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   MAY 2000 -  Issue #125    


The People Perish

Ruth King

Prime Minister Barak's decision to cancel his May visit to Washington was a welcome development. The violent rioting in Judea and Samaria and the craven surrender of Lebanon to Hezbollah and Shiite terrorists demands the attention and presence of all Israel's political leaders, particularly its Prime Minister.

The violence in Judea and Samaria, the overheated anti-state rhetoric of Israel's Arab citizens, the betrayal of the pro-Israel militias from southern Lebanon, and the escalating threats and demands from the Arab nations present a grave threat to Israel on all fronts. In Washington, Mr. Barak receives pressure instead of empathy from a lame duck government whose foreign policies teeter from failure to failure. In Congress, the Israeli Prime Minister would receive little attention from legislators focused on Taiwan and mainland China, trade relations, Cuba, defense spending, tax policies and their own re-election strategies. It should be noted that Israel has largely disappeared from the radar screen of national elections. At one time, with rare exceptions, such as Congressman Paul Findley and Senator Charles Percy, all candidates vied with one another in support for Israel. Today, only Governor George W. Bush has spoken out in defense of Israel's strategic necessities. The national platforms of both parties always included the requisite statement of support for the Jewish State. Today, Israel receives only perfunctory recognition, and it is almost always in terms of concern for momentum in the so-called peace process.

The surrender at Oslo is to blame for this disappointing shift. That surrender has been implemented by each Prime Minister since the infamous handshake on the White House lawn. Israel was lured into a trance, in which concession and weakness begat more concession and weakness. In an orgy of giving away strategic territory and religious and historic rights, Hebron, Bethlehem and Jericho were abandoned. These withdrawals were only greeted with more violence from the Palestinian Arabs, more terrorism, and more demands for more withdrawals. The American Jewish community, dizzy with the hallucination of peace, emboldened an administration bent on extracting ever more concessions from Israel. What was unthinkable only a decade ago is now open to negotiation. Jerusalem is at risk, an Arab state is taking form in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and the Palestinian Arabs are demanding the return of millions of Arab "refugees" to their "homes" within pre-1967 Israel. Israel is in retreat, cast adrift by its leaders, without compass or rudder, pushed farther out into a storm by its enemies and its so-called friends.

The solution cannot be found in Washington. Israel is in desperate need of a true leader, someone who can inspire and energize and renew the will to live of its people. A great leader can change the course of a nation. Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were able to overturn the pacifist and isolationist mindsets in their respective nations. Against great odds, and occasionally against the perceived will of their citizens, they went on to a great victory, fundamentally altering the world's political landscape.

A real leader in Israel would declare a moratorium in the Oslo accords, and refuse any and all foreign aid which comes with a price tag that spells disaster for Israel. A real leader would instill the Zionist fervor which propelled Israel to great heights--in 1948, during the ingathering, in 1956, in 1967, in 1973, at Entebbe--in spite of early reverses and powerful enemies.

Mr. Barak's military life was full of daring and courage. But now, as the Arabs shuffle the deck, Barak's right hand has lost its cunning. In the face of insult, demand and threat, his tongue cleaves to the roof of his mouth. His vision does not extend beyond coping with the pressures of next week. And where there is no vision, there is no solution. He stumbles from one disaster to the other, unable to halt the process which is driving Israel into the sea.

(Herbert Zweibon is abroad.)


Not With a Bang, But a Whimper ...3
[review of Yoram Hazony's new book, The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul]

The Oslo Cargo Cult ...6

Terminal Conceit ...10

May 2000               - 1 -               Outpost


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