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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

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

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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

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The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 12, 2007 / 30 Tishrei, 5768

It's not a parlor game!

By Jonathan Tobin

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Assigning blame for Annapolis summit's probable failure presents clear danger

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, was famous for saying that it was more important what the Jews did than what the non-Jewish world said about what they were doing.

There was, and still is, a great deal of truth to that proposition. When it comes to matters of self-defense and building your own home, there are times when true leaders must simply say to the devil with hypocritical world opinion and do what must be done.

But there have been times when the opposite is true. When it comes to diplomacy between the State of Israel, its ally the United States and the Palestinian Arabs, what the Israelis actually try to do to achieve peace often matters far less than how the rest of the world perceives those actions. Like it or not, Israel and its supporters are about to play out this same frustrating scenario again.

The much-ballyhooed Middle East peace conference sponsored by the Bush administration set to take place next month in Annapolis, Md., has sent Israel's leaders, as well as those of the Palestinian Authority, into overdrive as they attempt to position themselves in advance of the conclave. Hovering over both Jerusalem and the P.A. headquarters in Ramallah is what happened the last time the United States sponsored such an event.

In July of 2000, the Clinton administration was desperate to revive the failed Oslo process, and invited both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md., to go the last mile to achieve a settlement.

Clinton seemed, even at the time, to be more focused on his desire for a Nobel Peace Prize as his presidential legacy than on the realities on the ground. But his desire for a settlement was real. So was that of Barak, who threw all of Israel's bargaining chips on the table and offered the Palestinians more than any other Israeli government had ever done: a state on virtually all of the West Bank with a share of redivided Jerusalem to serve as its capital. But despite Clinton's pleas, Arafat refused to take yes for an answer.

Two months later, Arafat's response to Barak's peace offer morphed from verbal intransigence to open combat as he launched a second "intifada" a terrorist war of attrition that sought to bring Israel to its knees. Though it cost Israel more than a thousand dead and far more for the Palestinians, the intifada eventually failed.

In September 2000, Shlomo Ben Ami, Barak's foreign minister, told me that as bad as the Camp David fiasco had been, at least it showed the world that it was the Israelis who wanted peace and the Palestinians the ones who had chosen war. Never again, he said, would Israel be labeled as the fomenter of violence.

But he could not have been more wrong.

A post-Camp David Palestinian propaganda offensive sought to edit the Israeli offer out of the history books. Despite the fact that Clinton backed Israel's account of Arafat's responsibility, the Palestinian big lie worked. Few media accounts of the conflict placed the intifada firmly in a context of Arab rejectionism.

Since then, the much-publicized opinions of people like David Malley, a minor Clinton-administration functionary, as well as former President Jimmy Carter, who backed the false Palestinian account of Camp David, have managed to transform the discussion about the event from a settled fact into a faux historical dispute in which both sides are treated as equally culpable. In the long run, it mattered less what Barak actually did at Camp David than the lies that were told about it afterward.

All of this explains much of the activity of both the Israelis and the Palestinians prior to Annapolis.

Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice seem as desperate to promote the equally illusory chances of Israeli-Palestinian peace as Clinton was more than seven years ago. Their goal is to distract the Arab world and domestic critics from the war in Iraq.

That leaves Israeli Prime Minister Olmert frantic to avoid the impression that he will be the one to cause Annapolis to fail. So Olmert has tacked left, pumping up the idea that P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas is a genuine peace partner and allowed a close associate to float the idea that another Jerusalem division scheme will be part of a proposed settlement.

But Abbas still has plenty of reasons to avoid a deal that he knows he can't get Palestinians (especially those that back his Hamas rivals who control Gaza) to accept. And he also understands that he can always count on anti-Zionist agitprop to bail him out.

But the probability of diplomatic failure at Annapolis pales before the danger of far worse repercussions if this turns into a repeat of the disaster of 2000. And that's where Israel's perennially divided supporters come in. While the very legitimacy of pro-Israel advocacy is increasingly under fire as a result of "The Israel Lobby" controversy, silence about the summit is exactly what is not needed.

The broad-based coalition of Jews and non-Jews that supports Israel here needs more than ever to make it clear to the Bush administration that it must not allow a repeat of Camp David 2000. The administration's hunger for a diplomatic triumph must not serve as an excuse for pressure on Olmert to make concessions, especially when there seems little, if any, chance that they will be reciprocated.

As was the case with Barak, Olmert's willingness to embrace far reaching concessions will not protect Israel from post-summit attacks, both verbal and physical, from those who will never make peace at any price.

Since Palestinian refusal to give up on the right of return makes real progress unlikely, we can expect that Israel's foes will still be hoping to parlay the inevitable failure of Annapolis into momentum for a renewed assault on Israel's legitimacy as well as that of the pro-Israel movement here.

As such, now is exactly the time that Jewish groups as well as Christian supporters of Israel need to speak up, not to oppose the summit or diplomacy itself, but against American strong-arm tactics employed against Israel to ensure either that the meeting takes place or to guarantee some sort of result.

Enthusiasm for peace is understandable, but rhetoric that paints a misleading portrayal of Israeli unwillingness to compromise its security as an "obstacle" to peace today will undoubtedly play a part in post-Annapolis revisionist propaganda.

What both the administration and Jewish left-wingers who are eager for Rice to wield a big stick at Israel's expense must remember is that the blame for a summit failure is not an intellectual parlor game but, as Clinton's Camp David folly proved, a vicious battle whose price may eventually be paid in Jewish blood.

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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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