Thursday, September 5, 2002

One Year Later

One Year Later
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 5, 2002

One year removed from September 11, 2001 and what have we got to show for it? We’re a year older – save for the over 3,000 men and women killed by 19 terrorists, 15 of whom were of Saudi origin. We’re a year more frustrated, a year angrier, but we are not a year wiser.

Clown College Graduates


Are we safer today as compared to Sept. 10, 2001 regarding airport security? A rhetorical question because obviously we are not, and several staff members of the New York Daily News have risked imprisonment to demonstrate this point over Labor Day weekend.

Better than the New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles combined, the Daily News staffers batted1,000 – succeeding 14 times in 14 attempts to surpass what is passing for security at 11 airports and were able to board airplanes with box cutters, razors, knives and pepper spray in their possession. Four of the airports were the very same airports where the Sept. 11 terrorists boarded – Dulles International, Newark International, Logan International in Boston and Portland International Jetport in Maine. The other airports include Kennedy and LaGuardia in New York as well as hubs in Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas as well as the smaller markets of Fort Lauderdale, FL and Santa Barbara, CA.

Also, what should have sent up the proverbial red flag was the fact that the plane tickets purchased by the Daily News team were all designated one-way fares.
These Keystone Kops, no doubt graduates of Clown College, are a disgrace. They are ill-equipped to handle the tasks they were hired to do, which should make all who board airplanes about as nervous as a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. All the waiting in lines, the searches of both bag and body is purely a fa├žade as the ineptitude of airport security at checkpoints reassures few.

Let’s keep strip-searching retired 85-year-old Congressmen and 70-year-old nuns in full habit. Let’s continue to be afraid to target those who should be targeted because someone’s feelings might be hurt. Members of an Israeli security team said the US does not have a security system, just a system of bothering people.

Getting its priorities in order, members of the Transportations Security Administration, seemed more concerned with the law breaking staff members of the Daily News and what potential terrorists might now be able to do. Now? They have done it already. And if nothing else, the Daily News demonstrated that improvements are desperately needed.

Let’s start with hiring qualified personnel such as retired law officers who have spoken out about this situation clamoring for the opportunity to serve. The airlines themselves should be taking a greater role in the security process. They cut corners on security allowing for terrorist infiltration in the first place. The FAA should be setting stricter standards with senior members conducting surprise inspections and imposing fines upon the airlines.

The government should not be bailing out the airlines when they cry poverty. If they wish to earn profits, they need to make their airline as inviting as possible to the flying public and not penalize them for improving the safety inequities caused by cutting corners.

Friends or Foes


While on the subject of safety, how safe is society with the release of 55 Taliban prisoners from Afghanistan earlier this week, with an additional 55 on their way out to follow.

Deemed “dangerous,” by the Afghan government, its new leader Hamid Karzai did not prevent the release of these Taliban fighters, many of who are on their way back to rejoin al Qaeda. This is the same al Qaeda that has access to between an estimated $30 million and $300 million.

Karzai: Foe

Saudi Arabia was the country of origin of 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists. It has talked out of both sides of its mouth by condemning terrorism, but still remaining aloof at best with regard to assisting the United States in the capture and prosecution of future terrorists. The Saudis maintained good relations with the US under President Bush I and the current President Bush feels a certain loyalty toward that relationship, but that loyalty clearly has not been returned.

Saudi Arabia: Foe

It’s good to finally see British Prime Minister Tony Blair on board with the United States regarding potential plans against Iraq. Much to the displeasure of many members of his own Labour Party, Blair obviously came to the realization as to which side his bread is buttered on.

Blair: Friend

On the other hand, many of America’s traditional western European allies during the last half of the last century namely France, Germany and Italy have declared their intentions to not get involved, claiming a lack of proof that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction in his arsenal. With France, no surprise – the US has been cleaning up after them for years predating World War II, and that anti-American, anti-Semitic country denied the US air space in the not to distant past.

Another fear many of the so-called European allies have, and so too do too many Americans – the potential loss of oil. The Europeans are too dependent upon Arab oil. That is their business. The United States on the other hand, that’s our business. We are also too dependent upon Arab oil, but we have choices.

First, the US should produce more of its own oil by drilling in the Gulf of Mexico or in the Alaskan/Arctic reserves. The US can drill responsibly with a watchful eye on the environment.

As the environment is a concern, the US has the technology to pursue alternative energy sources such as nuclear, solar, water and wind. If the US must procure oil from foreign sources, stepping up business with Mexico is the way to go. That nation is part of the Americas in the Western Hemisphere where the US has a warmer relationship with Presidente Vicente Fox of Mexico. The US should not succumb to hostage status to Arab oil interests.

Mother May I


Much akin to the children’s game of asking permission to take one or two steps forward, President Bush is seeking Congressional approval to attack Iraq.

First, it should not be called an attack, but a pre-emptive strike, and secondly, Bush does not need to seek the approval of Congress. Congress gave the president the authority to fight the war on terrorism as of Sept. 14 of last year and Saddam’s Iraq is on the list of terrorist states for the past 20 years said House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX).

Taking military action without Congressional approval is not unheard of either. That has been done over 200 times throughout the history of the United States pointed out Ed Meese, former Attorney General under former President Ronald Reagan. Meese further said he believes that President Bush is in possession of information outlining the dangers the United States, its European allies and Israel are in, allowing for Bush to make a pre-emptive strike.

However, having Congressional “approval” would go a long way in “selling” the American people on the concept of striking first. Some would say the first strike came on Sept. 11 of last year, including this writer, so why wait for strike two. Many Americans believe removing Saddam Hussein from power is in the best interest of the United States and are already supportive of military action.

What is important to keep in mind is that the United States will be depicted as a giant ogre attacking a defenseless and smaller nation by the court of world opinion. The United States should not be the least bit concerned with world opinion. Hussein, who has already killed thousands of his own people will not hesitate to move his armies, such as they are, to the cities surrounded by civilians forcing American troops to fight amongst them. Hussein is counting on a soft American public to be duped by the far-left American press, save for Fox News, depicting the war as American soldiers killing “innocent Iraqi women and children.”

This depiction would reduce support for continued military action, all the while losing site of the bigger picture – that over 3,000 innocent men and women were slaughtered on Sept. 11, 2001. Public opinion in the United States is important to ensure support for the men and women who wear the uniforms of the armed forces – so that there are No More Vietnams, as the late former President Richard M. Nixon wrote in 1985.

If military action against Hussein and Iraq is eminent, the American people should be supportive of the president and the troops he commands. The media should do its job and report the news, not attempt to make the news. It is not the job of the media to give out troop movements before they occur, although if the spokespersons for the armed forces do their jobs properly, the media will not gain access to such information.

As the United States approaches Sept. 11 one year later, may G-d Bless its uniformed personnel and all freedom loving Americans.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer living in Alexandria, VA.

Sunday, September 1, 2002

A Brief History of Israel

A Brief History of Israel
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 1, 2002

When one considers the Jewish calendar reads 5762 in 2002 C.E. (Common Era – as opposed to A.D. for the Latin Ano Domini {year of our Lord to Christians}), and the Islamic calendar is less than 1,500 years in existence, that should be one’s first line of defense regarding property rights in the Middle East and specifically Israel, formerly known as Palestine under British rule.

One could rightfully research further back in time to Biblical days when G-d said unto Abraham, “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great.” (Genesis [chapter] 12, [verse] 2).

Great does not necessarily refer to numbers, but to strength. Consider the size of the Jewish population in the region in question and how vastly outnumbered they are now and have always been. It has been their strength – mental and physical that has allowed them to survive.

Israel has always fought its wars from the defensive posture, meaning, their Arab neighbors have always attacked them. The day Israel loses a war is the day that tiny Jewish state, roughly the size of New Jersey, ceases to exist. For losing Arab nations to cry over lost land in war is their own fault. They attacked and were beaten back.

Continuing with the Biblical, G-d promised the land of Canaan (Israel) first to Abraham then two generations later to his grandson Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. “Thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel…be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins, and the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it.” (Genesis 35, 11-12)

The time frame of the travels of Abraham from Ur, through Babylon – north and west of the Persian Gulf (today’s name) and following the path of the Euphrates River through Mesopotamia, through modern Syria and into Canaan was about 2000 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era – as opposed to B.C. for Before Christ).
Abraham settled in Canaan and eventually died in Hebron, an Israeli city south of Jerusalem. That was at least 3,400 years prior to Islam’s existence.

Follow the Biblical story from the famines that moved Jacob’s family, found his second youngest son Joseph sold into slavery by his older brothers where he went to work for Pharaoh in Egypt and was eventually reunited with his brothers. Ultimately Moses led the People Israel out of Egypt to freedom where they wandered the Sinai Desert among others [Shur, Etham, Sin prior to Sinai, and Paran and Zin after Sinai] on their return to Canaan. Moses, of course, was denied entry into the Promised Land for he disobeyed G-d during an act of frustration. Joshua actually led the People Israel into Canaan.

Fast forward to the times of King David and King Solomon, between 1000 and 925 B.C.E. A group called the Philistines (today’s Palestinians?) occupied what is today the Gaza Strip – not controlled by Israel. The Kingdom of David, then Solomon covered a landmass much larger than modern Israel. The 12 Tribes of Israel lost much of their land at the hands of the conquering Assyrians between 850 and 722 B.C.E. and Babylonians in 587-586 B.C.E. The Babylonians also destroyed the Temple during this period. The Jewish stronghold on the region ceased and its peoples dispersed to places like Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia and Syria. They lived under other regimes, exiled from their homeland. Jews were defeated in their attempts to regain their freedom and homeland. They were defeated in Rome by Trajan in 70 C.E. Also under Roman rule in 132-135 C.E. Bar Kochba was defeated by Hadrian in Jerusalem.

By 300 C.E. Jews had settled in every part of the Roman Empire except Britain – in places like Spain, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Northern Africa and of course the Middle East. They were guaranteed freedom of religion and were allowed to practice Jewish law in disputes between Jews. There were about three million Jews in 300 C.E., a million of whom lived west of Macedonia.

After 750 C.E. most of the Roman Empire was under Islamic control, and thus so to were its Jewish residents. (Notice the time spread between Jewish existence and Islamic existence.)

“Despite many decades of prosperity, influence, trade and toleration, the Jews living in the Arab and Muslim world faced the continual danger of anti-Jewish discrimination, violence and persecution, sometimes over brief, but sometimes over long periods. From Spain to Saudi Arabia this took the form of confinement in ghettoes, punitive taxation, enforced wearing of special clothes and other humiliations as well as repeated looting and killing.” (P. 21)

Examples:
1033 – More than 6,000 Jews massacred (Fez)
1066 – More than 5,000 Jews murdered during Arab riots (Granada)
1145 – Jews forced to convert or leave (Tunis)
1232 – The Jews of Marakesh were massacred (Morocco)
1250 – Jews forced to wear distinguishing marks on clothing (Tunis)
1588 – Forcible conversion of many Jews to Islam (Libya)
1785 – Hundreds of Jews murdered (Libya)
1864 – Arabs bands pillage Jewish communities, burn and loot synagogues, rape women (Jerba)
1864-1880 – More than 500 Jews murdered, often in broad daylight on main streets (Morocco)

Bear in mind Jews lived in most parts of Europe and Asia with varying degrees of success and prosecution, but the focal point naturally, remains the Middle East.

Muslim Arabs conquered Jerusalem in 637 C.E. Through 1099 Arabs and Jews had a rocky relationship. From 1099 to 1291 Christian Crusaders slaughtered the Jews of Palestine. Muslims ousted the Christians in 1291 and ruled again until 1516, at times encouraging Jewish settlement. Jews did so to escape Christian persecution in Europe. Jerusalem was reestablished as the center of Jewish learning in the late 1200s.

Palestine remained under Turkish rule from 1516 to 1918. The British conquered Palestine 1917-18, occupying Jerusalem in December 1917. One month prior, on November 2, 1917 the Balfour Declaration was issued by the British government supporting the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine – in essence a homecoming. The proposed borders look much as they do today.

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” (P. 88)

“If, as may well happen, there should be created in our own lifetime by the banks of the Jordan [River] a Jewish State under the protection of the British Crown might comprise three or four millions of Jews, an event will have occurred in the history of the world which would from every point of view be beneficial, and would be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire.” So said Winston Churchill in February 1920. (P. 88)

In 1922, Britain received a League of Nations (precursor to the United Nations) Mandate over Palestine. During the 26-year British rule over Palestine until 1948 when it became the independent State of Israel, Arabs opposed immigration of Jews and attacked Jews repeatedly – a situation that continues to this day.

Population      Arabs              Jews

1922               590,000            84,000
1931               760,000          174,000
1939               900,000          450,000
1948               980,000          650,000

Pre-independence examples of Arab terror against Jews in Palestine:

1929 – Arabs kill 60 Jewish civilians in Hebron
1929 – Arabs kill 133 Jewish civilians in Safed
23 February 1948 – Arab terrorist bomb kills 55 Jews near Jerusalem
4 March 1948 – Arabs ambush and kill 16 Jews
13 April 1948 – Arabs kill 40 Jewish doctors and nurses on their way to the Hadassah Hospital
12 May 1948 – Arabs kill 100 Jews, 15 of whom were machine gunned to death after they had surrendered at Kfar Etzion

The State of Israel was established in 1948. United States president Harry Truman became the first world leader to recognize the small state just minutes after independence occurred. Israel was attacked by its Arab neighbors in 1948, 1967 and 1973. Israel was at war with Egypt in 1956-57.

In 1978 Egyptian president Anwar Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel. Extremists would later assassinate him. No other Arab leader would follow Sadat’s example. There have been continued terrorist attacks against Israel by people from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, Israel’s bordering neighbors. In each case after Israel has defended itself in a war and has emerged victorious having captured land, it oftentimes returned land to the attacking nation.

Brooklyn rabbi Meir Kahane who immigrated to Israel condemned these returns of land. Seen as an extremist, even by other Israeli and American Jews, Kahane said of the Arabs in Israel, because they could not be loyal to their homeland, they should be “driven to the sea.” Kahane was ultimately assassinated in New York City in 1990 while giving a speech.

Think about the historic significance behind the concept of a victor in a war returning land to the defeated. If the United States did that, there would be no United States. The 13 original colonies would have to go back to Britain – others would say that land should go back to the Indians, but that’s another historical debate. All of California, Nevada and Utah as well as parts of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming would be returned to Mexico as a result of the 1845-48 war between the US its southern neighbor.

Land for peace has always been touted as the cure-all by liberals to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. History dictates that the land that is Israel belongs to the Jewish people and the land that is Jordan should be the Palestinian homeland. Yet, while every Arab nation has rejected the Palestinians as immigrants to its land, it is Israel that gets condemned by the world for its efforts in self-preservation. Palestinians hold firmly to the historically inaccurate belief that the land that is Israel is their homeland. However, as long as they hold those beliefs, there will never be peace in that region of the world. To the Palestinians the only solution is the elimination of the Jews from the region and the ceding of the land that is Israel to the Palestinians.

Israel must remain steadfast, supported by the United States as its strongest ally. The United States has much to gain by the survival of Israel as well. It is the only democracy in that region of the world and continues to grow in areas of medicine, science, technology and remains a protectorate of American interests in that region.

Israel must never surrender one square inch of its land.

Bibliography

The Bible

Gilbert, Martin. The Atlas of Jewish History, 1993.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer living in Alexandria, VA.