A Hasty Word Can Shake the World

Newspaper: Jewish Herald
posted on:
11 In may 1976
Individuals - Anwar Sadat, Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Yasser Arafat, Yitzchak Rabin. Diaspora - Diaspora Jewry. Foreign Policy - Diplomacy, Israel-U.S. Relationship. Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Fatah, Palestinians, Refugee Issue. Security - Fundamentals of Israeli Security. Jewish Heritage - Linguistics. Peace , Aliyah - Return to Zion. Greater Land of Israel - Settlements. States - Soviet Union (Russia), USA
Begin mainly talks about foreign perspectives on Jewry and Israel. He provides examples of comments made by Helmut Sonnenfled, Jimmy Carter, and Bruno Kreisky. Begin then shares that there are Jews who believe that Sadat wants peace and is moderate. Begin goes into detail explaining that Sadat encourages a plan that would destroy Israel. Sadat believes Israel should retreat to the 1967 borders and that Palestinians still deserve their rights. This would lead to the destruction of Israel and with Arafat ruling over the land. Then Begin talks about how the word "dissident" has been used to describe both Zion haters and lovers. Lastly, he mentions Yitzchak Rabin's statement that there are a group of Israelis wanting to harm the Israel- U.S. relationship, to which Begin argues subsequently harms Israel.
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"A Hasty Word Can Shake the World"


I FIRST HEARD of the central position held by Dr. Helmut Sonnenfeld in the State Department—from Leonid Brezhnev.  When Dr. Kissinger visited Moscow some months ago with Dr. Sonnenfeld he suggested that Russia and the U.S. should discuss the Angola issue.  Mr. Brezhnev openly ridiculed that suggestion saying that Angola was no part of Russia—"so why should I discuss it with the US Secretary of State?

"It would be better," he added, "if Dr. Kissinger were to discuss the issue with Sonnenfeld.  They'll obviously come to an agreement.  They always agree."

So that is Dr. Sonnenfeld, the State Department's expert on Russia—whom Dr. Kissinger calls, appreciatively, "my Kissinger."

Last December, in London, at a meeting US Ambassadors to Europe, Dr. Sonnenfeld made some secret remarks—wgich [which- JC], as such things are apt to do, have leaked out.


He preached "an organic relationship" between Russia and the countries of eastern Europe—remarks which caused a storm among Americans from the Baltic States and the Balkans, who interpreted them as indicated US approval of firm Russian overlordship of the territories.

To dissipate that furore, Dr. Kissinger went to work along his usual lines.  He issued a denial which said, firstly, that Sonnenfeld had not said what had been attributed to him; and secondly, he hadn't meant….

But subsequently it transpired that the Sonnenfeld remarks had been noted down by an authorised and leading US official, and moreover that the transcript had been approved by a top official and transmitted to all US Embassies as an official guide.

At this stage it was decided to release the document publicly…and it then transpired that there was a section, not hitherto referred to, which concerned the Jews espeically [especially- JC].

Dr. Sonnenfeld had emphasised that there was an impression that Soviet trade was a one-way business and that the US could obtain no payment for what it sold Russia "except Jewish emigration, or a limitation of armaments, or something else."

What has Jewish emigration got to do with the subject of Russian control of Eastern Europe?  What need was there to introduce the Jewish issue and the Jewish aspiration for aliyah into that official State Department guide to U.S. Embassies?

I am afraid that the answer is that here, once again, we have an example of Jewish inferiority complex.  Dr. Sonnenfeld, like Dr. Kissinger, is a Jewish refugee from Germany.  He has risen high in the State Department through his own abilities, but when he appears before US Ambassadors he feels obliged to prove a measure of apathy towards the subject of Jewish emigration from Russia.

 And, incidentally, the phraseology which led to the furore and the eventual publication of the document is also there, in black and white.  "Organic relationship."  Dr. Sonnenfeld now says it was an unfortunate choice of expression…


ON ANOTHER FRONT, there is Mr. Jimmy Carter, going from strength to strength in the preliminaries for the US presidential elections.

He has an easy smile and an attractive turn of phrase—but his tongue slipped when a journalist on his aircraft asked him if he would press for mixed populations in urban and outlying communities.  He replied that he saw nothing wrong with "ethnic purity" and added something about foreign groups that came to settle in different neighbourhoods.

When an aide pointed out that this unfortunate expression could cost him votes, Mr. Carter apologised for having used it.  His rivals ignored the apology and continued to attack him for the phrase, and Negroes who had earlier supported him were divided into two camps—those who forgave him, and those who refused to do so…


I DO NOT KNOW if Chancellor Kreisky of Austria prays—and if so to whom.  For the man longs for a rebirth.  If he were granted his wish, he would not be born Jewish.  Since he cannot be born again, he claims that the Jewish nation does not exist.

There is certainly a State of Israel and a people of Israel, but the Jews outside Israel "belong" to the nations in the midst of whom they dwell.

Some days ago Mr. Kreisky suggested that we should pray for the health of Sadat.  I think I can say for all of us that we would not accept that advice even through a man like Senator Jacob Javits (who, unlike Mr. Kreisky, does not hide his Jewishness) stresses that Sadat wants peace.

What is the peace Sadat (for whose health we must pray) wants?  This "moderate" man wants us to surrender Judea, Samaria and Gaza (with a corridor through the Negev) to Arafat and his colleagues.

That would mean our being surrounded by enemies, with our houses within gunshot distance of their cannons.  There would be a daily bloodbath—and in order to put an end to it we would have to reconquer all that territory…at a mighty cost.

And even Sadat (for whose health we should pray) does not promise us peace.  That is for the coming generations to decide, he says.  All he can given is non-belligerence—if we retreat to the 1967 lines and agree to the establishment of what Palestinian State, which would be a stage in the plan for the destruction of the State of Israel.  For Sadat keeps emphasizing that the Palestinians will still have the right to demand their "legitimate rights"—which means the extension of Arafat's rule over all the rest of Israel until that "secular State" about which he talks is complete and there is nothing left of Israel.

This is the Sadat for whom we must pray—who is regarded by the State Department as "moderate," and who in turn calls Arafat moderate.  And Arafat in his turn uses that term with reference to Assad.  Even the Iraqi murderer will have it applied to him soon, no doubt—and we will have a whole family of "moderates"—whose only aim is the destruction of Israel.

And for that Mr. Kreisky suggests that we pray.


THE FATAH MURDER ORGANISATION came into being in the 60s, before the Six Day War.  General Rabin was then Chief of Staff and I was amazed one morning to hear him refer to "the dissident Fatah organisation."

I telephoned him and suggested that he sould [should- JC] not call Israel's enemies "dissidents."  I added that there was no need to explain my reasons.  The general's reply was brief: "I think you are right."

Years passed and Mr. Rabin became Prime Minister.  He wanted to present the Gush Emunim to public opinion as a national danger—and called it "dissident."

I wondered: How can people be so manacled by the hate propaganda of the past?

Dissidents, apparently, is a label for everything evil.  They can be those who wish to exterminate Israel—and then they can also be those who love Eretz Israel.

Those who were once called "Dissidents" bore that "slur" proudly.  They acted as they did in a time of destruction, subjugation and danger for their people and helped give their people the victory that we celebrate on Yom Ha'atzmaut.  If there are still those who try to deny that fact, the shame is theirs.

RELATIONS WITH U.S. THE PRIME MINISTER REVEALED on the eve of Yom Ha'atzmaut that there is a group of people in Israel trying to bedevil relations between the United States and Israel.  That was a frightening statement.  We are all interested in friendly relations with America, and if there are those who are undermining such relations they are seriously harming our State.

The Prime Minister will have to tell the Knesset and the nation who those people are.  The accusation cannot be left hanging in the air.

Either there is a group deserving of public condemnation—or the accusation is without foundation.

We shall demand a responsible answer from Mr. Rabin.

Our forefathers said: Life and death are in the hands of the tongue.  They were right.  We have learnt especially in this age. That a hasty word can shake the world.

(Translated from the Hebrew by Joe Kuttner).