Wednesday, June 13, 2007

We are pleased to present Alex Arndt. He is working as a Research Associate and Web Editor for the Knowing Israel - a study tour project that helps to expose young European journalists to Israel's diversity and unique situation (

He is a PhD candidate at the University of Potsdam. In addition, he has been working for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, especially for the Post-Holocaust Anti-Semitism program, with translation, research, and briefings on European Anti-Semitism, with a special focus on Germany. He has also contributed with book reviews to the Jewish Political Studies Review. He holds two Master degrees from German and American universities in the fields of History and Cultural Studies.

Interview with Alex Arndt

WTW: Does Europe really know what is going on here in Israel?

Alex: The impression is that Europe does not understand Israel that well, there are a number of reasons and people have already written about this. I’d like to mention just three of these reasons. Western Europe, actually all of Europe with the exception of the old Yugoslavia has not experienced war in the last 60 years. Therefore, the public does not live in a society or a culture where you have to think about war. Nor do they have to plan for the next time someone is going to attack you. This is completely out of the mind of people in Europe, therefore the journalists and sometimes the European public tends to underestimate Israel’s situation. Another thing, Europe is a very post-nationalist society. Europeans, after all these wars that were fought for European identity, race and whatever crazy beliefs they feel that nationalism is a thing of the past which makes them a bit hesitant to embrace things like a Jewish identity many different kinds of things, like religion, cultural and ethnic, there are so many different things that form a Jewish identity, people just do not understand. Thirdly, there is this past of anti-Semitism in Europe which makes it a difficult subject to claim that a people they feel, at least subconsciously, that the wars in Europe and elsewhere has been responsible for the Jewish people looking for a state of their own. Although many do not want to admit it, they do say, “What you people are doing is what the Nazis did to you.” This inversion of holocaust themes are put upon Israel, I think, speaks of some sub-conscious feeling of guilt that one tries to project on Israel. Therefore I think many things come together and make the Europeans to be very hesitant to embrace Israel.

WTW: At the JCPA we monitored the French riots, and at that time there was a Muslim leader in Germany who said we do not have to learn German ; Germany is an Islamic country. Did you hear that remark?

Alex: I think I remember hearing something like that but I don’t think this is something that causes the German people a lot of controversy at the moment. The people still believe and hope that this is really only a problem due to a lack of integration for Muslim immigrants into European society. Many parties are asking, “How can we integrate them? What can we do?” The problem is due to some crazies and then one tries to get rid of them. For example, one man had to leave Germany because he was just a hate monger. I think the majority of the German people have their problems with integration but I think more because it is a problem of difficulty in integrating not because they think Islam is going to conquer Europe.

WTW: So Germans feel secure; there is such an influx of Muslims into Europe altogether. We know, for instance, that in France the police were told not to go into the neighborhoods where the Muslims were living because it was ' occupied territory'. This then is not a prevalent attitude in Germany; Germans do not fear that the Muslims are going to take over?

Alex: Not at all. I think that there are some scandals, last year there was this problem with an opera; it had a strange interpretation of Mozart’s interpretation of religious leaders like Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed was to be beheaded on stage and they cancelled the show; they were afraid of Muslims attacking the opera. The thing is that no one ever proved that the Muslims intended to do so. It was like preemptive surrender-people were afraid-this was rather an example of political correctness rather than really a threat there because there was no proof that the Muslims would have acted that strongly. The debate asks are we overreacting, are we Islamophobic, or are we failing to integrate those people properly? I think there is not a belief that Muslims are taking over Europe. Also, the French riots were perceived in Germany (apart from the far right) as a social problem. For example, those people have no jobs, they have no income, they are frustrated, they are young, they are not feeling integrated into the French society; therefore, they go out and burn cars. Basically you would have the same thing in Germany if we had problems with Muslim immigrants, Germans look for the cause in social problems not so much that there might be some ideology that is completely averse to Western values.

WTW: At this point in time in Germany there is no sense that we are in a 'clash of civilizations' or as some have said WW III has already begun, we haven’t recognized it yet? Just to be clear, the perception in Germany is that all the problems associated with Islam can be answered by economic or by social explanations?

Alex: Yes, I think this is the belief by the majority of the politicians and the public. Of course, there is a hope we can have peace. The cartoon incident definitely hit the European psyche hard, like what is going on was the thinking. If you read the German blogoshperes, more and more people are writing op-ed pieces in the major mainstream newspapers in Germany; more and more people are concerned with this development. They are really worried about Iran speeding to have nuclear weapons and the ongoing frustration with all these peace efforts that Europe invests so much money in and seeing, like in Lebanon and in the territories, they see all this money being expended and it is wasted, burned and they see all the violence going on there. I think the number of people concerned about what is going on. The whole idea of the term 'clash of civilizations' has been with us for a long time. This is considered politically incorrect. Therefore people would never try to talk in this manner and they try to avoid this term. They also try to downplay whatever is going on and thus provide analysis on a structure based upon social and economic issues. Also, the apparent failures of the USA with their policies in Iraq helps now to push those who were against the war from the start and who were against the war on terror from the start to say, “this is not about democratizing the Middle East, just leave them alone and the reasons they hate us is because of the way we treat them. The division between these camps is getting sharper.

WTW: You have just completed the first year of this program with three different groups of young reporters. Can you do a pre and post Israeli visit analysis of the program’s impact thus far?

Alex: We are still working on the program's design and we are learning from our mistakes. During our very first tour the Lebanon War broke out and on the other hand all the journalists were gathered together and were eager to go to this place. They brought with them their own values and beliefs and they wanted to go to several hot spots; they had plenty to write about. I think some of the journalists then focused more on the Middle East from then on. On the other hand the situation was very tense in Israel; everyone you talked to was pro war and again there were some journalists who were left with an impression that Israel is in a unique situation. These people did not know too much about Israel before their visit. Being here made it difficult for them to fully understand what is going on. Of course, we exposed them to many different points of view, they met Palestinians and these were not living up to the journalist’s expectations although they were moderate. They were extremely tense I think the journalists were also extremely frustrated from this interaction. There was also this constant reflection from their side that what Israel was doing was disproportionate. Although we tried to expose them to as many people as was possible, Netanyahu, Dore Gold, Carolyn Glick, they had am impression that they were not sure of their messages. This entire time of hard security talk was “too much for them” to digest. Why don’t you just get the job done and then withdraw or calm down? We did our best. If you have - say 5 people of the 9 people on the tour going away with amore profound and deeper knowledge of this situation and what Israel has to go through then I think the program is successful. After the first tour, we decided to change the program. The journalists come with an effective filter. They want to have Palestinians, they want to have Israeli-Arabs; they want to have left-wingers from Israel-we give it to them. We feel that first, this is a Democracy, it is a pluralistic society it is not a one party country who determines who goes to war or if we kill children –it is a pluralistic society and there are so many different opinions out there we should expose them to these different opinions. Now, during the war even the left - wingers were pro war. Even in our second tour, we met through Haaretz, thanks to a Czech ambassador's hospitality one evening-they were all pretty much pro-Zionist. The last tour was the most diversified and most liberal one to date. This is a thin line. I know this. Talking to a post-Zionist professor gives the reporters a completely different picture of Israel than say Dore Gold whom they will meet right after. The idea behind this is to have them have a didactic experience with regards to Israel. Fr example, have them listen to an Arab- Israeli then go for a tour with an Israeli across Israel-have them see Sderot, let them see how the people live and the destruction. Every time, the journalists were able to pick up the problems raised, they understood and came to their own answers and conclusions. They then were able to also expose the next speaker to the issues they witnessed. If this post-Zionist professor says the wall is insignificant, is there only for symbolic reasons, it does not prevent terrorists from infiltrating into Israel therefore it is exaggerated what Israel claims the wall does. Let the reporters hear this. Then take these issues to the next speaker to Uzi Arad and let them talk to him-ask him about the significance of the wall. Is the wall really completely senseless and is it really only for symbolic reasons? He will explain the opposite point of view. Let the reporters get the facts from different sides and try to get their own picture of the truth. The reporters are here for one week, they hardly have time to access the internet. How can they check these 'facts'? I do my best; I constantly am having discussions with them and provide them with some more knowledge. In the end, I hope that if they walk away from this experience, we give them evaluation sheets, they tell us what they liked most, what they found was the most difficult, I am sure, although they are not so sure of the 'defensible borders concept' or the fence, at least they have the knowledge that Israel wants peace. They leave understanding it is more complicated than they expected and they know this cannot be solved over night and that nothing can be solved by European wishful thinking. If this is the result then I think this program is successful.

WTW: This sounds like a wonderful program . Are you interested in taking this to other European countries?

Alex: This program is for European journalists, it is not just for German journalists. We get them from all over Europe, We have them from Italy, Germany, Russia, Poland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark.

WTW: Thank you for the clarification. You sponsor the program and you have young journalists from all over Europe. Is the issue of our three captured soldiers kept alive in Europe? Do they know that there are Arab members of the Knesset? Do they know it was an Arab Knesset member that suggested our soldiers be kidnapped?

Alex: The issue of the soldiers-they think that Israel acted disproportionately because only three soldiers were kidnapped and a few more killed. The majority of the German politicians supported Israel for the first two weeks-then they started to defect and put pressure on Israel to stop. In the mind of many people it is still felt that, yes, it was three soldiers but killing so many people and bombing Beirut in the manner we did. You have to argue with this interpretation. You have to tell them it is not only about 3 soldiers, but it is about constant exposure to Kassam missiles and they basically raid our border on a regular basis, then they start to realize this situation is more difficult than they first believed. Regarding language, 'occupied territories', I always put together articles by JCPA and Dore Gold’s famous article on ' occupation' to give them a legal background on just what is going on. They learn more about the history of the situation with this tour; most of these young journalists have very little historical understanding of this situation-it is their weakness. They have limited knowledge of Israel’s history. They see only Israel now, they do not know about 1948, the early Zionist movement of the Mufti of Jerusalem, many do not know these things. They do not know the history and, thus, they cannot appreciate how difficult it is to live in this neighborhood. Thus, the first Intifada, the Palestinians are seen as a people who are oppressed and suppressed by Israel. They do not realize that the Palestinians had many offers of peace but chose different direction-one of terror. The idea of the 'settlements' is a hard sell to the journalists. What you have is European pragmatism. I have to be honest here, although there is some sympathy for the Zionist idea and I feel that Judea and Samaria are 'disputed territories', from a pragmatic point of view and realistically point of view, you have this demographic that there is a Palestinian people living in the territories and their numbers are growing. This is an issue and this is what the Europeans realize when they hear and use the term 'occupied'. Europeans still have questions about Israel’s need for security and thus being inside these territories.

WTW: What does Europe think about the issue of 'settlements'?

Alex: So the 'settlement' issue is, you know, the Europeans feel like we should let the Palestinians have their state. Now the obstacle to this is that there is no space for the Palestinians. Now they regard any attempt by Israel to claim any of these disputed territories as her own is something detrimental to the peace process. You can argue that the peace process has failed and that Oslo has failed, and you can try to explain but still there is this issue of five million Palestinians altogether and they have to go somewhere. You can’t deport them; you have to find a solution. They feel the 'settlements', such as Hebron, are really difficult to hold. They are obstacles, you can try to tell them something, you can reason with them, you can tell them Hebron was always a Jewish city, there was a massacre in 1929, Look, right here now, the security regime for the Palestinian regime believe 'settlements' are detrimental to something called 'peace'. You can’t do much right now and you have to think about the future. The Palestinian population is growing, you will have over 10 million of them years ahead of now. Thus, you cannot forever hang on to the idea that you can have 'settlements' where there are more Arabs than Jewish people. You can’t have a democracy or Jewish democracy if there are more Arabs living there. We try to tell the young reporters that Israel can’t go backward, the issue is one of security. Security is a prerequisite for peace and without security, and without a reliable partner you cannot achieve peace.

WTW: Have they ever thought about Arab countries taking in the 'refugees' just as Israel took in 750,000 to 850,000 refugees?

Alex: Yes, we tell them about this, we give them this perspective. Even when we tell them that Israel is a Democracy and that it must put up with neighbors that reluctant to help the Palestinians out of this situation. So what is Israel suppose to do? In Germany we have a saying, “the smarter ones give in” and another saying “Always the smarter one is giving in, the stupid one is winning in the end.” Thus, Israel must find a solution, Israel must, of course, take care of its own interests and provide security for its people.

WTW: This will still be an unequal equation as there will still be Arabs living in Israel and they will multiply; the Palestinian state would be an apartheid state as no others would be allowed to live there. There are already 22 other Arab countries-that is not a fair exchange.

Alex: Yes, sure but they are asking for a state and yet they are not able to structure themselves in the manner that allows them to make a state. You still have the situation that the Europeans think that Israel should give them a state, leave them alone and they will all be happy. Although this is a fallacy, Europeans think this way. What can you do?

WTW: Alex, thank you very much, that is an interesting analysis of Europe’s point of view. Let me finish this by asking you to complete the following sentence-“There will be peace in the Middle East… “left for a time when the messiah comes.”

WTW: Thank you very much Alex, we wish you all the best

Successful "Letters to the Editor" Around The World

The 40-year war

Bren Carlill, June 5, 2007, Herald Sun,21985,21848459-5000117,00.html

TODAY marks 40 years since the start of the Six Day War. We are told constantly that Israeli "occupation" of the West Bank is the reason there is no Arab-Israeli peace.But this prompts an important question: If Israeli occupation is the cause of Middle East warfare, how come there was Middle East warfare before Israeli occupation?

On May 16, 1967, Egypt evicted a UN buffer force separating it from Israel and put troops on the Israeli border.On May 22, it placed a blockade on Israeli shipping in international waters. This act of war was accompanied by public declarations about driving the Jews into the sea. Syria began lobbing artillery rounds from the Golan Heights into Israeli villages.

For three weeks, Israel waited for the international community to intervene. Empty words aside, they did nothing. On June 5, Israel finally acted, striking Egypt and Syria. Despite Israeli pleas not to become involved, Jordan did just that, firing hundreds of artillery rounds from the West Bank into Jerusalem's Jewish suburbs. Six days later, Israel controlled the Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula and the West Bank, including the Old City of Jerusalem,containing Judaism's holiest site. Jordan had barred Jews from the Old City since1948. Immediately after the war, Israel offered the captured land, minus Jerusalem, in exchange for peace. The Arab League rejection was definitive. No peace, no recognition, no negotiations with Israel, it declared.

SO,the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242, which called for the same thing, land for peace.Lord Caradon, who drafted Resolution 242, was clear as to whether Israel should withdraw from all, or only part, of the territories.

"Knowing the unsatisfactory nature of the 1967 line," he said, he was not
prepared to use wording in the resolution that would have made that line

So,what has happened over the past 40 years?

Israel has done its part by withdrawing from more than 90 per cent of the land it won in 1967 and offered more than 95 per cent of the remainder.Israel's immediate neighbours have abandoned trying to destroy the Jewishstate by conventional means, but some aid terrorist groups that are still attempting to do so.The Palestinians, not even mentioned in Resolution 242, were given numerous chances to develop a state, but instead inculcated a generation with a love of violence.

Glorified in schools and on television, most recently by a Mickey Mouse look-alike, who can be surprised at today's internal bloodshed in Gaza? Forty years ago, the Arab world rose against Israel in the spirit of secular Arab nationalism.

Today, Israel's enemies unite under the banner of Islamism. This is the thread binding Sunni Hamas, Shiite Hezbollah and non-Arab, Shiite Iran. Iran is developing nukes and promising to wipe out Israel. Intoxicated by Iran's violent rhetoric and the West's lack of will in the face of it, there is a growing view in Middle East thinking that perhaps Israel can be destroyed.

Such thinking will only lead to more violence.

This anniversary of the 1967 war follows an Israeli report criticising successive governments for failures in last year's war with Hezbollah. The report highlights Israel's weaknesses and suggests ways to fix them.Israel is not about to be overrun, as many thought would happen in June 1967. B UT Israel has well-funded, well-armed and well-trained enemies who believe in an inevitable, divine victory and a religious obligation to fight.

It is impossible to deter religious zealots so convinced of their divine purpose that they are willing to blow themselves up on a bus full ofchildren.

Peace in the Middle East will only come when Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah respect the rights of others to live in peace and security, as demanded by the United Nations 40 years ago.It was not Israeli occupation that caused Arab countries to attack in 1967. Rather,it was their attack that caused the occupation. The same refusal to recognise Israel's right to exist is the reason for the lack of peace today.

BREN CARLILL is a policy analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs

Monday, June 11, 2007

Interview with Dr. Joel Fishman
June 2007

WTW: We are here with Joel Fishman who has agreed to spend some time with us-welcome to WTW, Joel, it is an honor to be here with you. Let’s get right to it.
What are your thoughts and opinions about the disengagement from Gaza-grave mistake of sound action by the state of Israel?

JF: How do we get from here to there? How did we get to the situation we now find ourselves? I think that we have to look back beyond the disengagement; the first event that brought us to where we are now is the Oslo Agreement which gave our enemy a beachhead and an opportunity to arm itself against us. The great mistake was Oslo. Because of Oslo, several respected commentators said that the arming of the Palestinians created a situation in which the Jewish settlements in Gaza became indefensible. I am not able to evaluate this analysis but it seems to me to be possible. Such a situation may have been the case but it was never said publicly. We have to understand this fact in order to measure whether or not disengagement was a good idea or not. One of the reasons for disengagement was that we had to leave. If we had to leave then the government should have done better with the population there. It is certainly true as we look at the events as they unfolded that disengagement left a very big empty space and gave our enemy a wonderful opportunity for staging new attacks upon Israel. If we look at any Middle East situation it is good and complicated; there is not a simple answer to the question. As to the response, Israel cannot have a heavy-handed military response unless it can first make its case known to the wider public, otherwise we will be accused of being inhumane, disproportionate response, and bullying the weaker side whether or not that we have been the victims, the people will forget the justice of our cause. We have to explain our cause and cultivate some international sympathy for us and our needs. We should be doing this even if we do plan to attack them in the future. Whatever we do we need to give full backing to the population in Sderot to make their situation tenable, they are a city under siege and we should look at it as was the case with Berlin when it was under blockade by the Soviet Union. We have to make it possible for these people to carry on as normal pace of life and we have to find a remedy for the rockets that are being used against us.

WTW: I rather suspect you have some thoughts and opinions about what Israel should be doing with regard to the rocket launches out of Gaza.

JF: Well we have to do something; we have to give careful thought to the situation that we now find ourselves. We have a very delicate situation, where if Israel were to intervene with a heavy hand, world opinion would explode against Israel. People would say that our country is using inordinate force and we are breaking international law and perhaps killing civilians. We have more than a military challenge in front of us; we have the challenge of public opinion. So if Israel did want to intervene with a heavy hand it would have to prepare the public opinion to explain why it would be necessary to intervene. The problem of course with the second Lebanon War was that it did not make its case to the world before it intervened. Although it would be well to say that we should go in with the tanks and blow the living daylights out of these people that could be a situation that might blow up in our face. I think we need more than what we are doing. I think maybe a combination of things, one is intervening very specifically on a well targeted basis within Gaza but in the same time we should be doing more to fortify and strengthen the people of Sderot to make them feel that it is important that they hang on. If need be we may have to build the whole city underground and supply them every day like in Berlin. We have to make sure they hold that city. It is important what we do on the battlefield ; we have to think on the level of politics and we cannot leave a segment of our population abandoned or allow them to feel abandoned under such circumstances. In other words, we have to make them feel like the people of Berlin who were on the end of a good airlift.

WTW: If we just looked at Israel’s response to Hamas once it became the elected government what are your thoughts about our response to Hamas?

JF: On paper our response to Hamas has been nearly perfect. Our Prime Minister said we would have nothing to do with them because they do not recognize the state and they don’t plan to recognize the state. Of course, we have contacts with everybody in the region, I don’t have first hand knowledge but everybody speaks with everybody else and our part of the world. The Europeans do not see things our way and I have been told indirectly that since Hamas has been elected more aid has come to them than ever before. Israel can’t stop it so we have to look at preserving Israel and also limiting and containing the danger that is facing us there by new and imaginative ways.

WTW: Do you have some ideas about some of these new and imaginative ways? Should we engage in collective punishment, for example?

JF: I don’t know and I can’t answer your question because people who would use the term 'collective punishment' would use the idea of disproportionate use of power. This is, I think, one of the cards in our hands-we could threaten to use it and hope that it would not ever be necessary. This is one of the great principles of deterrence-to have the force but wait to use it.

WTW: The last three days PM Olmert, has indicated that no one is immune to a response by Israel-this immediately prompted a response from Hamas; they indicated we had better not touch any of their leaders. This is an escalation of the rhetoric. Hamas has now said ,"We have the morale authority granted to us". They now represent themselves as the agents of high morale authority. What are your thoughts about PM Olmert’s public Gaza position? Are there any cautions that you think might be possible?

JF: I am not an advisor to governments-strictly my own personal opinion is whether exchanging personal threats has any value at all and it is easy to say smooth words. If you wanted to hear beautiful words, PM’s speech on the eve of the second Lebanon War left absolutely nothing to be desired. I think everybody should just keep their mouths shut and it would be better if the words were used as a substitute for real action-let’s say to appeal to the baser instincts of the Israeli people; it is the equivalent of bombing empty buildings. I do not think it is helpful when it comes down to real things.

WTW: Agreements with Muslims-doable? PM Omert is talking about another pullout calling us 'illegally occupying the land'. Should an international force be sent to Gaza? What do you think about American pressure, media?

JF: You mentioned trading land for peace. I don’t know, maybe there are certain circumstances when it is possible to do good business and transact deals with Muslims. We have to find a way to live with them. I think, first of all, that Israel has to be strong and I think the idea of land for peace is fundamentally wrong. The land that came into Israel’s hands was a result of a war in which Israel was the victim of aggression. Allow me to give you a new fact; there are two researchers who have been studying the motives of Russia in the 6-day war. The researchers say that the objective of Russia in the 6-day war was to encourage the Arabs to provoke Israel to make the first strike. If they could provoke Israel to make the first strike; the Soviets could intervene in force - even with nuclear weapons - and wipe out Israel. What went wrong is the Arabs did provoke Israel’s first strike; what went wrong was Israel bombed all of the airfields and probably quite a few of the Soviet Migs which were on the ground and the Soviet plan died at that point. So when we talk about the 6-day war Israel was maneuvered into a position of making the first strike but it was not the aggressor. Now when a country is attacked and is successfully able to defend itself it is entitled to take land and hold it until there is a final settlement. In this final settlement, they may keep some of this land, they may give some of it back; it is at the disposal of Israel. Now the whole thrust of the Soviet propaganda campaign, which others joined, was to say that Israel was the aggressor and therefore was not entitled to enjoy the fruits of victory. Before anyone engages in peace talks, or any transaction of land for peace, unilateral gestures. First of all it is all wrong. The other side has to accept the responsibility for being the aggressor, which is only factually correct, before Israel does anything. In other words the moral case is on Israel’s part and this is becoming more and more evident as the facts of new research become known. Israel does have a good case and I can also add that those who would encourage Israelis to forget their history are really doing a disservice to the state because they are throwing away a good moral sense and legal case.

WTW: What do you think of Sarkozy?

JF: I am not a French expert but I am a historian and as a historian I have been following the newspapers. I always bet on the laws of continuity. As was written in Ecclesiastes: ”All the rivers go to the sea and the sea isn’t full.” I think if we want to make a fair bet with our eyes closed maybe there will be a change of nuance but the general foreign policy in Europe - but particularly in France - is not something that is tinkered with; it belongs to the private preserve of the president. It is not open for public criticism. He will hold his position whether or not he pleases the people - meaning he can do whatever he wishes. Maybe we will see, due to circumstances on the ground and the demographics, the Europeans are becoming sensitive to the situation they have created there might be some greater flexibility – however, the general policies of foreign policy will remain the same. I visited France recently and the French I met are very concerned that their economy does not produce enough jobs for their young people. I met a lot of talented young people who have gone to the best schools and don’t have a future waiting for them in France. They have a great emigration of their young talented elite. The French look across the channel and see the opportunities in England. Many young French people go to England and there is a nagging feeling that they might want to follow the American example; however, England is closer and they think it might work for them if they gave it a

WTW: With an increase in Muslim population in Europe and especially France, do you think he can turn it around? More than 40% of young Muslims in England want to live by Sharia Law. Might the young French ones go to England and get caught up in this?

JF: I am not an expert on Muslim settlement in Europe. Let’s say that if you have a minority, around 10-15% minority of Muslim population and it is a large enough population that they can disturb the body politic, though I am not a prophet, the situation could become unpredictable and maybe the Europeans will have to find ways to cope with it. This is not a situation that allows them to look the other way as is the case in England. Melanie Phillips refers to London as “Londonistan”. It was given this name by the French secret service because the English authorities were tolerant of the Islamic terrorist groups on condition they didn’t operate in England. Of course, in the long run, it didn’t work out as they had thought and they didn’t buy protection or secure protection. We could have an interesting new situation.

WTW: I am a young college student who is an advocate for Israel on a campus that seems to be more anti-Israel than pro - Israel. As a historian, can you give me some words to use, from a historical point of view, that indicate the Jewish people are entitled to land upon which Israel resides?

JF: There is such a thing as a Jewish people. They do have historical claim to the land of Israel There has been continuous settlement on the land by Jews, in this area. Ben Gurion in his time said that the Mandate only confirmed the right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. Now whether or not others will believe in this claim we understand it is a great challenge. The important thing in this case is that the committed Jews and the committed Christians believe that Jews do still have a claim - should be firm in their faith. While it may be impossible to convince others, the best thing is we should stand firm in our faiths.

WTW: Words and language are powerful-the media and our enemy use both to misrepresent the truth. Can you suggest how we might change to counter this?

JF: We have to use our own terminology and we have to make it clear what we are speaking about; terminology is very important because if one uses 'the occupation' you are using the language of our enemy. For example, when Sharon said there was 'an occupation' - that Israel was 'occupying Palestinian territory', he became a slave of the enemy using their terminology and, similarly , during the Cold War , the Soviet Union accused Israel of having a policy of an 'apartheid ' state. This term comes from Soviet propaganda and one is disturbed that President Carter using this language because it is not neutral. It is very important to know where the terminology comes from and one needs to be very careful. If one looks further beyond the terminology we have to find our own media using correct language. There is a tendency in the West to want to be fair and to hear the arguments of both sides. In a sense, people of good faith wanted to hear the message of the Palestinians; the only problem was that the Israelis did not feel it was worth their while to state their own case so they left the field open to their adversaries. Israel must state its case not only in private or public initiatives the government must also state its case with the full authority of the government and we must use whatever alternative means of communication that we have. The Conservatives found radio in the USA with blogs and the internet to get our message across and it is very important that we should think both about terminology and also our message and get them both across. We should not leave a vacuum, we should get out in the field and we should fight.

WTW: On behalf of WTW we thank you for this interview and wish you all the best.

Joel Fishman is an Associate of the Jerusalem Institute for Public Affairs. He received his Ph.D. in Modern European History and Certificate of the European Institute from Columbia University. He is currently studying problems relating to political warfare and the defense of democracy. His most recent publication is: “Ten Years Since Oslo: The PLO's ‘People's War’ Strategy and Israel's Inadequate Response”, Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 503, September 1, 2003.