Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hating While Declaring "I Shall Not Hate"

This letter was published in The New Britain Herald on April 6, 2011 under the misleading headline "Reader takes issue with peace activist." The headline was misleading because the letter explained how the self-described "peace activist" is really promoting conflict rather than peace.

It's disappointing that Izzeldin Abuelaish, while promoting a book entitled "I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity," effectively endorses the Arab terrorism that led to the unfortunate deaths of three of his daughters while spreading misinformation.

In the article published in The New Britain Herald March 31, Abuelaish is quoted as saying: "Get rid of the occupation and there would be no need for the rockets."

The rockets for which Abuelaish asserts a need are being launched from Gaza and are aimed at Israeli cities and towns.

This, by any reasonable definition, is terrorism. Anyone endorsing or excusing them, as is Abuelaish, is not promoting a message of either peace or human dignity.

Furthermore, according to the definition of occupation under that nebulous body called international law, Israel was never an occupier of Gaza. Even if one uses the term occupation loosely, any so-called occupation of Gaza by Israel ended in 2005, nearly six years ago.

I sympathize with Abuelaish's grief; nobody should suffer the loss of children. But that loss was a consequence not of any occupation, but of the thousands of Kassam rockets launched from Gaza at innocent civilians in Israel, even after Israel left Gaza, lock, stock and barrel.

Let us not hate; let us embark on a road to peace and human understanding. This is the road Israel and its supporters are trying to travel; obviously Abuellaish is not. I hope that changes.

Alan Stein
Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An open letter to members of the Goldstone mission who have "turned"

This is excerpted from an open letter from Maurice Ostroff to members of the UN Fact-finding mission to Gaza Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers. Click here for the complete letter.

April 18, 2011

I am astonished by the report in the Guardian of April 14 that, in response to Judge Goldstone's recent oped in the Washington Post, you have "turned on him", accusing him of misrepresenting facts in order to cast doubt on the credibility of your joint report. It is regrettable that you did not explain what facts you accuse him of misrepresenting, so that the reader can reach an informed opinion. (

I trust you will agree that every intellectually honest person will willingly review previously held convictions if and when relevant new evidence becomes available. To his credit, that is exactly what Judge Goldstone has done.

By contrast, your evident inflexible belief in the immutability of every sentence in your 500-plus page Report reflects an attitude reminiscent of those who refused to look at the evidence presented by Galileo and condemned his heliocentrism as contrary to Scripture.



Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Passover Story as Reported by The New York Times

The cycle of violence between the Jews and the Egyptians continues with no end in sight in Egypt. After eight previous plagues that have destroyed the Egyptian infrastructure and disrupted the lives of ordinary Egyptian citizens, the Jews launched a new offensive this week in the form of the plague of darkness.

Western journalists were particularly enraged by this plague. "It is simply impossible to report when you can't see an inch in front of you," complained a frustrated Andrea Koppel of CNN. "I have heard from my reliable Egyptian contacts that in the midst of the blanket of blackness, the Jews were annihilating thousands of Egyptians. Their word is solid enough evidence for me."

While the Jews contend that the plagues are justified given the harsh slavery imposed upon them by the Egyptians, Pharaoh, the Egyptian leader, rebuts this claim. "If only the plagues would let up, there would be no slavery. We just want to live plague-free. It is the right of every society."

Saeb Erekat, an Egyptian spokesperson, complains that slavery is justifiable given the Jews' superior weaponry supplied to them by the superpower God.

The Europeans are particularly enraged by the latest Jewish offensive. "The Jewish aggression must cease if there is to be peace in the region. The Jews should go back to slavery for the good of the rest of the world," stated an angry French President Jacques Chirac.

Even several Jews agree. Adam Shapiro, a Jew, has barricaded himself within Pharaoh's chambers to protect Pharaoh from what is feared will be the next plague, the death of the firstborn. Mr. Shapiro claims that while slavery is not necessarily a good thing, it is the product of the plagues and when the plagues end, so will the slavery.

"The Jews have gone too far with plagues such as locusts and epidemic which have virtually destroyed the Egyptian economy," Mr. Shapiro laments. "The Egyptians are really a very nice people and Pharaoh is kind of huggable once you get to know him," gushes Shapiro.

The United States is demanding that Moses and Aaron, the Jewish leaders, continue to negotiate with Pharaoh. While Moses points out that Pharaoh had made promise after promise to free the Jewish people only to immediately break them and thereafter impose harsher and harsher slavery, Richard Boucher of the State Department assails the latest offensive.

"Pharaoh is not in complete control of the taskmasters," Mr. Boucher states. "The Jews must return to the negotiating table and will accomplish nothing through these plagues."

The latest round of violence comes in the face of a bold new Saudi peace overture. If only the Jews will give up their language, change their names to Egyptian names and cease having male children, the Arab nations will incline toward peace with them, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah declared.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Too Many Palestinians Support Atrocities Against Children

This letter was published in the Waterbury Republican-American on Wednesday, April 13, 2011.

Imagine the quite justified worldwide uproar that would ensue were a poll to find a third of Israelis supported slash ing the throats of Arab children. Yet when a poll taken by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found a third of Palestinian Arabs sup ported an attack in which terrorists murdered three Israeli children and their parents, including slashing the throat of a 3-month-old, the headline in the April 7 Republican-American read, "Palestinians opposed attack."

Any society in which a third of its members support slashing the throats of infants is sick. The message in the headline and the tenor of the article inverted an unfortunate reality that was reinforced the same day when terrorists from Gaza aimed an anti-tank missile at a school bus and hit their target.

When Arab children in Gaza are sick, the Israelis often bring them to Israeli hospitals to cure them; when Israeli children are healthy, Palestinian Arabs in Gaza try to kill them. That goes to the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict and illustrates what needs to change if there is to be peace.

Linwood Fleischer

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Israeli Robotics Competition

By Jon Mittelman

FIRST is all about inspiration. Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and many other devices, wanted to inspire kids to enter careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to make an impact on the problems facing today's world. That's why he and Woodie Flowers, MIT Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, created FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1992 as a competition for high school kids in the US. Initially just in the United States, FIRST now spans the globe with programs for kids from age 4 to 18.

I have recently returned from the Israel Regional FIRST Competition held in Tel Aviv. With 50 teams participating including teams from Bosnia and the US, the excitement was palpable as this year's competition played out.

The game is played by an alliance of three teams playing against a different alliance of three teams in an arena that resembles a major sporting event. Each round of the game lasts 2 minute and 15 seconds beginning with a 15 second period when the 120+ pound robots try to place inner tubes on a scoring rack without operator assistance. Then human operators guide their robots to pick up 3 different shaped tubes and place them on a rack to make the FIRST Logo. The finale of the event is when the teams launch their minibot to race each other up 10 foot towers. There is lots of action with six robots on the field!

Every year the game is different and every team has the same six weeks to create a robot to compete in the game. Every team starts with the same limited selection of parts and the same budget limitations. Working with teachers, mentors, parents, and engineers from sponsoring corporations, the kids work long hours to learn computer aided design, machining, electrical wiring skills, and programming in order to design and build their robots. As Woodie Flowers said "This is the hardest fun you will ever have. One of the goals is to make your brain hurt.” This model has proven very successful. In one study, kids who participated in FIRST were twice as likely to enter careers in science and engineering.

It has been so successful in fact, that then-Vice Premier Shimon Peres, currently President of Israel, called Dean Kamen in 2003 to ask him to bring FIRST to Israel. In 2005, a pilot program had 12 teams competing. At the 2011 regional, there were 48 Israeli teams, a Bosnian team and an American team. In addition, 150 FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams rocked the house at Nokia Stadium. There were teams from all sectors of Israeli society including Druze and Israeli-Arab villages. One of the Arab villages is home to Team Tamra, 1946. Their mentor, Mohammed Fadwah, was presented the Woodie Flowers award, a cherished honor given to an outstanding mentor. His team is composed 70% of girls; each year several of his students go on to the Technion (Israel's MIT) and other universities.

This is the sort of success that has some US educators demanding to have FIRST in all of their schools. Michigan, Rhode Island and Hawaii have set education goals to have a FIRST program in every high school district in their state. Seed money for new teams generally comes not from taxpayers but from corporations eager to see students enter STEM careers and fill their need for educated workers. Current problems have to do with local school districts cash-strapped to provide teacher coverage, transportation and tech-ed support. Luckily, in Region 18, support from all levels of the community have aided the success of the Lyme-Old Lyme High School TechnoTicks. They won the 2009 Chairman's Award, given to the team doing the best job pursuing the goals of FIRST. As the team motto explains “It’s in our blood!”. One of the new teams here in Connecticut we have helped this year is from the New London Science and Technology Magnet School. They were able to start thanks to a monetary grant from JC Penny. But their continued success depends on community support.

You can catch the excitement at the Connecticut Regional FIRST Competition this weekend April 1-2, 2011 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Cheer on the New London team! Admission is free, but you must bring your children! Inspiration is contagious!

Note: This article was written prior to the Connecticut Regional FIRST Competition.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Letter to Tamar

This letter is posted with the permission of the writer. Please consider adding your name and sending it to Denis at When I first saw it, it contained the following introduction:

As some of you will already know, my letter to Tamar Fogel has been translated into Hebrew and will be given to her later next week in time for pesach. It will go under my name, because the letter itself must remain personal and direct. However, I have already received many e-mails from people who have been moved by the letter and who share in Tamar’s grief. If possible, I’d like to put as many names together to add as an appendix to the letter, names of people whose hearts have warmed to one little girl’s anguish and courage. This e-mail contains the original letter I English and the Hebrew translation by Tal Rockman. I’d like as many of you as possible to send it on and to ask your contacts to send me their names, which I can put into one document. It might be nice if they could add their country or city of residence, and perhaps the names of their own children. E-mail addresses etc. will never be included.

Dear Tamar,

We have never met, nor are we likely to. I am not a Jew nor an Israeli, though for many years I have defended both Jews and Israelis from the physical and political attacks that are made on them. I live in England, though I'm Irish. The Irish used to be great enemies of the English, who did bad things to us, but who gave us their language, something in which we excel. But many years ago, long before you were born, the enmity between the Irish and the English faded. We are not the same people, but we no longer hate each other, and the English Queen will soon make her first visit to Ireland, in a gesture that the past is past, that we are now allies, not enemies.

The most important thing for you is to be sure that the only guilty parties were the terrorists who carried out the slaughter. And I need not tell you that these were not the first Palestinian terrorists to take out their hate, their resentment, and their jealousy on helpless Jews living on Jewish land.

I have watched you in two videos, the first time when Binyamin Netanyahu came to visit you and your grandparents, and I still remember the force with which you challenged him, such an important man and such a young girl. And after that your tears. It seemed to me then, and it seems to me now that the dead are at peace, and your two living brothers may grow up with less dark memories, but that you above all are old enough and aware enough to carry the most terrible memories through the rest of your life. But I also saw a second video in which you spoke to a reporter from Israeli National Television, and here your tears gave way to a most articulate, awesomely mature, and moving assertion of your right to live in Samaria. I wish every Palestinian could watch that video with an Arabic voice-over. Perhaps there and then they might see that their fight against Israel is worthless, that you will never surrender, that you will not let yourselves be led to the slaughter as happened all those years ago. Rabbi Chaim Potok once wrote that there are no more gentle Jews. He did not mean that Jews are no longer kind or good, but that they now know how to fight back. Kol Hakavod for every word you spoke.

You will grow up among strong people, and you will finally marry and have children of your own. That may seem far off to you, but to someone much older like myself, it will happen in no time at all. When that happens, and when your two brothers find wives and have children, there will soon be more Fogels than before. They cannot substitute for the dead, but they can stand up and speak for them down the long years to come. Your life, however much you may wish it otherwise, will be overshadowed by the terrible event that has fallen on you. You will ask questions and you may find answers. After the Shoah, many rabbis tackled the question of hester panim, asking why HaShem had seemed to turn his face away from his people. I am not a Jew, and I cannot provide easy answers to those questions. You must seek your own answers from your rabbis and in your scriptures. One answer may be found in a short sound recording that was made in Belsen shortly after its liberation by British forces. It was made by the BBC and contains at the end description of a Shabbat service held by a British rabbi, at the end of which the survivors stand and sing HaTikva. They are weak, they are out of tune, some of them will still die: but they are singing in open defiance of the very great Nazi evil that had overwhelmed them and their families. Three years after that, the state of Israel was established.

I'm writing, first because I'm a writer and that's how I express my feelings best. But also because I want to convey just how many people's thoughts are with you. You have your grandparents and aunts or uncles, and after that you have your small and concerned community of I'tamar, but beyond that you have a world of people, Jews and non-Jews, who stand with you in your grief. We feel helpless, not knowing what we can or should do to help, yet longing to do so. How many people can say they truly love the murderers who came to your house that night? Some may hand out candies and dance in the streets, but how meaningful is that? They love themselves and their own dreams of glory, but who can truly love men of blood, people who kill infants in their cradles?

For you the greatest problem of the next few years may be this: you are still a child and you deserve to be reading funny books and watching films and playing games and going to your youth club; but many will treat you as an adult before you are entirely ready for adult responsibilities. You do seem older than your years, but you should not be rushed into adulthood. I am sure your grandparents and others will understand this and will do their best to protect you from those who want to take your childhood away from you.

Enough of the advice! Everyone likes to give advice. You don't have to listen to any of it, and advice isn't really the reason I've written. You are in my thoughts and in the thoughts of millions of other people because the murder of your family has gone so deeply into so many people's hearts.

The list of atrocities carried out on Jews, not just in Israel but beyond, is very long. As a result, it's easy to let them all blur together into one mass. But every so often one death or a group of deaths stands out and demands special attention. One day there will be a memorial to the sacrifice your family made. People from far away may come to visit it. Photographs of it will appear in the press. But the true memorial will be you, an ordinary girl, with a torn heart and a wounded soul, going to school, going to shul, making friends, baking bread, sewing, cooking, reading, blushing when a certain young man comes to speak to you, going to Kever Yosef to marry him, giving birth to your first child. I just mean to say that no-one expects from you heroic deeds, no-one wants you to have to shoulder resistance to all the evils you know better than most. It is your ordinary deeds, the day-to-day living of an ordinary life that are for the creators of horror the most painful thing of all, that Jews will continue to live on land sanctified by Jewish blood. At the end of that recording made in Belsen, someone calls out 'Am Yisrael Chai'. By living, the killers only bring eternal disgrace on themselves, their families, and everyone who shelters them. By living, you make clear to everyone that the People of Israel live, that their light will not be snuffed out, and that when your enemies have gone to dust and seen a darkness beyond measure engulf them, the light of the Jews will illuminate the nations. Grow and be happy and tell us what you see on your journey.

Denis MacEoin

תמר היקרה,
מעולם לא נפגשנו וכנראה שגם לא ניפגש. למרות שאינני יהודי או ישראלי, מזה שנים
רבות אני מגן הן על יהודים והן על ישראלים מפני ההתקפות הפיסיות והפוליטיות
עליהם. אני חי באנגליה, למרות שאני אירי. האירים היו פעם אויבים מושבעים של
האנגלים, אשר עשו להם דברים רעים, אך גם נתנו לנו את השפה, דבר שבו אנו
מצטיינים. אך לפני שנים רבות, הרבה לפני שנולדת, האיבה בין האירים והאנגלים
נמוגה. אנחנו אמנם לא אותם האנשים, אך איננו שונאים זה את זה יותר, ובקרוב תעשה
המלכה האנגלית את ביקורה הראשון באירלנד, כמחווה לכך שהעבר הוא עבר, וכי עתה
אנו בני ברית ולא אויבים.
הדבר החשוב ביותר הוא שתהיי בטוחה בכך שהצדדים האשמים היחידים הם המחבלים
שביצעו את הטבח. ואינני צריך להגיד לך שאלה לא היו המחבלים הפלסטינים הראשונים
שהוציאו את שנאתם, את טינתם ואת קנאתם על יהודים חסרי אונים החיים על אדמה
צפיתי בך בשני קטעי וידאו, בפעם הראשונה כאשר בנימין נתניהו בא לבקר אותך ואת
הסבים שלך, ואני עדיין זוכר את העוצמה שבה עמדת מולו, כזה איש חשוב וכזו נערה
צעירה. ואחר כך את דמעותייך. נראה היה לי אז, ונדמה לי גם כעת, כי המתים מצאו
את מנוחתם, וכי שני אחייך שנותרו בחיים יגדלו עם פחות זכרונות קשים ואפלים, אך
את, מעל לכל, כבר מספיק בוגרת ומודעת כדי לשאת את הזכרונות האיומים לשארית
חייך. אך גם צפיתי בהקלטה נוספת, שבה דיברת עם כתב מהטלוויזיה הישראלית, וכאן
פינו דמעותייך דרך לקביעה כל כך ברורה, כל כך בוגרת ומרגשת על זכותך לחיות
בשומרון. הלוואי וכל פלסטינאי יכול היה לצפות באותו הוידאו עם דיבוב בערבית.
אולי אז היו רואים כי המאבק שלהם נגד ישראל הוא חסר תועלת, וכי לעולם לא
תיכנעו, כי לא תתנו לעצמכם להיות מובלים לטבח כפי שקרה לפני שנים. הרב חיים
פוטוק כתב פעם, כי אין יותר יהודים עדינים. כוונתו לא היתה כי יהודים הם כבר לא
אדיבים או טובים, אלא שהם יודעים עכשיו איך להשיב מלחמה. כל הכבוד לך על כל
מילה שאמרת.
את תגדלי בין אנשים חזקים, ולבסוף תנשאי ויהיו לך ילדים משלך. אולי זה נראה לך
עוד רחוק, אך לאדם מבוגר יותר כמוני, זה יקרה כהרף עין. וכאשר זה יקרה, וכאשר
שני אחייך ימצאו בנות זוג וילדו ילדים, יהיו יותר פוגלים מאשר קודם. הם לא
יוכלו למלא את מקומם של המתים, אך הם יוכלו לעמוד ולדבר עבורם למשך שנים רבות
וארוכות. חייך, עד כמה שתבקשי אחרת, תמיד יהיו בצל אותו אירוע נוראי שעברת. את
תשאלי שאלות ואולי תמצאי תשובות. אחרי השואה דנו רבנים רבים בשאלת הסתר פנים
ושאלו מדוע נראה כאילו השם מעלים פנים מעמו. אינני יהודי, ואיני יכול לספק
תשובות קלות לשאלות אלה. עלייך לחפש את תשובותייך אצל הרבנים ובכתובים שלך.
ניתן אולי למצוא תשובה אחת בהקלטת שמע שנעשתה במחנה הריכוז ברגן בלזן זמן קצר
לאחר שחרור המקום על ידי הכוחות הבריטים. ההקלטה היא של רשת ה-בי'בי'סי' ובסופה
יש תיאור של קבלת שבת שערך רב בריטי, שבסופה עמדו הניצולים ושרו "התקווה". הם
אמנם חלשים, מזייפים, וחלקם עוד ימותו; אך הם שרים תוך התנגדות גלויה ועמידה
איתנה לנוכח הרוע הנאצי העצום שהכניע אותם ואת משפחותיהם. שלוש שנים לאחר מכן
נוסדה מדינת ישראל.
אני כותב, ראשית בגלל שאני סופר וזוהי דרכי להביע את רגשותיי בצורה הטובה
ביותר. אך גם בגלל שרציתי להעביר לך עד כמה אנשים חושבים עלייך. יש לך את הסבים
והדודים והדודות שלך, ואחר כך יש לך את הקהילה הקטנה והדואגת באיתמר, אך מעבר
לכך יש לך עולם מלא באנשים, יהודים ולא יהודים, אשר עומדים אתך בצערך. אנו
עומדים חסרי אונים, ואיננו יודעים מה אנו יכולים או צריכים לעשות כדי לעזור לך,
אבל אנחנו ממש מבקשים לעשות זאת. כמה אנשים יכולים לומר כי הם באמת אוהבים את
הרוצחים שבאו באותו לילה לביתך? מעטים אולי יחלקו סוכריות וירקדו ברחובות, אך
איזו משמעות יש לזה באמת? הם אוהבים את עצמם ואת חלומות התהילה שלהם, אך מי
באמת ובתמים יכול לאהוב אנשי דם, כאלה שרוצחים עוללים בעריסותיהם?
הבעיה הגדולה ביותר עבורך בשנים הקרובות עשויה להיות זו: את עדיין ילדה ומגיע
לך לקרוא ספרים מצחיקים ולצפות בסרטים ולשחק במשחקים וללכת לתנועת הנוער שלך;
אך יהיו רבים שיתייחסו אלייך כבן אדם בוגר לפני שאת מוכנה לגמרי לאחריות של אדם
בוגר. את אמנם נראית בוגרת יותר מגילך, אך לא צריך להאיץ בך להגיע לבגרות. אני
בטוח שהסבים שלך ואחרים יבינו זאת ויעשו הכל כדי להגן עלייך מפני אלה המבקשים
לגזול את ילדותך.
מספיק עם העצות! כולם אוהבים לתת עצות. אינך צריכה להקשיב לדבר, ומתן עצות היא
לא הסיבה שאני כותב לך. את במחשבותיי ובמחשבות של מיליוני אנשים אחרים, כי הרצח
של משפחתך נכנס כל כך עמוק לליבם של אנשים. רשימת הזוועות שביצעו ביהודים, לא
רק בישראל, אלא גם בחו"ל, היא ארוכה מאוד. כתוצאה מכך, קל להניח להן להטשטש זו
בזו. אך מדי פעם בולטים מוות אחד או מספר מקרי מוות ודורשים תשומת לב מיוחדת.
יום אחד יוקם אתר זיכרון לקורבן שהקריבה משפחתך. אנשים ממרחקים יפקדו אותו.
יופיעו תמונות שלו בעיתונות. אך את תהיי מצבת הזיכרון האמיתית - נערה רגילה, עם
לב שבור ונפש פגועה, שהולכת לבית הספר, לבית הכנסת, משחקת עם חברים, אופה לחם,
תופרת, מבשלת, קוראת, מסמיקה כאשר איזה עלם צעיר בא לדבר אתך, הולכת עמו לקבר
יוסף כדי להינשא, יולדת את ילדך הראשון. אני רק מבקש לומר, שאף אחד אינו מצפה
ממך למעשי גבורה, אף אחד אינו מבקש ממך לעמוד ולהתנגד לרוע שאותו את מכירה יותר
טוב ממרבית האנשים. דווקא מעשייך הרגילים, החיים היומיומיים והשגרתיים הם הם
הדבר הכואב ביותר עבור יוצרי הזוועות, שיהודים ימשיכו לחיות על אדמה המקודשת
בדם יהודי. בסוף אותה ההקלטה מברגן בלזן, מישהו צועק "עם ישראל חי". באמצעות
החיים יביאו המרצחים רק כלימה נצחית על עצמם, על משפחותיהם ועל כל מי שמגן
עליהם. באמצעות החיים, את מבהירה לכולם כי עם ישראל חי, כי לא יכבה אורו, וכי
כאשר יהפכו אויביך לאפר וייבלעו בחשכת צלמוות, יאיר אור היהודים את כל העמים.
תגדלי ותהיי מאושרת ותספרי לנו מה את רואה בדרכך.
דניס מק'יואן

Monday, April 4, 2011

Inconvenient truths about Middle East: The Original

A shortened version of this was published in the Waterbury Sunday Republican on March 27, 2011 and also appears on the PRIMER Blog. This is the original as submitted by Attorney Gary L. Broder.

The continuing chaos in the Arab world should give us all a great deal of concern. It also should cause us to examine some "inconvenient truths" about the Arab Middle East.

One would like to be hopeful, for example, about the possibility of real democracy in Egypt. However, in at least 4000 years of Egyptian history, there has never been a democratic government there. Mubarak's dictatorship took over from Sadat's dictatorship, which took over from Nasser's dictatorship, which took over by military coup from a King. Was Mubarak really that different from the Biblical Pharaoh?

In fact, there is only one real democracy in the Middle East - Israel. All the other countries are either dictatorships (military or civilian), kingdoms or principalities. Ironically, the country in the Middle East where Arabs enjoy the greatest amount of freedom is Israel. Arabs born in Israel are Israeli citizens. Arabic is one of the official languages of Israel. There are Arab political parties and Arab members of the Knesset (Parliament). One would like to say the same reciprocal relationship exists for Jews who live in Arab lands. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Jews lived for hundred of years in countries like Algeria, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, they were forced out or fled.

The United States has only one real ally in the Middle East - Israel. All of the Arab countries there either engage in terrorism, fund terrorism (either openly or secretly) or allow terrorists to operate out of their country with impunity.

The Arab Middle East hates Israel, and, frankly, doesn't feel that much better about the United States. This is based on two factors.

One is anti-semitism (and please don't tell me Arabs can't be anti-semites because they are semites as well). This is denied by Arab countries, who claim they are not anti-semites, just anti-Zionists. Although on could distinguish the two theoretically, in reality there is no difference. The modern State of Israel has been in existence for over 60 years. It is not going away.

The second reason is not often discussed in the media. The Arab countries hate Israel because Israel is Western and they are not. Despite Israel's physical location, it is much more like the United States that its Arab Neighbors. By any measure or criterion, Israel is seen by the Arab world as America's outpost in the Middle East. In other words, the very facts that make Israel America's only ally in the Middle East make the Arab world hate Israel and distrust the United States.

I would not dare to predict what will happen in the Arab world. Obviously, once again, our CIA wasn't very good in that regard. I think only Yogi Berra makes any sense right now. However, there are some conclusions to be drawn and lessons to be learned.

First, America is partially at fault. Once again, we backed stability over democracy. Indeed, this has been our foreign policy for most of the 20th century, not only in the Middle East, but in most of the world. I understand that politics is not that simplistic, but by the very choices we have made, we engage on a national level in the kind of immorality that the Arab world accuses us of on a personal level.

Second, we have sold our souls for Arab oil for decades. When are we going to learn? We know what we need to do, and we have started to do it. We need to accelerate the pace: Alternative fuels, greater energy efficiency, reduction in consumption, etc.

Third, cut back on most foreign aid, especially in the form of military armaments, to non-democratic Arab countries. Put in real controls to prevent those countries' leaders from stealing it for themselves. Let wealthy Arab nations provide economic assistance to their poorer brethren. If the United States still thinks assisting these countries is in our national interest, dramatically increase the Peace Corps presence there, which will better provide direct help to those who need it most.

Fourth, the media (including this newspaper) need to stop calling terrorists "militants". If groups in Canada started firing rockets across the border into Maine, would we call them "militants" or terrorists? And if those attacks continued, and the Canadian government said it couldn't control them, how long do you think we would wait before we went over the border into Canada and did something about it?

Fifth, the media need to increase the amount of their coverage of foreign affairs, not just when there is a crisis. We could do this by cutting back on the incredible amount of junk we now broadcast as news and entertainment. Isn't our concept of "reality TV" an oxymoron? Unfortunately, the media are cutting back on their coverage of foreign affairs, not increasing it.

Sixth, since Israel is our only real ally in the Middle East, start treating it more like that were true. That revolves mainly around the issue of the so-called "Palestinians". I say "so-called" because there are really no such people. I am not being facetious. There are obviously thousand of Arabs calling themselves Palestinians, but who are they? Where did they come from? How long have they been in existence? If one used the term "Palestinian" between 1917 and 1948, then one would be referring to Jews living in the land of Israel. The so-called Palestinians have no claim to any of the land they now seek because it was never theirs. What they are really saying is that they are the representatives of all Arabs in the Middle East who have waged war against Israel in the past. But, how many times can you attack a country, lose the war and then pretend that it never happened and that there are no consequences? Israel's historical claim to the Land of Israel, as detailed in the Torah over 3,300 years ago, not only includes present-day Israel, Gaza and the so-called West Bank, but also parts of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. The so-called Palestinians can ask for anything they want, but that does not translate into historical entitlement.

The American failure to correctly assess this situation is based upon two misconceptions. The first is that appeasement of the so-called Palestinians will stop their commitment to terrorism and the destruction of Israel. It will not. The second is that the other Arabs really care about the so-called Palestinians. They do not. They are incapable of running their own countries. If they did care, they would have taken them into their own countries, provided them with financial assistance (other than illicit military equipment), etc.

Now is the time to insist on justice in the Middle East, but real justice, based upon principles that only the United States and Israel currently share in common.