Friday, October 31, 2003
1. Naive or Treasonous? The Metamorphosis of Israel?s Left
by Steven Plaut
In a recent opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post, Sarah Honig, one of the
paper?s better columnists, raised the question of whether Israel?s Left
should be regarded as stupid or crazy. She raised the question in response
to the latest gambit by Yossi Beilin, the Mother Hen of the Oslo debacle,
and his friends - the so-called ?Geneva Understandings?, which should be
better termed the Geneva Misunderstandings.
Honig?s question deserves to be taken seriously. The most correct answer to
her question is that while many leftists are indeed crazy or stupid or
both, increasingly Israel?s Left is composed simply of people who are evil.
This third possibility should be taken very seriously.
The growth in the weight of the evil amongst the stupid and the crazy in
Israel?s Left has a simple explanation. While the Israeli Left at the time
when the first Oslo Accords were perpetrated consisted mainly of the naïve
and the foolish, these people have in large part disappeared by now from
its ranks. In most cases, they simply became less foolish and naïve over
time, and consequently abandoned the Left. They were mugged by reality and
succumbed to the years of daily empirical demonstrations that the Left?s
understanding of the conflict in 1993 was simply wrong, demonstr ably
wrong, disastrously wrong.
These were the people whose earlier beliefs had remained open to a certain
amount of testing and proving in the pudding, whose minds had not been
hermetically locked closed. When the pudding proved how wrong they had
been, they had second thoughts. They awoke and sniffed the coffee the rest
of us had long been sipping. They removed their primrose blinders from
their eyes Among the manifestations of these having second thoughts were
the near-complete implosion of the leftist Meretz party, which lost half
its Knesset representation, and the landslide defeat of Amram Mitzna and
the Labor Pa rty Left in the last Israeli election.
As the naïve abandoned the Left in droves, a process of adverse selection
occurred. Those who remained in the Israeli Left despite the past decade of
Oslo experiences are today by and large people who are evil. They
constitute the Satanic Left. Some used to be foolish leftists who evolved
into evil leftists. They remain in the Left because they are motivated by
hostility to Israel, animosity towards Jews, by self-hatred.
That a political movement like the Israeli Left could be taken over by
those motivated by dislike of their own country and hatred of their own
people should not come as too much of a surprise. After all, the American
campus Left is also today little more than a movement of anti-Americanism.
It will support any Third World butcher it thinks is sufficiently hostile
to the United States and the West. It supports everything imaginable that
can harm the United States.
In 1993, most Israeli leftists sincerely believed that if Israel would
recognize and legitimize the PLO, if it would just make goodwill gestures
towards the Palestinians and release them from Israel ?occupation?, if it
offered the Palestinians their own state alongside of Israel, if it allowed
Arafat and the leadership of the PLO to relocate from Tunis to the West
Bank, and if it showed itself somewhat flexible in terms of the status of
Jerusalem, then the Palestinians would respond to the generosity with
generosity. The Left genuinely expected that demonstrations of Israeli
goodwill would trigger outpourings of Palestinian goodwill and moderation,
that good sportsmanship would be rewarded with niceness. A decade of goo
dwill measures later, we now have ample proof.
Of course the Left was totally wrong. Israeli niceness did not produce
Palestinian niceness but rather Palestinian nazification. Israeli goodwill
gestures triggered Palestinian fanaticism. Israeli offers to compromise
produced Palestinian digging in of heals and insistence that only Israel?s
destruction through some ?right of return? was an acceptable solution. When
Israel turned over the bulk of the West Bank and Gaza to the PLO, along
with perhaps 95 % of the Palestinian population, those areas were not used
by the PLO for nation building and economic development. Instead, they were
used for nothing except perpetrating endless terrorist attacks, rocket
attacks, and mass murders against Jews.
It became evident very quickly that Palestinian terrorism was not being
caused by Israeli ?occupation? but rather was skyrocketing as a direct
consequence of the REMOVAL of Israeli occupation. Each and every Israeli
concession and offer to compromise was met with escalating Palestinian
savagery and barbarism, along with blood-curdling screams and demonization
of Jews. It became obvious that the terror bonfire was not being fanned by
any construction of Israeli ?settlements? but rather by Israeli offers of
appeasement that included proposals to REMOVE those settlements.
We are now more than a decade after the infamous White House handshake
between Yitzhak Rabin and Yassir Arafat. Frankly, intelligent people should
have seen in 1993 that Oslo was not a peace process at all but rather a
process of appeasement and defeatism that would end up NOT with a
suppression of Palestinian terror but rather with its takeoff to new
dimensions without precedent.
But in fairness, honest people with good intentions could well have
believed in 1993 that Oslo was the path to follow. They were motivated by
wishful thinking, by a complete misunderstanding of the Middle East
conflict, and by exhaustion.
Fast forwarding to 2004: Every single day since the Oslo Accords were
implemented has served as new empirical proof that those Accords were
founded on a totally incorrect concept of what the Middle East conflict was
about. The Middle East conflict was not about any need for Palestinian
?self-determination? but rather about the total refusal by the Arab world
to acquiesce in any form of Jewish self-determination. The problem was not
Israeli unwillingness for territorial compromise but Arab rejection of any
territorial compromise at all as a form of solution, if it were to allow a
rump Jewish state to continue to exist. Oslo proved that the Arabs would
not be satisfied with some form of Palestinian statehood restricted to the
West Bank and Gaza, but rather would demand all of Israel as well, perhaps
in the name of the right of ?self-determination? for the Arabs of Nazareth
and the Negev and Jaffa.
If the years of daily proofs were insufficient, surely the events at Camp
David II should have been more than enough to convince even the most
diehard idealist and obstinate naif on the Israeli Left of the errors of
its ways. At Camp David, Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians EVERYTHING:
virtually all of the West Bank and Gaza purged of their Jewish settlers,
all of East Jerusalem including the Western Wall, swaths of pre-1967
Israel, financial tribute, and admission of tens of thousands of
Palestinian ?refugees? into the areas that Israel would retain as partial
implementation of the Palestinian ?right of return?.
The PLO response to this suicidal offer by the leader of Israel?s Left at
the time was complete rejection and the launching of what has now become
universally misnamed the ?Al-Aqsa Intifada?, which should in fact more
properly be dubbed the Oslo Pogroms. The carnage is now about 900 murdered
Israelis, just since October 2000, and counting. The Left?s response to the
pogroms was characteristically revisionism, to deny that Barak had actually
made any generous offer at Camp David at all.
It is said that remarriage is the victory of hope over experience (as well
as common sense). Israel?s Leftist politicians continued to court the ugly
Palestinian bride who had divorced them over and over and over. To believe
after Camp David II that offers of generosity by Israel could ever defuse
Palestinian barbarism was simply to divorce oneself from reality and take
refuge in fantasy.
While the ranks of the Left in Israel dwindled, it retained much of its
powers, including its near-totalitarian hegemony over Israel?s media and
universities. But who exactly are these people still in the Left?
First of all, they are people who insist that Israel continue to pursue the
failed Oslo ?strategy? as if the past ten years of failure never took
place. Beilin?s Geneva Misunderstandings are perhaps the best illustration.
Going somewhat beyond even what Barak had offered at Camp David, they are
once again based on endless Israeli concessions, appeasements, and
capitulations to Arab demands with absolutely no quid pro quo. They are the
child of the same ?Concept? that has been discredited daily ever since 1993.
The only thing the Beilin ?accord? offers Israel is a promise of yet
another empty rhetorical commitment by the PLO to suppressing the terror,
which is the same old used Buick the PLO has been reselling to Israel
without ever delivering, over and over for the past decade. The PLO was
unwilling to countenance even the duplicitous language in the Beliin
Capitulations that made it appear that it might someday maybe agree to some
compromise over the Palestinian ?Right of Return?, which is the Palestinian
demand for unlimited immigration into Israel even AFTER some Palestinian
state is established. The Gargoyle of Ramallah rejected Beilin?s Munich
offer because of this.
Second, the Op-Eds and the official canon being preached by Israel?s Left
today is increasingly one of treason. Increasing numbers of the remnants
who are still denizens of the Left openly propose that Israel?s existence
be terminated. A growing number of Israeli Leftists are promoting the
so-called ?One State Solution? or the ?Bi-National Solution,? which should
more properly be called the Rwanda Solution. This is essentially a No-State
Solution. According to it, Israel would cease to exist as a Jewish state.
It would be entirely enfolded into a Palestinian state stretching from the
Mediterranean to the Jordan with the Arabs the majority and the Jews a
minority, tolerated at best like the other non-Arab or non-Moslem
minorities in the Arab world.
Israeli Leftists are increasingly recruiting themselves to serve the very
worst anti-Semites of the planet. There are today Israeli leftist
professors promoting the views of Holocaust Deniers. Scores of Israeli
professors endorse the boycotts being organized by overseas anti-Semites
directed against Israel, including even boycotts of the Israeli
institutions that pay them their salaries. Israeli leftists are regulars on
Islamist fundamentalist web sites and are the universal legitimizers of the
very worst haters of Jews throughout the world. There exists today a true
axis of evil, which links Jewish leftism with Islamofascism.
Third, Israel?s Left has always been fundamentally anti-democratic,
opposing the right of free expression for non-leftists, demanding that
non-leftists be prosecuted as ?inciters?. The Left has long insisted that
Yitzhak Rabin was in fact murdered because non-leftists and Oslo opponents
were permitted to exercise their right to free speech. But lately the
Left?s anti-democratic inclinations have taken a turn towards extremism and
The Left has long been of the opinion that Leftists should not be expected
to obey the law nor submit to the will of the majority because their
motives are so nice and pure. Leftists (and Arab fascists) should be able
to call openly for violence with impunity. Leftists should be excused from
serving in the army or obeying laws or paying taxes if the policies being
implemented by the government or the army are not those advocated by the
most extremist leftist 5% of the electorate.
The Left has for years been trying to foment mutiny and ?resistance? among
Israeli soldiers. It has organized groups who refuse to report to duty as
long as Israel ?occupies? any portion of the West Bank and Gaza. These are
people who explicitly refuse to submit themselves to the will of the
majority of their fellow citizens. These are not people willing to promote
their ideas through persuasion and argument, but rather through subversion
and defiance of the rule of law. They seek to impose their minority views
on the country through force. Their latest gambit is to organize mutiny
among Israeli pilots in the air force, who will refuse to shoot at
terrorist mass murderers until Israel ends its ?occupation? on those
leftist terms opposed by the bulk of the electorate. Polls are showing that
Israelis oppose the Beilin-proposed capitulations by at least two to one,
and Israeli Jews oppose them by about five to one.
In 1993 most Israeli leftists supported the Left because they believed its
ideas would benefit Israel and the Jewish people. Today most leftists
support those same ideas because they know they will harm Israel and Jews.
In 1993 most Israeli leftists believed in leftist ideas because they
thought ?Palestine? would pursue peace. Today those remaining on the Left
support Palestinian statehood because they know ?Palestine? will pursue war.
In 1993 most leftists believed in leftist ideas because they thought
Israeli concessions would lead to Arab moderation. Today?s leftists know
that these concessions are seen as signs of weakness that catalyze and
energize Arab violence and that is why they demand more of them.
In 1993 most leftists believed in Israeli restraint because they thought it
would stimulate Palestinian goodwill. Today?s leftists demand endless
restraint because they do not want Israel to fight terror at all. They want
terror to triumph.
In 1993 most leftists believed in leftist ideas because they thought Israel
would emerge stronger if Oslo were implemented. Today?s leftists advocate
the very same ?process? ? witness the Beilin-proposed Capitulations ?
because they desire to see Israel weakened and dismembered.
The Left of 1993 was by and large a Left that could be awakened from its
delusions by Palestinian atrocities, endless violations of PLO commitments,
Arab betrayal, and the increasingly nazified rhetoric of both Palestinians
and Israeli Arabs. The Left of 2004 does not need awakening because it has
no delusions that Oslo and its ?Road Map? will produce peace. It supports
the Road Map precisely because it knows it will not lead to peace but to a
new all-out Arab assault on Israel. The Leftists and their overseas
apologists will do anything in their power to underm ine the will of the
electorate in Israel and the will of the Jews to survive. They will
undermine any government the Israeli voters select. They have no scruples
when it comes to collaboration with the worst anti-Semites of the planet.
The Leftists of 2004 have no delusions that an independent ?Palestine? will
live at peace alongside Israel. They demand a solution precisely because
they know it will NOT live at peace with Israel.
Rabbi Seidler-Fuller is a far letist Hillel Rabbi associated with Mikey
Lerner and the Tikkun cult, with a long history of bashing Israel.
a d v e r t i s e m e n t
UCLA Rabbi Accused of Kicking Woman
By Peter Y. Hong
Times Staff Writer
October 30, 2003
The Los Angeles city attorney's office said Wednesday that it will hold an
administrative hearing on allegations that a prominent UCLA rabbi and peace
activist kicked a woman after a lecture on campus last week.
City attorney spokesman Eric Moses said the office would not pursue a
Rachel Neuwirth, a writer, accused Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, the director
of the Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA, of kicking her Oct. 21
outside an auditorium after a speech by Harvard Law School professor Alan
Seidler-Feller declined to comment, referring calls to his attorney, Donald
Etra. Etra would not comment on whether the rabbi struck Neuwirth.
He acknowledged that an argument took place, and said Neuwirth called
Seidler-Feller a "capo," referring to Jews who served as overseers in Nazi
concentration camps. The rabbi was not arrested.
"For someone active in the Jewish community, someone who has devoted his
life to service in the Jewish community, whose family experienced the
Holocaust, one could imagine that type of allegation is quite incendiary,"
Neuwirth, who writes about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for Internet
sites, said Seidler-Feller kicked and scratched her as they were leaving
Neuwirth said Seidler-Feller had been discussing an upcoming speech by Sari
Nusseibeh, president of Al Quds University, an Arab institution in
Jerusalem, when she mentioned her belief that Nusseibeh had helped direct
missile attacks on Israel in 1990.
Neuwirth said Seidler-Feller then attacked her until he was restrained by
several students. She acknowledged calling the rabbi a "capo" but said it
was not until after he attacked her.
Moses said it is "a fact of the case" that Seidler-Feller struck Neuwirth,
but that Neuwirth uttered provocative statements to Seidler-Feller.
"The facts show the actions of more than one party led to this incident,"
he said. Moses likened Neuwirth's action to "an instigating penalty" in
hockey, saying "one incident triggered another."
"Based on the facts of the case, the best resolution will be outside the
criminal justice system," Moses said.
At a city attorney hearing, parties meet with a hearing officer, who can
order binding actions to resolve a dispute, Moses said. In a case such as
this one, Moses said, an officer could order parties to stay away from each
other or direct one or the other to attend anger management classes.
Etra said he is "pleased and gratified" by the city attorney's decision.
Neuwirth's attorney, Robert Esensten, said he plans to pursue a civil lawsuit.
If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at
Thursday, October 30, 2003
1. Israel this week is in a minor ruckus over the Chief of Staff of the
army using the term ??hope??. He joined the politically correct crowd in
insisting that the entire past decade of Palestinian savagery and
atrocities was due to Israel failing to provide the Palestinians with
??hope??, and that unless they are provided now with ??hope??, then much
greater violence will soon erupt.
The ??hope?? canon has long been repeated so endlessly that it has
become as unchallengeable as the ??cycle of violence??, ??the settlements are
obstacles to peace??, and ??occupation corrupts??. It has long been
asserted nearly universally by pols and the press throughout the planet
that the entire war was always a matter of ??hope?? or its
absence. President Bush himself has repeated it often. The Palestinians
are behaving like Nazis because they need hope, must be provided with hope,
have been offered insufficient hope.
All of which is a bit strange because the ??hope canon?? is completely
false. Indeed the exact opposite is the truth.
Did Nazi Germany launch World War II because its people were denied
hope or because they were offered hope hope of world conquest?
The past decade of Palestinian atrocities occurred precisely
BECAUSE Israel offered the Palestinians hope. The Israeli Osloids and
their fellow travelers restored to the Arabs their hope, largely considered
futile after the 1967 Six Day War, that Israel could be militarily
annihilated and that the Jews were at long last on the run. Oslo restored
their hope that they would succeed in ridding the region of the Zionist
entity after all. Oslo granted the Arabs hope that the Israelis had lost
their will to resist and survive.
The only effective strategy for suppressing Palestinian barbarism is
the diametrical opposite of the conventional wisdom. Israel has to
ELIMINATE Palestinian hope. Israel must squash Palestinian hopes that
they will succeed in annihilating Israel. It is true that demonstrations
of Israeli weakness and defeatism, including the weekly goodwill gestures,
the shows of restraint, and the lifting of Israeli sanctions every time the
Palestinians do nothing to comply with their Oslo obligations, all do
indeed raise Palestinian hopes. They raise Palestinian hopes that the
Jews will soon be tossed into the sea.
3. The following is a bit long but worth plowing thru:
Edward Said and Me
By Justus Reid Weiner
In September 1999, Commentary Magazine  published an article by Justus
Reid Weiner, a Scholar-in-Residence with the Jerusalem Center for Public
Affairs, which demonstrated that the autobiographical references of Edward
Said, a University Professor at Columbia University, were fundamentally
inaccurate. Contrary to his depiction, Said was in fact not exiled from
Jerusalem by the Haganah in December 1947. Nor was there any basis to his
claim that he "spent most of his formative years" in Jerusalem and that he "
left with my [his] family for Cairo" by "the end of 1947." Similarly Said's
assertion that he lost "my [his] beautiful old house" in the Talbieh
neighborhood was revealed to be false. Actually, this avatar of the
Palestinian refugees was the scion of a wealthy Cairene family. As was
discovered, his father was an American citizen who moved to Cairo from
Jerusalem a decade before Edward was born. Living in Cairo until his
departure to attend prep school in America in 1951, Edward Said resided with
his family in luxurious apartment buildings in the exclusive Zamalek
neighborhood where he was attended to by maids and a butler, he played with
childhood friends in the manicured private gardens of the Aquarium Grotto,
he attended private English and American schools, he was driven around in
his father's large black American cars by his chauffeur, and he enjoyed the
facilities at the exclusive Gezira Sporting Club as the son of one of its
only Arab members. In 1952 a revolutionary mob burned Said's father's
flagship store (and a branch) to the ground, and several years later the
nationalization program instituted by Egyptian President Nasser ultimately
forced Said's father out of the country. Thus, the truly devastating
financial losses suffered by Said's father were in no way connected to
Israel, the country from which Edward Said demands reparations. In a
September 20, 2000 discussion at the Middle East Forum in New York, Mr.
Weiner spoke about repercussions of his widely publicized expos??.
My Interest in Edward Said
Early on in the Oslo peace process, I was researching an article dealing
with the pessimists who opposed the peace process for the Cornell
International Law Journal. Edward Said had just published a book entitled
Peace and it Discontents, which placed him in the front rank of the
intellectuals who rejected the peace process as a betrayal of Palestinian
interests. In the course of my inquiry, I became fascinated with they way
Said employed his childhood travails to advance his political argument,
especially as I had lived on Jabotinsky Street in the Talbieh neighborhood
of Jerusalem, a two-minute walk from the building Said had described as "my
beautiful old house." Further, my former office overlooked the playground of
Saint George's School in eastern Jerusalem, the very school Said claimed to
have attended before being driven out of Jerusalem into exile in Cairo, by a
Haganah forces sound van in December 1947. These specific claims, together
with others regarding his 'father's business' on Jaffa Road, depicted a life
firmly rooted in Jerusalem which was abruptly, and permanently destroyed
with the emergence of Israel in 1948.
Inquiring about Said's Past
To better understand where Edward Said came from and the formative
experiences he showcased in his articles, books, lectures, interviews and
television documentaries, I began to conduct on-site research into Edward
Said's childhood. First, I went to St. George's School to inquire about
Said's days as a pupil there. The headmaster showed me the pre-1948
enrollment records. Based on Said's age, I expected to find that he had
been enrolled during the period from 1941 to 1948. I spent hours going
through the three leather-bound enrollment ledgers, page by page. To my
astonishment, I found no mention of Edward Said. To double-check my results
I went back to St. George's for a second visit and again, going through the
same records page-by-page, I found no evidence that Edward Said was ever
This got me hooked. I spared no effort to uncover the truth about Said's
childhood. Let me illustrate obsessive thoroughness of my research: I went
to the "beautiful old house--now one of the offices of the International
Christian Embassy--and eventually located and interviewed six former
residents. None of them had any recollection of Edward Said or his parents
ever having lived in the house. In addition, research assistants and I read
six months of each of the following nine newspapers: the Palestine Post, the
New York Times, the London Times, the Egyptian Gazette, Defa, Falistin,
Yideot, Ma'ariv, and Ha'aretz; from November 29, 1947 (the United Nations
General Assembly partition resolution) to May 15, 1948 (the Israeli
Declaration of Independence). I wanted to determine when and why
Palestinian Arabs left the Talbieh neighborhood. Suffice it to say that
Said's claim of being driven out by a Haganah sound van in mid-December 1947
was without any support in these contemporaneous records.
Checking numerous archives and libraries, in Israel and abroad, I located
scores of who's who books, telephone directories and business directories
for Jerusalem and Cairo during the relevant years. These enabled me to
ascertain where Edward Said and his parents had lived (in Cairo) and where
his father's business was located (also in Cairo). I consulted the original
Registry of Deeds volume to find out who actually owned the house in Talbieh
which Said (falsely) claimed. I sent Arabic-speaking researchers to
interview Said's cousin in Amman and a childhood neighbor in Cairo. Other
stops on the trail included the Library of Congress, the declassified public
records of the British Mandatory government in Palestine and the map and
aerial photographs department at Hebrew University. I located Said's birth
and baptismal certificates. In addition, I sought out people who might
recall Said or his family and interviewed some 85 individuals whose
recollections, together in some instances with their family photo albums,
shed light on the enigma of the origins of Edward Said and/or conditions in
Cairo or Jerusalem prior to, or during, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
Several months of extensive research made clear that there was something
fundamentally wrong with the picture Said presented of himself??that of a
Palestinian exile/refugee deserving of reparations from Israel. When I
began discovering discrepancies in Said's frequent autobiographic
references, I telephoned his office at Columbia University to request an
interview, but Said did not return the call.
And, even where Said gave a snapshot of the truth, as with his frequent
claim, "was born in Jerusalem," he was economical with the truth. Thus Said
chose to omit that his parents, who resided permanently in Cairo, chose to
visit relatives in Jerusalem in preparation for his birth. Their motive--
they feared hygienic conditions in Cairo hospitals after their previously
born son died of an infection within days of his delivery. Thus I
discovered that Edward Said's birth certificate bore no entry in the box
marked "local address." However it did list a permanent address: "Cairo."
Thus, even when he does use actual facts, Said deploys them in a way
intended to deceive the reader. For example, he mentions a number of dates
when he was present in Palestine between his birth in 1935 and 1947, then
repeats them frequently, suggesting to the listener or reader that he was
continuously in Palestine during this twelve-year period. As it turned out,
however, Said spent virtually his entire childhood in Cairo. 
Triggering A Major Controversy in the Media
The publication of my expos?? triggered a major controversy,
"detonating one of the nastiest rows of its kind to rend New York's
intelligentsia in years," according to the British Observer. To date I am
aware of more than 150 articles, which have appeared in far-flung
publications from Finland to India, and from Syria to Canada. As responses
to my article began to pour in, an obvious dichotomy emerged.
On the one side were articles by Said and his friends, not one
of which attempted, in any systematic way, to refute my evidence. Instead,
Said's network of friends echoed and amplified his attacks, publishing
suspiciously similar criticisms of my work. Not only are the specific
points of attack frequently identical, but similar phraseology suggests
This network of Said's friends had come up frequently in my research into
his writings. Their articles, editorials, and book reviews lauded Said the
man and often even Said the icon. Interestingly, the admiration was mutual,
as Said had written favorably about them (or their writings). For example,
in 1986 Salman Rushdie reviewed Said's book After the Last Sky in the
Guardian; then Said wrote favorably about Rushdie in the Washington Post and
reviewed his book The Jaguar Smile in the London Review of Books. On at
least three other occasions Rushdie and Said have engaged in mutually
flattering conversations which were later published. Since the current
controversy broke, Rushdie has jumped in on Said's side with an opinion
piece in the Globe and Mail (Canada) which also appeared in The Age
(Melbourne) and De Welt (Germany).
Next there is Christopher Hitchens, who in 1988 co-edited
Blaming the Victims with Said and later wrote a laudatory foreword to Said's
book Peace and Its Discontents. In response to me article Hitchens has
devoted two of his columns in The Nation and a review of Said's Out of Place
for the (Canadian) National Post to vitriolic attacks on me and my critique
of Said's intellectual dishonesty. In a recent radio interview, Said
referred to Hitchens as "my defender."
Said's close connection with Alexander Cockburn goes back to at
least the early 1980s, when a scandal broke concerning an undisclosed
$10,000 "grant." In 1982, the now-defunct Institute of Arab Studies secretly
gave Cockburn a $10,000 "grant" to write a book on the Israeli invasion of
Lebanon.10 When the payment was exposed, Cockburn, who had never disclosed
it to his editor or readers, was sacked from the Village Voice. Meanwhile
his friend Edward Said, Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Arab
Studies, under questioning arising out of the scandal, defended its work in
the New York Times.
Apparently undeterred by the uproar, Cockburn's book Corruptions
of the Empire was reviewed by Edward Said in the London Review of Books
under the title of "Alexander the Brilliant." Said wrote, "Why, in the
desert of today's journalistic mediocrity and cowardly trimming, anyone with
Cockburn's gifts and courage should be modest, or mock-modest, I shall leave
to others to discuss." Cockburn later provided a blurb for the inside cover
page of Said's Representations of the Intellectual. He has on at least two
occasions touted Said in his column in The Nation, and recently devoted his
column in that magazine to a no-holds-barred attack on my research.
Cockburn also published similar attacks in his columns in the Los Angles
Times and in the New York Press.
Fortunately there was another side to the coverage. Many
dedicated journalists who took the trouble to examine my evidence. This
group, none of whom I have ever had dealings with, includes Daniel Johnson
of the Daily Telegraph, Jeff Jacoby syndicated in the Boston Globe, Dan
Kennedy in the Boston Phoenix, Premen Addy in The Hindu, Charles Krauthammer
in Time, Mark Berley in the New York Post, Neil Seeman in the (Canadian)
National Post, Hillel Halkin in The Forward, and David Horowitz at
salon.com. Despite their efforts, judging from what appeared in print, not
a single journalist succeeded in pinning down Said on even one of the direct
quotes which I included in my article. I was repeatedly told that he became
angry and simply dismissed any effort to address the key evidence of his
Confirmation of My Findings
Said's supporters faced an unenviable problem--a month after my article was
published, Said's memoir Out of Place arrived in the bookstores, confirming
the essence of what I had uncovered. And why did Said choose to (finally)
publicize this much less dishonest description of his past in Out of Place,
which differs so fundamentally from his previous parable? As he has offered
no explanation of the disparity this question is likely to resonate for
years to come. My theory, as I wrote in Commentary, is:
I cannot rule out the possibility that these [my 85] interviews, including
many with persons known to him, alerted him to the urgency of retrieving
from amnesia Out of Place's astonishingly detailed reconstruction of his
Cairo childhood. If so, that very fullness, characterized by a
near-photographic recall of everything from his parents' conversations to
his adolescent wet dreams, might well be intended as a stay against
skepticism; for how could anyone so forthright ever have intended to conceal
Repercussions of the Expos??
Said's fraud continues to be important a full year after the publication of
my Commentary article. This controversy raises larger questions than simply
the myth-making and selective memory of Edward Said. As a world-class
intellectual, it would be revealing to pose to him the following questions:
Should intellectuals lie? Should they deceive or misrepresent personal or
historical facts? Should they remember and forget selectively? Is such
conduct ever justified?
While some radical intellectuals go so far as to claim that all knowledge
is a form of duping and others deny the very existence of "truth," Professor
Edward Said, despite his radical politics, has taken a traditionalist
approach to this topic. Writing in Le Monde Diplomatique, Said has noted
that "there is a great difference between political and intellectual
behavior. The intellectual's role is to speak the truth, as plainly,
directly and as honestly as possible....the intellectual's constituency is
neither a government nor a corporate or a career interest: only the truth
unadorned. If Said really felt that he, as an intellectual, should speak
"only the truth unadorned," then how exactly does his statement "I was born
in Jerusalem and spent most of my formative years there and, after 1948,
when my entire family became refugees, in Egypt??" (London Review of Books,
May 7, 1998) fit into this model?
In his far from intellectual responses to my charges, Said responds on this
particular point that while he was not a refugee, his entire family in fact
was and blames Israel for "ethnic cleansing." This might fit into the Bill
Clinton model of truth telling, but we all know that that model is not
exactly "plain, direct and honest." Also President Clinton is a politician.
Said, by contrast, enjoys the status of a world-class intellectual. And let
us not forget, Clinton's errant conduct resulted in him being impeached and
nearly convicted while Said has never even been called to account by his
It is indeed interesting to consider that Columbia University
now has been the employer of perhaps the two best liars ever known to
academia.  One paid for his mendacity with his job; the other continues
on as an academic superstar, reaping the benefits of his years of deceit
while Columbia turns a blind eye to the entire charade. The first liar was
Charles Van Doren, the infamous contestant on the quiz show Twenty-One, and
the subject of the Robert Redford/Ralph Fiennes movie Quiz Show. He was a
junior faculty member in the English Department at the time. Van Doren was
furnished with the questions and often the answers for these quiz shows
beforehand, and won $129,000, the largest sum ever on that hugely popular TV
program. When the quiz shows began to be investigated, he initially denied
that he had been given any help at all; however, under the eyes of a
Congressional Subcommittee he came clean and admitted receiving questions
and answers. The evening after Van Doren made his admissions publicly and
also offered his reluctant resignation, the Trustees of the University
decided to accept the resignation effective immediately. Van Doren never
taught again, but Columbia demonstrated its fidelity to the principles of
honesty and integrity.
The University has now been given the unfortunate chance to demonstrate once
again that none of its professors are untouchable. Regrettably, the
opposite has been proven. Assuming a posture of damage control, Virgil
Renzulli, the Associate Vice President for Public Affairs, denied that the
Said controversy "pertain[ed] to his status as a Columbia University faculty
member, where his position is as a literary scholar and critic." However,
this was not a mitigating factor for Van Doren, also a literary scholar and
critic, whose fraud was also perpetrated off campus. Attempting to evade
the essence of the controversy, Renzulli asserted, "It is a dispute that has
to do with political positions he has taken over a period of time, not his
scholarship." Renzulli's distinction is utterly artificial. Even Columbia's
website claims "Middle East politics" is one of Said's academic specialties.
Moreover, my Commentary article focuses on Said's intellectual integrity and
moral authority, not his politics. I wonder if Renzulli ever saw Quiz Show,
because there seems to be a double standard; no one in the Columbia
administration offered Van Doren an out.
Yet Said retains his position as one of only a handful of University
Professors among Columbia's faculty of 7,500. Although Said's Teflon
surface has begun to wear thin, as evidenced by the Columbia Spectator's
recent staff editorial entitled "Said's Affinity for Fiction"  and the
student paper's op-ed "Said's Shameful Summer: Rocks and Terrorists,"  he
has yet to admit any error in conduct or judgment. Columbia Provost
Jonathan R. Cole even defended as protected under the principles of academic
freedom Said's recent gratuitous violence--and I am not referring to verbal
violence--hurling a stone at IDF soldiers manning a guardpost on the
Lebanese border. Had Said committed the same act at Columbia it would have
been sanctioned by suspension or dismissal according to the university's
rules of conduct.
Implications for Prospects for Peace
I want, in closing, to draw attention to an additional unfortunate aspect
Said's fraud. The cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians is ill
served by historical lies. Where and under what circumstances an
intellectual or academic grew up would ordinarily be of little consequence,
but this case is different. Edward Said in fact created a parable out of
the first twelve years of his life and used it to perpetrate a multi-level
deception on Western intellectuals and his Palestinian admirers alike. The
fact that the avatar of Palestinian suffering has made wholesale political
and personal use of his supposed victimization at the hands of Israel,
weaving a myth of expulsion and dispossession out of one or two
circumstances and a raft of inventions is hardly conducive to bridging the
differences. Palestinians and the Israeli Left have urged Israelis to
reevaluate their country's formative experiences. Said has been touting
Israeli post-Zionists, or New Historians, and tries to make it seem as
though they are all in full agreement.
My Commentary article explicitly stipulates that "hundreds of thousands of
(genuine) Palestinian refugees [left] the Mandatory territory for various
reasons," and in a note I add that "whatever his own personal circumstances
may have been, I am hardly questioning Said's right to support personal and
property claims by Palestinian refugees in general." What I am
questioning--what I have demonstrated to be wholly fraudulent--is Said's
claim to have been among those refugees and to have suffered such losses.
Clearly anyone genuinely concerned with the Palestinian refugees would find
Said's deceit truly outrageous--morally a quite shameful attempt to
piggyback on the hard experiences of others for the sake of personal and
political aggrandizement. Why, I wonder, as Israelis give up their
historical myths in the interest of moving closer to the Palestinians, do
the latter clutch their my their myths ever tighter?
 Summary account by Assaf Moghadam. Justus Reid Weiner's Commentary
magazine article, with full documentation, can be downloaded from the
Internet at www.commentarymagazine.com
to the editor, and Justus Reid Weiner's response, can likewise be downloaded
from the same website by selecting the month "January 2000."
 It is natural to ask why not one of the Egyptians or Palestinians who
knew of Said's fraud from their personal contacts with him came forward to
question his claims of growing up in and being dispossessed from Jerusalem.
What values did they place higher than the truth? Could it be that they
share the views of Palestinian journalist Ray Hanania, who defended Said by
claiming, "Edward Said and his writings are used as intellectual weapons by
the Palestinian Revolution, its allies and its advocates in much the same
manner as the AK-47 has led many of their guerrilla battles." Ray Hanania,
Book Review: Out of Place??Edward Said's Autobiography of Palestinian Life,
Arab Media Syndicate, visited Oct. 30, 2000
 For a more comprehensive analysis of the implications of Edward Said's
off-campus fraud for his employer, Columbia University, see Justus Reid
Weiner, A Tale of Two Frauds, Academic Questions, Summer 2000, at 46-55.
 Staff Editorial, Said's Affinity for Fiction, Columbia Spectator, Sept.
5, 2000, at 4.
 Gregory Shill, Said's Shameful Summer: Rocks and Terrorists, Columbia
Spectator, Sept. 14, 2000, at 5. This op-ed criticized Said for meeting
with Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and endorsing his terrorist
4. In the book Cat??s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, there is an ex-nazi
scientist who is working as a volunteer MD on a Caribbean island, saving
lives. He figures he saves 3000 lives a year and at that rate he will
make up for all his crimes within 50 years.
I am reminded of that story when I read the recent articles by Amnon
Rubinstein. Rubinstein has been writing some fine pieces recently,
attacking the ??Post-Zionist?? Left, attacking leftist anti-Semitism. The
problem of course is that Rubenstein bears more than his fair share of
blame for the Oslo debacle. He served for many years as leader of the Far
Left semi-Marxist Meretz party, was instrumental in imposing Oslo on the
country, and as Education Minister introduced politically correct Newspeak
into the schools.
Here is his latest piece:
The anti-Semitism of the liberal left
By Amnon Rubinstein
Who would have believed that at the start of the
21st century, less than 60 years after the
liberation of Auschwitz, anti-Semitism would be
back in the headlines? Not long ago, French
television broadcast a special program on the
subject, and several new books about modern
anti-Semitism have been published, including works
by American jurist Alan Dershowitz, French Jewish
philosopher Alain Finkielkraut and the American
author Phyllis Chesler.
What all these people share in
common is that they are
liberal Jews fighting for
human rights. Chesler even
has bonafide credentials from
the radical left in both
America and Israel (she also
demonstrated at the Western
Wall for joint prayers of men
and women). Nevertheless,
each of the three was astounded to see that
criticism of Israel wears a form of renewed
hatred of Jews, and each was infuriated at the
way attacks on the very existence of Israel has
become fashionable among members of the liberal
and intellectual left. These circles extend to
intellectuals and civil rights advocates in
Israel, in whose virtual world there is nothing
but Zionist guilt.
These same authors were shocked at the
proliferation of attacks against Jews, from the
fact that enlightened public opinion is not
rallying on their behalf, and by the articles
in which the establishment of the Jewish state
is regarded a historic error. In these terms,
they remind one of the precursors and leaders
of the Zionist movement - Moshe Hess, Herzl,
Leo Pinsker and Max Nordau - assimilated Jews
who one day wake up and are astounded to see
how the society in which they have struck roots
has become a Jew-hating society.
True, most terror attacks against Jews have been
carried out by extremist Muslims, and true,
Jews in the West do not face the sort of
dangers they did in the late 19th and early
20th centuries. Moreover, what is being written
on occasion against Israel in Europe cannot
even compete with what is being said by Israeli
Nevertheless, one could have assumed that a
centuries-old tradition of anti-Semitism would
not vanish overnight, and that it would be
directed against the Jewish state. Based on
this tradition, the Jew is always different,
other, and the suspicions that he provokes do
not fade away even when he looks "like one of
The realization of this concept of "otherness,"
assigned in the Western culture to Jews and
giving rise to the hatred of them, is
wonderfully exemplified in James Joyce's
"Ulysses." Leopold Bloom, who lives in Dublin
in 1910, is the son of a Jewish father who
converted to Christianity and a non-Jewish
mother. He is married to an Irishwoman and his
friends are Irish. An acquaintance makes the
accusation that the Jews are robbing widows and
orphans, and at one point threatens to kill
him. Why kill Bloom, who is an Irishman through
and through? However, Bloom is different. He
serves his wife breakfast in bed - blatantly
subversive behavior, unlike that of a real
Irishman. In his genius, Joyce foresaw the
fires of hatred that would consume Europe.
The traditional anti-Semitic right has an easy
time identifying Israel with this other - the
covetous, oppressive person who may look like
an ordinary person, but is different. But it is
not this right that the liberal Jewish writers
are so shocked about. They are shocked by the
betrayal of the intellectual and liberal left,
just as Pinsker was shocked at the support of
the revolutionary socialist movement Narodnaia
Volia, in the pogroms in Russia in 1881.
How has the liberal lobby, that patron of human
rights, come to single out Israel and remain
apathetic to the distress of the Jews? The main
answer is that in their eyes, the other is not
the "soft Jew" a la Bloom, but the Palestinian
who the Israelis, with the support of Jews in
the Diaspora, are depriving of human rights.
The other is no longer a Jew, but his Arab
"victim." The conflict in the Middle East, also
because of Israel's actions, is seen not as a
war of survival of a small Jewish island, but
through the prism of an Israeli tank stationed
on a settlement in the Gaza Strip facing off
against helpless Palestinians.
5. Cute: California Here I Come!
The New California Governor has just announced an agreement whereby English
will be the official language of the state, rather than German which was
the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, The Terminator's
Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and
has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as
"Austro-English" (or, if nobody will be offended, "Austrionics")..
In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make
the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favor of
the "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the
troublesome "ph" will be replaced with the "f". This will make words like
fotograf 20% shorter.
In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to
reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always
ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of
the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.
By the 4th yer peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with
"z" and "w" with "v".
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining
"ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.
Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu
understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.
If zis mad yu smil, pleas pas it on to oza pepl.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
In recent years one of the mantras heard so often in Israel is the insistence that Israel must make painful concessions for peace. Naturally, in all case those demanding the painful concessions have been incapable of delivering any peace. The ?Land for Peace? concept was always a fantasy of Israeli politicians. It was never the Arab position. Israeli politicians deluded themselves into believing that Israel could buy peace by giving up lands. The Arab position was that Israel should give up land in order to be dismembered and easier to finish off and annihilate.
But it is not the fallacy of purchasing peace with ?painful concessions? that I wish to contest here.
It has been asserted so often and in such Pavlovian repetition that those proposing the swap of land for peace regard the loss of the land as ?painful? that virtually no one today challenges the idea. In fact those demanding painful concessions for peace do not regard those concessions as painful at all.
Let me clarify. Whatever the positions of the Likud leadership, and I personally am not sure they believe in anything at all, the rank and file of people who vote for the Likud would indeed find it ?painful?, excruciatingly so, for Israel to lose control over Judea and Samaria, and they would find it completely unbearable for the Old City of Jerusalem to be turned over to the PLO barbarians. I do not doubt the authenticity of their pain.
I do completely doubt the authenticity of the ?pain? postured by the Israeli Left, including the Labor Party and Meretz. I do not believe they would regard Israeli loss of Jerusalem and of the West Bank as painful. I believe they would regard those losses with ecstasy.
Their ecstasy at the idea of Israel losing the West Bank and Jerusalem is NOT because they actually think such losses will buy peace. The past decade of Oslo is more than sufficient to prove to the most deluded leftist that it will not do so. The Left no longer sincerely thinks it will buy peace with these Israeli concessions. It wants those concessions IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THEY WILL NOT BUY PEACE!!
The Left wants Israel to give up the West Bank and Jerusalem because the Left thinks it is the proper thing to do. It is irrelevant whether the concessions buy peace. That is why the Left continues to demand Israeli abandonment of the West Bank and Jerusalem even as Palestinian atrocities accelerate. The Left wants Israel to give up these territories because the Left finds their loss a source of ecstasy.
The reason why the Left seeks to force Israel to lose Jerusalem and the West Bank is that these areas stand in the way of the Left?s dream of divorcing Israeliness from its Jewish roots. The Left seeks to create a new being, an Israeli, but a ?Canaanized? Israeli, a post-Jewish Israeli. He could be an Israeli who might light Hannuka candles and pay lip service to Jewish traditions, just as long as he never takes his Jewishness too seriously. The Israeli that the Left wishes to engineer has no real connection with Jewishness. Arabs and Druse can become these Canaanized Israelis as easily as Jews, which is how the Left thinks the war will be resolved.
But Jerusalem stands in their way. Jerusalem is the center of the Jewish universe, but not the universe for the Canaanized Israeli. The post-Jewish Israeli does not need Jerusalem. Indeed, it is a nuisance, a barrier to driving the herd to its post-modernist cosmopolitan demise. The West Bank is also an impediment, what with its Cave of the Patriarchs, Joseph?s Tomb, Beth-El and Shiloh. It ozzes Jewishness, and that is what offends those seeking to engineer the Canaanized Israeli. Abandoning these territories causes excruciating pain to Israelis who feel Jewish, and that is a large part of why the Left wishes Israel to lose them. The Left does not want to torment Hamas terrorists nor Tanzim stormtrooper, but dreams of tormenting Jewish Jews.
That being the case, the Left needs Israel to lose those territories to promote the Left?s social engineering agenda. The Palestinians have nothing to do with it. The Left could not care less whether the Palestinians will indeed reduce their terror and savagery if they are awarded Jerusalem. The Left?s slogan and bumper sticker has long been: Get out of the Territories for ISRAEL?s sake. For Israel?s sake? For the sake of the post-Jewish Israeli the Left seeks to engineer and clone.
And that is why removing Israel and Jews from the West Bank and from the Western Wall and the Old City of Jerusalem are hardly matters of pain for the Left. They are matters of the ultimate joy.
Do you Yahoo!?
Exclusive Video Premiere - Britney Spears
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
The Peace Nazis:
1. A Must read: Anti-Globalization Movement Anti-Semitism (Foreign
2. For the past two decades, many of the liberal organizations in North
American Jewry have been allying themselves with the radical homosexual
movement. They are supporting "Homosexual Marriage" propositions and
insisting that homosexual "marriage" and homosexual "equality" are
intrinsic components of traditional Jewish ethics. The Reform movement
and the Reconstructionists have been most outspoken, and today officially
send their clergy to officiate at gay "weddings". There is rising
pressure in the Conservative movement to do the same.
To clarify, these are NOT Jewish organizations seeking some sort of
generic civil rights protestion for homosexuals, such as their rights to
compete for most jobs. They are NOT simply opposing violence directed
against homosexuals. They are not simply lobbying for more money for
AIDS research (never mind that it is already grossly OVER-funded.)
Obviously, their endorsement of homosexuality as "legitimate" and
"normal" and their promotion of gay "marriage" just happen to be
diametrically opposed to everything in Judaism. The Torah declares
homosexuality an abomination equivalent to bestiality (the Torah's words,
not mine) and even makes sodomy a capital offense.
While I can live with the idea that the state and police should stay
out of people's bedrooms, while I can live with homosexuals signing civil
contracts if they wish to share property or leave inheritance to one
another, I have always been nonplussed by the militant homosexual
movement's attempt to coerce everyone else into denying that homosexuality
is a behavior disorder and perhaps a personality disorder. True, people
with disorders deserve sympathy and should be protected from violence. I
find even more outrageous the anti-scientific and simple falsification
claims of the movement, starting with the 10% of humans lie and continuing
to denial that child molestation is much more common for homosexuals than
But the greatest pseudo-scientific PC lies of all are the promotion of
the "gay gene" gambit
of superstition and the insistence that homosexuality cannot be cured. It
may not be curable in all cases and some homosexuals, like those
suffering from other disorders, may prefer NOT to be cured, which is their
Nevertheless, and despite decades of cowardice by the psychiatric
profession, there is a great deal of evidence that homosexuality often is
curable, while there is no evidence at all that homosexuality is
There are several highly respectable blue-chip organizations currently
fighting for rational, scientific, and ethically responsible discourse
about homosexuality. One of the best is the National Association for
Research and Therapy for Homosexuals, NARTH, at www.narth.com. There is a
Jewish group that works with NARTh called Jews Offering New Alternatives
to Homosexuality (JONAH), at www.jonahweb.org. These consist of highly
respectable psychologists, doctors, and academics.
Both web sites are worth a visit.
3. The NYTimes does not like Jews:
4. Terror on Campus by Sharansky:
Monday, October 27, 2003
1. Worth reading: Dennis Praeger on the Second American Civil War
Part I http://www.chronwatch.com/content/contentDisplay.asp?aid=4712
Part II http://www.chronwatch.com/featured/contentDisplay.asp?aid=4824
2. The great refugee scam
BY SHMUEL KATZ
Int'l. Jerus. Post
The story of the Arabs who left the coastal areas of Palestine in the
spring of 1948 encapsulates one of the great international frauds of the
20th cen-tury. The Arabs are the only declared "refugees" who became
refugees by the initiative of their own leaders. The concoction of the
monstrous charge that it was the Jews who had driven out the Arabs of
Palestine was a strategic decision made by the leaders of the Arab League
months after the Arabs' flight.
The Arab "refugees" were not driven out by anyone. The vast majority left
at the order or exhortation of their leaders - always with the same
reassurance - that it would help the Arab states in the war they were
about to launch to destroy the State of Israel.
The fabrication can most easily be detected by the simple circumstance
that at the time the alleged expulsion of the Arabs by Zionists was in
progress, nobody noticed it.
Foreign newspapermen abounded in the country, in daily contact with all
sides - and they did, in fact, write about the flight of the Arabs, but
even those most hostile to the Jews saw nothing to suggest that the flight
was not voluntary.
In the three months that the major part of the flight took place, the
London Times, a newspaper most notably hostile to Zionism, published 11
leading articles on the situation in Palestine, in addition to extensive
news reports. In none was there even a remote hint that the Zionists were
driving Arabs from their homes.
Even more pertinent: No Arab spokesman made such a charge. At the height
of the flight, the Palestinian Arabs' chief representative at the United
Nations, Jamal Husseini, made a long political statement (on April 27)
that was not lacking in hostility toward the Zionists; he did not mention
refugees. Three weeks later (while the flight was still in progress) the
secretary-general of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, made a fiercely worded
political statement on Palestine; it contained not a word about refugees.
Why did they leave? Monsignor George Hakim, then Greek Catholic bishop of
Galilee, the leading Christian personality in Palestine for many years,
told a Beirut newspaper, Sada al-Janub, in the summer of 1948: "The
refugees were confident that their absence would not last long, and that
they would return within a week or two. Their leaders had promised them
that the Arab armies would crush the `Zionist gangs' very quickly, and
that there was no need for panic or fear of a long exile."
The initiative for the flight was indeed no secret. One of the famous
American newspapermen of the time, Kenneth Bilby, who had covered
Palestine for years, explained the Arab leaders' rationale for the flight
in his book New Star in the East, published in 1950:
"Let the Arabs flee into neighboring countries. It would serve to arouse
the other Arab countries to greater effort, and when the Arab invasion
struck the Palestinians could return to their homes and be compensated
with the property of Jews driven into the sea."
There is also the piquant report in the files of the British police at
Haifa, of how the leaders of the Jewish community pleaded with the leaders
of the Arab community not to leave Haifa, and how the Arabs refused. There
is too, in the annals of the UN Security Council, a speech by Jamal
Husseini heaping praise on the Arabs of Haifa for refusing to stay put and
insisting adamantly on leaving their homes. The British police then kindly
provided transport and helped the Haifa Arabs across the Lebanese and
When, four months after the invasion, the prospect of the flightlings'
retuning "in a few weeks" had faded, there were some recriminations. Emil
Ghoury, a member of the Palestinian Arabs' national leadership, said in an
interview with the Beirut newspaper, Daily Telegraph: "I don't want to
impugn anybody, but only to help the refugees. The fact that there are
these refugees is the direct consequence of the action of the Arab states
in opposing partition and the Jewish state.
"The Arab states agreed upon this policy unanimously, and they must share
in the solution of the problem."
The policy adopted inside the country was emphasized by the leaders of the
invasion. The prime minister of Iraq, Nuri Said, thundered: "We will smash
the country with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews seek shelter
in. The Arabs should conduct their wives and children to safe areas until
the fighting has died down."
One of the Arabs who fled later succinctly summarized the story of the
refugees in the Jordanian newspaper Al-Difaa: "The Arab governments told
us: Get out so that we can get in. So we got out, but they did not get
Later, after the fighting began, many Arab villagers who believed the
false rumors of a massacre at the village of Deir Yassin "panicked and
fled ignominiously before they were threatened by the progress of the
war." So wrote the British general Sir John Glubb, who commanded the
Transjordanian army. Throughout the war there were two incidents - at
Ramle and Lod - in which a number of Arab civilians were driven out of
their homes by Israeli soldiers.
The total number of Arabs who evacuated, even according to the British
Mandate's statistics, could not have been more than 420,000. This figure
conforms roughly also to the figure published from Arab sources, and by
The central, horribly cruel fact is that the Arab states - who had brought
about their plight - denied them residence rights; and the idea was bom
that they should be left in camps and used as a weapon for Israel's
destruction. "The return of the refugees," said president Nasser of Egypt
years later, "will mean the end of Israel."
It was in the immediate aftermath of the war that the refugee scam was
developed into an international operation. As soon as the UN Disaster
Relief Organization started providing food, shelter, clothing and medical
attention to the Arabs who had fled Palestine, a mass of needy Arabs
descended on the camps from all over the Arab states. The organization had
no machinery for identification; so the arrivals simply signed the
register as refugees and received the free aid.
Already in December 1948, the director of the Relief Organization, Sir
Rafael Cilento, reported he was feeding 750,000 "refugees." By July 1949
the UN reported a round million.
The Red Cross International Committee joined the party. It pressed for the
recognition of any destitute Arab in Palestine as a refugee. Thus about
100,000 were added to the list.
To add a touch of mordant humor, the Red Cross authority wrote about the
additional people that: "It would be senseless to force them to abandon
their homes to be able to get food as refugees."
So these people stayed at home, received their free services there, and
were added to the rolls of the refugees.
Thus - and by other more expectable means of humanistic falsification we
have, in the third generation, a large amorphous mass of Arabs, all of
them comfortably lumped together in official UN lists as Arab refugees,
describ-ed as "victims of Israeli aggression" and demanding the right of
While everybody in Israel has rejected the Arab demand for accepting the
return of the "refugees," the government has not rejected the idea that if
negotiations for a settlement take place the problem of the refugees will
be discussed. Moreover, there has been talk of "compensation" by Israel.
There have even been voices suggesting the return of a "symbolic few" of
the refugees. Israel must, from the outset and forever, unequivocally
reject such ideas.
Once and for all, Israel must remind whoever has to be reminded that the
responsibility for the displaced Arabs lies wholly and absolutely on the
shoulders of the Arab states. Their utterly unprovoked invasion of the
territory of Israel in May 1948 was a crime.
Its declared intent was a crime. Six thousand Israel citizens were killed
in that war, and thousands of others were injured. It was the Arab states
that called on the Arab population to evacuate, all in order to facilitate
accomplishment of their evil purpose.
It is a hutzpa of historical dimensions and significance to ask Israel to
even discuss giving an inch or paying a penny of the price of the refugee
problem. And it is dangerous for any Israeli spokesman to even agree to
take part in any discussion of the subject - at any forum or in any
Indeed, the Israeli government should long ago have declared - but even
now it is not too late: "We shall not participate in any discussion of the
so-called refugee problem. This is a problem the Arab nation must solve
for itself in its own spacious territories."
The writer, a co-founder with Menachem Begin of the Herut Party and member
o f the first Knesset, is a biographer and essayist.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Tch tch tch. It seems someone out there just does not like Knesset
Member Isam Mahul very much.
Mahul is an Arab Knesset Member from Israel's HADASH communist party, a
party that has yet to get around to renouncing Stalinism. The party and
Mahul himself have a long history of endorsing and cheering terrorism
directed against Jews and make little secret of their desire to see
Israel's existence ended. Far Leftist daily infommercial Haaretz just
adores Mahul and praises him as someone who strives for achieving peace by
allying together Jews and Arabs, and by that they mean Arabs devoted to
Israel's annihilation with Jews also devoted to Israel's annihilation.
The Haaretz praise of Mahul comes from the fact that he prevented some of
Hadash comrades from purging from the party Madame Gulag, Tamar Goszynski,
as the party's token Jew.
Now over the weekend it seems someone placed a bomb under Mahul's
car, mafia style. And like any good mafiosi, Mahul had sent his wife out
to start the car's ignition, perhaps to be on the safe side. Well, the
explosive went off, without anyone getting hurt.
Haaretz has already decided that shadowy members of the Israeli Right
are behind the act, although I think it at least as plausible that
disgruntled members of the HADASH party, people who would like a larger
share of the party's loot, were behind the bomb. When mafiosi cars in the
US get blown up, who is the most likely culprit behind it?
Now I dwell on this story for a diffeent reason. Over the past few
years, Israel's leftist Attorney General has developed the "Rubinstein
Doctrine", which holds that mere praise for acts of terrorism that have
ALREADY taken place do not constitute criminal incitement to violence,
only open explicit calls to perpetrate terrorism do. This Doctrine has
been used as the figleaf for the leftist Attorney General never ever
prosecuting Israeli Arab fascists who sing the praises of suicide bombers
and other civics activists, nor of Israeli Jewish leftist professors
praising the acts of murder by Palestinians. Among such Arabs praising
terror are of course the leaders of Mahul's own Stalinist party.
Now, as it turns out I am NOT going to praise those who placed the
bomb beneath Mahul's car. Even if it should turn out that the perps were
NOT other members of Mahul's own Gulag party. I have long opposed
vigilantism against Arab fascists, including Stalinist fascists. I
believe the only way to fight Arab terror and its support networks is via
the Israeli army and the national government, and it cannot and should not
be done via vigilantes from the private sector.
Having noted that, I would nevertheless like to see whether Elyakim
Rubinstein is willing to apply his Rubinstein Doctrine to any hotheads
among the country's Jews who come out in open praise of the perps who
bomb Knesset Member Mahul's car. It would be a darned interesting test of
free speech in an Israeli court.
More on the Arutz7 Saga:
2. Free the airwaves
(Jer Post editorial)
Oct. 22, 2003
Earlier this week Arutz Sheva was finally felled. It was defeated via a
lawsuit submitted by Labor's Eitan Cabel to the Jerusalem Magistrate's
Court, which upheld his assertion that it was broadcasting illegally.
Yet two decades ago Israel's Left mounted an aggressive campaign, both
within and without the Knesset, to legalize Abie Nathan's Voice of Peace
shipboard radio broadcasts.
The argument was that Nathan proved his enterprise a commercial success,
had an audience and several years in the business. He deserved, it was
ardently argued, special consideration. It would have doubtlessly been
granted, had Nathan not succumbed meanwhile to severe medical and
But the very same arguments raised in his favor are even more cogent for
Arutz Sheva, which alone gives voice to settlers and their supporters.
Without Arutz Sheva, that portion of the population popularly dubbed "the
national camp" is effectively silenced. This station fills a niche and a
need, which no other does, far beyond anything that Nathan could remotely
So it's no less than dismaying that the very Left which so
enthusiastically lobbied for Nathan now so fervently fights Arutz Sheva's
right to voice the opinions of its many adherents.
It's difficult to escape the impression that what's really wrong with
Arutz Sheva isn't that its ship didn't distance itself sufficiently from
Israel's territorial waters or that studios in Beit El were used. What
differentiated it from Nathan's venture was politics.
Thus after 15 years on the air, during which the station proved itself
financially viable, professionally capable, and exceptionally popular, it
was silenced. Its loyal audience wasn't limited to the settlements. It was
avidly listened to within the Green Line, as most taxi passengers can
Particularly disconcerting was Justice Minister Yosef Lapid's outburst
against ministers who pleaded Arutz Sheva's case, warning that they'll
have "blood on their hands" if a plane crashes due to radio interference.
With all due respect, such scare-mongering is demagogic. Arutz Sheva never
endangered aviation. Those who do are numerous small-time pirates with
home-based transmitters, often operated by reckless teens. There are
plenty of laws against such delinquents. They need only be enforced.
Equating Arutz Sheva with them is a cynical red herring. Arutz Sheva has
become a staple of popular culture and we consider it is grossly imprudent
to close it precisely because it satisfied proven demand for its
journalistic product. Denying the public what it wants and had grown used
to will inevitably give rise to charges of politically motivated muzzling.
No amount of legalistic sanctimony will erase this perception.
This country urgently needs legislation to democratize the airwaves. This
is the case elsewhere in the free world. It's time we live up to our
liberal pretensions. A phenomenon like FOX Television would be impossible
here. Nothing, however, prevented a television network with a different
ideological bent from giving itself an electronic media platform in
It's time our regulations tolerated radio offerings that appeal to a range
of political and ideological preferences, as they do to musical tastes.
There's no reason an outfit like Arutz Sheva should not be able legally to
obtain a broadcasting license. At present this is nearly a mission
impossible. Red tape and demands for competition in a tender load the
Entries for local radio tenders repeatedly feature varying combinations of
the same groupings and individuals with identical political slants. Arutz
Sheva is unlikely to prevail against them. With its record, it shouldn't
now be forced into a contest.
The uniqueness of Arutz Sheva's audience must be recognized. Likewise,
there'd be no harm if the haredi community, the kibbutz movement, or any
reincarnation of the Voice of Peace were also awarded radio licenses.
Ideological pluralism must be promoted in a polarized society such as
ours. A silenced plurality isn't in democracy's best interest. Those who
do not wish to see extremism flourish ought to be the first to make sure
that sizable segments of opinion, on the Right and Left, are allowed free
Citizens who feel stifled, marginalized, and delegitimized aren't likely
to espouse moderation.
3. The lesson of Maharam of Rothenburg
By Shai Solberg
Last week, the Supreme Court permitted the
publication of the circumstances under which
Elhanan Tannenbaum was taken captive in Lebanon.
In any event, it is clear, pending the publication
of all the facts in the case, that Tannenbaum was
not taken captive while on a state mission. There
are many shortcomings in the cognitive process of
the public and the country's decision makers,
stemming from the ancient ethos of redemption of
captives, which in Israeli society has taken on a
Would we, for example, be
ready to release imprisoned
terrorists as part of a deal
with the Colombians who
backpackers? Would we be
ready to release Sheikh Obeid
- whom Israel has been
holding as a "bargaining
chip" in connection with the
missing air force navigator Ron Arad - as part
of such a deal?
The answer is clear: no Israeli government would
be willing to release terrorists within that
framework. How is the Tannenbaum case
different? On the face of it, the Tannenbaum
episode has two distinctive characteristics:
the harsh prison conditions and the possibility
that Tannenbaum will reveal state secrets that
he may have acquired as a senior officer in the
However, would any government release terrorists
for Israeli prisoners who are languishing in
the harshest conditions in Thailand or any
other country? It's also hard to believe that
after three years in custody, Tannenbaum still
has secrets he didn't reveal. And if there are,
the probability is that what remained a secret
during three years of interrogation will remain
On the other hand, just as we would not be ready
to give Hezbollah fighter planes and ammunition
in return for Tannenbaum, they must not be
given human bombs, either. The conclusion is
clear: the Tannenbaum deal should not be
What, then, is making us hesitate and perhaps
even agree to the deal? The answer lies in a
unique cocktail consisting of an ancient Jewish
ethos and a contemporary Israeli one. Down
through the centuries, Jewish society has had a
special attitude toward the redemption of
captives. The Jewish people, whose constituent
experience entailed the redemption of captives
(when the Creator took the Israelites out of
Egypt), made that experience a formative
element in the Jewish ethos. According to
Rambam (Maimonides), "There is no greater
commandment than the redemption of captives,"
and the Shulhan Arukh (Code of Jewish Law)
states categorically, "Every moment that one
delays in redeeming captives, where it is
possible to be speedy, is like shedding
It was on the basis of the ancient Jewish ethos
that the State of Israel and the Israel Defense
Forces formed a modern-day ethos of redeeming
captives. The state and the IDF made prodigious
efforts and undertook great risks to free
prisoners of war and captives, whether
civilians or soldiers. At some stage, the
proportions were lost. Probably the watershed
in this regard was the "Jibril deal" in 1985,
when Israel released 1,150 security prisoners
in return for three soldiers who were taken
captive in the Lebanon War.
It is this ethos that today hovers, whether
consciously or subconsciously, over the
decision makers. To this has been added the
ethos of Ron Arad, who was taken captive 17
years ago and has not been heard from since.
Our forebears were already aware of the weakness
of the heart our people showed when any of our
brethren fell into captivity. The Mishna
states, "We must not redeem captives for more
than their value, this is a measure of public
benefit" (Jastrow translation). The reason for
this, Rambam explains, is "so our enemies will
not pursue people to capture them."
The heroic story of Maharam (our teacher Rabbi
Meir) of Rothenburg, the greatest Gemara sage
of the 13th century, illustrates the correct
and intelligent application of this insight.
Maharam was imprisoned by the authorities, who
understood his "price" and therefore demanded a
huge amount of money from the Jewish community
for his release. The community duly collected
the ransom. When Maharam heard of this, he
forbade the payment and he remained in custody
under brutal conditions until his death.
Maharam understood that raising the price of a
captive would motivate others to capture more
people, for whom they would demand an even
larger ransom, and so on and so forth.
This is all the more true when the kidnappers
are demanding a higher payment: the release of
terrorists who are liable to perpetrate new
acts of terrorism once set free.
My heart is with Tannenbaum. Every Shabbat, I
recite a special prayer, along with my
congregation, for the well-being and return
form of those who are in captivity or are
missing in action. At the same time, I feel it
is my moral duty to write this article,
weeping. The risk to the security of the state
in the Tannenbaum deal is enormous. If
implemented, it will lead to more kidnappings
of Israelis and to the execution of
unreasonable deals with terrorist
Attorney Solberg is an economist who holds an
MBA and is an ordained rabbi.
4. Excellent article: Time to dismantle the university monopoly
By Eliezer Fuchs
Two weeks ago, the Council of Higher Education
(CHE) decided to petition the High Court of
Justice against the government's decision to adopt
the report of the Maltz Commission, which proposes
that the management of Israel's universities be
based on methods that meet the needs of the 21st
century. Similar, though more comprehensive,
proposals were published by this writer in 1996.
The fact is that the organizational structure and
the management of the country's universities
hasn't changed in decades.
A thorough reform is needed
in the management and
budgeting of the
universities. In the 1970s,
the government transferred
its policy-setting powers in
the sphere of higher
education to the CHE, a body
that was formed mainly by the
universities and was given
the task of allocating the resources to the
institutions of higher education via the
Planning and Budgeting Commission, which also
consists largely of representatives of the
universities. In other words, the CHE was given
a monopoly in both academic licensing and in
allocation of resources.
The universities exploited, and continue to
exploit, this monopoly for all it is worth. The
seriousness of this situation was reduced
somewhat after the Colleges Law was passed, but
no fundamental solution has been found to the
inherent conflict of interest that derives from
the structure and composition of the CHE or to
the fundamental problems relating to the
management and functioning of the
The reform would give expression to the
l Policy setting in this sphere will revert to
the government, which will establish a separate
and independent statutory body which will have
the task of proposing policy.
l The CHE will be in charge of academic
licensing only. Under certain conditions, the
move initiated by the education minister
concerning the council's composition could
constitute an opening for a general reform of
l The tuition fees in the institutions of higher
education create a distortion in the allocation
of resources and aggravate the inequality in
income distribution in the country. The
proposal is for tuition fees to cover the real
costs, with the exception of certain spheres.
Subsidies will be made available to needy
students rather than to the institutions. Under
this method, the students become consumers and
the institutions will compete for their money
by giving them the best service possible.
Adopting this proposal will require a radical
change in the Planning and Budgeting Commission
and will encourage partial privatization of the
institutions of higher learning in the future.
One result will be a clear distinction between
the various research budgets, which must be
retained at their present level and even
increased. The major change will take place in
the methods of financing and budgeting
l The tenure system, which was introduced to
meet the needs of academic freedom, is no
longer fulfilling that goal. A more flexible
system of employment is needed, involving
long-term contracts that can be broken. The
connection between academic rank and salary
will be severed. The academic rank will reflect
the level the professor has reached in the
areas of research and publication, whereas for
salary purposes additional elements, such as
level of teaching and contribution to the
institution, will be taken into account.
l In place of the system of dual management of
the universities - both a rector and a
president - it would be preferable to have each
institution headed by a president who would be
responsible to the board of directors and the
trustees. The president would be appointed by
the board of directors, which would also have
the power to fire him. At the faculty level,
the method today is that the teaching staff
elects the deans and the department heads, with
the result that those in charge are dependent
on the choice of their subordinates. The
management of the institutions of higher
learning should be placed in the hands of
l The historical development of higher education
in Israel created a uniform model of
institutions, apart from the Haifa Technion and
the Weizmann Institute of Science in their
first years. The dimensions of the country and
its financial and human limitations would seem
to point in the direction of specialist
l Israel imports systems of higher education
which are generally inferior to its own. The
foreign branches should be turned into Israeli
institutions that will be under the full
academic supervision of the CHE.
The system of higher education must be made to
operate according to principles of efficiency
and effectiveness. There is no contradiction
between academic freedom and the management of
an institution on the basis of economic
principles. It is interesting to see that the
same models that academe puts forward as
recipes for the amelioration of other bodies
encounter fierce resistance when applied to the
The writer was director-general and head of the
College of Management.
1. The world press is reporting with anger the shutting down in
Zimbabwe of the very last independent newspaper in the country, the Daily
News, that is, the only paper that did not repeat mindlessly the slogans
of the ruling class and of Robert Mugabe. Eighteen journalists from the
paper are under arrest.
I thought this worth noting because Israel is increasingly
indistinguishable from Zimbabwe when it comes to freedom of the press.
Israel ALSO just shut down the only independent media outfit that did not
repeat mindlessly the blather of the Far Left. It has shut down Arutz 7.
It is seeking also to indict the owners of Arutz7 on criminal charges for
operating a pirate radio station. (see also the bottom of
2. In trying to market the ridiculous deal regarding swapping live
terrorists for bodies of murdered Israeli troops, the deal Sharon's people
are trying to complete with the Hizbollah, Sharon and the establishment
are trying to justify the deal on grounds of traditional Jewish values and
in particular the importance of "pidyon shivuyim" or redemption of
Putting aside the amusement of watching people with no connection with
traditional Judaism trying to coopt religion for their political agenda,
the abuse of "pidyun shivuyim" is outrageous for other reasons.
The deal would put hundreds of murderers and terrorists back on the
streets as the price for getting the bodies of three IDF soldiers murdered
by the Hizbollah returned and also a live Israeli drug smuggler and
criminal being held captive. In fact redeeming captives in Jewish
tradition is explicitly forbidden if the price of the redemption is either
excessive or if it involves the endangerment of OTHER people! It also
does not apply to dead bodies, no matter how emotionally outraged we are
at those being held as "captives". And it is not clear whether it even
applies to people who got themselves taken captive as part of criminal
activities they themselves initiated or as part of terrorist treason (the
Lori Berenson story).
Now just to put everything in its correct perspective, consider the
guest Op Ed in Haaretz Oct 26 by Shai Solberg, a lawyer, economist, and
Rabbi. He suggests that everyone in Israel take a deep breath and learn
from the history of the great Rabbi of Rotenberg known as the Maharam
(Meir ben Baruch), who lived in 13th century Germany. The Rabbi,
regarded as the leading scholar of his age, was seized by the authorities
and held for ransom, demanding a huge sum from the Jews. The Rabbi issued
a prohibition on the Jews to pay the ransom! The Rabbi stayed in the
prison until his death. His reasoning was that payment of the extortion
would result in the seizure of other Jews and their being held for
extortion. Paying the ransom would result in the endangerment of other
Jews and in the escalation of extortion.
Israel has a long history of rewarding terrorist extortion and
paying ridiculous "ransoms" to save captives that resulted in the mass
murder of other Jews, in many of these cases were perpetrated by Likud
governments. Probably the worst was the "Jibril exchange" by Yitzhak
Shamir's government, in which thousands of cut-throats were released from
prison in order to win the release of a few Israelis being held in
captivity by the terrorists. Several of the terrorists released then
went on to commit murders.
Wouldn't it be nice, the next time Israeli politicians wanted to
justify a decision through appeal to "Jewish values and ethics", if they
actually bothered to learn something about Jewish ethics and values?
2. There are several new web sites (I am not responsible for any of them)
that make fun of Rachel Corrie, the pro-terrorist ISM bimbo who played
chicken with an Israeli tractor in order to prevent Israel from destroying
terrorist tunnels in which weapons were being smuggled to murder Jews, a
game of chicken that she won.
Here is the Corrie Halloween Mask (for strong stomachs only):
Here is another: http://www.nukevet.com/mt/archives/003080.html
Friday, October 24, 2003
Subject: Lori's Match
Yesterday, a Palestinian terrorist with an explosives belt on blew
himself to hell when the detonator went off "pre-maturely".
Like the nazi who blew up the Maxim restaurant in Haifa a couple of weeks
back, this terrorhoid was a lawyer. Speaking of terrorist lawyers....
I have in the past devoted several postings to the Loony Lori Lobby,
the lobbyists for convicted Stalinist terrorist Lori Berenson. Lori is the
daughter of two Jewish NY Marxies who went down to Peru to enlist in the
communist terrorist brigades there and is rotting in an Andes prison. The
assimilationist Jewish liberals (asslibs) of the US have enlisted on her
behalf, including the Reform movement's Religious Action Center (David
Saperstein presiding), lots of other libs, and even Elie Wiesel.
Had Lori not been busted in Peru, I suspect she would today be out
there trying to replicate ISM and Rachel Corrie's adventures in blocking
Israel's attempts to fight its terrorists.
Well, it seems Lori wants to get married to a terrorist, who is not
Jewish, but is a lawyer. Read on:
By Michael Radu
FrontPageMagazine.com | October 24, 2003
Are American (especially American-born) citizens who are members of
terrorist organizations abroad entitled to special (i.e. American-style)
treatment, at a time when the United States demands all countries to choose
between being with us or against us in the war on terrorism?
Lori Berenson thinks so. The 34-year-old New Yorker, who is serving 20
years in a Peruvian prison on terrorism charges, criticizes the authorities
for keeping her groom from the wedding they just recently arranged. The
groom, An?bal Apari, a 40-year-old ?law student? recently released from
prison after serving 12-1/2 years of a 15-year sentence as a member of the
Castroite Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), was represented by his
father, since the authorities did not permit him to leave Lima.
Very moving, indeed, at least in the Manhattan circles in which her
progressive and vocal parents, both academics, move. They joined their
?persecuted? daughter in protesting that the groom was unable to
participate in the happy event.
The newly wedded Mrs. Apari, a former MIT student, has a romantic penchant
for terrorists. Apari is her second husband. Her first was another
?idealistic? Marxist gunfighter she met in El Salvador, who later left her.
She arrived in Peru and rented a home with Panamanian MRTA member Pacifico
Castrellon, who later testified against her.
The Berenson case is a study of everything wrong with American mentalities,
including wrong-headed Congressional behavior, at least prior to 9/11.
Arrested in 1995 on charges of collaborating on a planned MRTA seizure of
Congress?she had used questionable U.S. press credentials to gain access to
Peru?s Congress?she was tried for treason and given a life sentence by
Peru?s military courts under then President Alberto Fujimori. Average
Peruvians, weary of terrorism, were unanimously unsympathetic to her cause,
but American and international human rights groups succeeded in obtaining a
new civilian trial, which was held in June 2001. For this trial, she had
the charges reduced to terrorism, which carried a lesser minimum sentence,
even though she has consistently maintained that MRTA is revolutionary, not
terrorist. On these charges she received a 20-year sentence.
Following the first verdict, Berenson shared the same uncomfortable prison
in the Andes as others MRTA and Shining Path members, except that she had
weekly visits and comfortable help from the U.S. embassy. Later, she was
moved to a lowland prison, where she is free to communicate with family and
write nonsensical screeds, which are immediately posted at her parents?
website. (Peruvian prisoners, especially terrorists, barely have access to
outside food or family contacts, let alone the ability to communicate with
the world at large.)
Berenson complains about the prison conditions, but she was and is able to
finish her sentence in U.S. jails. She has refused to do this out of
solidarity with her MRTA. She remains a terrorist, a totalitarian and
ideological dinosaur: a Stalinist/Castroist long after even committed
communists departed from solidarity with Fidel & Co.
The MRTA was founded during the 1980s by the kind of people with whom
Berenson was comfortable. The leader, Victor Polay Campos, was son of a
senator, brother of a congressional candidate, and roommate of future
President Alan Garc?a at the Sorbonne. Originally, MRTA was a faction of
Garc?a?s Popular American Revolutionary Alliance, which is still Peru?s
best-organized political party, with Garc?a well placed to win the next
presidential election. At no time more than a few hundred strong, it
engaged in spectacular kidnappings of businessmen, keeping its victims in
narrow holes in the ground, where they sometimes died of starvation. It
assassinated military personnel--usually retired ones, who made easier
targets. In desperation, in 1996 it undertook its largest operation ever,
taking hundreds of hostages at a ball at the Japanese ambassador?s
residence (this after the Congress operation Berenson was involved in, up
to drawing the building?s floor plans and giving her rented house to the
MRTA for planning, was thwarted).
The December 1996 operation ended up badly for Berenson?s MRTA friends. All
the hostages were released following a commando operation, and all the
kidnappers were killed. But, she was still ?different,? born in Manhattan,
a fashionable ?professional revolutionary? with many friends ? including
some at the New York Times. Few congressmen were informed, or cared, about
what she did in South America. Before 9/11, more than 100 members of
Congress, Republicans included, signed letters to the Clinton and then the
Bush White House, demanding special treatment for Berenson. But this died
down after John Lindh and other U.S. citizens demonstrated that there is a
problem with Americans training abroad for terrorism. September 11 was, for
Berenson, a worse defeat than her arrest. Americans started learning and
stopped sympathizing with fellow Americans who were involved in murdering
strangers in exotic places.
So now Berenson is again ?married? to a fellow terrorist and expects to be
treated preferentially ? not, she says, because she is American, but
because of some ?universal human right? to the pursuit of happiness.
Peruvians, even under the present confused and weak government of Alejandro
Toledo, object to this and remain unmoved the persistent demands of a
gringa who sought to kill their countrymen.
Ultimately, the ?wedding? of a convicted terrorist and a paroled one ?
neither of whom has expressed any regret for their actions ? seems yet
another attempt to ?humanize? them and make us forget their shared past.
Apari?s comment that ?People understand that Lori and I are human beings
and like everybody else we have every right to make a life, to find
happiness and love? seems not much different than the Free Lori website?s
assertions that Lori ?could be anyone?s daughter, raised by caring,
intelligent parents.? It is not going to work in Peru and it should not
work in post-9/11 America, either.
Westerners have obtained a habit in joining murderous terrorist groups in
the Third World, without renouncing their citizenship. Germans in Turkish
Kurdistan, Americans in Latin America, and Britons in Israel or Afghanistan
who kill or help others kill seem confident that they can expect assistance
from their embassies or bleeding-heart NGOs if their actions land them in
hot water. But Western governments cannot give these terrorists special
rights just because the victims are non-Westerners, nor can they expect
other nations to assist in the war on terrorism if their own citizens are
exempted from prosecution. There is no legal, moral, or political reason to
take seriously Berenson?s incessant demands for yet another trial, or for
American terrorists abroad to be given any more rights than those we would
be prepared to give the foreign terrorists whom we want in our custody.
Michael Radu is Senior Fellow and Co - Chair, Center on Terrorism and
Counterterrorism, at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.
2. Sweden goes
3. Arab terror: http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=10489
4. Paul Krugman -
5. More Massacres by