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December 19, 2003

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PAGE 2 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 19, 2003 JTA Weekly Summary Following are Jewish Telegraphic Agency's news briefs for Tuesday, December 16, 2003. Israel warned on Saddam trial Israel should not get too involved in the trial of Saddam Hussein, a former top Israeli official said. Speaking Tues- day on Israeli television, Israel's former national security adviser, Ephraim Halevy, said he thinks such a move could backfire and be bad for Israel. Halevy also said he thinks the capture of Saddam could spur the overthrow of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. "Pales- tinians will internalize what has happened to Saddam and learn its lessons," he said. Western Wall prayer controversy The Conservative movement is calling for a halt to the expansion of the prayer area at the Western Wall. The movement's Israeli branch is calling on Israel's Religious Affairs Ministry to halt the expansion, which it says would expand separate-sex prayer areas and turn the Western Wall Plaza into an Orthodox synagogue. The Western Wall's rabbi, Shmuel Rabinovitch, said the expansion is necessary because the existing prayer area is too small. Women's group scolds organizations A Jewish women's activist group is handing out anti- awards to Jewish groups. Among the recipients of the Greasy Latke Awards from Jewish Women Watching are many of the top Jewish organizations. The North Ameri- can Jewish federation system will receive an award be- cause the 19 largest federations are all run by men, while the United Jewish Communities is being criticized for accepting $1.5 million from a Texas-based evangelist. The Anti-Defamation League and mega-philanthropist Michael Steinhardt are also receiving "awards." The tongue- in-cheek awards will be given out Friday in New York. Israelis to perform at U.N. An Israeli youth orchestra will perform at the United Nations. The 50-member Kiryat Yam Youth Orchestra will play a Chanukah concert in the U.N.'s tourist lobby Wednesday. The student orchestra of musicians aged 12 through 20 is part of the Kiryat Yam municipal conserva- tory and has performed throughout Israel. The musicians come from Israel, the former Soviet Union, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia. Among the musicians is an Israeli girl injured in a bus bombing in Ramat Gan three years ago, who is rejoining the group for its tour of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Florida. By Michael S. Arnold NEW YORK (JTA)--With Howard Dean solidifying his status as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Joseph Lieberman urged Jews who might be apprehensive about putting a Jew in the White House to "stand tall" and give him their vote. Lieberman (D-Conn.) told a Friday conference call co- sponsored by the American Jewish Press Association and JTA that Jewish voters shouldn't support him simply because of his religion, but also shouldn't oppose him for that reason. Some Jews worry that elect- ing a Jew as president could result in an anti-Semitic back- lash if the president's policies prove unpopular. "We're down to the last sev- eral weeks before the New Hampshire primaries," Lieberman told the reporters and editors on the conference call. "I've had wonderful sup- port from the Jewish commu- nity, but it's clear that some people have been holding back" because "they're anx- ious. Stand tall as proud Americans, and if you want to support me, come out and sup- port me." "If not now, when?" he said, quoting Hillel's fa- mous dictum. Campaign officials did not return calls Friday requesting a clarification of the com- ments, and it's unclear whether the pitch will be backed up by a new fund-rais- ing effort in the Jewish com- munity. Some of Lieberman's campaign activities already have focused on seeking dol- lars from the Jewish commu- nity. Lieberman's appeal comes at the end of a week that saw his campaign suffer a high- profile setback when AI Gore, Lieberman's running mate in 2000, endorsed Dean, the former Vermont governor, who is leading in polls in New Hampshire, the key first pri- mary state. The move was considered an affront to Lieberman, who had delayed his candidacy out of respect for the former vice president until after Gore an- nounced that he wouldn't run in 2004. It also was widely seen as further confirmation that Dean, one of the most liberal of the Democratic candidates, is pulling away from the field. Lieberman said this week that Gore's endorsement ac- tually aided the Lieberman campaign by angering and motivating his supporters and increasing donations. But the pitch to the Jewish community has little to do with the endorsement, ana- lysts say, and is more about Lieberman's frustration with his poor fund raising among Jewish donors--many of whom have backed other can- didates. "I think he feels hurt that he is being discriminated against by Jews because he is Jewish," said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. Foxman said he finds it nor- mal for candidates to go to Lieberman said. He warned "family" first for political con- that Dean's positions, which tributions, appeal to the party's left wing, Lieberman's fund-raising are far tooliberal. dollars place him in the middle "Just like a bird can't fly of the pack of Democratic with one wing, we can't fly hopefuls, buthehasnotgalva- with one wing," Lieberman nized substantial support in said. New Hampshire. Dean's adviser on Jewish The latest poll shows affairs and outreach, Matthew Lieberman in fourth place, Dorf, told JTA, "These attacks with 6 percent of the vote. He misrepresent Gov. Dean's ex- trails Dean, who has 35 per- perience and his positions and cent; Sen. John Kerry (D- serve to benefit only one per- Mass.), with 12 percent; and son--GeorgeBush.'"It'stime Gen. Wesley Clark, who has 10 for all Democratic candidates percent, to stop the name-calling and The poll, by WHDH-TV in these attacks that misrepre- Boston, hasa4.9percentmar- sent Gov. Dean's record and gin of error, positions and remember that The primary is Jan. 27. this-election is about beating Many Jews in New Hamp- President Bush and electing a shire say they find Lieberman's candidate who has the record policy positions---on issues to do that." Lieberman also like charitable choice and the hammered away at Dean's for- warin Iraq--tooconservative. eign-policy positions, includ- On the conference call, ing his opposition to the war LiebermanaddressedtheGore in Iraq and his controversial endorsement obliquely, ad- statement that the United mitting that it had been "an States should be more even- important week" in the cam- handed when it comes to Is- paign, rael and the Palestinians. "I do believe that as a result Many Jews took that as a of the events of this week, the call for the United States to choice in the campaign be- moderate its traditional sup- comes more clear," he said. port of Israel. Dean later re- "Are we going to build on the tractedthe remark and repeat- transformation Bill Clinton edly has pledged his support brought to the White House for the Jewish state. so successfully," which The"danger"ofDean'scan- Lieberman said he is best po- didacy is that it "sends a mes- sitioned to carry forward, or sage of weakness and inexpe- are Democrats "going to go rience on foreignand defense back to where we were before policy generally, andwe live in Bill Clinton, when we didn't a dangerous world," command the trust of voters?" Lieberman said. "Some of the The Democrats' best hope of winning the White House lies See "Lieberman" on in attracting centrist voters, page 17 munity Do You Have Pre-Paid Funeral Arrangements With Another Funeral Home? We Can and Will Accept All Other Pre-Paid Plans : .10% Discount on . : :services and merchandise: I I on any new I I Pre-need contracts. I I I. .J 640 Lee Rd. Orlando, Florida W.E. "Manny" Adams, LFD James R. Cardinal, Executive Director Michael Meyer, Family Pre-need Counselor Tzvi Halikman, Ritual Director fence to g to The By Michael J. Jordan NEW YORK (JTA)--The pro-Palestinian diplomatic as- sault on Israel soon will reach a new venue: The International Court of Justice at The Hague. Arab states succeeded last week in winning U.N. General Assembly support to petition the court to rule on the legal- ity of Israel's West Bank secu- rity barrier. Though The Hague has the power to issue binding deci- sions, the type of advisory opin- ion the U.N. resolution re- quests is not binding. Still, some advocates for Israel have expressed concern that if the International Court of Justice, a U.N. arm, deems the wall a violation of international law, it might expose Israeli offi- cials to prosecution. One Israeli official expressed outrage at the special General Assembly session called to de- bate the fence. A similar reso- lution in October had pro- duced an overwhelming 144- 4 vote, with 12 abstentions. "We have a right to self- defense that cannot be adjudi- cated," a senior Israeli official said. "Those who would harm that are in fact devoted to Israel's destruction." The reso- lution approved last Monday made no mention of Israel's stated rationale for building the security fence: to keep sui- cide terrorists away from ci- vilians in Israel's major popu- lation centers. Nasser al-Kidwa, the Pales- tinian U.N. representative, de- nounced the fence as "an im- mense war crime." Still, the 90-8 vote this time in the Gen- eral Assembly--a body histori- cally hostile to Israel, given the influential bloc of 56 Arab and Muslim member states and their allies across the Third World--was not as lopsided as most General Assembly votes on Israel, since 74 countries abstained. U.S. and Israeli officials had said they would lobby vigor- ously against what they con- sider the politicizing of an in- ternational court. In any case, there's no guarantee the court at The Hague will in fact weigh in on the matter. The 15-judge panel has the latitude to de- cide what cases to consider or disregard. And while pro-lsrael observ- ers suggest this is merely one mor~attempt to turn global opinion against Israel, Israeli officials say they'll try to score points of their own. "We have a voice," Arye Mekel, Israel's deputy perma- nent representative to the United Nations, told JTA. "We can also make our case for the fence." Israeli officials said they would argue that the fence is justified by the need for self-defense. At least one advocate for the Palestinians said the pro-Pai- estinian camp is taking a cal- culated risk. By going to The Hague, said Edward Abington, a former U.S. consul general in Jerusa- lem who now is a Washington political adviser to the Pales- tinians, "I'm not sure it would have any practical effect on the ground, but it would be pretty difficult for the Israelis to ignore in the court of public opinion." However, he noted, "a ruling could also go against the Palestinians." While the Palestinian move in the Gen- eral Assembly ratchets up the pressure on Israel, Abington and others suggest it also re- flects Arab frustration with the U.S. roadblock at the more influential U.N. Security Council. That U.S. obstructionism can be traced to a 16-month- old policy known as "The Negroponte Doctrine," named for the U.S. ambassador to the United. Nations, John Negroponte. While General Assembly resolutions are primarily synl- bolic, nonbinding and impoS" sible to veto, the 15-member Security Council has the power to intervene in crisis areas. For example, it can irn- pose sanctions, send peace" keepers or authorize the use of force. Council resolutions carrY the weight of law. The five permanent council mern" bers--the United States, Brit" ain, France, Russia and China--enjoy veto power. Negroponte and his staffsaY they arrived at their criteria after the Palestinians and their advocates responded to the ongoing bloodshed of the intifada, launched in Septena" her 2000, by putting forth re.So" lutions on a near-weekly ba" sis. Debates consumed count" less hours and millions ofdol' lars--a chunk of it courtesy of U.S. taxpayers--yet did notb" ingtobringthesidestogetha to discuss a peaceful resolU" tion. Even journalists reportedly complained to the AmericaiaS See "Fence" on page 17