Remember what Amalek did to you, on the way when you were leaving Egypt…and he struck those of you who were hindmost…when you were faint and exhausted, and he did not fear G-d. … You shall wipe out the memory of Amalek…–you shall not forget! (Deut. 25:17-19)

I am reputed to be an enemy of the Arabs, who wants to have them ejected from Palestine. … It is not true. … I am prepared to take an oath…that we shall never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights, and that we shall never try to eject anyone. … But it is quite another question whether it is always possible to realise a peaceful aim by peaceful means. For the answer to this question does not depend on our attitude to the Arabs; but entirely on the attitude of the Arabs to us and to Zionism.

Some of us have induced ourselves to believe that all the trouble is due to misunderstanding – the Arabs have not understood us, and that is the only reason why they resist us. … This belief is utterly unfounded. … There is no misunderstanding. … There is only one thing the Zionists want, and it is that one thing that the Arabs do not want, for that is the way by which the Jews would gradually become the majority. … The Zionists want only one thing, Jewish immigration; and this Jewish immigration is what the Arabs do not want. … We hold that Zionism is moral and just. …. There is no other morality. … But, just because I want peace, the only task is to make them lose every vestige of hope that neither by force nor constitutional methods…can you prevent Palestine from getting a Jewish majority. … Thus we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel…(but) an iron wall that the native population cannot break through. This is our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would be hypocrisy –Zev Jabotinsky, April 11, 1923

This has been a tense summer for Israel and our Jewish people. I was in Israel during the lead-up to the war. What may have been forgotten by now is that the conflict in Israel didn’t begin with the kidnapping and murder of three teen-age yeshiva students. The rockets had been flying before the kidnapping/murder. They began flying as the peace talk charade broke down, as expected, in its twenty-first year of negotiations, and as a frustrated John Kerry showed his true State Department bona fides with a series of threats if Israel didn’t agree to the demands of the Abbas-led Palestinian Authority-Hamas coalition.

It must be remembered that during the negotiations, as a resolution looked impossible, Kerry took the initiative to threaten Israel by raising the specter of a third intifada. When that failed to gain traction, Kerry then asked Israel if it wanted to be boycotted by the European Union, to which EU president Martin Schultz immediately responded that the EU, having its own economic problems, would not boycott Israel. Strike two. Kerry then tried to undermine Israel’s military planners by coercing a number of dovish former Israeli generals to offer assurances that giving up the “West Bank” would not compromise Israel’s security. Such absurdity prompted Israeli Defense Minister Bogie Ya’alon to respond with several less than complimentary references to Kerry’s brainpower, at which the talking heads of the State Department took great umbrage. Leaked at the same time was the U.S. administration’s demand that Israel allow 80,000 Palestinian “refugees” to return to Israel proper. Abbas in turn demanded several million be allowed to return. As Kerry displayed his “nuttiness,” it was then that the rockets began to fly and three teenagers were subsequently kidnapped and murdered.

It is interesting how the reality of Gazan rockets hitting closer to their homes can clear the fog of so many avowed leftists…rockets landing closer to the coveted bastions of the Israeli elites. Amid sirens 2

disturbing their dinner parties, even these knuckleheads began to realize that the confrontation wasn’t really about the settlements—it was the Israeli occupation of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Herzliya, Ashkelon and Netanya. The rockets didn’t distinguish between secular and observant. It was the fact of Jews living in the Muslim Middle East. There could be no more hiding behind their contrivances. No, with the sirens spoiling their concerts and dinner parties, the sophisticates were once again brought down from their ivory towers to the reality, while Obama and Kerry hoisted the white flag of Israeli expendability. But the historic words of Jabotinsky’s iron wall echoed.

With Obama and Kerry perversely attacking Israel, the United States had in fact sent Hamas a message of encouragement that the U.S.-Israel relationship had weakened. And Hamas, the proxy for Iran, responded by lining up those human shields in preparation for the predictable public outrage, as the media assumed the role of press secretary for Hamas.

I remembered a column written by my old friend Mike Royko, philosopher par excellence, in response to a letter from a reader. Commenting on an earlier Israeli war, she wrote, “I can’t believe that you would recommend dropping bombs. Don’t you realize that innocent people could be killed?”

“Yes,” replied Royko. “I do realize that innocent people can be killed. … To which some people will answer: But two wrongs don’t make a right. No, two wrongs don’t make a right. But that’s something the person who commits the first wrong should think about. If those who hate Israel are going to wage war on innocents…, they shouldn’t whine about two wrongs not making a right. … If any country has a lot to be paranoid about, it’s Israel…after more than 40 years [now 66 years] of being threatened with extermination. … Israel doesn’t kill American travelers. It doesn’t videotape marines dangling from a noose or force American hostages to read pathetic farewells to their wives.”

No, Israel also doesn’t hide missiles in schools or hospitals or mosques or synagogues, and it doesn’t fabricate bombings and report phony casualty numbers. It doesn’t even threaten gullible reporters if what they write bears no resemblance to the truth. So let’s be clear: You vote for one of the most virulent anti-Israel terrorist groups in the Middle East and permit them to take over your residential neighborhoods, your schools, your mosques and hospital courtyards, and then you deny responsibility for what they do? You allow the terrorists to build sophisticated, fortified tunnels deep underground – under your very own homes – using heavy equipment and child labor, necessitating the removal of over 7,000 tons of dirt—and you didn’t see or hear anything? You watch as Hamas builds its terrorist control center under your largest hospital—and you call yourselves innocent? You watch legions of Hamas parading by the thousands through your streets, waving banners, flags and posters as they chant “Kill the Jews!” and “Death to Israel!” – and you cheer them and praise Allah. Your leader Ismail Haniyeh exhorts you to offer up your children as human shields, promising that in their death they will be blessed shahids (martyrs) and will go to paradise, and you willingly – proudly – give him your children. You dance and hand out candies—and you are innocent? And when Israel retaliates, you whine about the death and destruction your elected leaders and your cheering throngs have brought you.

Under interrogation, a number of captured Hamas terrorists were asked, “If you have so many tunnels into Israel …, why until now have you never used any of them for terrorist attacks?” And they answered:

For twelve years we have been building these tunnels and waiting for the right moment, when we were trained and ready. We decided that the time would be this year on Rosh Hashana, 2014. We chose Rosh Hashana because most of the soldiers get leave to go home and there aren’t a lot on guard duty, and it’s a two-day holiday. All of Hamas would go through the tunnels we’ve built over twelve years and capture Israel. In every tunnel we’d send two, three dozen armed terrorists and kidnap civilians, women and children and bring them back to Gaza through the tunnels. And then Israel couldn’t bomb the tunnels because of all the Israeli civilians inside them. And in this way we would occupy the entire country 3

and rule Israel and kill all the Zionists. For years we were planning this and it was going to happen in two months. Your attacks on Gaza destroyed our plans.

What was UNRWA doing while all of this was being organized and constructed? And what are Obama and Kerry up to by trying to hand Hamas a victory with their incessant demands for ceasefires and an Israeli withdrawal, ceasefires that Hamas has repeatedly broken? Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz (a recovering Peace Now member) reminded President Obama that under the terms of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement signed at the White House, “There was a clear commitment that Gaza would remain demilitarized, forever, unconditionally, come what may.” And yet, in a July 27, 2014 conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu, “Obama indicated that he did not believe that the demilitarization of Gaza was something in the immediate offing, but rather ‘part of any lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.’ ” (Jerusalem Post, 7/28/14)

We know Obama has a pen and a phone and a golf cart, but apparently signed agreements (if he ever read them) don’t mean anything. As written in the August 8, 2014 issue of the international news magazine The Week:

Is U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “an alien who just disembarked his spaceship in the Middle East?” asked Barak Ravid [leftist]in Ha’aretz [far-left newspaper]. His attempt at mediating a ceasefire in Gaza “raises serious doubts over his judgment.” Israel had already endorsed an Egyptian ceasefire proposal, so when Kerry arrived in the Middle East last week, his task was to persuade Hamas to sign on as well. Instead, he tore it up and presented a new draft to the Israeli cabinet that contained the entire Hamas wish list: an unconditional Israeli ceasefire, the lifting of the blockade, no more targeting of Hamas tunnels leading into Israel, and no disarming of Hamas. Such a plan would reward the Islamist group for launching thousands of rockets at Israel and trash the credibility of [the] Palestinian Authority….

This was nothing less than “a betrayal” of Israel, said David Horovitz in The Times of Israel (Israel). The entire Israeli cabinet, right-wing and left-wing members alike, reacted with “horrified rejection” and leaked their impressions of Kerry to the Israeli press, calling him “amateurish, incompetent, incapable of understanding the material he is dealing with—in short, a blithering fool. … Jerusalem now regards him as duplicitous and dangerous.”

But our joyous New Year is coming up, so I can’t be all negative. After all, Obama and Kerry did say that Israel has the right to defend itself. Thank you, thank you. But – excuse me for asking – why does Israel need the permission of the American government to defend itself? What about that “unbreakable bond?” What if the U.S. government were to suddenly change its mind and declare that Israel should not be allowed to defend itself? Remember the Gulf War and those 39 scuds! Let’s come to a “teachable moment.” Israel does not need your permission to defend its sovereignty or its citizens. You weren’t there for our Jewish brothers and sisters during the Second World War, our War of Independence, our Six Day War or our Yom Kippur War; so far be it from Israel to depend on any guarantees of the United States. In the words of Elie Wiesel, “Always believe the threats of your enemies over the promises of your friends.”

Shabbat Shalom, Jack “Yehoshua” Berger