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by Bernice Lipkin


Why are so many Israeli Jews enthusiastic - or at least acquiescent - about other Jews being forced out of Gaza? From conversations and emails I've had, these are some/many/all the reasons, in no particular order.

  1. They believe what they read and see on TV. Almost all the Israeli media - newspapers and media - range from sort of leftist to radical left. Haaretz, for example, an Israeli newspaper published in English is routinely referred to as the Voice of the PLO.

    BBC and CNN have made major innovations in how to present the news. The old way of praising a good ad writer was to say he was someone who could make you buy a broken pencil without an eraser. The new hero is a TV presenter who can make you weep for the monster who blows himself up while you feel nothing - or maybe some annoyance - for the people he destroys and their families. Not that they ignore families. The sad interview with the Arab family, who have just discovered the bomb they helped fashion was fantastically successful, has become stylized.

    The choice is not much better in this country. Much of what one would regard as newsy news - almost sensational news - is not published or is played down. For example, a young Arab woman was badly burned while cooking when a gas container exploded - no, you can't pin this on the Jews. She was the recipient of skin grafts donated by several hospitals in Israel and was receiving post-surgery treatment at the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva. On June 20th, at the behest of Abbas' Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, she put explosives in her underpants, and swore in a most unladylike fashion when she was unable to detonate them. Her longtime ambition had been to commit suicide while murdering a lot of Jews; she'd been looking forward to killing lots of Jewish children in the hospital. Videos of this exist. Stills can be made from videos. Have you seen this in your newspaper or on TV - Fox News excepted?

    On many skinheady blogsites, you can read that the Washington Post and the New York Times are Jew-owned. That is supposed immediately to tell the reader that they are pro-Israel and not to be trusted. It tells me that these bloggers either can't read words of more than one syllable or have never actually read either of these rags. Pro-Jewish and pro-Israel they ain't.

    Sadly, some influential commentators and analysts have joined the rest of the media. Norman Podhoretz's essay in last April's Commentary (read surprised many disagreeably, including his own daughter, who lives in Israel. Of his arguments, some, in the space of a few months, have become obsolete. In fact, I'm not sure Podhoretz will agree with Podhoretz once the reality of the retreat from Gaza sinks in; and as more of the side possibilities come to pass - like seeing resisting Jews, some as young as 12, put in the jails from which recidivist Arab terrorists are released. And while the families of Arab children taught to throw stones and bombs are not considered child abusers, the parents of the youngsters in jail have been threatened that social services will take away their children because they have been negligent parents letting their children take part in civil disobedience exercises. [As an aside - this comes from Dr. Arieh Eldad - when some of the jailed youngsters were threatened that they'd be taken from their parents, they giggled and said, "Put us in foster homes and within two weeks, those homes will be orange."]

    In point of fact, Podhoretz discounts the data - he doesn't deny it, he just gives it insufficient weight - because he puts his faith in George W. Bush, who won't be president long enough to change the Arabs but might be in power long enough to give the Arabs time to severely? mortally? weaken the Jewish state. Ironically, the worry of the pundits that democracy will destabilize the Middle East is already coming true. Israel is beginning to fight itself, not its enemies.

  2. They believe the basic distortion of the Arab-Israeli conflict, taught since Oslo. They have been taught that the quarrel is between Israel and the Palestinian people. It therefore logically follows that the Palestinians must have some claim to the Land and - if the reader is truly ignorant - that the Palestinians are the owners of the land and its real name is Palestine.

    The Palestinians are an 'ersatz' people, a glossy face behind which the Arab states hide. The Arabs are still dedicated to a Israel-free Middle East. The Arabs who occupy Biblical Israel are a stalking horse for the Arab states, which will gobble up the spoils, should they succeed in destroying Israel. Bush seems to acknowledge that the core hostility comes from Israel's neighbors, but that doesn't mean he's about to force the Saudis to accept Israel.

    The new political religion is that Democracy will conquer all. Does anyone think a "democratic" Iraq, into which we've poured billions of dollars, is going to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Jewish State?

    Democracy only means the most of the people have a say some of the time in the decisions their government makes. ALL of the Arabs have been fed an enriched diet of hatred of the Jews since the Mufti of Jerusalem's time - Arafat only intensified it - so they will democratically decide to kill off Israel. Feeding the Palestinian Arabs, clothing them, and giving them jobs and medical care and something called "dignity" ain't going to change that. They are NOT like us. When's the last time you thought it was a good idea to kill a girl because she was raped? When's the last time you fantasized beheading someone who'd injured you? When's the last time you bought bigger panties, to have room for explosives.

  3. "It's a monkey on our backs." One wrote, "The majority of people just want to get the damn monkey off its back. That monkey has caused so much suffering and loss of life, that the average person, while hating Arabs, wants to separate from them. It's not a question of whose land it belongs to historically. After all, most Jews here are not religious and many don't care about historical property rights. When you live in this country and you send your sons and husbands off to guard over a large number of Arabs, even if this is your land and you have a right to it, most people here prefer to pull back and create a border."

    The problem, of course, is that the Arabs don't play "share." When Gaza goes, they'll shoot at communities considered "real Israel." Sharon's government knows this. Forty-four towns in Israel proper have been designated as in the war zone. In America, you are entitled to easy government-secured funds if the hurricane hits you. In Israel, it's when Arab bombers and missile throwers damage your house, with, maybe, you in it.

    Whereever the Jews draw a line, the Arabs will try to push further. When the Arabs take over Gaza, there will be a new frontier and new "friction points", Jewish towns the terrorists can reach without even needing to take a bus. Jews will be 'advised' to leave. What's the end point? Jews living on the beach of Tel Aviv and drinking bottled seltzer water imported from Brooklyn?

  4. "This way we will have a real separation from the Arabs. The idea of a country where Arabs and Jews worked together hasn't panned out."

    Podhoretz talks about Israelis wanting a fence and evacuation because they want separation between Jews and Arabs. I wonder how they will have separation with a growing Arab population inside Israel? A part of the Arab growth is from legal and illegal immigration. It's curious but no one ever asks why is it, if Israel is so terrible to the Arabs, why do they keep coming into Israel?

  5. "We need a friend. We can't lose America's support." Some truly believe they must do anything and everything anyone in the Bush Administration requests.

    "Does a friend ask you to give up your home?" I asked. "Does a friend ask you to give up your greenhouses? Gaza was sand before the Jewish settlers made some of it green. Does a friend play kissy-kissy with people that want to destroy you?"

    "Listen," one said, "we're a small country."

    They don't make the connection that in being accommodating, Israel will become a much smaller country. If all the parts that some politician is demanding and another politician is willing to do without are amputated, Israel will be the size of Monaco - until the next Arab strike.

  6. "If the Arabs start up again, we'll just go back in." This is a repeat of what I heard when Oslo started and the PA took control of much of the area. A variation on this: "when the Palestinians have a state, then we can fight them on our terms." When I asked one if the UN "observers" would let Israel be aggressive against the fledgling state, I got glares.

  7. "Giving up Gaza is no big deal." Most do not understand that more land is involved than just Gaza. They think Gaza and a few places in Samaria are the end of it. What is surprising is that many American and British Jews understand there will be extensive evacuation from the "West Bank" but they do not associate the West Bank with Biblical Israel. One said he knew Israel would be leaving Gaza and the area I call Samaria and Judea. But he hadn't read anything about them leaving Biblical Israel. Could I give him a reference. Another - a macher in JNF - wondered why I thought Gaza was biblical.

  8. "I hate religious Jews and this will really put a spoke in their wheel." Many want an Israel that is secular and just-like-any-other country. When I pointed out that other countries are quite religious and some even have state religions, I got sighs and shrugs.

  9. "Sharon knows what he's doing." Sharon was truly a great general. His entrapment of a large part of the Egyptian Army was brilliant. His style since becoming Prime Minister is less commendable. He kowtows to Washington and is a bully in his own country.

  10. "He's a politician, isn't he?" Asked if there was any truth to the stories that Sharon stands to make billions out of the evacuated land besides getting the Leftist judiciary to stop threatening him with legal action, one said, "Listen, show me an honest politician anywhere in the world." I must admit this is less often voiced since Boomerang was published. The book - based on interviews of senior government and military officials - tells us the disengagment was Sharon's way of propiating people in Israel's left-wing judiary - especially Edna Arbel - so she wouldn't indict him and his sons for corruption. Believable? Of course. Blackmail is a routine ploy in America, so why not Israel? Remember how J. Edgar Hoover prevented John F. Kennedy from firing him - he could have outed Kennedy's womanizing when that was still unknown to the general public.

  11. "We are leaving for tactical/strategic/pragmatic/rational/shorter borders/militarily sound reasons." When asked to explain, I got, "Isn't it obvious?" No back-up facts were EVER given.

    This is truly spooky. It reminds me of a Life magazine article during the Vietnam war. A large number of people were asked why we were in Vietnam. They all said we were there for a reason. But their reasons differed. It's rather like hypnosis. Typically, the person hypnotized is told to do some bizarre task. The subject carries out the task exactly. Asked why, he himself invents a reason.

  12. "We will take over from Likud." Political types from the Labor party feel this will destroy Likud, especially when some of the resisting settler are killed. Of course, Labor is now at least 1/3rd Arab, so many centrists might find going back to Labor a problem. May I dream? Convince Benny Elon, Michael Kleiner and Moshe Feiglin and Natan Sharansky they need to win big - and not be a debating society. Netanyahu? Send him to do what he does best - to talk to Americans about the undeniable fact that Israel is still the only reliable ally America has in all of the Middle East.

  13. "The demographics are against us." "The Arabs have lots of babies. They will soon be more than us in the territories. Then we will become an apartheid state - ruling an Arab population bigger than ours." The variation is that it is not democratic. I don't know whether the new demographic information (see Flawed Demographic Data) that the Arab birthrate is nowhere as high as believed will change minds. It may not be important in the very long run, but it buys time.

  14. "Israel is 'occupying' Palestinian land." Many honestly believe this. We can thank the defective Israeli school system and Israel's weak PR for this.

  15. "Don't worry. America cares about our security." I've asked some if that is the case, why is America selling Egypt sophisticated weapons? Why is America pushing for a Palestinian state?

    I don't know if Sharon and cronies came up with the idea of unilateral disengagement from Gaza or if it was some from the Bush administration or Mr. X. But right now the Bush administration is committed to a PA state - a contiguous state that encompasses Gaza, Samaria, Judea and a chunk of Jerusalem plus an undefined corridor that cuts Israel in half. Of course, the USA and even our friends the UN and the EU say they are concerned with Israel's security. But they aren't concerned with the psychological and spiritual demoralization of Israel as pieces of Israel are amputated. And has anyone considered what it will mean when some 400,000-500,000 Jews (that includes the 200,000 Jews living in the part of Jerusalem William Burns of our State Dep't let slip is to be given to the Arabs) have been moved out of their homes to make yet another country for the Arabs?

    Wouldn't it be more sensible to move the Arabs out of JewLand into some place in ArabLand. After all, the Arabs own 99.9% of the Middle East. Isn't that enough for them?

    The Bush administration wants terrorism to stop, but like any politician he will be satisfied with the appearance of a reduction. Between Abbas keeping it down to "acceptable levels" and the politicians and media ignoring all but major "incidents", it will seem as if indeed terrorism has stopped. Note that Abbas has not renounced destroying Israel; he's just willing to cool it for a while, while he builds up resources for the next phase. And he now has a large group of blooded killers (straight out of Israeli jails) plus El Fatah and Hamas terrorists to back up any demand he makes.

    The Jews are usually cooperative; the Arabs know how to say NO. To save face, the politicians will side with the Arabs.

    Unfortunately, the Americans are getting like the Arabs - the more you give up, the more they want you to give up. And no one has asked why Israel should chop the land of the Jews - a 4000 year old people - into two pieces so that a non-people, which at best can claim 40 years of history, should have a thriving contiguous state.

What do I believe?

I believe Israel must change her attitude from thinking minimum to thinking maximally. If nothing else, the foreign politicians will go find some one easier to pick on. If Israel is to survive, she needs to stop being accomodating and reasonable and trying to figure out how little land she can survive on. She has to stop acting like a banana republic. She will earn respect from the world when she fights back seriously and starts defending her people and property. Otherwise, she will be nibbled to death.

I believe that if Israel put as much effort into asserting that the Palestinian Arabs should be absorbed in some part of the vast holdings of the Arabs as she does in fighting herself, she would be in a much better position.

I believe that giving the Arabs land that is Jewish by the Bible, by history, by the Mandate, by international law, by decency and morality and by conquest is confidence building for the Arabs and demoralizing for the Jews. And the Jews have more to lose and less margin to lose it in. If population transfer is no longer a dirty word - who says Sharon hasn't done something good - then transfer out the Arabs. It is NOT their land.

Bernice Lipkin is editor of Think-Israel. This essay is based on an earlier version that was an Op-Ed in response to an article that seemed to promote the disengagement.


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