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September 21, 1973 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1973-09-21

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Purely Commentary

In a world filled with so much tension, in an era of many challenges to Jewish
spokesmen, critics of the Establishment—of the Establishments!—have good grounds
for dissatisfaction with what is termed leadership.
Israel justifiably acts in self-defense: security comes first and much that is
condemned nevertheless is justified. Yet there are factors in the Israeli conditions
that are distressing. Golda Meir admitted errors in the treatment of new settlers,
and the division in Israel's ranks over territorial policies indicate that not all that
is administratively enacted has complete backing. There are many aspects in the
Israel-Diaspora relationships that are upsetting.
The home front is of major concern. Are the serious issues properly met?
Is the confrontation with the re-emerging right- and left-wing elements conducted
expertly? Is the Russian Jewish situation handled wisely? When the terrorists make
inroads, is there a firm position based on realities?
The Zionist ranks have not progressed because of the divisiveness that has
affected the movement. A federation was organized, it failed to achieve unity, its
activities seem to be based on repetitive statements by heads of movements, giving
the impression that all that matters is the publicity egoism. Has anything else
been achieved federatively?
Whatever exists challengingly gained some notoriety this week in the con-
sideration of the approaches to the Jackson Amendment 'and the response to it from
Jewish ranks.
Demanding a response to "a public challenge," out of an "anxiety lest certain
elements of Jewish leadership weaken in the coming critical months," Jacob Birnbaum,
national director of the Center for Russian Jewry with Student Struggle for Soviet
Jewry," issued a statement that makes serious accusations. It names names and
movements and charges existence of confusion based on submission to the White
House pressures. Read these excerpts from his accusatory statement and take heed:
It is now almost a year since Senator
Henry Jackson introduced his remarkable
a very few others such as Philip Klutznick,
amendment interdicting U.S. trade con-
must surely be regarded as doubtful. Pos-
cessions to the USSR or others impeding
sibly the greatest danger point at this
normal emigration processes. Though his
time would seem to lie with Jack Stein,
historic initiative is solidly supported by
chairman of the Conference of Major Jew-
American Jews, we should beware of a
ish Organizations. In the eyes of the White
tiny minority of Jewish leaders who, de-
House and the U.S. Congress, this coordi-
spite their publicly declared support,
nating body has a representative status
sometimes act in ways which may weak-
which lends significance to the words and
en the force of the Jackson/Mills-Vanik
deeds of its chairman. While Mr. Stein
legislation. The legislation is of such ex-
has expressed earnest support of the
traordinary importance to Soviet Jews at
amendment, at least two of his recent
this time that the public should be alerted
actions have been expressions of a dan-
without delay to any potential weakness.
gerous naivete ("I know how to handle
The leaders in question tend to be in-
them"). He twice met with Soviet - leaders
fluenced less by the grass-roots of aware
under circumstances which were against
American Jews than by the apparent the express desires of Richard Maass,
wishes of the White House. They are
chairman of the National Conference on
affected by the old Diaspora mentality
Soviet Jewry. . . By failing to heed the
of Shtadlanut, of arranging the affairs of
wishes of the National Conference on
the Jewish community "quietly," "behind
Soviet Jewry—a far more representative
the scenes." Their motto could be stated
American Jewish body in behalf of Soviet
as "trust me—I know how to handle
Jewry than the Presidents' Conference—
them" (i.e. the ruling powers, in this
Mr. Stein is opening up a division in the
case the Kremlin and the White House)...
Jewish community where, to all intents
The only public figure, to my knowl-
and purposes, none exists. He is unwit-
edge, still openly critical of the Jackson
tingly signaling the Russians that the
Amendment is Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg.
way may be open to them to create a
He apparently supports an amended ver-
diversionary maneuver.
sion which would rob it of its effective-
It is my deep conviction that before the
ness. He leads the American Jewish Con-
passage of the Jackson Amendment or
gress but is said to be in a minority on
true progress understood as such by Jack-
this matter within his own organization.
son himself, any kind of negotiation with
The attitude to the amendment of Max
the Russians and certainly not naive dick-
Fisher, confidant of President Nixon, and
ering with them, could weaken the thrust
of the amendment.

Why this brutal frankness? What motivates the head of a movement to make
accusations that there is appeasement in the ranks of policy makers for American
Jewry? If the reality of what has happened is not comprehended, it is because it is
flung at Jewry so suddenly. Perhaps it comes too early: there is hope that it is
not too late.
In the course of the past few years, during the critical periods of dangers
that were hurled at Israel, in the process of efforts to rescue Russian Jews from
humiliations that are rooted in Czarist bigotries, there has been an avalanche of
statements. The public relations men have had a heyday. They have been producing
viewpoints penned for heads of Jewish movements by the reams. It is questionable
whether the decision-making and the actions have measured up to the vainglorious
pomposity that has developed in American Jewish ranks.
Senator Jackson is confident of the 77 men in the Senate who are co-sponsoring
his amendment to deny Russia favored nation status as long as the anti-Russian policies
are enacted. The encouragement given him by those who are outraged by the per-
secution of liberals in Russia; the sense of justice that has motivated the actions of
academicians who are supporting Senator Jackson's position; and the courage of
Russian Jews and the Soviet liberals who are speaking out in support of action to force
an end to the suppression of human rights in the USSR—these are more effective than
all the verbosity of Jewish leadership (sic). But the liberals in Congress must know
that American Jews back them up in their battle for justice.
When youth protested against Establishment, there was smugness. Now, when
a leader challenges fellow leaders there is hope for greater responsibility to assure
action that will be based on a democratized American Jewish community. The demo-
cratic approach to Jewish actions may never have been at as low a level as it is
today. That may be the major reason for unresponsiveness from youth.
The accusation contained in the above-quoted statement may have created a
multiple set of issues. There have been unending claims that the Nixon policy is
what had provided major support for Israel. The Johnson friendship, the encourage-
ment from both houses of Congress, the good will from labor ranks—these have
been ignored. The fact that Israel's security is linked with established American
policy in the Middle East has not received nroper consideration because Nixon
partisans and the Golda Meir-Simha Dinitz-Itzhak Rabin emphases have been on the
glories of the Nixon partisanship. There is no begrudging such loyalties, but if they are
given undue emphasis in viewing the Middle East situation they only inspire the
unjust attacks on our government 'and the claims that there is undue U.S. aid for
Israel that estranges the Arabs and creates an oil problem for America. These are
the exaggerations to be fought, and the fables to be overcome, in order that an
energy crisis, if it exists, should be tackled with solutions for America, not by
arousing a Jewish-Moslem hatred and American confusions.

2—Friday, Sept. 21, 1973


w 1'7 11 '

Is There Submission to White House Pressures That
Denigrates Jewish Leadership? Challenge by Student
Struggle for USSR Jewry May Stimulate Serious Debate

By Philip

Misdirected American Jewish leadership has contributed to the confusion.
Egoism has dominated Jewish leadership. Pragmatism has gone overboard. A chal-
lenge that pulls the rug from under such misguided leadership deserves commendation.
A statement that has been issued in the past few days by Jacob Stein, jointly
with Richard Maass, reaffirming support for the Jackson/Mills-Vanik Amendment, to a
degree mitigates the criticism of hesitancy. But it does net entirely nullify an existing
situation of possible conceding to pressures for appeasement. Notwithstanding all the
warnings against interference in Russia's internal affairs, the fact remains that unless
there is an expression in behalf of Russian Jewry, and in support of the oppressed
dissidents of all faiths in Russia, the freedoms that are already squelched in the
USSR will be doomed for many more years to come. In the interest of justice and
liberty, silence must not be tolerated—even if it is Kissinger policy.

King Gustav's Role in Swedish Rescue Efforts for Danish Jews

King Gustav's death necessarily requires research into the Swedish ruler's role
during the Nazi era. It was known that duing World War I he was a friend of Germany.
But it was during his regime that Danish Jews were rescued in Sweden, and it is of
historic importance that the facts should be recalled and due credit given for one
most impressive humanitarian deeds during the Holocaust.
He came through nobly, and his memory should be blessed for his proper stand
in a time of crisis.
Few of the available books on the subject of the Holocaust deal with the
Gustav involvement. Fortunately, one of the best on the subject, "The Holocaust: The
Destruction of European Jewry, 1933-1945," by Nora Levin, reissued as a heavy paper-
back by Schocken Books, reviewed in The Jewish News only five weeks ago (Aug. 17)
carries the proper 'story on the subject of Swedish rescue efforts and King Gustay.
Miss Levin, presenting the record of the horror that struck the Scandinavian
countries, told of the haven provided by Sweden for 900 Norwegian Jews who fled their
country when Norway and Denmark were invaded by the Nazis, and then, referring to
neutral Sweden, related the following:
"Sweden's neutrality had benefited Germany economically; now it was to serve
Danish Jews as it had Norwegian Jews before them. Sweden offered to intern all Danish
Jews, but the Germans ignored the offer. Sweden's second proposal, to accept all
Danish Jewish children, also was rejected. Momentarily, it appeared that refugees
might be barred from sanctuary by Sweden's adherence to the legal formalities of
neutrality. The impasse was broken by a great scientist: Niels Bohr.
"The Allies wanted the Nobel Prize-winning Danish physicist in the United
States to work on the atom bomb. On September 30, Bohr was smuggled across the
sound from Denmark to Sweden in a small boat. Upon landing, he was greeted by
Professor Frederick Lindemann, Churchill's personal consultant on scientific matters.
The Allied plan was to have Bohr depart by plane for London, and then for the United
States. But Bohr refused to budge until an appointment was arranged for him with 'he
Swedish foreign minister. The appointment was set for October I.
At the meeting, Bohr announced that he had no intention of leaving Sweden until
the foreign minister promised refuge to all Danish Jews who could reach Swedish
shores. The foreign minister was not very responsive, but King Gustav was. Not alto-
gether satisfied by the king's assurance that Sweden would accept the Danish Jews,
Bohr further insisted that the news be published in Swedish newspapers and broadcast
by radio to Denmark. Only after the Swedish press carried the offer of refuge on its
front pages and the government-owned Swedish radio beamed the message to Denmark
did Bohr agree to leave. Project 'Little Dunkirk' quickly followed."
Parenthetically, let it be noted that the research into the Swedish record pro-
vided another cause for disappointment with the new Encyclopedia Judaica's contents.
We find much in the new encyclopedia that is valuable. But the Swedish story is full of
inadequacies and some inaccuracies. It fails to relate the Bohr-Gustav experience. It is
disappointing in at least one special reference—when it mentions "Himmler's masseur
Kersten" without giving his first name or some retails of an interesting personality who
played an important role in the Nazi era. May we be forgiven for demanding accuracy
and completeness from Jewish historians.

Smugness: as Viewed by an NBC Observer
in Israel and by Two of the Minor Prophets
An American correspondent, reporting the aerial con-
test in which, as Israel claimed, '13 Syrian MIGs were shot
down, with a single plane loss for Israel, described the
Israeli sentiment that developed anew as "smugness."
It raises an interesting question not only about a pos-
sibility of arrogance among Israelis, but also the relevance
of arrogance to a situation involving self-defense and se-
A sentence in the writings of the Minor Prophets has
been interpreted as a comment on smugness. See Hosea
"When they were fed, they became full,
They were filled, and their heart was exalted;
Therefore, have they forgotten me."
But there is another connotation, in another admonition
in the Minor Prophets. Amos 6:1 warns:
"Woe unto them that are at ease in Zion,
And to them that are secure in the mountains
of Samaria . . . "
This, too, .is smugness—to feel too secure!
Therefore, what is smugness to some is a matter of
security to others. Let's hope the NBC commentator in
Israel doesn't mind this defense of the people who are
currently under his observation.

Confusions and Apologetics
Some talk in the Israel Knesset on the proposal to
endorse the Jackson Amendment could be interpreted as
defeating the very purpose of the effort to deny Russia
most-favored-nation status. The argument was raised about
any country delving into affairs of another.
It is a matter to be set straight to avoid confusion.
If there is to be a gag on libertarians seeking justice for
oppressed, then we may just as well tell Sakharov and
Solzhenytzin and Yakir and the Leviches to submit to prison
garb or to straitjackets in USSR mental institutions into
which dissidents are being committed.
But freedom lovers won't permit that, even if Israel
apologists for the White House will follow the line of con-
descension to American benefactors.

Eine: Gustav Ade, Itt.e:-

Dr. Niels Bohr

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