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Alan Keyes is Making Sense
Alan Keyes
June 10, 2002

ALAN KEYES, HOST: Welcome to MAKING SENSE. I'm Alan Keyes.

Up front tonight — over the past few days there has of course been a flurry of activity about the Mideast, both in Israel and in Washington.

During the weekend, President Bush told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that he has no timetable for the creation of a Palestinian state — or peace talks, for that matter.

He reiterated his position today when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon arrived for a visit.

Tonight we're going to talk to one of Sharon's top advisers.

But first, an update on the Bush-Sharon meeting from MSNBC White House correspondent Campbell Brown — Campbell.

CAMPBELL BROWN, MSNBC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Alan, no signs of progress from either side tonight, the President suggesting today the time just isn't right for an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.

Their sixth meeting, and Prime Minister Sharon stood his ground, saying he has no intention of negotiating with Yasser Arafat.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARIEL SHARON, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We must have a partner for negotiations. At the present time we don't see yet a partner.

BROWN (voice-over): And he sends his tanks and troops back into Ramallah today, again surrounding Arafat's compound, arresting suspected militants, the president supportive of Sharon's action.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Israel has a right to defend herself.

BROWN: Sharon is demanding an end to all violence before any negotiation. And administration sources say the Israeli leader has solid support from Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Rice.

But on the other side, the secretary of state and his advisers, who administration sources say are siding with Arab leaders, calling for Bush to set a timetable for political talks and the creation of a Palestinian state.

The president today refused to commit to any deadline, even a date for an international peace conference this summer.

BUSH: The conditions aren't even there yet. That's because no one has confidence in the emerging Palestinian government.

BROWN: Bush today calling for more reform in the Palestinian government, even after Arafat reorganized his Cabinet.

Some administration officials frustrated by what they see as the President's foot-dragging, blamed domestic politics and the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove.

Sources say Rove is reluctant to make any concessions that might anger the Jewish lobby, heading into both the November congressional elections and the Florida governor's race, where the president's own brother is in a tough fight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: The President has said he'll outline his vision for how to move forward in the near future, but again today, no indication he'll set a timetable for creating a Palestinian state — Alan.

KEYES: Campbell Brown from the White House. Thank you, Campbell. Appreciate that very much.

Joining us now, we have Ra'anan Gissin, the senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He is traveling with the prime minister on his trip to Washington.

Welcome to MAKING SENSE.

RA'ANAN GISSIN, SENIOR ADVISER TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER ARIEL SHARON: Good evening Alan.

KEYES: Well, thank you for being with us. I have to say, it seems to me as I compare what has happened in the course of this visit with the impression that I got the last time that Prime Minister Sharon visited that country, that there's been quite a change in tone and attitude from the Bush administration.

Do you think that's true? And why do you think it has come about?

GISSIN: Well, I think — let's put it quite squarely. First thing comes first.

And the first thing — we got a grim reminder today in Chicago and elsewhere in the world — the first thing is to fight terrorism. The first thing is to remove the threat of terrorism, of violence, of incitement.

That's the only way where you can create that window of opportunity which will enable us to do what we all want. And this is really to renew the political process.

Israel is committed to peace, but it first is committed to the security of its citizens.

KEYES: And that requires, obviously, that there be an end to violence.

I read today in the “New York Times” that Prime Minister Sharon again reiterating the idea that Israel refuses to negotiate under fire.

I've often on this program said that I don't understand why folks would consider that reasonable.

Now, what constitutes in your mind and opinion, an end to that situation? Under what circumstances would you consider that Israel is no longer negotiating under fire?

GISSIN: Well, the prime minister, I think, reiterated that several times, and today again, both in the press conference and to the president.

There are two basic conditions — I'd say almost universal conditions.

One is that there has to be a cessation of violence, terrorism and incitement, or at least 100 percent effort, as was demanded by the United States.

And that means that the Palestinian Authority has to do what we were doing today in Ramallah, for example — arresting suspects, dismantling the terrorist infrastructure, collecting the illegal weapons.

By the way, we captured two suicide — one suicide bomber and two car bombs ready to go into Jerusalem.

So first — that's the first thing.

The second thing, it is clear that the present structure and organization of the Palestinian Authority is ill-suited to achieve peace. The man who heads that authority and the organs are all infested with terrorism. They are all involved in terrorism.

So there has to be real, structural, comprehensive reforms in the Palestinian Authority.

Once these two elements are in motion — I'm not saying complete — are in motion, then we can think about a political horizon.

But before there can be a real political horizon to the Palestinian people, there must be an understanding of the strategic horizon that we're facing in an environment that has to be free of terrorism.

KEYES: Now, to what extent do you think that the actions that Arafat has taken up to this point in terms of reorganization, so-called reform — to what extent do you think that those actions actually constitute positive steps?

GISSIN: I'll put to you very squarely. Arafat refuses to perform against terrorism. Therefore, he can't reform.

He is not the person that can do the reforms. These are all cosmetic reforms.

Shuffling positions and chairs in his cabinet without really relinquishing full control over the security apparatus, as well as over the financial resources of the Palestinian Authority, will not produce any change. There will be still the same authority in a different gown pursuing terrorist activity, supporting terrorists as it has done in the past few months.

And by the way, just last week, we have lost as a result of these ongoing terrorist activity 21 innocent men, women and children.

This cannot go on. And if there is to be peace, we must have a partner. And a partner — a real partner — will emerge when there is an opportunity...

KEYES: Well...

GISSIN: ... for those who want peace to...

KEYES: ... but...

GISSIN: ... come to the negotiating table.

KEYES: But doesn't the emergence of a partner also require that people who are coming forward on the Palestinian side to argue for a different approach, and one that eschews violence and terrorism, be able to point to the possibility of real, positive results in terms of what they can realize for the Palestinian people?

From the point of view of the Israeli government and administration, what is on the table in terms of what might be a hopeful result, if indeed there can be an end to this violent assault against Israel?

What do you see on the other side of it as the sorts of things that Israel would be able to accept in the way of a settlement? What would be the general characteristics of that?

GISSIN: I think, in a positive sense, all these things have been offered to the Palestinians, by the way, even at the beginning of the term of Prime Minister Sharon, even to Yasser Arafat.

The only requirement we had is that you have to renounce terrorism. And that's the thing that Arafat has already made eight years ago, but never fulfilled.

You have to take the measures to stop terrorist activity, and then we can ease restrictions, we can move in the political process.

And there is several, I would say, agreements that enable to do that — the Tenet agreement, the Mitchell proposal, which would lead us into, through this tunnel, into that thing that President Bush has reiterated — two states to two people.

But there's no doubt in my mind that no one in the world, and definitely no Israeli citizen, will accept today a Palestinian state which is an irredentist, terrorist stronghold, or a sanctuary for terrorist gangs.

That no country in the world would accept.

So, there is an offer for the Palestinian who wants peace. But they have to make the decision for themselves. And if the present leadership cannot deliver, then they have to make that decision and change that leadership.

KEYES: Well, it seems to me that the kinds of things that I hear from a lot of Palestinian spokesmen on the program and so forth — and I have to preface this by saying, very often is we can't get past this hurdle that the violence has to stop, and that one can't force the other party to negotiate under fire.

But assuming that we did get past that, that there was such a situation, the issues they seem to be most concerned about, seem to have to do, of course, with the settlements, with the right of return, with the control of territory in the West Bank and Gaza, and ultimately the status of Jerusalem.

What priorities do you think can be assigned to addressing those issues by the Israeli government?

GISSIN: Well, to all these issues there's an answer.

When we talk and — these things are, of course raised — when we talk about Jerusalem, Jerusalem is the united capital of the State of Israel. And therefore, it will not be divided.

I haven't seen any other country in the world that is willing to divide its ancestral capital. And this is the capital of the Jewish people for the past 3,000 years. It's never been a capital of any Arab state.

Israel cannot withdraw to the '67 borders. Sixty-seven borders were the cause for the wars of aggression launched against Israel, because the borders were vulnerable.

Israel must have defensible borders.

There is a need to talk about a comprehensive peace agreement, not just between Israel and the Palestinian, but between the Arab world. And therefore we welcome the vision of the Saudi proposal.

At the same time, the terms of that vision must be negotiated in a way that would not compromise Israel's security. Israel is a tiny little country, the only democracy in the Middle East.

It's faced with a lot of threats around it from Iran, from Iraq, from Hezbollah, from the north, from within.

Therefore, we have a right to demand that our security requirements will be fulfilled in the context of any kind of agreement.

Beyond that, I would say the sky is the limit. We are willing. And the Prime Minister has said that time and again, to make painful compromises for peace.

But it's the question whether the Palestinian will seize this opportunity and move in that direction, making the necessary compromises on their part.

And the most important thing is to renounce terrorism, to stop the violence and incitement. Then I think we can pave the road to peace.

KEYES: Well, that would seem to suggest, everything that you just said, that at some point, from the point of view of what you've just described, a peace conference that involved all of the other actors that might have a role to play in preparing this comprehensive agreement would in fact be an appropriate step from the point of view of the Israeli government.

GISSIN: Yes. I would say a peace conference.

But I think we must return back, I would say, 11 or 12 years to the Madrid peace conference. And I think the hallmark of that peace conference was that the negotiations must be conducted directly face-to-face between the participants.

Therefore, if there is to be a real peace — durable, viable peace with security — with the Palestinian people, it has to be a direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian.

All other participants can assist and help from the outside, but cannot be directly involved, with the exception of the United States, that has been throughout the past, I'd say, 25 or 30 years, a real, honest broker for peace that both sides can trust.

KEYES: Yes.

GISSIN: And I think that's the format — the format of a kind of a peace, I would say, peace conference that can really move the Middle East as a whole towards that strategic horizon that I talked about, the horizon of peace, of comprehensive peace for all nations in the Middle East.

KEYES: We're talking with Ra'anan Gissin, senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Ra'anan, stay right there. We're going to hear the other side in a moment from Hussein Ibish of the American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee, and have a discussion amongst us about what the prospects are that lie ahead, here on America's news channel, MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEYES: Some influential Catholic church leaders are attacking the American media for what they're calling Stalinist and Nazi tactics against the Catholic church in its coverage of the child sex scandals.

We'll debate whether that's a fair accusation in our next half hour.

A reminder, too, that the chat room is rocking tonight, and you can join in right now at chat.msnbc.com.

First, let's get back to our discussion of the situation in the Middle East in the context of the meetings between President Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

We are talking about what the prospects are now for moving this discussion forward, particularly in the face of the fact that the Bush administration appears now to be taking a pretty tough line against the possibility of negotiations in a context of ongoing violence.

Joining us, Hussein Ibish of the American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee, and still with us, Ra'anan Gissin, the senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Both of you, welcome to MAKING SENSE.

GISSIN: Thank you.

HUSSEIN IBISH, AMERICAN-ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE: Delighted. Thank you, Alan.

KEYES: Now, I'd like to start, Hussein, with you.

IBISH: Thank you.

KEYES: Both in terms of what you have just heard from Ra'anan Gissin, and the overall situation that is faced right now, it seems to me that what I'm listening to is somebody who's saying, look. If we can just stop this killing, we can get on with a discussion.

There are certain things that we will not give up, but everything else is negotiable.

Why, on that basis, couldn't progress be made from here?

IBISH: Well, the problem is on two folds. First of all, what Mr. Gissin is saying — and the most important thing he is saying — is that Israel will not end the occupation.

He said that absolutely, categorically just now. He said they will not withdraw from occupied East Jerusalem, which they are required to do under international law, particularly U.N. Security Council Resolution 476, which the United States voted for, which spoke of the urgent need to end Israeli occupation of Arab lands, including Jerusalem. That was passed in 1980.

And, he said, also, that Israel refuses to negotiate as long as Palestinians continue to resist in any way. He even talked about incitement, meaning speech, that has to end.

Now, Palestinians are being expected to negotiate under occupation. I think that there is a conflict, and as is normal in any conflict, you have to have a political process to substitute for the process of violence.

This is just an excuse. This is a cop-out. The Intifada — the uprising, the one we've been in — began on September 28, 2000. And Israel did not cut off the negotiations until January 2001.

So this is a political decision. It's not an unthinkable thing that negotiations can go on while resistance takes place.

And certainly, Palestinians will have to live under the occupation until the negotiation is finished.

GISSIN: But...

IBISH: So this is just a cop-out.

GISSIN: Yeah, let's start from the beginning. This is not occupied territory.

IBISH: Of course, it is.

GISSIN: It's — it's disputed. You say it's occupied, because that's your definition.

It has never been...

IBISH: It's a dispute...

GISSIN: ... it has never...

IBISH: ... between you and the whole rest of the world.

GISSIN: Well, there has never — there has never been a Palestinian state. It was occupied by Jordan for 19 years, occupied — Gaza was occupied by Egypt.

IBISH: Yeah. U.N. Security Council...

GISSIN: The Arab...

IBISH: ... has...

GISSIN: No, look. I don't want...

IBISH: ... repeatedly...

GISSIN: ... look, I don't want to go into history. These are disputed territories. Arabs...

IBISH: You don't care about international law?

GISSIN: No, no, no, no, no. No.

IBISH: I mean, what a liar you are, sir.

GISSIN: I — no, Arabs — Arabs live in Israel as free citizens.

IBISH: Look,...

GISSIN: And by the way, they have greater freedom in Israel than in any other Arab country.

IBISH: Look,...

GISSIN: One-and-a-half million...

IBISH: ... there are...

GISSIN: ... that no one restricts their place of living. Jews have a right to live in their ancestral homeland. This has been our ancestral homeland for the past 4,000 years.

IBISH: There are scores...

GISSIN: I know you — I know you don't...

IBISH: ... there are scores...

GISSIN: ... I know you deny — I know you deny that, but...

IBISH: There are scores of U.N. Security Council resolutions voted for by the United States,...

GISSIN: You are the ones who...

IBISH: ... including...

GISSIN: ... but...

IBISH: ... including as recently as October 2000,...

GISSIN: Yes, but...

IBISH: ... with in (ph) say that Israel is the occupying power...

GISSIN: Yes.

IBISH: ... in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

GISSIN: Let's go — let's go back a — let's go back to...

IBISH: This is not ancient history,...

GISSIN: ... Resolution 181,...

IBISH: ... this is now.

GISSIN: ... which you have violated. You have never accepted a Jewish state, therefore...

IBISH: I didn't violate anything.

GISSIN: Yes, you did. You...

IBISH: I?

GISSIN: and Arab armies — not you personally — but you as seven Arab armies invaded that...

(CROSSTALK)

GISSIN: ... the newly-born State of Israel. You denied our right to exist as a state.

IBISH: Look, look...

GISSIN: You denied the right that Jews have rights to live there too.

IBISH: ... if there is a dispute...

GISSIN: Answer my question. What would you do...

IBISH: Mr. Gissin, if there is...

GISSIN: ... do — you do refuse — no, no, no. Answer my question first.

IBISH: ... a dispute.

GISSIN: If you'll answer my question, then...

IBISH: Go ahead.

GISSIN: ... you'll understand my position.

IBISH: What's your question?

GISSIN: Do you — do you accept the inherent rights, the birthright of Jews to live as a free, democratic Jewish state in their ancestral homeland in Palestine — what you call Palestine?

IBISH: The inherent...

GISSIN: Yes or no?

IBISH: I don't think there's an inherent...

GISSIN: Yes or no?

IBISH: ... there, I don't — let me answer — I don't think there is an inherent birthright to any state.

But I do think that Israel as...

GISSIN: Why not?

IBISH: ... it is constituted...

GISSIN: Why not?

IBISH: Because every state has to be governed...

GISSIN: Why not?

IBISH: ... by the consent of the majority of people who live in it.

GISSIN: No, no, no, no.

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES: Can I interrupt here? Hold on.

IBISH: Let me say,...

KEYES: OK.

IBISH: ... I am — I am more than happy to agree that Israel, as it is now, ought to be recognized and ought to live in peace and secure and defensible borders...

KEYES: Can I interrupt here...

GISSIN: No, not Israel...

KEYES: ... one second?

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES: Gentlemen,...

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES: ... gentlemen, gentlemen...

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES: ... if I could get a word in,...

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES: ... gentlemen, please. Hold it. I'd like to get a word in,...

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES: ... I'd like to get a word in.

IBISH: Yes, Alan.

KEYES: I just had a very fascinating discussion at dinner with a couple of Palestinian spokesmen.

And the discussion went round and round, and we got to this very point that you're raising. In terms of whether or not there is acceptance of Israel's right to exist?

And I think that the important question that I'd like to put to you, Hussein Ibish,...

IBISH: Yes.

KEYES: ... to address the record, is the issue of the Jewish character of Israel,...

IBISH: Yes.

KEYES: ... does Israel have the right to exist as a state of Jewish character, which is to say, governed by a Jewish majority?

IBISH: Yes.

KEYES: Is that a legitimate objective to be preserved in terms of Israel's character and future?

IBISH: As long as it has a Jewish majority, of course. In the event that demographics change, migration patterns change, then I think under democratic principles, and under the — I mean, unless you value ethno-nationalism above principles of democracy...

KEYES: Now,...

IBISH: ... and equality, no, I don't think...

KEYES: ... I'm saying, now, I asked that...

IBISH: ... any state has an abstract right to exist.

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES: Can I...

(CROSSTALK)

IBISH: But I think Israel — hold on, let me clarify.

KEYES: Wait, wait, wait.

IBISH: I think, Israel as it's constituted ought to be recognized...

KEYES: I understand.

IBISH: ... and accepted and embraced.

KEYES: Now let me ask...

IBISH: So what's the problem?

KEYES: ... one further question. Because it seems to me that if one accepts the right of Israel to exist, then you accept the right, within the accepted norms of respect for human dignity...

IBISH: That's right.

KEYES: ... and basic rights.

IBISH: Yes.

KEYES: You expect the right of a state — you know, the right of a state...

IBISH: Of course.

KEYES: ... to act in such a way as to preserve the basic principles of its existence — to govern its immigration policy and other things of that kind...

IBISH: Yeah, that is...

KEYES: ... in a way that will secure...

IBISH: ... for Israel to determine.

KEYES: ... that's for them to determine.

IBISH: Yes, it is. It's for them...

KEYES: Now, would that include...

IBISH: ... yeah.

KEYES: ... does that include,...

GISSIN: Yes, the right of return...

KEYES: ... when they sit down at the negotiating table,...

GISSIN: Right.

KEYES: ... a right to include that aim in terms of what they are or are not willing to accept on issues like the right of return and so forth?

IBISH: On the issue of the right of return, there — of course. Of course it is.

There has to be a balance between the undeniable rights of Palestinian refugees, like all refugees, to the choice to go back to their homes or not, with the legitimate political interests of Israel you've just described.

I mean, of course. If you're going to recognize an Israeli state, it's going to have a legitimate interest.

So there are going to have to be mechanisms and modalities for giving Palestinians their choice and recognizing the right of return in some serious fashion, while not asking Israel to do anything absolutely against its fundamental interest with regard to its sovereignty.

I think...

GISSIN: Well, you are asking...

IBISH: ... everybody understands. No. I'm not.

GISSIN: Then you're asking for me...

IBISH: Of course not.

GISSIN: ... to withdraw to the '67 borders...

IBISH: Ah, you won't...

GISSIN: ... which were indefensible borders.

IBISH: ... end the occupation. OK.

GISSIN: When you're asking...

IBISH: You're refuse to end the occupation.

GISSIN: ... for the right of return...

IBISH: Yes.

GISSIN: ... a choice of right of return to the land of Israel,...

IBISH: I'm saying then?

GISSIN: ... you're asking me...

IBISH: No.

GISSIN: ... to commit suicide. It is not...

IBISH: Of course I'm not asking you to do...

GISSIN: That's what you're asking.

IBISH: No.

GISSIN: You're asking me to dismantle the State of Israel.

IBISH: Look, every single...

GISSIN: Who gave you that right?

IBISH: ... every single listener...

GISSIN: Who?

IBISH: ... every single listener and viewer can understand that — well, there are 3.7 million Palestinian refugees.

I ask — I appeal to everyone. Is there no distance between 3.7 million and...

GISSIN: By all means,...

IBISH: ... zero? Hold on...

GISSIN: ... tell the Arab countries who would cause that problem...

IBISH: ... the point is...

GISSIN: ... to absorb them. Why not?

IBISH: ... the point is, where there's a...

GISSIN: We absorb two million. They are immigrants.

IBISH: The point is, there is, there are modalities that can incorporate both. It's not that — I can imagine them. If I imagine them, they can exist.

And there's no reason why there should be this apocalyptic scenario.

KEYES: Right. Now, Hussein...

IBISH: But you must end the occupation and...

KEYES: ... now Hussein.

IBISH: ... you refuse to do so.

KEYES: Let me — let me go one step further here, just to try to clarify. Because, in listening to both sides, if what you just said is correct, then it would seem to me that in order to get started talking about the modalities...

IBISH: Yes.

KEYES: ... that would, in real effect — and I think they would have to include some things that might substitute for actual, physical return,...

IBISH: Of course, they would.

KEYES: ... but that would be the sort of thing one would get into...

IBISH: Of course, they would.

KEYES: ... reparations, whatever you're talking about. But...

IBISH: That's correct.

KEYES: ... put all that aside.

I'm looking at a situation right now, though, where one can't even sit down and get into those details,...

IBISH: Right. You're right.

KEYES: ... because of this disagreement.

Folks are wandering around, killing innocent civilians and people in Israel.

IBISH: On both sides.

KEYES: And — let me finish — and there is an Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza, deeply resented and so forth and so on.

IBISH: Right.

KEYES: Now, obviously, ideal world, Israel withdraws that presence from most parts of the West Bank, something, by the way that, as I recall, has already happened, at least to a large degree.

And second,...

IBISH: Seventeen percent is not a large degree,...

KEYES: Let me finish. There has to be an end to those kinds of assaults against people in Israel.

IBISH: Yes.

KEYES: Is it acceptable, and do you think it is possible? And how does it come about, because we haven't seen it yet,...

IBISH: Yeah, right.

KEYES: ... for there to be an end to that kind of violence. Because I...

IBISH: Yeah.

KEYES: ... do not see how people can negotiate in the context of that kind of terror.

IBISH: Well, I think that the way we've been looking at it has been exactly the opposite way around. I think we've been getting it completely turned around.

In other words, we've been saying — really, because this is what Israel wants us to think — that first you have to end the conflict, and then we can negotiate.

I think that what actually needs to happen — painful and difficult although it's going to be for both parties — is that you have to actually bite the bullet and restart the political process, while at the same time, both parties are continuing to struggle.

I do think Palestinians need to do as much as they can to prevent any attacks on Israeli civilians.

But there is legitimate forms of resistance that can continue, just as Israel can continue it's whatever it feels necessary in it self-defense.

As long as we start a political process, we can give people another mechanism, a political mechanism, which can start to substitute for the process of violence.

If we say we're not going to talk, then we give people no option but to continue to struggle. And some of them will do it by any means necessary, much as we may regret it.

GISSIN: I could show you a chart — for the past 20 months — showing every time we initiated a political initiative, every time we made a gesture...

(CROSSTALK)

GISSIN: ... there was a rise in terrorist activity.

IBISH: That's...

GISSIN: That was...

IBISH: ... absolutely not true.

GISSIN: Terrorism always preceded so-called occupation. Because the problem is terrorism...

(CROSSTALK)

IBISH: ... the occupation...

GISSIN: ... not occupation.

IBISH: ... but the occupation's been going on for...

GISSIN: No. But there was...

IBISH: ... 35 years.

GISSIN: ... there was terrorism for 120 years.

KEYES: Gentlemen.

GISSIN: Terrorism, Arab terrorism against Israel...

IBISH: I mean, what about...

GISSIN: ... for 120 years.

IBISH: What about the way the Israeli state was formed, by Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir...

GISSIN: No...

(CROSSTALK)

IBISH: ... the original...

GISSIN: No, no, no...

(CROSSTALK)

IBISH: ... the original Middle East terrorism.

KEYES: Gentlemen,...

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES:... hold on a second.

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES: Before we start...

IBISH: You're in no position to lecture me, sir.

KEYES: Wait, wait, Hussein, wait.

IBISH: Yes, Alan.

KEYES: Before we start rehashing all of that,...

IBISH: Right.

KEYES: ... which often happens, let me get back to this point, though, which I think is again the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), because I think one of the problems, Hussein, with what you're proposing, and why it has usually been the case in negotiations, that you've got to stop the killing on both sides, is because, if you don't, then the negotiating process is hostage to the extremist elements on both sides. Whoever...

IBISH: Actually, I think the answer...

KEYES: Let me finish.

IBISH: I'm sorry.

KEYES: Whoever feels like killing today can throw a wrench into the works, rouse this sort of emotions — anger, resentment. Blood calls for blood.

That's why reasonable people do not think it's sensible to suggest that you can have viable...

IBISH: I...

KEYES: ... fruitful negotiations, while killing continuously, because...

IBISH: Actually...

KEYES: ... the passion involved in that killing is incompatible with negotiations.

IBISH: Actually, Alan...

KEYES: What do you do about that?

IBISH: I think it works exactly in reverse, to be honest with you. And I understand your logic.

But I think that what happens is, when you say there has to be absolute quiet, a total end to everything — even incitement, as Mr. Gissin has said, which are words, again — when you say that, what you do is you give a veto to every crazy...

GISSIN: Oh, come on, now...

IBISH: ... with a bomb or a...

GISSIN: You know that that's not the case.

IBISH: ... of course. Of course,...

GISSIN: We say...

IBISH: ... listen to you. You...

GISSIN: No. Give your...

IBISH: ... I mean obviously,...

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES: Let him...

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES: ... for a minute...

GISSIN: I haven't seen one percent of effort on the part...

KEYES: Let him answer.

GISSIN: ... I haven't seen one percent of effort on the part of Yasser Arafat — not one order to his large security force, 40 or 50,000 men in arms, all loyal to him, paid by him to take one action to stop terrorist activity.

IBISH: Well, you know that's not true. Now, you...

GISSIN: We would not be...

IBISH: ... know the State Department says that's not true.

GISSIN: ... we won't be surrounding the mukhata (ph) — we would not be surrounding the mukhata (ph), if it wasn't for the lack of Yasser Arafat taking any actions against terrorism.

IBISH: Now, you know that that's not true.

GISSIN: No, we — the whole world — well, come on.

IBISH: Look, you think Israeli secure...

GISSIN: The whole world sees the pictures.

IBISH: Even the Israeli security forces have acknowledged many instances in which Palestinian security services have thwarted attacks on Israel.

Now you could say, if you want to, that you wish that they would...

GISSIN: In the...

IBISH: ... do more. I wish that they would do more. I wish they could do more.

And if you would stop bombing...

GISSIN: No, it's...

IBISH: ... and shooting the Palestinian (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and allow them to function, and make a commitment to end the occupation, which you are saying you will never do,...

GISSIN: But it's...

IBISH: ... then we could make some progress.

GISSIN: But it's not leaders who started this...

KEYES: ... gentlemen...

(CROSSTALK)

IBISH: Not my leader...

(CROSSTALK)

GISSIN: ... which launched these attacks...

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES: Excuse me, gentlemen. We've come to the end of the time.

(CROSSTALK)

KEYES: I want to leave both of you with one thought, though, and especially to say,...

IBISH: Yes, Alan.

KEYES: ... obviously, I'd like to leave you with a thought.

Because it seems to me that the reason why negotiations usually require an end to shooting is really very simple, because the passions involved in the killing are not compatible with the spirit that's required to achieve real compromise in negotiation.

That's clear. That's step number one.

But I think there is also a continuing and ongoing problem with the mind that is required for a negotiation to succeed.

That's why incitement is important. Not that some people aren't going to cross the line and do violence.

But when you have everybody on the Arab side acting as if there's an excuse for this, and as if we shouldn't be working against the mentality that contributes to that violence, I think that's a serious problem, as well.

It's not perfection that's required here, but a real commitment of will on both sides to step beyond the spirit of conflict.

And I think, at the end, that does require that the guns be silent, and that hearts be committed to change. And that's what, as of yet, I think, has not been in evidence.

Anyway, thank you both for coming on tonight. Really appreciate it very much.

As always, I think we make a little progress in our understanding here every time we talk about this.

Next, as American cardinals prepare to meet in Dallas, the American media is coming under attack from some sources in the Vatican saying the American press is to blame for exacerbating the scandal in the Catholic church. Is this a fair accusation? We'll debate the issue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEYES: Welcome back to MAKING SENSE. I'm Alan Keyes.

While the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops gets ready to meet this week, the American press is coming under fire from publications backed by the Vatican, blaming U.S. journalists for over-publicizing abuse cases in the United States.

MSNBC's Stephen Weeke has this story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHEN WEEKE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): America's media coverage of the Catholic sex abuse scandal is continuing nonstop. And the Vatican is not happy about it.

But the church is fighting back now with its own media. Four articles in less than a month in newspapers and journals controlled by the Vatican. All highly critical of what they call an call an anti-Catholic a witch hunt.

PHIL PULLELLA, JOURNALIST: The Vatican takes it very, very seriously, the pedophilia problem. They, however, feel that the media treated it in a kind of a cut throat way.

WEEKE: Yet even this retaliation by the church isn't really getting through because of how obscure these journals are.

(on camera): These may not be the hottest items in Italian newsstands, but they do carry a lot of weight, especially when it comes to church policy.

(voice-over): And that weight now got a huge boost from a prominent cardinal, Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga from Honduras, a popular figure and a leading candidate to succeed Pope John Paul.

On a Catholic cover story out this week, he attacked CNN's Ted Turner as openly anti-Catholic. He said the media backlash was just payback for the church's opposition to abortion, and described what was happening to Cardinal Law as a scandal.

JOHN ALLEN, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER: I think what's remarkable about Rodriguez Maradiaga's interview is not so much the content — it's been said by others before. I think it's the really dramatic terms in which he phrased this. I mean, comparing the media reaction in the states to the ancient Roman emperors and their persecution of the Christians and also Stalin and Hitler.

WEEKE: Vatican watchers suspect that these articles are a concerted effort to influence the American bishop's meeting this week in Dallas.

While the American faithful are pressing for sweeping rules of zero tolerance for pedophile priests, the Vatican is making it clear the American bishops better watch their step.

Stephen Weeke, MSNBC, the Vatican.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEYES: And there was this editorial in today's “Washington Post” about the statements that the bishops will put out this week.

The editorial lauds the prelates for admitting that priest pedophilia is morally repugnant as well as a crime. But it concludes that, quote:

“The documents are silent on the recommended response to bishops and others in the church hierarchy who may continue to protect pedophile priests. The church is in crisis in large measure because of the way in which bishops have dealt with the problem, including its egregious criminal aspects. Dallas will be incomplete without the bishops explaining how they will hold themselves to one another, the laity, and observance of the law.”

Now, I had a surprising experience when I read that editorial, because I was a reading an editor in “The Washington Post” that sounded like what I had been saying on this program.

Yes, yes, I had a moment when I did doubt what I had said, but I always believe that no matter what the sources, I'll take the truth from whatever source it comes from, and there's a lot of truth in the lines that were in “The Post” today.

Well, to talk about this truth, we have William Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and Father C. John McCloskey, director of the Catholic Information Center.

I want to welcome both of you to MAKING SENSE.

I'd like to start off, Father John, with a question for you tonight, because — here's my frank appraisal of this counterattack or whatever that seems to have come from some elements in the church hierarchy.

I think it is going to be interpreted as a defensive reaction that actually demonstrates the extent to which the hierarchy is at fault in this matter. It looks like the kind of defensiveness that results when people are caught in a bad situation and refuse to acknowledge their own accountability — start lashing out at everybody else, trying to figure out who's to blame, when in point of fact, they are themselves to blame.

And I am part right now in this instance of the media. I've been as critical as anybody in this country. And the idea that I am anti-Catholic is so absurd I won't even dignify it with a suggestion.

They're missing the point here, I think, and they're missing it in a way that is deeply disturbing to me. I think there's been a lot of concern here precisely because the church is influential and important and that there are a lot of people who are feeling betrayed and disappointed, including myself, to see such a lack of spiritual understanding in the response to this grave moral crisis.

What do you say to that? Because I don't think that this kind of a counterattack really is helping the situation.

FATHER C. JOHN MCCLOSKEY, CATHOLIC INFORMATION CENTER: I'm not at all sure that it's a concerted counterattack. As it was mentioned earlier, the journals that these things are coming out in are hardly heard at all. You have one cardinal speaking out.

I think what is more than anything else is lack of understanding about what the media is in the United States. I tend to agree with you completely, Alan.

I do not see a concerted anti-Catholic effort in this. In fact, many of these things would not have come out in the first place unless there had not been investigative reporting.

I do think that what they may be touching on to some extent, which is understandable, is the thought that the media doesn't really understand the Catholic church or the way it works. There's something there that has to be improved, although unfortunately, because this is not the way you'd want to do it, I do think the media is getting a lot more Catholic savvy as a result of these awful scandals.

KEYES: Well, unfortunately, I think that resembles the way in which Americans became more knowledgeable about the constitution during the Clinton impeachment scandals. We could have thought of a better way to do that.

MCCLOSKEY: Right.

KEYES: Under these circumstances, the one element — and I think “The Post” actually put it's finger on it today. Those of you who know me know that I say this with a certain amount of hesitation, but you've got to give credit where it's due.

I think they put their finger on a missing element in all of this when they pointed to the lack in the document so far presented of anything that's going to address concern about the hierarchy situation here. The lack of spiritual and moral discernment that was involved in the policies that were implemented by some of the prelates and so forth.

Is there going to be any effort to look at the root of this and address what might have led to this kind of departure, from real moral, spiritual judgment in dealing with these issues of pedophilia?

MCCLOSKEY: I think so. But the problem is somewhat systemic, that it's in the system. It goes back 20 or 30 years. Bad moral theology, bad philosophy, relaxation in terms of the way that priests were trained, the way they were informed after they were ordained.

I think a lot of bishops have apologized, those bishops that had been responsible, in one way or another, for having let things happen that should not have happened.

As a whole, as a group, 195 diocese, I'm not quite they're going to come out and all apologize when many have not made any mistakes at all. — at all.

But I do think it will be seriously studied in Dallas this week.

KEYES: Now, Bill Donahue, we are going to have a chance, of course, to continue this discussion when we come back.

But quickly, to start with from you, you are actually one of the people who has identified, obviously, with an effort to defend Catholicism from unfair attacks, criticism, bigotry. And yet you've been also very outspoken about the need to really deal with this crisis and its underlying moral and other aspects.

What do you think of the kind of arguments that have been made in these articles and by the cardinal recently, that this is somehow a kind of a media assault on the church per se?

WILLIAM DONAHUE, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: He's wrong, and it's a regrettable comment.

The fact of the matter is, the media found the dirt in the Catholic church, which it, in fact, created. The media didn't put the dirt there. And, in fact, we Catholics should be glad that the media, led by the “Boston Globe,” in fact exposed this, because you can't get beyond it and you can't have a purification process unless you own up.

So I've complained about media bias in the past. I've done it for years. But in this instance, no. It is scapegoating. It is dodging the bullet. The responsibility lies with the Catholic church.

They created the problem and only they can fix it.

KEYES: Well, when we get back, I want to talk with our guests some more about exactly what's going to be required, in this particular area, because there's been a lot of talk about the priestly abuse. I want to talk about the accountability of the hierarchy and what needs to be done in order to restore a sense of real confidence in the kind of judgments that will be taken, not just with respect to this scandal, but with respect to the whole range of issues having to do with human sexuality, moral responsibility, in the face of a world that takes a very different view than the church's on a lot of these subjects.

And later, my “Outrage of the Day” in which we'll be talking about forced abortions in North Korea.

But first, does this make sense? President Bush was elected with the support of a lot of conservatives, some of whom were convinced to overcome doubts and hesitations, based on the argument that the president was going to be somebody who would appoint the right kind of judges to the federal bench and so forth.

Well, now it comes out that there has been a deal in place with respect to one of the most important states in this union, California, that gives two of the most liberal senators in the United States Senate, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, a veto power over what kind of judges are going to be appointed by the Bush administration, and that basically allows these two liberal senators to block the door against real conservatives being put on the bench from this very critical United States federal court in California.

Given where President Bush ran and given the kind of commitment that was given to him by many conservatives based on the prospect of real progress in the judiciary, does this kind of a surrender of his presidential prerogative really make sense?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEYES: We're back with William Donahue and Father C. John McCloskey, talking about not only the crisis in the Catholic church, but the response that we have been seeing from some sources in the Vatican and elsewhere, blaming the United States media for the focus that there has been on this crisis.

I have to say, Bill Donahue, that as I put it to Father John, I see a certain symptom of an effort to turn away from and evade the accountability of the hierarchy in this whole matter in this sort of effort to shift the blame over to the media or somewhere else. And I think that's very disturbing, because I think that one of the things that needs to come out of this conference is something that actually addresses the shaken confidence that I think is there in elements of the hierarchy that has resulted from this crisis.

What kinds of things do you think could come out of the conference that would help to restore a sense that the moral and spiritual integrity and priorities have been put in place to provide the right kind of guidance and judgment for the future in dealing with these kinds of matters, in terms of the cardinals and the archbishops?

DONAHUE: Well, they're going to have to go back to what Father McCloskey said before, and that is to examine what has been going on in the Catholic church, in terms of teaching morality, the whole totality of it.

I mean, we need more priests, quite truthfully, like Father McCloskey, and we wouldn't have had this problem in the first place.

There is a tremendous amount of I don't mean debate — I mean wide scale rebellion and dissent, taken to extremes, that is going on on Catholic college campuses amongst theologians, amongst sisters who are running seminaries who don't believe what the Catholic church teaches.

And unless the bishops are willing to address this and hold up a big stop sign and call people into their office and say, you know, maybe perhaps you ought to reconsider your vocation. I mean, there is more insubordination with impunity tolerated within the Catholic church, which has this tyrannical image, amazingly, then was allowed in “The New York Times.”

KEYES: Father John, I think that what Bill is saying, to me, seems exactly right. And yet I also have sensed that there doesn't seem to be, at least openly, much of a will coming from people in the hierarchy to see the problem with this kind of moral theological dimension, and to address it in these terms, to restore the integrity of the basis for judgment in these matters by cardinals and bishops as well as by priests.

Is there going to be some such basis laid in this conference, or do we have no hope of that?

MCCLOSKEY: Well, we have some hope. I think we are at a true transition, a turning point, in terms of the history of the Catholic church in the United States.

Are we going to go with a true interpretation of the documents of the second Vatican Council? A real understanding of human sexuality as has been laid out beautifully in the pontific of John Paul II. Or are we going to harbor or continue to have dissent?

The document that came out of Rome that's going to be brought to the attention of the bishops was very clear that we have to stop dissent in the Catholic church by individuals. And secondly, that there's going to be a serious investigation of seminaries in the United States, a new and serious one, that will be done by the Vatican.

Two things: suppression of dissent in the Catholic church. There's not room for people who do not want to be Catholic. We want them to come home, but there's no room for that. Because there has to be truth in advertising.

KEYES: I think that that is something that would, I think, would satisfy the requirements of conscious for many people. And I certainly hope and pray that there will be some courage in addressing that, that kind of puts aside this effort to shift the blame and instead looks for a constructive, responsible answer to the real problem.

Thank you both for being with us tonight. Really appreciate it. Thanks for those comments.

Next, my “Outrage of the Day,” forced abortions in North Korea.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEYES: Now for my “Outrage of the Day.”

“The New York Times” reports today that escapees from North Korea are asserting that forced abortions and infanticide are the norm in North Korean prisons.

In 2000 and 2001, China deported thousands of North Korean refugees, with many ending up in North Korean camps. People who later managed to escape again to China and South Korea say that prisoners discovered to be pregnant were routinely forced to have abortions. If babies were born alive, they say, guards forced prisoners to kill them.

I have to tell you, the Bush administration has included North Korea on the roster of — on the axis of terror, and states likely to be involved with the business of terror, which is what directing force against the lives of the innocent.

This kind of tragic report about abortion and infanticide lends deep credibility to the existence in North Korea of a culture of death that disregards the rights of the innocent. It should and must be opposed.

That's my sense of it.

Thanks. “THE NEWS WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS” is up next. See you tomorrow.

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