What Else is
New? - Anti-Semitic Attitudes in Islam
A mistaken perception has prevailed in public opinion
which posited that as the peace process is unfolding and the Arabs get to
know Israel and Jews more closely, the anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist and
anti-Israel stereotypes that were rampant in Arab thinking, and
consequently in their media and publications, might recede before they
In fact, experience since Sadat's Peace Initiative of
1977 and up until the present negotiations with the Palestinians and the
Syrians has shown, that those hateful stereotypes far from shrinking, on
the contrary have been expanded and elaborated, drawing on "first-hand
knowledge" to confirm and solidify the conventional derogatory
attitudes that had taken root in Arab and Islamic thinking vis-à-vis
Already in Sadat's times, when the Camp David
negotiations showed signs of difficulties, Prime Minister Begin was
likened in the Egyptian press as a "Shylock". Today, Tishrin,
the mouthpiece of the Syrian regime, denies the Sho'ah and accuses Israel
of "Nazi conduct" at the same time that it seeks to obtain
far-reaching Israeli withdrawals from the Golan Heights.
"Schindler's List", a movie which had nothing to
do with Israel and Zionism, has been banned in the entire Arab world,
because it "proves" the veracity of the Sho'ah, at a time when Arab
countries, including those at peace with Israel, hail as heroes deniers of
the Holocaust such as Garaudy of France. Anti-Semitic broadsides are rife
in the Egyptian as well as the presses of all the rest of the Arabs, which
lend prominence to the Blood Libel, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
and the other classical, European-originating, trappings of anti-Semitism.
With the Golan - The Legal Aspects
The public discourse about a peace agreement with
Syria focuses on claims of an ideological nature, largely to the neglect
of legal arguments. Likewise, it focuses more on the subject of the Golan
and less on the issue of peace. The article's purpose is to highlight the
legal aspects of the envisaged peace agreement, and to maintain that the
Golan is not an obstacle on the path to achieving a real peace. The Golan
can be saved only if a way is found to integrate it into the peace process
instead of presenting it as a contestant of it. The following is a summary
of the legal arguments:
Real peace can be established only in the framework
of the application of international and constitutional law in the Middle
Since according to international law the Golan
belongs to Israel, Israel is entitled to retain it, even after real peace
The envisaged peace agreement is illegal from the
standpoint of both international and constitutional law, and hence should
be derailed even before it is brought to a referendum.
The proposed use of international law is based on the
assumption that if in the past, because of the inability to enforce it in
the international arena, it was regarded only as quasi-law, since the end
of the Cold War it has been turning into practical law, in the same sense
that we ascribe to domestic law. The historical gap between international
law and domestic law is closing rapidly, as the major political interests
and forces in the world recognize its value and are willing to endorse it.
Real peace with Syria (as well as with the other
states in the Middle East) cannot be established unless the authority of
international law is recognized and the game is played according to its
rules. However, so long as Syria does not recognize the authority of
international law; so long as Syria does not declare its recognition of
the state of Israel as a sovereign state according to international law;
so long as Syria does not eliminate its threats of war against the state
of Israel; so long as Syria takes an array of political, military,
propagandistic, and other actions that are incompatible with international
law, including the de facto annexation of Lebanon, support for terrorism,
and so on; so long as this situation continues, Israel has no alternative
but to maintain the status quo and to settle for a cold, de facto peace,
based on the existing cease-fire agreements.
Projected Psychological Consequences of
the Hypothetical Establishment of a PLO State
Netta Kohn Dor-Shav
This article deals with the projected psychological
consequences for the people of Israel – and for Jews everywhere – were a
PLO state to be established within the boundaries of the land of Israel.
The government and leadership of the people of Israel
can ignore only at great peril the devastating demoralization and apathy
that would follow such an event – factors that could well lead to the
eventual dissolution of the Jewish state.
Allowing the establishment of a PLO state, in
addition to constituting a rejection of both Zionist and religious
aspirations, would virtually spell the end of all hope – for, having seen
aborted what for 2,000 years was the ultimate dream, the hoped and prayed
for return to, and rebuilding of, Zion, the Jewish people will be able to
hope no longer.
Instead, we can expect that loss of identity,
alienation, depression and apathy will set in, bringing about, in turn, a
search for escape – not only in the form of yerida, but also into
cultism, drugs and suicide.
The article also analyzes effects on certain
subgroups of the population, and comes to the inevitable conclusion that,
such capitulation, such a withdrawal, would constitute a clear and present
danger not only for the physical survival of what would be left of the
State of Israel, but also for the soul and heart of the Jewish people.
Jörg Haider and
the New Austria
After 13 years of grand coalition rule by the
social-democratic SPÖ and conservative ÖVP the Austrian general election
of 3 October 1999 produced radical changes in the country#s politics, the
extreme right-wing Freedom Party (FP) came second winning more than
1,240,000 votes (27%) and 52 seats in parliament. For its leader Jörg
Haider, "the political foster-father and ideologist of extreme
right-wing terrorism", the poll was a stunning victory, establishing
him as a contender for power.
The question is not, as some radical conservatives in
Austria and abroad try to suggest, one of "left or right" but of
right or wrong. Racism is wrong, even when those advocating it declare
their sudden love for Jews. No decent party would form coalition with
The Austrian people are entitled to elect their
members of parliament and choose a government. By the same token, other
nations have a right to protest their choice of a government which
includes a party whose values and public statements are utterly abhorrent
It is a shame, that 55 years after the liberation of
Austria by Allied soldiers, foreign countries have to give Austria a
lesson in democracy because Austrian society was not able to stop Haider.
All the same, the people of Austria as a whole do not deserve to be
equated with Haider and his ilk.
Jewish National Culture from the Idea of the Covenant to the Civic Society
Jewish nationhood went through constant change from
its early inception some time around 1800 BC. At a time when most of what
was the civilized world then, was divided into vast empires, the early
Jews stemmed out of one man's conversion to a new faith: Monotheism. This
man, Abraham, concluded a Covenant with an invisible God by which his
children and his children's children will be forever obliged to work this
God and obey him and for which they will inherit a chosen land named
Canaan. Thus began a journey of immeasurable proportion, both physical and
spiritual, and Abraham's descendants became a nation of twelve tribes.
They went into bondage in Egypt, were saved by a chosen prophet, Moses,
who reiterated the covenant in an historical event on Mount Sinai. This
was the final stage in establishing a modern nation, a Chosen People, who
conquered the chosen land and founded a godly kingdom for the glory of
The Jewish kingdom existed as long as the people and
the kings obeyed God. Once they sinned they were punished by destruction
and exile, redeemed and punished again by almost 2000 years of exile.
Zionism, the modern Jewish version of its nationhood
sprang out of secular principles: the idea of a Jewish nation based on a
common History and the idea of its right to a Jewish state. Can this
modern nation be reconciled with the former Jewish idea of nationhood
based on the Covenant? Can a Jewish secular state exist and thrive, facing
enormous challenges both from the outside and within, and guarding its own
identity and a democratic form of government? In the context of the
present debate regarding Israel's borders and its security, these
considerations are, and should be, brought in their historical
Critique of the Critics: Why Critics of the Peace Process Have Been
Unlike Jewish leaders, Arab leaders frequently invoke
the Name of God in their ceaseless quest to gain control of the Land of
Israel. Even if they have murder in their hearts, their appeal to God
sanctifies His Name and furthers the Arab cause vis-à-vis Israel
whose leaders are unabashed secularists. Meanwhile, various Zionist
organizations emphasize the need for a SAFE or STRONG Israel. Although
these organizations have shown that the land-for-peace policy is a deadly
fraud, they failed to have any impact on Israeli governments from Begin to
Barak. This suggests that most Jews lack an adequate understanding of
what can make Israel safe and strong.
Indeed, emphasis on a safe or strong Israel has
obscured the dire need to be, above all, for a Godly Israel, for only a
Godly Israel can be truly safe and truly strong. Thus we read in
Zechariah: "Not by armed might, nor by power, but by My spirit, says the
Lord of Hosts." The author clarifies this verse by analyzing Israel's most
sacred symbol, the Menora.
The Menora signifies both LIGHT (knowledge) and LIFE
(performance). For knowledge to shape action, it must be linked to the
spirit of God. It is not enough for critics to expose the lethal nature
of the peace process.
Their words must be motivated by the desire to
sanctify the Name of God.
God's Name must be in their hearts and on their lips.
Renaissance: Option or Destiny?
This is basically meant to be a concise partial view
of various indications, whether recent or less so, of an apparently
recurring awareness among Israelis of the so-called "Hebrew" idea, built
into a comprehensive ideology at the turn of the 1940s by the late Hebrew
poet, Yonatan Ratosh.
The hallmark of the "Hebrew" ("Canaanite") outlook is
an assertion of a newly-forged specific Nationhood, based on Hebrew as a
de-sanctified vernacular and on the Land of Israel as a de-sanctified
Homeland, in an ongoing integrating societal process of e pluribus unum.
This process is perceived to have been at the very
root of present-day Israel and even of the early pre-state pioneering
community, which somehow, spontaneously or intuitively, came to consider
itself, since its inception, as Hebrew rather than Jewish or Judaic.
Hence, the perception of built-in tension or even contrast between
professed collective ideals and a visceral quest for autonomous
The small group of recalcitrant intellectuals and
freedom-fighters of local vintage, which at the time made the attempt of
creating a cultural-cum-political rallying point for like-minded "Young
Hebrews", though quite ineffective as an organization, did leave its
long-term mark in the cultural scene of Israel, at the same time surviving
as a pristine challenging alternative option as opposed to the entire
setup of the country's Judeo-Zionist establishment and its prevalent
system of values.
Withdrawal as a
"We will not
retreat, because there is no other way/ No retreat from the trenches of
life" – wrote Natan Alterman sixty years ago. Holding fast to the
trenches of our lives is what has brought our people's successes, the
ingathering of five million Jews in their homeland. But lately there has
been a weakening of the restraints that bind the people together in
holding fast to the trenches of life. The phenomenon of withdrawal that
so powerfully affects us is not just territorial; it erodes our
spiritual foundations in our state and becomes, inadvertently, a sort of
emblem of the nation's general behavior. Not just withdrawals from
territories of the homeland, but also withdrawals from values and
characteristics that strengthened the people in its renaissance:
* Withdrawal from the Declaration of
Independence, which ensured the special status of the Jewish people in
* Withdrawal from the dream of
blending the communities in favor of an ethnic pluralism that builds a
sectoral Tower of Babel.
* Withdrawal from the program of
integration in education, as a means of forming a single people.
* Withdrawal from Zionism as a
revolutionary movement to impel the ingathering of the exiles.
* Withdrawal from the Law of Return as
a recognition of the Jewish people's natural right to return to its
homeland; its transformation instead into an ordinary immigration law.
* Withdrawal from great national
projects, such as the Lavi fighter plane and the Mediterranean-Dead Sea
In every generation a people, any people, must
examine its path, test the assumptions on which it has built, and tend
to the necessary reforms in light of the transformations of time. But by
no means must one destroy the inner foundation, the basic values of the
nation. The passion for withdrawal that has gripped us in all sectors
and at all levels, from territorial issues to ideal conceptions, gives
the impression of a counterrevolution to the revolution
in Jewish history that Zionism wrought.
Cinema: The Collapse of Esthetic Form and Meaning
cinema, at the start of the millennium, represents a unique cultural
phenomenon: a cinema without an audience, indifferent or even derisive
toward its viewers; rewarded with indifference or even derision by the
audience. A cinema that is seventy years old yet still in a static, fetal
state, not yet having begun to internalize the first principles of this
medium's unique language and idioms within the family of the arts. Fixated
on one enterprise – the writing of the Zionist narrative according to the
doctrines of Israel's "new historians" – the Israeli screen is constantly
inundated with imitative universalist moralism of a harsh and narrow bent
– that is to say, inundated with Zionist exorcism rituals, which are
repeated ad nauseam in film after film. Sequestered and neglectful of the
passage of time, Israeli cinema entraps itself in folly, in a dead-end
without egress or remedy – in meagerness of material and of talent, an
aesthetic void, technical-artistic impoverishment, stillborn narrative.
Indeed, few will dispute the lack of an Israeli cinema worthy of the name
and its lack of influence on the shaping and development of Israeli
cultural life. Militant leftism in Israel is, of course, the guiding
inspiration and reigning authority of the celluloid industry that by an
unfortunate misnomer is referred to as "Israeli cinema", and its ongoing
wretchedness can be debited to the leftist dogma of self-recrimination. If
there were any viewers at all, it might be possible to sum up a few score
years of Israeli cinematic activity as a protracted treading in shallow
waters. Even if the post-Zionist dogma has not delivered a terminal
cultural blow to the Israeli cinema, most likely it has greatly diminished
its chances to recover, or to transcend narrow and dilettantish
provincialism and enter the realm of autonomous cinematic creativity.
Thus, in light of its cinematic vacuity and its effects, how may one sum
up the damages of Israeli film's negative cultural contribution? Perhaps
as part of the symptoms of a real threat to democratic society and culture
Occupation of Lebanon
The struggle of Lebanon to preserve its national identity and political independence has, in particular, faced the hegemonic ambition of Syria. Since the 1970s, Damascus has succeeded to implement an incremental yet systematic policy of occupation over Lebanon that has transformed the political, social, and economic character of the country. The Syrian occupation, calling it by its proper appellation, was consummated in 1989 with the Taif Accord and in 1990 with the removal of General (and Prime Minister) Michel Aoun from the Ba'abda presidential palace and with the full conquest of Beirut the capital.
Syrian occupation employed a wide range of policy means to transform Lebanon into a "client state" and a Syrian political satellite. By means of military control and political penetration, media repression and alien colonization, Lebanon has lost its independence. Under foreign rule within the matrix of a foreign-manipulated police state, the Lebanese suffer from Arabization and Syrianization that deny the people, especially the Maronite Christians, their freedom and dignity. Many have been forced into exile across the countries and continents of the Lebanese diaspora.
Syria's occupation regime in Lebanon suggests comparison with the Anschluss of 1936, the Munich capitulation of 1938, and the setting up of the Vichy regime of 1940. Stalinism as a terror state model is also evocative of Lebanon's pitiful subjugation about which, however, the international community shows hardly any concern.
The collapse of a free Lebanon is part of the expanding sweep of Islamic power and the decay of Christian civilization in the Middle East. Perhaps, under circumstances of upheaval in Syria, Israeli military policy, and revivalism among the Lebanese, foreign occupation of Lebanon may come to an end.
This article was published in English (Policy Paper No. 96)
in the ACPR's book
PEACE WITH SYRIA:
NO MARGIN FOR ERROR, 2000