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January 31, 2003 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-01-31

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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from page 35
while the effects of the First endure."
That's because the First World War is
far more comprehensible than the
Second, which is "too big for the mind
to grasp." Politically and spiritually, it
feels increasingly as though World War
II never took place.
In fact, Gelernter argues, "It's the
1920s all over again," with that era's
visceral loathing of war and readiness
to appease totalitarian dictators (think
of North Korea, Iraq, Syria, Zimbab-
we and others).
He finds today's Europe "amazingly"
similar to that of the 1920s in other
ways, too — "its love of self-determi-
nation and loathing of imperialism
and war, its liberal Germany, shrunken
Russia and map of Europe crammed
with small states, with America's indif-
ference to Europe and Europe's dis-
dain for America, with Europe's casu-
al, endemic anti-Semitism, her politi-
cally, financially and masochistically
rewarding fascination with Muslim

states who despise her, and her under-
tone of self-hatred and guilt."
Gelernter proposes that 1920s-style
self-hatred is now "a dominant force
in Europe." And appeasement fits this
mood perfectly, having grown over the
decades into a worldview "that teaches
the blood-guilt of Western man, the
moral bankruptcy of the West, and the
outrageousness of Western civilization's
attempting to impose its values on
anyone else."
Which brings us back to the unwill-
ingness of "old Europe" to confront
Saddam Hussein. World War II's les-
son (strike before an aggressive tyrant
builds his power) has lost out to the
1920s attitude ("nothing justifies
envisaging military action").
This self-hating weakness will lead
again to disaster, no less than it did
leading up to World War II. The
.United States finds itself having to
lead the democracies away from the
lure of appeasement. Iraq is a good
place to start. ❑

TOBIN

handing over of much of Jerusalem,
including the Old City, to the tender
mercies of Yasser Arafat), was telling.
It should have alerted observers to
the possibility that rather than
Lieberman facing heat during the
campaign for being too pro-Israel, he
might think there was more political
hay to be made by being called not
pro-Israel enough. It appears that this
will be his strategy.
Lieberman's attempt to stake out
what remains of the center-right of the
Democratic Party may or may not lead
to victory in 2004. The guess here is
that he will be competitive but ulti-
mately lose (don't ask me yet who will
be the winner).
Who is Joe Lieberman? Among other
things, he is still a wonderful role model.
His career illustrates that it is possi-
ble to live a faithful Jewish religious
life while rising to the heights of the
non-Jewish world.
But with other Democrats more
likely to take stronger stands on Israel
than him and with an incumbent
Republican president who has, to date,
done everything to earn the votes of
pro-Israel voters, Lieberman has no
special call on Jewish support.
Lieberman's free ride from the
Jewish community needs to end now.
As he has acknowledged himself, he is
a Jew running for president, not the
Jewish candidate.
The message from the Jewish com-
munity should come forth loud and
clear: You're on your own now, Joe.

from page 35
Even more specifically for a Jewish
community from whose deep political
pockets Lieberman hopes to finance
his 2004 run, there is another more
disturbing analogy from that era of
Connecticut pOlitics.
Bailey's political protege was the late
U.S. Sen. Abraham Ribicoff, who also
served as Connecticut's first Jewish gover-
nor and a member of Kennedy's cabinet.
While Ribicoff is best remembered in
American politics as the man who called
Chicago Mayor Richard Dailey a Nazi
from the podium of the Democratic
National Convention in 1968, many also
recall Ribicoff's willingness to distance
himself at times from Israel.
At a time when frierids of Israel were
mobilizing Congress to oppose the
transfer of advanced U.S. technology
to Arab countries at war with Israel,
Ribicoff supported the sale of high-
tech jets and other military goodies to
Saudi Arabia. He also went out of his
way to undermine support for Israeli
governments whose policies he didn't
like such as those led by Golda Meir
and Menachem Begin.
In contrast to most non-Jewish
politicians of his era and ours, Ribicoff
took care never to be seen as "too sup-
portive" of Israel.
Lieberman's recent trip to the Middle
East, during which he reached out to the
Palestinians and lauded the fraudulent
"peace" plan floated by Saudi Arabia
(which called for unconditional Israeli
surrender of all of the territories and the



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