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Thursday, August 28, 2003

from an excellent blog --Jewish Current Issues-- by Rick Richman

We Certainly Don't Want to Be Unfeelingly Mean
Arthur Hertzberg, the Bronfman Visiting Professor of Humanities at New York University and Professor Emeritus of Religion at Dartmouth, publishes an article in today's New York Times urging "punitive economic measures" against Israel, as "tough love" to "force the end of settlement activity."
We could . . . [deduct] the total cost of the settlements each year from the United States' annual allocation to Israel. To show that we were not being unfeelingly mean, the United States should . . . hold $1 billion a year in escrow to help those settlers who would peacefully move back into Israel's pre-1967 borders. . . .
Nothing if not even handed, Hertzberg also proposes "comparable tough love" for the Palestinians:

What American influence can achieve is to dry up the financial and military support of the Palestinian war-makers . . . . [T]he United States can . . . insist that other countries -- both our allies and enemies -- freeze the financial accounts of militant groups . . . .
In the real world, this is a call for pressure on Israel, and only Israel -- since it is dependent on the United States, while the "Palestinian militants" (the word "terrorist" does not appear in Hertzberg's article) get financing from Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the EU and others who are not likely to respond to "insistence" from the United States.

The U.S. State Department cannot even get the EU to stop meeting with Arafat -- much less get them to "dry up the financial" support of Hamas. Maybe the State Department didn't insist.

Hertzberg also notes that "tough love" for Israel is necessary because "there will be an Arab majority in at most 20 years" and at that point Israel will effectively be either a binational state with an Arab majority or have to subject Palestinian Arabs to "a rule resembling apartheid in South Africa."

This is not exactly a new insight. Indeed, it is quite possible that it was precisely this insight that led Ehud Barak three years ago to make a sweeping offer of a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank with a capitol in East Jerusalem, and led Ariel Sharon to formally declare this year that it "is time to divide this land" with the Palestinians.

Both Likud and Labor are now formally on record as supporting a Palestinian state; but not even Mahmoud Abbas will commit himself to Israel as a "Jewish" state.

Professor Hertzberg might consider the possibility that it is precisely his insight that explains why Yasser Arafat is not interested in peace.

Why should he be, when he can simply wait until Arabs overwhelm Israel demographically, or make it a pariah "apartheid" state, if it isn't terrorized into unilateral withdrawal first -- all the while enjoying the spectacle of American Jews calling for punitive economic measures against the Jewish state, in the middle of a war.