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Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR)


A Journal of Politics and the Arts
Volume 17 Number 6 (101) November 2004Kislev 5765

Table of Contents


"...Thy Destroyers and They That Made Thee Waste Shall Go Forth of Thee,"

                                       Isaiah 49:17


The Peace Process

Will Israel Always "Live by the Sword"?

Atalia Ben-Meir


The Iranian Nuclear Threat

Shalom Freedman


Watching the Pro-Israel Media Watchers

Manfred Gerstenfeld and Ben Green


Demography: Existential Threat or Myth?

Ezra Sohar


The Media and Intellectual Anti-Semitism in Western Europe

Robert S. Wistrich

The Swinish Israeli

Uri Paz

Where Memory is a Curse and Amnesia a Blessing: A Journey Through Romania's Holocaust Narrative (Part II)

Laurence Weinbaum


The State of Georgia Urges National Support for the State of Israel

Senate Resolution 1011


Choosing to Be a Jew: Was it Worthwhile? (Part II):

The Editor and His Guests: Who is a Jew, and Primarily, Why?

Hillel Weiss: The Chosen People and What Shall We Do With Them? David Bukay: Proud to be a Jew
Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto: Not Religious – Not Atheist Raphael Israeli: Why Not?

Ideological Debate: The Ariel Center and The Israeli Left - Edited by Yona Hadari

Giora Furman and Raphi Harlev: On Vision and Reality and the Link Between the Two

Literature and Arts Supplement ■ Editor: Dror Eydar




The Poetry of Uri Zvi Greenberg – Notes on the Publication of the 16th Volume of all the Writings of U.Z.G.

Yoram Beck

Who is a Hero? – About Jewish Heroes in the Writings of Moshe Shamir

Oded Mizrahi

"The River of Giants that Surrounds the Earth" – More on Naomi Shemer and Her Poetry

Shmuel Raphael


From "Ushpizin" to "Tribal Fire" – Ideas in Israeli Films in 2004

Ohad Kamins


Ronen Amrani


Philip Rosenau Miri Giladi Hamutal Bar-Yosef Cheli Eitan

Translated Poetry

Mizami (Persia), Translation: Aharon Amir
Two Poems (Acadian), Translation: Moshe Ganan


Selected Summaries


Will Israel Always "Live by the Sword"?

Atalia Ben-Meir

The State of Israel’s investment in the peace process has dissipated. The agreements did not solve the real problems that were at the foundation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians perceived themselves as victims, and, therefore, had no obligations, no responsibility, and no accountability; the burden of taking risks falls wholly and exclusively on Israel. Since Israel refuses to totally comply with the rules of the game, the issues plaguing the conflict have remained outstanding.

  • The Palestinians regard the “right of return” to Israel, and not to the Palestinian state, as non-negotiable.

  • The Palestinians are impervious to Israelis security concerns; Israel’s compromises never satisfying their demands.

  • The Palestinians demand that Israel relinquish all claim to Jerusalem, denying any Jewish religious, national and historical bonds.

  • Israel’s trust in Arafat was a delusion. Not only did he not suppress terror, he collaborated with the terrorist organizations, transforming terror into a ruthless, brutal and deadlier force.

  • The Palestinian Authority is waging a persistent war of incitement to hatred, including educating children to be human bombs sent to slaughter Israelis.

Jews have always yearned for peace. However, the price and the risks of peace must never be ignored. The inversion in the status of Israel and the PLO in the course of the Oslo process, where the Palestinians now decisively control the negotiation process, has subjugated Israel’s status to the ambitions and the interests of the Palestinians.

However, the Peace Now vision was anchored in the vision that conceding to Palestinian demands would lead to peace. The basic fallacy of this ideology was its focus on the ‘here and now, and only on facts that supported it. The fanatic adherence to ideology led to a disregard of reality, and the ramifications of each concession. The possibility that these concessions embodied the risk of future war was never entertained.

The recurrence of the main failures of the negotiation processes ultimately transformed the Oslo process into a legacy of folly. The State of Israel must cease its obsessive pursuit of an agreement, but rather reinvent itself as a bastion of security and as a wall against the erosion of the rights of Israeli citizens, especially the right for Jewish self-determination.


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The Iranian Nuclear Threat

Shalom Freedman

This paper opens with a brief consideration of the strategic doctrine of the present regime in Iran. After describing the process of lies and deceptions through which Iran has to this point advanced its nuclear program, the author offers:

  1. A detailed look at the process by which Pakistan defied the world, and acquired nuclear weapons.

  2. The way Iran has already used, and will continue to use the Pakistani precedent to forward its own nuclear program.

  3. An examination of the effort to halt the Iranian program through peaceful means, showing why it has a small chance of success.

  4. The meaning of the Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons for the world situation, focusing on the disarmament/ proliferation aspect of this.

  5. The possibilities for a military option preventing Iran from acquisition of these weapons.

The article concludes with a brief consideration of how Israel might take a deterrent posture against Iranian nuclear weapons.

The first aim of the paper is to focus attention on the process of acquisition and to show that as things are now, Iran is definitely on the way to nuclear weapons, showing why such a possibility is so negative not simply for Israel and the United States but for the world as a whole.

The paper is meant to be an alarm, but it leaves open the question of whether even those who are in positions of power and action, when hearing this “wake-up call”, will be able to do anything to stop the world from having a nuclear Iran.


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Watching the Pro-Israel Media Watchers

Manfred Gerstenfeld and Ben Green

Media watching can be defined as critically examining one or more media on a regular or recurrent basis. It usually results from a conviction that certain media are biased against a cause that the monitoring body or individual supports. Media-watching activities include collecting, analyzing, and publishing data.

Over the past decades, the media have made the most of a unique situation. Whereas they have the power to criticize others relentlessly and sometimes brutally, there are few ways to take them to task. The work of their staff is only subject to the specific media’s self-regulation. Media also rarely criticize each other. According to some experts, the extreme power of the media poses a major danger to Western democracy.

Pro-Israeli media monitoring goes back about three decades. The first watches were in written form. In the mid-1970s Si Kenen, editor of the AIPAC-affiliated, Washington-based Near East Report and the activists he mobilized effectively criticized the leading US columnist Rowland Evans so that he had to retract false information about Israel.

Currently several organizations and individuals, in Israel and abroad, monitor foreign media’s reporting on Israeli-related matters. They differ in their aims, focus, and modus operandi; for some of them, media watching is one of a wider range of activities. Most pro-Israeli media watches are in English but there also some in other languages such as French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Among the ones in English are Camera, Honest Reporting, Palestinian Media Watch, The Anti-Defamation League, Honestly Concerned and Take-a-Pen. These organizations differ in their aims, focus, and modus operandi; for some of them media watching is one of a wider range of activities.

Pro-Israeli media monitors typically have a number of characteristics such as focusing on the Arab-Israeli conflict and supplying information otherwise difficult to access. They have a website on which their material is published regularly. Frequently it is sent by emails to their subscribers. Sometimes media watchers will speak, without publicity, to a media organization that has published biased material and seek to reach an agreement. Several also lobby foreign governments and authorities. Their ultimate common aim is to remove the media bias.

Pro-Israeli media watching does have an impact, both causing journalists to report more objectively and influencing policymakers. The media watching of the Middle East conflict may well be the forerunner of a much wider and healthier process. Media watching may finally make the media – sometimes called the fourth branch of government – subject to certain checks and balances such as those existing for the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches. Making media more accountable for what they write serves democracy well. As the criticism flows from many concerned people, media monitoring is becoming an important democratic process.

Jewish organizations and individuals are among those in the forefront of the effort to make the media more accountable. Their actions have a social and political importance that goes far beyond public affairs aspects. As both the Middle East conflict and the disproportionate interest in it continue, media-watching activities are likely to grow further in the coming years.


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Demography: Existential Threat or Myth?

Ezra Sohar

Most of the demographic prognostications, since the turn of the previous century, consistently predicted that the Jewish majority in the Land of Israel has no chance against the Arab proliferation. This article disputes that assessment, regarding which there is virtual consensus with Prof. Arnon Sofer of Haifa University, one of its most avid proponents.

A summary of the points raised in the article:

  1. All predictions regarding the makeup of the population from the birth of Zionism have proven wrong – all overstated the Arab ability to procreate and properly assessed neither the level of Arab emigration from Israel nor the level of Jewish immigration to it. The makeup of the population in the Land of Israel is primarily determined by immigration to and emigration from it.

  2. In 1949, the Jews were transformed from minority to majority status in the Land of Israel.

  3. The model of natural procreation of the Arabs is identical to that of the West. The “Palestinian womb” is not superior. The increase in the Arab population is also influenced by steady immigration and not only by natural increase.

  4. Jewish immigration – an important component in determining the Jewish majority in Israel – is a steady phenomenon: Beginning in 1882, the year in which data began to be collected, immigration has not ceased for even one year. Jewish immigration has its own characteristics: It is not continuous but in waves, with peaks.

  5. The attempt to “disengage” by means of a partition has been a dismal failure and a waste of billions of shekels.

  6. The Arab birth model poses no threat to Israel, however the system of excessive economic support for children and naturalization laws are part of the Israeli effort to facilitate the growth of the Arab population by force. Instead of being frightened by the threats of mistaken prognostications – we must adjust the level of child support to the reality, prohibit polygamy and repeal distorted naturalization laws.

If we take action in this manner, there is no reason to be concerned that a change in the demographic balance in Israel will transpire, and it is worthwhile to remember that the synopsis of the Central Bureau of Statistics preceding Rosh Hashanah 5765 related that the percentage of Jews in the population of the State of Israel is 81% and the percentage of Arabs is only 19%.


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The Media and Intellectual Anti-Semitism in Western Europe

Robert S. Wistrich

“Judeophobia at the beginning of the 21st century has been undergoing a significant metamorphosis. It is not primarily ethnic, völkisch, or racist in character as it was six decades ago in Europe. In contemporary Western Europe, anti-Semitism is no longer the exclusive preserve of xenophobic forms of radical populism or the ultra-nationalism that was traditionally linked with it, both before, during and after the Holocaust. This does not mean that the existing movements of the radical Right have ceased to be a matter of concern. They are remarkably stable and in many Western and Central European countries, they represent between 10-20% of the electorate. Jews are still targeted but less so than foreign immigrants, guest workers, Arabs, Africans, Gypsies or other outsiders.

“On the other hand, though militant Islam is perceived as an enemy by the radical Right, so, too, is the “international Jewish lobby”. Indeed anti-Semitic “anti-Zionism” has led to a significant rapprochement – particularly in Germany – between the far Right and radical Islamists. Both accuse “the Jews” of exploiting the Holocaust to financially blackmail Germans and gain world-wide support for Zionism. Despite its endemic anti-Arab racism, the far Right often uses the Middle East conflict, anti-Zionist slogans and “solidarity with the Palestinians” as a means to further anti-Semitic political propaganda.”


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The Swinish Israeli

Uri Paz

An expanded tribunal of nine High Court of Justice judges, headed by Chief Justice Aharon Barak, decided that the sale of pig meat is permissible throughout Israel on a temporary basis. The ruling marks an additional, significant chapter in the history of the pig in the Land of Israel. Therefore, it is important that it be clear to each and every Israeli the historical, national and religious motives for the prohibition of eating pig.

The religious motive: The Bible of Israel prohibits Jews from eating pig meat and from deriving pleasure from it as well. From generation to generation, the Jewish repugnance vis-à-vis the pig intensified, to the point that its consumption became the symbol of all sin. The article attempts to respond to the question: Why were the Jews forbidden to eat pig? It concludes that the rabbis refrained from providing reasons for it.

The national, historic reason: Research of the settlements in Canaan is aided by a conspicuous characteristic of the tribes who lived and functioned there – animal bones. In Ezbat, Certa and Shiloh there was no incidence of pig bones, and the researchers identify the residents of those sites as Israelis, thus the residents of those areas specifically refrained from eating pig, a prohibition mentioned twice in the Bible.

The absolute national revulsion of the pig exacerbated in the wake of tragic historical events experienced by the Jewish people. The article surveys extensively how the pig was an anti-Jewish symbol throughout Jewish history, and the enemies of the Jewish people used it to attack the Jews, to harass them and ridicule them and their beliefs, and thus the pig became the symbol of impurity in the eyes of the Jewish people. Thus, it is no wonder that the sale of pig meat throughout Israel is different than the sale of other non-kosher products.

Imagine what the reaction would be if a plant for the manufacture of neckties and ribbons, symbols and shirts, emblazoned them with…swastikas? Would there not be an outcry? Would there not be complaints about insensitivity, offending the feelings of victims of the Nazis and trampling national pride? Who would dare assert that the economic profit of the thriving plant justifies offending public sensitivities? However, under the symbol of the swastika “only” six million Jews were killed, while under the symbols of Christianity, who hold the pig in high regard, tens of millions, including those six million were killed, for if it were not for the tradition of Christian anti-Semitism, whole nations would not have joined that awful massacre.

The pig is a historical symbol, a national-Jewish ethos with significance for the Jewish people as a collective, and its roots are planted in the earliest days of its nationhood, which, without a doubt, should tilt the balance of the scales of justice. That Jewish ethos of our fathers regarding the non-raising and non-consuming of pigs, and the cooperation with the objective of preserving the Jewish way of life and Jewish spiritual life for hundreds of years of wandering and persecution – that ethos is a significant part of the fabric of one collective ethos which distinguishes us, and one criterion to lean on in the Jewish state today.


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