Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why American Jews should not back 'convergence'

This morning's Jerusalem Post features an op-ed by Marc Schneier, a well-known Manhattan modern Orthodox Rabbi, entitled "Backing convergence - an American Jewish perspective." Schneier's thesis is that "As Prime Minister Ehud Olmert makes his first state visit to the United States, it is time for Jews around the world to firmly support his efforts to set defensible borders for the State of Israel."

The ensuing article is pathetic for its misstatement of facts. It seems that for all of Schneier's prominence in the New York Jewish community, he takes everything printed by the New York Times at face value without questioning or investigating. The article is simply appalling.

Let's take some of Schneier's misstatements and distortions:
So long as Hamas continues to condone terror and refuses to recognize the legitimacy of Israel, mutual conciliation and ethnic understanding will remain out of reach. As a result, Israel must take extraordinary steps to secure its border and solidify its future.
Yes, Hamas will condone terror in perpetuity. Yes, there is no making peace with Hamas. In fact, the problem is that there is no making peace with the 'Palestinians' either. Their leadership has showed that it is unable to reconcile itself with any Jewish rights in the land of Israel. Hamas has been in power since January. Before that, we had twelve and a half years of Fatah in power. Was there any more of a move to 'peace' under Yasser Arafat? Was there any move to 'peace' under the Holocaust denying Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, who pronounced himself unwilling to confront and disarm Palestinian terrorists? Clearly not.

Yes, Israel must 'secure its border and solidify its future.' But what border? Does Schneier suggest that the disengagement from Gaza - which has put Sderot and Ashkelon in daily firing range of Palestinian Kassams and Katyushas - is a success that ought to be emulated? Does he believe that he and everyone else who visits Israel should have their civilian commercial flight escorted by fighter jets as it lands and be ready to fire heat-seeking missiles against terrorist missiles on takeoff? Because that's where we're heading if Ehud Olmert redraws the borders in Judea and Samaria and allows the 'Palestinians' to use the high ground to shoot at the airport. Yes, it's that close.
AMERICAN JEWS do understand how changing demographics in Israel alter political realities.

But Schneier gives no specifics as to what those demographics are. He implicitly assumes the nightmare scenario - that within a matter of a few years, we will have an Arab majority R"L in the State of Israel. But that just isn't so.

The demographic figures that the mainstream media in the US use, including Schneier's beloved New York Times (a google search of Schneier's name with the New York Times returned over 700 hits) are based on false assumptions and false figures. There is no demographic crisis. The US Congress has already heard testimony that indicates that the 'Palestinian' population count is inflated by more than one million persons (and that American aid has been misused accordingly). As I noted in a post two weeks ago, a study issued by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies confirms that the Palestinian population figures that are commonly used by the mainstream media are inflated:
Population statistics and predictions of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) are unreliable. A BESA study that subjects Palestinian demography to rigorous analysis shows that the 2004 Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza stood at 2.5 million; not the 3.8 million claimed by the Palestinians. The 1997 PCBS population survey – which has been widely used as the basis for subsequent studies - inflated numbers by including over three hundred thousand Palestinians living abroad and double-counting over two hundred thousand Jerusalem Arabs included in Israel’s population survey. Later PCBS broadcasts echoed the forecasts of the 1997 study, reporting unrealized birth forecasts, including assumptions of mass Palestinian immigration that never occurred, and disregarding significant Palestinian emigration from the territories to Israel and neighboring Arab countries. The resulting PCBS report for 2004 inflated the size of the Arab population in the West Bank and Gaza by over fifty percent. The BESA study and further demographic research indicate that Israeli concerns about demographic pressure from the West Bank and Gaza have been exaggerated.
In my post two weeks ago, I quoted extensively from that study.

Schneier claims that he has "embraced the convergence policy of Kadima for two reasons: terrorism and the preservation of the Jewish majority in the Jewish state." Yet the experience in Gaza shows - as if we needed to be shown - that unilateral withdrawals from territory liberated in 1967 only lead to more terror. The Jewish majority in the Jewish state is currently comfortable and ensconced, and will remain so for the foreseeable future according to rigorously conducted demographic studies noted above. But the Jewish majority in the Jewish state can be preserved only if Jews feel that by coming to Israel they will be at least as safe or safer than they are elsewhere in the world. Sadly, if Kadima's convergence plan is enacted, it is likely that Jews will no longer feel safe here.

For the record it should be added that Schneier is "Kadima's man in America." Maybe he should have come to Israel and seen Sderot and Ashkelon and Netiv HaAsara before taking the position.


Post a Comment

<< Home