Jewish World Review April 22, 2002/ 11 Iyar 5762

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Let Sharon be Sharon


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | As I've written before, I fall into the vehemently pro-Israel camp, believing that the administration blundered badly by not adhering to the Bush Doctrine of refusing to negotiate with lifetime terrorists like Arafat. Nothing is simple in that ongoing confrontation, but there are plain truths that can't be denied: Israel is a democracy with freedom of the press and when citizens are displeased with the prime minister, they can vote him out of office. Ariel Sharon, while currently high in the polls, will probably be booted out later this year by Benjamin Netanyahu, a hawk who's been eloquent in his clear vision of the conflict and refusal to accept Arafat as anything but the murderer he is. Granted, the former prime minister is campaigning for office on any talk show that'll book him, but that's politics.

The anti-Semitism in Europe, especially France, is appalling, leaving you to believe that at the turn of this century the atrocities of World War II were erased from that continent's collective memory.

As baffling as the pro-Palestinian position taken by America's elite media is (aside from The Wall Street Journal), which equates a Palestinian fanatic, whose family is rewarded monetarily by Iraq and Saudi Arabia and who kills Israeli citizens willy-nilly, with Sharon's defensive military incursion, it's far worse when a leader like Jacques Chirac looks the other way when a synagogue is burned. With the exception of Tony Blair, who'll probably pay a price for his alliance with Bush, it's not much better in England. Let's not even discuss Germany.

Last weekend, a pro-Palestinian march in Amsterdam turned violent when a small portion of the 10,000 demonstrators threw rocks, burned an American flag and, according to Reuters, "kicked and battered metal shop window shutters as stores closed for the day."

Wim Lankamp, chairman of the Dutch Committee for Palestine, said: "What happened in the end was very unfortunate. It spoiled the mood for the rest of the marchers who only had peaceful intentions. Given the fact that there were so many people there and so much anger about what Israel is doing, I think we can say the march went very well. We are tired of seeing the Dutch government stand on the sidelines of this problem."

David Gelernter expressed proper outrage in the Weekly Standard, a publication that fading Hardball host Chris Matthews-daily spitting out the word "neocon"-blames for Bush's intentions to overthrow Saddam Hussein. He gives the magazine too much credit, but one wonders why Matthews, a reasonably intelligent and moral man, is willing to give Hussein a pass.

Gelernter writes: "Israel is in big trouble with nearly the whole enlightened world-European 'peace activists' and Arab diplomats and Zbigniew Brzezinski and all sorts of mainstream American journalists-for not allowing Palestinian terrorists to kill its citizens with impunity. The Europeans rushed to the West Bank town of Ramallah to surround and protect the world's best-loved terrorist-that kindly old grump Yasser Arafat, hero of his people, idol of Europe, Nobel laureate, ripper-up of Jewish children. No Israeli would dare shoot Arafat if there were any risk of harming a European in the process; that was the premise. Luckily for the Europeans, it was never put to the test, because the Israelis (as they had repeatedly demonstrated) had no intention of killing Arafat. Meanwhile, trivia experts were trying to remember the last time European 'activists' had ever rushed anywhere to protect Israeli lives."

But as a discredited demagogue from the past said 1000 times, "Keep hope alive!" Powell has returned to Washington, empty-handed. Bush is now letting Sharon be Sharon and return to the doctrine that was so unambiguous prior to the last three weeks.


JWR contributor "Mugger" -- aka Russ Smith -- is the editor-in-chief and CEO of New York Press (www.nypress.com). Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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