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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

1500 Satisfied Customers in Cherry Hill

Shimon Peres: A Dreamer Dreams . . . by Jack Engelhard
Arutz Sheva Opinion

Israel's grand diplomat, Shimon Peres, came to New Jersey this past Sunday night, to a synagogue in Cherry Hill, and found an audience of some 1,500 that agreed with him from A to Z, or if you please, from Aleph to Tav. He is a charmer and he charmed. He is a dreamer and he dreamed.

None of this is so simple, of course, for how dare we judge a man who was there at the start and helped build Israel's military, particularly its Air Force, its electronic aircraft industry, not to mention its program of nuclear deterrence. Perhaps it is even sinful to scoff at a man like this. Perhaps there would be no Israel without a man like this.

Perhaps, on the other hand, there would be no Israel with a man like this. So how dare we judge him, and how dare we not judge him?

Peres spoke for about an hour and his main points were as follows:

1. Israel must give up the "occupation." (No dissent here in Cherry Hill upon the word "occupation" from an Israeli statesman.)

2. He, Peres, and his followers will not pull out of the government if Prime Minister Ariel Sharon keeps to the strategy of relinquishing Gaza and the "West Bank."

3. The Israelis must do what they can to end the conflict. (No such burden upon the Arabs, at least not in this speech.)

4. The Palestinian Arabs finally realize [they do?] that the terrorists in their midst are the real enemy, not Israel. (This conclusion, or dream, may come as a surprise to the hundreds of thousands in Gaza and elsewhere who swore revenge and ripped their clothes in mourning over the hit that took out terrorist mastermind Ahmed Yassin.)

Here in Cherry Hill, all heads nodded in approval when Peres said that Israel must not rule as masters over another people.

Peres drew no rebuke when he compared the "occupation" to the Israelite captivity in Egypt.

He drew the most sustained applause, at the end of his talk, when he said, "You have to fight the reasons for terror."

Clearly, the reasons are the "settlements" and the "occupation." Clearly, it is Israel that must continue to make concessions.

(If so, if it is all on Israel, why Hatikvah at the outset of the ceremony in Cherry Hill? Why not, someone might ask, the Palestinian Arab national anthem?)

Read it all.

I wish it weren't so, but we are our own worst enemies. Well, almost; the Arabs are pretty bad too.