Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Letter in Jerusalem Post

Here's my letter that appeared in The Jerusalem Post, April 25, 2005:

Sharon and 'Time'

Sir, – Uri Dan is correct that Ariel Sharon technically won his libel suit against Time in that the court noted that what the magazine had published was false ("From Zero to hero," April 21). Nevertheless, Dan is a bit sloppy himself in failing to alert his readers that the final judgment was an acquittal.

The federal jury was addressed by the judge, Abraham Sofaer, who explained with care the subtleties of the actual malice standard. The jury subsequently found that, first, the statement at issue was defamatory; second, that it was false – but third that Time did not act with actual malice in publishing it. Sharon failed to gain financial remuneration.

The important consequence of the trial was the undercutting of the unethical journalistic standard of quoting from unidentified sources.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Whose Crusade?

Eva Green opines that the new movie in which she stars, "Kingdom of Heaven", is one "with substance", one that will "wake up people in America...to be more tolerant, more open towards the Arab people."

One, then, can only attempt to remind her that in this past century the historic Jewish Jerusalem, from the Temple Mount to the Mount of Olives, has been ravaged and destroyed by Arabs in an effort to obliterate a history, a culture and a future. Archeological remains and ancient synagogues, artifacts representing three-thousand years of presence, have been targeted for physical obliteration in a different type of crusade.

However Hollywood presents events of the 12th century, we hope that Ms. Green's political message will not pass any test of time.

My Full Sympathy and Empathy

Colm Toibin has my full sympathy and I surely identify with his feelings about Tara, an historical site in Ireland. In a guest column in the New York Times, "A Road Runs Through Tara", published on April 25, 2005, Toibin writes eloquently of the importance of such locations.

As I view the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, I, too, recall the site's "precious heritage", its "special status as a symbol of former strength and glory" and the "grandeur that lies in its commanding position". Not only does the
Temple Mount possess a "lovely old dreaminess" of two temples but it asserts the promise of a renewed future for all mankind.

But the Temple Mount has been assaulted, on the one hand, by the construction of buildings by a rival religion, Islam, that seeks to supplant its past and, on the other, by a government policy that restricts entrance to its precincts by Jews and denies any religious actions therein by them.

I hope Toibin and his band of Irishmen succeed in their campaign as we continue ours.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Friedman: One "He" vs. "They"

Thomas Friedman had a particularly nasty op-ed published yesterday.

While praising democratic values, he seems quite unattuned to his own rather outrageous undemocractic behavior.

Viewing Jewish religious nationalists a "threat", he discards all pretense of any liberal, humanistic outlook and asserts "they killed Mr. Rabin for getting in their way and have threatened to do the same to Mr. Sharon". He ominously concludes "some of these settlers will not go down quietly".

Who are "they"?

Are "they" all kippa-wearing youngsters? Is this a blanket condemnation that in itself may lead assertive left-wingers or even, perhaps, the police in Israel, to act in ways that would recall anti-semitic societies? And how does one "put down" such a threat?

Friedman should clarify and apologize.

And I received this letter from Eve Harow:-

Thomas Friedman says that "one of the criticisms leveled at Ariel Sharon over his decision to withdraw unilaterally from Gaza is that he has never fully spelled out the reasons for his epiphany".

Although that is true, it is Sharon's anti-democractic behavior that is more worrying.

Elected on an anti-unilateral disngagement platform, he reneged on his commitment to abide by an internal Likud party poll, which he lost. He then fired two ministers before they could vote against his plan in order to gain an artificial cabinet majority he wouldn't have otherwise achieved. He had the army's chief-of-staff, Moshe Ayalon, who had expressed reservations about the plan, fired.

Sharon has, since then, spoke of civil war, intimating, just as Friedman does in his article, that his opponents pose a real threat while the danger stems foremost from his own disengagement plan.

And no one has asked the hardest question - least of all the media. What happens when the terror continues, using Gaza has an international base?

Why bother - Sharon wouldn't answer that, either.

Monday, April 18, 2005

President Bush, Why Not?

The New York Times reports that Israel will be releasing 9 Jordanian prisoners. Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is quoted as saying, "We want to improve and strengthen the relations between Israel and Jordan".

Wouldn't a similar American gesture be appropriate at this time? In granting Jonathan Pollard clemency, President George W. Bush would, in permitting him after 18 years to go free, marry and move to Israel, would not only improve ties and relations with Israel but would surely be doing an act of moral justice in the deepest sense.

Not So Difficult to Find a Reason

In HaAretz, a report notes that:-

"The IDF's rules of engagement along the Philadelphi route have not been altered for the period of calm. According to IDF sources, the rules of engagement along the route have remained unchanged due to the need to continue to prevent smuggling across the border.

"The soldiers, therefore, acted in accordance with their directives, but military sources said Sunday night that the commander of the force had been mistaken in his considerations and that it was plain to see that the five youths had been unarmed and shots to their legs would have sufficed.

"The soldiers acted as if they were involved in a confrontation with an armed cell, and there was no justification for this," a military source said. "There was no reason for an incident like this to have ended in the death of three youths."

Well, I can find a justification. They won't have to shoot ever again, at all, because the youths who support terror and criminal activity in aid of terror won't dare to do what they did again. And if they do, they'll have to know that being involved in this type of activity which is intended to kill and maim Israelis, will result, necessarily, perhaps, in their own deaths.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Even Worse?

Hamas, this Gazan claims, is worse even than Israel.

Proof Positive

Reuters posted this article which provides us proof positive that all along they knew that "militants" was a term that described very violent individuals, persons who carry weapons and kill people.

So, why then use "militants" when 'gunmen', 'gangsters' or even 'terrorists' are words that so much better rivet one's attention?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Who Gets to Be "Civil" and "Rebellious"?

The Left in Israel always presume that ipso facto, they are right and the Right is wrong. It's not only double standards. They really don't read what they write or listen to what they themselves say.

Here's a letter of mine that appeared in the Jerusalem Post of Wednesday, April 6:-

Whose norms?

Sir, - Nachman Shai foresees a new normalcy, one in which there is room for a "spirit of [...] civil rebellion" such as in the fight for medications and the students' battle ("The coming new normalcy," April 3). According to Shai, in adopting the disengagement, Israel has "created this reality, and will need to live by its new rules."

Can we assume that civil rebellion would also be acceptable to prevent the disengagement plan, which many feel will not bring us a new reality but simply will renew the old normalcy of security problems, including Arab terror, a weakened Israel, threatened water resources and a diluted Zionist spirit?

Or are the "new rules" only to be set by Shai and fellow disengagement supporters?

Monday, April 04, 2005

In Concert

Although I haven't be trumpeting my opinion, one of the major
problems the anti-disengagementists have faced is what is
described below, or what was the situation until this notice.

There has been a major lack of strategic thinking, lack of ability
or unwillingness to coordinate and not dominate, lack of open
avenues for receiving creative ideas, lack of proper spokesperson
activities and organization, lack of understanding how best to spend
money, how to shape the campaign, reliance on "professional"
outsiders, weak communication links, separation of the political from
the activist, etc., etc.


Right-Wing Organizations Committed to Unity
Monday, April 4, 2005 / 24 Adar 5765

(IsraelNN.com) Right wing organizations, including the Yesha Council and Cities’ Action Committees met today and reached an understanding, an agreement and commitment to work in concert towards preventing the implementation of the Gaza Disengagement Plan.

Following last week’s Knesset defeat of the Referendum Bill, the last political hurdle in the way of the implementation of the plan was lifted, giving the prime minister all the political and legal backing required to move ahead towards the implementation phase, grassroots activists realize the time has come for ‘in-the-streets’ opposition.

Opponents to the government plan admit the defeat was a significant one, but vow they will continue the battle which will now focus on grassroots efforts to stop the planned destruction of some 25 communities in Gaza and northern Shomron.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Well, Why Not Jerusalem?

Member of the Palestinian National Council Muhammad Muqbel was in the
Ziryab restaurant when gunmen of the Fatah's Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades
shot it up. His reaction as recorded by Steve Erlanger, New York Times correspondent?

"You want to act tough, go to Jerusalem!"
("Militants' Wild West Night Leaves West Bank Town Dismayed", April 1).

This, then, is the true face of Israel's "partner for peace": violence, terror,
ill-disciplined security forces and public figures for whom Israel will always be the target.

For them, "Jerusalem" will be the symbol for Israel's disintegration.