In Search of Queen Esther

President George Bush plays the role of the king.

David Bedein,

David Bedein
David Bedein
credit David Michael Cohen
President George W. Bush now heads to Israel, with the express purpose of issuing a decree that his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will gladly enforce: to expel Jews from parts of Israel and to establish in their stead an
A new armed Palestinian entity in Judea and Samaria would transform the lives of the entire coastal plain of Israel.
anti-Semitic Fatah state in the hills of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

A precedent looms from three years ago, when 21 thriving Jewish communities were expelled from the Gaza Strip, with their assets granted to a Palestinian Arab entity that now pummels Sderot, Ashkelon and the entire western Negev with daily missile barrages. Following the Gaza model, an independent Fatah entity in the hills of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem will likely share power with - if not hand over power to - Hamas. Once strategic positions are in their hands, once freedom of movement is assured, a new armed Palestinian entity in Judea and Samaria would transform the lives of the entire coastal plain of Israel into the living hell that the Jews of the western Negev now endure.

Of course, President Bush does not couch his vision of a Palestinian state in any such terms. Bush genuinely sees himself as a friend of the Jews.

On the eve of his journey to the Middle East, Bush invited Israeli reporters to the Oval Office to speak of lofty visions of a democratically elected Palestinian Arab state that would live side by side in peace with the state and people of Israel. This is what he has learned from his trusted confidante, Secretary of State Rice, who compares the Palestinian Fatah struggle to the American civil rights movement, as if Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas follow the legacy of Martin Luther King.

Bush seems to know nothing of the absolute Fatah demand for the "right of return," of the Fatah's Al-Aksa Brigades, whose members continue to try to murder Jews at random, of the Fatah-inspired school curriculum that inculcates the next generation to make war against the state of Israel, of the Fatah constitution that is based on the Shari'a (Islamic law), of the Fatah refusal to ratify the Oslo Declaration of Principles, or of the Fatah refusal to cancel its covenant to exterminate the Jewish state.

Instead, Bush told Israeli reporters in the Oval Office that Fatah leader Abbas is a man of peace and integrity, while Rice nodded her head with great satisfaction.

Bush's decree has delegated Rice the task of enforcing the Road Map to carve out a Judenrein (Jew-free) region for the Palestinian Fatah state to grow. However, to sweeten the taste of that decree, Bush brings with him the cream of the crop of American citizens who are proud to be Jewish,* who will be equally proud to tell their grandchildren that the leader of the free world dined with them at the King David Hotel and envisioned peace in the Middle East. Intoxicated at the Jerusalem table of the President of the United States of America, President Bush's Jewish citizens may likely ignore the deadly decree that he has come to impose on the state and the people of Israel.

Will any member of the entourage of proud Jews stand up and say to the President of the United States that Fatah represents a toxic danger to the people of Israel, and that the Palestinian nation-state envisioned by Fatah would be nothing more than a Fourth Reich in formation?

What unfolds this week in Jerusalem is the classic motif of the Purim story, as related in the Book of Esther. President George Bush plays the role of Achashverosh, who was not necessarily anti-Semitic. Indeed, he had a positive disposition to Jewish subjects who swooned at the very thought of feasting at his banquet. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plays the role of Haman, or "Hamanette", as she wrings her hands and scolds the Jews for daring to demand their right to dwell in Judea. She counsels her king to sharpen his decree - Judenrein - while she compares any Jew who settles in Judea to Arab terrorists who carry out wanton acts of murder.

Some of the Jews who will fly the friendly skies of Air Force One to accompany President Bush to Israel play the role of those who rejected the independent Jewish pride of Mordechai. These Jews forget that they have landed in another reality.

Then there is the mystery guest.

Sitting in suspense, we wait to hear who, in this delegation of proud Jews, will play the role of Queen Esther. Who
Who will feel the internal call of Mordechai to approach King Ashashverosh?
will feel the internal call of Mordechai to approach King Ashashverosh to warn him that Hamanette has ill advised her king? Who will advise President Bush that his decree represents a threat to the life of every Jew in the land of Israel?

Indeed, many of the Jewish guests of President Bush have spent the better part of their careers fighting anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. So who will play the role of Queen Esther and confront the President of the United States with the reality that a Palestinian Fatah state would be an anti-Semitic state, headed by the only man in history to earn a doctorate in Holocaust denial, which he has never renounced to the Palestinian people?

Perhaps, when one member of Bush's Jewish delegation falls asleep in Jerusalem, he or she will envision Mordechai in a dream; and Mordechai will say: "Perhaps this is why you have come unto the palace of the king."

All this depends on whether or not one single Jew who accompanies President Bush to Jerusalem will heed the inner cry of integrity, rather than the instinct to obsequiousness.

* Members of the Honorary Delegation accompanying US President George Bush include:

Dr. Miriam Adelson, Chairperson, Dr. Miriam & Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment and Research

Mr. Sheldon G. Adelson, Chairman of the Board, Las Vegas Sands Corporation

Mr. Moshe Aflalo, CEO of Aflalo Equities

Mr. Neil Z. Auerbach, Managing Partner, Hudson Clean Energy Partners

Mr. Kenneth Bialkin, Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLC

Mr. Elliott B. Broidy, Chairman and CEO of Broidy Capital Management

Mr. Matthew H. Brooks, Executive Director, Republican Jewish Coalition

Mr. Alan I. Casden, Chairman and CEO of Casden Properties LLC

Mr. Stanley M. Chesley, President of the National Jewish Fund

Mr. William C. Daroff, Vice President for Public Policy and Director of the Washington Office United Jewish Communities

Mr. Nathan J. Diament, Director, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations

Rabbi David H. Ellenson, Ph.D., President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Mr. Michael David Epstein, President of Sensormatic Security Corporation

Mr. Donald Etra, Attorney, Law Offices of Donald Etra

Ms. Nancy E. Falchuk, National President, Hadassah

Ms. Selma J. Fisch, Founder, Fisch Properties

Mr. David M. Flaum, Chairman, Republican Jewish Coalition

Ms. Marilyn Fox, Chairman of the Fox Family Foundation and Former President of the St. Louis Jewish Community Center

The Honorable Sam Fox, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium

Mr. Abraham H. Foxman, National Director, Anti-Defamation League Mr. Howard E. Friedman, President, AIPAC

Mr. Tony B. Gelbart, Chairman and Co-Founder of Nefesh B'Nefesh

Mr. Sander R. Gerber, Chairman and CEO, Hudson Bay Capital Management LP

Mr. Marc S. Goldman, Farmland Dairies

The Honorable Phil Gordon, Mayor of the City of Phoenix, Arizona

Mr. Richard S. Gordon, President, American Jewish Congress

Dr. Jeffrey Gunter, President, Beverly Capital Management LLC

Mr. David Hager, President, Hager Pacific

Ms. Cheryl Halpern, Member, CPB Board of Directors

Mr. Uri Harkham, CEO, Jonathan Martin Fashion Group

Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance

Mr. Malcolm I. Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Mr. Murray A. Huberfeld, Chairman, Centurion Credit Management LP

Rebbetzen Esther Jungreis, Founder and President of Hineni

Dr. Henry Kissinger, Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc.

Dr. Richard Land, President, Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Mr. Ronald Lauder, President, World Jewish Congress and Chairman, Jewish National Fund

Mr. Eliot Lauer, Senior Partner, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle

Ms. Linda S. Law, Founder, Law and Associates

Mr. Michael I. Lebovitz, Senior Vice President, CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.

The Honorable Jay P. Lefkowitz, Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea

Rabbi David H. Lincoln, Senior Rabbi, Park Avenue Synagogue, New York City

The Honorable Linda Lingle, Governor of the State of Hawaii

The Honorable Earle I. Mack, Senior Partner, the Mack Company

Rabbi Isaac Neuman, Rabbi Emeritus of Sinai Temple, Champaign, Illinois

Mr. Michael B. Oren, Senior Fellow, Shalem Center, Jerusalem; Professor Georgetown University

Mr. Ronald Plotkin, Former COO, Directional Marketing

Steve L. Poizner, Insurance Commissioner, State of California

Mr. Bruce M. Ramer, Attorney and Partner, Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown

Mr. J. Philip Rosen, Attorney, Partner, Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP

Mr. William Safire, Chairman, Dana Foundation

Mr. Lee C. Samson, President and CEO, SNF Management

Mr. Lenny Sands, Chairman, Alchemy Worldwide

Mr. Richard H. Schneider, Managing Member, Bunker Capital LLC

Mr. Fred Schwartz, Founder, The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation

The Honorable Melvin F. Sembler, Chairman of the Board of The Sembler Company

Mr. Dan Senor, Founding Partner, Rosemont Capital

Mr. Joe Shapira, Managing Partner, Java Equities LLC

Ms. Florence Shapiro, Co-Chair of the Education Policy Taskforce for the National Council of State Government

Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Director, Washington Office of American Friends of Lubavitch

Dr. Robert J. Shillman, Ph.D., Founder, Chairman and CEO of Cognex Corporation

Mr. Richard J. Sideman, President, American Jewish Committee

Mr. Mark S. Siegel, President of ReMY Investors & Consultants, Inc.

Rabbi Michael S. Siegel, Norman Asher Rabbinic Chairman and Senior Rabbi

The Honorable Ned L. Siegel, U.S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Mr. Ron Silver, President Emeritus, Actors' Equity Association; Board of Directors, U.S. Institute of Peace

The Honorable Martin J. Silverstein, Private Investor and Senior Counsel, Greenberg Traurig

Mr. Paul E. Singer, General Partner, Elliott Associates, LP

The Honorable Clifford M. Sobel, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil

Mr. Jaime Sohacheski, Chairman, Crown Realty and Development Corporation

Mr. Ronald G. Steinhart, Retired CEO, Commercial Banking, Bank One Corporation

Rabbi Mordechai Suchard, Founder and Director, Gateways Organization

Mr. Stephen J. Trachtenberg, President Emeritus, University Professor of Public Service, George Washington University

Ms. June R. Walker, Chairperson, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Mr. Leslie H. Wexner, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Limited Brands

Mr. Elie Wiesel, University Professor; Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities; Professor of Philosophy and Religion in the College of Arts and Sciences; President, The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity

Mr. Fred S. Zeidman, Chairman, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Mr. Mark Zucker, Managing Member, Dorchester Capital

Mr. Mort B. Zuckerman, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of U.S. News & World Report; Publisher of the New York Daily News; Co-Founder and Chairman of Boston Properties Inc.

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