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Israel is taking all the right steps

THE path to peace in the Middle East is a tortuous one. Israel and the Palestinian Authority are working together with great difficulty to establish an Israel and a Palestine living side by side together in peace, as envisaged more than six decades ago by United Nations Security Council resolution 181 and in line with the "road map" for peace proposed by a quartet of international entities: the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

Reaching a fair and just two-state solution to this long-standing conflict has the support of the majority of the world's democracies and was reiterated in the Australian Parliament last month by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson in support of a bipartisan resolution commemorating Israel's 60th anniversary of independence.

This solution, however, has its opponents, particularly those groups led by Iran and its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and terrorist movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah which reject the peace process and maintain a fanatical commitment to destroy the state of Israel.

This would deny the Jewish people's right to self-determination and cause a catastrophic upheaval that would add to the suffering of both sides in this war-ravaged part of the world. Nevertheless, the radical Islamist rejectionists have gathered support from fringe groups on the extreme right and left of the political spectrum and ironically, given Hamas' anti-Semitic charter, even from a tiny minority of Jews.

These include the remnants of the Independent Australian Jewish Voices, whose leadership lost the support of many rank-and-file members last month for seeking to align the group with a one-sided advertisement promoted by Palestinian groups condemning Israel alone for all the troubles of the region.

IAJV founders Antony Loewenstein and Peter Slezak have been in damage control ever since, and their article "Self-defence or brutal occupation?" published on this page on March 31 unsurprisingly (given their lack of credentials and expertise in this area) demonstrates their lack of understanding of the complexities of the conflict.

They rely principally on the discredited work of Americans John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt to support the historically inaccurate proposition that it was the Arabs and not Israel who were the Davids confronted by a Goliath when five Arab armies attacked a severely outnumbered nascent Jewish State in May 1948 and threatened its inhabitants with a "momentous massacre".

Loewenstein and Slezak also cite out of context Benny Morris, who they describe as a "leading Israeli historian", to support their outrageous claims about the history of the conflict. They are apparently unaware that the same Benny Morris has demolished the Mearsheimer-Walt thesis and indeed, took their argument apart piece by piece in an article titled "The ignorance at the heart of an innuendo. And now for some facts".

Morris was scathing in his assessment of their thesis, describing it as a "nasty piece of work" and concluding that "what these distinguished professors have produced is otherwise depressing to anyone who values intellectual integrity". Morris said in the Irish Times in February that "the demonisation of Israel is largely based on lies — much as the demonisation of the Jews during the past 2000 years has been based on lies".

This lack of intellectual integrity is carried over in the works of many who seek to revise the history of the region in their quest to reject the notion of two states to resolve the conflict. The most problematic claim made by Loewenstein and Slezak is that Israel is "not the state of its citizens but only of the Jewish people" and that it discriminates against its Arab population.

In this aspect, as in many others, they deny the fact that Israeli Arabs are recognised on an equal footing as citizens of Israel. Arabic is one of the country's official languages, along with Hebrew and English, and the Arab population has grown significantly (so much for supposed "ethnic cleansing"), as have the numbers in employment and schooling. Arabs are also well represented in Israel's parliament and it has an Arab minister in its government. By contrast, the stated aim of Hamas and other Arab political entities is to categorically and violently rid the region of Jews.

Israel may not be perfect, but it is a vibrant democracy surrounded by Arab dictatorships and theocracies. The only hope for peace in the region remains the creation of an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel, rather than instead of Israel.

For this to occur, the Palestinian leadership must immediately cease all violence and terror, financial support for terror and incitement, and more importantly, re-educate Palestinians that this is the only option to move forward. Only then can the world give its wholehearted support to the process taking place between Israel and the Palestinian Authority which seeks to bring reconciliation, peace and prosperity to the two peoples.

Dr Danny Lamm is the president of the State Zionist Council of Victoria.

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Have a look Danny and let me know what you think if you have time...

Posted by Gaye on 2008-04-14 12:34:22 GMT

Me neither Danny, I cant see why these Muslim leaders are not asked to apoligise to the many millions of families of those they have slaughted and the Muslim leaders who have taken land from other nations. It always just seems to be Israel who is expected to give back and say sorry. I have put a few remarks in the CBS news ... CBS NEWS April 13, 2008 Israel Accused Of Psychological Torture Human Rights Group Says Ban Of Physical Torture Has Not Protected Palestinian Prisoners From Abuse

Posted by Gaye on 2008-04-14 12:33:53 GMT

My father ז"ל survived Teresienstadt and Auschwitz and fought in the Sinai campaign in'56.He never quite understood Israel's apologetic stance for winning wars and her right to exist. Neither do I.

Posted by Danny on 2008-04-14 09:04:53 GMT

2008-04-08 21:07:55 GMT You seem to be very much against Israel, and I would not count your chickens before they hatch.. Israel is NOT finished and never will be and as we have seen in the past those against Israel will regret it, and I am not Jewish, I just read a lot... You said that Israel has had dozens and dozens of chances to withdraw from the occupied territories... GMT cant you see that as Israel has had nuclear for many years that they have had many chances of destroying those nations around them but havent. and GMT they have kept giving land back until their lands are now so small that itis only as large as Lake Mitchigan. There is no other race of people who have been asked to give land back that has been taken in war so why should Israel. Then if Israel has to give land back then why shouldnt other arab races give back land that they have taken from each other over time. Perhaps you should read the Quran, Ishaq, the Tabari etc.. which says. Qur’an 33:26 “Allah made the Jews leave their homes by terrorizing them so that you killed some and made many captive. And He made you inherit their lands, their homes, and their wealth. He gave you a country you had not traversed before.” Qur’an 59:2 “It was Allah who drove the [Jewish] People of the Book from their homes and into exile. They refused to believe Ishaq:327 “Allah said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion.’” Tabari VIII:116/Ishaq:511 “So Muhammad began seizing their herds and their property bit by bit. He conquered home by home. Tabari IX:122 “Muhammad sent Uyaynah to raid The Banu Anbar. They killed some people and took others captive. Bukhari:V5B59N516 “When Allah’s Apostle fought or raided people we raised our voices saying, ‘Allahu-Akbar! Allahu-Akbar! None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.’” Ishaq:285 “Then the Apostle went raiding in the month of Rabi u’l-Awwal making for the Quraysh. Then he raided the Quraysh by way of Dinar.” Ishaq:286 “Meanwhile the Apostle sent Sa’d on the raid of Abu Waqqas. The Prophet only stayed a few nights in Medina before raiding Ushayra and then Kurz.” In any religious book, we must remember to read verses before and after to get the full context, but when doing that it makes these and hundreds of like verses look even worse.. Yep Mohammad sure was a nice man, he sent his men to die on raids.. but that didnt matter as they were all going to paradise to have many virgins either men or women whichever was their preference eh.. Forgoodness sake, Mohammad just went raiding because it suited him and he needed more booty.. he was a pirate on land..

Posted by Gaye on 2008-04-12 23:34:20 GMT

MM I totally agree with you and if what this person below said is right it is terribly wrong of Israel to have done that but what I know if Israel, I cant see that it is true.. they help even those who have tried to kill them... We have to remember also that Brendon Nelson has always been a labor man, as was his family his grandfather being a communist, Brendons mentors are all labor etc, and as labor wouldnt give him the top job he went to liberal who were stupid enough to put him in their top job so of course he will agree with the left as he has already done on many occaisions, which in itself is ok if the lefts ideas are good, but this man is still cant change horses like that when you have said that you will NEVER vote Liberal and have never recanted of his labor ideas.. There will never be peace in Israel for long, Muslims wont let it be so..and woe and betide those who go agaisnt Israel..

Posted by Gaye on 2008-04-12 23:06:13 GMT

I’m a non-Jewish friend of Israel, and thanks for the opportunity to comment. Danny Lamm may well be right about the IAJV, but we’d never know from the article. Can I suggest outsiders will be completely turned off? It’s basically an ad hominem attack (Loewenstein and Slezak have a ‘lack of credentials and expertise in the area’) and full of assertions (their thesis has been ‘demolished’, they don’t have ‘intellectual integrity’, what they say is ‘based on lies’) without actual details of the arguments. Frankly, this sort of article makes the average Australian newspaper reader think the pro-Israel and anti-Israel lobbies are equally crazy. That’s not good!

Posted by James on 2008-04-09 10:40:33 GMT

Dr. Lamm does well to set Lowenstein & Slezak strait on their inerrant history; however I believe it is a delusion to believe Islamist terrorists will simply join in a Two-State partnership of peace with Israel. If it were only posible it would be great. There is simply too hatred ingrained into the Palestinian mind with decades of propaganda brainwashing.

Posted by on 2008-04-07 22:07:55 GMT

fluff..The comments will eat him alive

Posted on 2008-04-07 04:30:43 GMT

Kol HaKavod Danny. Really well written piece

Posted by Ralph Zwier on 2008-04-07 03:50:13 GMT

Well done, Dr Lamm. A calm and reasoned expose, cutting through the lies and crap. I hope Antony Loewenstein and Peter Slezak are suitably embarrassed. Would it be too much to ask them for a retraction of their comments?

Posted by AMP on 2008-04-07 03:00:25 GMT