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Jewish World Review Oct. 24, 2001 / 7 Mar-Cheshvan 5762

Don Feder

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Israel shows danger of being U.S. ally -- IMAGINE that instead of being the world's sole superpower, America was a tiny, beleaguered democracy that relied on the support of a powerful ally for its security.

Terrorists have just murdered our secretary of transportation. The assassination is part of an ongoing campaign. For the past year, suicide bombers have targeted restaurants and nightclubs -- wherever they can maximize civilian casualties. Neighborhoods in our capital are under mortar attack. Snipers pick off children. Teens are kidnapped and stoned to death in caves.

Imagine our powerful ally told us not to retaliate to the assassination and, to further its own objectives, was pressuring us to negotiate with the man responsible for these crimes, with the goal of handing over half the country to savages sworn to our destruction.

Imagine all of this was done in the name of peace. Now you have an idea of what Israel confronts.

The murder last week of Israel's minister of tourism, Rehavan Zeevi -- shot twice in the face in an East Jerusalem hotel -- has turned out to be not even a road bump in Washington's maniacal drive for a paper peace in the Middle East.

In response to Zeevi's murder, Israel reoccupied four Arab towns. "Israeli incursions into Palestinian-controlled areas have contributed to a significant escalation in tension and violence," fussed State Department spokesman Philip Reeker.

Translation: For Israel, self-defense to assure its survival is unreasonable. Perhaps the State Department would like everyone in Israel to shoot themselves now, to save Palestinians the trouble.

Every president since Ronald Reagan has accepted as an article of faith that Jerusalem must be prodded and bullied into a settlement that depends on the good will of a man who made his bones (as they say in the mafia) when Osama bin Laden was dating she-camels.

Whatever challenges this dogma is dismissed as irrelevant. Reality is reshaped to confirm it.

For the past year, Arafat has staged mini-massacres from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Impressed by these humanitarian gestures, President George Bush declares, "The idea of a Palestinian state has always been part of a vision, so long as the right to Israel to exist is respected."

Once you have the Sudetenland, you'll respect Czechoslovakia's right to exist, won't you, Herr Hitler?

Arafat has opportunistically endorsed our Afghan campaign, because only America can pressure Israel to give him his terrorist state -- Beirut on the West Bank. For this, Washington hails him as a statesman of renown.

The president says he's committed "to working with both sides to bring the level of terror down to an acceptable level." What terrorist acts has Israel committed -- killing those who plan and carry out the cold-blooded murder of its people?

But then, in retaliating for the World Trade Center, the United States itself must be engaged in terrorism in Afghanistan. Perhaps a third party could mediate between Bush and bin Laden to bring the level of terror down to an acceptable level.

On Monday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said his government knows who murdered Zeevi, and that an official of Arafat's Palestinian Authority helped at least one of the killers escape to Ramallah.

When Arafat isn't indulging his own appetite for carnage, he's winking at killers. When the heat's on, he'll jail a few, then quietly release them to build more bombs and assassinate more Israeli officials. And Bush is intent on giving the Taliban's soulmate his own state, in gratitude for the deference he's shown for Israel's right to exist.

Is there another nation that would be asked to tolerate what Israel has endured? Is there any atrocity the Palestinians could commit which would justify Israeli defensive actions, in Washington's eyes? Will anything shake this administration's faith in a peace process that's become a death trap?

America's sacrifice of Israel calls to mind our betrayal of South Vietnam and the late Shah of Iran.

In declaring war on bin Laden and the Taliban, Bush told the world -- You're either with us or against us. Given our treatment of the Jewish state, it's hard to say which is more dangerous.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.

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© 2001, Creators Syndicate