Jews cannot afford to appease tyrants and terrorists looking to destroy Israel and the U.S., maintained a panel of conservative thinkers during a lively forum held at Park Synagogue’s main campus on Oct. 12.
Hundreds of attendees packed Park Main’s Kangesser Hall for the program, hosted by The Jewish Policy Center (JPC), a nonpartisan conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. To loud applause, the panelists asserted that the bloody realities of the Middle East would not disappear without tougher U.S. policies.
Even the thought of negotiating with terrorist entities (like Hamas) or their supporters (Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) is dangerous and unrealistic, insisted the speakers in a program moderated by author, radio talk show host and film critic Michael Medved. Panelists included Mona Charen, conservative columnist and political analyst; writer and activist David Horowitz; former New York Times correspondent Cliff May; and Daniel Pipes, founder of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum.
A people who has already endured an attempted genocide should not tolerate a foreign policy platform that legitimizes extremist groups, says Charen. She doesn’t understand how Jews could support talks with Iran, a country dominated by a “mad clerisy” whose puppet dictator is determined to rid the world of Israel’s “stinking corpse.” (Republicans have criticized Democratic candidate Barack Obama for suggesting he would meet with Iran’s Ahmadinejad and other leaders unfriendly to the U.S. and Israel.)
The Iranian leader and other so-called “Islamic extremists” are hell-bent on “committing a second Holocaust even as they deny the first one took place,” Charen believes.
Put simply, Jews need to “stand up for themselves,” remarks Horowitz, editor of FrontPageMagazine.com, a website advancing neoconservative viewpoints.
A large portion of the Jewish community does not do enough to strike back against its critics, he declares. The conservative activist has particular derision for university administrators, who he insists coddle the Muslim Student Association and other campus groups that propagate hate toward Jews in general and Israel in particular.
Campus Hillels do nothing to counteract anti-Semitic rhetoric, even going so far as to create alliances with groups spouting genocidal propaganda, Horowitz continues.
This inaction reflects an attitude frighteningly reminiscent of Nazi Germany, the panelist contends. The Jews of 1930s Germany tried to assimilate, Horowitz notes, only to be virtually wiped out by Hitler’s Final Solution.
‘”They won’t hurt us if we show that we’re nice”‘ is a faulty attitude to live by, he says. “Jews should have learned that lesson.”
May, president of The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism, is also reminded of pre-World War II Germany when considering the threat Jews now face.
America’s current economic dislocation is not the only similarity between now and then: The product of 20th-century anti-Semitism, says May, was a Europe without Jews. The endgame of 21st-century anti-Semitism “is a Middle East without Jews.”
In light of the laissez-faire attitude the world had toward the threat of Nazism during the ’30s, May wonders, “Will we have the courage, resources and wisdom to prevent a repeat of the ’40s?”
Make no mistake, maintain the panelists, Israel and the West are entrenched in an ever-escalating war with Muslim extremism. That threat will increase exponentially if Iran is able to acquire a nuclear weapon.
Last month, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution reaffirming previous sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt its uranium enrichment program. Tehran continues to deny charges that the country is pursuing nuclear arms.
Pipes, who has long warned of the danger posed by “Islamofascism,” called for the bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities. The one-time adviser to Rudy Giuliani’s failed presidential bid believes the Islamic republic will have the high-grade fissile material to build a bomb as early as next year.
Paraphrasing the policy of Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, he said, “The one thing worse than attacking Iran is to accept (the country’s) acquirement of a nuclear weapon.”
One attack would not be enough, notes Pipes, as Iran has the material means to rebuild. The politics of an attack are also complicated: Not only would both the U.S. and Israel be implicated together if an attack took place, the worldwide condemnation of an initial strike would make the necessary second attack difficult to repeat.
In voicing the only outwardly partisan comment of the night, Pipes added that when it comes to stopping the threat of a nuclear Iran, “McCain will use force; Obama will not.”
A “flaccid Jewish response” to this threat and the current atmosphere of anti-Semitism is inexcusable, says Charen, the conservative columnist. Hard-nosed Jews must rally to counteract those “who don’t have the spine to stick up for themselves or the Jewish people.”
About The Jewish Policy Center
JPC strongly supports the global war against what the organization dubs “Islamic extremism.” The group also backs the U.S. effort to spread democracy in the Middle East and lends “full support” to the security of Israel.