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In his historic address to the Israeli Knesset, President Bush said:

It is a rare privilege for the American President to speak to the Knesset. (Laughter.) Although the Prime Minister told me there is something even rarer -- to have just one person in this chamber speaking at a time. (Laughter.)



Bush was making fun of people who like to talk. Everyone in Israel knows he must've meant me, because everyone says I talk too much. So please, media outlets, be sure to carry a story about Ami Isseroff being insulted by President Bush, and link to this Web site: Zionism & Israel (got that) and tell people how hurt I am about this terrible insult. And don't forget to spell my name right. Interviews: $1,000.00 each.

Of course, I am not an MK, I don't really think President Bush insulted me, and I will understand if media outlets and pundits do not take up what would obviously be an absurd, not to mention ridiculous, paranoid and self-serving publicity campaign. Knesset members who really do interrupt all the time didn't raise a ruckus about those remarks. Even Knesset members are not that dumb and self-centered. But some other people are trying to generate publicity for themselves out of this largely ceremonial speech, a tribute to Israel at a gala event. They are like cockroaches in the wedding hall trying to steal center stage from the bride.

What Bush said in his Knesset speech that set them off was this:

And that is why the founding charter of Hamas calls for the "elimination" of Israel. And that is why the followers of Hezbollah chant "Death to Israel, Death to America!" That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that "the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties." And that is why the President of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map.

There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history. (Applause.)

The senator, by the way, was Idaho's William Edgar Borah, Republican, a consistent admirer of Hitler.

Numerous politicians and pundits have demanded that Israel and the US engage Hamas and Iran. These include the usual suspects like David Ignatius, not to mention former president Jimmy Carter. Huge pressure has been building to negotiate, though the basis of such negotiations and the possible grounds of agreement are never stated. Is the US supposed to agree to "Death to Israel" if the bad guys drop "Death to America?"

Barack Obama, who condemned Carter's initiative, pretended however, that these remarks were directed against him. He said, ""It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack."

If Obama advocates "engagement" with Iran, the attack is not necessarily false, though Obama is not the only one with such views, and the president is allowed to express his opinion on those policies. By that criterion, the president would be forbidden to speak out against any policy that Obama happens to advocate. As Shmuel Rosner explains, Obama's remarks were aimed at getting attention and positioning himself as the leading opponent of Republicans. cheap political stunt.

Obama was not the only one to capitalize on the remarks. At least, Obama did not distort Bush's words. The J-Street lobby sent the following absurd letter to its mailing list:

Subject: That's offensive, Mr. President

George Bush just called us delusional.

Click here to tell Bush: Shame on you! [Link not reproduced]

Dear J Street Supporter,

George Bush just called us delusional.

Speaking to Israel's Parliament today, the President accused those who believe in diplomacy to make America and Israel safe of indulging in a "foolish delusion" and the "false comfort of appeasement." [1]

More offensive, he likened us to those who favored talking to rather than defeating Adolf Hitler on the eve of World War II. How dare he invoke the memory of the Holocaust to justify his disastrous policies?

Write to Bush now and tell him - Shame on you!

Bush didn't mention the Holocaust there, and he didn't criticize everyone who advocates diplomacy. What makes J Street delusional, if nothing else, is the notion that president Bush took cognizance of their views in formulating his own. The US has had the same policy regarding Hamas and Iran for many years, and Bush has had the same opinions about terrorism. If J Street acts like they were born yesterday, it is because they more or less were.

If J Street doesn't understand that Iran is deadly serious about wiping out Israel, and that their threats and preparations cannot be ignored, it is their problem. Hitler, by the way, did some other things besides the Holocaust J Street, always self-centered, forgot that Hitler caused a bit of trouble for France, Britain, Poland, Roumania and the USSR among others. Though some people may find this hard to believe, a reference to Hitler is not necessarily a reference to the Holocaust. J Street's accusation is also incorrect. Bush did not criticize the use of diplomacy. In fact, Bush administration diplomats have been working pretty hard to muster a coalition that would discourage Iran from its nuclear weapons program. But Bush doesn't believe in a specific diplomatic option -- negotiating with Iran and Hamas -- which J Street advocates. J Street apparently fails to comprehend as well, that Iran is a danger to US interests in the Middle East, and that the confrontation with Iran is about Iraq, the Gulf States and Lebanon.

Supporters of "engagement" should take note: The EU has been talking to Iran about its nuclear program for many years, but has made no progress whatever. The US is a tacit party to these negotiations and Iran knows it. For them, negotiations are only about accepting their terms. The US has been talking to Iran about its interference in Iraq and has made no progress. As for Hamas, they continue to insist they are never going to recognize Israel and never going to make peace. So what is there to talk about with them?

President Bush is not my favorite president. You don't have to support all of his policies, however, to agree that his remarks about negotiating with the likes of Hamas and Ahmedinejad were certainly right on the mark. As for J Street and Obama, "if the shoe fits, wear it." They should not be so anxious to publicize their support for negotiations with Hamas and Ahmadinejad. In a few years, it will be evident even to them that negotiating with Hamas and Iran cannot lead anywhere.

Democratic partisans have been claiming that the imaginary Bush jibe at Obama was a major error, as it conjures up memories of Bush family support for Hitler. But the sins of the grandfathers are not visited upon the grandsons. If they were, it should surely work both ways. A Bush ancestor and namesake was a prominent advocate of the restoration of Zion. George W. Bush has never taken credit for the Christian Zionism of his ancestor, George Bush, a professor of Hebrew at NYU who wrote "The Valley of the Vision, or The Dry Bones of Israel Revived" in 1844. As for Obama, nobody knows what any of his ancestors thought about Israel, Jews, or Hitler, and nobody cares. What matters is what he thinks.

As a campaign strategy, Obama's complaint about the Bush reference was probably an error for Obama. It makes him appear to be a self-centered grand-stander, trying to steal a bit of publicity and call attention to his policies, which are not different from those of many others. It also calls attention to a very weak part of the Obama platform. The problem is not just that Obama wants to engage Iran, but that he has no "plan B." Given that European engagement with Iran as well as UN sanctions and pressure have failed, Obamian engagement of Iran is likely to fail too. What does he plan to do then?

Those who are so inclined can write to President Bush and thank him for supporting Israel and standing up to terror: president@whitehouse.gov.

Ami Isseroff


Original content is Copyright by the author 2008. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000545.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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