- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 9, 2002

Denouncing Kurtzer
A member of the Israeli parliament insisting he wasn't acting like a Nazi yesterday called U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer a "little Jew" for criticizing Israel's policy on Jewish settlements.
Zwi Hendel of the National Union Party denounced Mr. Kurtzer in front of the parliament, or Knesset, and drew indignant responses from other members, who defended the ambassador. Mr. Kurtzer, ambassador to Israel since July, is an Orthodox Jew who speaks Hebrew.
Mr. Hendel, whose party is often described as an "extreme right-wing" organization, said, "As a representative of a foreign country whether Jewish or not Mr. Kurtzer has no right to interfere in our internal affairs.
"No Israeli diplomat would be allowed to act as he does. Mr. Kurtzer said in public recently that 'instead of taking care of the disabled and or economic development, Israel is investing in Jewish settlements, which should be dismantled.'
"I don't want to give a Nazi slant to my words, but as a Jew, I have the right to criticize this little Jew who is interfering in our internal affairs."
In Washington, a State Department official called Mr. Hendel's remarks "outrageous."
"The comment reflects the person who uttered them," said the official, who asked not to be quoted by name. "We appreciate expressions of support from other members of the Knesset."

Warning to Slovakia
The U.S. ambassador to Slovakia is warning Slovaks against restoring Vladimir Meciar's party to power if they want to join NATO.
Ambassador Ronald Weiser this week told Slovakia's Pravda newspaper that a rejection by NATO would also likely doom Slovakia's chances to join the European Union.
"The forming of the future government will influence whether Slovakia gets a NATO invitation or not. In 1998, Slovakia had a government that had different values than the alliance. If the situation repeats itself, there will not be an invitation," Mr. Weiser said.
Mr. Meciar, whom the United States considers an authoritarian demagogue, was replaced as prime minister by a coalition government headed by Mikulas Dzurinda. Mr. Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia drew 43 percent of the vote in the 1998 election, which was more than any other party but too little to form a government. His party remains an electoral threat to Mr. Dzurinda in upcoming fall elections.
Mr. Weiser, according to press reports from Slovakia, said more than NATO membership hinges on the election.
"If it will be a government that has the same values as NATO, then there will be an invitation [to join the alliance]," he said. "If Slovakia is not going to be a NATO member, its entry into the EU will be significantly delayed or won't happen at all."
Meanwhile, Mr. Meciar is staking out a strong pro-NATO and EU position.
"We regard Slovakia's efforts toward membership in the [NATO] alliance and the European Union as a complex and historic strategic interest for the country," he said in a speech last month.
"One process is not possible without the other, and both have great meaning for stability in Central Europe. We also see the support of our citizens for Slovakia's full membership into NATO as exceptionally important."
Mr. Meciar also said the terrorist attacks on the United States have given NATO a "new security dimension as a system of collective defense."

Diplomatic romance
A little romance has blossomed in the State Department press office, where deputy spokesman Philip Reeker is getting married.
His fiancee is a secretary in the European bureau not the kind of secretary that Colin L. Powell is, but the kind that does the unsung work of clerical duties.
"I'm marrying a secretary with a small 's' and work for a secretary with a big 'S'," he said yesterday, referring to his boss, the secretary of state.
Mr. Reeker and his future bride, Solveig Johnson, met when both of them were posted at the U.S. Embassy in Hungary four years ago.
For their Christmas vacation, they flew to Rome, where he proposed at his favorite restaurant, Piperno.
"I went to Rome with a girlfriend and came back with a financee," he said. "It's a move in the right direction."

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