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Fatal Addiction
Asher V. Finn

Fatal Addiction

Asher V. Finn

"The bestial drive to knead Passover matzahs with the blood of non-Jews is [confirmed] in the records of the Palestinian police where there are many recorded cases of the bodies [of] Arab children who had disappeared being found torn to pieces without a single drop of blood [left in them]. The most reasonable explanation is that the blood was taken to be kneaded into the dough of extremist Jews to be used in matzahs to be devoured during Passover."

Many of Israel's leaders, including her Prime Minister, seem anxious to return to the peace table to negotiate with Palestinian leaders despite the events of past weeks. Some regard that willingness as a sign of reason, others as one of madness. Some see the determination to pursue peace even at this stage as the product of a rational conviction that good will must surely prevail; others view it as a sign of an addiction every bit as consuming and destructive as any drug's, a crazed pining for an ultimately impossible comfort.

Opening a periodical like the current issue of the Jerusalem Report, a magazine produced by Israeli Jews for Jews around the world, one readily sees the yearning for peace, even in the advertisements. One portrays an Arab and Israeli boy with their arms around each other's shoulders; another touts "working to close socio-economic gaps between Israeli Jews and Arabs"; yet another is pledged to "the advancement of civic equality between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel"; another still "promotes partnership and dialogue" between Israelis and Palestinians. And there are several more of similar bent.

Those of us, though, who regard recent events as evidence that peace with the Palestinians is a dangerous illusion cannot be blamed for asking a simple question: where in the Arab press do any similar sentiments reside?

And that's if we're polite. If we're more inclined to bluntness, we ask no question at all, instead simply point to what that Arab press indeed offers. Like the tidbit at the start of this column. It appeared on October 28 in Egypt's leading paper, the official government organ Al-Ahram, as part of a full-page article that was translated and distributed recently by Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI).

There's plenty more in the informative piece, too. Like how the Jewish blood-lust "explains what we see on TV screens, where Israeli occupation armies kill children mercilessly while chewing gum as if they are on a trip... not as if they kill human beings, rather as if they were killing stray animals, in accordance with the religious law set forth in the Talmud." And more still, in that article and dozens like it in other organs of the Arab press.

We American Jews have every right to speak up here. The peace process in its immediate sense may (or may not) be largely an Israeli issue, but the hateful rhetoric and animus of the Arab world - and not an insignificant part of its violence - are clearly aimed at all Jews everywhere.

There may well be strategic reasons for Israel to disengage from the Palestinians, for her relinquishing to them land for a state of their own. There may well be moral grounds for Israel to treat the Arabs who live within her borders as full citizens of the Jewish State. There may even be an argument for negotiating again with Palestinian leaders. But no grounds whatsoever for trusting them or their compatriots in Arab countries in the least.

For the "true peace" for which so many of Israel's leaders pine simply does not exist, other than as a dream of their own, unshared and ridiculed by their adversaries. What exists in all too much of the Arab world today are lies, disdain and utter hatred for Jews. And they don't merely exist; they thrive.

Those who are psychologically dependent on the dream of a true peace between Jews and those who are their sworn enemies in the Middle East need to confront the fact that their addiction, if accommodated, is a potentially fatal one. Ironically, the beginning of their detoxification process may just lie in their forcing themselves to deeply inhale the toxic waste that passes for information in much of the Arab press.

[Asher V. Finn, who lives in Manhattan, is part of Am Echad's writing team.]

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