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July 27, 2006 - Image 31

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-07-27

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1'A4, 1 GAZA
Dry Bones ..SSE


Editorials are posted and archived on JNonline.us .



No MATTER wimrit

Evil To The Core


ne of the great
scenes from the
Indiana Jones mov-
ies finds our hero on a Middle
Eastern street being menaced by
a man who is brandishing scimi-
tars and moving threateningly
toward him.
Indiana pulls out a pistol and
shoots him dead. The audi-
ence roars in delight. But have
a care. Isn't that a clear example
of "disproportionate force" and
over-reacting? After all, the
swordsman hadn't actually cut
off his head yet and a gun is a lot
more powerful than a scimitar.
Indiana simply failed to exercise
restraint, didn't he?
At least that's what the
European Union, some of the
nations at the G8 summit and
much of the utterly pathetic
United Nations would have us
believe. It is Israel they are cluck-
ing at, though, not a fictitious
movie hero. But the principle is
the same.
By responding to deliber-

ately calculated and unprovoked
attacks on their cities and taking
the fight right into the heart of
the places that shelter Hamas
and Hezbollah, Israel is suppos-
edly guilty of the terrible crime
of disproportionality.
What would its critics have
Israel do? Play some strange
game of tit for tat, just a carefully
measured bit of hostility when
Haifa is the target of repeated
missile strikes and other attacks
are launched at Ashkelon, Safed
and Tiberias?
Lob a few missiles at Nice or
Strasbourg, for example, and
just imagine how Jacques Chirac
would over-react then.
These are not slingshots and
crude missiles that Hezbollah is
filing, but highly sophisticated
weapons supplied by their pup-
peteers in Syria and Iran. When
their leaders claim that every city
in Israel can be reached, and a
ship 10 miles at sea has been tar-
geted and hit, the disproportion-
ate force argument goes out the

window. Israel has every right to
go after these people with all the
weapons at its disposal, no mat-
ter where they choose to hide
It is terrible that the people of
Lebanon are being made to pay
the price for this. But neither the
U.N. nor the Lebanese govern-
ment followed through on their
pledge to disarm Hezbollah.
That was a firm condition for
the withdrawal of Israeli troops
from southern Lebanon six
years ago.
What moral authority do
these bodies now presume to
possess after their own feckless-
ness led to this situation? Israel
understands with utter clarity
that this is no exercise in school-
yard fairness. This is one of the
most serious threats it has faced
in its entire existence.
Iran fully intends to project its
power to Israel's border through
Hezbollah and further its openly
declared goal of destroying the
Jewish state. Israel must do what


it knows is necessary in order to
survive against the nations and
groups dedicated to its destruc-
Leave the hand wringing to
the moral astigmatics, those who
refuse to recognize the face of
evil and cling to the belief that

just a little appeasement here
and there can solve any problem.
They have always been wrong.
They are wrong now. 7

E-mail letters of no more than 150

words to: letters@thejewishnews.com

Reality Check

First Among First Ladies


have been reading a
fine new book about
Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The Defining Moment, by
Jonathan Alter, is a record of
FDR's first 100 days in office in
1933, when the country seemed
about to come apart.
In later years, when my father
read news reports about how
economic conditions in Michigan
were supposedly "the worst since
the Depression," he would simply
shake his head. "Only someone
who never lived through the
Depression could make that
comparison," he would say to me.
"You cannot imagine what it was
like. I hope to God you never find
Many media commenta-
tors were fully prepared to give
Roosevelt dictatorial powers
to save the country. Stalin and
Mussolini had many American
admirers in the early 1930s.

Some of them felt that even
Hitler, although regarded as
a bit eccentric on the Jewish
issue, seemed to know how to
get things done. Seizing similar
powers by FDR was regarded
by the country's best minds as
It is to his everlasting credit
that he did not, but worked with-
in the limits of the Constitution.
It was not without missteps and
a few things best left undone. His
political opponents called him
a dictator anyhow. Opponents
of activist presidents tend to do
that. But he did preserve democ-
racy at a time when it was widely
regarded as defunct.
Another thought occurred to
me, though, as I read. I wonder
if Eleanor Roosevelt, if she had
been born in these times, could
have been elected president.
Hillary Clinton is regarded as
the Democratic front-runner

for 2008 and stands
the best chance
of anyone in his-
tory of being the first
woman to occupy
the Oval Office. But
she also stands on
the shoulders of Mrs.
Eleanor was a
woman born to privi-
lege and the preju-
dices of her class and became
the most ardent champion of the
underdog this country had ever
known. She was the eyes of her
husband, venturing into places
where his disability did not
permit him to go. As FDR said,
"I know what can be done, but
Eleanor tells me what should be
done." She later became one of
the first public figures to speak
out against Joe McCarthy.
She was certainly not photo-
genic, and in this era of celebrity

adoration, that would
not work in her favor.
She also may have
been involved in a
long-term affair with
journalist Lorena
Hickok, and the
- media vultures today
would have been all
over that. She and
her husband, in many
regards, lived separate

She came to speak at Wayne
State University in my senior
year when I was editorial direc-
tor of the student paper. I can't
remember a word of any other
editorial I ever wrote there. But
I reacted indignantly when a
conservative group turned out to
mock her because she advocated
donating tractors to assist farm-
ers in Castro's Cuba.
"The First Amendment guar-
antees every American the right

to make an ass of himself," I
said. "But Conservative Thunder
abuses the privilege."
My political leanings may have
changed a bit since then, but I
still believe in respecting those
who deserve respect. At her death
in 1962 she was an iconic figure,
probably the most respected
woman in the world.
Would that have translated
into votes? Not for any woman
then. Maybe not even now, when
America is far less liberal in its
political orientation.
But I remember the famous
cartoon of the little girl holding
her mother's hand as their ship
passes the Statue of Liberty. "Of
course, I know who that is," she
says. "It's Mrs. Roosevelt."
Not too far mono.

George Cantor's e-mail address is


July 27 2006


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