The United States has already lost the “war on terrorism” by forming a coalition with terrorist-sponsoring nations to strike back against the Sept. 11 attacks, professor Emmanuel Navon told about 30 students in Hillel Thursday.
Speaking on the one-month anniversary of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, Navon said the United States is powerful enough to fight terrorism independently. The country will only lose ground working with Arab nations he said will privately sympathize with the Taliban cause and terrorism-sponsoring states like Iran and Syria.
He also warned the world not to underestimate intentions of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born billionaire suspected of sponsoring the Sept. 11 and other attacks.
“Osama is looking for a lot more than an end to U.S. military presence in the Middle East and peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Navon said. “He is looking for a final war with the `infidels’ and an end to the Western way of life.”
Navon is the CEO of his public relations firm Navon Consulting and teaches political science at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel.
He drew parallels between Israel’s conflict with the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the U.S. war on terrorism.
Navon compared the idea of Israel negotiating with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to President George W. Bush negotiating with bin Laden.
Navon explained that Arafat spouts two different views depending on the language and audience. While Arafat speaks about peace in English to foreign leaders, he incites his own people in speeches in Arabic, Navon said.
The professor read translated passages from speeches Arafat presented in Arabic since the signing of the Oslo peace accords. In speeches to the Palestinian people that Navon read, Arafat called for the continuation of a war with Israel until it is totally destroyed, claimed Jewish people have no historical right to the land of Israel and called Holocaust death totals widely exaggerated to generate sympathy.
Navon said the Palestine Liberation Organization intends pursue a goal in its 1964 charter to destroy Israel. The document has not been revised despite demands from U.S. and Israeli administrations.
Navon said Israel is faced with a dilemma because it wants a peace
agreement but cannot trust Arafat to renounce violence or start a democracy. Former King Hussein of Jordan and other Arab leaders have called Arafat a compulsive liar, he said.
Navon said he is skeptical about a permanent peace agreement with Arafat. He said Arafat was running the “most corrupt dictatorship in the world,” holding an estimated $12 billion in foreign assets while the people in his territories suffer.
“Not every problem has to have a solution,” Navon said. “A real, lasting peace is only possible between two democracies who have the same ideals.”
Navon, who has lived in Israel for eight years, traced the history of the current Israeli-Arab conflict back to the Middle Ages to give the audience context for Israel’s current struggle against PLO-funded domestic terrorism.
He encouraged the audience to educate themselves about the situation in Israel by visiting Web sites like www.kolisrael.org. Navon also spoke about the role of Diaspora Jews, those who live outside Israel, and their role in supporting the state.
Student Alliance for Israel members worked with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee to bring Navon to campus, SAFI co-chairman Ben Schmidt said.
“We’re here to provide correct information to the GW community about Israel and show how students can support Israel,” Schmidt said, adding Navon’s talk is one of a guest lecture series about terrorism and Israel.
Ariel Merrari, an expert in terrorism and a 20-year founder and veteran of an Israeli counter-terrorism force is scheduled to speak at Hillel 2 p.m. Thursday.