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This morning's briefing ...

Reader comment on item: Jewish and Arab Demographics in Jerusalem

Submitted by Prof Asher J Matathias (United States), Jun 21, 2007 at 22:50

ב"ה LONG ISLAND LODGE No. 1353, B'NAI B'RITH

P.O. BOX 51, WOODMERE, NY 11598-0051

516-374-2958 Mobile: 369-5799

www.bnaibrith.org AsherJmat@Aol.com

5 Tammuz 5767 June 21, 2007

Noted Commentator Underscores Pessimism and Deferred Peace Prospects

The gracious invitation from a friend, Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, principal, Alliance Bernstein, the global wealth management unit at 1345 Avenue of the Americas, NYC, was gladly and promptly accepted. The reason for the breakfast meeting, attended by nearly 50 guests, on the 41st floor, with the glorious vistas of Central Park, was not to commemorate the summer solstice. Rather, it was to hear a devastatingly frank assessment of current geopolitics, with special emphasis on one volatile corner, the area of particular expertise of this morning's featured speaker, Dr. Daniel Pipes, founder in 1994 of the Middle East Forum.

Amid servings of bagels, lox, Danishes, fruit, freshly-brewed coffee, and surrounded by knowledgeable, spirited people, all committed to the continuing welfare of the State of Israel --- following Jeff's introduction --- a most disquieting presentation ensued. Regular columnist in the New York Sun, and a frequent authoritative voice in popular broadcast news programs, Dr. Pipes, in a taciturn mien, minced no words in declaring the joint American-Israeli expression of support for the Fattah-led Palestinian Authority, misguided and inherently flawed.

Speaking without notes, as would be his wont, as a graduate and history Ph.D. from Harvard, Dr. Pipes pronounced the 1993 Oslo Accords, which mutually recognized Israel and the Palestinian Authority --- bringing its principals, respectively Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Chairman Yasser Arafat to President Bill Clinton's White House for a photo opportunity --- did not actually usher longed-for peace, but a brief respite to ongoing violence that now also internally ravages Palestinian factions.

One makes no peace with enemies, as the Allies pointedly did not do with Hitler or Tojo. Only after both were vanquished, their peoples demoralized, were their successors in Germany and Japan prepared to enter into lasting peace treaties. Our speaker suggested a similar fate for Israel's and America's adversaries in the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, Israeli politics is in an indecisive malaise, and the recent presentation of the defense portfolio to former chief of staff and prime minister --- newly-elected Labor leader Ehud Barak --- promises an improvement that has yet to materialize.

Iran's dangerous pursuit of nuclear armament in defiance of the NPT (non-proliferation treaty) poses a detrimental example for a world intent on limiting the availability of fissionable material for military use. Dr. Pipes is now convinced that under dire necessity, Israel has the wherewithal --- suitable planes, air routes (via corridors over Jordan, Saudi Arabia, or Iraq), sorties --- to deliver targeted blows that can retard, if not permanently disable, Iran's aspiration to atomic power status.

Then, there is the challenge Islam poses for liberal societies, especially in Western Europe. The demographic time bomb that could project population parity between Moslem and Christian communities by 2050, already presages conflict as concentrated Moslem hamlets assert their intent to impose Sharia, religious law, including separate educational curricula within their domicile. (A proposal to set up a segregated-by-gender Moslem public school in New York City has been shelved.) In Minneapolis, MN, Somali cab drivers refused airport fares from arrivals carrying alcoholic beverages, but the municipality stood its ground compelling unfettered service.

Without a doubt, the repartee was thoughtful and provocative, a resolution lying only in our determination to be ever-vigilant to the challenge posed to the welfare of organized Jewry: answering faculty and centers in academia, where anti-Semitism is rife; confronting deniers of the Shoa, vigorously opposing those who would pose an existential danger to the Jewish State. Indeed, as life's paradoxes have it, it is in the Zionist home where Arab citizens enjoy most progress and attainment, including Knesset representation; yet, they are asked to pledge loyalty to the nation's flag, and honor its national anthem, Hatikva, even if they do not sing its stanzas.

For such intellectual stimulation, so early in the day, I / we thank Jeffrey, at 49 a public servant extraordinaire: appointed to boards, institutes, councils, chapters, centers, committees, he has served personages on a bipartisan basis --- Congressman Tom Manton, Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, U.S. Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato, and NYS Governor George Pataki. He is a splendid model of a public citizen who, while caring for his family and his clients, he also serves us all!

Sincerely, and with fraternal affection,

Asher

Prof. Asher J. Matathias

312 Longacre Avenue, Woodmere, NY 11598

516-374-2958 Mobile: 369-5799 AsherJmat@Aol.com

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