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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 11, 2006 / 15 Tamuz, 5766

The Real Religion of ‘Peace’

By Jonathan Tobin



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Believers in the future of accommodation with the Palestinians are a resilient lot


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush and others in his administration have drawn chortles for their predilection for punctuating every mention of Islam with the phrase reminding us that it is a "religion of peace."


This is intended to disabuse those who wrongly think America's war on Islamist terrorists is aimed at all Muslims. It also seeks to link Islam in the minds of Americans with Christianity and Judaism, whose believers are used to the idea that their own faiths are indeed just that: a way of peace.


Though the pursuit of peace is at the core of Western theology, peace is the natural outcome of faith in the Creator and G-d's commands, not the object of worship itself.


But when it comes to contemporary Middle East politics, for those Jews who have always termed themselves the "peace camp," belief in their goal has long since taken on the attributes of a religion in and of itself, rather than of a political policy.


With Kassam missiles flying out of the Gaza Strip that Israel left last August and a kidnapped soldier in the hands of terrorists — whose Hamas masters are the democratically elected leaders of the Palestinian people — this is a moment when the faith of the peace processors is being tested.

Exploding an Idea
And not for the first time.


In 1991, when Palestinians lined their rooftops to cheer Iraqi SCUD missiles as they headed for Tel Aviv, many peace advocates wrote off the Palestinians. But most soon relented and advocated Israeli territorial withdrawal again just as fervently.


When, after Israel agreed to the Oslo accords, installed Yasser Arafat as the head of a Palestinian Authority that ruled most of the territories and attempted to negotiate a final peace, again the faith of the peaceniks was tested.


Rather than negotiate in good faith and pursue peaceful development, Arafat never stopped funding and pushing terrorism. And when he was offered almost everything he could possibly get (short of Israel's acquiescence to its own destruction) in terms of territory, including a share of Jerusalem, he replied with a "no" and launched a new terrorist war of attrition in the fall of 2000.


This so-called second intifada was a body blow to the peace believers. Everything they had asked Israel to do had been done, and all it had brought was more than 1,000 dead Jews and even more dead Arabs. Peace was no closer, and Israel's terrorist foes were now far stronger than before Oslo.


Even worse, Israel's willingness to make concessions in the pursuit of peace had a surprising impact on support for the Jewish state, both around the world and among Diaspora Jewry. Rather than strengthen sympathy for Israel, pro-peace policies seemed to underscore the "justice" of Palestinian complaints. The more Israel compromised, the more its enemies and their growing international fan club took heart.


So when Palestinians rejected peace in favor of war, it was the Israelis who found, to their chagrin, that they were the ones being painted as the "greatest threat to world peace," rather than the terrorists.


All this put the peace camp on its heels, but it was far from defeated. Blame for their policy's failures was always disingenuously shifted to Israel or the right-wing, rather than the Palestinians.


Now again, this year Israel has given and been rewarded with the same outcome. But for the peace camp, none of this seems to matter.


While the vast majority of Jewish groups backed American sanctions against a Palestinian state now ruled by Hamas terrorists, the peace camp — in the form of a new group, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace — emerged to challenge the consensus. While formed mainly by most of the usual suspects on the Jewish left, it has energy and savvy that its predecessors lacked. The group even had the chutzpah to challenge the mainstream AIPAC by lobbying Congress to try and save aid for the Hamas-run P.A., and opposed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plans to unilaterally draw Israel's borders.


Though defeated in that instance, the group has found willing partners in Congress among those who have always been uncomfortable with what they felt was a "one-sided" American approach to the Middle East, despite the widespread support such policies have among the vast majority of Americans.


Love of peace comes naturally to Jews. But the new group's stand is as faith-based as anything put forward by Christian evangelicals, and thus impervious to rational analysis.


It is all well and good to say — as the group and its supporters do — that peace is good, and negotiations are inevitable no matter what happens. But if your intended peace partner proves over and over and over again that all they're interested in is dead Jews, then they're not grounded in the reality of the world we actually live in.

Blind Faith
Like those in Israel's settlement movement who think that divine intervention will somehow, some way allow Israel to inflict its will on the world no matter what the situation, so, too, do the blind believers in peace hold on to the dream of a happy ending with the Palestinians and proscribe solutions based on its illusions rather than the facts on the ground.


When a thesis cannot be proved or disproved, and when its backers say it must be accepted in spite of all evidence to the contrary, what we are talking about is a religion, not a policy.


To say this is not to argue that Israel shouldn't always explore every option at its disposal. And, theoretically, we can all hope that one day Palestinians will discard a political culture whose essence is a rejection of Israel's legitimacy and an embrace of violence.


But given the fact that young Palestinians are still being taught hatred of Jews, it is hard to see how or when such a day will come.


Even more to the point, peace worshippers should worry about the fact that the Jewish left has at times lent credibility to the vitriol directed at Israel in the course of its ongoing war of self-defense. The newly organized "peace lobby" claims to be acting in good faith for the best interests of Zion and should be taken at their word. But they should consider that heightened efforts to divide Diaspora Jewry at a time when attacks on Zionism and Israel's right to exist are growing have consequences.


With more people around the world accepting the Palestinians' astonishing idea that they have a "right" to kill Israelis in the territories or Israel itself because they think themselves the aggrieved party, the notion of undermining Israel's supporters here or pressuring the state itself to make even more concessions is, at best, ill-considered.


Like extremists on the Jewish right who seem more in touch with their idea of what G-d wants more than that of ordinary Israelis, such leftist believers in "peace" need both a reality check and some humility.


With more such friends, Heaven help Israel.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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