Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:
From Ramallah To Baghdad
he Bush administration has strengthened
its case for going to war to unseat Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein, though it is
still some distance from proving that inva-
sion is the only effective way to make him disarm
Still, with a war increasingly likely, America and
the rest of the world needs to think about how to
conduct an extended occupation of the country fol-
lowing military success.
Analysts who are persuaded that occupation can
succeed generally cite the happy U.S. experience in
Germany and Japan following World War II; the
pessimists urge comparisons with our disappoint-
ments in the Philippines; the Dominican
Republic, Haiti and, of course, Vietnam.
More to the point would be a compari-
son rooted in the Mideast, specifically
Israel's two-decades-long effort to hold a portion of
southern Lebanon and its 35 years of experience in
the West Bank and Gaza.
The Lebanon venture ended badly. When Israel
withdrew nearly three years ago, it left the 20-mile
wide swath of what had been a buffer zone in the
hands of a sworn enemy, Hezbollah, and much of
Lebanon under the influence of another enemy,
Syria. The investment of lives and time bought some
temporary stability for Israel's north, but no perma-
nent improvement in security or any dramatic shift
toward a more open, democratic and stable Lebanon.
In limiting its aims, Israel limited its results.
The verdict on Israel's occupation of parts of the
West Bank and Gaza is still out. Holding the terri-
tory after 1967 was vital to Israel's defenses in the
subsequent wars with the Arabs, but with the 1991
Oslo agreements, the process took on a new goal,
the creation of a modern and democratic state —
the same ambition that the U.S. says it has for Iraq.
Despite the horrors of the last two years of the
Palestinian intifada (uprising) and the destruction of
the Oslo process, despite the real-
ization that all Palestinian factions
squandered the opportunity by
teaching hatred, despite the ram-
pant corruption that funneled hun-
dreds of millions of Western aid
into private pockets, that ambition
must continue because it is the
only solution that will permit a sta-
ble Mideast with a secure Israel.
If the United Nations, led by
America, learns from Israel's experi-
ence, it will not leave Iraq just
because its security concerns have
been met by the destruc-
tion of Hussein's chemical
and biological weapons
and his capacity for
building nuclear weapons. From
the beginning, the United Nations
and, particularly, the United States
must be committed to staying until
they can see in place a stable eco-
nomic and political system that will
bring a measurably better life for
the vast majority of Iraqis. .
A smart world will learn it must
closely supervise whomever it puts
in place in Baghdad after Saddam.
It will have to monitor what the
schools teach, where the aid money
goes and which police forces get
armed with what weapons. It will
have to make sure the money from
Iraqi oil sales gets plowed back into building roads
and hospitals and homes rather than into buying
arms for Islamist factions seeking to rule as the
Taliban did in Afghanistan. -
A lot of responsible Palestinians have come to
understand both that Israel is not going to be driven
into the sea and that their Palestinian nation-to-be
cannot succeed if it clings to the pattern of tyranny,
corruption and backwardness that marks so much of
Arab life. If we are attentive to the lessons of the West
Bank and Gaza, it won't take a third of a century to
impress that reality on the next generation of Iraqis. ❑
You control how wide you open your window of
learning and how deeply you tap the well of knowl-
Notably, the faculty represents a broad spectrum
of Jewish life. And it's as inclusive as the students.
The cost to attend is purposely minimal
so that no one who wants to learn is
denied. More young adults are taking
part, and that's especially pleasing.
When SAJE was developed in 1999, the hope was
to create another life experience to help Jews with-
stand the winds of assimilation, acculturation, inter-
marriage and apathy.
The hope was that a notable number of people
would share the sponsors' excitement for delving
into different realms of what it means to be a Jew.
Time has proven to be a blessing for the four local
sponsors: the Jewish Community Center of
Metropolitan Detroit, the Agency for Jewish
Education, Federation's Alliance for Jewish
Education and the Detroit Jewish News. Their chal-
lenge is to sustain the excitement.
Most of the classes take place at the two buildings
of the JCC and that's significant. The JCC, Detroit
Jewry's central address, is the one place that all Jews,
whatever their upbringing or comfort zone, can feel.
comfortable learning together.
It's naive to think our children will share the his-
tory and heritage of Judaism with their children if
we don't step up as role models. We must show our
children it's good to learn — that learning is uplift-
ing but also fun.
We also must equate learning with Jewish sur-
vival. What level each of us chooses to learn is not
what matters. No does it matter if the motivation
to learn is more the camaraderie than the discus-
sion. What you take away is your call. It only mat-
ters that we together make learning pivotal to who
we are as a people.
Wisdom Is Knowledge
earning is the bedrock of living as a Jew,
the sages say. Over the past four winters,
that advice has resonated for the adults of
our community. By the hundreds, we've
learned in a "SAJE" way through the homegrown
Seminars for Advanced Jewish
This winter is no exception. More than
500 adults have signed up for 40 classes
that appeal to a wide range of interests for Jews of
all religious backgrounds.
SAJE provides a readily accessible way for adults
to deepen their Jewish identity and touch their
Jewish soul. It offers a relaxing format to meet and
mingle with other Jews also thirsting for the nour-
ishment derived from learning. It doesn't matter
how Torah observant you are, and no one should
feel embarrassed by how much they don't know.