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America Votes, Israel Will Vote and Gore Vidal Writes of the 'Hitlerian Junta'
Last uploaded : Saturday 16th Nov 2002 at 16:10
Contributed by : The Editor



?Alas, the world has entered a dark period since you wrote to me and I greet each day with foreboding.?

So wrote Robert Fisk of ?The Independent? to me this week, I having written him awhile ago; anyone who is a regular reader of this site will know that he is the nemesis of even moderate supporters of Israel and of Zionism. However, no-one could argue with the sentiments he has expressed.

In the past few weeks we have seen an electoral upheaval in the United States and a political earthquake in Israel. The tragic death of Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota (Democrat) in a an aeroplane crash a few days before the American elections reverberated when the Republicans regained control of the Senate and Trent Lott was able to return to the Office of Majority Leader. (He had had to vacate when Vermont Republican Jim Jeffords became an Independent after George W Bush became President, turning the Senate from Republican to Democratic control.)

I am one of those observers of American politics who feels that the events at the memorial ceremony for Paul Wellstone served to damage the chances of Walter Mondale, the 74-year-old ex-Vice President who was selected to replace him in the Senatorial race. I have now watched the entire ceremony on C-Span and can say, with great sadness, that the ?shiva? for the late Sen.Wellstone -- a critical but loyal Jewish supporter of Israel -- degenerated into a disturbing moan-fest directed at the Republicans who attended the ceremony. Hugely well-attended, the event started out with promise and dignity, but the unfortunate moment came when a small group decided to boo Trent Lott, other Republican attendees and representatives of the Bush Administration. My instinct, when I first saw excerpts on CNN, was to cringe at the poor judgment of the Democrats who had come to pay homage to the fallen maverick (Wellstone was a diehard liberal), and to predict that this would damage the party in Minnesota.

The Wellstone family had specifically asked Vice President Cheney not to attend; my knee-jerk reaction was ?what a chutzpah ? but on reflection I decided that something very nasty must have passed between the resident of Blair House and the late Sen Wellstone to have generated such animosity during shiva. (Lest we forget Cheney?s unprintable remarks about a New York Times reporter.) The rift between Wellstone and Cheney has never been fully explained in the media (if any readers have background on this we would like to hear from you : emails@jewishcomment.co.uk)

It transpired that Walter Mondale lost in Minnesota; although the winner, Norm Coleman, is Jewish (sustaining what the American press like to call the ?Congressional Minyan?) he is also a Republican. Had he lived Wellstone might well have lost, but the anger of Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura over the bitterness and rancour surrounding Wellstone?s death and the booing at the memorial ceremony may have had an effect on the electorate of his state and on Mondale's fortunes.

The result of the 2002 midterm elections in the United States was seen as a ?mandate? from the American people to George W Bush. Considering the poor turnout (is this an example to the ?rogue states? to which America?s leadership refer as we seek to replace dictatorships with democracy?) , it is questionable just how much of a ?mandate? the Republican sweep really was. What I do find disquieting is the extreme emotion the Bush empire inspires amongst Democrats. Those of us who live outside the United States and have been at the receiving end of hateful abuse even when Bill Clinton was at the height of his popularity and Arafat was shmoozing Rabin will attest to the notion that ?Dubya? is not the issue but that irrational hatred and resentment of American power and achievement is at the root of this problem.

In a recent feature in ?The Observer,? the American author Gore Vidal wrote a long and frightening discourse on the theory that the Bush Administration, peopled by what Vidal calls the ?Hitlerian Junta,? knew well in advance about the September 11th 2001 attacks and allowed them to happen in order to galvanise the world into a war to catapult the oil riches of the Gulf to western control and into the bank accounts of President Bush?s inner circle. This theory does fit in with a comment made by Laurence Eagleburger after September 11th 2001 that Israeli agents had warned their American counterparts in July 2001 about the impending hijackings but that they were ?sent packing back to Israel.?

Whatever the circumstances surrounding the ?how much did the President know?? scenario pre-9/11, those of us who believe Islamic terror is an even greater threat to the world than Stalin ever was actually believe that we have to accept that Bush and Company are there. Tony Blair is there. We have to grudgingly accept that imperfect men have seen us through the worst peacetime attack in recent history and that we are still living in relative stability.

A Democrat who admires Bush recently commented to me that his fellow Democrats, who have been raving and ranting about ?exterminating the Junta? reminded me that the Left will not acknowledge that the women of Afghanistan have been liberated. After the recent elections one crazed Democrat told me that ?George Bush and Company never lifted a finger before 9/11 and even helped create the Taliban? but is anyone willing to convince me that Gore and Lieberman would have stopped everything to topple the Taliban pre-9/11? The rise of fundamentalism is a real threat -- Moscow and Bali the most recent examples of the horrifying lengths to which zealous, YOUNG terrorists will go -- and I am afraid that much as I deplore the manner in which the Republicans took the White House through the convenience of a conservative Supreme Court, I confess to feeling secure knowing that men of the skill of Colin Powell are able to negotiate with consummate skill and that the so-called ?Hitlerian Junta? are there to provide him with fire power should the need arise. We hope that need will not emerge from the Iraq inspections.

Whilst this was unfolding the Israeli coalition government collapsed on a matter that ought really to have come to a head many years ago --indeed in the Rabin years. The Labour Party left the coalition over the perennial dispute -- funding of the settlements at the expense of programs to assist the majority of Israelis. The nightmare scenario of the Left, with Bibi Netanyahu ascending back to power as Foreign Minister, has now begun to unfold amid an even more violent period of mutual carnage. As we go to press, we hear of twelve Israelis being murdered in Hebron on Erev Shabbat November 15, an event that followed on the heels of the brutal murder of five members of Kibbutz Metzer, a Marxist community set up in 1953 with its main goal Arab-Jewish dialogue.

(Please read the article 'Point blank fire at those who refuse to hate' by Bradley Burston, Ha'aretz Correspondent in ?Ha?aretz? 11 November issue) at

During the Rabin era violence did not abate but the crucial difference was his reaction to Hamas: turning the other cheek. We will never know what might have been had a religious right-wing Jew not gunned Rabin down, he having been encouraged and incited by the rabbis and by the rallies held in Kikar Zion at which Netanyahu and the late Rehavam Ze'evi stood on balconies goading young Jews like Yigal Amir to violence.

Now, every atrocity committed by Hamas is met with a revenge attack by Israel and the cycle seems to be degenerating into a hundred years? war. Netanyahu has state that he now recommends the expulsion of Yasser Arafat, but do these vengeful acts solve anything? Readers of this site will know that I have been a staunch and unbending supporter of Israel throughout this terrible, dark time if Intifadah, but I despair of as vacuum form Europe, from America and from the Israeli government in getting back to the days of enlightenment that characterised the dream of the General-turned peacemaker Rabin. We are hearing that Iraqi officials have been touring the northern border of Syria. This is another ominous twist to the dark cloud of which Robert Fisk spoke in his letter to me. I have always loathed Fisk?s excessive hostility to Israel.

I adore Israel and its survival is part of the essence of my being. However, I can still remember the explosive prosperity and world regard enjoyed by Israel as recently as 1996. It bothers me that the maelstrom of violence has become so much of a daily occurrence that I am spending more time reading about the Royal Butler than I do about Israel. The United States must become deeply and passionately engaged -- as were Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter -- in the peace process. Europe must stop promulgating anti-Jewish feeling and shameful boycotts of an already struggling Israeli economy and become involved in a caring solution to this tragic conflict. Europe, not America, was the birthplace of anti-Semitism and Nazism -- not America -- and must finally take responsibility for valuing the lives of Jewish Israelis as well as those of Israel?s Arabs.

Whatever the outcome of the Israeli elections (and I wish to make it known here that I think Avraham Burg, a liberal, observant Labourite, would be my choice for leader), Europe and America must bring renewed energy to the battle for peace and stop the endless killing in the tiny, fragile and crumbling Holy Land.


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