Thursday, December 27, 2012

"The Mascot" - Truth or Fiction?

By Colleen Fitzpatrick

Barry Resnick spoke about this at the Bet Israel Masorti Congregation in Netanya on December 25, 2012. With its relevance to the media, we thought it appropriate to post this article, recommended by Barry, on the PRIMER web site. It originally appeared on JWIRE. 

The Mascot is the international best-selling Holocaust biography of Alex Kurzem written by his late son, Mark. The book centers on the elder Kurzem’s recovery of his identity as Ilya Galperin, his family’s lone survivor of the 1941 Jewish massacre in Koidanov, Belarus, and an eyewitness to the murder of his mother and two siblings...writes Dr Colleen Fitzpatrick.

The story was made into an award-winning documentary financed by the Australian Broadcasting Corp, and has been published by Penguin and its subsidiaries in 13 languages. The French company, Healthcliff Productions purchased the rights to the book and is planning to produce a full length feature motion picture.  After an exhaustive international three-year search for evidence, my colleague Dr. Barry Resnick and I have discovered no proof that Mr. Kurzem’s story is true, nor has it been established that he is Jewish.

Initial suspicions about Mr. Kurzem arose in the late 1990s during his first appearance at the Melbourne Holocaust Centre when he offered to say he was Jewish in return for $17,000 At the time, he was in debt because of a failed business deal.

Mr Phillip Maisel OAM, Testimonies Director at the Centre, nevertheless recorded Kurzem’s story and had the distinct impression that his interviewee was not being entirely truthful. “There was something strange about his story, something didn’t add up,” he told Michelle Coleman of Jwire’s Melbourne Bureau.

During a subsequent visit to the Holocaust Centre, Mr. Kurzem was overheard commenting that “the Holocaust is big business”. He was asked to leave.

We have copies of emails exchanged by Mark Kurzem with a cousin in 1998, commenting that it was “in his [father’s] best interests that as much money [as possible] is derived from his story to solve his problems”, along with attempts to obtain a “substantial cash advance” from this relative for the right to author the book.  In a subsequent email, the cousin commented that, “…it all boils down to money and [Alex’s] debt.   Mark plans to erase that debt any way he can. And I mean any.”

More recently, when Mr. Kurzem was asked to take a DNA test to prove his relationship to his alleged half-brother Erik Galperin, he told us he would do so if we paid him $100,000. At that moment, the DNA kit was in front of him on the table.

The financial motivations of Mr. Kurzem aside, there are doubts that he is Jewish, never mind being a survivor of the Koidanov massacre.  When he gave two video testimonies at the Melbourne Centre, unlike thousands of other survivors, Mr. Kurzem placed an embargo on the testimonies, forbidding their viewing in his lifetime without his permission.  Maisel, who has recorded about 2,000 testimonies including Mr. Kurzem’s, and who himself is a survivor, has stated that he does not believe Alex Kurzem is Jewish.  One reason he cites is that when a male survivor  is asked the critical question about how he hid the fact he was circumcised, the answer is usually complex and emotional.  According to Mr. Maisel, Mr. Kurzem couldn’t remember.

Even accepting that Mr. Kurzem might be Jewish, there are important historical inaccuracies in “The Mascot” that contradict his claim that he is Ilya Galperin, his family’s lone survivor of the Koidanov massacre. These include:

- No such Ilya Galperin is listed in Yad Vashem’s historical records as a victim of the massacre. Numerous Pages of Testimony for Galperin family members were submitted by Ida Krupitsky, the Galperin family genealogist, and Alex’s purported first cousin whose mother Fania died in the massacre;

-  According to The Mascot, as the massacre was underway, the Nazis halted it because of a bad thunderstorm, telling the remaining victims to come back the next day so the executions could resume, thus allowing young Ilya to escape that night. The Koidanov Yizkor book records a more believable scenario, typical of Nazi massacres. The killings were unannounced, efficient, and over in a matter of hours.

Mr. Kurzem has under his control several items that could confirm or disprove his story.  Yet he has not fulfilled his repeated promises to release them.  Besides the video testimonies mentioned above, and the DNA test that he has demanded $100,000 to take, Mr. Kurzem has not provided us with a copy of his application for reparations to the Jewish Claims Conference which could help substantiate his whereabouts during the Holocaust.

The Conference initially rejected Mr. Kurzem’s application, but later reversed its ruling so that he is now receiving reparations.  Mr. Kurzem widely claims that this reversal was based on the endorsement of his story by Minsk GILF Society Director Frida Reizman .  Close examination of the GILF certificate of endorsement indicates that the document might have been altered.  When confronted with this possibility, Mr. Kurzem told us that he has the original Russian version of the certificate and that “mistakes” were made in translating it into English.  We were recently contacted by an attorney for the Claims Conference in Germany who asked us if we had a copy of the Russian version of the certificate.  Evidently, Mr. Kurzem did not submit the original Russian version with his application, but rather his own English translation that he knew was not accurate. Why is that?

Having been instrumental in the exposure of two recent Holocaust literary frauds, Misha Defonseca’s Surviving with Wolves and Herman Rosenblat’s Angel at the Fence, I have become knowledgeable about the back story of the creation and marketing of such tales. In each case, the story emerged during a time of financial distress of the author. Over time, the story experienced substantial changes, both to enhance its entertainment value and to apply patches to explain discrepancies.  Each also contained numerous glaring historical errors.  Both stories took place a long time ago, in a place far away, making it difficult to confirm them. Each author concealed information that would have exposed the truth.  The similarities that The Mascot back story shares with these two works of fiction have raised questions about its veracity.

I met with Mr. Kurzem during a recent visit to Melbourne.  Although I was hoping for some evidence of the truth of his story, I was disappointed with his vagueness.  Once again, Mr. Kurzem told me he would send his video testimonies after he copied them, and he said he would think about taking the DNA test, but that first, he wanted to ask his half-brother Erik about it when he sees him in Belarus later in the year.  Although in interviews with the international media, Mr. Kurzem supplies explicit details of the murder of his mother and siblings, when I asked him if he was sure he saw his family killed, he told me that he had witnessed so much violence during the war, he couldn’t separate one memory from another. “A traumatic event like that, you remember in great detail,” says Maisel.

Mr. Kurzem not only has and will continue to experience substantial financial gain and recognition from his books and his movie, he also lectures internationally to school children, thereby feeding the next generation with what may be distortions of the truth. In the interest of preserving an accurate history of the Holocaust, and putting an end to suspicions that he is exploiting it for money and fame, we ask Mr. Kurzem to provide evidence that he is telling the truth, or we ask him to stop.

If Holocaust denial is evil, isn’t distortion of Holocaust history for financial gain, just as bad?

In the two Holocaust frauds cited above, relatives, friends, and acquaintances of the authors who knew them during the war were aware that their stories were fabrications. These individuals wanted to come forward with the truth, but either failed to get to the right people, or feared being attacked for their negative comments.  Once sufficient evidence was discovered contradicting each story, and one or two of these informants went on record, a flood of information came in from others that allowed us to debunk what was being sold as Holocaust truth.

We appeal to anyone who may have known Alex Kurzem during or after the war to provide us with information that either confirms or disproves his story.

J-Wire spoke to a representative of the Claims Conference who confirmed that Mr Kurzem had successfully applied for funds. The representative said that the German Government had been given the files for investigation.

Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD is the President of Identifinders International.

Michelle Coleman contributed towards this article.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December Ponderings

Beryl Ratzer, author of "A Historical Tour of the Holy Land," periodically sends out an interesting newsletter. This is her December newsletter, which may also be read on her web site. 


Here we are, almost halfway through both Hanukah and December and I still haven’t fully processed the events of November. It began with a few days of long-awaited rain and, for me, with twelve days exploring the country, from the snowcapped Hermon Mountain in the north to sunny Eilat in the south, with twenty six delightful Australian tourists, interested in absolutely everything. 

What none of us expected was that their Israel experience would include a brief war, “Pillar of Defense” (in Hebrew “Pillar of Cloud” Ex 13:21), a rush to the bomb shelter in our Jerusalem hotel and a chance meeting with a family who were taking a vacation from their Ashkelon home which had been repeatedly attacked over the last months by rockets fired from Gaza Strip, that very same Gaza Strip which they had left when Israel evacuated it in 2005. 

For months the world turned a blind eye on the thousands of rockets, missiles and mortars raining down on Israeli towns and villages, fired from the Gaza Strip. When Israel decided to retaliate the world very briefly supported the Israeli precision bombing of strategic targets before returning to the customary condemnation of Israel and our “disproportionate” actions.

Then came the 29th of November the very date when, sixty five years ago, the UN voted to partition Palestine, then under British Mandate rule, into two entities, one for the Jewish Palestinians and one for the Arab Palestinians. Resolution 181 was joyfully accepted by Jews and vehemently rejected by the Arabs. The Jews established the State of Israel. As they had no claims of nationhood instead of doing the same, the Arabs declared war on the nascent Israel, a war which they lost and then called this missed opportunity a Naqba, a disaster.

On 29th November this year, 2012, the UN voted to recognize the Palestinians as a non-member state. In one fell sweep, UN resolutions 242 and 338 were tossed into the rubbish bin along with all the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, from the Declaration of Principles signed by PM Rabin and Yasser Arafat in 1993, the Wye River Memorandum in 1998, the Camp David Agreements and the Road Map.

The Palestinians no longer feel the need to recognize Israel, to negotiate a final settlement with Israel or to stop their attacks on Israel. Why should they? By winning the media war, the PR war, which has denied the history of the Jewish people in this land, despite written and archeological proof and virtually erasing all the previous agreements signed with Israel, all calling for direct negotiations, the world has given them all they asked for, and more, with no strings attached.

It has taken a long time but I think that most people here in Israel have come to realise that we have no one to rely on but ourselves. The world turned a blind eye while over six million Jews were slaughtered during WWII and the world is turning a deaf ear to threats to “wipe Israel off the map”, to the Palestinian glorification of those who will commit suicide if they can kill a few Jews at the same time, Jews – not Israelis, to the claim that Israel does not and has not any right to exist.

Nor is it concerned that the Palestinian demand for a state includes the proviso that it be totally Judenrein, absolutely without one Israeli or one Jew, which is the same thing as far as they are concerned, thereby proving that anti-Israel, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are one and the same thing. Hitler failed to achieve this in Europe but there are Arab and Moslem countries which have succeeded. 

Not surprisingly, overlooked is the fact that the more than a million Arabs, Moslem, Christian and Druze,  living in Israel are Israeli citizens with the right to vote in elections and have 16 members (out of 120) in the outgoing Knesset.  

Please take the time to see these two brief presentations, directly from ‘the horse’s mouth’.

In a world rife with civil wars, massacres, military revolts, starvation, human trafficking, women and child abuse, dictatorships and economic upheavals the world is pre-occupied with a potential plan to perhaps build a few thousand homes in Jerusalem, the three thousand year old capital of the Jewish people, area E1 which adjoins it and Israeli ‘settlements’ in general.

I doubt if there are many people that know the area E1 is a barren hilly piece of land a mere twelve square kilometers (4.6 square miles) in size, on the road which descends through the Judean desert from Jerusalem to Jericho. Try and picture the size. I also doubt also if many people know that the ‘settlements’ take up a mere 2% of all the land of the West Bank.

The world obsession with Israel is disproportionate to say the least. And it explains why we are beginning to realise how accurate were the words of the first century sage, Rabbi Hillel, who said "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if not now, when?"

This is the same Rabbi Hillel who, when asked to explain Judaism while his interlocutor stood on one leg, replied:  "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn."

In these days of political correctness I end with the innocuous “Seasons greetings”!

Beryl Ratzer
Author of "A Historical Tour of the Holy Land

Monday, December 10, 2012


The Torrington Register Citizen allows readers to post opinions anonymously in a feature called "Soundoff." This provides a service in allowing readers to express views that are unpopular, but it is also subject to abuse. Anti-Israel fanatics have used "Soundoff" as a vehicle for spreading their hatred with venomous attacks generally laced with lies. One such screed was published on December 8, 2012. That screed is included here, followed by a letter submitted in response.


In response to "'s clear that Israelis want nothing more than to live their lives in peace." Sound-off, Dec. 4. Really, that's all that they "want?" How about their plans to build thousands of new homes in West Bank "settlements" (aka land grabs? Don't they want those? How about the "Apartheid Wall?" How about the hundreds of nuclear bombs Israel possesses (while disallowing inspectors to examine, and refusing to sign nuclear non-proliferation treaties...something that Iran has already done a long time ago, by the way ). How about the two lines on the Israeli flag, flanking their symbol, that signify the Tigris and Euphrates rivers...their penultimate boundary goal? The Israelis want all of that, and lots more! The last thing that the Israeli government and many Israeli citizens want, is peace. Their actions and history are proof of that! Their most recent provocation, in which they bombed and incinerated a Hamas leader, touching off the Palestinians' determined but feeble bottle rocket response, is just more evidence of unbridled Israeli aggression. Peace? You must be hallucinating!

The Response

To the editor:

To partially respond to the cowardly hate-monger who repeatedly hides behind and misuses the anonymity of "Soundoff" to launch his error-filled diatribes against America's only real friend in the Middle East:

The Israeli flag has blue lines because its design was based on the tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl; the absurd claim that they represent the Tigris and Euphrates would be laughable if it has not been used to incite so much violence and hatred already.

If those two rivers were Israel's "penultimate boundary goal," then that democracy is certainly going about achieving that aim in a very strange way. It gave the massive Sinai back to Egypt. That area is now being used to smuggle large quantities of massive Iranian rockets to the terrorists in Gaza, rockets the anonymous writer refers to as "bottle rockets." It gave all of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, has already given about 40 percent of Judea and Samaria (aka the "West Bank") to the PA and has offered virtually all of the rest.

Thousands of those "bottle rockets" were launched at Israeli civilians - a war crime under international law - before what the anonymous writer refers to as Israel's "most recent provocation." As they say, the hostilities started when Israel began to fight back.

Recently, the Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal gave a well-publicized interview to CNN's Christiane Amanpour. He was praised as becoming more moderate when, out of one side of his mouth hs said "I accept a Palestinian state according to 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital ..."

But even more recently, speaking in Gaza at a rally commemorating the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, he spoke out of the other side of his mouth: "Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of the land. … We will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take. … Jihad and the armed resistance is the only true path to liberation."

This is the nature of Israel's genocidal adversaries. The anonymous Soundoff writer, like so many anti-Zionist propagandists, falsely accused Israel of precisely what the Palestinian Arabs are trying to do.

Israelis want peace. Israelis dream of peace, Unfortunately, it takes two to tango. Until the Palestinian Arabs give up their dream of destroying Israel, those dreams of peace will remain a fantasy.


Alan Stein, Ph.D.
President Emeritus, PRIMER-Connecticut

Setting the Record Straight: Distortions of Commission and Omission

Alan H. Stein, Ph.D.

The degree of misinformation and misunderstanding relating to the issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict is astounding. Patently false information is pervasive yet is often taken as common knowledge and falsely transmitted in conversations, over the Internet, in the traditional media and even by governments.

The dissemination of misinformation ramped up even further than usual recently in the aftermath of the vote at the United Nations giving "non-member state status" to the Palestinian Authority, an entity that in some ways resembles a state but falls far short of meeting the standard criteria. Misinformation also followed the announcement by Israel about planning for building in its capital and in a suburb and about preliminary planning for building between them in what's known as the "E1 corridor."

One article published had the headline "Israeli settlement plan would split West Bank." Many news reports said the same thing while using different terminology, falsely asserting it would make a contiguous Palestinian Arab state impossible.

Some of the same articles included maps which conclusively illustrated the absurdity of the assertions.

The E1 corridor connects the suburb of Ma'ale Adumim with Jerusalem. It's a tiny area, roughly 4.6 square miles, jutting a tiny bit into the area known for thousands of years as Judea and Samaria, until recently when Jordan began calling it the West Bank. In no way would keeping E1 in Israeli hands split the West Bank.

In actuality, not keeping E1 in Israeli hands would split Israel. Ma'ale Adumim, less than 10 miles from Jerusalem, has a population of approximately 40,000 people. There's absolutely no way Ma'ale Adumim would not remain part of Israel in any conceivable peace agreement; everyone knowledgable accepts that. If E1 wasn't retained by Israel, then Ma'ale Adumim would be split from the rest of Israel, which would no longer be contiguous.

The portions of the West Bank given to the Palestinian Arabs would still be contiguous, but there's also no way a Palestinian Arab state in both the West Bank and Gaza can be contiguous, at least not without splitting Israel in two.

It must be noted that while contiguity is certainly a nice attribute, it's hardly necessary for the viability of a state. Our United States is split into no fewer than three areas, with Hawaii separated from the mainland by thousands of miles of ocean and Alaska separated by one of the largest countries in the world. If there is an Arab-Israeli peace, it will be far easier to travel between Ramallah and Gaza than it is to travel between New York and Anchorage.

The media is also guilty of contributing to false impressions by failing to include documented facts relating to items they do report.

As one example, the interim agreement signed by Israel and the PLO in 1995 included the provision "Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations."

The action by Mahmoud Abbas of going to the United Nations to gain status as a "non-member state" was a blatant violation of that provision, something one would never know from the general media.

This is not just a technicality, since it relates greatly to the question of the trust necessary for the "partners" to negotiate in good faith.

Related to that are the repeated references to a Palestinian Arab state based on the "1967 borders." These references ignore the fact that there were no borders in 1967, but merely armistice lines. More important, negotiations based on  those lines are a violation of the armistice agreements.

The armistice agreement between Israel and Jordan contained the provision: "It is also recognised that no provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either Party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine question, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations."

Similar provisions were contained in all the armistice agreements, ironically at the insistence of the Arabs!

One may reasonably ask how one can trust negotiations when they are based on a violation of previous agreements?

Newspapers and other media have a responsibility to be accurate, to point out when officials are saying things that aren't true and also to include highly relevant information. When it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, they are failing on all three counts.

That Deadly Israeli House

We posted it here before we knew its origin. We now now this brilliant article is by Daniel Greenfield and was published in It may be viewed in its original form here

There are few weapons as deadly as the Israeli house. When its bricks and mortar are combined together, the house, whether it is one of those modest one-story hilltop affairs or a five-floor apartment building complete with hot and cold running water, becomes far more dangerous than anything green and glowing that comes out of the Iranian centrifuges.

Forget the cluster bomb and the mine, the poison gas shell and even tailored viruses. Iran can keep its nuclear bombs. They don't impress anyone in Europe or in Washington, DC. Genocide is equally not worthy of attention when in the presence of the fearsome weapon of terror that is an Israeli family of four moving into a new apartment downwind from Jerusalem.

Sudan may have built a small mountain of African corpses, but it can' expect to command the full and undivided attention of the world until it does something truly outrageous like building a house and filling it with Jews. Since the Sudanese Jews are as gone as the Jews of Egypt, Iraq, Syria and good old Afghanistan, the chances of Bashir the Butcher pulling off that trick are rather slim.

Due to the Muslim world's shortsightedness in driving out its Jews from Cairo, Aleppo and Baghdad to Jerusalem, the ultimate weapon in international affairs is entirely controlled by the Jewish State. The Jewish State's stockpile of Jews should worry the international community far more than its hypothetical stockpiles of nuclear weapons. No one besides Israel cares much about the Iranian bomb. But when Israel builds a house, then the international community tears its clothes, wails, threatens to recall its ambassadors and boycott Israeli peaches.

You can spit on the White House carpets and steal all the gold in Greece. You can blow up anything you like and threaten anyone you will, but you had better not lift a drill near Gilgal, where Joshua and a few million escaped Hebrew slaves pitched their camp.

Obama has yet to respond to the Muslim Brotherhood coup in Egypt. The gangs of paid rapists assaulting women in Tahrir Square on behalf of the Sharia state are nothing for the White House to worry about. Everyone has their standards and he and the international community have theirs. There are things that we all cannot abide. And for all the Miss America answers about ending war, hunger and people who wear plaid in public, the one thing that everyone will stand up against or sit down in opposition to is the Israeli house.

White House officials are already insisting that Netanyahu "humiliated" Obama by authorizing the building of houses. This is the worst Israeli crime since two years ago when the city of Jerusalem passed some houses through one stage of a multi-stage approval process while Biden was visiting the country.

Hillary called it an insult and spent two hours yelling at Netanyahu over the phone. Axelrod declared it an affront. Biden was so furious that he refused to come down for dinner until an hour later. For weeks the media howled that Netanyahu had humiliated Obama through the dastardly act of allowing one of the country's mayors to approve housing while the sacred presence of Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was intersecting with Israeli airspace.

Now that Netanyahu has gone to the mattresses, literally, by authorizing new housing, the media has begun braying that Israel has humiliated Obama all over again. They say that every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. But every time an Israeli jackhammer roars, Obama stands, like that famous trash-mourning fake Indian, off Highway 1 between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, with a tear slowly making its way down one glistening cheek at the sight of another humiliating Israeli house.

According to the New York Times, which is never wrong, building more houses makes peace impossible. Peace, which is not in any way obstructed by rockets, suicide bombers, unilateral statehood bids and declarations of war, comes up against only one obstacle. The stout unyielding wall of the Israeli house. You can shell Israeli houses, bomb them and break inside to massacre the people living inside, but then after all that, Israel goes and builds more of those damn things.

Hamas shoots thousands of rockets and Israel builds thousands of houses. But Israeli houses generally stay where they're built, while Hamas rockets are as likely to kill Gazans as they are to put holes in the roofs of those dastardly houses. And in the arms race between houses and rockets, the Israelis appear to be winning. And that's not good for peace. If Israelis get the dangerous idea that they can just keep building houses and outlast all the talented rocketeers who spend their time with the Koran in front of one eye and the Anarchist's Cookbook in front of the other, then what hope is there for peace?

That is why no one cares much about Hamas rockets, which only kill Israelis, who most reasonable people in London, Paris and Brussels think have it coming anyway, but get into a foaming lather about an Israeli house. Killing Israelis has never been any obstacle to peace. Twenty years of killing Israelis has not dissuaded a single Israeli government from sitting down at the table to dicker with the terrorists. But an Israeli family living in a house is holding down territory that it will be harder to then cede to terrorists.

This peace plan, which has worked as well as fighting fire with gasoline, has not in any way been endangered by two decades of terror, but trembles down to its toes every time an Israeli hammer falls on an Israeli nail in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Because that land must go back so that rockets can be shot from it into Israel, so that Israel can invade it and reclaim it, and then sit down for another peace process to return the land from which the rockets will be fired, which will be invaded, which will be "given back" for peace.

And Israeli houses endanger this cycle of peace and violence. They endanger it by creating "facts on the ground," a piquant phrase that only seems to apply to houses with Jews. Muslim houses in no way create facts on the ground, even though they are built out of the same material and filled with people. Or perhaps they create the good kind of facts on the ground. The kind of preemption of negotiations that the professional peacemakers approve of.

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon has declared Israeli houses to be an "almost fatal blow" to the peace process. It is, of course, only an "almost fatal blow" because the peace process, like Dracula, cannot be killed. Israeli houses, fearsome as they may be with their balconies and poor heating in winter, are never quite enough to kill it.

Like the monster of a horror movie, the peace process always comes back and no matter how many blows the Israeli house delivers to it, a year later there's a sequel where the Israeli house is being stalked by the peace process monster all over again.

The army of lethal Israeli houses, which may not be built for another five years, if ever, seem formidable in the black newsprint of the New York Times, in the fulminations of Guardian columnists and the shrill talking pointation of CNN talking heads, but its actual potency is limited to housing Jewish families and infuriating international diplomats and their media coat hangers.

Europe is furious, Obama is seething, the UN is energized, and somewhere in Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wipes the grease out of his mustache and wonders what he could do to get this much attention. He briefly scribbles down some thoughts on a napkin but then dismisses it as being too implausible. As much as it might get the world's attention, there is just no way Iran can put up apartment buildings in Jerusalem.

Friday, December 7, 2012


This letter was published in the Waterbury Republican-American on Friday, December 7, 2012.

The United Nations has adopted a resolution recognizing the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a "non-member observer state" (Nov. 29 article, "Palestinians hope for leverage from U.N. recognition"). This disregards the fact the PA, essentially an independent state for more than a decade, does not possess the legal attributes that define a state. After all, given the composition of the U.N., if the Palestinian Arabs offered a resolution condemning Israel for the devastation brought on by Hurricane Sandy, it would pass overwhelmingly.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas says U.N. recognition will "enable" him to resume negotiations with Israel, negotiations he has assiduously avoided for the last four years after not even responding to an Israeli offer to give him just about everything he claims he wants.

The PA already has blatantly violated just about every important commitment it made in the 1993 Oslo agreements. Launching more than 10,000 rockets at Israel after pledging to abandon terrorism is just one of many examples. This bid for U.N. recognition is another, since the agreements specify neither party will act unilaterally to change the status of the disputed territories.

Even if Abbas returns to the negotiating table, why would Israel or any other country expect any agreement reached with him (or a successor) would be worth the parchment it's written on?

Alan Stein
The writer is president emeritus of PRIMER-Connecticut (Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting; www.primerct. org).