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March 07, 2003 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-07

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Israel's Tremendous Needs


ibbutz Yifat was a meaning-
ful venue for our first
encounter in the Central
Galilee, Detroit Jewry's
Partnership 2000 region. Our arrival
turned into a joyful reunion with the
teens and parents of those who were
fortunate enough to have spent three
weeks at Michigan-based Tamarack
Camps in Ortonville last summer.
As in every trip to Israel, our
Partnership 2000 Steering Committee
came last December as ambassadors of
our community. But this time we left as
heroes, as the outpouring of apprecia-
tion was expressed through the hugs
and tears of parents whose children
were given the opportunity for some-
thing we all take for granted — a camp
experience. We realized with sadness
that we had to bring these kids a world
away from the current turmoil of every-

David Techner is a member of the
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit's Steering Committee of
Partnership 2000.

day life in Israel to experience the sense
of normalcy that should be a right of
each child. This is sadly what has
become the new normal" in our
beloved Israel.
As we continued with our visit, we
were constantly reminded that this new
normal has become a way of life. A visit
to a soccer field for an Excellence in
Sports program was followed by a
mornorial service for Ingbal Weiss at the
Jezreel Valley College and the niece of a
volunteer and former Steering
Committee member of Partnership
2000 in Israel.
Then we went to a school program
called "Notes of Harmony," where we
heard outstanding young musicians dis-
play their talent. Our sense of pride in
knowing that our community had
helped fund their continued quest for
excellence was quickly replaced as we
met with school officials to discuss the
growing need to fund meals for hungry
kids who are getting their only hot meal
though an extended day program sup-
ported by our community's Grand

Challenge Israel Emergency
ing to those affected. Please lis-
ten with an open ear and an
Fund. There was a similar feel-.
ing leaving the Tamarack
open heart.
Camps kids; the sense of pride
Everyone recognizes the dif-
in knowing the impact being
ficulty we are faced with at
felt by our efforts was overshad-
home, but we cannot take the
owed by the need to provide
view of "out of sight, out of
mind" when it comes to the
something so basic we all take
for granted.
problems facing Israel today.
TEC HNER We have always responded with
Upon our return, we were
Corn munity
consumed with emotion seeing
great generosity and kindness
Vi ews
what many of us consider our
to the needs affecting Israel,
second home in such despera-
albeit in better times. Israel
tion. This is a land we have come to love needs us, and we need Israel.
Nancy and Stephen Grand will match
and its people have become not only our
friends but also our second family. Not
your pledge, dollar for dollar, so your
only do we feel pride in the positive
gift will be doubled through the gener-
ous spirit of the "Grand Challenge.
effects of our efforts to help, we also are
Please consider supporting our family
compelled to ask what more can we do.
March is Israel Emergency Fund
in Israel, for they need our help now
Month; our Federation leadership will
more than ever. There used to be a
fund-raising expression, "Give until it
spend the month educating our com-
munity on the state of despair Israel
hurts." In the words of our dear friend
and ardent supporter of his beloved
finds itself today.
Israel, the late Ambassador David
I have always viewed our Federation
as an organization that sees a need in
Hermelin said, "Don't give till it hurts,
give until it feels good!" ❑
our community and works at respond-

destroy Israel. In this spirit, not surpris-
ingly, Bush approved Israeli efforts at
self-protection, saying, 'America recog-
nizes Israel's right to defend itself from
In concluding the speech, he drew
policy conclusions at odds with this
analysis. The president asked Palestinian
leaders to make some nominal gestures
to prove they are "truly on the side of
He then demanded that Israel's gov-
ernment reciprocate with four giant
steps (halt its military efforts, withdraw
from areas it had recently occupied,
cease civilian construction in the occu-
pied territories, and help build a viable
Palestinian state).
In sum, Bush theoretically backed
Israel and condemned Arafat while prac-
tically he backed Arafat and punished
Israel. All this left most observers
Their puzzlement then grew, specifi-
cally about the requirements for a
Palestinian state. In June 2002, amid
much fanfare, the president unveiled a
major initiative making this contingent
on significant changes in Palestinian
behavior: "When the Palestinian people
have new leaders, new institutions and
new security arrangements with their
neighbors," he said, "the United States
of America will support the creation of a
Palestinian state."

to help Israel protect itself.
Three months later, the State
A Gallup poll last month
Department furtively unveiled a
showed 80 percent of
contrary initiative, something it
Republicans holding a favorable
called the "concrete, three-phase
opinion of Israel, and no politi-
implementation road map."
cian ignores a number like that.
This road map can plan on a
But the pressure for a
Palestinian state by 2005 by dis-
Palestinian state is no less
pensing with Bush's require-
impressive, coming from a wide
ments of the Palestinian
of influential forces, rang-
Authority and instead requesting
Secretary of State
only token assurances from it.
to the Democrats
This duality leads to heart-
in Congress and to British
burn on all sides of the Arab-
Prime Minister Tony Blair and
Israeli conflict, as no one can
Arab leaders.
quite figure out U.S. policy.
Observing these contradictions
One thesis is that the White House
through two years of the Bush adminis-
and the State Department have separate
tration leads me to one main conclu-
plans. That appears to be what Israeli
sion: In key ways — sympathy for
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon thinks, and
Israel's plight, diplomatic support, pro-
explains why he has ignored the road
viding arms — Bush tends to ignore his
map and focused on the president's June
own Palestinian-state rhetoric and stand
solid with Israel. His statements
As though in reply to this, in a major
demanding this from Israel and promis-
address to the American Enterprise
ing that to the Palestinians appear to be
Institute last week; Bush signaled his
a sop to outside pressure, not opera-
endorsement of the road map: "It is the
tional policy.
commitment of our government — and
In short, look at what President Bush
,my personal commitment — to imple-
does, not what is says, and you'll find his
ment the road map," he said. And yet,
usual consistency, this time hiding under
doubts persist.
a veneer of apparent indecision.
When a politician acts inconsistently,
If this is accurate, then the road map
it usually signals an attempt to please
is for show, not true policy, and U.S.
opposed constituencies. In this case,
endorsement of a Palestinian state
President Bush feels pressure from the •
remains remote. 17
Republican voters who put him in office


A Palestinian State?

onsistency and predictability
are core strengths of George
W. Bush as a politician. Be the
issue domestic (taxes, educa-
tion) or foreign (terrorism; Iraq), once
he settles on a policy, he sticks with it.
There is no ambiguity, no guessing
what his real position might be, no
despair at interpreting contradictions.
Even his detractors never complain
about "Tricky George" or "Slick Bush."
But there is one exception to this pat-
tern. And -- couldn't you have predict-
ed it? — the topic is the Arab-Israeli
conflict. Here, Bush not only seems
unable to make up his mind but he
oscillates between two quite contrary
views. For example, at the height of the
Palestinian assault against Israel last
April, the president delivered a major
address that contained within it a fla-
grant contradiction.
He began by slamming Yasser Arafat's
Palestinian Authority for its terrorism
against Israelis and he fingered several
groups, one of them, Al-Aqsa Brigades,
under Arafat's control, for attempting to


Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle
East Forum and author of "Militant
Islam Reaches America" (WW Norton).
His e-mail address is

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