In this issue

March 28, 2003

Chosen Words: A new JWR feature --- a newsletter for spiritual and personal growth written for the layman and dealing with real life issues.

Jonathan Tobin: No time to keep quiet

March 27, 2003

Martin Peretz: Failed experiments

Zev Chafets: TEL AVIV DIARIST: What's not going on is the key in this war

March 26, 2003

Jordan "Gorf" Gorfinkel's Jewish Gen-X strip, Everything's Relative

March 25, 2003

Dr. Debby Schwarz Hirschhorn: Arguing: It's a Jewish thing

Mark Steyn: Give Saddam credit

Daniel Pipes: Murder in the 101st Airborne

March 24, 2003

David Bedein: GOTCHA! How Reuters transformed an accidental death into homicide

Steven Zak: Hollywood --- then and now

March 21, 2003

Rabbi Berel Wein: "Just do it" leadership and spirituality

Jonathan Tobin: "Shielded" From the Truth

Charles Krauthammer: Don't Go Back to the U.N.

March 20, 2003

Zev Chafets: The big question: Can Arabs handle liberty?

Ask Wendy: Lost connection; in search of a model; daughters-in-law are the root of all evil

March 19, 2003

The Jewish Ethicist: Open eavesdropping

Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder: Oy, the French!

March 18, 2003

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Purim and the limits of imagination

Rabbi Avi Shafran: Purim miracle revealed

Jordan "Gorf" Gorfinkel's Everything's Relative "Reality TV" Purim!?

March 17, 2003

Yaffa Ganz: Patterns in time? Purim, war and perspective

Rabbi Avi Shafran: The art of slander

March 14, 2003

Rabbi Yitzchok R. Rubin: Dublin Diarist: Finding the Essence

Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak: Worldwide schmaltz shortage looms --- all because of a featherless chicken

Jewish World Review March 26, 2003 / 22 Adar II, 5763

Bush's Choice: Powell or the Prophets?

By Michael Freund | Did the President really say what I think he said?

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden earlier this month, with a clearly delighted Colin Powell at his side, George W. Bush went ahead and used the "O" word, as in "occupied", when describing Israel's heartland of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

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In laying out his vision for the establishment of a Palestinian state, Bush said that, "as progress is made toward peace, settlement activity in the occupied territories must end," with the implication being that Jewish housing construction somehow inhibits Middle Eastern harmony.

With the United States poised to liberate Baghdad, the President's use of the "O" word might seem to be a matter of secondary importance, as the entire region will soon undergo a fundamental transformation of historic proportions. America is about to reshuffle the Arab deck, with far-reaching consequences for nearly every country involved.

But with all the uncertainty regarding precisely what will emerge in the post-Saddam era, there is one issue about which there should be little doubt. Once the Iraqis get walloped, Russia, Europe and the Arab world will intensify their criticism, seeking to force Bush to "balance" his liberation of Iraq with independence for the Palestinians.

In fact, such pressure is already starting to mount. As the New York Times reported, Bush's statement came as "a result of pressure from British Prime Minister Tony Blair." Blair, the Times noted, has been demanding that the White House adopt the roadmap leading to a Palestinian state so as "to quell the anger throughout the Arab world over the Bush administration's perceived focus on Iraq."

Hence, the President's reference to the "occupied territories", and his call for the establishment of a Palestinian state, should not be written off lightly. Rather, it is just a small taste of what is yet to come.

To be fair, the White House's stance on Judea, Samaria and Gaza is hardly new. American presidents have long been vocally opposed to the expansion of Jewish communities in the territories, even as they remained inexplicably silent about the illegal growth of neighboring Arab villages.

Let your voice be heard! To express your concerns about the administration's plan for the Holy Land, you may contact

President George W. Bush by fax: (202) 456-2461, (Andrew Card, Chief of Staff) or by e-mail.

Dr. Condoleeza Rice, National Security Advisor, FAX (202) 456-2883, PHONE (202) 456-9491

Mr. Elliot Abrams, the Director for Near East and North African Affairs, at FAX (202) 456-9120, and by phone through his secretary Joanna, (202) 456-9121

Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000 or by e-mail form:

Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, 1010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1010 or by e-mail form

But Bush is not just any American president. Unlike his predecessors, he has pushed Yasser Arafat into a corner, courageously stood up to Saddam Hussein, underlined the need for democratization of the Arab world and launched a far-reaching global war on terror. It may sound clichèd, but he is by far "the best friend Israel has had in the White House" in a good long time.

And that is what makes his latest remarks so puzzling.

For, as a number of recent stories in the US press have made amply clear, Bush is a religious man who takes his Christian faith seriously. And yet, if Jesus were alive today, the US State Department would likely criticize him for being a Jewish settler and an obstacle to peace.

After all, according to the Christian bible, Jesus was a Jew born in Bethlehem, which is south of Jerusalem in what Colin Powell considers the "occupied territory" of Judea. His parents were Jews who undoubtedly prayed at a local Bethlehem synagogue, learned Torah at a local study-hall, and bought food at the local kosher marketplace. Thus, they were Jewish settlers in every respect.

Needless to say, the Christian bible itself contains no mention of the word "Palestine" or "Palestinians", for the simple reason that they did not exist. All told, in the Torah and the Christian bible, the terms "Judah" or "Judea" appear 877 times, and "Samaria" is used on 123 occasions. There is no reference to phrases such as the "West Bank" or "occupied territories," as Islam had not yet even come into being.

It is therefore hard to understand why the President would consent to pressure Israel to turn over Judea, Samaria and Gaza to the Palestinians, for he would appear to be acting contrary to what his own hallowed text would seem to demonstrate, namely that these areas belong to the Jewish people and no one else.

The same goes for Israel's capital, where many of the events in the Christian bible, such as the last supper on Mount Zion, the denunciation in the Garden of Gethsemane and the crucifixion on Golgotha are all described as having taken place in Jerusalem --- in Roman-occupied Jewish Jerusalem, that is. Hence, Christians who accept Palestinian demands to Jerusalem are essentially denying the validity of their own traditions.

It is imperative, then, that American Christian supporters of Israel launch an all-out effort to remind President Bush of these facts, and to counter the pressure he is coming under from the likes of Tony Blair and Colin Powell.

Bush is an honest and decent man, who is true to himself and to his belief system. But he is facing enormous pressure to mollify the Arabs at the expense of the Jewish state, and will therefore need a great deal of public backing behind him if he is to stand up against such pressure.

Since Bush is a man of faith, Christian supporters of Israel should appeal to him using a faith-based approach, pointing out that the Christianity he professes to believe in provides ample evidence that places such as Bethlehem and Hebron have nothing to do with the Palestinians and everything to do with Israel.

Of course, as a Jew, I personally look to the Torah for validation of my people's unbreakable connection to the Land of Israel and exclusive rights to it. As far as I am concerned, the views of the Prophets take precedence over those of Colin Powell any day.

Once the war in Iraq is over, though, President Bush will likely have to make a choice between the two. Now is the time for American Christians to speak out and remind him that when it comes to politics versus prophecy, the man of faith must ultimately follow his heart.

Want to change history? PLEASE forward this report to all concerned believers by cutting and pasting this link: Do not just send the text, as the "(w)E-THE PEOPLE" links won't be duplicated.

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JWR contributor Michael Freund served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office from 1996 to 1999. Comment by clicking here.

On Michael Jordan and mustard gas
Shattering the 50-50 Myth
Where do I sign up for the "Zionist Lobby"?
They hate Christians, too
So, why is there no "Jews for Jihad"?
Why is America about to train yet another cadre of Saudi airmen!?
So, why is there no "Jews for Jihad"?

Up © 2003, Michael Freund