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January 23, 2014 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-01-23

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

Commentary

Peace Requires More Than a Piece of Paper

W

e all want peace in the Middle
East, specifically for the State
of Israel and the Palestinians.
Some suggest that it could consist of a
few land swaps and security guarantees.
That sounds pretty simple. However, if
it were that simple, we would have had a
peace agreement long ago. We have heard
that this is the last chance for peace in a
democratic Israel. Also, the solution to the
existential threat from Iran is dependent on
a peace deal with the Palestinians.
Iran and its proxies, Hezbollah and
Hamas, present a problem for Israel regard-
less of its nuclear weapons. There are
40,000 rockets in the hands of Hezbollah;
and Hamas has thousands, also.
The Arab countries are scared to death
of a nuclear Iran and would love to see
Israel destroy Iran's nuclear capability. At
the same time, the Arabs are making it
known that if Iran produces nuclear weap-
ons, they will get them, too. The Saudis
have purportedly signed a deal to purchase
nuclear weapons from Pakistan; and Egypt
is considering expanding its decades-old
nuclear research program.
Interestingly, most people believe that
Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons.
However, none of Israel's neighbors,
including Saudi Arabia, are concerned
about Israel's nuclear capability. What
the Arab states are concerned about is
an apparent lack of resolve by the United
States to eliminate Iran's nuclear program

one way or another. Their attitude dem-
onstrates that there is no linkage between
solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and
eliminating Iran's nuclear capability.
Prior to 1948, it had been the goal of
Israel's neighbors, and the people now
known as Palestinians, to drive the Jews
into the sea. Let's not forget that the Grand
Mufti of Jerusalem was an ally of Hitler
who planned to bring cremato-
ria to the Middle East to elimi-
nate the Jews living there. The
destruction of Israel was the goal
of wars in '56, '67 and '73, and
remains the goal among many of
its neighbors today, except Egypt
and Jordan where fragile peace
agreements still exist.
The charters of Hamas and
PLO still call for the destruc-
tion of Israel. The Fatah
Constitution, drafted in 1964
(not to be confused with the
PLO Charter), calls for the "complete
liberation of Palestine, and eradication of
Zionist economic, political, military and
cultural existence" (Article 12) and for
terrorism as "a strategy and not a tactic
... This struggle will not cease unless the
Zionist state is demolished" (Article 19).
Hamas rockets continue to be fired into
Israel despite the truce; and Hamas tries to
kidnap Israeli soldiers as terrorism increas-
es in the West Bank. Hamas and the Al
Qaeda-inspired Salafi-jihadi terror cells are

growing in the West Bank. Terrorists who
have murdered innocent women and chil-
dren are honored with public streets and
squares named after them. In schools and
summer camps, Palestinian children con-
tinue to be taught to hate and to kill Jews.
After Israel's pullout of what is now
"Jew-free" Gaza in 2005, the Palestinians
had the opportunity to demonstrate that
they wanted to live in peace.
Instead, Gaza became an armed
camp with missile-launching
platforms. Israel abandoned
control of the border between
Gaza and Egypt (the Philadelphi
Route) and it became an arms-
smuggling route even after
Operation Cast Lead, contrary
to American guarantees. None
of these examples sends a signal
that Palestinians are interested
in peace.
President Mahmoud Abbas
and his Fatah Party are shown little
respect in the West Bank. He has not held
elections since he became president, and
his health is failing. One has to ask: Would
his signature on a peace agreement even
mean anything?
The Israelis are being asked to go back
to 1967 borders, where their major cities
and Ben-Gurion International Airport
would be within terrorists' rocket range.
Based on trust alone, U.S. Secretary of
State John Kerry wants Israel to agree to

unsecured borders, including eventually
abandoning the border in the Jordan River
Valley. It was revealed recently that even
the Palestinians and the Arab League do
not support Kerry's plan. Their position
was summarized in a recent article by
journalist Khaled abu Toameh as follows:
• No to a demilitarized Palestinian state;
• No to recognizing Israel as a Jewish
state;
• No to a solution that does not include
all of east Jerusalem as the capital of a
future Palestinian state;
• No to another interim agreement with
Israel;
• No to the presence of any Israeli sol-
diers in the Jordan Valley.
Secretary Kerry should be pressuring
the Palestinians to create genuine trust.
It could begin with rewriting the Fatah,
Hamas and PLO charters, and with elimi-
nating the incitement to hate Jews that
is seen on Arabic TV and in Palestinian
schools.
Yasser Arafat, the then-Palestinian
leader, promised incitement would end
with the Oslo Accords in 1992. Promises
have meant little and intent has to be
demonstrated. Israel can only afford a last-
ing secured peace arrangement, not just
another temporary hudna (Arab truce)
based on paper promises.



Eugene Greenstein is president of the Zionist
Organization of America-Michigan Region.

Commentary

Nazi-Like Salute Foretells Anti-Semitism In Europe

T

he quenelle, a gesture in the
form of an inverted Nazi salute,
with right or left hand down
and left or right hand to the opposite
shoulder, is the rage in Europe, notably in
France where it began and is spreading,
but also in England, where it has been
taken recently by wayward footballers. In
one sense, the gesture is a flipped finger
toward authority, a protest against "the
system:' In another, it is a worrying sign
of the broad-scale resurgence of anti-
Semitism in parts of Europe.
The quenelle is a sign of the rising again
from the muck of the longest hatred.
Given how people photograph themselves
doing the quenelle — near a sign for Anne
Frank House, near where Jewish children
were killed in Toulouse in 2012, on the
railway tracks into Auschwitz-Birkenau
— it is also a shocking image museum of
high points in the recent history of anti-
Semitism. In England, novelist Howard
Jacobson writes: "If the quenelle isn't Jew-
hating, why is it performed on the railway
track to Auschwitz?" Why, indeed.

The source of this new performance art
is the French comedian, Dieudonne M'Bala
M'Bala, a man fined often for hate speech
in France and now banned from public
performances in several cities. Dieudonne
employed the quenelle in a failed politi-
cal effort five years ago for the
European parliament on an
anti-Zionist platform. Dieudonne
describes the gesture as an "up
yours" move against the establish-
ment. But his idea of the estab-
lishment is suffused with fantasies
of Jewish dominance and power.
Jews represent capital. Jews
are colonizers. Jews are Zionists.
Jews set the limits on public
expression. Dieudonne rails
against Holocaust memorial cul-
ture, calling Jews who embrace
memory of the Shoah "Shoananas," a play
on the word Shoah and the French word
for pineapple. If Holocaust memory is a
sacred cow in post-Holocaust Europe, and
Holocaust denial a crime, Dieudonne flips
it all a rejectionist finger. Behind everything

he sees Jews calling attention to their suffer-
ing — Jews who control the world.
Dieudonne's urban performances pack in
large crowds and are a primary means by
which the gesture has spread to become a
badge of identity among disaffected youths.
So, too, are Dieudonne's videos,
which go viral on YouTube; even
the French government bans on
his performances serve to stoke
the fire. Rising unemployment,
insufficient job opportunities,
failing schools, cracks in the wel-
fare state — all set the context
here. Cultural alienation among
immigrant youths also plays
in. A certain anarchistic spirit
is at work as well, the desire
to be free from restraints of all
kinds. But there are also more
well-defined political currents that figure in,
too. Dieudonne has attracted to his banner
people who are outright neo-Nazis. Once
on the far left, today he consorts with the
National Front. Bernard-Henri Levy, the
French Jewish intellectual, calls Dieudonne

a prime example of the red-brown phe-
nomenon [where the hard left (red) and the
far right (Nazi brownshirts) join together]
and likens his shows to neo-Nazi meetings
preaching denial, hatred of Jews and crimes
against humanity.
Dieudonne once worked with Eli Semoun,
a Jewish comic and friend, and spoke out
against racism. But the comedian changed
after 2002, sensing something new in the air.
Pierre-Andre Taguieff, author of Rising
from the Muck, says Dieudonne reminds
him of the French novelist Celine, who
sensed something in 1937, "a feeling that
anti-Semitism was becoming a strong
cause, with a broad resonance:' Sure
enough, the new Dieudonne has, since his
own turn, expressed support for the 9-11
attack, praised the Iranian regime, and prat-
ed on and on about the decline of the West.
"2014 will be the year of the quenelle
he declares in a recent video. All this bears
watching. It is the tip of an iceberg.



Kenneth Waltzer is the director of the Jewish
Studies Program at Michigan State University.

JN

January 23 • 2014

31

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