Stained by Bloodshed
January 23, 2002
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A front-page dispatch from Jerusalem in today's New York Times reports that an Arab terrorist attack on a Jerusalem shopping district "came on a day already stained by bloodshed." How had the day already been "stained"? "Before dawn on Tuesday, Israeli forces killed four Palestinian militants, members of the Islamic group Hamas, with a raid on what the army called a bomb-making laboratory in the West Bank city of Nablus," the Times reports. Only the pacifists at the Times could consider a successful Israeli raid against a bomb-making laboratory of Hamas, a group that even the U.S. State Department considers a terrorist organization, to have "stained" a day.
Imagine if the Times had written a couple of months ago, "The anthrax deaths in the U.S. came on a day already stained by bloodshed; before dawn American bombing killed four members of the militant group Al Qaeda." It's unthinkable to describe successful American counterterrorist operations as "staining" a day. But there is a double standard applied to Israeli counterterrorist operations.
Business Story: The lead article in the sports section of today's New York Times is about a fight at a press conference that involved the boxer Mike Tyson. The article mentions a deal with HBO and Showtime that would have guaranteed Tyson $17.5 million for an April 6 fight. But there's a business angle to this story that the Times leaves largely unexplored. The Times is constantly running out endless profiles wondering how tobacco executives can live with themselves. Isn't it worth asking the executives of the parent companies of HBO and Showtime -- AOL Time Warner and Viacom -- what in the world they are doing by striking business deals with Tyson? These guys sit on the boards of fancy New York charities, yet their companies feel the need to deal with a boxer whose license was revoked "for 18 months in 1997" the Times says, "for biting Evander Holyfield's ears," and who the Times says, "served two jail sentences -- one for a rape conviction in Indiana and the other for attacking two men in Maryland after a car accident." It sure would be interesting to hear Steve Case and Ted Turner explain this one.
News Article: An original, non-Times-related news article follows: Street-Naming Stumbles Into Mideast Politics
Queens Democrat David Weprin wants to turn a so-far-undesignated Queens street into "a symbol against terrorism and in support of the state of Israel" by naming it after slain Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi, Mr. Weprin told Smartertimes.com. But Ze'evi's views --which included advocacy of encouraging Arabs to leave Israel, the West Bank and Gaza -- are prompting some objections to the plan.
New York City's leaders have long expressed firm backing for Israel, and Mr. Weprin's proposal comes just three months after then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani returned a $10 million check to a Saudi prince who urged America to respond to the September 11 attack by getting tougher on Israel. The proposal to rename a street is already drawing the ire of some Arab-American groups, who compare Mr. Ze'evi to Serbian leaders, and from a former city council member. But it has the support of some New York Jewish politicians, and Mr. Weprin's clout as chairman of the council's finance committee makes a bill honoring Ze'evi likely to pass if he proposes it.
The council member's plan is "provocative and unwise," former council member Ronnie Eldridge said. "The City Council shouldn't be practicing foreign policy, and this will arouse passions on both sides," she said.
The most recent Israeli politician to be honored with a New York street sign is Yitzhak Rabin. Second Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets was named for Rabin after his assassination in 1995. Chairman of the Moledet Party, Ze'evi stood across the political spectrum from Rabin, but like the slain premier, was a member of the old guard that fought to win Israeli independence. Ze'evi argued that the Oslo accords threatened Israeli security, and he advocated the voluntary transfer of Arabs out of the land under Israeli control. He drew attention last July when he said of Palestinian Arabs who are in Israel illegally: "We should get rid of the ones who are not Israeli citizens the same way you get rid of lice. We have to stop this cancer from spreading within us."
Ze'evi was assassinated in Jerusalem last October; the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the killing, the Associated Press reported.
"I don't support his views, I just support the message against terrorism," Mr. Weprin said. He said he would probably choose a street in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Kew Gardens Hills to name after Ze'evi.
Mr. Weprin's plan is "outrageous and absolutely revolting," Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee communications director Hussein Ibish said on Tuesday. "To honor him with a street in New York would be the moral equivalent of naming a street after Slobodan Milosevic," Mr. Ibish said.
Asked about the Milosevic comparison, a spokeswoman for Mr. Ze'evi's successor as minister and party chief Benny Elon said Ze'evi was not a racist. The slain minister favored "transferring people where they wish to go," the spokeswoman, Hagit Sachs, said.
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind called Mr. Weprin "courageous" for diving into Middle East politics. "A lot of people disagreed with some of the positions that Ze'evi took, but he was a leader in Israel and a man with incredible integrity," Mr. Hikind said.
Several current council members were unwilling to comment, and council staffers suggested that members would be unlikely to antagonize Mr. Weprin, who will hold considerable sway over budget decisions. One councilman, Brooklyn's Simcha Felder, has already decided to support the bill, a spokeswoman for Mr. Felder said.
Renaming streets after deceased politicians, athletes, musicians, statesman, and constituents is a cherished City Council power. Last year's honorees ranged from the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York from 1984 to 2000, John Cardinal O'Connor, to the owner of Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement and Kiddie Park on Coney Island, Denos Vourderis.
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