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Who do you feel more threatened by — Communist China or the Jewish extremists in the Kach Party?

Even as an Arab-American, I have to tell you that China, under the brutal regime of Jiang Zemin, scares me a lot more than the ghost of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the late founder of Israel’s outlawed Kach movement, which sought to chase Arabs out of Israel.

Nevertheless, later this month, President Clinton will be toasting Jiang in Washington. And earlier this week, the president told Americans they don’t have the right to aid Kach and 29 other organizations that “support terrorism.”

Now let me make it clear that I have no use for Kach, anymore than I do the Abu Nidal Organization, the Khmer Rouge or Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo — other terror-supporting groups on the administration’s forbidden list. What bothers me is the fact that there is no meaningful and objective standard being used by the U.S. government in these prohibitions and restrictions on the activities of law-abiding Americans.

For instance, the Irish Republican Army, or Sinn Fein, is not included on the list. Why? By any standard you want to use, the IRA is a terrorist organization — one that has cooperated fully with many of the other groups on the administration’s list.

But the IRA has better public relations than Hamas, Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad. And there is a sizable community of Irish-Americans who have soft spots in their hearts and heads for Northern Ireland’s terrorists.

However, the real contradictions in administration policy are evident when you compare the way the U.S. government treats impotent, would-be tyrants, like those in the Japanese Red Army, and a real instigator of state-sponsored terror like Jiang. The one without the nuclear weapons pointed at us gets blacklisted, while Clinton has promised to roll out the proverbial red carpet for China’s dictator.

It’s not that Clinton is unaware of Jiang’s shortcomings in the human-rights area. His own State Department has issued reports recently condemning the widespread persecution of Christians, the continuing rape of Tibet and the lack of any political freedom in China.

The answer to all that, the administration says, is constructive engagement. We should trade with the Chinese. We should talk with them. We should sign contracts with them. We should buy toys from them. We should sign business deals with them. We should encourage the World Bank to make loans to them with U.S. taxpayer funds. We should allow them to control a strategic port facility on the mainland of the United States. We should even consider selling them the building blocks of nuclear weapons which will someday be aimed at the United States of America. And we certainly shouldn’t discourage them from making campaign contributions to U.S. politicians and political parties.

But the Basque separatist organization known as Euzkadi Ya Askatasuna will receive no quarter here. There’s no room in America for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka. Don’t even think about giving a dime to the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front Dissidents of Chile or you could face 10 years in jail. And Tupac Amaru Shakur is lucky he’s dead, because support of his namesake, the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement in Peru, is a federal offense.

Does this seem like a double-standard to you? China, which actively supports some of these terrorist groups, gets royal treatment from the White House. But Americans who support any one of them face hard time in old stoney.

What’s even scarier — and more to the point — is the question of who’s next. In releasing the list of terrorist organizations, the administration characterized the groups as “extremist.” Well, I’ll buy that. But this White House has thrown that label around far too much for me to feel comfortable.

I’ve heard that same word used by the administration to describe conservative radio talk-show hosts, the National Rifle Association, home schoolers, pro-life Republicans — even me personally.

I fear the next list might grow even larger next year and include, perhaps, a militia group or a domestic religious organization like the Branch Davidians. Where do we draw the line? Whose enemies’ list is this?

Now, I don’t believe any American should lift a finger to help any of the groups on this list. But I have a much bigger list of terrorists — a list that includes organizations, nations and government agencies that I find far more threatening to me, my family and my country than all of these groups put together.

Anyone who wouldn’t place China at the very top of that list right now, should not be trusted to set priorities when it comes to assessing the world’s many evils.

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