Rightist Rally Hears Speech From Giuliani
OCTOBER 26, 2001
JERUSALEM — NEW YORK'S MAYOR Giuliani spoke by telephone this
week to a right-wing rally here at which speakers called for the
dissolution of the Palestinian Authority and several speakers urged the
mass expulsion of Palestinians from Israel's occupied territories.
The rally, staged by the Council of Settlers of Judea, Samaria
and Gaza, was billed as a memorial for slain Tourism Minister Rehavam
Drawing a boisterous crowd of 80,000 mainly Orthodox Jews to
Jerusalem's Zion Square, its themes included stepping up the war against
terrorism and banishing Yasser Arafat from the territories. At least four
speakers, including a leader of Ze'evi's Moledet Party, Knesset Member
Benny Elon, called for the "transfer" of the Palestinians from the West
Bank and Gaza to the 22 other Arab nations as demonstrators brandished
signs that described Mr. Arafat and Osama bin Laden as "twins."
Mr. Giuliani spoke to the crowd by live telephone hookup from New
York, reportedly at the invitation of Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert.
"New York and Jerusalem are closer than ever before," Mr.
Giuliani told the crowd, adding that the two cities have "the same
values." "Both the United States and Israel are seeking to defend and
perpetuate the same values of democracy, freedom, respect for the law and
human life," he said.
According to a close adviser and former aide to Mr. Giuliani,
Bruce Teitelbaum, the mayor had no knowledge of the contents of the
speeches or the tenor of the rally. He "simply wanted to express his
solidarity with the people of Israel at this very difficult time and to
explain to the Israeli people that the United States is fighting terrorism
and that it is important to eradicate terrorism forever, wherever it exists."
"I'm certain the mayor would reject the notion of the forced
expulsion of anyone from Israel," Mr. Teitelbaum added.
Last year, while Mr. Giuliani was running for the U.S. Senate
against then-first lady Hillary Clinton, Mrs. Clinton was repeatedly
criticized by Mr. Giuliani's supporters for appearing at events where
sponsors or fellow-speakers took extreme anti-Israel positions. In each
case Mrs. Clinton had denied being familiar with the background of the
people in question.
This week, however, most observers appeared to accept Mr.
Giuliani's ignorance as sufficient explanation for his participation
alongside advocates of a view most Americans consider repugnant. "If one
mayor asks another to address a gathering, there is no reason to have any
doubts," said the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham
Foxman. He added that ADL views the notion of "transfer" as "undemocratic,
contrary to Jewish tradition and Jewish history."
"You try to find out to the best of your ability what will be
said, but there is nothing to stop someone to get up at the microphone
and deciding to go beyond the script," said the assistant executive director
of Americans for Peace Now, Lewis Roth. "However, it is also incumbent on
individuals speaking at political events in Israel to make sure that the
tone and content of the events are consistent with mainstream thinking about
The speech was the second time in recent weeks that Mr. Giuliani
has injected himself into the Middle East conflict. Two weeks ago, he
rejected a Saudi prince's $10-million donation toward relief for the World
Trade Center attack after the prince suggested the attack stemmed from
American support for Israel. The mayor's move at the time was applauded by
many American Jewish organizations.
"Transfer," or mass relocation of Palestinians from the
territories, is a controversial doctrine that kept Ze'evi on the margins
of Israeli politics for years, despite his reputation as a military hero.
The doctrine continues to win little support in the general public, though
it is said to enjoy significant backing in the settler community, which is
nearly unanimous in opposing any peace plan that would give Palestinians
sovereignty in the territories currently under Israeli control.
This week's rally was intended by the settler movement as a
combination show of strength, memorial to Ze'evi and protest against
what settlers view as government inaction in the face of Palestinian terror.
One rally participant, Heather Samuels, a native of Memphis,
Tenn., said she attended the rally to mourn Ze'evi's death, to oppose
the dialogue with the Palestinian Authority and to encourage Israel's
government to use military means to resolve the year-old intifada, "just
as President Bush is" in his war against terrorism.
Others, however, used the rally as an opportunity to spread
messages of their own. One Moledet volunteer was seen distributing
stickers calling for the arrest of the "Oslo criminals," as rightists often
refer to Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and his allies. The volunteer, who
declined to give his name but said he was from the West Bank settlement of
Karnei Shomron, wondered aloud how the United States would react if the
"black population of America was to rise up against the whites and fire
mortars at New York. That would be the end of them. Now we have to do the
A deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Larrisa Gerstein, a political ally
of Mr. Ze'evi, told the Forward she saw the rally as evidence of a
"resurgence of the right, that was always strong. But more than the
strengthening of the right, I see the building of national unity,
unconnected with politics, that addresses our survival. The only way to
ensure [Israel's survival] and to commemorate the deaths of the 657 people
killed since the signing of the Oslo agreement is to see Oslo to the grave."
Many on the left, however, downplayed the importance of the
rally. "I am surprised that they had less than 100,000," said Peace Now
spokesman Didi Remez. "As an absolute show of strength it was pretty
small." He predicted that the return of the Israeli government to
pre-Oslo policies of confrontation with the Palestinians would galvanize
Israel's floundering left. "Most people see us sliding down a slippery path
to another Lebanon, and that is what we must prevent," he said.
Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of
America, placed Mr. Giuliani's speech in line with his support for
Israel and dismissed any connection between the mayor and the issue of
"The issue of transfer is an issue for the government of Israel
and the people of Israel to discuss, not for the mayor of New York
City," Mr. Klein said.
Mr. Foxman, while agreeing that "our responsibility is not to
respond to demonstrations and people in the street," said that American
Jewish groups need to respond if the issue of population transfer is
The rally showed the anger many Israelis feel in the wake of the
Ze'evi assassination. As demonstrators held a sign declaring "Muslims
are Nazis," Mr. Elon criticized Prime Minister Sharon for sending a message
to Washington that Mr. Arafat is Israel's partner, while declaring in
Israel that he is the enemy.
Mr. Olmert, for his part, devoted his speech to expressions of
unreserved support for the settler movement. He called the settlers the
"commandos of Israel, the very foundation of Israel's strength," who act as
Israel's defensive outpost against those who oppose its right to exist
"both within and without." He ended his speech by declaring that Israel
will "never leave any part of Jerusalem."