- The Washington Times - Friday, February 23, 2001

Every apologist for any military action that the state of Israel may take in self-defense suffered a near-death experience with the advent of Ariel Sharon as prime minister of Israel.
These people threaten Mr. Sharon with every kind of humiliation if he should have the indecency to attack Arabs in retaliation for any crimes they might commit against human lives in Israel. But, if Mr. Sharon stays faithful to his own character, he won't allow the perverted values of these frightened souls, who have a lopsided vision of how to maintain peace, define his agenda.
The Israelis have lived long enough with the preposterous idea that if they compromise, even to the extent of practically giving away half of their own country, this will somehow satisfy the demands, legitimate or illegitimate, of the Arab population. Even a mindless moron could tell by now that if you give away everything, including your own office furniture and indoor plumbing to the Arabs, the only thing you will get in return is more bombs exploding every time you go for a walk to the supermarket.
Unfortunately, it took too many years, and the loss of too many lives, for the people of Israel to understand these basic truths. Meanwhile, the people of the rest of the world, who appear to be more concerned with the fear of violence, than with the constant sacrifice of Israeli lives, are already trying to intimidate Mr. Sharon into a quiescent posture, whose only result would be more death and destruction in Israel.
Mr. Sharon always defied world public opinion. His only concern has been saving Israeli lives, no matter how much criticism or hostility he engendered because of his positions. If he decides to continue to remain defiant in the face of public opinion as he has in the past, he will take the only course of action that will finally put a stop to the endless attacks of the Arabs upon the Israelis.
If you are sitting safe in the U.N. building in New York, it is no problem to claim that if someone else fights back they are creating a "cycle of violence" instead of recognizing that it was a defense of one's own very life. Mr. Sharon has proven that he understands how this philosophy is self-defeating and destructive. He should stay as true to himself as did Menachem Begin.
When Begin became prime minister, everyone feared that because of his uncompromising determination to attack and destroy any enemy of Israel, peace would somehow become impossible to achieve. One speaker after another in the same U.N. building said the same things about Begin that they now say about Mr. Sharon: If he attempts to fight back with violence he will be responsible for a whole new conflict that will destroy human life in the entire region of the Middle East. Luckily, the opposite happened. Begin's threat of violence did not create war, it created peace. The whole world knew he meant what he said, and he said what he meant. They understood that these were not the words of an irresponsible warrior, but rather those of fearless survivor. He didn't care who he offended he cared about who he defended. The prime minister of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, understood Begin better than any other national leader. That's why instead of hoping to destroy Israel with another invasion, he suddenly made his historic journey of reconciliation. It didn't happen because of his love for Israel, it happened because of his fear of Begin.
Similarly, in this country, when Richard Nixon was elected president, all hope was abandoned for ever having an accommodation with the communist countries. Nixon had a reputation as a rabid anti-communist. When he was a member of the McCarthy Committee, he found communists hiding under beds in rooms that didn't even have beds. Thousands of Jews went hungry on Sunday evenings because they were afraid to send out for Chop Suey for fear of being accused of being friendly to communist China. And yet, he was the first president to visit China, and not just to get his laundry done. He developed a working relationship with that country.
When Ronald Reagan came to office he called Russia an Evil Empire, aimed missiles at it, called for a shield against their missiles and, in the end, bankrupted them into fragmenting their country to the degree that they were longer a threat to us.
In 1939, when Neville Chamberlain came back from his Czechoslovakian appeasement trip, Winston Churchill said that Chamberlain, in dealing with Hitler, "had a choice between shame and war. He chose shame; he will now have war." The prior Israel governments also chose shame, and what they received in return was war. Mr. Sharon will not make the same mistake.

Jackie Mason is a comedian and Raoul Felder is an attorney.

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