Tags: Solving | Oil | Crisis | the | New | Anti-Semitism | and

Solving Oil Crisis, the New Anti-Semitism, and Leaving Gaza

Monday, 29 August 2005 12:00 AM

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that we will spend $211 billion on imported oil. In 2004, we spent $158 billion and in 2003, $114 billion.

Rising oil prices have increased the cost of living and are causing a diminution in consumer spending for other purposes that may ultimately cause major downward shifts in the value of equities.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Web site:

"In the past, dependence on oil has cost our economy dearly. Oil price shocks and price manipulation by the OPEC cartel from 1979 to 2000 cost the U.S. economy about $7 trillion, almost as much as we spent on national defense over the same time period and more than the interest payments on the national debt. Each major price shock of the past three decades was followed by an economic recession in the United States. With growing U.S. imports and increasing world dependence on OPEC oil, future price shocks are possible and would be costly to the U.S. economy."

In the interest of safeguarding our economy and protecting our foreign policy from the pressures of oil suppliers, it is critical that a government-backed program be initiated comparable to the Manhattan Project that would explore alternative sources of energy. I assume that creating a nuclear bomb was an even more difficult task.

The program I am recommending would be an international project similar to the joint effort now being made by the U.S., Europe, Japan, China, Russia and South Korea to harness the clean power of nuclear fusion. There is no time to waste. We must find a substitute for oil.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of an American soldier, Casey, who was killed in Iraq. She has been picketing President George W. Bush in Texas and demanding another meeting with him. The president met with her about a year ago. At the time she said she was satisfied with the meeting.

Ms. Sheehan is now the center of several controversies. She is opposed to the war in Iraq, which is her right. A majority of Americans polled recently on the war also oppose it. She is also accused of having written an anti-Semitic letter to ABC's "Nightline," blaming Israel for the death of her son, who volunteered to serve in the U.S. armed forces. She says the letter was altered after she gave it to a friend to e-mail it.

The Forward reported on August 19, "Speaking to the Forward through a spokesman Tuesday, Sheehan denied writing the letter and said that someone who hacked into her e-mail account sent it." The Forward also reported, "In an interview Monday night with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Sheehan had denied making the statements. 'I didn't – I didn't say – I didn't say that my son died for Israel. I've never said that,' Sheehan said."

The purported altered letter is grist for the mills of the anti-Semites, whose numbers, evidence indicates, are rising throughout the world. Every parent of a son or daughter killed in the war in Iraq deserves sympathy. But sympathy for the deaths should not include acceptance of anti-Semitic comments without protest.

We are only 60 years away from the day the gates of Auschwitz were opened by the Soviet army in its advance on Berlin. Ms. Sheehan should not be treated as a sacred cow, her remarks free from a searching inquiry. Did she or did she not write the language clearly intended to incite other Americans against Jews in America and elsewhere?

I decided to call officials at ABC to learn what they knew. I spoke with two representatives, both of whom were open and fully forthcoming. One, Emily Lenzner, memorialized our conversation with the following e-mail:

"Dear Mr. Mayor:

Per our conversation earlier today, I am writing to you as promised to hopefully further clarify the situation with the letter Cindy Sheehan wrote to Nightline on March 15. As I explained over the phone, the letter was forwarded via email from an acquaintance of Ms. Sheehan. Ms. Sheehan is claiming that some of the language in her letter of March 15 was altered by the intermediary who forwarded the email to Nightline. She says as much in an Internet posting she wrote on August 16. Several Web sites have picked up this posting, which I've pasted in below for your reference. As you will see, she explains in parentheses that the person who helped her get the email to Nightline was responsible for the alterations to the letter – not the Nightline producer. I understand that on some Web sites, this crucial mention in parentheses is left out, which leads readers to read that the Nightline producer was responsible for altering the email, which is absolutely not accurate. I have asked Ms. Sheehan's PR representation to try to amend this situation to prevent further confusion. We do not have a statement as you had requested, though I hope that the above on background explanation and the evidence below will sufficiently provide you with the information you need for your column."

Ms. Sheehan was quoted in the media, stating:

"Another ‘big deal' today was the lie that I had said that Casey died for Israel. I never said that, I never wrote that. I had supposedly said it in a letter that I wrote to Ted Koppel's producer in March. I wrote the letter because I was upset at the way Ted treated me when I appeared at a Nightline Town Hall meeting in January right after the inauguration. I felt that Ted had totally disrespected me. I wrote the letter to Ted Bettag and cc'd a copy to the person who gave me Ted's address. I believe he (the person who gave me the address) changed the email and sent it out to capitalize on my new found notoriety by promoting his own agenda. Enough about that."

Alison Bridgman of ABC, with whom I did not speak, followed up with an e-mail, stating:

"Mr. Mayor – will try to get the original of that Sheehan letter if our computer guys can dig it out of the archive. Even if we can there is a slight issue in that Sheehan forwarded her original email to a third party who then sent it to Nightline. We may not be able to prove conclusively that the email she sent the intermediary is the exact email we received. But we will do our best to get to the bottom of this. Thanks."

Clearly, a legitimate question has been raised, succinctly put: "Did she or didn't she?"

Additional disturbing comments attributed to Ms. Sheehan continue to appear: Mark Steyn in The New York Sun reports her saying, in commenting on President Bush: "You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana: You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine. ... America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for."

Steyn went on to write, "That was part of her warm-up act for a speech by Lynne Stewart, the activist lawyer convicted on conspiracy for aiding the terrorists convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing."

Interestingly, the language placing responsibility for the death of Casey on the Jews is a variation on the ancient blood libel alleging that Jews kill Christian children before Passover to use their blood in making the holiday Matzos (unleavened bread). At the time of 9/11, anti-Semites spread an equally false rumor that Jews were responsible for blowing up the World Trade Center towers and, at the very least, knew about it in advance and warned their co-religionists not to go to work that day.

That there is a gullible public receptive to such malicious false attacks on Jews is undeniable. That is why it is so important to determine who is responsible for this the newest blood libel.

The evacuation of Israelis from Gaza and two settlements in the West Bank should be seen as one of Israel's finest hours. One cannot help but be sympathetic to Israelis, some of whom have lived in their homes for thirty years, being forced to begin a new life elsewhere.

Watching the IDF soldiers and Israeli police officers remove these angry and tearful people – 8,500 in number plus several thousand supporters – with great sensitivity was impressive. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's statement was especially poignant. He said to those being removed:

"Don't attack the men and women in uniform. Don't accuse them. Don't make it harder for them. Don't harm them. I am responsible for this. True, they [the settlers] had a dream, and I did too, that we can hold on to all the territory, or most of the territory, but things have changed."

A substantial majority of Israeli Jews, supported by Jews in the U.S., believe in the two-state solution – a Palestinian state living peacefully adjacent to a Jewish state. It will take years to achieve this result.

The "road map" endorsed by both the prime minister of Israel and the president of the Palestinian Authority does not by its own terms go into effect unless and until the Palestinian Authority disarms terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and destroys their infrastructure. Hopefully, the Palestinian Authority will meet these obligations so that additional progress can be made under the road map.


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In 2005, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that we will spend $211 billion on imported oil.In 2004, we spent $158 billion and in 2003, $114 billion. Rising oil prices have increased the cost of living and are causing a diminution in consumer spending for other...
Monday, 29 August 2005 12:00 AM
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