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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 January 18, 2008 / 11 Shevat 5768

Olmert Can Always Say ‘No’

By Jonathan Tobin



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Bush and Rice are deluded, but the decision to push ahead on talks remains Israel's


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If you believe the opinion polls — and there's no reason not to — George W. Bush doesn't have many fans. And last week, the dwindling number of Bush loyalists got a bit smaller.


For the majority of American Jews who are Democrats, nothing — not even Bush's first visit as president to Israel — was bound to win him much applause.


Despite the opposition to the Iraq war and bitterness that dates back to the 2000 election, the president has still been able to fall back on his reputation as the best friend Israel has had in the White House, a tag that was earned via steadfast support for the Jewish State during the worst of the second intifada and the 2005 fight against Hezbollah along the country's northern border.


But the Bush trip to Jerusalem last week did not result in general hosannas from the pro-Israel community. Indeed, for many of his most steadfast backers in this sector, the rhetoric coming out of the presidential party was nothing short of a disaster.

THE OLD RULEBOOK
The decision to press ahead with Israel-Palestinian peace talks after the Annapolis summit is exactly what Bush's opponents on the left have chided him for not doing the first seven years of his presidency. They have wanted him to embrace the peace process that former Bill Clinton embraced in his presidency and even blamed Bush for the absence of peace, even though the Palestinians are the ones to blame for choosing terror over peace.


Bush changed the course chosen by the Clinton administration by refusing to meet with Yasser Arafat. He proclaimed that the Palestinians would have to give up terror in order to get a state, and said that any peace deal would be based on the reality of Israeli settlements and not solely on the pre-1967 borders.


In 2002 and 2004, Bush had appeared to throw away the old rulebook of U.S. Middle East diplomacy, which "realists" who had dominated the State Department in his father's time had always championed. But in 2008, that rulebook, which emphasized pressure on Israel to make concessions in exchange for empty Arab promises, is back in place as Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have plunged head first into the diplomatic maelstrom.


Bush made it clear last week that he was prepared to apply "a little pressure" on Israel to get it to agree to a peace deal that few in the country believe is possible. Despite other comments that demonstrated his friendship for Israel, his goal of shepherding a Palestinian state into existence during his presidency seemed to be the priority. He even said that Israel was going to have to discuss the so-called Palestinian "right of return."


All this has left Americans — both Jewish and non-Jewish who liked Bush's former policies — stumped and saddened.


Some blame the influence of his father and elder Bush luminaries like former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker. Others point to the need to appease Arab public opinion for the sake of the war in Iraq. Still others point to the increased influence of Rice in the aftermath of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's departure in 2006.


That may all be true. Yet while both Americans and Israelis have attempted to parse the contradictions in Bush's policies and sought to find their authors inside the administration, the obvious answer to the decision to go ahead is right under their noses. Far from being Bush's helpless victim and subject to the awful "pressure" that Israel has always dreaded, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is fully behind the current plan.


Olmert has been sending clear signals that he is ready to do a deal with the Palestinians, which replicates the wildly generous terms offered to Arafat by Ehud Barak at Taba. He has told Israelis that the world doesn't accept an undivided Jerusalem, and that they must learn to live with this. And he has made it clear that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is his peace partner, no matter what Fatah terrorists do.


No one but Olmert and his closest advisers know whether he really thinks that Abbas can sign a peace deal that accepts Israel as a Jewish state within any borders — or that he would survive if he did. It may be that domestic political considerations have led them to believe that pursuing a peace process, even a futile one, is his best bet to hang on to office, despite popularity ratings even lower than Bush. But while Bush is the senior partner in this alliance, Olmert is still the one in the driver's seat on this question. Anyone who thinks the prime minister is being dragged kicking and screaming to the table is dead wrong.


All of this leads us to the question that many refuse to contemplate: Could Olmert say "no" to Bush and Rice if he wanted to?


Despite Israel's dependence on the United States for military and diplomatic support, the answer is a resounding "yes."


Even as a lame duck with a secretary of state who is desperate for a diplomatic coup, there's nothing to indicate that Bush would implement this strategy if Olmert said it was dead on arrival.

GO TO SEDEROT
If Olmert wanted to, he could have said that anyone in the president's delegation who wanted to know why even Israelis who oppose settlements have no intention of handing over more territory to the Palestinians need only take a visit to Sederot.


That Israeli town within the 1949 armistice lines remains under siege as Kassam missiles launched from "Hamasistan" in Gaza — territory Israel left in 2005 — rain down on its people every day. If Israel backs up to the 1967 borders the same scene could be played out in 2009 at Ben-Gurion airport.


Olmert could have stated last week that until incitement against Israel and Jews on Abbas' own P.A.-controlled broadcast media ceased, peace was impossible. Indeed, 15 years of post-Oslo Palestinian autonomy has resulted in a new generation of Palestinians raised on hatred.


In response to suggestions that Israel negotiate about the "right of return," Olmert could have pointed out that several hundred thousand Jews were expelled or forced to flee from Arab countries after 1948, and are just as deserving of recognition and compensation as Arabs who fled Israel.


But for good or for ill, Olmert has done none of this.


The premier would certainly face some heat from Washington if he just said "no." But it's just as certain that if he did that and called on Israel's many friends in both major parties in the United States to back him up, Bush would not have persisted.


Those disillusioned by Bush's flip-flop are right to criticize him. But anyone who thinks that Israel is being forced to go along is focusing on the wrong end of the partnership. What happens in the next year — whether it turns out to be peace, war or the more likely option of a continued stalemate — remains a fate that Israel's democratically elected government is choosing of its own free will.

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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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