By Munir K. Nasser
American for Peace Now (APN), an American Jewish organization based in Washington, DC, urged the US State Department's Office of Counter Terrorism to take action against
American organizations and individuals that raise money for Kach and Kahane
Chai, two groups officially designated as foreign terrorist organizations.
Under US law, it is illegal for a person in the US to provide funds or other material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. The APN pointed out that
at least one American group may be openly engaged in this kind of activity.
APN, whose mission is to enhance Israel's security through peace and to support the
Israeli Peace Now movement also called on American Jewish organizations to speak out against recent incitement to violence directed at Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and some of his cabinet ministers.
APN said in a press statement that the American Jewish organizations must not remain silent in the face of incitement to violence against Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak
and his government," said APN’s President Debra DeLee. "If the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and Baruch Goldstein's massacre taught us anything it is that unless mainstream groups speak up, an atmosphere of violence will prevail and provide unbalanced individuals with an excuse to act. There's a dangerous pattern taking shape, and our community has an obligation to make its voice heard on this serious situation,” she said.
JEWISH CAMPAIGN TARGETS BERGER FOR HIS “TEL AVIV” REMARKS
In a related development, a highly publicized media campaign by some American Jewish organizations is targeting President Clinton’s National Security Advisor Sandy Berger for remarks he made in Tel Aviv recently in which he allegedly said “Arab violence is a blessing for the peace process.”
The Jewish organizations, lead by the right wing Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), are urging President Clinton to fire Berger from his post at the White House.
In a full-page advertisement in the Washington Times on June 6, the ZOA urged that
Sandy Berger be fired “unless he retracts his statement that Palestinian Arab violence is not only a ‘curse,’ but also ‘a blessing’ because it will be ‘the greatest incentive’” to speed up Middle East negotiations, according to the ad.
The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and the National Council of Young Israel have also urged that Berger be fired. In addition, B'nai B'rith and the Jewish War Veterans have protested Berger's statement.
The controversy started on May 21 when Berger, speaking at Tel Aviv University, was quoted as saying in reference to the violent events of that week: "Paradoxically, however, this is both the curse and the blessing of the Israeli-Arab conflict. For the tragedy that awaits in the event of inaction, also constitutes the greatest incentive for immediate action."
The ZOA's ad, which will also appear this week in leading Jewish newspapers across the United States, features a photograph of Israelis wounded by the recent violence, under the headline: "How Can President Clinton's National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, Call This 'A Blessing'?" The ad continues: “Arab terrorist violence is always a curse, and never a blessing. Someone who believes there is some good or "blessing" in violence against an ally of the United States, has crossed a red line. Sandy Berger should be relieved of his duties as National Security Adviser unless he publicly retracts and apologizes for his appalling statement.”
The ZOA urged President Clinton himself to publicly repudiate Berger's remark, claiming that otherwise, “Berger's statement could encourage Arab terrorists to think that the Clinton administration believes there are positive aspects to their violence. That is a wrong and dangerous impression to convey,” the ad said.
One of the largest Jewish Federation-sponsored newspapers in the United States, the Jewish Exponent of Philadelphia, wrote, "Berger's language was insulting and outrageous. He should apologize to all the victims of Arab terror and their families--both Israeli and American." The newspaper went on to say: “Unfortunately, his view reflects administration policy on the final disposition of Jerusalem and the role of violence in pushing Israel to concessions...American Jews [must] speak up loudly to the President and his foreign policy team to tell them we will not tolerate any further pressure on Israel.”
The ZOA claims that Israelis support its position on Berger’s statement, citing a Gallup poll conducted on June 4. The poll found that 67.6% of Israelis agree with the ZOA's position, and only 21.3% agree with the position taken by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The ZOA criticized the position taken by Abraham Foxman, ADL’s National Director, that he "has no problem" with Berger’s statement.
Meanwhile, the ZOA and its President Mort Kline came under attack for another Jewish American organization, Americans For Pease Now, which accused him of “fabricating the truth” about Berger’s statement. Debra DeLee, President of the organization, said:
“Klein has gone out of his way to misrepresent public remarks from National Security Advisory Sandy Berger, painting him as an advocate of violence against Jews. But the only violence committed in the whole Berger episode has been Klein's assault on the truth,” she said in a press statement.
DeLee added that a simple reading of Berger's speech shows that it contains no comfort for terrorists, nor any reason for the National Security Advisor to apologize. “Berger explicitly denounced violence and bloodshed no fewer than four times over the course of his remarks,” she said.
According to DeLee, what is frightening is that Klein has sounded an alarm about the "wrong and dangerous impression" of Berger's remarks, “yet remained completely silent about the very real threats of violence directed against Prime Minister Ehud Barak's government from his ideological cohorts in the settler movement… Klein has stood idly as hard-liners in Israel called for violence against Barak and his Cabinet ministers,” she said –Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)