Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Profiles in Courage or Profiles in Cowardice?

Profiles in Courage or Profiles in Cowardice?
April 13, 2004

On December 8, 1941, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt referred to the previous day, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, as “a date which will live in infamy.” It was on that day that the United States of America came under direct enemy attack, thereby endangering the future of that country.
Roosevelt concluded his historic address by declaring, “The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implication to the very life and safety of our nation.
As commander in chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.”
There are days which, for one reason or another, will be eternally remembered. There are leaders, who, for one reason or another, will be perpetually recollected, for words they said, or for deeds they did.
Many of these historic events are virtually spontaneous, coming about as a reaction to a certain event, as were FDR’s words that day in Congress. Yet, occasionally, one can almost predict the significance of a certain happening. That is, very possibly, the case today.
It has been decided that on Sunday, May 2, (the 11th day of Iyar, according to the Jewish calendar – the 27th day of Omer) approximately 200,000  people will take to the polls, and their vote may be an overridingly decisive factor in the future of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael – in the land of Israel.
I know, this sounds overly melodramatic, an exaggeration, at best. I honestly wouldn’t mind if such were the case. However, as things stand today, that’s the way it is – for real.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today landed in Washington for talks with President George W. Bush and his senior staff. On the agenda is Sharon’s proposal to unilaterally abandon Gaza to the PA terrorists, while forcibly transferring some 7,000 Israelis from their homes. Sharon is also offering Bush an additional plum. Last night, speaking in the Jerusalem suburb of Ma’ale Adumim Sharon declared that he is willing to surrender all of Judea and Samaria, excepting six ‘settlement blocks,’ to Arafat. Those six, according to his speech, are, Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Zeev (also a Jerusalem suburb), Ariel (in Samaria) Gush Etzion (just south of Jerusalem), Kiryat Arba, and Hebron. In other words, Sharon is committing Israel to compulsorily evict hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes, while deserting a vast majority of Judea and Samaria to our deadly enemy.
This morning a journalist asked me if I felt relieved that Hebron was on the ‘good list’ – one of those places to remain under Israeli control. My answer came it several parts:
1.      Of course I’m not relieved. Sharon’s plan affects the entire state of Israel and has nothing to do with one or two cities, here or there. What difference does it make to if Sharon uproots me from Hebron, my son from Shavei Shomron, my friends in Kfar Darom in Gaza, or people I don’t know in Beit El and Shilo? We are all in the same boat, to sink or swim.
2.      Concerning Hebron, (as Shimon Peres so aptly asked during a radio interview) how are people going to get to and from Hebron?
3.      Lastly, Sharon knows all too well that he will never get everything he asks for, so more than likely something on his list is going to get cut. And who do you think that might be?
It was just over a year ago that Sharon overwhelmingly defeated left-wing Labor party leader Amram Mitzna for the Israeli premiership. Mitzna’s campaign platform unashamedly included a total withdrawal from Gaza. The Israeli electorate put its collective foot down and said no – no acquiescence to terror. Now Sharon is twinning Mitzna, adopting the very policies that his own voters rejected.
This morning’s headlines read: Tragedy Averted: An AIDS Terror Attack. Israeli intelligence forces recently arrested a Tanzim terrorist ring which planned on exploding an AIDS-filled bomb in a heavily populated area in a major Israeli city.

Can you imagine the effect such a headline would have, printed, say, in the Washington Post, and not in the Israeli daily Ma’ariv? And if the perpetrators, were not Tanzim Arabs, but, Iraqi extremists?  And if the city to be afflicted was not Tel Aviv, but Washington DC or New York? And can you imagine how Americans would react if, the President, the same day the story broke, suggested a compromise with the same Iraqi leaders who backed such an attack?
This is exactly what is happening. Sharon is offering to give our enemies a gift for their creativeness. Today, these headlines appeared in the Israeli press. Tomorrow, Sharon will present his planned surrender to Bush.
Hard to believe – but true.
Due to heavy political pressures here at home, Sharon has been forced back to the polls, this time a referendum, for or against his proposed plans. The decision-makers are his own Likud party members. They will have to vote – I agree or I disagree – with the suggested catastrophe. A few days ago, during a conversation with famed activist-attorney, Kiryat Arba resident Elyakim HaEztni, he said to me, ‘now we will see if the Likud is really Likud, or if they have decided to be Meretz.’
In other words, will the Likud party members remain true to themselves, to their ideology, to their beliefs, or will they betray themselves, their land, and their people?

It is an understatement to say that there is a great deal riding on the answer.
How can you help. If you read Hebrew, go to www.likud.co.il. On the bottom left corner is a box. The first item is “moadon haverim.” After clicking on this you will find a link to “snifei halikud.” Here you will find addresses and phone numbers of all the Likud chapters in Israel. Write to them, call them, let them know what YOU think. We will try to post such a list in English, together with a list of all voting Likud members who are eligible to vote on May 2. Your voices must be heard – they must know how important this issue is to ALL OF US – WHEREVER WE ARE!
John Kennedy wrote a book called ‘Profiles in Courage,’ “accounts of eight U.S. Senators who risked their careers, incurring the wrath of constituents or powerful interest groups, by taking principled stands for unpopular positions.” Presently we are facing, not eight people, rather 200,000 people, whose choices will determine whether May 2 will be remembered as a ‘date of infamy’ or a ‘date of honor?’ Will they be profiles in cowardice, or will they be profiles in courage?

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