The Weekly Jewish newspaper the Forward is over 110 years old. But it really “cut its teeth” during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Back then the Forward was a major DAILY news paper with a circulation of almost 300 thousand. The Forward’s editorial slant at the time was SOCIALIST, VERY LIBERAL. In the ensuing 7+ decades, the Jewish Population as eased back into the mainstream…still mostly liberal but more centrist. The Forward, now a weekly is still living in the 1930’s still on the extreme left side of liberalism…HEY GUYS WAKE UP— SOCIALISM IS DEAD–ITS BEEN IN ALL THE PAPERS. Maybe the paper’s refusal to move on from their socialists roots is why they take the EXTREME liberal position on just about everything… including Israel:
The Forward Takes Israel Backward
By P. David Hornik
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, April 09, 2008
The Forward warns darkly of “a spurt of new construction . . . under way in Israeli settlements in the West Bank”—actually bids for about 2,000 apartments about half of which will be in Jerusalem—and says this “development should be alarming to anyone who cares about Israel’s welfare.” What should really be alarming to anyone who cares about Israel’s welfare is that there are still Jews who think Israel can win peace by making Judea, Samaria, and part of Jerusalem off limits to Jews.
To begin with the editorial’s outright falsehoods and distortions:
Forward: The “new construction [is] a violation of Israel’s public commitments, most of all to the Bush administration…. Israel committed itself in the framework of President Bush’s 2003 Road Map to peace to ‘freeze all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).’”
Fact: The Forward doesn’t misquote the “Performance-Based Roadmap” but badly distorts the import of the quote. The idea of “performance-based” is that the road map—whatever one thinks of it otherwise—is a process. It clearly makes an Israeli settlement freeze conditional on certain antecedent Palestinian measures in the first phase of that process:
In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence.… Palestinians and Israelis resume security cooperation…to end violence, terrorism, and incitement through restructured and effective Palestinian security services. Palestinians undertake comprehensive political reform in preparation for statehood, including…free, fair and open elections…. Israel withdraws from Palestinian areas occupied from September 28, 2000 and the two sides restore the status quo that existed at that time, as security performance and cooperation progress. Israel also freezes all settlement activity, consistent with the Mitchell report.
The settlement freeze, in other words, comes last in that paragraph (even longer and more detailed without my deletions). Not even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her frequent hectoring of Israel over housing construction has charged Israel with violating the road map before it has even begun. Leave that to the Forward.
Forward: “Every other government [than Israel] in the world, including the United States, believes that east Jerusalem is occupied territory, and that civilian Israeli construction there is forbidden under the Geneva Conventions.”
Fact: Claiming that the U.S. government “believes that east Jerusalem is occupied territory” is technically true but leaves out the crucial datum that since 1990 the legislative branch of that government, i.e., Congress, has consistently taken a different position. Congress formally established that position in its 1990 resolution declaring that “Jerusalem is and should remain the capital of the State of Israel” and “must remain an undivided city” and in its 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which not only reiterated that “Jerusalem should remain an undivided city” but added that “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.”
Since then both Presidents Clinton and Bush—while both having made similar statements in their initial presidential campaigns—have made use of a waiver in the 1995 Act allowing them to refrain from moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But to say as the Forward does that “the United States…believes that east Jerusalem is occupied territory” distorts the record by leaving out all this information.
And as for the Forward’s assertion that “the United States…believes that… civilian Israeli construction [in east Jerusalem] is forbidden under the Geneva Conventions,” that has never been the official U.S. position and in July 1999 the U.S. worked to counter UN attempts in Geneva to declare Israel in violation of the conventions.
Forward: “Israel’s political and defense leaders see their country’s survival as dependent on separating from the Palestinians by withdrawing from the West Bank. If that doesn’t happen soon, Israel is, as Olmert said recently, ‘finished.’”
Fact: Some of Israeli’s political leaders take that view—though to ascribe any sort of coherent view to Olmert is to give him way too much credit—but a lot of them don’t. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has now come out against a West Bank withdrawal unless first a comprehensive missile-defense system is in place—an idea that’s clearly a pipedream. Binyamin Netanyahu, not currently in office but the current favorite for prime minister according to all polls of the last few years, certainly doesn’t take the view described by the Forward.
As for defense leaders, the new air force chief Ido Nehushtan wrote in an article published last month, under the subhead “The Importance of Controlling Territory”:
Professionally speaking, if Israel wants to prevent any high-trajectory rocket or mortar fire, it must establish good control on the ground. Compare Lebanon and Gaza to the West Bank, where Israel has control over the external perimeter and can control the entrance of weapons inside the area. In Lebanon, well-organized shipments of weapons flow across an open border with Syria. Gaza is open along the Egyptian border. The West Bank is not open and the weapons don’t flow in with the same freedom.
Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter favors reoccupying parts of Gaza and opposes any military withdrawal from the West Bank; General Security Service chief Yuval Diskin has said that “from a security point of view I am against giving land to the Palestinians”; previous National Security Council head Giora Eiland has come out against a two-state solution entailing a West Bank withdrawal—and there are many other examples.
Forward: “Whatever the status of Jerusalem, outlying West Bank communities such as Ariel and Betar Illit are settlements by anybody’s lights, including Israel’s.”
Fact: Although views on whether Ariel is “outlying” differ (it’s actually sandwiched equidistant—all of 25 miles—between Tel Aviv and the Jordan River), Betar Illit is all of six miles from Jerusalem and is not an “outlying community” by anyone’s lights.
Forward: “At the moment the sole candidate for the job [of taking over the West Bank if Israel withdraws] is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the secular-leaning Fatah party.”
Fact: Apart from the contentious issue of Abbas, Fatah, while still less monolithically religious than Hamas, is not “secular-leaning” but rather increasingly similar to Hamas in its growing Islamism.
So much for the bloopers. As for what, apart from ignorance, leads the Forward to make statements that are both at variance with the truth and harshly censorious of Israel, more than a clue can be found in the editorial’s follow-up to its false claim that Israel has already “committed itself…to freeze all settlement activity”:
There’s no exception for new building inside the settlements’ municipal boundaries, which Israel insists it’s entitled to do. New homes for the settlers’ growing families are exactly what is meant by “natural growth.”
If I can get this straight: the Forward isn’t saying Israelis who live on the West Bank are forbidden to have kids—I think—but that if they do have the chutzpah to have them, they’ll either have to live dense-packed together with them or send them off to live somewhere else.
Indeed, the Forward further pontificates:
Jerusalem maintains that the Palestinians must honor their Road Map commitment to stop incitement and break up terrorist gangs before Israel needs to begin acting on its commitments. The way things look now, though, that may be backward. Israel needs to help Abbas win back control by first honoring its own commitments.
In other words, it all gets down to that root of all evils—those “settlements”—and Israel doesn’t even have a right to demand an end to incitement and terrorism without first stopping its own diabolical “natural growth” in places like Ariel, Betar Illit, and Jerusalem. The Forward stays faithful to all the self-negating axioms of the Left that, in the form of the Oslo process, got Israel surrounded by terrorist gangs in the first place. It can’t give up the idea that Israel brings terrorism upon itself and could still appease its way into its enemies’ hearts.