We note parenthetically the role of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in ensuring that the tragic need for a postponement of the primary elections and subsequent runoffs did not result in any voting on Jewish holidays. That the Democratic primary runoff was scheduled for October 11, a Thursday, rather than Tuesday, October 9, and offering alternate accommodations for those observing Succoth that day, is, in large measure, a tribute to his input as one of the three top decision-makers in Albany.
Although Prime Minister Sharon's "appeasement" analogy was not exactly apt ? President Bush is a proven friend of the Jewish State and is certainly no fainthearted Neville Chamberlain, nor is Israel a defenseless Czechoslovakia ? he did succeed in making an important point. There is no gainsaying that the task before us in seeking to uproot terrorism around the world does not lend itself to a quick solution. Indeed, everyone in the Administration, from Mr. Bush on down, continues to caution that we are in for a long haul.
To those who harbor, in the back of their minds, the uneasy notion that America's friendship with Israel really was the reason for the September 11 events, an article by Holger Jensen in Sunday's New York Post should be required reading. In the course of making a point about how the nations of the world seem to tolerate terrorism when it promotes their immediate political aims, Jensen also provides a revealing catalog of the Osama bin Laden terror agenda:
The folks over at the American Jewish Congress say that the State Department's inclusion of Palestinian groups on its list of "Foreign Terrorist Organizations" should reassure Israel. They are dead wrong! Those organizations are not on the other, more important list the State Department issued last week. To be sure, U.S. citizens are prohibited from financially supporting groups on the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list and all U.S. financial institutions are required to freeze the assets under their control.
The Monitor's most recent undertaking, interrupted by unavoidable circumstances last week, involved a look at some of the early left-wing reaction to the terrorist attacks on America. That our friends on the left would adopt a blame America and/or Israel party line should have been obvious from the get-go, and was exemplified by essays written by Robert Fisk in The Nation and Gary Kamiya on Salon.com.
The two contenders for the Democratic nomination for Mayor of New York City in the October 11th primary election runoff are Mark Green and Fernando Ferrer. We urge those of our readers who are registered Democrats to vote for Mr. Green.
As the days go by, the outlines of President Bush's strategy for dealing with the aftermath of September 11th are becoming more and more clear. As the President intimated in his riveting "This Is War"/"You Are Either With Us Or Against Us" speech to the nation, and as Secretaries Powell, Rumsfeld and Fleischer have since fleshed out, the United States is trying to craft the broadest possible coalition ? including even those who have heretofore harbored or otherwise assisted "terrorists." And the focus of the coalition is to be on terrorism with a "global reach" ? as opposed to "terrorism" in all its forms. The primary goals are to make the overall effort to appear as nothing other than a confrontation with international outlaws and to make as many, particularly in the Arab world, part of the solution with a vested interest in its success rather than having them remain as part of the problem.
It took American leftists about 48 hours or so to find their voices after the Sept. 11 attack on America, but find them they did. There were no surprises.Once the initial shock wore off and it became clear that this was not Oklahoma City, not the doing of any home-grown terrorists, the rationalizations and excuses began to fly. And, as always seems to be the case with those on the left, the real culprits were not Islamic extremists but the U.S. and Israel.
Given the fact that in Operation Desert Storm the United States literally rescued Saudi Arabia from a certain takeover by Iraq, it is particularly gnawing that they are hemming and hawing so much about helping us with going after Osama bin Laden. But, as reported by the New York Daily News, there is another troubling issue concerning Saudi Arabia that seems to be lurking just below the surface. That country seems inordinately interested in the progress of the investigation.
In an astounding development, a Gallup poll commissioned by the daily Ma'ariv newspaper last week has revealed that approximately 20% of Jewish Israelis believe that "such people as Shimon Peres, Yossi Beilin, and Uri Savir, who participated in the formation of the Oslo agreements, should be made to stand trial." And as the noted analyst Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA has observed, "the groundbreaking significance lies in the very fact that this question was included in a poll by the mainstream Israeli media."
When President Bush went to Congress for a resolution confirming his authority to mount this nation's worldwide war against terrorists and those who harbored them, he gave voice to the broad sentiment of Americans and significantly departed from the approach of some of his spokesmen who initially focused not on the systemic terrorist problem but on the particular acts of terror. Yet even after the President's inspiring words of resolve, it seemed that there was an unseemly period of negotiations with the Congress. Indeed, we could not understand why the resolution took even the four days it did to be forthcoming. In his inimitable fashion, Charles Krauthammer, writing in the Washington Post on the very day after the attacks, seemed to sum up the national feeling:
If there was any doubt that Yasir Arafat & Company consider our national tragedy as anything but an opportunity, a September 21 Associated Press dispatch should dispel it. As has been widely reported, soon after the events of September 11 Arafat announced a cease-fire with much fanfare and agreed to halt attacks against Israel. Israel promptly announced that it would ease restrictions on the movements of Palestinians and would suspend offensive operations against them. Of course, Palestinian attacks continued. Yet here is what the AP reported:
Last week we addressed the widespread feeling that a monumental failure of the American intelligence apparatus contributed to the World Trade Center disaster. Indeed, tragically, every day brings new revelations of clues all around us of the impending onslaught, from the hijackers signing on for flight training limited to flying but not taking off and landing, to a total collapse of our illegal immigrant tracking system. Perhaps the most remarkable is what apparently was making the rounds of the Internet. In Friday's Washington Times' "Inside the Beltway" column, the following appeared:
Once again, America is at war. Make no mistake. The coordinated sneak air attacks and car bombing that levelled the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, killing untold numbers of Americans, is of a piece with the attack on Pearl Harbor. And just as our earlier enemies learned to their great dismay that we have the capacity to rise from any adversity and make any sacrifice required of us, so the perpetrators of this atrocity will also learn. Today's events are the culmination of a widespread but lunatic fringe who abide by a seething Muslim fundamentalism that has long viewed the United States as the evil incarnation of infidel secularism. It is most recently what drove the third world savaging of America at the Durban Conference and it is what has motivated attacks ? albeit of lesser magnitude, like the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the Air Force base in Saudi Arabia and the assault on the USS Cole.
In many respects, the Durban Conference on Racism presented Israel with one of its most critical challenges in its 53 year history. Had Arafat and other Arab leaders succeeded in hijacking the conference and having Israel branded internationally as an outlaw state, members of its government, diplomatic corps and military would be subject to arrest and trial around the world as war criminals. Moreover, had Zionism been equated with racism, the very basis of the Jewish state would have been delegitimized and it would have assumed the role of international pariah. So the statements and actions of President Bush and Secretary of State Powell in dramatically disassociating the United States from the parley and thereby blunting its anti-Israel mission, were the latest evidence that President Bush's election last November was providential. Indeed, the contrast with the reaction to events in Durban by the Democratic Party leadership is striking.
September 13, 2001 marks the 8th anniversary of the greatest swindle ever perpetrated on the Jewish people. That is the date President Clinton announced the Oslo agreement on the White House lawn to the fawning applause of countless heads of Jewish organizations. And it is poetic coincidence that the expected meeting between Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Yassir Arafat is to take place at this time. Even more so than the late Prime Minister Rabin, Peres is identified with the failed Oslo "peace process." This is not only because he emerged as its chief proponent and intellectual patron ? he said it reflected the millennial economic driven intersection of Israeli and Arab interests. It was also because he led the worldwide suppression of any dissent and the demonization of anyone who sought to point out that the Emperor really had no clothes.
Israel's targeting terrorist leaders in order to thwart attacks against its citizens continues to draw criticism around the world. Some of it, of course, is from those who are acting viscerally out of a deep anti-Israel or anti-Jewish animus. But there are some who are disturbed over the fact that those marked by Israel have not been convicted in a court of law, and that Israel sometimes operates in territory under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority to get at them. What followed last week's helicopter attack against suspected terrorists should be illuminating.
This week the Monitor hands the ball to The Weekly Standard, which in its Sept. 10 issue featured a transcript of a conversation between a caller identified as "David from Minneapolis" and Diana Nyad, the host of "Savvy Traveler," a Minnesota Public Radio show.
President Bush and his Secretary of State are certainly deserving of all the praise that will be heaped on them in the Anglo-Jewish media over the United States' withdrawal from the Durban Conference. The proposed anti-Israel resolution was an outrage and it was entirely correct for our government to say that this sort of thing would not be dignified by being the subject of debate or negotiations by us. It was also an important message to the Arab world that the United States has no intention of being part of any gang-up on Israel no matter how popular it is, and that we plan to act on principle.
Last week, Time magazine weighed in on Israel's practice of targeting leaders of the Palestinian wave of suicide bombings. To its credit it ran an article by nationally known columnist Charles Krauthammer who cogently ? and with great logic ? presented the issue in terms of whether it is a reasonable and reasoned response to a significant problem. However, a Time staff writer also focused on the Palestinian Authority's summary treatment of those Palestinians accused of providing Israel with intelligence about the comings and goings of the terrorist leaders.
One expects to see harrowing pictures of Palestinian civilians caught in the middle of the crossfire between Israeli forces and the Palestinian Authority terrorists chosen as illustrations for stories about the intifada. These instances certainly abound, especially since the Palestinian leaders cynically place their own people in harm's way to elicit sympathy in the world media. And the media, in any event, seem hell-bent to spin the story of Palestinian provocation and Israeli response in terms of the hardships visited on Palestinian civilians. Thus, although Israeli territory is far more open to journalists than Palestinian controlled areas, it is rare that pictures of Israeli civilians under fire ever accompany any of the stories. But last Thursday, The New York Times "picked a beaut" to illustrate a story about Jews under fire in Gilo.
Sounding a theme recurrent in these pages, Fiamma Nirenstein has penned an article, "How Suicide Bombers Are Made," appearing in the current issue of Commentary magazine, which concludes that the problem with Yasir Arafat and company is not that they can't seem to keep their word or that they disagree with this or that Israel imposition, or indeed that they have a recurrent violent bent. It is that they reflect a fundamental difficulty among Arabs with the notion of a Jewish state in the Middle East.