ISRAEL'S U.N. AMBASSADOR: 'ALL TERRORISTS ARE MOSLEMS'
By Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Palm Beach, Fla.
PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 16, 2005 -- Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman raised a few eyebrows with what some members of his lunchtime audience thought was a stereotypical attack on Moslems Wednesday, but gave a mostly upbeat report card on his nation's future relations with Palestine.
Speaking to 250 supporters of the American Friends of the Hebrew University at Mar-a-Lago, the house that the Donald (Trump) renovated into a posh members-only club, Gillerman was optimistic about democratic elections in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine bringing a new dynamic to Mideast conflicts.
"The death of Yasser Arafat has been a good development for the Palestinian people. He was not only wicked and corrupt but brought little more than terror and destruction to the Palestinian people," Gillerman told the audience.
"A few years ago we would have never seen people in the tens of thousands in Lebanon rising up to denounce Syrian authorities. There is what I call a 'loss of fear' in the populace in the region. Fear has been transferred from the streets to the ballots=E2=80=A6the Palestinians can join with the people of Israel now for a new reality in the region."
Ambassador Gillerman, who has served at the UN for three years, is the son of Holocaust survivors and active in a number of Israeli and international business organizations. He told the Palm Beach audience that since the attacks of Sept. 11, "the world has learned that terrorism is not just an Israeli problem.
"No longer is it a struggle between rich and poor, or North and South, but between terrorists and the rest of the world, and terrorism and all those who wish to fight against it," he added to an ovation from the crowd.
But a few moments later. the applause was a bit more subdued and scattered when he said that Israeli's stand against "radical Islam" has brought it newfound respect in the world, and at the United Nations. He said that some colleagues at the UN privately express admiration for Israel and its people, even as their governments direct ambassadors to vote publicly against Israeli positions.
"It used to be an Israeli problem, but now that it's a world problem, well, it's not just a war on terror but a war against extreme, terrorist Islam. I suppose it's politically incorrect, but, well, Moslem leaders need to look into themselves, and ask 'what went wrong'?
"Yes, it's politically incorrect to say it, but not all Moslems are terrorists, but all terrorists are Moslems."
The Israeli ambassador quickly went on to discuss his nation's withdrawal from Jewish settlements in Gaza as being "a disengagement which was not only heart-wrenching and painful, but also instructive. It demonstrated how both with sensitivity and professionalism, Israeli soldiers could deal with this difficult assignment."
Noticing that some eyebrows were raised after the "all terrorists are Moslems" comment, I later asked Douglas Ellman, a Palm Beach County stockbroker, how he reacted to the comment.
"It was a cute turn of phrase, I guess, accenting his point of view," he said.
When I asked, "What about terrorists in recent history from Northern Ireland, or the Basque region, or drug lords in Columbia?" Ellman responded, "Well, I guess in the geographic circles the Ambassador is focused on, in the Middle East, probably to him all terrorists are Moslem."
Along with the annual fundraising event in Palm Beach, special mention was made of Hebrew University Prof. Robert J. Aumann's 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics.
It was also announced that the Hebrew University had offered 20 full scholarships to students displaced by Tulane University in New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina. For the current semester, eight students had enrolled under the special program.