Rabbis Supporting "Moderate" Terrorists

Why are there American Jews begging Washington to continue funding corrupt terrorist leaders and their enablers?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus,

Arutz 7
Why are there American Jews begging Washington to continue funding corrupt terrorist leaders and their enablers?

Legislation introduced by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl) and Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), H.R. 4681, would protect US taxpayers from funding certified terrorists. But some Jews have declared war on this bill. Why?

Let's see what this bill to de-fund terrorism is about. Before receiving US taxpayers' money, the Palestinian Authority must:

1. Ensure democracy, the rule of law, an independent judiciary, and financial transparency and accountability of its government;

2. Not be controlled by or have members of a terrorist organization, dismantle all terrorist infrastructure and thwart terrorist attacks;

3.· Recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and honor the agreements to which the PA has committed itself under the "Roadmap"; and

4. Promote tolerance and peace instead of fomenting anti-Israel incitement in institutions over which it has control.

The proposed law will also eliminate aid redundancy to the armies of United Nations agencies supporting the Palestinians. Efficiency and accountability is what the bill will require, not the elimination of funding.

How could anybody ? much less any Jews ? be against a law based on these principles, ones that have been part of every peace deal agreed to by the Palestinians since 1993?

Moved by a smear campaign against the proposed legislation organized by such groups as Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, and Jewish Voice for Peace, four hundred rabbis signed a public letter in which they beseeched the White House to continue funding and negotiating with the new Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority (for a partial list of the signers, go to http://ga3.org/campaign/rabbis_letter/explanation#Current_Signers).

The rabbis could not quite bring themselves to say they want continued funding for Hamas. Yet, their avowed goal is financing for the PA and Palestinian "welfare" organizations run by the UN, even after Hamas has taken control. The rabbis' reluctance to name their goal out loud is well-advised. Their pursuit of it sotto voce is the problem.

The rabbis' letter (organized by Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, which admits the impetus of Ros-Lehtinen's bill for the letter) acknowledges that the Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel, and that Hamas is responsible for violence and the murder of innocent civilians. However, the circumspect tone belies their absurd suggestions for how the US president should shape his Middle East foreign policy.

The rabbis ask President Bush to keep four points in mind as he formulates US policy.

First, the rabbis remind him that the "Palestinians conducted a free, fair and democratic election." This point, however, cancels out the rabbis' third point, in which they refer to poll results that "the majority of Palestinians remain... committed to a peace agreement with Israel." But Hamas won. Either those polls are flawed, or the desire for a non-corrupt, but terrorist, leadership was more important than peace, or there was not a free and fair election. Take your choice. Hamas is unabashedly devoted to the destruction of Israel. It's hard to have a peace agreement if your leadership's goal is to obliterate the other side. Besides, just because Hamas was chosen democratically does not mean we have to fund them.

The rabbis' second point is that in order for "the new Hamas-led Palestinian government to achieve international recognition and standing, it must [now quoting the president's State of the Union address] recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism and work for lasting peace."

So, why the opposition? Ros-Lehtinen's bill requires the Palestinian Authority to meet precisely those conditions in order to receive funding by the US and to participate in what only then could possibly be fruitful peace negotiations. If international recognition and standing matters to this terrorist regime, wouldn't the best way to achieve that be to stop terrorism?

Mahmoud Abbas and his "moderate" Fatah party never met the bill's required aid conditions when Abbas was the undisputed head of the PA. Abbas refused to rein in terrorism and approved legislation to fund families of homicide bombers. Does that make him a "moderate" terrorist? Why intercede on behalf of corruption and for a terrorism enabler?

In their fourth and final point, the rabbis play the "poor-impoverished-through-no-fault-of-their-own Palestinians" card. Remember, the Palestinians' situation deteriorated abysmally under the corrupt leadership of Fatah. Terrorism, more than anything else, impoverished the Palestinian Arabs. Funding terror won't help the Arabs any more than it helps the Jews.

The rabbis suggest that by continuing the aid, President Bush has the opportunity to perform a double mitzvah. Continuing aid to the UN and other organizations devoted to supporting the Palestinians, the rabbis explain, will prevent terrorism because hunger and poverty breed extremism. Eliminating the hunger and poverty, accordingly, will ensure the security of Israelis. Two mitzvot for the price of one.

The billions of dollars in aid money already given by the US and the international community directly to the PA and indirectly through a multiplicity of aid organizations has done nothing to improve the lives of the Palestinian people. It has not brought them closer to peace, it has not brought them employment skills, it has not helped them develop workable infrastructures, it has not raised their standard of living and it has not made them any more eager to embrace either the US or the West. And it certainly has not led to security for Israel. Instead, it has been used to educate a new generation of children who hate Israel, hate the US and who are taught that the greatest honor is to die as a homicide bomber.

The only way to provide a chance for the Arab Palestinian people to enjoy life-sustaining, peace-enhancing changes in how their leadership behave is for the West to stop acting as enablers. Pouring billions of dollars into corrupt, bloodthirsty leaders has delivered grinding poverty and hopelessness for the Palestinians. Depriving those leaders of the funds they use to support their terrorism addiction is certainly more likely to end the terrorism than will continuing to shovel in more funds. Further, it may force the Palestinian Authority to meet the criteria that will provide them with international recognition and standing - "recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism and work for lasting peace." That really would be a double mitzvah.