Home
In this issue
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 May 6, 2004 / 15 Iyar, 5764

Why Did They Do It?

By Jonathan Tobin


Printer Friendly Version

Email this article




Likud critics are missing the point


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | On the face of it, Israel has screwed up. Big time.


President George W. Bush went out on a limb for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He not only backed his plan for a unilateral withdrawal, but also reversed a decades-old American policy, and publicly endorsed Israel's position on its right to retain some of the settlements and its opposition to the Palestinian "right of return."


For this, Bush was roundly bashed by most American editorial writers and virtually every foreign leader. But the beating he took might have been considered worth it had Sharon parlayed Bush's seal of approval into a positive vote in a referendum on the Gaza plan held among members of the prime minister's Likud Party.


But instead of giving Sharon — and Bush — what they wanted, the Likudniks gave both a black eye, with a resounding 60 percent "no" vote. As a result, all those who dismissed Bush's historic move as dunderheaded diplomacy are now having a good laugh at the president's expense.


In the eyes of people like former President Jimmy Carter and others, Bush had foresworn America's supposed role as an "evenhanded" broker between Israel and the Arabs. Carter dismissed Bush as the most pro-Israel president in history, and he didn't mean it as a compliment.


The Washington Post spoke for the foreign-policy establishment when it editorialized on Tuesday that "Bush compromised the ability of the United States to serve as mediator of a final settlement. ... The result is a blow to U.S. standing in the Middle East."


It has yet to be seen whether Bush will stay the course. He rightly refused a request by King Abdullah of Jordan, still the State Department's teacher's pet, that the president rethink his position. But the king may wind up getting his own Bush letter that will differ from the one sent to Sharon.

HOW UNREPRESENTATIVE?
Bush has also allowed Secretary of State Colin Powell to sign on to a diplomatic "Quartet" statement that contradicts the American commitment to Israel. Other statements from Powell prior to the referendum helped Sharon's opponents convince some voters that Bush's word couldn't be trusted.


But why did the Likud put Bush and Sharon in this position?


First, as many have already pointed out, the 60,000 Likudniks who voted "no" in a party ballot where only a couple of hundred thousand Israelis (out of a population of more than 5 million) were eligible to vote do not necessarily represent mainstream opinion in the country.


That's true. But, to be fair, the "no" votes in the Likud referendum don't represent a smaller percentage of voters than the few Democrats in a handful of states whose votes made Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry a finalist in this year's presidential contest.


The Likud is Israel's leading party, and its members may not be a true cross-section of opinion in the Jewish state, but they aren't any less so than a similar sampling from parties such as Labor that they trounced in the last two general elections.


Sharon was foolish to hold the referendum, which was an attempt to go over the heads of his deeply divided Cabinet. He may yet be able to undo the harm with some clever maneuvering, but the Likud rebuke is a slap to Bush that was both undeserved and strategically foolish for Israel.


Yet rather than merely say that the Likud electorate was stupid, maybe we should be asking why so many Israelis were willing to put Bush and their own elected leader in such a precarious position.


The answer is plain: They don't think Israel should be asked to make concessions at a time when the Palestinians are doing everything in their power to kill as many Jews as possible.

Donate to JWR


Few Israelis other than the 7,500 who live there want to keep Gaza. But as much as I believe Sharon's position to be a reasonable one — and Bush's backing of him to be courageous — I can't entirely fault those Israelis who say that handing over parts of Gaza and northern Samaria to the terrorist organizations isn't going to advance peace. Peace isn't at hand, with the Gaza plan or without it. The only question is whether more lives will be saved or lost by the withdrawal. And no one can answer that query with absolute certainty.


The settlement movement is widely reviled abroad, and even in many sectors of Israeli society, but the main impetus behind Sharon's defeat probably isn't Jewish messianism. So long as the Palestinians consider the murder of Jews living in the territories — such as the pregnant mother and her four children mercilessly slaughtered on Sunday — to be a legitimate form of protest, they shouldn't expect much sympathy from Israel's voters.

BLAMING A COUNTRY FOR EVERYTHING
What the "no" vote represents is also a revolt against the international opinion which claims that, despite everything that has happened in the last decade, Israel's moral standing is still no better than that of the Palestinians. The fact that the Palestinians violated the Oslo accords while Israel kept its side of the bargain is considered ancient history. So, too, is the fact that Sharon's predecessor, Ehud Barak, offered the Palestinians much of what they asked for in 2000 — and was answered with a terrorist war of attrition.


In the same Post editorial blasting Bush's move as "A Poor Wager," the paper opined that Sharon's plan was as bad as Barak's peace initiative. Their reasoning was that the failure to achieve peace was, and is, the fault of Barak and Sharon, not the Palestinians who rebuffed them.


What Bush has done is to assert that the two sides were not equally to blame for the lack of peace. But the chattering classes have created a political universe where Israel is at fault for everything that happens, including the slaughter of its own people. In that context, no wonder large numbers of Israelis have been left uninterested in any unilateral gestures, even those that might strengthen Israel in the long run. The "no" vote in the referendum was created by three-plus years of Palestinian terrorism.


The key to an Israeli majority for compromise lies in the hands of the Palestinians, not Sharon's advisers. Until then, the naysayers of Likud will continue to find themselves on firm political ground.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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

Jonathan Tobin Archives


© 2004, Jonathan Tobin