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December 12, 2014

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 12, 2014 PAGE 5A HERITAGE encourages readers to send in their opin- ions for the Viewpoint column. They must be signed; however, names will be withheld upon request. Due to space limitations, we reserve the right to edit, if neces- sary. Opinions printed in Viewpoint do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the paper. An Arab,lsraeli diplomat who is proud to be an Israeli By Dr. Norman Berdichevsky Many observers of the Israe- li scene are convinced that the extreme views of the elected Arab Knesset members and scenes of violent demonstra- tions, stabbings and other acts of terrorism are the only true measure of the Arab minor- ity community's rejection of any accommodation of living peacefully and harmoniously with the Jewish majority. To do so is a common error in the mistaken and often ignorant understanding of Arab culture and the realities of Middle Eastern politics. George Deek is a young Christian Arab from Jaffa and Israel's vice ambassador to Norwaywho addressed a gath- ering hosted by the Norwegian group "With Israel for Peace" in Oslo on Oct. 27, 2014. His speech is being characterized as "the best speech an Israeli diplomat ever held" and made waves for many people who had 'no idea that Israel has- had several prominent non- Jews in its diplomatic corps. His speech revealed how the" conflict has been frozen into a perverse intransigence by Arab extremists. It is all the more impressive because Deek's family was refugees in 1948 and were readmitted to Israel with full citizenship rights. "How come the displace- ment of the Jews from the Arab world was completely forgotten, while the tragedy of the Palestinians, the Na- kba, is still alive in today's politics?" Deek asked in his speech. "It seems to me to be so, because the Nakba has been transformed from a humanitarian disaster to a po- litical offensive... The Nakba daywas set on May 15th--the day after Israel proclaimed its independence... By that the Palestinian leadership declared that the disaster of the Nakba is not the expulsion, the abandoned villages or the exile--the Nakba in their eyes is the creation of Israel. They are saddened less by the hu- manitarian catastrophe that befell Palestinians, and more by the revival of the Jewish state. In other words: they do not mourn the fact that my cousins are Jordanians, they mourn the fact that I am an Israeli." Deek's entire speech de- serves to be heard by all. ( an-incredible-speech-by-ar- ab-israeli-diplomat-george- deek/) Deek is typical of a growing number of highly educated Israeli Arabs who are fluent in Hebrew as well as Arabic. He and many other Israeli Arabs do not make headlines--they are ignored by the media. Professor Sammy Smooha of Haifa University who previ- ously had been extremely pessimistic about Jewish-Arab coexistence interpreted a re- cent poll in a more favorable light showing that the accep- tance of Israel by Israeli Arabs actually increased markedly between 2012 and 2013. Just over a year ago, Israeli Chan- nel 10/Nana reported (in He- brew) that a poll's surprising result bucked conventional wisdom. The research showed that between 2012 and 2013 there was an increase in the percentage of Israeli Arabs recognizing Israel's right to exist as a Jewish and demo- cratic state, and Israel's right to maintain a Jewish majority. Similarly, the percentage of Arabs who define themselves as "Israeli Arabs" without a Palestinian identity has in- creased. Of course, all those statisticswere gathered before the most recent outbreak of violence by Israeli Arabs as a consequence of the Israeli incursion into Gaza. Nevertheless, the most recent polls also confirm that a majority of Israeli Arabs if faced with the inevitability of a change in citizenship would not vote for a transfer or change making them Palestinians citizens. Such a state without any Jews would rapidly become another Syria! These were the very words uttered by the moderate Bed- ouinArab candidate in the last Knesset election, Aatef Kari- naoui from the Negev town of Rahat who formed the first demonstratively pro-Israel Arab party, for the Knesset elections of January, 2013, The obvious signs of bru- tality and the violation of human rights in Gaza by Hamas, in Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemenwhere the "Arab Spring" triumphed and the growing instability in Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan have not been lost on Israel's Arab population who have begun to critically rethink their role in the country following a near collapse of Arab nationalism. The latter has given way to the vision of a triumphal radical Islamism and the stated goal of restoring the caliphate, a view certainly not embraced by many Christian Arab, Druze and Circassian seg- hoods. Several prominent ments of the population who Jews who have served as understand that cooperation foreign minister or secretary and coexistence in Israel is an of state of their countries, essentialandinevitablepartof such as Henry Kissinger and any desirable future peaceful " HectorTimmermanofArgen- scenario. Nevertheless, for the media, any incident of anti- Jewish hostility manifested by Israeli Arabs gets exag- gerated visual coverage in an absurd over-representation compared to inter-ethnic or inter-religious turmoil anywhere else in the world. Jewish-Arab cooperation on the other hand extends to thousands of enterprises on every level from garages, restaurants, sports teams including Israel's national soccer team, the Egged bus cooperative, the trades and professions, in the police, sports, courts, and diplomatic corps. The concept that speakers of Arabic today constitute one nation has never matched re- ality and has been repeatedly demolished by sporadic but numerous civil wars in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria and among various Palestinian factions. For most Israelis except the extreme ultra-Orthodox for whom the term "Jewish" will always be defined in religious terms, Jewish identity has been decided in a national sense once and for all and in only one place--Israel, not Uganda, Argentina, Biro- bidzhan, affluent American suburbs or ultra-Orthodox Jewish Diaspora neighbor- tina, have taken rigid hard line positions against Israeli interests and have provoked the intense criticism of their fellow Jewish citizens at home. They are the reverse of a George Deek--a Christian Arab and proud Israeli de- fending his country, the land of his birth and those of his ancestors. Both Kissinger and Timmerman are undeniably "Jews" and yet loyal to the nation they owe allegiance to and not Israel. This was the normal situation in most of the past 2,000 years of history and has not changed. It is no less true that there are also "Arabs" and "non-Jews" who are Israeli citizens and loyal and patriotically serve their homeland such as Deek and are ready to defend it with their lives, even if faced with considerable animosity from family, friends, neighbors and the media. Israeli Arabs like Deei~ have made considerable progress in their careers and education through mastery of Hebrew and most would be loath to give up this advantage in a monolingual, monocultural, monoreligious Palestinian Arab state. Dr. Norman Berdi- chevsky is a former lnstructor in Modern Hebrew andJudaic Studies, UCF (2010-2013). The an res 9 By Ed Timperlake and Robbin Laird Thirty years ago, President Reagan won reelection by a landslide and then led the United States into the final phase of our Cold War victory over the Soviet Unibn. If America's 40th president were alive to see Russia's current resurgence and its all-too-familiar policy of in- timidation against Europe, he would know exactly what to do: confront the Russians withAmerican and allied poli- cies designed to check their ambitions across the board. As Russian PresidentVladi- mir Putin tries to redraw the map and establish a sphere of influence through bullying his neighbors and violating their sovereignty, Western states need to rethink their policy agenda to ensure that By Tammi Rossman-Bem0amin "Bringing down Israel will really benefit everyone in the world and everyone in society, particularly workers." These words were spoken by Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, at a Nov. 12 panel discussion at U.C. Berkeley organized by the BDS Caucus of UAW 2865, the union for 13,000 University of California graduate student workers. Those grad student- teachers and other workers voted on a union resolution to boycott Israel on Dec. 4. (The results were not available at press time.) Throughout her talk, Kiswani made crystal clear that the goal of the boycott, Russia understands that ag- gression has a significant cost. Key Western states need to shape new strategic realities to which Russia must adjust in order not be marginalized in the global competition. Case in point: Now is the time to end U.S. dependence on Russia for our space policy. In the 1990s, relations with Russia were much better, and the U.S. was reducing its de- fense budget. In this context, the ClintonAdministration de- cided to rely on a rocket engine called the RD-180, designed and manufactured by a major Russian aerospace company and defense contractor, NPO Energomash, in launching U.S. military and intelligence satellites. At the time, officials promised that the Russians would not be put in the position of obstructing the U.S."critical path" to space. divestment and sanctions movement against Israel is not to legitimately criticize Israeli policy, but rather to bring an end to the Jewish state, and she claimed that UAW 2865 members will be playing an important role in achieving that goal should they approve the BDS resolution in their vote next week: "BDS is about isolating Zionism." "I think you should boycott any Zionist institution, aca- demic, organization, whether it be from 1967 occupied Palestine or i948 occupied Palestine, because BDS re- ally should be about shifting the cultural framework and shifting how we see Israel and isolating it and making it feel unwelcome anywhere and everywhere." One of the key reasons they were able to offer such assurance was the plan at the time to move the RD-180 assembly line to the United States. But because of "cost considerations," the line stayed in Russia and with it, the potential for dependency. The dependence on Rus- sia is ongoing. The United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, has an ex- clusive, no-bid $11 billion Air Force contract to transport criticalAmerican militaryand intelligence assets into space. ULA recently purchased two new RD-180s, and three more engines are expected to be delivered later this fall. By 2017, ULA is expected to pur- chase 27 more Russian-made engines. This dependence on Russia exposes the United States to "We have demanded that the world take a stand in isolating Israel everywhere." "We're resisting colonial- ism in Palestine, and colonial- ism entails all of occupied Palestine from Haifa to Jeru- salem to Ramallah." Make no mistake: Calling for the elimination of the world's only Jewish state is anti-Semitic. Not only do the United States and Canada con- sider denying Jews the right to self-determination a prime example of anti-Semitism, but the vast majority of Jews around the world experience BDS and other attempts to "bring down Israel" as a deeply anti-Semitic assault on the entire Jewish people. Not surprisingly, the UAW 2865's upcoming vote to boycott Israel and other enormous risk. The Kremlin has the luxurious choice of selling to the United States and funneling the profits back into its own military capabilities, or simply cutting offa technology that's central to America's defenses. The Kremlin appreciates this advantage. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, whose portfolio includes aerospace and defense, has mocked the United States on Twitter, writing: "I suggest the U.S. delivers its astronauts to the ISS [international space station] with a trampoline." Some lawmakers acknowl- edge this dangerous depen- dence and have sought to fund the development of an alternative to the Russian engine next year. This is a good long-term move. But it ignores the fact that defense officials could open up campaigns to promote anti- Israel divestment resolutions in U.C. student senates have created a hostile, anti-Semitic environment for many Jewish studentswho support the Jew- ish state. One Jewish graduate student who attended the recent UAW2865 BDS Caucus event had this to say during the Q&A period: 'Tm the voice of dissent in this room... I am a rank-and- file member of the union. I'm Latina. I'm Jewish, and I'm pro-Israel, and I'm really disturbed because I want to dialogue with people on the other side, and I really just feel a strong sense of hatred coming from the voices and the language... I'm just worried that we're creating BDS on page 22A the bidding process for rocket Reagan understood that launchesrightnow.Currently, space was a critical domain. this process is completely Dependence on the Russians monopolized by the United for our ability to launch LaunchAlliance, eventhough rockets would have been several private American completelyoutofthequestion companieshavedemonstrated then, as it should be now. their ability to conduct many Ed Timperlake served in of these missions, the Reagan Administration, President Reagan under- where he was the principal stood this dynamic perfectly when he focused on making sure his Department of De- fense had an effective office of Mobilization Planning and Requirements. That was the office responsible for ensur- ing that the United States could meet all of its defense needs without relying on anyone else. director for the office of Mobilization Planning and Requirements in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Robbin Laird is a national security analyst and the au- thor of several books on the Cold War. They work together on Second Line of Defense, a leading defense analytical website.