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September 06, 2002 - Image 44

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-09-06

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Year In Review — 5762

Clockwise from top left:

President Bush welcomes Israeli
Prime Minister Sharon
to the White House on June 10.

A fire and rescue
special operation unit member,
right, is checked outside
the American Media Inc.
building in Boca Raton,
Fla. on Oct. 18.

About 100,000 people
demonstrate in front of the
U.S. Capitol in support
of Israel on April 15.

A demonstrator holds a sign
that reads, "no cease-fire, no
pullout," at a New York rally
that drew 10,000 people in
support of Israel on April 7.

9/ 6


felt insecure. American security was
one thing, Jewish security quite anoth-
In late September, Al-Qaida report-
edly faxed a statement to Pakistani
news organizations in which it warned,
"Wherever there are Americans and
Jews, they will be targeted."
Then came the anthrax scares. They
generally targeted the media, but
Jewish institutions were on alert. In
October, anthrax spores were found in
the Manhattan offices of New York
Gov. George Pataki, prompting a
check for contamination in the
numerous Jewish organizations that
share his building.

European Anti-Semitism

Then there was the dramatic rise in
attacks on European Jews and their
institutions as Israeli-Palestinian vio-

lence intensified. This followed a wave
of anti-Semitic attacks in Europe after
the Palestinian intifada erupted in -
September 2000.
Most attacks reportedly were carried
out by young Arab immigrants, but
Jews were startled and distressed by
the failure of governments, such as
France's, to respond.
"I'll tell you point-blank: I have two
grown daughters, and I didn't think
that my kids were going to have to deal
with some of the same anti-Semitism
that I did as the daughter of Holocaust
survivors," Rosenthal said. "It's a scary
time, with people losing the ability to
differentiate between a Jew, any Jew,
and what's going on in Israel."
Some European pundits on the left
and right brushed off charges of latent
anti-Semitism. They seemed to excuse
the violence by blaming it on
Diaspora Jews' presumed support for

tv-11 i):
Israeli actions against the Palestinians.
To some observers, hOWeVer, that
smacked of an age-old canard: that Jews
themselves are the cause of anti-Semitism.
Closer to horrie;Aip.eriCan Jews went
back on alert in late June: When the FBI
warned Jewish organizatiOnS that Al-
Qaida might be planning to assault
Jewish institutions with gasoline tankers.
The warning wasn't taken ;lightly, as
Al-Qaida had claiined responsibility
for an April 11 attack on the Tunisian
island of Djerba in which a fuel truck
rammed a centuries-old synagogue,
killing 21 people. Jewish facilities rein-
forced their security.
American Jews would be rattled
once more during the year: On July 4,
an Egyptian man — a longtime U.S.
resident — walked up to the El Al
ticket counter at Los Angeles
International Airport and shot and
killed a clerk and passenger.
The FBI declined to brand it terror-
ism, but Israel said it had no doubt.
Many American Jews nodded in
agreement; they now felt they, too,
recognized the face of terrorism.
Indeed, the events of Sept. 11 gave
rise-to a new rallying cry for pro-Israel
supporters: "Israel and America share
the same enemy."
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
used that notion to justify his ever-
stronger steps against Palestinian ter-
rorism. But many in Washington —
especially at the less-hawkish State
Department — denied any parallel.
The media also was divided on the
issue. American news reporting out of
Israel often was perceived as anti-
Israel, but groups like the Anti-
Defamation League insisted that Israel
was prevailing on the opinion pages
and among commentators.
Undaunted, Jewish activists lobbied
elected representatives, took to the air-
waves and did battle on college cam-
puses — often against Arab and
Muslim students, sometimes against
left-wing Jewish students and faculty.
Israel supporters also put their
money where their mouths were: The
UJC announced it raised $303 million
specifically for Israel during the year,
including $213 million since the
launch of an emergency campaign on
April 8, Hoffman said. In addition,
some 30 percent of the $860 million
raised during UJC's annual fund-rais-
ing campaign went to Israel.

Rally In Washington

But the crowning achievement of
Jewish activism was the April 15 rally
in Washington. It drew some 100,000

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