Quiet Debut for ‘Passion’ DVD

When Rabbi Harold Shulweis learned that the DVD of "The Passion of the Christ," which debuted on Aug. 31, would be just a bare-bones, no-frills copy of Mel Gibson’s controversial movie, the spiritual leader of Encino’s Valley Beth Shalom said, "That’s very good. I don’t think the Jewish community has to repeat, regurgitate, all the anguish, all the anger."

The DVD and video release of "The Passion" by Fox Home Entertainment will arrive in stores quietly, a change from the loud, once seemingly never-ending ecumenical controversy that surrounded the film’s Ash Wednesday theatrical release in late February. The film’s midnight premiere at Hollywood’s Arclight Cinemas found Christians leaving the theater in tears; at least one Christian viewer argued politely afterward with a Jewish patron, telling her, "I’m gonna pray for you right now."

None of that greets the film’s DVD/video arrival. Gibson is not doing interviews. The $29.98 DVD has no director’s commentary, behind-the-scenes feature or any other add-ons that usually accompany the DVD release of a film that enjoyed a $375 million U.S. box office.

What Jews may remember most is not a blockbuster film, but some insensitive — to some anti-Semitic — movie images of Jewish leaders living under Roman occupation. Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance, said he would not have changed anything about his response to the film.

"If you’re asking me if we have changed our positions, absolutely not," said Hier, who said he still feels "The Passion" depicted those ancient Jews who did not become Christians in the first century C.E. "in a very negative manner."

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) considered "The Passion" an interfaith outreach tool rather than a continuing controversy, and in Houston the AJC worked with Gibson on a Jewish-Christian "Passion" preview screening. By contrast, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Director Abraham Foxman spoke out continually against the movie until its premiere, but the DVD release is not prompting new comment because, he said, "The issue plays once. DVD is not the event the film was."

The February opening prompted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to issue a collection of Catholic documents about Jews and Jesus’ death. While some bishops commented publicly on the film, the bishops collectively did not issue prominent statements or hold national press conferences to warn against possible anti-Semitism or tell millions of non-practicing Catholics that "The Passion" should not cause people to blame the Jews for the death of Christ.

After seeing the film in Rome, Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote in the archdiocesan newspaper The Tidings last March 19, "Did hints of anti-Semitism creep in?" But the question was raised without being answered.

"Not every bishop felt it was necessary to issue a public statement," said Eugene J. Fisher, associate director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ secretariat for ecumenical and interreligious affairs.

"There are resources and materials aplenty," he said. "The system worked to deliver the teaching to the Catholic community."

But not seeing bishops on television expressing concern about Gibson, an ultraconservative traditionalist Catholic, disappointed Jewish leaders; Hier believes the bishops were getting mixed signals from the Vatican about whether or not the pope liked the movie.

"More could have been done. Absolutely more could have been done," Hier said. "When there were the confused signals of what the pope said, I think Catholic cardinals and bishops were confused as to what the pope did think."

Hier and Foxman both were accused of helping promote the film by talking about it repeatedly. Hier points to the best-seller status of Christian end-of-time/rapture books as proof that without Jewish criticism, Christians see movies and buy books that may not portray Jews positively.

"The ‘rapture’ books — they’re hardcover best-sellers," Hier said. "There were no protests, no controversy. There is a constituency to buy such books as there is a constituency to see such movies."

The DVD is expected to sell well; Wal-Mart will discount the R-rated movie similar to the Family Christian Stores’ $19.95 DVD price. Aug. 31 also heralded some "Passion" bandwagoning as studios released fresh DVDs of "Jesus Christ Superstar," and "The Greatest Story Ever Told," plus ABC, NBC, BBC and PBS will release religion documentaries and a documentary on Ethiopia’s Falasha Jews.

On the humorous side, this week, Paramount released a DVD of religion-mocking "South Park" episodes titled "The Passion of the Jew."

Looking back on what once was an exhaustive debate over Gibson’s movie, Foxman said, "Would I do it again? The answer is yes. I don’t think we had a choice not to react. None of us prophesized the burning of synagogues. If we hadn’t been out in front, the Catholic bishops wouldn’t have put out a compilation of essays. [Gibson] put it out there. He made the issue. We didn’t have the luxury, based on history, to be silent. I don’t think I took us anywhere that we shouldn’t be."

End the Preoccupation

Israel advocacy on campus has become a front-burner enterprise for the American Jewish community. Attacks by anti-Israel campus activists, including a fair number of Jewish students and faculty, demoralize and often intimidate most Jewish students who are ill-equipped to counter these efforts to delegitimize Israel. It is a mark of the Jewish community’s growing concern that more than 25 national organizations are now involved in training campus activists to defend and promote Israel and thereby inspire Jewish students to feel a sense of pride in themselves and the Jewish State.

But as well-intentioned as the efforts of the growing coalition of Israeli advocacy organizations are, I believe that if we win this battle we will have lost the real war, which is not for Israel’s security but for the hearts and minds of this generation of young American Jews.

Let me explain. In the post-Six-Day War euphoria, most of us could not see what growing numbers of Jewish college students have come to believe and even Israelis on the political right are now admitting: We have been blind to the corrosive effects — as well as the demographic threat to Israel’s democratic and Jewish identity — of the decades of what even Ariel Sharon has called "the occupation," however unwanted it may have been and however intransigent most of the Arab world has been about coming to terms with the reality of Israel and ending the suffering of the Palestinian people.

Arguing, as so many Israel advocates do, that Israel’s behavior is less immoral or problematic than that of her neighbors, or even other democracies at war, is factually correct, but is not likely to restore a sense of boundless Jewish pride in the almost 90 percent of college-age Jews who attend universities in North America.

Most of them are, indeed, as Natan Sharansky characterizes them, the Jews of silence — not simply because they are not up to winning the campus debates with Israel’s enemies but because they have largely tuned out. Most of these students, from my experience with thousands of them, would like to have a sense of pride in Israel but feel a profound sense of sadness and frustration at the continued suffering of the Palestinian people and the less-than-equal treatment of Arab citizens in the Jewish State — however much better their lot may be than those in neighboring Muslim countries — and a sense of acute shame when their Israeli brothers and sisters sometimes behave with less-than-the-highest moral rectitude, even if better than most others under similar circumstances.

It is indisputable that Israel is held to an unfair double standard on campus and throughout the world. Jewish students more than any others expect more of Israel than of any other country — surely a measure of positive Jewish identification — and are concomitantly more troubled when Israel does not live up to these often unrealistic expectations.

The campus debates between Israel’s advocates and detractors will have no impact on what actually happens in the Middle East — only Israel and the Palestinians can determine that — but how these debates are conducted will have a profound impact on the future of Jewish life in America because the war is not really for Israel but for the hearts and minds of the overwhelming majority of this generation’s college-age Jews. Of course the base and egregiously false charges against Israel must be answered, but most of these young Jewish adults will not feel a sense of pride in being Jews by being armed with the best debating points, or even when they fully understand the extraordinary events of recent Jewish history. They will want to understand their remarkable history and know how to respond to these attacks only if they have a sense of deep pride in being Jews.

Rather than simply teaching Jewish students how to win the debates with Israel’s detractors or even to promote the many positive features of Israeli culture, it’s time for our community to help them reframe the war of words and to directly confront our Arab and Palestinian cousins on campus and tell them clearly what both we and they need to hear.

A Proposed Conversation

Here are five arguments we should be making to pro-Palestinian advocates:

1. Israelis Want a Palestinian State. There are many countries that want to see a resolution of the brutal and tragic conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people for geopolitical reasons, but the two communities in the world that most want it for existential reasons are the Palestinian people and the Israeli people. Very few Arab countries seem to be very eager to actually have a Palestinian state — if they were they might have established one when Jordan and Egypt occupied the West Bank and Gaza — and outside of Israel there is arguably little interest in the Middle East for a democratic state of Palestine. Such a state would constitute a threat, simply by its existence, to many of its neighboring regimes if it were to join Israel as one of the precious few democracies in the region. If you want to make the best possible case for Palestine, we have some suggestions for you.

2. Drop the Anti-Semitism. Clean up your act. Do you really hope to win support for the Palestinian cause by proclaiming, as you now do, that the only people in the world not entitled to national self-determination are the Jewish people? Spain and Italy and Argentina can legitimately be states with a predominantly Christian character, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Indonesia can legitimately be states with a predominantly Muslim character, but the Jewish people alone are not entitled to a state in their homeland with a predominantly Jewish character? The behavior of every nation should be the subject of discussion, but why should any nation’s existence be the subject of discussion? Why is it that Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, is the only country in the world about which anyone could conceivably begin his or her criticism with the words, "I believe Israel has a right to exist, but…."? Do you really think that presenting yourselves as racists and anti-Semites will build sympathy for the creation of a Palestinian state? Enough is enough.

3. Don’t Insist on a Judenrein State. End your argument — even if only for tactical reasons — that all of the Jewish settlements must be dismantled as a precondition for a peace agreement. With hindsight (except for the clear vision of a few, like Hebrew University professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who understood it immediately after the 1967 war), growing numbers of Israeli Jews now acknowledge that the settlements were probably a mistake and maintain that they would be prepared to dismantle most of them in exchange for a real end to the hostilities. While evacuating these settlements, which will come at a terrible price for Israeli society, may prove to be necessary for a resolution of the conflict, do you really want to maintain that the only way that a state of Palestine can come to an accommodation with Israel is if it is Judenrein like Saudi Arabia, or that an independent Palestine can’t be counted on to protect its Jewish citizens — or even non-citizens — living there? Why not take the high moral ground?

4. Don’t Be Afraid of Self-Criticism. Think about engaging in a little self-criticism, not only because it is called for but because it is a sign of strength, not weakness. One can open the pages of Ha’aretz and find more trenchant criticism of Israeli policy, including its treatment of the Palestinians as well as its own Arab citizens, than some of the outrageous attacks and tactics that too often characterize your end of the shouting match between us. The real problems in Israel may well be even more serious than you imagine and we all need to discuss them, though the Israelis seem to be doing a better job of that right now than anything you — or we — are doing here. There are reasons why we hear so little criticism of the Palestinian leadership from the Palestinian people, but there is nothing stopping us on campus from setting a better example.

5. Recognize That Palestine Needs Israel. If you are serious about having an independent Palestinian state you will have to make a critical decision and a public commitment, namely to acknowledge, as we do, that just as it will be next to impossible for there to be a safe and secure State of Israel without a safe and secure State of Palestine, there will never be a safe and secure State of Palestine without a safe and secure State of Israel.

Israel is not planning to disappear and no nation would — or should — acquiesce to the creation of another state on its border bent on its destruction or that cannot or will not prevent its own citizens from attacking that nation. Israel, then, will defend itself militarily, and the results of a response to an existential threat would be devastating for all in the region.

All of us who support a safe and secure Israel and the creation of a safe and secure Palestine must support the security of both if we are serious about the security of either. Most of us are prepared to advocate for an independent state of Palestine in order to end the suffering and trauma of Israelis — Jewish and Arab — and to end the suffering and trauma, as well as to restore the political dignity, at long last, of the Palestinian people. Those of you who, like us, support the establishment of an independent State of Palestine have to declare, do you want Palestine, or do you want blood and vengeance and no Jewish State of Israel? If the latter, you have lost any moral claim for your cause and there is really nothing more for us to discuss. If the former, you will have a powerful claim to our support.

Only if we proudly and forthrightly represent ourselves, as we should, as a community that will — out of both our own vital self-interest and our Jewish moral imperative — help to build support for a Palestinian state that is seriously prepared to live in peace with Israel and thereby help to end the suffering of the Palestinian people, will we win over this generation of young Jews, not to mention the political leadership of America that is also coming of age on college campuses. In the end, the moral high ground is the only secure ground on which to stand.

This essay originally appeared in The New York Jewish Week.

Michael Brooks is executive director of the University of Michigan Hillel.

Main Findings in Suppressed Report

The study that the European Union’s Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia commissioned was prompted by a wave of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe that intensified in the spring of 2002. The report was suppressed, allegedly to avoid offending Europe’s large Muslim communities. The European Jewish Congress obtained a copy of the report and released it Monday.

Among the report’s findings were these:

In many cases, perpetrators of attacks could not be identified. But in cases where they could, the attacks "were committed above all either by right-wing extremists or radical Islamists or young Muslims, mostly of Arab descent, who are often themselves potential victims of exclusion and racism."

Attacks such as desecration of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, painting of swastikas, sending threatening and insulting mail and Holocaust denial generally were attributable to the far right.

Physical attacks on Jews and the desecration and destruction of synagogues often were committed by young Muslims. Many of these attacks occurred during or after pro-Palestinian demonstrations, which also were used by radical Islamists for engaging in verbal abuse of Jews. In addition, radical Islamist groups were responsible for placing anti-Semitic propaganda on the Internet and in Arab-language media.

On the extreme left-wing scene, anti-Semitic remarks were made at pro-Palestinian and anti-globalization rallies and in newspaper articles that used anti-Semitic stereotypes in criticizing Israel.

This combination of anti-Zionist and anti-American views formed an important element in the emergence of an anti-Semitic mood in Europe, the report found. Israel — portrayed as a capitalistic, imperialistic power — the "Zionist lobby" and the United States are depicted as evildoers in the Middle East and as a negative influence generally on world affairs.

More difficult to record and evaluate than street-level violence against Jews is "salon anti-Semitism," which is found in "the media, university common rooms and at dinner parties of the chattering classes," the report said.

In public debate on Israeli politics, individuals who are not politically active and do not belong to the far left or far right often voice latent anti-Semitic attitudes, the report found. Opinion polls show that in some European countries, a large proportion of the population harbors anti-Semitic attitudes and views, but they usually remain latent.

Observers point to an "increasingly blatant anti-Semitic Arab and Muslim media," including audiotapes and sermons, in which the call is made to fight Israel and Jews across the world. Though leading Muslim organizations sometimes express opposition to such propaganda, calls for the use of violence are assumed to influence readers and listeners.

The report also discusses the media’s possible influence on the escalation of anti-Semitic incidents. The question is whether such escalation is due merely to daily coverage of Israeli-Palestinian violence or whether the reporting itself had an anti-Semitic bias.

One study of the quality German press concludes that the reporting concentrated greatly on Israeli military actions and was not free of anti-Semitic cliches, but negative views also were applied to Palestinians. The report on Austria found anti-Semitic allusions in the far-right press.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, some Europeans argued that Islamist terrorism was a natural consequence of the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for which they held Israel alone responsible. They also believe Jews have a major influence on America’s allegedly biased, pro-Israel policies.

This nexus is where anti-American and anti-Semitic attitudes could converge and conspiracy theories about "Jewish world domination" could flare up again, the report says.

The assumption of close ties between the United States and Israel provides further incentive for harboring anti-Semitic attitudes. Especially on the political left, anti-Americanism is closely bound up with anti-Zionism. Additionally, dovish activists, globalization opponents and some Third World countries view Israel as aggressive, imperialist and colonialist.

Such criticism is not necessarily anti-Semitic, but the report found that there are exaggerated formulations in which criticism of Israel crosses the line into anti-Semitism, such as when Israel and the Jews are accused of replicating Nazi crimes.

The tradition of demonizing Jews is in some sense now being transferred to the State of Israel, the report found. In this way, traditional anti-Semitism is translated into a new, seemingly more legitimate form, which could become part of the political mainstream in Europe.

Educational campaigns targeting Muslims, which include such arguments as burning "a synagogue is like burning a mosque," have encouraged dialogue, the report found. — TA

Security vs Civil Liberty

As the United States intensifies its war against terrorism at home and abroad, the Jewish community may be poised to serve as a bridge between the Bush administration and some of its critics in the civil liberties community.

That was evident at last week’s Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) plenum in Washington, where delegates debated and ultimately passed a resolution expressing reservations about some of the policies instituted by the government to wage this new war.

Judging by the JCPA debate, Jews are deeply ambivalent — torn between admiration for an administration that is firm in its resolve to fight a terrorist threat its predecessors ignored, and the fear that some of its leaders are exploiting the crisis in an ideology-driven effort to roll back these protections.

That ambivalence is hardly surprising.

The enemy in this new war is shadowy, its next moves impossible to discern. Six months into the battle, it’s harder than ever to judge whether the new threat facing the nation justifies a significant recalibration of the balance between national security concerns and basic constitutional protections.

After a slow start, the Jewish community is beginning to wrestle with those issues, taking a balanced approach that could be useful to the nation in the days ahead.

The Bush administration may have good reasons for policies like detention without charges and military tribunals to try terror suspects, but they have done a woefully inadequate job of explaining them to the American people. Instead, they simply invoke national security as reason enough, and imply that critics are somehow soft on terrorism. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, in particular, sometimes gives the impression he is just settling old ideological scores, not responding rationally and responsibly to a new national threat.

But the civil liberties groups haven’t been any better at making their case. Al Qaeda has been hurt by the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan, but its leaders are probably still alive, and its adherents are still active in up to 60 countries around the world.

Critics of administration anti-terror policies have failed to convince the public that they understand the new threat and the need to take serious action against it.

They offer few clues how they would remedy the deficiencies that left the nation wide open to attack on Sept. 11.

The Jewish community is poised to play a bridging role between the critics and the administration, although until now, the debate has been muted. Too many Jewish leaders, fearful of losing precious access to the administration, have been reluctant to utter anything that implies even mild criticism. Others, pleased that the administration seems ready to take on some of Israel’s enemies as part of this new war, have refused to say or do anything that might rock that boat.

The debate at the JCPA plenum may signal a new and more useful role for the Jewish community. Delegates debated a resolution, sponsored by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), that strikes a balance between praising the administration’s anti-terror efforts and pointing out specific areas of concern.

The resolution acknowledges that we live in a radically changed world, with new dangers that must be dealt with.

But, in language that never becomes strident, it makes it clear that new policies and procedures must be examined carefully, to make sure the need for them outweighs the costs regarding civil liberties.

To its credit, UAHC forced the Jewish community, through the JCPA umbrella, to start dealing with some of these difficult questions.

Despite the active, informed debate at JCPA, the Jewish community — with its long commitment to civil liberties, but also with an acute awareness of the challenge of fighting terrorism in this brave new world — is still groping in the dark. So is the rest of the nation. But that groping is much better than blind acceptance of the newest claim that national security requires sweeping, hard-to-reverse changes in traditional protections of American civil liberties.

Could Be Green and Great

Numerous spokespeople for the Orthodox Jewish community have passionately opposed any transportation solution that includes using the Chandler portion of the MTA right of way. I would like to express support of the MTA’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route on the Burbank/Chandler corridor.

I have been a resident of the San Fernando Valley for over 25 years. During this time, I have seen traffic on surface streets grow while we have debated endlessly over the right mass-transit solution. The outcome of our years of debate has been no solution.

The Valley needs enlightened transportation solutions to relieve gridlock on local streets. We have consistently demonstrated that small, special-interest groups can come together in successful opposition to proposed transportation solutions. Unfortunately, we have been unable to look beyond our special interests to support the “Law of the Commons” and find solutions that produce benefits for the entire community. Today, as a result of our uncompromising nature, we have lost our chance for a subway or light rail; a dedicated busway is the only rapid transit option under consideration by the MTA.

The full BRT, including Chandler Boulevard, offers a unique opportunity for the Valley.

The dedicated busway will provide fast, predictable transit times that will get people out of their cars and ease traffic congestion while establishing a model for other dedicated busways in the San Fernando Valley.

$300 million is a bargain. A subway for the same route would cost $4.2 billion.

We have the opportunity to have a greenway — complete with landscaping, pedestrian paths and bikeway — extending from North Hollywood to Warner Center.

The dedicated busway within the broad right of way will provide the safest route with the least disruption to adjacent properties.

The MTA has listened to the Chandler community and has answered its concerns. The bus will be limited to 35 mph; additional pedestrian crosswalks will be provided, there will be no sound walls (no “Berlin Wall” dividing the community) and walk signals will be automatic on the Sabbath and Holy Days.

Lankershim/Oxnard is not a solution. It is not a dedicated busway; it is simply another bus on a very crowded street! We only need to look to the red Metro bus on Ventura Boulevard to see the ineffectiveness of this approach. The adverse impacts on safety, noise, pollution and traffic are far worse on Oxnard; but, unlike Chandler, there are few opportunities for mitigation.

Using fear tactics, a small group of residents has convinced many of their neighbors along Chandler that the busway will mean a 30 percent to 40 percent drop in property values, and will destroy their community and threaten their religion. These are incredible claims — Chandler already has buses; the 100-foot-wide right of way is currently an eyesore, and the Orthodox Jewish community thrives on Fairfax, South Robertson and La Brea — all far more congested than Chandler. Religion is, after all, about faith in ideals, not superficial surroundings.

The environmental impact report points out that “little community opposition has arisen against the Lankershim/Oxnard variation.” There are good reasons for that. The residents along Oxnard are very diverse — we are Latino, Armenian, Russian, Asian, African American and, yes, Orthodox Jew. Because of this diversity, it is difficult to bring the residents together on any issue. Many residents have not yet heard of the Lankershim/Oxnard alternative.

Much of the housing along Oxnard is less than 20 feet from the curb. The new bus would pass within 30 feet of people’s living rooms and bedrooms. By contrast, homes along Chandler will be separated from the bus by at least 70 feet and, in many cases, by well over 100 feet.

Traffic accidents on Oxnard intersections outnumber those on the corresponding Chandler by as much as 10 to 1. The bus will be operating in an unsafe environment.

Each weekday, over 6,000 children attend school along Oxnard. Many of those who walk to school do so because their families do not have a car.

By allowing part of the route to operate in very congested traffic, the value of the project is seriously diluted. The project will only be as effective as its weakest link. The $245 million spent on the remainder of the route will be wasted.

I believe the East/West Bus Rapid Transit will prove to be a very valuable asset for the entire San Fernando Valley and for the communities served. But we must keep pressure on the MTA officials to deliver the system they have promised. The greenway, effective sound-mitigation, attractive stations, a bikeway, a pedestrian path, safety measures and well-thought-out traffic crossings are all required to make this project a success.

Muslim-Jewish Discord Debated

Two of the keenest American academic minds on the politics of the Middle East — one Jewish, the other Arab — debated the present and future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Monday evening, and reached agreement on at least three points.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is inept and unpopular with the great majority of his people.

The American media, especially CNN, are doing a terrible job of covering the conflict and are thoroughly biased. However, the perceived bias is in favor of Palestinian “terrorists” in Jewish eyes, and is partial to Israeli “oppressors” from the Arab view.

Israelis and Palestinians regard each other with deep suspicion and hostility, but their mutual interests dictate that they ultimately reach an understanding.

Facing each other and more than 200 listeners at the UCLA Hillel Forum were political scientist Steven Spiegel of UCLA, an early Clinton adviser on the Middle East, and historian Rashid Khalidi of the University of Chicago, who was an advisor to the Palestinian delegation at the 1991 Madrid conference.

Both professors are leaders of international relations centers at their respective universities and have written authoritative books in their fields.

The event was the last of six in a lecture series on “Muslim-Jewish Relations: Harmony & Discord Throughout History,” sponsored by Hillel and various Jewish, Arab and academic organizations.

In a generally pessimistic survey of the current situation, Spiegel saw some hope in the newly proposed report of an international commission, headed by former U.S. Senate Democratic leader, George J. Mitchell.

The report calls for an immediate halt in violence, followed by a cooling-off period, a complete stop to the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and denunciation of terrorism and apprehension of terrorists by the Palestinian authority.

Khalidi said that these points were not enough to satisfy Palestinian demands. In his criticism of Israeli and American peace plans, he argued that even the presumed and widely hailed concessions by then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David last year would leave Palestinians with a series of disconnected “Bantustans,” or slices, in its territory and East Jerusalem.

Pessimism ran deepest on the Palestinian demand for the right of return of some 3.7 million Arab refugees to Israel, which is two to three times the number who lived in Palestine in 1948. The refugee issue is seen as a basic existential issue for both sides, and presents an even more complex problem than the future status of Jerusalem, the speakers agreed.

Spiegel said he regretted in particular the many opportunities lost by Palestinian leaders in reaching peaceful solutions.

The UCLA professor designated an indecisive Arafat as the primary culprit in the failure of recent peace efforts, asking, “Where is the Palestinian Nelson Mandela?”

Khalidi, while not accepting this appraisal, cited a change in Palestinian leadership as one of the requirements of a possible peace, along with U.S. pressure on Israel and a change in Israeli public opinion. Spiegel said that one sorrowful aspect of the second intifada over the last six months has been to destroy the peace camp in Israel and to elect, in effect, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

He added,”Sadly, both sides have lost their sense of interdependence, but they will either fall together, or triumph together.”

Loyola law professor Laurie Levenson and student Adam Rosenthal moderated the intense but civil two-hour debate.