Friday, July 30, 2004

You're Not in Kansas Anymore
By Judy Lash Balint July 29, 2004

For the fledgling Christian Allies Caucus of Israel's Knesset it was quite a coup. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) is the first US lawmaker to be hosted by the group whose prime goal is to strengthen ties with pro-Israel Christian groups around the world.

Last week, at a special meeting in the Knesset, the senator from Kansas addressed Israeli parliamentarians as well as representatives of most of the Christian groups operating in Israel.

Brownback was effusive in his support of Israel--not so unusual for a visiting US legislator. What was so notable that it caused the diverse group of Israeli Knesset members to sit up and take notice, were the senator's emotional and heartfelt references to his faith as the basis of that support.

The senator spoke about his upbringing on a Kansas farm where the Bible formed the bedrock of his early education. "Ancient Israel was, and is, a living reality in my home. Its spirituality, wisdom, poetry, its majesty inspired and encouraged me all my life. You have helped form my soul and I thank you for it," Brownback told the forum.

He explained how American support for Israel today comes from Christians raised on the Bible who appreciate the miracle of the revival of the modern state of Israel.

After a brief analysis of the state of the common fight against terror mounted by Israel and the U.S, Brownback returned to his emotional message.

" I love you and the people of America love you. We love the values you have given us that cost you so much to protect for thousands of years.. We love your spirit of determination and calling. We love your heart's desire for peace."

In words rarely heard in the halls of the super-politicized Knesset, Brownback repeatedly referred to God's plan for the land and people of Israel.

"The last time I was in Israel, I looked out the window of my hotel and saw the flag of Israel with the Star of David and the thought entered my mind, "God does keep His promises!" That flag which had been absent in this land for nearly 2,000 years was now flying again. What an awesome God we serve," Brownback exclaimed.

There were nods of agreement among the Christians in the audience, and a flicker of a smile crossed the face of Christian Allies Caucus co-chair, MK Yair Peretz .

The American senator admonished Israel not to be led astray by "the culture wars..[that] embrace relativism, redefine right and wrong, good and evil....The history of your survival and continued existence is filled with examples of what happens to a people when they walk away from God's sacred laws," he warned.

Finally, in the most stunning and humble remarks ever uttered by a foreign lawmaker to the Knesset, Brownback said: "As a Christian, I thank you for my faith that is rooted in yours. And as a Christian, I deeply, deeply apologize for the pain and bloodshed and deafness to suffering that we have hoisted upon you and your ancestors. May this never, ever happen again!"

The Christian Allies Caucus that sponsored the Brownback visit is the brainchild of MK Yuri Shtern of the rightist National Union Party, who co-chairs the effort to reach out to Christians with an unlikely ally, MK Peretz, of the populist Sephardi religious party, Shas.

At the Brownback briefing, Peretz was the only legislator who used the services of an English-Hebrew translator.

Shtern, a former activist who spent years in the struggle for free emigration from the former Soviet Union, views the Christian Allies Caucus as a way to both further Israel's relations with the Christian world, and to thank pro-Israel Christians for their support in recent years.

"We need their help to fight the delegitimation of Israel that is really becoming stronger and stronger," says Shtern.

"Israel has no better friend in the world than the United States, and that is in no small part due to our Christian friends in America, and we hope to see the same happen in Europe, and elsewhere," he adds. Shtern termed the Caucus a "political upgrade" of relations between Israel and its Christian supporters throughout the world. "We will not be demanding that Christians adopt any particular political viewpoint on the conflict here," said Shtern in clarifying the goals of the caucus. "We simply are reaching out to the Christians to support Israel on the basis of our fundamental right to live here in peace and security."

Knesset members of several political parties were in attendance for the Brownback speech. A number of the Israeli legislators wandered in late, and it was obvious that the senator couldn't quite figure out who these casually dressed people were.

Following the sustained applause after his remarks, almost all of the Knesset members engaged in dialogue with the senator. Freshman Likud MK Gila Gamliel, the youngest Knesset member, told Brownback that Israel's main problem is its status as the lone democracy in the region and US pressure for disengagement.

National Union Knesset member Gilad Cohen wondered out loud if there was real US pressure or whether it was just that Prime Minister Sharon tells Israel that such pressure exists.

The event received significant media coverage in Israel, and highlighted the evolving relationship between Israel and the organized pro-Israel Christian world.

The Jerusalem Summit organization helped initiate the Caucus last January and the World Jewish Congress recently signed on as an official endorser .

Reaction amongst Christians in Israel and abroad has been positive. Well known Christian broadcaster Janet Parshall says, "In a very formal way, the Caucus means there will now be the recognition of the work that Christians have done in support of Israel. That is a monolithic step forward, and it gives us, I think, an open door in a more broad fashion to articulate our support for the nation of Israel."

David Parsons, Public Relations Director for the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and a member of the Caucus notes, "This is another sign that the Israelis and the Jewish people are now genuinely reaching out to Christians. Christians have offered a hand of support and friendship for many years and they’re taking it."

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Letter to the editor of the Boston Globe

Dear mEditor:

Regarding the article about the tragic killing of a 15 year old Gazan, you almost got the point--but not quite.

When Palestinian terrorists shot 4 members of a Palestinian family, who were objecting to the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigade's placement of a Qassam rocket launcher on the road in front of their house in Beit Hanoun (Gaza), they were trying to protect their land and their home. You forgot to mention that the Al-Za'nin family did not want the rockets fired against Israel from their home's vicinity because of Israel's likely military response aimed at the source of the rocket-fire.  Such is frequently and sadly the case when Palestinians cruelly place their weapons in the midst of civilians. As you did report, when the terrorists shot at the family, two nephews sustained injuries and a third nephew, 15 year old Hassan Al-Za'nin, was killed. Such indifference to the rights of children!

Dr. Carol Fineblum 
Needham, MA

BBC FINALLY  FINALLY wrote a sympathetic report on Israel, regarding the Jews living in Gaza, with a nice photo display... ALLOWING THEM TO SPEAK the instructions below tell people to write to the BBC to express their disappointment.... please look at the article, at

Friday, July 23, 2004

Palestinian Descent into Chaos

by Daniel PipesNew York SunJuly 20, 2004

"There is a crisis. There is a state of chaos." That's what Ahmed Qureia said after announcing his resignation from what some call the Palestinian Authority's prime ministry. "We have an absolute state of chaos," echoes the mayor of Jenin, a West Bank town. That chaos, growing since Yasir Arafat initiated the Oslo War in September 2000, has prompted the PA to declare a state of emergency; it could signal the end of the PA itself.

According to an April poll of the Gaza-based General Institute for Information, 94 percent of Palestinians believe that a state of lawlessness and chaos prevails in Palestinian Authority territories. As Palestinian security forces have fragmented and dissolved, armed groups of unknown identity have taken their place, using strong-arm tactics against a hapless population. The Jerusalem-based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group finds that "weapons possession has become socially legitimized in Palestinian society."

In gang-dominated Nablus, for example, some deaths have resulted from spiraling criminal activity and reckless accusations of "collaboration" with Israel. But, Reuters explains, most casualties involve mistaken identity or plain bad luck. In two typical stories dating from February 2004, "Amneh Abu Hijleh, 37, entered a pharmacy to buy cough syrup for her infant daughter only to be shot dead in a botched abduction. Firas Aghbar, 13, was killed when he walked into a gang battle on his way to the barber for a birthday trim."

As explained by the Washington Post, "the Palestinian Authority is broke, politically fractured, riddled with corruption, unable to provide security for its own people and seemingly unwilling to crack down on terrorist attacks against Israel." One unnamed Fatah member estimates that 90 percent of gang activity is carried out by Palestinian Authority employees.
In February, for example, one Palestinian police officer died and eleven were wounded when rival police factions fought each other within the confines of Gaza's police headquarters. Things climaxed on July 16, as Al-Fatah terrorists ambushed and seized Gaza's police chief for several hours; and then some recently-sacked Palestinian policemen abducted the director of military co-ordination in the southern part of Gaza.

The UN's Middle East envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen, has offered choice comments on the spreading anarchy, telling the Security Council that "Clashes and showdowns between branches of Palestinian security forces are now common in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian Authority legal authority is receding fast in the face of the mounting power of arms, money and intimidation." He also reached the startling conclusion that "Jericho is actually becoming the only Palestinian city with a functioning police."

This descent into chaos prompts four observations.

  1. The PA has joined other parts of the Greater Middle East (Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan) in the general trend toward lawlessness.
  2. Mr. Arafat predicted in 1994 that "Either we build a Singapore in our country or fall into the trap of the tragic Somali model." He thus acknowledges that the PA's slide to Somali-like anarchy symbolizes his own failure.
  3. The Islamic proverb, "Better a thousand days of tyranny than one day of anarchy," has an element of truth, for life in the PA territories has truly become hellish.
  4. Although Mr. Arafat launched the Oslo war nearly four years ago with the intent to destroy Israel, he is, ironically, destroying not Israel but his own proto-government.
The question now facing Palestinians is whether they have learned the right lessons from their bitter experience. That for once they are not blaming Israel for their problems gives some reason for optimism. Cox News Service notes that, "as the disorder spreads, Palestinian intellectuals and politicians are increasingly looking past Israel as the usual scapegoat and admitting they share a part of the blame." National Public Radio quotes a Palestinian saying that the PA is in trouble "because many people are being killed or kidnapped or robbed. … We are all accusing the government of not doing anything." A poll by the Gaza-based General Institute for Information finds that just 29 percent of Palestinians hold Israelis responsible for the PA's failure to enforce law and order.

This is a good start. But to emerge from their political predicament requires Palestinians coming to terms with the existence of the Jewish state of Israel. So long as they resist this change of heart, the Somali model remains their fate.

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Sunday, July 18, 2004

Letter to Ha'aretz

Dear Mr. Levy,

Your main point, expressed in, is very well taken. We are
often more charitably inclined when judging the transgressions we commit
against others than we are when judging others who offend us. Indeed, we
are often much more sensitive to offenses against us than we are to the
offenses that we commit against others. In an ideal world, with all things
being equal, such imbalance is wrong. That being said, however, the
overstatement of your case does it a great disservice. When one chooses
cases that presume to be analogous to the situation at hand, but in fact are
obviously distinguishable one also detracts from an important and truly
valid point.

For example, the first case - which compared the bulldozer operator to a
cold-blooded terrorist, is inapposite. The distinguishing factors are
obvious: A terrorist's declared purpose is to murder and thereby terrorize.
For instance, those who shot Mr. Klinghoffer in his wheelchair aboard the
Achille Lauro in 1985 did so with malice aforethought. The militants who
ambush and machine gun pregnant mothers and their young daughters, (like the
Hatuel family in May of this year (while videotaping the events,) should not
be compared with Israeli Defense Forces operating in a theatre of combat, as
though the two were moral equals. Suicide bombers and others who
deliberately target unarmed civilians are simply not on the same moral
ground as forces engaging militants to defend against and prevent such
atrocities. We do not know whether the bulldozer operator heard or
understood what Mr. Halfalla's wife was screaming. Your article provided no
proof for the insinuation that Israeli bulldozer operator who buried Ibrahim
Halfalla while demolishing his home did so with full knowledge that Mr.
Halfalla was inside and with intent to kill him. Such knowledge and intent
should not be presumed. Now, if the account of Palestinian security and
medical personnel (who remain anonymous in all the accounts) is presumed
accurate and if the bulldozer operator indeed had such knowledge and intent
and if there were not relevant, extenuating security circumstances, he
clearly should face trial in a civil court for wrongful death and in
criminal court for murder. Examples of our reckless disregard for the
humanity of another, even our enemies, (maybe especially our enemies) do
deserve our consideration. For in the grand scheme of things, it is only our
morality, based upon our heritage that every single human being is created
in the Divine image.

The second example, of the University professor and his son, shot in the
midst of a pitched gun battle in Nablus, is also problematic. The difficulty
with using either of these cases as paradigmatic is that the IDF has
admitted that both of these were tragic mistakes and has apologized. Indeed
the story of the professor received prominent press. Now, this does not make
these instances any less tragic, but it seriously undermines the contention
that: "Palestinian victims - and their numbers, as everyone knows, are far
greater than ours - don't even merit newspaper reports, not even when the
chain of events is particularly brutal, as in the examples above. This is
not an intellectual exercise but an attempt to demonstrate the concealment
of information, the double morality and the hypocrisy."

In both accounts, the "concealment of information and the double morality"
on the part Israelis has not been demonstrated, so much as assumed. The
chain of events in both these cases is not clear; and, because the history
of Palestinian claims is so badly checkered, the argument is further
undercut. The regularity with which Palestinian 'eye-witness accounts' have
been proven to be not just inaccurate, but deliberate and highly cynical
fabrications or manipulations of fact is part of the problem. The accounts
about Mohammed Al Dura's death, the "massacre" in Jenin, the deaths of Asmaa
Moghayer and her brother, Ahmed and the manipulation of the now infamous
photograph of Tuvia Grossman are just a few of the myriad, glaring examples
that come to mind. Add this to the fact many of the of the Palestinian
casualties are the direct result of terrorists deliberately ensconcing
themselves within the civilian population and the fact that many (though, of
course, not all) of the Palestinian casualties were not simply innocent
bystanders when they were killed.

Again, this is not to undermine your central point, that racism has no place
and that we risk losing our very souls -and all moral suasion regarding our
own claims- when we become insensitive to the humanity of others and trample
upon them.

At the same time, the argument is really not well served when every issue is
thrown into the same cholent. The idiotic and inexcusably racist comments
attributed to an individual minister are simply not on a par with roads that
may, at present, be traveled by Jews but not Arabs. The latter condition is
not explained by racism as much as it is due to the fact that in the
relevant areas Jewish drivers are much more regularly shot at by Arabs than
the other way around. To simply argue under current conditions that all
distinctions are racist goes way too far and undercuts the validity of an
important point. And finally, to simply accept and gratuitously pass along
the allegation that settlers tried to poisoned a well near Hebron, for the
sake of a rhetorical flourish, actually weakens the argument; yes, some
settlers have done some bad things. However, settler spokesmen have angrily
denied this heinous allegation. Moreover, police officers who went to
investigate the matter did not manage to find anything in the well. The
facts should be examined quite thoroughly and openly before an accusation
like this is given credence.

I hope that you are well and will consider my comments in the constructive
spirit in which they are offered.


Elihu D. Stone
Sharon, MA

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe

The Op-Ed by Baruch Kimmerling on the International Court of Justice's
Ruling and Israel's Fence is contemptible for its intemperance in describing
the nature of the barrier that Israel has been forced to construct between
itself and the source of the terrorist bombers.

Professor Kimmerling differs with the Israeli Supreme Court's clear
understanding that the fence is a necessary defensive measure that might be
adjusted to allow the humanitarian needs of Palestinians; instead of a
non-violent last resort to counter the most lethal of the Palestinian 'last
resorts', the professor sees the fence as only a sinister, cynical
manipulation. For Professor Kimmerling "[t]he pretext for building the fence
was security and the desire to keep suicide bombers out of Israel." These
bombers have murdered and wounded thousands of Israeli citizens, both inside
and outside the 1967 armistice lines, since the collapse of the Oslo peace
accords. For Kimmerling, these tragedies are but a pretext.

However, in perusing Professor Kimmerling's work, one finds that this
sociologist sees a grand conspiracy in every action taken by the Israeli
government. It is no surprise that, for Kimmerling, the actual fact of
terrorist bombings seems of little moment.

Niceties, such as historical facts, seem to be acknowledged by the good
professor only when they fit his own moral sensibilities. In an article of
March 27, 2001 professor Kimmerling noted that "[s]ince 1967, millions of
Palestinians have been under a military occupation, without any civil rights
with, and most lacking even the most basic human rights. The continuing
circumstances of occupation and repression give them, by any measure, the
right to resist that occupation with any means at their disposal and to rise
up in violence against that occupation. This is a moral right inherent to
natural law and international law."

After justifying the Palestinians' use of "any means at their disposal" with
one sweeping and inaccurate sentence, as a moral right, consonant with
natural and international law, the professor does pause to observe that
"[I]ndiscriminate Palestinian terrorism against civilian populations in the
heart of Israel is immoral, and has a boomerang effect. It increases anger
and hatred in the Jewish community and blocks the possibility that an
empathetic, rational view can be taken of rightful Palestinian demands. The
terrorism also serves as a political tool, consciously used by cynical
politicians on the right, and lately by some leading army commanders, to
torpedo any possibility of agreements between Israel and the Palestinians."

In sum, for professor Kimmerling, indiscriminate terrorism is bad for moral
and tactical reasons. However, the unstated corollary of professor
Kimmerling's postulate is that 'discriminate terror' - against, say, Jews
living in the disputed territories, is just fine. This, perforce, must be
contrasted with what professor Kimmerling describes as the "personal
terrorism" used by the Israeli army against militant field commanders. That,
of course, is bad. No wonder then, that Professor Kimmerling would condemn
the building of a fence that interferes with the exercise of what he
perceives as the moral and natural right of militants to rise up in violence
and use any means at their disposal to cleanse the land of those he deems

However, one might be justifiably suspect of both Professor Kimmerlings
characterization of facts and his conclusions, since the professor is the
one who seems to manipulating pretext and context. Telling, for instance, is
Professor's condemnation of former Israeli Prime Minister Barak, whom the
professor chided for being a "secular revolutionary" unable to give up
certain quaint Jewish symbols. .. Such as "the remnants of a Jewish temple
that might or might not be buried under a central Muslim mosque on the
Temple Mount." (Ha'aretz October 4, 2000). Kimmerling's willingness to
undermine the most basic archeological facts in order to mock the best
peace-making efforts of a Prime Minister who did not share the good
professor's view of the world seems, at best, "dodgy" as professor
Kimmerling might put it.

Now, all this may be no surprise coming from an Israeli academic who has
vehemently attacked Bennie Morris for seriously re-thinking his own
post-Zionist views, in light if current indisputable realities. What is
remarkable is that the Boston Globe chose to give voice only to an Israeli
sociologist who seems so bent on blaming Israel for all the ills of the
Middle East that he wantonly warps basic historical and moral realities. The
blindness of Professor Kimmerling, and the ICJ for that matter, was clearly
underlined by today's bus bombing, in the heart of Tel-Aviv, for which
Yasser Arafat's Al-Aqsa brigades claimed proud credit. The Globe's choice of
Professor Kimmerlings particular voice for commentary on issues of fact and
legality is tendentious in the extreme.


Elihu D. Stone
Sharon, MA

The building of the Israeli fence

To: United Nations, EU Parliament, EU Court of Justice
Subj: The building of the Israeli fence

When Israel builds a fence to keep out terrorists, the UN and EU are up in
arms because it makes it difficult for terrorists to kill more Jews.

When terrorists shoot (point blank!) an 8-month-pregnant Jewish woman and
her 4 little girls, there is absolute silence from your organizations.

Further, what of the many Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Arabs that
inside the fence (e.g. residents of Umm El Fahm) are now able to
live normal lives and commerce without terrorists roaming their towns and
the IDF forced to engage them?

What of the many other fences across the globe separating conflicted
peoples that are a valuable tool to stop aggression? E.g. Kashmir

Your hyprocrisy, one-sidedness, and lunacy is disgusting.
Perhaps "the fuhrer" did win Europe afterall.


Andrew Warren
Sharon, MA

Monday, July 12, 2004

Letter to the Editor of the NY Times

Dear Editor:

Kudos to your journalist, David Berger, on his comprehensive and factual reporting of the Israel Supreme Courts decision regarding the securiity fence.

As he noted, the Court vehemently supported the legitimacy of the fence in order to secure the lives of Israeli citizens. The fundamental, second ruling of the high court - upholding the fence's legal justification- is the point. The Court did not "side with the Palestinians" but only rerouted the fence in small part to alleviate the potential suffering of some Palestinians - a decision that could only come from democratic Israel. Can you imagine an Arab court granting Jews protection? Imagine.

The court went far beyond that, issuing a landmark ruling that upholds the security fence's essential validity, the justices saying, "We examined petitioners' arguments, and have come to the conclusion, based upon the facts before us, that the Fence is motivated by security concerns.,, not the political one".

Take pride in the quality of your professional staff. We would hope that all newspapers could do the same.

Dr. Carol Fineblum
199 Rosemary St Needham, MA 02494 781-444-4420

'I used to be against the fence, now I'm for it'


Sami Mcarah, a 29-year-old Arab Israeli resident of Jaffo got off a
bus at Tel Aviv's old bus station just minutes before a bomb went
off on Sunday that killed one woman and injured 30 others.

"I used to be opposed to the security fence, but now I support it,
and I'm going to start a foundation to support the fence's
construction" Mcarah told Israel Radio.

"The terrorist had no intention just to hurt Jews, but he went out
to kill as many people as possible. The Palestinians are stupid for
what they're doing, they're not achieving anything and in the end
they will only turn us Israeli Arabs against them," said Mcarah.

Mcarah, wounded by shrapnel to his leg, said he rushed over to a
woman he saw on the ground and tried to help her. He said he took
her pulse but she was already dead, "The images in my head will
never go away, although I feel lucky that I have a new life after
surviving the second terror attack."

The attack is the second one Mcarah has been through. In 1995,
Mcarah got off the number 5 bus on Dizingoff street just seconds
before it was blown up by a suicide bomber.

Mcarah is the chairman of a non profit organization called Equal
Peace, that works toward creating equality between Arabs and Jews.

He is married with 2 children and is a Chef at a restaurant near the
old bus station where Sunday's attack took place.

The following message went to the DNC --find Contact Us on their website.

It was initiated by a letter from Naomi Regan.

To the DNC:
As alife-long democrat, I am appalled to read the recently unearthed information that Senator Kerry may neither be pro nor even neutral toward Israel.With his wife pouring millions into the Tides Foundation, active supporter of the far left organization, CAIR (which has connections to Hamas, and whose members include proven terrorists).
A Google search for Tides Foundation - will show you where the grant money goes.
Tell his wife to stop this support! Votes are at stake!
Either the Senator publicly disavows his connection -distant as it is--to Hamas or we look elsewhere for leadership.
Please respond.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

It is likely that Israel will consider bringing Palestinian Authority
Chairman Yasser Arafat to trial, much as it did with Nazi leader Adolph
Eichmann for war crimes and crimes against humanity. This would entail a
proper judicial process in the Israeli courts.
Reading Ariel Natan Pasko's recent commentary on Arafat leads to the
following facts and conclusions:

Israel Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, "There's no
difference between Barghouti and Arafat, they're exactly the same, with one
difference, Arafat is responsible for many more Israelis murdered in terror
attacks. Israel's court system recently found Marwan Barghouti, founder of
the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade (later outlawed as a terrorist organization by
the US) and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, guilty of
direct involvement in the murder of five Israelis. The Tel Aviv District
Court acquitted him of 33 other attacks. As leader of the Fatah-Tanzim
terrorist organization, Barghouti was on trial for overseeing dozens of
terror attacks. The judges explained their decision to acquit Barghouti of
most of the cases on the basis of Israel's legal system, which they said,
prevents the conviction of a leader of a terrorist organization for acts
carried out by members of the group, if he himself is not directly involved,
even though it may be known that the leader encouraged them to carry out the
attacks and provided his associates with the finances to carry out the
attacks. They said the law was far from satisfactory, but they were bound by
the law as is. Since when is an accomplice to serial murder ignored?

Because Barghouti did not have direct contact with the people who
perpetrated the attacks, the court, a western model of fairness, declared
that he be acquitted. And yet, they admitted that he masterminded murders of
innocent civilians. Israeli forces captured Barghoti in April 2002 in a
building only 500 meters from Arafat's Mukatah compound. His nephew, Ahmed
Barghouti, also captured then, received thirteen life sentences last year by
the Ofer Military Court, for his part in the terrorist murder of 12 Israelis
and the wounding of dozens of others. Barghouti has recently boasted, "After
we attain a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, there will be greater
things for which to strive...There is no room for more than one state
between the Jordan and the Mediterranean."
Arafat has also called for Jihad against Israel and its demise many more
tmes. Arafat - as head of Fatah - who personally ordered the terror attacks
and authorized the funds later used by Barghouti for the attacks, hasn't yet
been tried. The judges said Barghouti's orders for terror attacks were
sometimes "based on instructions" from Palestinian Authority Chairman

Even though Israel has found documentation that directly links Arafat to the
arms purchases and funding of terror activities, which have killed 1,500
Israelis, he has not been held responsible. Do his fairly regular calls of
"Jihad, Jihad, Jihad" mean nothing?

Put Arafat on trial for crimes against humanity, i.e. against Jewish
children, against diplomats whose murders he ordered in the Sudan, and all
the other
victims of his decades old serial murder spree in the name of Palestinian
independence. Israel should put Arafat on trial like Barghouti, with one
Barghouti got life sentences. Perhaps Arafat should be hanged like

Dr. Carol Fineblum 199 Rosemary St Needham, MA 02494 781-444-4420

Dear HonestReporting Subscriber,
The legality of the Israeli security fence remains in the media spotlight, with two binding rulings issued by the Israeli Supreme Court last week, and an upcoming (July 9) 'advisory opinion' expected from the World Court at The Hague. At stake are two questions:

● Is the proposed route of the fence fair to both Israelis and Palestinians?
● More fundamentally, is the very construction of the security fence justified under international law?

Addressing the first question, the Supreme Court ruled that the fence should be re-routed in certain regions around Jerusalem to address humanitarian concerns. The army immediately complied.

Media reports were quick to convey this portion of the ruling. The Washington Post granted it front-page status, and the Associated Press issued a broadly-published report.

But these same media outlets were remiss in bringing to readers' attention the much more fundamental, second ruling of the high court ― upholding the fence's legal justification as a security measure.

AP sets the tone for their article with the opening phrase:

Israel's Supreme Court sided with the Palestinians in a precedent-setting decision Wednesday, ordering the government to reroute part of its West Bank separation barrier near Jerusalem because it causes too much suffering.

And the Washington Post mentions the court's fundamental acceptance of the fence only as an afterthought ― in paragraph 18 of a 19-paragraph article ― stating that the court "did not find that the barrier was being constructed for political reasons, as Palestinians have alleged."

Israeli Supreme Court President Aharon Barak

Indeed, the court went far beyond that, issuing a landmark ruling that upholds the security fence's essential validity, and denies Palestinian claims that
[t]he security arguments guiding respondents disguise the real objective: the annexation of areas to Israel. As such, there is no legal basis for the construction of the Fence.

This was soundly rejected by the Supreme Court:

We examined petitioners' arguments, and have come to the conclusion, based upon the facts before us, that the Fence is motivated by security concerns ... Petitioners, by pointing to the route of the Fence, attempt to prove that the construction of the Fence is not motivated by security considerations, but by political ones. They argue that if the Fence was primarily motivated by security considerations, it would be constructed on the "Green Line," that is to say, on the armistice line between Israel and Jordan after the War of Independence. We cannot accept this argument. The opposite is the case: it is the security perspective ― and not the political one ― which must examine a route based on its security merits alone, without regard for the location of the Green Line.

Yet the Washington Post downplays, and the Associated Press completely omits, this crucial part of the court's ruling.

Comments to Washington Post:
Comments to AP:
[The New York Times' Joseph Berger, on the other hand, should be commended for accurately representing the court's full ruling by his second sentence: "The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel asserted that Israel has a genuine security reason for building the barrier and can expropriate land in the West Bank for it."]


Last week's Supreme Court ruling demonstrated, perhaps better than any event in the recent past, the power of Israeli democratic process to address security vs. human rights concerns. The judges themselves emphasized the dilemma they faced:

Our task is difficult. We are members of Israeli society...We are aware of the killing and destruction wrought by terror against the state and its citizens. As any other Israelis, we too recognize the need to defend the country and its citizens against the wounds inflicted by terror. We are aware that in the short term, this judgment will not make the state's struggle against those rising up against it easier.

This Israeli democratic process was in sharp contrast to a development on the Palestinian side last week. A Palestinian Authority organ called the 'Supreme National Committee for the Protection of the Right of Return' determined that Palestinians living in refugee camps should not have the right to vote in local elections. The PA daily paper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida explained why:

The committee justified its objection as protecting the unique status of the refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank, considering them testimony to the crime that the occupation state made against our nation for 56 years. The committee warned of the dangers of integrating the refugee camps into the urban housing units. [via PMW]

That is, the PA plans to deny democratic voting rights to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, so that this impoverished population can continue to be used by the Arab ruling class as a weapon to fight against Israel, as 'testimony to a crime.'

Consider the irony: The Israeli court issues a ruling out of concern for Palestinian human rights, while the PA's own ruling sets back Palestinian human rights.

This is the same Fatah-led P.A. under whose authority a public lynching of an alleged 'collaborator' occurred on a Qabatiya street last week (pictured at right).

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen compares the Israeli Supreme Court decision with the U.S. Declaration of Independence's assertion of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Writes Cohen:

The Israeli Supreme Court did something similar, although with more explicit language. "There is no security without law," it wrote.
Bear this decision in mind, please, when next someone refers to the Israelis as "Nazis" or otherwise talks about the nation as if it were a thuggish dictatorship ...

The early Zionists wanted Israel to be a light unto other nations. The other day, it was.

As legal issues surrounding the Israeli security fence continue to make headlines, HonestReporting encourages subscribers to write letters to your local media outlets, emphasizing Israel's democratic struggle to balance security needs with human rights.


David Gerstman contributed to this HonestReporting communique.

Visit our weblog ― ― for frequent updates
on media coverage of the Mideast conflict.

Paris Fashion

The spring 2004 fashions have arrived in the chic boutiques of Paris, and along with 50s-style full skirts and prim lace collars, anti-Semitism is back in fashion. In France this season, Jew-hating is all the rage, literally.

Attacks against Jews and their property have escalated to an alarming extent. The French Jewish community (at 600,000, the second-largest Jewish population outside of Israel) is living in a state of anxiety. Hostile acts against Jews are posted weekly on the Web site of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (, and on, a government hate-crime report center. Here are just a few examples from the last few weeks:

A 14-year-old boy wearing a yarmulke came out of the Ourq metro station and was followed by two young men. They called him a "dirty Jew" and robbed him in front of a crowd of witnesses. The men knocked the boy down, beat him on the head and broke his nose. The boy begged for help from passers-by, who simply walked away.

In central Paris, a teacher from a Jewish school was beaten up by young men, who ripped the Star of David from the teacher's neck and trampled her. They called her a "dirty Jew" and lit her hair on fire. They also told her, "We're going to burn all you Jews."

A group of four young men interrupted a class in the auditorium of the University Medical School of Saint-Antoine in Paris. They yelled, "We're going to kill all the Jews" and, "We're armed and we're going to take you all down."

When a Jewish student confronted the men they beat him and robbed him. The professor who was teaching the class said nothing and the men walked out without a care while the class looked on in silence. The dean of the University has been told of the situation but has not yet responded.

On the walls of the Rue Des Rosiers (in the Marais, the Jewish quarter), once again there are signs of the Star of David in yellow paint accompanied by the slogan, "And don't forget the showers of Zyclon," referring to the gas used in Nazi death camps.

Also in Paris, a 12-year-old girl coming out of a Jewish school was attacked by two men. They beat her, held her down and slashed her face with a box cutter. They carved a swastika into her face and walked away. Her parents have filed a police report.

A swastika carved into the face of an innocent Jewish girl proves how anger directed at Jews in France has moved beyond mere hate-speech and racist vandalism. The symbols of hate have jumped from desecrated tombstones and subway walls to the actual skin of Jews.

Unlike the last big wave of anti-Semitism in France, the people who are committing these crimes today are predominantly first-generation descendants of immigrants from the former French colonies in North Africa - Muslim Arabs.

Radicalized Islam is taking root all over Europe, encouraged by the international Arab press, the successes of Al Qaeda and sympathy for the Palestinian intifada. This malignant hatred is fueled by the Internet, where thousands of French, European and Arabic-language sites give voice to and connect cyber-haters in Internet chat rooms. Virtual Jewish blood is flowing from ever-growing e-mail lists while live screaming for Jewish blood is heard at pro-Palestinian/anti-American demonstrations on the Grands Boulevards of Paris.

A 12-year-old Jewish girl walking home from school in Paris is not an Israeli in "occupied territory," but these days she might as well be. She is defenseless and we must step forward to protect her. This new generation of anti-Semites, "Arabullies," are also virulently anti-Israel.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, if one speaks in support of Israel at French dinner parties, one is shouted down. Even at my own dinner table, when I told a guest of my fears about living in Paris in such a climate of anti-Semitism, he insisted, "There is no anti-Semitism in France, don't be ridiculous."

When I told him about everything I had read about the rising tide of anti-Jewish hatred, he told me I was being "influenced by the Jew lobby" and that whatever I was reading was "Jewish propaganda."

When I told him that among other papers, I was reading The New York Times, he said, "You know, The New York Times is a Jewish paper and Jews control all the media."

He said it with a smile, even knowing that I am a Jew. What made his comments especially chilling is that he is on the Catholic Board of Education of Paris.

So this spring in Paris, like every spring, the fashion runways are a jumbled mix of styles, as each designer angles to dominate the nouveau look of the season. This season, I'm afraid the designers of bigotry and hate are already having a good year. In fact, those long, belted black leather Waffen SS oats look an awful lot like Gucci's sexy new fall line. I wonder what will be modeled on the Paris runways next spring - striped pajamas? Starched black shirts?

Europeans have always had a soft spot for this fascist garb; I just hope America doesn't follow suit.

Dear Editor:

You missed the point in your reporting Israel's Supreme Court's Security Fence decision.

The Court vehemently supported the legitimacy of the fence in order to secure the lives of Israeli citizens. Your emphasis would totally ignore this democratically-derived decision to protect citizens while also protecting the rights of several Palestinians whose lands were involved in only a small fence space.

The much more fundamental, second ruling of the high court - upholding the fence's legal justification- is the point. Read it over and report the facts correctly.

Israel's Supreme Court did not "side with the Palestinians" but only rerouted the fence in small part to alleviate the potential suffering of some Palestinians - a decision that could only come from democratic Israel. Can you imagine an Arab court granting Jews protection? Imagine.

The court went far beyond that, issuing a landmark ruling that upholds the security fence's essential validity, the justices saying, "We examined petitioners' arguments, and have come to the conclusion, based upon the facts before us, that the Fence is motivated by security concerns.,, not the political one".

For whatever reason, you have omitted or minimilized the meaning of the court's ruling.

Dr. Carol Fineblum
199 Rosemary St Needham, MA 02494 781-444-4420