WE WISH ALL OUR SUBSCRIBERS AND SUPPORTERS A HAPPY PASSOVER AND A HAPPY EASTER
Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer
Outpost is distributed free to Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
AFSI’S SPRING CHIZUK TRIP TO JUDEA AND SAMARIA
You are Invited to Join AFSI on our Spring Chizuk Trip To Judea And Samaria – April 22 to May 1, 2012
See the AFSI website for reports and photos of past trips.
WILLIAM MEHLMAN: LEADING FROM BEHIND
Triggered by his “Israel, we’ve got your back” slam-dunk applause line served up to attendees at the recent AIPAC conclave in Washington, Barack Obama’s efforts to domestically reframe Iran’s race to atomic bomb capability as a “Jewish” issue has become one of the more dismaying aspects of an already surrealistic quadrennial election scene.
Its traction cuts across party lines. An extended segment of the Arizona Republican primary debate devoted to the Iranian nuclear threat found Romney, Gingrich and Santorum dutifully regurgitating the notion that the “protection” of Israel was the primary justification for American pressure on the mullah dictatorship. Not at any point in the discussion did either of the three (Ron Paul was doing his trademark 1930s isolationist turn) raise the specter of a Middle East nuclear arms race certain to ensue from Tehran’s acquisition of the bomb – the world’s most lethal weapons in the hands of the world’s most unstable regimes – and the threat it posed for the West at large. It took House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who isn’t running for President, to inject some sense of real-time national concern into the post-debate discussion. “It’s not about Israel, “ he asserted, “It’s about our vital interests in the region. It’s about the United States.”
RAEL JEAN ISAAC: FROM THE EDITOR
Remembering Herbert Zweibon
It is hard to believe that over a year has gone by since Herbert Zweibon, the modest visionary who led AFSI for so many years, passed away. On Feb. 7, 2012 members and supporters of AFSI gathered at the Lisker Synagogue in Manhattan to pay him tribute on the first anniversary of his death. Helen Freedman, AFSI’s executive director, who organized the event, said of Herb: “Tu B’Shevat, the holiday of trees, is so appropriate a time for remembering this giant of a man who contributed so much over a period of 35 years to the safety of Israel.” Many who loved and worked with Herb–including his son Mark–spoke of his dedication to Israel and his humanity. Charlotte Wahle, a long time AFSI volunteer, recalled that on her last visit to Herb in the hospital, his concern was not for himself but for what was happening at the office.
Boycott and Divest
Nicky Larkin Learns
RITA KRAMER: A DARK PASSOVER
When families gather around the Seder table, many recall the dark Passover of 1943 and the climax of the months-long battle in which the small number of men and women remaining in the Warsaw Ghetto rose up against the Nazi murderers. They knew they were doomed but they were determined to go down fighting. We honor them as heroes.
There are many ways to be heroic. Because of tradition and circumstances Jews were not bred to be fighters. They were thinkers, readers, writers. And among the most heroic of those trapped in the Warsaw Ghetto was a historian named Emanuel Ringelblum, who determined to record life in the Ghetto in its reality, not as it might be misrepresented later in elegiac memorials or accusations of passivity by those who would not know what it had been like.
EDWARD ALEXANDER: THE MEANING OF CRITICISM
A 2009 addition to the ever-burgeoning genre of books instructing Israel on the most suitable method (one-state solution, no-state solution, final solution) of ceasing to exist was adorned by a blurb from Noam Chomsky: “Hilliard raises very critical issues…and unless those who call themselves ‘supporters of Israel’ are willing to face these moral and geopolitical realities, they may in reality be supporters of Israel’s moral degeneration and ultimate destruction.” It is a commonplace that moral passions are far more imperious and impatient than self-seeking ones, and who could have a stronger sense of his moral rectitude than a man who has been an apologist for Pol Pot in Cambodia, a collaborator with neo-Nazi Holocaust-deniers in France, and with anti-Semitism-deniers everywhere? “Anti-Semitism,” Chomsky has declared, “ is no longer a problem… but it’s raised because privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98 % control; That’s why anti-Semitism is becoming an issue…” Beautiful and touching words, but words by no means unusual in the parlance of those who deem Israel uniquely evil and, with its “supporters,” responsible for the unredeemed state of mankind, perhaps even for global warming. (Clare Short, a member of Tony Blair’s cabinet until 2003, charged that Israel is “much worse than the original apartheid state” because it “undermines the international community’s reaction to global warming.”)
STEVEN PLAUT: ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A LOVABLE LITTLE COUNTRY NAMED ISRAEL
Once upon a time there was a lovable little country named Israel. It was a unique country of Jews. It was a thriving young country. The lovable little country also had a government, consisting only of the wisest of leaders.
Then, soon after it was born, these wise leaders of Israel granted the right to hundreds of thousands of Arab refugees, later calling themselves “Palestinians,” to return to live within the borders of Israel from the neighboring countries to which they had fled during the War of Independence. And so the portion of the country’s population composed of Jews declined.
After the Six Day War, large numbers of “Palestinians” living in the West Bank and Gaza managed to attain the right to live in Israel’s territory from before the war, and other “Palestinians” were granted the right to move into the West Bank and Gaza from other places where they had been living. And so the portion of the country’s population composed of Jews declined.
DANIEL GREENFIELD: A WORLD OF REFUGEES
The old paradigm that a country has the right to decide who enters it has been decisively overturned in Europe. It’s under siege in such first world countries as America, Canada, Australia and Israel by the creed that says it’s the human rights obligation of every nation to accept every refugee.
Given the chance, a sizable portion of the third world would move to the first, a minority because of oppression and a majority because the opportunities and freebies are much better there. Even low ranked first world nations still find themselves swamped with refugees looking to move in.
International law does not assign any priority to a nation’s citizens over any person who happens to stray across the border. At the ground level that means the end of borders and the end of citizenship which is why immigration isn’t just a touchy issue in Arizona, it’s a touchy issue in Sydney, Tel Aviv and Birmingham. You can hardly open a newspaper of the liberal persuasion without being treated to another group of refugees in some troubled part of the world walled up behind fences and trying to get over to London, Sydney or New York.
GERALD A. HONIGMAN: BERBER AUTUMN
Decades ago, while engaged in undergraduate and graduate work in Middle Eastern Affairs, the only way I learned of the struggles of scores of millions of non-Arab peoples in the region was on my own initiative. Of all the hundreds of books in my library, hardly a jot or tittle on such subjects. And even when, on rare occasion, you might find mention of some of these folks in a book, a discussion on the subject never made it into the classroom.
Only by becoming a member of the London-based Anti-Slavery Society did I learn of problems black Africans faced regarding genocidal and 20th century slave trading Arab tormentors. The struggles of the Anya Nya and other black Africans in the south of the Sudan and elsewhere were in full bloom, yet one would never know if the academic syllabus and classroom were the sources of information. If Israel was not the alleged villain, the problem was left untouched. And so while I would be exposed to alleged Zionist fascism, racism, colonialism, imperialism, and dozens of other Hebrew sins, barely a word was spoken about the subjugation (largely by Arabs, but also by others such as Turks and Iranians) of Kurds, Imazighen (“Berbers”), Copts, Assyrians, native Jews, and so forth. To learn of Kurds back then, the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme provided more information than academia…and those were the wrong curds.
TREASON OF THE INTELLECTUALS REDUX
American universities can claim many kinds of traditions. Unfortunately, not all of them are noble or praiseworthy. The current wave of anti-Israel–read anti-Semitic– demonstrations are only the current manifestations of a long tradition of selective bigotry, from the 1930s hospitality shown representatives of Hitler’s Germany to the warm welcome enjoyed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University in 2007. The boycott/divestment movement on campuses is only the latest example.