deep in mutual Problems among Muslims are arguably more animosity as were the Christians in their long important than problemswith Israelinkeeping history. Among the end points of intra-Chris- the Palestinians from realizing their dream tian warfare cited by scholars are the French of a state. Revolution that replaced Protestant-Catholic This may sound strange in a week when warfare with an ascendance of secularism; ranking Swedish, British, French, Russian, the end of severe anti-Mormonism in the US and American politicians spoke in support of with the Church's renunciation of polygamy a Palestinian state, in the 1890s; or the dampening (dare anyone However, the ease of getting international say ending?) of violence in Northern Ireland endorsement, along with the warfare among a decade ago. Muslims, is a deadly combination for the Israelis may be better off than others in prospects of a Palestinian state, the Middle East and elsewhere due to their The setting leads the Palestinians to practiced defense against Arab violence. One wait for others to act, and excuses them can guess that the dithering of the US and its from tough decisions that will accommo- nominal allies among the Muslims will allow date Israeli needs, partly out of fear about ISIS to expand. ISIS personnel speaking for arousing conflict among Palestinians about the cameras threaten actions against the West some of the issues that keep Muslims at one on the soil of Western nations. Observers are another's throat, warning of another 9/11, or at least a series In a situation where a test of Muslim loyalty of smaller incidents like Ft. Hood and the is the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel's Boston Marathon. legitimacy, or Israel's character as a Jewish Therecruitmentoffighters, the armaments state, the Palestinians remain stuck without used by ISIS and their battlefield successes their all-important recognition by Israel. suggest considerablesupportamongMuslims, The Palestinians may be tempted by the despitethevoicesfromSaudiArabia, elsewhere good words heard from across the Muslim in the Gulf, Turkey and Egypt speaking shrilly spectrum as well as from Western do-gooders in opposition. that come with nastiness toward Israel. How- If it will take boots on the ground to end ever, those words come with nothing tangible, the ISIS advance, it is only the US that has the Israel's accomplishments in science, medicine, boots and other military wherewithal. It may technology, politics, and its military prowess not happen during Obama's Commander-in- are more tangible, and the Jews of Israel have Chiefdom, so we should hope that the casual- more than two millennia experience in living ties will not include people we know. - with nasty words. Ira Sharkansky is a professor (Emeritus) of Ranking Palestinians have responded to the the Department of Political Science, Hebrew symbolic vote of the British Parliament, from University of Jerusalem.