Had this one come in on the American Friends for a Safe Israel
list, posted first at Israel-Commentary
, and now Free Republic
This speech by Caroline Glick, Deputy Managing Editor, Jerusalem Post, was delivered at the annual dinner of the Zionist Organization of America at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City December 11, 2005 upon her receiving the Ben Hecht Award for Excellence in Journalism for the Middle East.
Good evening. Thank you so much. It is really wonderful to be here in New York with all of you tonight. Thank you.
I want to thank Mort Klein and the ZOA Board of Directors for honoring me with this prestigious award. Ben Hecht was a great Jew, a great Zionist and a powerful writer who used his pen to defend our people and our rights.
That the Zionist Organization of America should view me as worthy to receive an award bearing Ben Hechts name is a tremendous vote of confidence in me from people I respect. I am humbled by your faith in me. I hope that I will always remain worthy of this faith.
I also want to thank my boss and colleague in Washington, Mr. Frank Gaffney, the President of the Center for Security Policy for being here tonight.
Frank is a great American patriot and a great friend of the Jewish people in the tradition of George Washington and Orde Wingate and Lord Balfour.
Knowing there are people like Frank in Washington gives me reason to believe that the future holds hope for the Jewish people and for the American people and gives me faith that ultimately, we will emerge victorious in the war now raging against us.
I also want to thank some people who are not here. I want to thank Amnon Lord, the editor of Makor Rishon the greatest Hebrew newspaper in Israel for bringing me into newspaper business six years ago and for continuing to encourage me ever since.
David Horovitz, the editor of the Jerusalem Post has provided me with a wonderful platform for my writing and for this I am grateful as well.
Now, back to the people who are here. I want to thank my family. My parents Gerald and Sharon Glick and my siblings David, Bonnie and Douglas Glick and their families. My brother in law Paul Foldi and my nephews Matthew and Jonathan are also here tonight.
The responsibility for the survival and success of the Jewish people has always rested first and foremost on the Jewish family. I can say without reservation that I would never have been able to accomplish what I have accomplished in my life if I hadnt had you as my family. I want you to know that I do not take your love and support for granted. I owe who I am to my ability to trust that love. Thank you.
One of the most fundamental lessons we learned growing up in our parents house was the difference between reality and fantasy.
As children, the distinction seemed obvious to us. But apparently, the difference between the two is a lot less easy to discern than it would seem.
This must be the case because the fact of the matter is that today, for the second time in 12 years, a government of Israel -- being led by an elderly politician with a distant past as a war hero -- is basing its policies on fantasy rather than reality.
I made aliyah in May 1991 and joined the army. A couple of years after my service began, I found myself working as the coordinator of the negotiations with the PLO in the Ministry of Defense. In that position, I saw on a daily basis what life looks like in the world of fantasy.
On July 18, 1995 Ori Shachor and Ohad Bachrach aged 18 and 19 were hiking in Wadi Kelt when they were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. They were each shot in the head and then, after they were dead, their throats were slit.
I remember their murders well. They were killed on a Friday morning. I was sitting at a hotel in Zikhron Yaacov with the heads of the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams as they laid out the schedule for the next week of talks when we got word of the killings.
On Sunday morning while I was driving up the coastal highway to Zikhron Yaacov, opponents of the Oslo process staged a creative demonstration.
A convoy of cars, buses and trucks drove up the highway at 20 miles an hour with signs reading, Rabin, Peres, go slow.
I was deeply moved by the demonstration. I cried the whole way to Zikhron. I was grateful to the protesters - who made me arrive an hour late at the talks. I was grateful to them for taking the time to show their loyalty to the memory of the young men for maintaining the honor of our dead.
But when I got to the hotel, my tears were replaced by shock. here, the heads of our delegation were livid at what they considered the chutzpa of the demonstrators for making us start our negotiations late. Uri Savir, then director general of the Foreign Ministry and head of our delegation, like the politicized IDF generals, apologized to the Palestinians for the inconvenience caused them by the demonstrators.
They apologized even as the murderers of Shachor and Bachrach had in the space of 36 hours been arrested and released by the Palestinian security forces. And they apologized even as their Palestinian counterparts were the commanders of the security services that released the young mens killers.
For these Israeli leaders, the fantasy of the peace process was impervious to the screams of our murdered youths. For these so-called peacemakers, their murder at the hands of the so-called enemies of peace was a simple inconvenience.
Yehudit Shachor, Oris mom told reporters a couple of years later that when she tried to talk to Shimon Peres about the fact that her sons murderers were walking free, Peres told her that there was nothing that he could do about it because he was in the business of signing peace treaties.
All he could offer was the suggestion that Mrs. Shachor speak with Yassir Arafat.
The fantasy of Oslo was that the Arabs want peace with Israel. This fantasy was laid to rest five years ago when the Palestinians began their terror war against Israel in earnest -- with the support of the entire Arab world and Iran.
Israelis lost their faith in the fantasy of peace as our people were incinerated at cafes, on buses, at bar mitzvah parties and at Passover Seders while in the background, from Cairo to Tehran to Beirut and Damascus to Amman, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion were turned into TV mini-series and the infamous forgeries went into their thousandth printings throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds.
The odd and tragic thing is that just as the fantasy of Oslo was disintegrating against the overwhelming power of the reality of war, it was replaced not with a strategy for victory based on reality, but by a new strategy based on a new fantasy.
Those who for years spoke of the danger of Oslo and watched in horror as their darkest forecasts came true, did not receive the belated thanks of their people.
They continued to be pilloried, as Israels elites and their foreign benefactors replaced one old politician and former military leader with another old politician and former military leader and replaced one fantasy for another.
This new fantasy, propounded by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is the fantasy of disengagement.
According to this fantasy, while it is true that the Arab world in general and the Palestinians in particular have no interest in living at peace with Israel, Israel can deal with their hatred by unilaterally disengaging from the Middle East. We can hold up behind walls and barricades, turn on the internet and become immediately transported to a world where we will be safe.
The disengagement from geographical and strategic reality that Sharon is advancing is in many ways more dangerous than the fantasy of Oslo.
Oslo endangered Israelis by empowering the PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad and giving them safe bases of operations against Israel in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Oslo endangered Israelis by sending a clear message to the entire Arab and Muslim world that Israel can be defeated through a strategy of attrition based on terrorism. The disengagement fantasy does all of this as well. But it also does something more. The disengagement fantasy involves Israelis directly in the brutalization of other Israelis.
In August of this year, at the command of Sharon and his yes-man Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Police deployed a force of 50,000 soldiers and policemen to forcibly expel all Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria. In so doing, Sharon and Mofaz made Israel the first country to ethnically cleanse land from Jews simply because they are Jews since the Holocaust.
The justice system in Israel was subverted to ensure the accomplishment of the goal of making Gaza and northern Samaria Judenrein. People were denied permits to protest. Peoples freedom of movement was restricted as policemen intercepted buses transporting lawful protesters to legal demonstrations.
Thousands of people were arrested en masse and kept behind bars for weeks and months without trial or indictment for the crime of opposing their governments policies. Among these Jewish political prisoners were hundreds of minor children. And when the Public Defenders office put out a report explaining that laws were prejudicially enforced based on the suspects political views, Chief Public Defender Inbal Rubinstein was forced to apologize for the report under threat of firing from Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.
In the meantime, in spite of the constant demonization by the Hebrew press and the Prime Ministers office, the protesters themselves, managed to protest against this immoral and strategically disastrous policy while maintaining their dignity and reputation as Israeli patriots and democratic opponents of the government.
For the most part, the IDF too maintained its dignity. It was clear from Sharons statements that he wanted for the IDF to clash with the protesters. Through word and deed he made it clear to everyone that he wanted for the two sides to view one another as enemies and to act that way. Sharons aim was to force a violent clash between the IDF and the opponents of the expulsions in order to delegitimize the supporters of the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in order to prepare the groundwork for mass expulsions from Judea and Samaria. He failed.
In the now destroyed synagogues in the now destroyed town of Neve Dekalim, in Gedid, in Atzmona, in Netzarim, in Kfar Darom, soldiers and protesters - expelled Jews and their supporters - prayed and sang and wept together. The IDF stood by its duty to fulfill the orders of the government even when the government is wrong.
And the hundreds of thousands of protesters against the expulsions understood that one man and one man alone was responsible for this moral outrage Ariel Sharon and he was not in Gush Katif. The strength of the Jewish people was palpable during the dark days of July and August. Both the opponents of the expulsions and the army that was called in to execute those expulsions understood that they held a grave responsibility to avert a civil war that Sharon and his political consultants were pushing for.
But while the achievements of both the army and the opponents of the expulsions were great, ironically, they paved the way for the next round of expulsions by making it seem easy to throw Jews out of their homes.
Today Sharon and his associates are planning to move immediately after the general elections to expel an additional fifty thousand Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria. Indeed, the coming elections will answer one question and only one question:
Will Sharon continue the policy of ethnically cleansing the Land of Israel of Jews and transfer 95 percent of Judea and Samaria to our enemies even before he begins negotiating Jerusalem, the immigration of foreign Arabs to the Land of Israel and Israels security arrangements with anyone?
That is, will Israel expand its vulnerability to national destruction at the hands of our enemies and continue to turn Jew against Jew in the hopes of inciting a civil war?
Will Israel, at the same time as the Iranians with the silent support of the Arab world call for the eradication of the Jewish state, continue to cling to the fantasy that we can live in our land and pretend that we are not part of our neighborhood?
It is possible that Sharon will win the coming elections, although all must be done to point out to the Israeli people and to our friends around the world in the coming months, the tragic toll such an event will take on the lives of thousands Israelis and our allies around the world.
All must be made to know that the result of choosing fantasy over reality is the murder of thousands of real people. And if Sharon does win, we must understand that the fight for truth will continue. In such an event the role of the ZOA and its members will become both more difficult and more important. Just as it has done since Israel first chose fantasy over reality 12 years ago, the ZOA will be forced to remain a voice of truth even as the power rests in the hands of those who base their policies on denying truth.
In Gaza this summer I saw the greatness of the Jewish people even in the hour of our self-inflicted suffering. I have seen since the withdrawal from Gaza -- with the transformation of Gaza into a base for international terror, and the transformation of the western Negev into a war zone -- that our enemies continue to be consistent in their dedication to the destruction of our country.
I believe in the greatness of the Jewish people. I know that alas, we have a tendency, because of the burden of our identity, to choose false messiahs in every generation men who tell us there is an easy way out of our struggle.
I also know that there is a core among us, that never loses faith in our destiny as the Children of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. This is the core of Jews that never forgets the distinction between fact and fantasy. And the people in this room are part of this core. I entreat you to recognize that each of us carries the responsibility for our people but also the ability as committed proud Jews, and friends of the Jews to secure our future.
There is much difficult work to be done. And I have trust that we are equal to the task. I pray that G-d should bless all of you and that he should bless the Jewish people and our friends throughout the world.