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>Israel Faxx
>JN March 4, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 41

Maryland Officials Reject Israeli Compromise Offer

By IINS News Service

Maryland's prosecutor rejected a proposed compromise by Israel in the case of Samuel Sheinbein, who is in an Israeli jail and who is wanted for the murder of a Maryland teenager. Officials said they would not accept the offer to have the youth stand trial in Maryland and serve his prison sentence in Israel (if convicted), since a "life sentence" in Israel would not actually be one that would entail the suspect be incarcerated for the rest of his life, but one that would permit his early release.

Millennium Encourages Jewish Hate Groups

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Miami)

A report by the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center says there has been a rise in membership of so-called "hate groups" in the U.S. The report says such groups are using the Internet and rock music to spread messages of white supremacy and anti-Semitism.

The center, a civil rights monitoring group, has long monitored such groups as the ku klux klan. More recently it has noted the growth of the militia movement and church groups that preach a message of white supremacy and anti-Semitism.

The study warns such groups grew rapidly last year, mostly by recruiting younger members. Author Mark Potok says the growth is surprising, since membership in hate groups usually declines during periods of economic prosperity. "We have in fact seen hate group numbers dropping through the '90s but this year (1997) they jumped up by 20 percent, quite a dramatic rise."

Potok says over 400 hate groups have been identified and many are becoming increasingly successful at recruiting younger members through the use of Internet web pages and the promotion of racist rock music. "The Internet has certainly helped hate mongers to organize and to feel they are part of a larger community even if they are essentially angry people sitting in their bedrooms all alone. In addition white power racist music has become quite popular in certain sectors; there are over 50,000 compact discs sold every year with lyrics that are quite unbelievable."

Many of these new members are joining chapters of the so-called Christian Identity movement, which cites biblical scripture as a foundation for a belief in white supremacy and anti-Semitism. Potok says such members are also intensely attracted to apocalyptical fantasies. "The approach of the year 2000 has many of these groups in a kind of millennial frenzy. They believe that they are approaching the Battle of Armageddon in which they will be pitted against the satanic forces trying to take over the world."

Knesset to Elect Israel's President Today

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's Knesset votes Wednesday to choose the country's president for the next five years. The incumbent, Ezer Weizman, is facing a strong challenge, but is expected to be re-elected.

The Israeli president is supposed to have mainly ceremonial duties. But the incumbent has frequently stepped beyond that role, particularly on peace issues, and has earned, at various times, the anger of both rightists and leftists.

For a while, it seemed that might make him vulnerable to defeat. But now analysts expect the former air force commander and defense minister to win a narrow victory in the Knesset.

His opponent is Knesset member Shaul Amor of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rightist Likud party. Critics say the popular town mayor lacks the experience for the job of president and that he would be too partisan.

This would be Weizman's second term. No Israeli president who has sought re-election has been turned away by the parliament.

To the Editor:

By Benjamin Gettler

The national media has failed the American people in reporting on the Iraq war crisis. Clear evidence available to the media reveals that an agreement for Iraq to permit the resumption of inspection was reached prior to U.N. Sec. Gen. Kofi Anan ever going to Iraq. The evidence that there was already an agreement is quite clear from the fact that at least a week earlier the Security Council, with the agreement of the United States, increased the amount of oil sales permitted Iraq from $2 billion to $5.2 billion a year.

It strains credulity to believe that the $3.2 billion increase occurred in a vacuum without an agreement between the Clinton administration and Iraq with regard to inspections since the United States had vigorously opposed to any such increase for the past five years. The Clinton administration, however, continued to beat the war drums and stir up the crisis atmosphere. Its motives are open to speculation. Sadly the media buried the $3.2 billion payoff story and apparently did not recognize the connection between that payoff and the announcement later of an Iraqi agreement to permit the resumption of inspections. The connection should have been as clear as any payment of ransom followed by a hostage release.

If the United States public is to be informed, we need not only a free press, but also one which will intelligently recognize and report the connection between related events.

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