Letter to Editor
Fight Arab Terrorists Not Fellow Jews
Matthew Dorf, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, reports that AIPAC has criticized the Zionist Organization of America because the ZOA, and 42 members of congress, have suggested that U.S. aid to Jordan be used as leverage to pressure Jordan to surrender Abu Daoud, the terrorist who masterminded the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. One of Daoud's victims was David Berger, a native of Cleveland, Ohio.
I submit that the use of American aid to press Arab regimes to support peace or oppose terrorism is hardly an unusual proposal. For example, in April 1997, the Anti-Defamation League proposed reducing U.S. aid to Egypt by $100-million because of Egypt's failure to fulfill its obligations in the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. AIPAC itself, in its 1999 "Action Agenda," endorses "Congressional efforts to prohibit U.S. funding to the Palestinian authority unless there is sustained compliance with commitments made to Israel and the United States."
If the ADL and AIPAC can urge linking U.S. aid to Egypt and the Palestinian Authority with those regimes' behavior, why can't the ZOA and Congress urge linking aid to Jordan with Jordan's behavior? When The New York Times and other media reported last month that Abu Daoud was staying with relatives in Jordan's capital, Amman, the ZOA and Congress took action. I am not aware of any action taken by any other Jewish organizations regarding Abu Daoud. Those who say that the ZOA and Congress are wrong to raise the issue of aid to Jordan need to tell us what alternative methods they recommend using. What steps has AIPAC taken to help bring Abu Daoud to justice?
Indeed, what steps has AIPAC taken to pressure the Palestinian Authority to arrest the Arab terrorists involved in the 1995 bombing in Gaza that killed my daughter Alisa? The Israeli government has identified, by name, five terrorists who now reside in PA territory who were involved in that bombing. I am not aware of any steps taken by any Jewish organization except the ZOA, to demand that the PA extradite these five killers to the United States for trial. Why the silence when we should be shouting for justice at the top of our collective lungs? Is it really so difficult to send out a press release, to write a letter to President Clinton, or to pick up the phone and call a Member of Congress?
If AIPAC believes in "quiet diplomacy" on this issue, then it must demonstrate that quiet diplomacy has actually achieved something concrete. The public protests by the ZOA and Congress forced Jordan to publicly pledge that it will arrest Abu Daoud if he returns to Jordanian territory. I consider that a significant and impressive accomplishment.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said on August 3, 1999: "The war against terrorism takes precedence over everything else." It's time to take the Prime Minister's words to heart - time to stop attacking other Jewish organizations, and concentrate our efforts on using every means at America's disposal to bring Palestinian Arab killers of Americans to justice.
Stephen M. Flatow
Jersey City, NJ
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