Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), "the oldest pro-Israel group In the U.S., founded in 1897". He is a child of Holocaust survivors, born in a displaced persons camp in Gunzberg, Germany. He is an economist who served in the Nixon, Ford, and Carter Administrations. He has served as a biostatistician at UCLA School of Public Health and the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in Palo Alto, Calif., having worked closely with two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling. He has been a lecturer in mathematics and statistics at Temple University.
"His successful campaigns against anti-Israel bias in leading textbooks, travel guides, universities, churches, and the media, as well as his work on Capitol Hill, were the subject of 30 feature stories both here and in Israel. . . ZOA led the fight against Prof. John Roth's appointment as director of studies at the US Holocaust Museum (he equated Israeli policies to Nazi policies); Roth resigned shortly thereafter. ZOA led the fight against Joe Zogby, a State Dept. Mideast analyst, who had written anti-Israel articles -- in two weeks, Zogby left the State Department. ZOA exposed the pro-Hamas, anti-Israel writings of Salam Al-Marayati (Director of Muslim Public Affairs Council) and led the fight against his nomination to the US Terrorism Commission. Marayati's appointment was rescinded" (more bio here).
We will discuss the peace process in the post Annapolis year. Readers can send questions to email@example.com.
Dear Mr. Klein,
You write that "separation will no longer be an issue."
What does that mean? One state for two peoples? Or would you be willing to give the Palestinians a state of their own?
"Separation will no longer be an issue" means that Jews will be able finally to live freely and safely among Arabs in Judea and Samaria and the Jews of Israel will no longer fear Arab terrorism.
Some Jews are promoting the idea of "separation" because they believe that if the Palestinians Arabs are "over there" and the Jews are "over here," Jews will be safe. But separation alone, without a change in the Palestinian culture and ideology, will not provide a safe haven. The Palestinians can still continue cross-border terrorism while sharing Israel's longest border. The PA can still use the rockets and missiles and mortars to attack Israel despite "separation." The PA can still allow Al-Qaeda and Iranian forces to operate against Israel from "over there." And that's exactly what happened, despite Israel's separation from Gaza, when every Israeli Jew and every Israeli soldier left Gaza. It created a disaster for Israeli cities of Sderot and nearby Jewish areas. Almost one half of the Jews of Sderot have left due to an average of eight rockets and mortars launched each day from Gaza. Also, large numbers of heavy artillery have been smuggled into Gaza through the Egyptian border, frequently with the approval and even help of Egyptian police as shown in newly released Israeli videos.
The PA refuses, 14 years since Oslo, to honor its written agreements to prevent terrorism and end incitement. Until these things happen and until they teach peace with, and not the destruction of, the Jewish state of Israel, discussions of the shape of the final resolution or the establishment of a 23rd Arab state called 'Palestine' are premature. Only this week, so-called 'moderate,' Sari Nusseibeh, president of Al-Quds University, said that the Israeli city of Jaffa must be part of Palestine and that no Jew will be allowed to live in Hebron, eastern Jerusalem or the new state of 'Palestine.' Now is the time to concentrate all our efforts on transforming the Palestinian Arab culture, its schools, media, politicians and sheikhs. Now is the time to vanquish the terror cells and groups to create an atmosphere of peace and conciliation and acceptance of Israel. In 1942, it would have been premature to talk of a Marshall Plan for Europe and the future disposition of Germany. In 1942, it was a time to concentrate our efforts on vanquishing the enemies and then transforming their societies and ideologies.
Bear in mind that creating a state for the present Palestinian society is not a recipe for peace and moderation - it would only strengthen the ability of the Palestinians to promote their anti-peace, anti-Israel agenda. Remember - Iran, North Korea and Syria are all sovereign states. Are they lovely, peaceful societies? Germany, Russia, Japan and others were sovereign states. Were they peace-loving? - Not until they were defeated and their ugly ideologies shown to lead to disaster for themselves.
Presently, the PA is the largest recipient of aid per capita and has the largest police force per capita in the world; yet it remain a poor, underdeveloped entity where terrorism and lawlessness flourishes.
Until the Palestinians change their culture and become more interested in building their own infrastructure than in destroying another state, peace and serious resolution is impossible.
I wanted to say that your ideas do not represent those of most Israelis and Jewish Americans. How can you claim to be the leader of Zionist Americans when your beliefs are so much to the right of the Jewish community?
Thank you for answering,
It is untrue that most Israelis and Jewish Americans do not share ZOA's views. Numerous poll results demonstrate this clearly:
Jewish American views:
All these majority positions are also the positions supported by ZOA.
It's also interesting to note that ZOA supported adherence to the Oslo agreements more than the "mainstream" Jewish and left-wing groups. We insisted on the PA's fulfillment of their obligations to prevent terrorism, arrest terrorists, confiscate illegal weapons and end incitement, while the others ignored these obligations and pushed for Israeli concessions no matter what the Palestinians did.
The ZOA gained credibility and a significant following because, among major groups, we alone were correct in warning that the Oslo agreements, trusting Arafat and retreating from Gaza would lead to disaster. The U.S. and Israel should have made it clear that there would be no concessions to the PA unless it honored these agreements.
In fact, ZOA positions are more representative of Israeli and American Jewish views than virtually all other American Jewish organizations. The question should be asked, "Why are the other major American Jewish organizations taking positions at odds with the views of the majority of Israeli and American Jews?"
You want us to "look at the history of the Palestinian Arabs" - but what's more important is to look at their future. What is your vision for Israel and the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza? If separation between Israelis and Palestinians is needed, as most observers believe - how would you try to achieve such separation?
Firstly, it must be understood that Israel has already given away 42% of Judea and Samaria and 100% of Gaza, where 99% of Palestinian Arabs live. The only reason there are Israeli soldiers, roadblocks and checkpoints in Judea and Samaria is because terrorism and planning of terrorist attacks continues. When there is no more Arab terrorism there will be no more Israeli soldiers, roadblocks and checkpoints. Additionally, if anything was learned from the Oslo Accords, it's that land and other concessions to the Palestinian Arabs only cause more terrorism and more demands.
We also reject the racist notion that, while one million Arabs can live among six million Jews, no Jew should be allowed to live among one and half million Arabs in Judea and Samaria. If, in fact, it's not safe for a Jew to live there, what kind of a peace between Arab and Jew does that presage?
Nonetheless, a policy of separation will be worthless unless the Palestinian Arab culture that promotes hatred and murder of Israelis and Jews in their TV, radio, school books, newspapers, official speeches, sermons and children's camps is transformed. In addition, the PA must change the names of the streets, schools and sports teams honoring terrorists. Moreover, the PA must actively promote the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state and condemn murdering innocent Jews as an obscenity. The PA must also finally begin to arrest terrorists, confiscate illegal weapons and outlaw terrorist groups. In fact, all of this is required by the Oslo agreements, the Roadmap and the Annapolis Joint Declaration. Otherwise, separation would simply set the stage for more cross-border terrorism and missile attacks against Israel. The Gaza withdrawal/separation is a perfect example of separation leading to greater disaster.
After World War II, the U.S. and its allies understood the need to transform the culture and policy of its defeated enemies. Before the U.S. allowed post-war Germany to fully govern itself, they made sure that schools and media promoted the understanding that Nazism was an abomination that only leads to disaster for themselves and the world and that no Nazi could participate in the new government. Soon after this goal was achieved, you had few Germans who would even admit to having been Nazis and Germans became part of peace-loving society.
In the PA areas, we must create a new environment where no Arab will support terrorism or praise suicide bombers or call for Israel's destruction, where no PA media, schools or music videos teach children to aspire to death for Allah show mothers joyous at their children's death for Allah, teaches Israelis murder and rape Palestinians, that Israelis poison, cause cancer and AIDS among Arabs, that Israelis are evil and treacherous, that Zionism is racist, and that the Holocaust is a Jewish lie. No wonder Arabs believe it's a mitzvah to kill Jews and destroy Israel.
As columnist George F. Will said, we must "deNazify" the Palestinian culture. When that happens, it will be as safe for a Jew to walk in Ramallah as it is for an Arab today to walk in Tel Aviv.
When that occurs, separation will no longer be an issue.
Dear Mr. Klein,
A couple of weeks you said that "The goal of the Palestinian Authority is not to set up a state, but to work for the destruction of the Jewish state."
Can you prove it?
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is ruled by Fatah, the terrorist movement co-founded by Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, and whose Fatah Constitution to this day calls for Israel's elimination (Article 12) and the use of terrorism as an indispensible element in the struggle to achieve that goal (Article 19). Fatah's own Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is a recognized terrorist group, one of whose leaders, Abu Ahmed, said last year that "There is no change in our official position. Fatah as a movement never recognized Israel." Indeed, Abbas, president of the PA, himself said as much in Arabic in a TV interview in October 2006: 'It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel.'
If Abbas were committed to peace with Israel why did he endorse the 'Prisoners Plan,' produced by jailed terrorists, and the Mecca Agreement with Hamas, both of which reject Israel's existence while promoting terrorism?
If Abbas were committed to peace with Israel, why is Israel not shown on any map or school atlas in the PA territories? Only 'Palestine' is listed. Why does PA TV, to this day, regularly show all of Israel painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag? This 'Palestine'-only message is repeated throughout their culture in school books, crossword puzzles, school and street names and children's programs - just as their songs, textbooks and media regularly refer to Haifa, Tiberias and Beersheba as 'Palestine.'
Just after the Annapolis summit, PA radio presented Hitler heroically, calling his victories in 1940 'his golden year,' while his defeat and death were coined, 'his bitter end,' and no mention was made of the Holocaust. If Arabs repeatedly praise Hitler, as they do, can it be seriously argued that that they truly accept the existence of a Jewish state?
Abbas has regularly stated that Israel is the 'Zionist enemy,' that 'Allah loves the martyr,' that 'we must unite the Hamas and Fatah blood in the struggle against Israel,' and that we 'will continue in the path of the late President Arafat until we fulfill his dreams.' He insists that the 'issue of refugees is non-negotiable,' which makes further clear his desire to end Israel as Jewish state by promoting a massive influx of Arabs. Abbas himself refused President Bush's request at the 2005 Aqaba summit to announce his acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state; a refusal he and other senior PA officials made explicit again in the weeks preceding the recent Annapolis summit.
An October 2006 poll showed that two-thirds of Palestinians supported Hamas? refusal to recognize Israel, while a February 2007 poll shows that 75% of Palestinian Arabs do not think that Israel has a right to exist -and Abbas is doing everything he can to fulfill that dream.
Look at the history of the Palestinian Arabs - lack of Palestinian statehood has never been the issue: the Palestinians have turned down statehood on every occasion it was offered to them - 1937, 1947, and 2000 - because in all three cases, it would have encompassed accepting the existence of a neighboring Jewish state.
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