Clicking on banner ads keeps JWR alive
Jewish World Review April 11, 2003 / 9 Nisan, 5763

Jonathan Tobin

Jonathan Tobin
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

The next battle

Delegitimizing pro-Israel voices is priority for Arab lobby after Iraq | This has been a week for critics of President Bush's drive to end Saddam Hussein's reign of terror in Iraq to pipe down.

Though the fighting was is far from over, the supposedly "elite" Iraqi Republican Guards were on the run, and American forces were lounging in Saddam's palaces.

The whining critics of the war who predicted doom and gloom if America attacked Iraq are being proven wrong. As further evidence of Saddam's misdeeds continue to surface, those who counseled trusting in the power of the United Nations to fix the problem are similarly discredited.

But whatever satisfaction we can take in deflating the "blame-America first" crowd, the next battles in the political wars over how America should deal with the Middle East are just beginning.

The conflict will center on two fronts. One will be over the struggle to create a democracy in postwar Iraq. The other will be whether or not the victorious coalition simultaneously attempts to weaken the region's only existing democracy in order to empower one of Saddam Hussein's few remaining allies.

The irony of juxtaposition of these two projects is lost on those who insist on the latter. Indeed, many -- including our British allies -- see the two goals as balancing each other out and a necessary sop to the Arab world to compensate for Saddam's ouster.

But the so-called "road map" promoted by the diplomatic "Quartet" of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States is not the only method of undermining Israel available to its foes. They are also seeking the delegitimization of all those with ties to the Jewish state.

The first to feel the brunt of this effort is retired Army Gen. Jay M. Garner, the head of the Pentagon's Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, which will oversee Iraq after the fighting is over. Garner's main credential for this post is that he was the man in charge of supervision of relief work in the Kurdish sectors of Northern Iraq in the aftermath of the first Gulf war.

The general is hated by leftists for his role in missile-defense programs while in uniform and despised by those who view defense companies, such as the one he ran after his retirement, as the epitome of evil.

Predictably, Garner is also under fire from critics of American policy -- not so much for what he has done, but for his association with Israel. Yet what really seems to get the goat of many in the Arab world and their cheering sections in the media is that Jay Garner took a 1998 trip to Israel sponsored by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs after his retirement.

The trips sponsored by this valuable organization allow retired American military officials to see Israel up close, helping them decipher what the Jewish state is up against in its own struggles for survival against terrorist enemies.

Two years later, Garner joined more than 40 other retired American officers and government officials in a statement placing the blame for the violence in the Middle East squarely on the Palestinians, as well as praising the Israeli army's "remarkable restraint" in dealing with the bloody assaults of Yasser Arafat's terrorists and their Islamic fundamentalist allies.

The fact that Garner is capable of cutting straight to the truth of a complex matter ought to burnish his resume even further. But for some in the press, such as writers in Britain's Guardian and Observer newspapers, this is prima facie proof of Garner's unsuitability for his post. The mere fact that he visited Israel in the company of its supporters -- who include many prominent members of the Bush administration -- is enough to disqualify him in their eyes.

This is no minor point. Can anti-administration gadflies tarnish the reputation of a man simply by pointing out that he has been to Israel and supports its defense? If we are asked to accept the notion that Garner will be rejected by the Arab world because they will perceive him as a "Jew-lover," then Israel-bashers have crossed the line to what can only be termed as anti-Semitism by association.

Closer to home, another appointment is creating similar waves of dismay among Islamists and their far-left allies.

Last week, it was announced that JWR's Daniel Pipes, the head of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, was appointed by the president to a seat on the U.S. Institute of Peace, a federal body charged with promoting education and training projects to further the cause of peace worldwide. An author, columnist and lecturer, Pipes was seldom listened to before Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, he has become one of the most important public voices in this country on the subject of Islamic fundamentalism around the world, as well as here in the United States.

But his willingness to tell the truth about the Islamists and their connection to terrorism has earned Pipes the animosity of the extremist organizations that claim to speak for Arabs and Muslims in the United States. One such extremist group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called for the withdrawal of Pipes' nomination because the "pro-Israel commentator" would "be an inappropriate choice for the institute's board."

CAIR went on to threaten that "no credible Muslim leader in the United States or around the world could cooperate with an organization in which Pipes has a decision-making role."

The irony here is that CAIR -- a group that has repeatedly rationalized and justified anti-Israel terrorism, and publicly opposes efforts to fight terrorism and bring democracy to the Arab world -- is attempting to label mainstream views that reflect American support for a fellow democracy under siege by terrorists as extremist.

The U.S. Institute for Peace has largely labored in obscurity since its founding in 1984. But whatever it's up to, it is bound to be helped by having a person with Pipes' expertise and willingness to tell the truth on its board. It remains to be seen whether members of the U.S. Senate who must confirm Pipes' nomination will be influenced by the rantings of CAIR spokesmen and their echoes elsewhere in the media. But the important point here is the way so much of the media and the academic establishment in this country have allowed CAIR to masquerade as a legitimate voice while ostracizing Pipes.

There is no escaping the fact that the campaigns against Garner and Pipes reflect a determination by the anti-Israel lobby to enforce a McCarthy-like ban on friends of Israel in key government positions. Given the fact that much of the Bush administration is solidly pro-Israel, it would be easy to put down their fulminations as laughable.

But in the post-Iraq war era, when so much effort may be expended on putting Israel in its place, these are ominous developments. CAIR and its ilk must be stopped in their tracks.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not 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.

Jonathan Tobin Archives


© 2000, Jonathan Tobin