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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

April 16, 2003

Response to a reader (Martin Kimel) re "RoachMap"

On April 10, 2003, I posted a call to action concerning the RoachMap. This piece elicited the following comment from Martin Kimel:

I don't agree with Colin Powell's views most of the time, but I don't think it helps our cause to link his name with what you're calling the "roach map." First, I don't think he merits being called a roach. Second, even if he did deserve it, he's very popular, and such put-downs can only anger people when we need all the friends we can get.
In shrot, contends Martin Kimel, the term “RoachMap” is neither justified nor politic. In responce, I'd like to make two points.

1. Why "RoachMap" IS justified

I read Shirer's book, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" for the first time some forty years ago. With every page read, I felt being progressively filled with revulsion at the appeasement policy of Britain and France, a policy that inexorably led to World War II. Of all the incidents listed by Shirer in his 1,000-page volume, the one that has haunted me most since my first reading concerned the Munich "agreement" of September 30, 1938, in which Britain and France betrayed the democratic Czech republic in the most repugnant of ways. I quoted selected, relevant passages in a piece I posted on April 14, 2003.

Today, we are faced with a repeat of the same abominable policy, and the intended sacrificial lamb is Israel. With every news story that emerges on the topic, the outrage I feel grows. Here is an excerpt from an article run by Ha'Aretz, 15 April 2003, entitled, "Weisglass takes road map doubts to White House":
[I]t was made clear already yesterday that the Americans do not fully accept these reservations with regard to at least one of the central points - the order of events.

President George W. Bush is apparently of the opinion that there should be simultaneous momentum at all levels and that when the security situation improves, Israel will have to take steps. These steps will focus on the humanitarian aspect of the peace plan, and the United States is adamant that they should encompass freedom of
movement in the territories.

The United States believes that if Israel eases restrictions on movement, the reformist elements in the Palestinian Authority will be able to prove they are improving the lot of the residents and thus to consolidate their position in the new Palestinian leadership...
...
So far, the Americans have not responded to the Israeli request that the Palestinians forgo - at the very start of negotiations - their demand for the right of return for refugees. There is no indication that the Bush administration will stray from the policy of its predecessors, which maintained that the issue should be raised only in the final stage and should not be a prior condition for negotiations.
Stated simply, the Israeli demands for tit-for-tat in a stepwise-process have been rejected, as has the Israeli central demand concerning the "right of return". At the same time, the Israeli restrictions on Arabs in Yesha are to be lifted, endangering Israeli lives; and with this unilateral concession comes a whole slew of other concessions.

How can we, as decent human beings, read this information and not seethe with rage, as a new Munich unfolds before our eyes? I coined the term "RoachMap" to reflect the indignation, revulsion and disgust I feel towards the architects of this atrocity, Powell included. Compared to the issue under question, I would consider the criticism which addresses the term "RoachMap" to be quite trivial, with all due respect: when a country is being slaughtered, one should have greater worries than the aesthetics of the poetry. The fact that Israel was once again betrayed by her "friends" is one issue I would worry about.

Oh, did I say, "friends"? It is indeed evident that Israel has many friends among "ordinary folk" in the US, as well as among US legislators; it is even true that the US government has assisted Israel financially (just as the US assists Egypt and Jordan, but receives curses in return) and militarily (just as the West in general has been arming the Arabs to their teeth). But this is just one facet of the overall picture.

On the other column of the ledger, recall how the US pressured Israel during the 1947-49 War to succumb to a cease fire, thus robbing Israel of a definitive victory; recall Eisenhower's pressure on Israel during the 1956 War, thus robbing Israel of yet another decisive victory, and also ensuring that Nasser's Egypt joined the Soviet block, to the detriment of the self-interest of the US herself; recall that having sowed the seeds of the 1967 War, the US declined to take action to prevent the war, leaving Israel to shoulder the burden alone; recall that in the 1973 War, it was US pressure that again saved the Egyptian army from utter destruction; recall the US pressure on Israel in the 1982 campaign in Lebanon, forcing Israel to leave the job half-done and saving Arafat's skin; and recall the last twenty years of constant pressure on Israel to make concessions, the worst episode being the Oslo agreement which led to the Oslo War, and now to the Mother of All Munichs. And let us not forget the vindictive, inhuman way in which successive US governments have been handling the Jonathan Pollard affair. The people of the US and many Congresspersons may indeed be genuine friends of Israel, but the US government, and the State Department officials in particular, are on a different plane entirely, and Powell, one of the RoachMap's principal architects, is part of that plane. Thus, I offer no apologies for coining "RoachMap", and I fear that in just a short time, it will be considered way too mild.

The partial list of hostile US steps against Israel, which I have just provided, may be deemed to be a mere collection of episodes. Indeed, anyone who wishes to see the big picture in its entirety should refer to:

Loftus, John, and Aarons, Mark. "The Secret War against the Jews". New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994.

This 650 page volume, of which over 100 pages consist of footnotes documenting the information sources used, leaves no doubt about the consistent war of the US and the UK against the Jewish people and against the State of Israel, starting in the 1920's and still ongoing. Below, cited from pp. 129-130, is the book's reference to Western complicity in the holocaust:

At the height of the slaughter, the U.S. assistant secretary of war, John McCloy, argued in writing that it would be unwise to divert Allied aircraft from military targets to bomb the gas chambers. He wasn't a bigot; he was a banker, whose memo reads like a balance sheet. The bottom line was that rescuing concentration camp inmates was not cost-effective, and so the Allied planes flew over Auschwitz to bomb routine industrial targets farther north. Bombing the gas chambers at just three death camps--Sobibor, Treblinka, and Auschwitz--might have shut down the killing system for months, sparing hundreds of thousands of lives. For the price of a few American bombs, however, the death camps remained open.
...
Why was nothing done? Most people were unaware there even was a problem. While a handful of newspapers, such as The Boston Globe, provided reporting on Hitler's atrocities, most of the Western press behaved like The New Times and buried a few minor articles on the back pages...

But Western politicians knew the truth about what was being done to t Jews and kept the public in deliberate ignorance. The Allied leaders classified the intelligence reports on Hitler's war against the Jews. U.S. military attaches filed weekly body counts from September 1941. The British Foreign Office and the U.S. State Department sat on a small mountain of eyewitness evidence that was corroborated by both British intelligence and the Vatican. As we documented in our previous book, "Unholy Trinity", both the British and American governments pressured the pope not to condemn the Holocaust publicly.

It is indisputable that the Western leaders conspired to conceal Hitler's massacre of Jews...
In short, I dispute that by using "RoachMap" I do Powell (or his predecessors, Alexander Haig excepted), an injustice, and I offer no apologies. It is Colin “Show Restraint” Powell who should apologize to Israel.


(2) Call a spade a spade

It may be argued, as Martin Kimel does, that even were the term RoachMap warranted, using it is unwise, since it alienates potential supporters.

For those of us who believe in the intrinsic merit of truth (as in, "virtue is its own reward”), this argument hold no water at all. But even if we heed the call to cease being naive and adopt the Realpolitik way of thinking, then the passage I quoted above from Loftus’ book should alert us to the need to call a spade a spade, in blunt, undiplomatic terms. The people of the US did not rise to the defence of the Holocaust victims, opines Loftus, because they did not know about the slaughter. And the people will not rise to support Israel against the RoachMap unless they are told quite bluntly where it is leading Israel inevitably. Unless one is actually a politician, in which case truth is not really expected, then there is no point in beating around the Bush in polite terms.

For me, “RoachMap” stands.