Jewish World Review April 1, 2002 / 19 Nisan, 5762

Greg Crosby

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Consumer Reports

Choices | Life is full of choices. Choices both micro and macro. We all make personal choices every day. Some choices are inconsequential -- we choose to order chicken over fish in a restaurant, we choose to wear a blue sweater as opposed to a green sweater when we get dressed. Other choices are eminently more significant -- we choose to go to school or cut class, we choose to pay for an item in a store or to shoplift, we choose to brake for a pedestrian or run him over.

The act of choosing, by definition, requires that we must decide one thing over another. Usually we can't have it both ways, although there are exceptions. In a restaurant, a person might order fish while his dinning companion orders chicken -- that way they can share and enjoy both foods, thus avoiding having to choose one over the other.

Most often, however, when confronted with possible options, one must make a choice. We can't go to school and not go to school at the same time -- we can't pay for an item and shoplift that same item -- it's one or the other. We make a choice -- hopefully it's an intelligent one. There are a multitude of ways to do good and there are just as many ways to do bad. It's all a matter of choice.

On Wednesday evening, some Palestinians made a choice to send a suicide bomber into the Park Hotel in Netanya, a coastal town in Israel, where a Passover Seder was taking place. 20 people attending the holiday celebration were killed. Another 120 were wounded. Evil people made a conscious choice to kill innocent civilians -- yet again.

President Bush responded to Wednesday's slaughter with the following statement: "I call upon Mr. Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to do everything in their power to stop the terrorist killing." Sorry, Mr. President, not strong enough.

To illustrate just how weak that statement is, what if President Bush had addressed the world following the September 11 attack on the U.S. with basically the same words: "I call upon Mr. bin Laden and the Taliban to do everything in their power to stop the terrorist killing."

A quote worthy of Neville Chamberlain. How much fear do you think that would have instilled in our enemies? How much confidence would Americans have had in their president? How about zero. Our country needs to make a clear choice, once and for all, to boldly and loudly support Israel over the Arab terrorists in the Middle East. Not just for Israel's sake, but for ours. It's well past time that we stop pandering to the very people who wish to see us dead -- right along side the Israelis. We need to fight not only the terrorists who attack us, we must fight the terrorists who attack our friends. And the closer you look, the more obvious it becomes that these terrorists are one and the same -- Islamic fundamentalists and secular Arab militants who want to destroy Western civilization.

It's no secret that the Palestinian Authority has been supporting suicide bombers and teaching anti-Jewish hate for years. It's no secret that Iran and Iraq are in cahoots with these Palestinian terrorists. And it's no secret that Saudi Arabian money has been funding terror worldwide. Fundamentalist Islamic Arabs, whether they are called Saudis or Palestinians or anything else, will never be satisfied until every Jew in the Middle East (and maybe the world) is dead. When they talk about "occupied territories" they mean all the land that constitutes Israel!

Yes, we Americans are dependent on Arab oil, and maybe that was once reason enough to pretend that those people were our "friends." But times have changed and we, like Israel, are now engaged in a war for our very existence. We need to make the choice to end our reliance on Arab countries right now. We need to choose serious energy conservation, as well as drilling for oil in Alaska, while continuing to explore new ways to meet our energy needs in the future. But one thing's for sure -- we've got to make the choice to stop supporting Arab regimes that support, sponsor and cultivate terrorism.

Passover is one of Judaism's most important holidays. The massacre that occurred should have ignited an explosion of anger and disgust from every civilized country on earth. You can well imagine the outcry if America or Israel had perpetrated a similar act on Islamics during Ramadan. Of course, it wouldn't happen because neither America nor Israel target innocent civilians at any time, let alone on a religious holiday. We choose not to engage in terrorism.

Choices are not always easy. Sometimes is it difficult to know which path is the right path to travel down. But sometimes the choice is a no-brainer. Choosing to support Israel, our true friend and the only democratic government in the Middle East, should be an easy choice. The only option is supporting terrorism.

JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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