Understandably, Monday's State Department rebuke of Israel over the death of senior Palestinian leader Mustafa Zubari and its policy of restricting the movement of Palestinians generally, has led to sharp statements in the Jewish community. There is a general concern that the United States is wavering in its appreciation of the Sharon government's need to get at those who are directing the terror against its citizens and to impede terrorist infiltration. Yet, while the State Department's statement was not at all welcome, we urge that matters be kept in context.
The criticism of Israel's policy of targeting the terrorist infrastructure to thwart assaults on its citizens continues to grow in leftist circles, particularly in Israel. One also finds news articles and editorials sharply condemning Israel for acting as prosecutor, jury and executioner. It seems that they are all quite willing to disable Israel from addressing the cynical strategy hit upon by Arafat and his colleagues to kill Jews without risk through the tactical use of nondescript terrorists and suicide bombers. That is, the terrorist infrastructure must remain untouched because its members, not being turned over by Arafat, were not convicted in a court of law. Happily, the government of Israel is not cowed by this sophistry.
We are certainly gratified by the apparent meeting of the minds between the Jewish and Black communities in Crown Heights. Although we are not as sanguine as some as to how far along the process is, anything that will serve to heal the terrible breach that was revealed in the pogroms there in 1991 against Jews by rampaging blacks is to the good. The apparent rapproachment between the families of Yankel Rosenbaum and Gavin Cato is certainly a good start. But we were dismayed at the take of some in the media.
As readers may recall, several weeks ago, in an Editor's Note accompanying a letter we published, we expressed our displeasure with the writer for seeking to draw The Jewish Press into a local campaign for New York City Council by claiming that we had erroneously reported that one candidate, Samuel Spirgel, had received his support. As we said, we had it right and the writer was plainly changing his mind, doubtless as the result of pressure from one or more formidable supporters of a competing candidate. We were not amused by this attempt to make a political point at the expense of our reportorial reputation.
There is no question that many everyday Palestinians experience disruption in their daily lives because of Israeli security measures against infiltration. It could not be otherwise but that Israel's need to restrict terrorist access to its citizens would also impact on the mobility of those workaday Palestinians. There also can be no question that the overhanging Palestinian terrorist threat is the reason for the stringent Israeli security measures. So, although we have come not to expect too much objectivity these days from The New York Times, the "paper of record" outdid itself on Tuesday. For The Times, the only story to be told about Israel's security measures was the impact they are having on Palestinian civilians.
Prime Minister Sharon is being roundly criticized in his own Likud Party by those who are disenchanted with his policy of "restraint." Indeed, it would now appear that former Prime Minister Netanyahu would win a vote for leadership of the Likud if it were held today. Plainly, there is much frustration with the continuing violence and the failure of Mr. Sharon to bring an end to it.
It will be recalled that The Jewish Press took the lead in criticizing Hillary Clinton during her campaign for the Senate last year. But the fact that we took a back seat to no one in hammering Candidate Clinton for her appalling record on Israel in no way inhibits us from applauding Senator Clinton for her lead role in the efforts to get the International Red Cross to grant membership to the Magen David Adom Society, Israel's rescue and relief service.
For the second week running the Monitor is forced to postpone a celebration of the death last month of one of the wickedest Jews to walk the earth in this or any other generation. The continuing fallout over outgoing New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Deborah Sontag's novella-length rewrite of recent Middle East history leaves no choice but to put away the streamers and the silly hats and reschedule the party for the next column.
One reading Deborah Sontag's front-page article in the July 26th issue of The New York Times could well understand the calls one hears lately for Jews to suspend their Times subscriptions over its outrageous coverage of the Middle East. Ms. Sontag's piece is transparent revisionism which well serves the seeming omnipresent effort to shift the blame for the collapse of Camp David from the Palestinians to something systemic to the Middle East conflict. It almost seems that Ms. Sontag and others now hawking the same line are following a scenario scripted by Arafat lieutenants intent on minimizing Israeli concessions at Camp David and thereby set the stage for the next phase of negotiations.
An article in the Edah group's online journal about women being called to the Torah should be a wakeup call to leaders of Modern Orthodoxy. When Edah was founded several years ago, it unilaterally claimed a place in Modern Orthodoxy. However, Modern Orthodoxy is at a crossroads and it is now time that the Edah message be seen for what it is.
In 1995, when Mayor Rudy Giuliani famously barred Yassir Arafat from a City-sponsored Lincoln Center concert for world leaders, the Mayor was rebuked by the State Department and denounced by the left and the Oslo juggernaut. Although it was plain to the Mayor and to some of the rest of us that Arafat was simply an unrepentant terrorist, his comic opera-like pretensions to statesmanship played well to a largely servile world. But that was then. Given the evidence mounting daily of Arafat's systemic duplicity and complicity in the terrorist targeting of innocent civilians, it would hardly be expected that a similar bold stroke would today trigger the same negative reaction.
One of the critical points to be made about the international monitor dispute is being overlooked. No one would suggest that the mission of the monitors would be to prevent violence by force of arms. Rather, it is widely assumed that they would monitor the respective elective efforts of Israel and the Palestinians to observe a cease-fire.
A Sabbath-observant Orthodox Associate Professor of Education at William Paterson College, a state-run university in New Jersey, won a resounding landmark victory from a federal court of appeals in her religious-discrimination lawsuit. A unanimous Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a 38-page opinion sending the claims of Dr. Gertrude Abramson back to trial court for a full jury trial on her allegations that she had been subjected to a ''hostile work environment'' because of harassment relating to her observance of the Sabbath and Jewish religious holidays. The Court also upheld her claims that her employment had been terminated because she observed religious holidays, and that the College retaliated against her because she maintained her religious observance.
The letters just keep coming in response to the Enemies List column and its follow-up. The responses by and large have been friendly in tone, with the majority of respondents agreeing on all or most of the names submitted by their fellow readers. And then there was this, from an e-mail submitted by some mammal identified as Rashid Monsour:
Debate over Prime Minister Sharon's so-called policy of "restraint" continues to swirl. Among other things, our editorial last week expressing support for his measured responses to the escalating Palestinian terrorism drew more reaction than any Jewish Press editorial in recent memory. The letters from readers on the subject which appear this week are only a sampling of what we actually received, besides some really animated phone calls.