Jewish World Review May 15, 2002 / 4 Sivan, 5762

Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez
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What type of fiend encourages children to become homicide bombers? Meet some 'Palestinians' from the 'burbs | To understand exactly how dangerous our capitulation to multiculturalism is to the future of our nation, step inside Samedi Sweets, a café in Northern Virginia. National Public Radio reporter Barbara Bradley recently interviewed a group of Palestinian Americans there for the show "All Things Considered."

The conversation was chilling. The sentiments expressed by second- and third-generation Palestinian Americans could have come from the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank or even from Hamas members in the Gaza.

"The people in the refugee camp, they choose between living like a dog or dying like a human being. They prefer to die like a human being," one man says of the suicide bombers who killed dozens of men, women and children out for pizza, or celebrating a daughter's coming of age, or shopping for food.

Another Palestinian American -- this one, a third-year law student -- offered this explanation for the wave of attacks by Palestinians against civilians in Israel, taking the violence away from the West Bank, where much of the earlier Intifada took place:

"They got sick of that, and they said, 'Look, if you're going to maintain this war with us, we're going to bring the war to you,'" the young law student says, defending the bombings of nightclubs and supermarkets, where civilians were the only targets.

NPR's Bradley, says of one young man, "If he weren't living in suburban Virginia, he would probably be a suicide bomber."

"It doesn't matter who dies," says the boy himself, "just as long as they're Israeli." The boy's mother blames Israel for turning her son into a hatemonger. "They've made him violent and hate them," she says of her American-born son.

The boy's father offers, "If his time has come, he will die, regardless of where he is. But at least he will die for a cause. I will live the rest of my life being proud of him."

These sentiments are shocking coming from American citizens. They go way beyond expressing support for a Palestinian state or even antagonism toward the policies of Israel -- or the United States, for that matter -- both of which are acceptable political viewpoints. These Palestinian Americans are expressing views one doesn't expect to find outside the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or among its sympathizers. They express a contempt for the rule of law and an allegiance to an extremist, foreign ideology that is antithetical to American values.

And they are a reflection of our new multicultural America, where young people are taught that one's allegiance to one's ethnic group takes precedence over allegiance to the United States or adherence to democratic values. These young people may have been born in the United States, but they are Palestinians first and foremost.

What ever happened to old-fashioned American assimilation, where second- and third-generation Americans put aside the animosities and allegiances of their ancestors? Franco Americans had no antipathy toward German Americans; Americans of Serbian descent could live peaceably alongside Croatian Americans; those of Indian descent could be friends with those who came from Pakistan.

The sometimes bitter struggles among their co-ethnics in their homelands evoked no strong sense of identification in those who had left behind such tribal allegiances when they emigrated, and even less sympathy among their American-born children. But times have changed, it seems.

The oath of allegiance still requires that new citizens "absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which [they] have heretofore been a subject or citizen." Tell that to the naturalized American citizens and their U.S.-born children who are gathered in Falls Church, Va., to cheer on their co-ethnic suicide bombers half a world away.

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