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March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Menachem Begin’

So You Say You Want a US Style Constitution in Israel…

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

After you make aliyah from the United States, it’s hard not compare everything to what you’ve come to expect from your prior life.  Whether it’s people’s attitudes, prices, the government bureaucracy, and so many other things. As a lawyer who has studied American and Israeli law and someone who has been politically active in both the US and Israel, I compare Israeli and American constitutional law.

The first thing, of course, that jumps out is not that there is no constitution in Israel. That doesn’t in and of itself bother me. What bothers me is that the Supreme Court believes there is one and therefore acts as if it has the power of judicial review.

But after that, there is the fact that when Israeli legal authorities talk about a constitution they didn’t really mean a whole constitution, they mean only a bill of rights. That’s why it was so easy for Aharon Barak and the Supreme Court he led to rationalize giving themselves the power of judicial review. Israel, they thought, has basic laws on everything except a bill of rights. Now the Knesset has approved a basic law on “human dignity and liberty” so therefore the constitutional process has been competed and what are termed “basic laws” will automatically be considered superior law to regular laws.

That was how they glossed over the fact that only some basic laws have “entrenchment clauses,” which say make the law superior to later laws unless the later law is approved by a certain sized majority, and that when Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty was approved legislators were told by the Chairman of the Knesset committee on the Constitution, Law and Justice that it would not give the Supreme Court the power of judicial review.

But a constitution is much more than a bill of rights. It’s about the structure of government and how that impacts decision-making and in and of itself protects the rights of the people.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear much thought was put into the system of government in Israel – not the serious kind of political philosophy that when into the U.S. Constitution. Israel’s governmental structure is very simplistic. There are no districts, so elections are just one big free for all, with whoever can form a majority-coalition in the legislature forming the government. And then off to the side there is the Knesset. Of course, that doesn’t make politics simple. In fact it makes it unduly complicated, but in all the wrong ways.

While studying the evolution of judicial review in Israel, I read Emmanuel Rackman’s account of early Israeli constitutional decision-making – both in the provisional government and then in the Constituent Assembly, the body elected to adopted a constitution and which became Israel’s first Knesset. The main constitutional issues which were discussed and debated were the concept of the a written constitution and a bill of rights. No one could agree on those so it was agreed to disagree and make laws about the basics parts of government in “basic laws” which would later be used as the basis for a constitution.

In my op-ed in last Thursday’s Jerusalem Post, I wrote that the Disengagement – which involved a forcible mass transfer of thousands of a certain class (Jews) – was a result of the inability of the Israeli governmental system to protect citizens’ rights and ensure the adoption of sound policy, due to the fact that it lacks the checks and balances as they exist in the US constitutional system (as well as many others).

My conclusion was that,

Those who recognized the disengagement as the act of despotism it was ought to consider how our form of government affects the policies which are adopted and how it should be changed to ensure that a plan that pits soldiers against thousands of their countrymen is never approved again.

But against all my arguments and comparisons between the Israeli and American systems, first person to comment on the article argued that, “The grass really isn’t greener elsewhere. Here in the US, our one-time system of checks and balances has been largely destroyed, and we are on the fast track to financial ruin.”

That wasn’t the first time I’ve gotten such a response to a US-Israel constitution comparison. Once, while making the point about Israel’s judicial selection procedure (judges are chosen by a committee of nine, three are from the Supreme Court, two from the Knesset (one is an opposition member), two from the government and three from the bar association who side with the judges) and how it was inferior to the American judicial selection procedure, in which judges are more tied to the people since they are chosen by the political branches, a distinguished ivy-league educated law professor remarked about how judicial committee hearings in the Senate can be a joke, so perhaps it should not be so emulated.

That all may be true. The US system has its dirty moments. It’s the nature of democracy and politics in any system that politicians will play to the cameras and their base for popularity and in so doing make a mockery of themselves and potentially lead to bad decisions.

Nevertheless, the US system is quite remarkable and renowned around the world. It has also served the US quite well. When it was first adopted it was not even agreed that the US was to comprise a nation, but in the framer’s vision that’s what the country became.  And it stayed that way despite deep-seeded differences between the North and the South, which only turned to civil war once (which was perhaps inevitable) – and the Union – i.e. the United States as bound by the Constitution won out.

Senators who might make a show for the public over a judicial nomination dispute are doing just that – making a show. The rhetoric is just the public face for whatever  actual reasons they are voting for or against the judge, reasons which may differ from time to time, but it’s still a story as old time.

And the US may be facing a recession, maybe one day another depression, I don’t know. But something tells me – that the US will come out alright in the end. I believe it will remain the world’s foremost superpower for decades to come, if not much longer.  (One of those things that informs my opinion on this is an excellent essay, “The World America Made,” by Robert Kagan).

As for Israel – thank God, Israel has survived and done pretty well since it’s birth. But I wouldn’t thank it’s current system. Let’s face it, people here don’t vote for representatives. Party bosses and power players do. The judges choose themselves. The government controls the legislature. It’s just a no good, very bad, terrible system.

For Israel’s survival and lack of devolution into civil war or national destruction at the hands of our enemies, I would thank those who had the foresight not to let things get out of hand – such as Menachem Begin, when he did not allow the Irgun to retaliate for the Saison or the Altalena, who ensured that Israel would have a democracy instead of a one-party dominated system, and whose victory stopped the two-state solution from being implemented (Labor had by that point endorsed withdrawal from all disputed territories).

More generally the culprit of our prosperity is the ingenuity and persistence of the Jewish people, that, and by God’s grace do we go on. Those things will keep Israel around despite whatever terrible decisions are wrought by it’s current governing system. Not that anyone should rely on that – bad things do happen when the citizenry is apathetic, regardless of divine preference (recall the joke about the Rabbi praying for God to save him, but every time someone comes a long to rescue him he says he would rather wait for God to do it) or our national qualities.

Making these comparisons is not to simply to complain and let out frustration, or to put the US on a pedestal (though denying American strength, success and generosity is just being intellectually dishonest) or conjure up fear that if we don’t change things the state will be destroyed some time soon (the direction that many Israel-related political arguments take).

When it comes to our national prosperity, we should never shy from imagining the ideal and advocating for its realization.  And while we’ve done relatively amazing compared to the odds stacked against us, life in Israel and Israeli policy making is still far from ideal. If we can prosper even with this system and in our geopolitical situation, imagine how much better we could do with a system of government that could properly reflect and channel our exceptional national ingenuity and will.

The Peace of Treblinka

Monday, June 11th, 2012

As an impressionable teenager, I learned the truth of Jews and Israel. It was so simple then and in reality, is so simple now. It is only as adults that we confuse it; only politicians who hide the truth from us. As a young adult, I came across The Revolt, by Menachem Begin and the powerful words he spoke to me, only to me, always to me.

“I have written this book,” he began “primarily for my own people, lest the Jew forget again – as he so disastrously forgot in the past – this simple truth: that there are things more precious than life, and more horrible than death.” This is the crime I accuse the Likud and Benyamin Netanyahu of committing – forgetting this simple truth.

On May 15, 1948, Menachem Begin broadcast a speech to a nation already at war. It was a war that was to continue beyond his lifetime – and may well continue well after my life and those of my children and perhaps even my grandchildren. His words should be read and remembered for they speak to us today, as they did to those who listened to him then. This is the speech that should be broadcast on the radio today, through the Internet and the television and in the halls of the Knesset:

“The State of Israel has arisen. And, it has arisen only thus – through blood, through fire, with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, with sufferings and with sacrifices. It could not have been otherwise…It has been difficult to create our state. But it will be still more difficult to keep it going. We are surrounded by enemies who long for our destruction. And that same oppressor, who has been defeated by us directly, is trying indirectly to make us surrender with the aid of mercenaries from the south, the north, and the east. Our one-day-old state is set up in the midst of the flames of battle….There must be no surrender, no favoritism. There must be reciprocity. Enmity for enmity, aid for aid, friendship for friendship.

“We must foster friendship and understanding between us and every nation, great or small, strong or weak, near or far, which recognizes our independence, which aids our national regeneration, and which is interested, even as we are, in international justice and peace among nations….

“Whoever does not recognize our natural right to our entire homeland, does not recognize our right to any part of it. And we shall never forego this natural right…We cannot buy peace from our enemies with appeasement. There is only one kind of ‘peace’ that can be bought – the peace of the graveyard, the peace of Treblinka. Be brave of spirit and ready for more trials. We shall withstand them.”

The speech is much longer; I’ve only shared a portion. But the concept of “the peace of Treblinka” weighs on my mind. What a brilliant phrase. It says so much about what is wrong with this government and so many others. We say we are seeking peace with our neighbors, but which peace? Is it true and lasting peace? Is it the bastardized peace the Arabs call hudna? Is it the worst of all peace – the peace of Treblinka?

The peace of Treblinka is what Ariel Sharon was trying to buy by destroying Gush Katif and, in some ways perhaps, what Menachem Begin himself did when he destroyed Yamit. It is what Benyamin Netanyahu’s government has now voted for in the Ulpanah neighborhood and it is what too many loyal Likudniks practice when they stay in the Likud long after it has moved away from the ideology that attracted them to join.

I was opposed to the unilateral withdrawal of Gaza and Northern Shomron because I believed that unilateral decisions simply encourage more violence. Whatever compromising may need to be done in the future should only be decided upon when we have a peace partner, so long as the peace we get is not the peace of Treblinka.

I voted for Ariel Sharon, to my eternal shame, because I believed his promises, his calls for security and negotiating from a position of strength. I believed and I voted for him, as the leader of Menachem Begin’s party. And so, Gush Katif was evacuated with my vote. I protested. Our family went to Neve Dekalim and to the other communities to show support and we believed that it would never happen; that the government of Ariel Sharon would not destroy the homes of 9,000 people for nothing. It was the Likud/Kadima hammer that rammed through those settlements – and it was my vote that helped give them that hammer. I will live with that…always.

I won’t have to live with the Ulpanah decision and other unilateral decisions because I resigned from the Likud many months ago. We parted and I am eternally grateful for that because the Likud is sinking. Weighed down by having too many who believe too differently from each other. You cannot have a Moshe Feiglin and a Bibi Netanyahu in the same party; you cannot have those who will vote to surrender parts of our land with those who believe, as Menachem Begin did, that to unilaterally surrender some is to surrender all.

For too long, there has been a quiet voice in the Likud begging for sanity. How long will it take for those who disagree with Netanyahu’s path to admit they will never succeed in turning the Likud around? I don’t know the answer to that – but what I do know is that while they remain in Likud, it is their hand on the hammer that destroys the Ulpanah houses and whatever else Netanyahu will do for his peace of Treblinka.

PM Netanyahu: ‘Gaza is Iran’s Forward Position’

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

In a speech before the Knesset on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tied the the recent rocket attacks emanating from Gaza to the Iran threat, saying that “Gaza is Iran’s forward position.”

Netanyahu was speaking at a special Knesset session, called after 40 MKs signed a bill requiring the prime minister to give an accounting to the legislature. The session was titled “The political, economical and social failures of Netanyahu’s government.”

The Prime Minister used the opportunity to launch an offensive against his political opponents, lambasting them for the 2005 disengagement from Gaza: “Iran was let into Gaza, but it wasn’t we that let Iran into Gaza, it was you.”

Netanyahu said that Iran had taken over the Gaza Strip through its proxy, Hamas, and that Iran – not the Palestinians – is “the dominant element driving events in Gaza…Iran is building the infrastructures, Iran provides the money, and and in many cases Iran gives the orders.”

Referring to the divergent positions between Israel and the US regarding the imminence of the Iranian threat and the prudence of a military strike, he said that the US was unequivocal in its support for “Israel’s right to be able to defend itself by itself.” Nevertheless, he said he would act to protect Israel with or without US support, evoking former Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s decision to bomb Iraq’s reactor in 1981: “He was well aware of the international scrutiny – including from the United States and President Reagan, but he nevertheless fulfilled his duty.”

The Prime Minister also brushed aside claims that he was focusing on the Iran issue in order to avoid making peace with the Palestinians, saying that “it would be a dangerous illusion to think that such an agreement would stop Iran and its proxies.”

Ethiopian Community Gets Well-Wishes from PM

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a holiday greeting to the Ethiopian community in honor of the upcoming Sigd holiday, which is celebrated on the 29th of the Jewish month of Heshvan – this year, November 26:

“My brothers, members of the Ethiopian community in Israel, I would like to greet you on the Sigd festival, the special holiday for the Ethiopian community, that symbolizes the covenant and the yearning to return to the Land of Israel.

While you have been celebrating this holiday for hundreds of years, it has received a different significance upon your return to the Land of Israel.  Naturally, you have continued to celebrate it here, as we all celebrate the Jewish holidays.  I am especially proud that the Knesset has adopted the Sigd festival as an official holiday like all of our holidays from the various communities, which together constitute the mosaic of the tribes of Israel.

Almost 30 years have passed since the beginning of the large scale immigration of the Ethiopian community and alongside prime ministers such as Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, I am proud to have had – and still have – the privilege of bringing members of the community to Israel and to see to their social welfare, their absorption and their becoming part of Israeli society.

I know that the way to the State of Israel and absorption in it has not always been easy and even today members of the community are finding certain things difficult, and we are trying to help them.  However, integration has been impressive and it is encouraging; it gives the essence to this idea of returning to Zion and combining the absorption of the tribes of Israel.

We will continue to work towards the absorption and strengthening of the Ethiopian community in Israel and we will continue to celebrate our holiday, the Sigd festival.”

Sigd is celebrated 50 days after Yom Kippur and symbolizes the acceptance of the Ethiopian Jewish community – also known as Beta Israel – of the Torah.

How Low We Have Fallen

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

It seems like almost yesterday when, after the Camp David accords initiated by President Carter, former Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin, a”h, told me, “Rebbetzin, I have just returned from an American concentration camp. The pressure that President Carter exerted upon me was greater than anyone can imagine. And then, to top it off, he wanted to put Jerusalem on the bargaining table as well. When I vehemently objected, he tried to reassure me by telling me that we would not be negotiating, but merely ‘discussing’ Jerusalem.” After all, the president added, ‘There’s no harm in discussing.’

“To explain my position, I related to the president the story of the U’Nesaneh Tokef prayer that we recite on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.”

And that which Menachem Begin related to President Carter speaks to us more powerfully today than ever before.

The prayer itself was composed by the eminent sage, Rabbi Amnon, who lived about 1,000 years ago in Mainz, Germany. The Bishop of Mainz, who was the most powerful man in the city, befriended Rabbi Amnon and tried to prevail upon him to convert, but Rabbi Amnon consistently rebuffed all pleadings. Despite all his imprecations and promises of riches as well as threats of terrible consequences, Rabbi Amnon stood strong as a rock in his faith in Hashem and loyalty to Torah.

On one occasion, however, the bishop’s exhortations became so intense, so overbearing that, just to obtain a little respite, Rabbi Amnon asked to be given three days to consider the matter. No sooner did Rabbi Amnon depart from the bishop’s palace, than he was overcome by terrible anguish. A torturous question kept repeating itself in his mind, heart, and soul. “How? How could I have said that? What if future generations who hear of this conclude that I succumbed to pressure and considered conversion for even a second? How could I have fallen so low?”

For the next three days, Rabbi Amnon prayed, fasted, and wept and no one could console him. When the appointed time passed and Rabbi Amnon did not return to the palace of the bishop, soldiers came to fetch him and forcibly took him away.

“Why didn’t you come?” the bishop demanded menacingly.

Everyone in the chamber waited with baited breath for Rabbi Amnon’s response and they were shocked to hear him say in a determined, powerful voice, “Your Honor, allow me to pronounce my own punishment for not having come. This tongue that spoke falsehood and said that I would consider conversion, has to be severed. Please know that never for a moment was that even a possibility for me.”

In a fury, the Bishop responded, “Your tongue spoke correctly, but your feet that did not bring you here acted treacherously… and he immediately ordered his henchmen to cut off Rabbi Amnon’s feet joint by joint, toe by toe… and after each barbaric amputation the question was repeated: “Are you willing to convert?”

But Rabbi Amnon resisted the torture and would not relent, so the bishop ordered that the same be done to his hands and fingers. Thus mutilated and crippled, Rabbi Amnon was sent home in a wheelbarrow with his severed limbs at his side.

It was a few days before Rosh Hashanah, and when the great awesome day arrived, Rabbi Amnon asked to be taken to shul. As the congregation got ready to recite the holy Kedushah, Rabbi Amnon requested to be taken to the Holy Ark and there, in a trembling voice, he composed and recited the U’Nesaneh Tokef prayer – and with those words, his pure soul returned to its Creator.

A few days later, Rabbi Amnon appeared in a dream to Rabbi Kalonymus ben Meshulam, a great Torah scholar in Mainz. In the dream, Rabbi Amnon taught him the prayer and asked that it be sent to all Jewish communities – and today, it is an integral part of the High Holy Days liturgy.

It was that story through which Menachem Begin explained to President Carter why he could not even discuss Jerusalem. “For if I did,” Prime Minister Begin continued, “I too would have the same fate as Rabbi Amnon.”

That story seems to have occurred eons ago. Today, the Israeli prime minister is not only willing to discuss Jerusalem, but he has indicated his readiness to give away a great part of it – and the silence of our people is deafening. How could we have fallen so low in such a short period of time?

As I write these words, yet another incident comes to mind. Soon after the Six- Day War, I was in Hebron, the city of our holy Patriarchs and Matriarchs. At that time, I had a little discussion with a local Arab. “This land,” he claimed, “belongs to us,” and to prove his point, he said, “Your own King Solomon would agree. When the two mothers came to Solomon claiming ownership of the same baby, Solomon decreed that the baby be cut in half. One of the women cried out ‘No!’ to which Solomon responded, ‘She is the real mother.’

“We,” the Arab said, “will never allow our land to be cut up. We will fight to the end until we get it back – but you are willing to see it sliced up and given away. So you see, it is our land, not yours.”

Already, in the wake of the Six-Day War this policy of giving away our G-d- given land started. The logic behind it was that the Arabs would appreciate our generosity and live with us in harmony. And the secularists argued that we didn’t really need those religious places. History however, has proven that not only have they failed to be grateful, but on the contrary, with every “giveaway” their violence has increased, their hatred has intensified, and today their determination to wipe Israel off the map has become their official policy and unabashedly, they proclaim it to the entire world. As for us, we have learned nothing. We keep returning to the same self-destructive bargaining table – and now it is Yehudah, Shomron, and Yerushalayim that are on the “giveaway.”

What will it take to wake up our nation? How far do we have to fall before we come to appreciate the gift that Hashem gave us at Sinai – the gift which proclaims that Torah, the Jewish People, the Land of Israel chad hu – are one.

May Hashem have mercy on all of us and despite ourselves seal us in the Book of Life and Blessing. Kesivah v’chasimah tovah to all our readers and Klal Yisrael.

Migron First

Wednesday, January 28th, 2004

In Israel, when a politician wants to label the start of a process, he often uses the concept “. . . first!” In other words, let’s start “here” and see what happens. If it works out, then we will continue the process.

Who would have believed just a few short years ago that Arik Sharon, a right-wing leader, would be willing to make one-sided concessions to expel Jews from their homes, without anything in return from our enemies? It is funny to me that even Shimon Peres has expressed opposition to Sharon’s one-sided concessions.

Everyone railed against Rechavam Zeevi (HY”D) when he suggested transferring Arabs from their homes in order to make Israel a safer country. It was considered inhumane, unjust and prejudiced. Yet, when Sharon openly plans to expel Jews from their homes, it is considered just, democratic and reasonable.

What is Migron? Four years ago, several families fulfilled their dream of setting up a  community on a hillside. The community is a young vibrant settlement made up of workers, soldiers and Torah scholars who joined together to establish a town of Torah Jews. Today more than 40 families live in Migron.

The evil decree that threatens to evict them from their homes hit them suddenly. With sadness but with implicit faith in Hashem, they have decided to passively defend their homes against this decree in the hope that the decree will be rescinded. They have called upon Jews from around the country to join them in their struggle.

Migron is just a trial balloon floated by the Likud government that has brazenly abandoned all of its Zionistic principles and promises. It is fear of America and of Europe that is propelling these tired leaders to take unilateral steps of capitulation. Migron is the first step in a process that will lead to a true “transfer” of Jews out of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. If the dismantling of Migron succeeds, my community and many others like it will be in jeopardy.

The dismantling of the city of Yamit near the Sinai by a previous Likud government was heralded as the beginning of “peace” with Egypt and the other Arab states. Menachem Begin was fooled by American and European “guarantees” into making concessions and he believed that it was the beginning of a new era of peace and prosperity. What peace? Which
prosperity? All we see are continuous condemnations and repeated attempts to undermine Israel and throw us out of the UN.

What will be the result of the pillaging and sacking of Migron? Will Arafat move even one
centimeter closer to reducing terror, or will he be encouraged to keep up the terror because it gets results? Will this “transfer” result in peace, stability and prosperity, or is it just the beginning of another horrifying process of displacing Jews from their homes?

What kind of gesture is the self-destruction of Jewish communities? Migron is a blossoming
community, not empty caravans. Is American pressure so strong and so intimidating that Sharon is being forced to knuckle under? Has Sharon become so afraid that he has forgotten what it is to lead?

One-sided concessions! What a pleasant term for such a mistaken idea. When have the Arabs made any concessions? Maybe we should insist that the United States make one-sided concessions to Saddam Hussein? Why is no one calling for the US to negotiate with Saddam? He is still the only legal governor of Iraq. No one has replaced him legally, yet. Why is
Arafat greeted as a hero by all of Europe?

I guess Arafat chose his enemies well. When Jews are the victims, the non-Jewish world calls for negotiations with the terrorists. They call for concessions and for understanding. When non-Jews are the victims, America will rush in with blazing guns and no thought of concessions, negotiations or concern for collateral damage.

Unfortunately, we again are seeing an older generation of Jewish leaders who have become fearful and meek and who cannot handle the international pressure that is aimed at any Jewish success. If Migron is first, will Bet El, Hashmonaim and Kiryat Sefer be next? All of us (G-d forbid) are in danger of being evicted from our homes. Forty nice Jewish families are about to lose their homes. They are about to be expelled and “transferred” for political reasons.
What do you plan to do about it? Will we be silent, again?

Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com.

Mike Wallace, Loathsome Again

Wednesday, July 10th, 2002

Readers will recall that a few months back the Monitor had words of uncharacteristic praise for Mike Wallace, who had just conducted an interview with Yasir Arafat that was far more skeptical than the fawning media treatment usually accorded the Palestinian leader.

Alas, the Monitor must report that the “60 Minutes” mainstay has reverted to his familiar pro-Palestinian stance with alarming alacrity. As if to make up for that momentary lapse with Arafat in Ramallah, Wallace has been doing the PLO proud on a recent round of radio talk-show appearances and, most strikingly, during a media forum at Washington’s Brookings Institution.

It was at the latter event that Wallace’s animosity toward Israel was made transparently clear, and more than once. First, the forum’s co-moderator, Stephen Hess of Brookings, brought up an interview Wallace had done with the late Menachem Begin. (Co-moderator Marvin Kalb of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center at least offered a theoretical defense of Begin, though he was quick to point out that he himself did not necessarily agree with it.)

Hess: You asked [Begin] whether he, thirty years ago, was not the Yasir Arafat of today.

Wallace: That’s correct.

Hess: And what did he say?

Wallace: ….He was stunned and angry at me. But the fact of the matter is that Menachem Begin and the people of the Stern Gang were terrorists back then in their efforts to find themselves a free Israel. It infuriated him to be compared with Yasir Arafat, but if you look into the history of what Menachem Begin did, it is not, to some degree, dissimilar.

Kalb: Let me pick that up. It’s kind of interesting you raise the point. Begin took action … against the people who were governing the land he wanted. Arafat took action by hijacking airplanes … filled with people who had nothing to do with the land that he wanted for a Palestine. So it seems to me that one could argue – I wouldn’t, but one could argue ? that the question is totally unfair and ahistorical.

Wallace: He made his point and let’s move ahead. [Laughter]

Having airily dismissed Kalb’s observations without even a perfunctory rebuttal, Wallace settled in for some relatively innocuous chit-chat. And then came a question from an audience member about how, in the wake of Sept. 11, American journalists were coping with the pressure of balancing patriotism with objectivity. Though the questioner mentioned neither Israel nor the Palestinians, here’s how Wallace chose to respond (Marvin Kalb, to his credit, again attempted to interject some balance):

Wallace: I will say, for instance, would it be unpatriotic if I were to do a story about the Palestinians, let’s say, and say about the Palestinians, hey, you know something?….these people who are blowing themselves up have spent the last 30 years…living in refugee camps, living in abominable conditions. Even some of the, and there’s fear of this in Israel now, some of the Palestinians who live inside Israel itself are treated as second or third class citizens. Whether it’s schools, tours, roads, etc. This is well known….When you go to, I was in Ramallah to talk to Arafat two months ago. When you realize that they cannot go from one Arab place to another in the West Bank ?

Kalb: They can go.

Wallace: They can go? They can go, Marvin, but they cannot go the way you that even you and I might be able to go. They are stopped, they are searched, they are regarded as guilty until proved innocent. It is impossible – it is impossible – I know that this is absolutely true. The Israelis have seen to it that there is no real body of Palestine, so to speak, there is not sufficient ability to go from one, from Jenin to Bethlehem to Ramallah to whatever.

All I’m suggesting is that a suicide bomber is giving up his or her life to a certain degree because of brain wash – to a certain degree because – And if you – We tried to tell those stories, we tried to tell that story…. I do not believe, I don’t think that we fully understand here in America, and particularly in the Palestinian/ Israeli business, we don’t understand the situation over there sufficiently.

(Continued Next Week)

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/media-monitor-47/2002/07/10/

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