Behind the Headlines the Uncertain Future

A sense of uncertainty and doubt is pervasive in Europe. There is a feeling that events are slowly, but surely, slipping out of control and that Europe is in for hard times. If the numerous surveys are correct, the public, in almost every country on the continent, is wary of the future which appears to be bleak and foreboding.

Recent events which have shaken Europe have sent tremors through Zurich which is in the heart of Europe. Aside from local riots by restless youths, and even terrorist bombings here, Zurich and other cities and placid Alpine villages are keenly aware of the events elsewhere in Europe that border close to anarchy: riots, terrorist bombings, social unrest and political tensions and ethnic strife from Amsterdam to Liverpool, from West Berlin to Hamburg, from Rome to Bologna, from Paris to Ankara, from Vienna to Athens.

Out of the welter of these developments is a growing concern over the safety and future of Jewish communities in many of these cities. In the past year Jewish and Israeli lives and properties have been targeted by terrorists, as at the Copernic synagogue in Paris, the El Al office in Rome, the synagogue in Vienna, the Israel Consulate in Athens and the Israel Embassy in Vienna. But terrorism has also struck the general public as well.

JEWS ALWAYS THE FIRST VICTIMS

If it were not so tragic, Jews could point to the fact that the general public in Europe is now reaping the harvest of terrorism against Israel. The fact is that it was Israel and the Jewish people that were the first to experience acts of terrorism, bombings, kidnappings and murder by "freedom fighters" financed by Arab petrodollars. Year after year the Western world kept quiet, paid ransom and opened prison doors through which terrorists escaped their just punishments and then regrouped and rearmed themselves to continue their wanton acts.

The peace-loving and unconcerned spectators of the "game of death" that took so many Israeli and Jewish lives have now become victims of the same criminals who envelop their bullets and bombs in politically deceptive phrases as "freedom fighters" even as the freedom of innocent people is blown apart. The terrorists, regardless of the names they give to their organizations, were taught by the Palestine Liberation Organization how to kill, how to terrorize, how to cover murder with the mantle of patriotism and how to issue the cry for "justice" as a justification for indiscriminate killing.

European politicians are at a loss as to how to cope with these nefarious developments. They do not know how to meet the threat to the basic freedom of their citizenry. If a politician seeks to apply the full resources of the state against terrorism, he is attacked by the appeasers.

ARAFAT AND HITLER

Appeasement has become fashionable once again, as it was in the 1930s. The consequences will be the same: surrender is organized murder. Nobody could appease Hitler and nobody can appease the PLO. In the 1930s there were many who counselled that Hitler was not really that bad, just the people around him. Today, there are those who counsel that Yasir Arafat is not that bad, just the people around him. But this is wrong in theory and tragic in practice.

Terrorism has no redeeming features; terrorism is not a momentary diversion or deviation in the lives of terrorists; it is a lifelong disease. They live by the bomb and die by the bomb. Their ideology does not lead to freedom but to death. No one who moves in their circle is free from the taint of destruction.

Even Arafat’s Jewish friend, Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria, had to face that when terrorists threatened his life. Arafat’s cohorts smuggled weapons into Austria, intent on killing President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and at the same time announced that Kreisky, too, was dispensible. The PLO’s role in this dual threat was so apparent — despite efforts by Kreisky and others to blame "extremists" — that the PLO representative to Austria was sent packing by the Minister of Interior.

Nevertheless, there are persistent attempts to make the PLO respectable in the councils of European governments. Friends of Israel are also pressured to view Arafat as reasonable and rational and to accord him or his emissaries all due respect when they pay calls on officials. Invariably, European journalists write gingerly about Arafat and company and the headlines in newspapers are sensitively phrased.

And all the while, the terrorists and their Arab financial backers enjoy the civility of the countries whose democratic laws protect their rights — as long, of course, as they aren’t caught in any subversive act — but whose own national laws and rights are constantly in danger of being undermined by these very same elements.

There are Arabs in all the Western European countries, not just workers but the oil-wealthy sheikhs and potentates who shop in the finest stores and reside in the most expensive hotels and ingratiate themselves with the local citizenry by indulging in wild spending sprees. They can afford it. For them, the price is always right. But their mere presence and behavior symbolizes the sell-out which is taking place in Europe.

ARAB WEALTH

There is no way of knowing how much Arab money is hidden away in the bank vaults of Switzerland. But it is known, albeit in general and abstract terms, that while Europe is groping for an answer to Arab terrorism and trying to calculate the cost in terms of loss of lives and property, a transfer of riches is taking place that can hardly be comprehended by anyone who is not a student of international economics.

Once in a while, however, there is a glimpse of the extent of the transfer of riches from the oil sheikhdom to the bank vaults of Europe and its economic and political implications. Recently, the International Herald Tribune did an article about a Saudi Arabian businessman by the name of Suliman Olayan.

He has amassed such a fortune, the article noted, that he and the business interests he controls own one percent of Chase Manhattan; 7.6 percent of First Chicago, the holding company for America’s ninth largest bank; 13 percent of a major New York financial institution; and about one percent in each of six other American banks. He has, in addition, undisclosed investments in real estate, railroads, utilities and other enterprises.

These are the riches of one man. How many others, Arab governments and individuals, own shares in American banks and industries is largely unknown. A federal law makes it mandatory to disclose investments only if they exceed five percent of a company. It is obvious that such a law is inadequate in preventing a wholesale takeover of entire industries and banks by foreign interests.

Instead of allowing for a five percent limit in a company, there should be a five percent limit of shares in any given type of company, such as banks or utilities. This could, at least, be a start in thwarting a takeover of American companies. But Arab financial wizardry is as bedazzling as it is dangerous. The glamor of riches and the exotic nature of Arab businessmen spending and investing freely, intoxicates the mind and causes lapses of memory; many if not most of the Arab financiers are backers of the PLO and its ilk

Given this massive wealth, Arabs are in a position to finance well-oiled propaganda campaigns against "Zionist imperialism" and "Zionist terror" and "Israeli brutality and bombings" of "innocent people." But the genuinely innocent people — Israeli men, women and children in cities, on kibbutzim and moshavim, and Israelis, Jews and non-Jews in Europe — are hard pressed to answer these slick propaganda campaigns. And so — much of Europe views the victims as the aggressors and the aggressors as the victims. This is truly a modern-day version of Alice in Wonderland.

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