- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 1, 2006

The Washington Times June 25 article “Metro ponders signs in Spanish,” by Keyonna Summers, caught my attention. “Immigrants advocates urge assistance for riders with limited English language skills,” it reads. Right away my response was “big mistake.” Why? Because it’s a feel-good response to a not-well-thought-out scenario, based on what has happened in other countries that have changed their street signs.

America should take a lesson from Israel. Israel provided signs in Arabic and it encouraged the “them and us” syndrome. It was a well-intended gesture, but it encouraged division, not assimilation. It made it easier for the terrorists to find their way around Israel. Therefore, I think making it necessary to learn English appeals to a more loyal, patriotic and legal citizenship in our country.

Also, unfortunately, just like the “guest workers” program that our president wants to implement, Israel invited Arabs who live outside Israel proper (not Israeli-Arab citizens) to come to Israel for jobs. It was some of those same so-called “guest workers” that ended up joining Fatah, Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, Islamic Jihad and Hamas, all involved in terrorist acts against Israel.

Even some legal Israeli-Arab citizens in Israel ended up joining these terror groups, creating a dangerous “fifth column.”

A true sign of a loyal, patriotic citizen would be a person who wants to learn the language of their host country and protect the borders of the country that gives them a job opportunity, college education, scholarships, medical benefits and citizenship.

However, that is not the attitude of most of the Arabs that Israel provided with jobs, Arabic street signs, and medical and educational benefits. That was self evident in the Palestinian Authority’s last democratic election, when a majority of Arabs who call themselves “Palestinians” voted for Hamas.

So America should take a lesson from Israel and avoid making the same mistake. Otherwise, we will have a similar problem on our hands. The Mexican drug gangs will be demanding everything in Spanish, they will demand their “self-determination,” and they will start claiming Texas or Arizona as their homeland, and insist that it is occupied territory, not part of America. There have been rumblings of this already at some Hispanic rallies advocating amnesty for illegal immigrants. These are warning signs that we must take seriously.

It would be best to use the $500,000 per station to change all signs and maps to Spanish, or the $900,000 for large, multi-level stations such as Metro Center, for an English and American law and history educational program instead. We need programs to unite American citizens with legal immigrants, not to divide them.

It is only fair to say that many legal and illegal immigrants have been hard-working and good people, and have been an asset to our country and have helped our economy. Nevertheless, because we are at war now with an enemy that specifically targets civilians, we cannot afford to take the risk of even a few infiltrators reaching our shores. By pretending to be Mexicans looking for construction or agricultural work, they could possibly create another September 11 tragedy.

Sadly, these are different times requiring different reasons for immigration restrictions. It’s not like in the 1940s or 1960s when immigrants came to America just for a better opportunity for their families, or to escape countries under oppressive dictatorships or communism. Immigrants in the past were loyal, law-abiding, patriotic citizens who did not hesitate to learn our language and respect our laws. No so today.

Changing our street signs to Spanish only forces us to adjust to an Hispanic culture, instead of them adjusting to our culture. Every nation has the right to maintain its own native language, which is part of its unique identity.

In Israel, even after changing the street signs to Arabic and turning over lands to Arabs, the only thing Israel received in return for their so-called “goodwill gestures” was Palestinians shooting Qassam missiles at civilians in Sderot, across the Gaza border. More weapons have been smuggled over the border at Rafah and more underground tunnels have been used to attack Israeli soldiers at border checkpoints.

This is the reward for compassionate diversity. All Israeli land concessions for peace have been transformed into terror cells for war. Street sign concessions was perceived by some Israeli-Arab citizens and their Islamic comrades as a sign of weakness, not strength.

We must not forget that America’s enemy today uses unconventional weapons against civilians — from random sniper shootings, kidnappings, knifings and beheadings to suicide bombers. We as a society cannot be as open as we have been in the past for these very real security reasons. Changing street signs to Spanish in the name of cultural diversity may appear politically correct. But in reality, it is inviting more division in America, something we don’t need at a time when our country is threatened by anti-American warlords in Iraq, Islamofacists terrorist nations in the Middle East and militant drug gangs from Mexico.

BARBARA ANN FENNELL BLOOM

President, Peace Through Truth, Inc.

Owings Mills, Md.

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