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December 18, 2015

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 18, 2015 are res By Ben Cohen Belgium's justice minister came in for a fair bit of stick this week over some injudicious observations regarding the Nov. 13 Islamist terrorist massacre in Paris. "It's no longer synagogues or the Jewish museums or police stations, it's mass gather- ings and public places," said Koen Geens, as he tried to encapsulate the deadliest security dilemma that Europe has faced since the height of the Cold War. Of all the obvious terrorist targets that Geens could have picked, he chose two that were distinctly Jewish among a list of three. To some ears, it sounded suspiciously like Geens was saying that terrorist attacks on Jews were atrocities that one could, with regret, live with, so long as they didn't then spiral into similar attacks upon the broader populace. As distasteful as some may have found Geens's phrasing, in technical terms, this Bel- gian minister--a member of a government that must be smarting from continuing references to its territory as the "weakest link" in Europe's battle withjihadi terror--is absolutely correct. With life in Brussels mothballed for several days by credible threats of a Paris-style assault in multiple locations, the tslamists have sent the unmistakable message that no mass gathering and no public place is safe. This, the Islamists know well, is how submission starts. Yet picking a target in response is not as it easy as one might think. Islamic State is a monstrous perversion of everything that is human, but it is also the product of a broader context: one, chiefly, in which Russian, Ira- nian, and Turkish regional ambitions are now starting to clash. Everyone is fighting fake wars against Islamic State: the real goal of the Russians is to preserve the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus, the real goal of the Turks is to crush Kurdish aspirations for self-determination, and the real goal of the Iranians is to position themselves as the dominant power in the Muslim world. In this melee, the West has signally failed to stake out its own position; namely, that the destruction of the Assad regime and the elimination of Iran's ability to finance terror is a necessary condition for the destruction of Islamic State. We are closer, in fact, to a partnership with Iran, the most loyal backer of Assad, in the limited war being waged on Islamic State-held territory in Syria and Iraq. Victims of terrorism I've been speaking with find all this deeply frustrating. "Iran is the leading state sponsor of terror. To call them wound of Pal a partner in fighting Islamic State will only allow them to retain the crown," said Daniel Miller, who survived a 1997 terror attack car- ried out by Hamas on Jerusalem's busy Ben Yehuda Street. Miller strongly believes that the campaign to cut terrorism financing is the best way for those frustrated with western dithering to make their voices heard. In 2003, Miller and other victims of Iranian-backed terror won a default judgment of over $300 million against the Tehran regime, but the lack of tangible Iranian assets in the U.S. is one reason why the reparations haven't been collected. That's why, in his recent testimony to Congress, Miller declared himself "shocked and horrified to learn that the terms of [the nuclear deal with Iran] include unfreezing more than $100 billion in Iranian oil revenues and handing it over to the party responsible for devastating the lives of so many." "If Iran can't supply money, then Iran can't sponsor terror attacks," Miller told me. But, he added, that method can only work if sufficient resolve is shown by the U.S. government to Letter from Israel go after Tehran's assets--and that resolve is glaringly conspicuous by its absence. Miller emphasizes that the sources of Islamic State funding should be pursued with the same vigor that he's working for in the case of Iran. It's a view echoed by Sarri Singer, an American citizen wounded in the suicide bombing of a Jerusalem bus in 2003. "All ter- rorist groups are the same to me," said Singer, whose "Strength to Strength" network offer counseling tovictims of terrorist attacks. "And they all need money, which is why we have to cutoff the financial supply line. I don't want any more innocent people to have to join this club of terror victims." While American victims of terror can have some trust in their courts, in other countries, justice is more elusive. Nobody, for example, has been convicted for the 1994 Iranian-backed bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people were murdered, while the investigation into the suspicious death of AMIA investigator Alberto Nisman Cohen on page 15A rl By Danny Danon U.N. agency lobbying on their behalf. And the reason is simple: Unlike the Arab countries that NEW YORK (JTA)--Every time Palestinian refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees, the leaders sit down at the negotiating table, or State of Israel opened its doors to fellow Jews. give a public speech, they never fail b raise Therewas, and always is, more that could have the plight of the 700,000 Arab-Pales|nians been done to smooth the absorption of these displaced when they refuse4to accept srael's new Israelis, but the fact is that today they existence in 1948. are integrated into all levels of Israeli society. For too long, the State of Israel and the Today, these Jews who came from many global Jewish community have done too little places go by many names--Jews of the Arab to memorialize and honor the other side of lands, Sephardic Jews, Mizrahi Jews--but no that story--the 850,000 Jewish refugees from one ever refers to them as refugees. As they Arab countries, shouldn't. Their most important name today For many Jews, these are personal stories, is the name they share with the Jews around family accounts told around the Shabbat the world: Am Yisrael, the nation of Israel, table. It is now our duty to ensure that the We are one people, andthispresentsuswith world finally recognizes the stories of these the obligation to remember where we come forgotten refugees, from: from Warsaw and from Damascus, from For over 2,000 years, places like Algiers Berlin and from Baghdad. and AIeppo, Tunis and Cairo, Aden and Tripoli Together, as one people, we have an obliga- and so many others across the Arab world tion to ensure that the stories ofthe Jews from were vibrant centers of Jewish life. The Jews the Arab countries are not forgotten. We must in these communities did not always have strive to keep the memory of these communi- much in the way of material possessions, but ties alive, and most importantly, to give them they were rich in culture and in the spiritual the recognition they deserve. heritage of our people. But we must do more than just remember. They gave us the greatest of Jewish lead- We must ensure that others see the light, and ers, magnificent synagogues, great works of hear these stories, so that the plight of the scholarship--treasures of our traditionthatwe forgotten refugees will become known across still carry with us today. These Jews contrib- the world. As Israel's ambassador, I pledge to uted immensely to the broader society, in the represent the right and just path of the State fields of Arab art and literature, in medicine, of Israel in the parliament of nations. in government and in commerce. Israel is a stronger country today because It is important to note that despite all this, of the unique contribution that each Jewish when Israel was established in 1948, the Arab community made to the world's greatest start- governments not only fought the new state, up at its founding. they also turned against their Jewish corn- We have proven to the world that when munities that had lived in peace with their nations act responsibly, there is absolutely neighbors forgenerations.Facingmurderous no reason for a refugee crisis to last for anti-Jewishriotsandgovernmentconfiscation more than a few years. Now is the time for of wealth, nearly I million Jews were forced to the community of nations to enact fair and flee the places their families had called home practical solutions for the rest of the world's for generations, leaving behind everything refugees and put an end to the artificial wound they had." of Palestinian refugees that has festered for Yet these hundreds of thousands of families way too long. did not end up in refugee camps isolated from Ambassador Danny Danon is Israel's per- the rest of society. They do not have a special manent representative to the United Nations. ~[THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 44 Press Awards LORIDA 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. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 emaih Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor News Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives LoriApple Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore By Ira Sharkansky John Kerry is seeking to top up his several efforts to deal with the Middle East by joining the Israeli and international left in warning that Israel will have to accommodate itself to a single country, with a Palestinian majority, if it doesn't make peace with a Palestinian state. As my late mother used to say when pressed, "Horse shit." We are used to Mahmoud Abbas' threats, more or less weekly, that if he doesn't get what he wants he will have no choice but to dismantle the Palestinian Authority and present to Israel responsibility for governing another million or so Arabs. What he doesn't say is that he most likely won't do anything to cause his son to lose his cell phone concession, and numerous other people close to the Palestinian table lose their licenses to import branded consumer goods, and to dip their hands into the aid funds re- ceived from governments anxious to help the Palestinian people. To be fair to Kerry, he also said that the Palestinians must desist from their incitement and their violence. However, the burden he threatened was mostly on Israel: either find a way to deal with the Palestinians, or Israel will lose its status as a Jewish democracy. What Kerry and others of his ilk overlook is that Israel has enough power to refuse the option of one state with citizenship and voting power for the Palestinians of the West Bank and/or Gaza. If the Palestinians cannot accommodate themselves to a Palestinian Authority with limited autonomy, and if their leadership cannot reach an agreement w. ith Israel, then more likely than being absorbed into a single state is living in a stateless condition, with whatever social services they or others manage to provide for them. Should the need exist, Israel will complete the security barriers between its citizens and Palestinians. It will monitor the entry of Pal- estinians to Israel for work or other purposes. We can't predict the details, but assume that Israel will do what is necessary to keep Israelis safe. The world will squawk, but Israel has the economic, military, and political capacity to help it withstand whatever comes. The task will be easier should Islamic terror continue, and provide more press- ing concerns to bother those in charge of the countries with significant military or economic weight. An optimist can find indications for hope in the general absence of Israeli Arabs from the present wave of violence, as well as the lack of contribution from what had been a source of violence during the Second Intifada in the West Bank city of Jenin. Arab individuals and their political leadership seem to recognize what they have to lose if they break the fuzzy rules about getting along. Those of the West Bank lose access to a labor market, and those of Israel also risk what they get from health and other social services. Efforts to link Israel's problem with the rise of Islamic terror are appropriate to nothing more than another dose of my dear mother's favorite epithet. Best to recognize the Palestin- ian problem for what it is: a continuing blip on the world's concern, but not the cause of Islamic extremism. The French, British, Belgians, and Ameri- cans have recent examples to arouse their con- cerns, and the Swedes, Germans, Austrians, as well as politicians and activists from other European countries are probing alternatives to open borders and welcome stations for Muslims on the move. Parsing the language of American authori- ties, it appears that the California incident has been defined as an act of terror linked to "foreign terrorist organizations." In some communications those organizations are identified as Islamic, but the label "Islamic terror" is too hot to handle. We can quarrel about the significance of labels. We must also be careful not to accuse Muslims of collective responsibility for a wave of violence that is at the center of policy con- siderations in much of the world. It's also the case that AmeriCans have something to worry about from terror that is not associated with Islam. Mass killings (i.e., the term used for more than four deaths) have been occurring at a rate approaching one a day. Except for the one in California, recent events may have nothing to do with Islam, but they touch anyone who is--or whose family members, friends, or acquaintances are--at the wrong place at the wrong time. However, it's also shortsighted to pass over the Islamic element in what is troubling Europeans, Americans, as well as those of us living alongside Muslim countries.. Already established among some Muslims is a sense of their own responsibility for as- suring their integration into a world that is mostly not Muslim. Positive signs are op-eds in Arab media that describe the quality of life in Israel, and the benefits to be derived from accommodation with the Jewish State. Also apparent are ef- forts of major Arab governments to mobilize against terror, which they appear to be more ready than the ObamaWhite House to identify with Islam. The picture is far from clear. It is muddied by support for Sunni extremism that comes from Saudi Arabia, both that provided by in- dividual Saudis and the financing for mosques of extremist preachers by the Saudi govern- ment. Also boiling is the millennia-old strife between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, which is behind the warfare between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Yemen, and adding to the chaos in Syria and Iraq. Little ole us will have to keep coping domesti- cally between Jews to the right and left, with Palestinians and Israeli Arabs not willing to admit the good life they have acquired along with us or next to us, and with American friends who are senseless in projecting what they see as the future in a region for which they have demonstrated little understanding.