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February 21, 2003 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-02-21

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from page 24

Not only are the Israeli and U.S.
numbers strikingly similar, but more
noteworthy is how the American
electorate ignores the overwhelming
consensus of authoritative voices and,
by a more than 3-to-1 ratio, under-
stands that Palestinian rejectionism
lies at the heart of the conflict.
This insight testifies to the wisdom
of a free and informed people. It also
has great potential significance for
U.S. policy, signaling to the Bush
administration to heed its own elec-
torate and recognize that the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict persists
because Israel is, not what it does.
This means abandoning the habit
of pressing Israel to make further

concessions to the Palestinians and
instead aiming to convince the
Palestinians that Israel is here to stay.
This might entail such steps as:
• Discouraging Palestinian anti-
Semitism and other forms of incite-
ment against Israel;
• Reassessing antiquated U.S. poli-
cies that help keep the Palestinian
"refugees" in limbo;
• Endorsing tough, but necessary,
Israeli actions to end Palestinian vio-
lence; and
• Moving the U.S. embassy to
The sooner Palestinians, leaders
and public alike, come to terms with
the unalterable reality of Israel's exis-
tence, the better it will be for all con-

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What's At Stake

Lerner, to his credit, understands
what's at stake here, and is making a
principled stand. If he and other Jews
who are both pro-Israel and anti-war
do not succeed, there is the risk that
anti-Israel views could work their way
from the fringes of this nascent move-
ment to the very center.
The movement, which has orches-
trated impressive demonstrations here
and around the world, will be just a
footnote if the war produces quick
victories and a better regime in Iraq.
But it could mushroom — carrying
some of the anti-Israel baggage along
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It could also drive more Jews into

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from page 25

from page 25

American planes or troops attack Iraq,
these Israelis will pick up their already
packed suitcases and head for hotels or
other lodgings in Eilat, in the Negev
or even in Jerusalem where, thanks to
the absence of tourists, plenty of
rooms are available.
The situation this year is further
complicated by the fact that the
Hezbollah, lined up along the
Lebanese border, are said to have
thousands of heavy duty rockets which

the eager arms of the religious right,
which has elevated support for Israel
and love of Jews to a central place in
their political theology --- right up
there with biblical prophecies demand-
ing unending Mideast violence until
the great battles of the Apocalypse
convince a remnant of Jews of the
error of their religious- ways.
That has produced a fascinating,
disturbing paradox: the left, heavily
populated with Jews, is becoming
more anti-Semitic and anti-Israel,
while the right, a traditional bastion
of anti-Semitism, is now seen by some
prominent Jews as the community's
best friend — despite the horrific
There's no doubt the American
Jewish community has shifted to the
right after the resumption of .
Palestinian terrorism; Lerner's leftist
views are probably more out of the
Jewish mainstream than ever. But
right now, as the drumbeats of war
and protest get louder, he is doing the
entire community a mitzvah. ❑

they are prepared to rain on northern
Israel, as far south as Haifa.
It is hardly reassuring, but Bituach
Leumi, Israel's national health insur-
ance program, has announced that any
persons hurt in attacks by enemy
forces will be suitably compensated for
all injuries sustained.
And so, the clock is ticking here, but
to all superficial appearances daily life
continues normally, and attention is
concentrated on political steps leading to
composition of the new government and
on problems affecting the economy.

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