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December 27, 2002 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-12-27

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Candidates Out Of Touch

ry as they might, both Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon,
Likud's candidate, and
Amnan Mitzna, Labor's can-
didate, cannot steer their own party
supporters to their personal way of
political thinking in Israel.
Sharon believes that he must bring
Likud more toward the middle and
thus attract the so-called centrist vote
in Israel. Mitzna, lifelong leftist, is
attempting to bring his party more
toward his position. Both have failed.
Both have failed because the Israeli
electorate is tired of the middle
ground. They want a government and
an army that will, without apology,
protect their lives, vanquish their ene-
mies and rejuvenate their economy.
The Labor party is still smarting from
the overwhelming defeat of Ehud Barak
by Sharon that occurred following
Barak's abject near-surrender of Israeli
territory and sovereignty to Palestinian
Authority leader Yasser Arafat and
President Bill Clinton. Sharon conse-
quently won the prime minister's elec-
tion, 67 percent to 33 percent, the
largest victory margin ever in a truly
democratic country. And it has been
downhill for the Left ever since.
As a consequence of this defeat and
the electorate's turn to the Right,
Labor put Yossi Beilin, one of the
chief architects of the disastrous Oslo

Jerome S. Kaufman is a Bloomfield

Hills resident.

Accords, and. Yael Dayan, dedicated
far leftist, to the bottom of their list.
Then, in an apparent conflict of party
interests, Labor placed Mitzna at the
very top of its ticket.
Maybe this time, the Israeli public
will take note of Mitzna's strongest
supporters. As with Barak, somewhere
near 95 percent of the Israeli Arabs are
for Mitzna. But this time, the Arabs
have gone even further. Arafat is open-
ly supporting Mitzna, and. Palestinian
Arab papers are full of advertisements
designed by the P.A. and calling for
the end of terrorist attacks inside Israel
proper — at least temporarily in order
to help Mitzna and the Labor party.
Furthermore, the European Union is
financing the campaign. Does the
Israeli electorate need any more clues
as to who will be acting in their best

Road To Where?

Then there is the relentless coercing
arm of the United States. Political
campaign strategist Eyal Arad says,
"The Israeli public realizes that any
divergence from the Bush "roadmap"
plan is not in the Israeli interest ...
Any divergence with the U.S. will hurt
our relations with Washington."
What Israeli public? How do politi-
cians make these totally irresponsible
statements? Has Arad read the
"roadmap plan?" It is an unmitigated
disaster for Israel. It is the usual total

In Praise Of Troublemakers

n the cozy world of Jewish
organizational life, there is no
creature more despised than a
Troublemakers come in a variety of
political affiliations as well as personal
agendas. But to the powers that be,
they tend to all look alike.
Anyone who is more interested in
one issue than anything else is liable
to run afoul of the omnipresent forces
that guard the status quo of the day.
The thing that troublemakers in the
Jewish world have most in common is
their contempt for what is generally
referred to as "process."
"Process" is the delicate term we use
to refer to the way groups and organi-


Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of

the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia. E-
mail: jtobin@jewishexponent.com



zations govern themselves. It involves
committees and letterheads jam-
packed with names of donors, com-
munity big shots and behind-the-
scenes power brokers. Thus, it is no
surprise that another word that can
define "process" would be "inertia."
One man who ran afoul of our com-
munal "process" is the subject of an
important new book, A Race Against

Death: Peter Bergson, America and the
Holocaust. Interesting in its own right,
Bergson's story is nevertheless particular-
ly instructive for American Jews today.
Though 60 years have passed since
the upstart Bergson (whose real name
was Hillel Kook) took on the Jewish
establishment of the day, the question
of what American Jews did and did
not do during the Holocaust is one
that continues to haunt us.
Written by David Wyman (author of
the seminal The Abandonment of the

Israeli giveaway but only
not that of Arafat or even
worse, with virtually no
President George W. Bush.
demands or enforcement
placed upon the Arabs. Only
Sharon's Bluff?
the Israeli army, losing hun-
dreds, if not thousands, of
Sharon speaks of a Palestinian
lives will be able to undo yet
state without the means to
another diplomatic disaster.
make war, without permeable
Zalman Shoval, brilliant
borders allowing the entree of
KAUFMAN other Arab armies poised to
Israeli analyst and former
Israeli ambassador to the
destroy Israel, without control
United Nations, calls the
of the skies over Israel, with-
roadmap plan "A Roadmap to
out any of the aspects of sov-
Perdition," a ruinous destina-
ereignty that could be a real
tion. Does anyone with a true under-
threat to the existence of the Jewish
standing and knowledge of Israel's
beleaguered history and geography
Unfortunately, the chances of creat-
want to give up once again the area of
ing such a state are nil. Sharon is play-
Judea and Samaria and create a
ing a very dangerous game and the
Palestinian state five minutes away?
Israelis can only pray that President
The Israelis may have finally learned
Bush does not eventually call his bluff.
the lessons of cowardly appeasement.
Israel's only real hope is the nine of
The latest estimate is that the "hawk-
10 Likudniks at the top of the party
ish" Likud Party will up its Knesset
list who have the good sense to
members to near 40 while Labor will
unequivocally say "No" to a
fall to about 20. Likud party mem-
Palestinian Arab state and "No" to a
bers, well aware of the reasons for
misguided American foreign policy
their popularity, have given nine of the courting an impossible Arab alliance
10 top spots on their electionl list to
that will never in another 1,500 years
dedicated nationalists — those
fight against its Arab brothers.
opposed to a Palestinian state or any
It is time that President Bush
other concession that will continue to
acknowledges the real enemy in this
endanger Israeli lives.
awful conflict. It is time that he stop
As to Sharon's declared acceptance of declaring Islam a religion of peace and
a Palestinian Arab state: Sharon is not
time he gear this country and the
naive. He is indeed, trying to pacify
entire West for a battle that will likely
Israel's only ally, but read Sharon's fine
never end — at least not if the
print. His definition of a P.A. state is
Prophet Mohammad has his way. El

Jews) and Rafael Medoff
Buried On Page 10
(author of The Deafening,
As Wyman and Medoff report,
Silence: American Jewish Leaders
this earth-shaking news
and the Holocaust, 1933-1945),
"appeared in the New York
the book grew out of lengthy
Times in a seven-and-one-half-
interviews conducted by
inch report on page 10. The
Wyman with Bergson and
Washington Post allotted the
other survivors of this dramatic
news less than three inches,
battle to mobilize American
JONA THAN buried on page 6. Coverage in
public opinion to support
the rest of the American press
efforts to try to rescue those
was similarly sparse."
Spe cial
European Jews who had not yet Comm entary
More than 2 million Jews
been murdered by Hider and
were already known to be
his collaborators.
dead, with millions more
A Zionist activist who had grown up
ready for the slaughter, but no one in
in Jewish Palestine, Bergson/Kook came
America was saying much about it,
to America at the start of World War II
especially not Jews.
in the service of the underground Irgun
There were many reasons for this
Zvai Leumi. His mission was to organ-
failure. Lack of media coverage handi-
ize support for a Jewish army to fight
capped efforts to garner a response.
against Hitler with the. Allies.
The priority given to news of the
This project was still floundering
progress of the war diverted a Jewish
when he read the first confirmed pub-
community whose young men were
lished accounts at the end of 1942 of
mostly in uniform. A genuine fear of
the German plan to exterminate all
European Jews.
TOBIN on page 26

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