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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 Oct. 17, 2003 / 21 Tishrei, 5764

So much for democracy

By Jonathan Tobin


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The sheer chutzpah of reject politicians and we-know-better-Jews


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The hubbub surrounding negotiations in Geneva between Palestinian Authority figures and some failed Israeli politicians, financed by the Swiss Foreign Ministry, is a prime illustration of an odd contradiction in the way most of the world views Israel.


On the one hand, even many of those who are indifferent to Israel's fate will generally acknowledge that it is a democracy, and lament that there are no counterparts to it in the Arab world. On the other, any time renegade Israelis undercut Israel's democratically elected government, most of the world will applaud, as long as the result reinforces their existing Mideast prejudices.


This Geneva "agreement" is just such an example.


Leave aside, for a moment, the motives and record of the Swiss, as well as the terms of the accord that was negotiated by former Israeli Labor Party leader Amram Mitzna and former Israeli Cabinet member Yossi Beilin.


Some of us may think their idea that giving up sovereignty over the Temple Mount and conceding a division of Jerusalem in exchange for the Palestinians ditching their "right of return" is a good idea and a necessary step toward peace. Others will point out the dangers of such surrenders, and the fact that previous agreements with other extravagant concessions to the Palestinians have only led to more terrorism and bloodshed.


Instead, let's hone in one obvious fact Mitzna and Beilin seemed to have forgot: The people of Israel have placed the responsibility for negotiating with the Palestinians with those they have elected; not the men they rejected.


In the United States, even in an age of grandstanding members of the House and Senate and 24-hour news channels for them to preen on, there are limits to the lengths that opposition politicians will go to undermine the White House.

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Those limits are defined by the Logan Act — federal legislation that makes it a crime for American citizens to conduct negotiations with hostile powers. In fact, the mere suggestion that the campaign of Ronald Reagan held a talk with the Iranians while President Jimmy Carter was still in the White House was considered a scandal. Even though the allegations proved false, the horror with which the public viewed this speaks volumes about the seriousness of such conduct. As The Jerusalem Post pointed out this week, it may be long past time for Israel to consider enacting its own Logan Act.


What makes the actions of Mitzna and Beilin especially egregious is that only eight months ago, these men asked Israel's people to reject Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's leadership and give them the responsibility to make peace with the Palestinians. The answer they received in a campaign specifically fought on this issue was an unambiguous "no."


Mitzna led Labor to the worst defeat in its history. Beilin, who had been denied a place on the Labor ticket by a democratic process and who then ran on the list of the leftist Meretz Party, was not even elected to the Knesset.


What gives these men the chutzpah to disregard the judgement of the voters? No doubt it is a sense that they are right, and that their duty impels them to work for peace out of government as well as in it.


Some may regard their motives as an excuse for their behavior, and join with them in their efforts to use their "agreement" as a weapon against Sharon and his policies. In particular, they will try — and not for the first time — to drive a wedge between Jerusalem and Washington. But anyone with a decent respect for democracy and a smattering of common sense should know that such "agreements" only make Sharon's position impossible.


There is another point to this sorry mess that needs to be examined. Diaspora Jews have played no small role in the undercutting of past Israeli governments. It can be taken for granted that Beilin and Mitzna hope influential American Jews will take up their cause and promote their accord at the expense of Israel's government.


This is the same spirit in which some groups raise funds to help those in Israel who seek to persuade Israeli soldiers to refuse to do their duty by taking part in defensive operations in the terrorism.


In both instances, the core issue at stake — Israel's continuing presence in the territories — is one that the people of Israel will continue to debate. It is also an issue that is fair game for Diaspora Jews to discuss. But in any democracy, even one as fractious as that in Israel, there is a time when the votes are counted and those in power make decisions. It is one thing to publicly disagree with a government. But to say that personal diplomacy or acts of desertion can flout those decisions is tantamount to opposition to the rule of law.


And that is exactly what Beilin and Mitzna have done and what they are asking American Jews to do by supporting their "agreement."


Those who do so will claim to be working for peace. But the truth is, they will also be demonstrating contempt for Israeli democracy and the Israeli people.

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. In June, Mr. Tobin won first places honors in the American Jewish Press Association's Louis Rapaport Award for Excellence in Commentary as well as the Philadelphia Press Association's Media Award for top weekly columnist. Both competitions were for articles written in the year 2002.

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© 2003, Jonathan Tobin