Wednesday, October 2, 2013

One that got away

I was telling you the other day that Bernie lets me say whatever I want in my bi-weekly column for the Jewish Post, but today in going through my list of submissions, I came across the one article he didn't run. Some local Muslim community activists had hosted an event where the Jewish Community was invited to participate, and I though our response was shamefully inadequate so I wrote the following article. In Bernie's defence, he had already sent Myron to cover the meeting as a news item, so he didn't exactly need an op-ed piece which actually contradicted the slant Myron had given his story. And I also mentioned a couple of well-known local left-wing Jewish activists by name, guys who had actually attended the event but who hardly represent the local Jewish establishment. Anyhow, the overall tone of the article ranges from bitter to sarcastic, and in the end Bernie still has to sell papers (not to mention advertising space!) so we can't blame him for passing on this one. But here it is...


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There’s no one to talk to.
For years, that’s what we kept saying:  there’s no one to talk to.  And for the most part, it was true. Who can forget the “Three No’s” of Khartoum (1969): no negotiation, no recognition, no peace.  We knew where we stood with the Arabs.
And suddenly  it changed. Who can forget the feeling of elation mixed with disbelief when Sadat came to Jerusalem? Was it possilbe that the Arabs were ready to make peace with us? Sadly, it was not to be. Sadat proved to be the exception that proved the rule, as he payed with his life for the sin of talking to the Jews.
Of course, there were other exception: King Hussein talked to us, but only in secret. He was a good Arab – one of the very few. If only there were more like him…
We’ve always had a few crackpots like Abie Nathan among us who thought we could talk to the Arabs, but fortunately they never had any influence. The Arabs were terrorists, and we don’t talk to terrorists except through the muzzle of a gun.
Then, in the early 90’s we started hearing rumors about a small group of…let us be kind and call them  “misguided idealists” who were meeting in secret with the terrorists in a place called Oslo. Yes, we were willing to talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime..but THIS was going too far.  Well, we all know where Oslo led.  It just proves that you can’t talk to the Arabs. But we knew that all along, didn’t we?
Ten years later, when the Saudis floated their “peace plan”, we knew better. “If they’re serious, let King Fahd come to Jerusalem, like Sadat did”. Of course, King Fahd did not come to Jerusalem, which proves that he wasn’t serious in the first place. Oh, they could posture all they wanted, getting all 21 states of the Arab League to sign on to their offer of full normalization, but we know better than to be fooled by such transparent ruses.
But the Arabs just won’t give up. Last month a local Islamic group attempted to promote a conference to foster ”Muslim-Jewish dialogue”, or something like that. Whatever they called it it was obviously just a code word for the destruction of Israel. I attended their “conference” last weekend at the Hilton and was pleased to report that the Jews of Winnipeg were not fooled into attending by the kosher buffet spread that was put out for lunch.  Or perhaps those Muslims think they were successful in engaging the Winnipeg Jewish Community because of the presence of a few Mark Etkins and Alon Weinbergs, but I think we all know the joke was on them.  I think we can safely tell the Muslims, next time they come knocking, that there is no one to talk to.
PS If anyone hasn't heard of the Saudi Peace Plan (and if you haven't that in itself speaks worlds about our attitude towards the Arabs) you should read the very imporant article by Akiva Eldar in Haaretz:

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