Home Page

carol gould

Join our email list for updates.




We hope that you'll feel our website is worthy enough to contribute a few pounds to the bandwidth bills.



Rumsfeld On Israel
Last uploaded : Monday 30th Sep 2002 at 22:59
Contributed by : Carol Gould


As an accompaniment/update to this article we highly recommend:


'Israel's a free country, they've got good leadership, they have energy and vitality, and they trade and they make things and they look forward and they have opportunities, they have political elections.....I don?t think people like Saddam Hussein ought to offer $25,000 a family every time some suicide bomber blows himself up and kills a bunch of innocent people..'
US Secretary of Defence Donald H Rumsfeld on 'Larry King Live' CNN 12 April 2002
Living in Great Britain, where no-one in public life stands up and says 'Israel is a dynamic, highly cultured nation in which women are treated with equality' it is indeed jarring to the system to read and listen to statements by various American dignitaries that laud Israel's good points. Those of us who in recent months have become more critical of Israel's policies including British Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks still remain staunch supporters of the Jewish State and would never think to participate in a rally like that held in London yesterday (28 September) that hijacked a 'peace' message and made it into an anti-Israel, anti-American hate fest. (How nice, too, if the Muslim organisers had had the courtesy to hold the rally on a Sunday instead of Shabbat, so that observant Jewish people who wished to march for peace might have been able to do so.)

Why is it that there is such universal loathing of standing up to Saddam? Of all the countries in the entire globe, it is Israel that is most at immediate risk from Iraq. I believe that even if the Israeli-Palestinian issue were to be satisfactorily resolved, Iraq and other extreme regimes would remain hell-bent on destroying the Jewish State. This may seem simplistic, but those who want to lay off Saddam and leave him (and his sons) to fester are the same voices who care nothing about the survival of Jewish Israel.

In the past few weeks and most particularly since September 11 2002, there has been a rise in anti-American journalism in the British press, including a tirade by the film director Ken Loach in 'The Observer ' of 22 September. http://www.observer.co.uk

Mr Loach has no qualms about joining the Noam Chomsky bandwagon that labels the United States a 'terrorist state' and one does hope the American Oscar Academy will register his feelings about America should they think of 'Sweet Sixteen' for an award.

It is therefore astonishing -- and to those of us who still love Israel, refreshing -- to read the 'original views' of American cabinet ministers on the subject of Israel. At a Town Hall Meeting at the Pentagon on 6 August 2002, US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld (and former Middle East Envoy under the Reagan Administration) made the following statement:

'.. If you have a country that's a sliver and you can see three sides of it from a high hotel building, you've got to be careful what you give away and to whom you give it. ..Barak made a proposal that was as forthcoming as anyone in the world could ever imagine, and Arafat turned it down. .'

He went on to make this observation about the settlements:

'..My feeling about the so-called occupied territories are that there was a war. Israel urged neighbouring countries not to get involved ...,they all jumped in, and they lost a lot of real estate to Israel because Israel prevailed in that conflict. In the intervening period, they've made some settlements in various parts of the so-called occupied area, which was the result of a war, which they won.'

Continuing on:

'...So it seems to me to be focussing on settlements at the present time misses the point. ..The real point is to get a condition so that you can have a peace agreement. '

These have been my own sentiments exactly since 1967 (though, I hasten to add, not necessarily the sentiments of JewishComment), and I do not consider myself a right-wing extremist. (My cherished Yitzhak Rabin wristwatch is proof of that!)

The non-American media have done a thorough job of distorting the issues that have tormented Israel since the miracle of the Six Day War. (See our article about John Pilger.) It is truly breathtaking to stop in an American city, visit a Veterans? lodge and hear the men talking with admiration about 'Swift Sword,' the 1967 victory over a clutch of Arab armies.

When in typically ethical fashion a group of Israeli soldiers and their followers formed Peace Now after the Six Day War, the best and most generous side of the Jewish spirit came to the fore, but was met on the other side by decades of terror and cruelty from the PLO. Much Jewish blood was spilled on the sands of the Sinai but Menachem Begin -- whom Pilger refers to as a terrorist -- gave it all back for 'peace.' The PLO carried on with its reign of terror. My friends on the Left like to argue with me about the level of violence during Oslo, but bombs were going off even as mountains of paper were being signed in elaborate ceremonies.

It all came to a head when Arafat rejected Camp David and allowed the Intifadah to explode. (Yes, it is generally acknowledged that Sharon?s visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000 was provocative but could Arafat have prevented the ensuing violence ? Yes.)

Rumsfeld's remarks of 6 August provoked a major letter to President Bush from Patricia Barr and Debra de Lee of Americans for Peace Now, demanding that the Defence Secretary be rebuked. They wrote:

'...President Bush, when another official of your administration, former Congressman Mike Parker, who was Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, strayed publicly from the policy of your administration, he was relieved of his position. in this case, when there is already rampant public speculation over rifts in your administration's Mideast policy direction...Secretary Rumsfeld should be publicly rebuked. He should also be required to publicly clarify his inappropriate, insubordinate and unhelpful remarks..'

Peace Now referred in its letter to President Bush's June 24th speech in which he had said '..consistent with the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee, Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Territories must stop.' They added that the Secretary '..does not seem to know that at least 44 settlement outposts have been established since the election of Ariel Sharon, in violation of Israel's own laws.'

JewishComment was informed by Lewis Roth of APN this week that no reply had to date been received from the White House.

Secretary Rumsfeld's comments were widely covered in Israel. The Israel News Agency website observed that his sentiments appeared to be 'the first public reality check from any U.S. Defence Department Secretary since the establishment of Israel in 1948...Palestinian leaders were almost at a total loss for words..'

When I was making a feature documentary in Israel after the Rabin assassination, innumerable Israelis -- secular, not religious -- came up to me and said that their greatest pain was the giving back of lands conquered during the Six Day War. A charming, cultivated German-born Israeli told me in broken English, 'It is UN -NORMAL for a country to win a war and then give everything back to the people who wanted to annihilate them..' Notwithstanding the fact that Oslo was in its time regarded as a positive step, and notwithstanding Peace Now's reference to 'Israel's own laws' being violated, it is heartening to hear an American non-Jewish Cabinet minister reminding the world that tiny Israel did win in 1967 against unimaginable odds.

The American Secretary of Defence has no axe to grind, does not need 'the Jewish vote' to succeed in his job, but sticks his neck out to offer a fair view in a world that has so virulently turned against the Jewish State. Those of us who were sincere and long-time supporters of Shalom Achshav/Peace Now in Israel and in Europe were prepared to give up land for peace. Now, many of us are no longer willing to give up land for murder. Writers like myself have become frightened by the hate-filled rhetoric of 'Christian' authors like AN Wilson and by the poisonous art critic Brian Sewell. We do feel that their venom goes beyond reasonable criticism of Israel and has a sinister menace in its message; Secretary Rumsfeld is a lone voice of support amongst a sea of non-Jews who only condemn Israel at every opportunity. ****************

Other JewishComment articles about the American Defence Secretary are 'The Rummy Show;' 'Enigma Variations' and 'Armchair Generals are Just Plain Tsurris.'


Read more Editorials    go >>



Web Design - Web Designers
© current viewpoint .com

All Rights reserved.
No copying of any text or images allowed in any form digitally or otherwise,
without the prior written consent of the copyright holders.