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April 18, 1975 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-04-18

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8 Friday, April 18, 1975

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Purely Commentary

(Continued from Page 2)

By Philip

$lomovitz

A common practice of degrading Jews and misrepresent-

the U.S. finds itself sliding into a serious economic , ing their status in many lands, especially vis-a-vis Israel
slump.
and the Middle East is frequently revived. Dictionaries and
It is even a natural idea for a one-time presiden- encyclopedias are most frequent evil-spreaders.
tial candidate to put forward if he is seeking to re-
Now it is Encyclopedia Americana that is rendering
establish himself on the political scene. But did any great harm to the cause of truth as it affects Jews.
Arab leader in fact promise him long-term coopera-
In Near East Report, under the heading "Is This an
tion, even for the price of Israel's head? Senator Mc-
Govern must surely know that it is going to be a long Encyclopedia?", I. L. Kenen, editor emeritus of this impor-
uphill struggle with oil states, that the failures and tant news letter which is published by the American Israel
confusion in the Far East have made matters worse Public Affairs Committee which Kenen headed until re-
and that Arab sights are now set much higher than cently, the eminent journalist and public affairs expert
merely Israel. We cannot solve the oil problem even wrote as follows:
if we were willing for all Israel to disappear for the
"Last week I received the 1975 edition of the Encyclope-
well-being of the U.S. — a most unlikely contin- dia Americana and was astonished to read a half-page chro-
gency. Even the destruction of Israel would at best nology of the Middle East — 38 items condensed into 76
delay for a year or so the determination of the oil lines. Was it lack of space, or lack of fairplay? For never
states to own a part of the western economy which once does the author disclose that the Arab :Israel conflict
their oil feeds, as an investment against the day the began because the Arabs rejected Israel's right to exist.
oil runs out or is superseded by other sources of en-
."The Nov. 29, 1947, item notes: "UN General Assembly
ergy. A revision under pressure of the genuine, close votes to partition Palestine into Arab, Jewish and Interna-
and warm relationship between the U.S and Israel
tional zones." Zones? Why does the author fail to use the
would only convince the Arab states that it is well word states?
worth taking a firm tone with American Senators.
"On May 14, 1948, Americana says: "As British Man-
Mr. McGovern thinks we should look at the
realities of the Middle East. We think he should look date terminates, Palestine Jews proclaim Israel a sovereign
nation; hostilities between Jews and Arabs escalate."
at those of the U.S.

Perhaps McGovern has learned a few new facts about
Israel during his visit there which coincided with this corre-
spondent's. Israel can't afford to lose a single friend. There
are too few available and a McGovern is valuable. He is ac-
cepted as a man with a sense of justice. We want a share of
that compassion for us.

"Why convey the impression that this was a civil war?
Why no mention that Arab armies of Jordan, Egypt, Leba-
non, and ,Syria all invaded Palestine hoping to divide it
among themselves?
"The chronology is -perniciously partisan. When Arabs
attack, the authors evasively report that "hostilities have
broken out." But when Israel's troops move, the reader is
never left in doubt, although the reasons are evaded.

ADL Parley Hits Schools, TV

NEW YORK — Two na- views of the present as they
' tionally known educators appear on television; be-
charged that schools and tween the formality of the
television present children election prdcess as it is
with "diametrically op- taught in civic education
posed" pictures of society — and community protests
one benign and the other presented on the media; be-
violent.
tween conflict-free social
The two — Judith Torney, studies texts and the cur-
associate professor in psy- rent affairs broadcasting
chology, and Charles A. Tes- where violence is an every-
coni, Jr., associate professor day matter and conflicting
of education, at the Univer- attitudes are conveyed in
sity of Illinois at Chicago powerful terms."
Circle — presented a paper
Noting that children will
on "Political Socialization "often accommodate" their
Research and Respect for internal learning processes
Ethnic Diversity" at a ses- about the world without aid
sion of the Anti-Defamation from teachers or parents,
League of Bnai Brith's they recommended that
"Pluralism in a Democratic schools help student cogni-
Society," conference of edu- tion "by dealing explicitl
cators at the Plaza Hotel with contradictions betwee
here.
what a student sees in a
Profs. Tourney and Tes- textbook about ethnic mi-
coni pointed out that de- norities and what he sees in
spite "laudable aims" nei- the newspaper about inter-
ther the schools nor group conflict, what the
television programs effec- child hears in the classroom
tively teach or communi- and what he sees on televi-
cate history or "give chil- sion."
dren a picture of the world
The two educators called
as composed of many cul- for increased research,
tures and the interdepend- pointing out that "there is
ence of people in it."
no comprehensive, system-
They declared that "great atic analysis" of cultural
gaps exist between history pluralism and "little direct
of the past as it is taught in testing of its assumptions
school" and fragmentary and attendant promises."

JERUSALEM — Scientific polls have become unneces-
sary to determine the Israeli attitudes on war and peace,
Kissinger and Ford, and also Jewish leadership.

"On Oct. 29, 1956, Americana records: "Israel invades
Sinai peninsula." Every responsible historian knows why
Israel moved. The Americana itself gave the reasons in its
Does anyone feel that peace could come very soon in the 1957 volume (p. 409): "The determining factors in the Israeli
Middle East? One would have to be blind to reality to beliel'ie decision were the Communist bloc arms shipments to Egypt
it. Only the very, very devout will' express faith that the beginning in 1955, the increasing scope of terrorist raids,
Almighty will most certainly avoid a 'war. Even the most and the conclusion of an Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian alli-
religious speak concernedly while adhering to faith that the ance on Oct. 24, 1956."
All Powerful will -protect Israel. But the unavoidability of
Many items obscure the crucial facts and omit decisive
war appears to be the predominant expectation.
events. Thus, on May 18, 1967, "UN Emergency Force is
Diaspora Jewry would do well to recognize that Israelis withdrawn." Presumably, this was an act of God, not of
are reconciled to the idea that they might have to battle for Nasser. In fairness, the Americana does go on to say that
their status quo. They just don't trust the potentates of the "on May 22, 1967, Nasser instituted blockade of the Gulf of
oil empires. They hope for the miracle while retaining con- Aqaba against. Israel shipping."
fidence in ability to overcome any and all military threats.
But there is no mention of the failure of the UN or the
These are common factors in the Israel of today. They United States to act, despite past commitments, or of the
would be strange if there was to be a lack of understanding U.S. view that this was the major cause of the Six-Day War.
of how deeprooted are the feelings regarding the following The Americana report is terse — June 5, 1967: "Israel again
matters:
invades Gaza and Sinai areas."
1. The average Israeli hopes and believes that the
(There is no account of Jordan's entry into the war, nor
American-Israel friendships will not be diminished; but he
looks with suspicion upbn Kissinger; he is puzzled by Presi- the subsequent unification of Jerusalem.)
dent Ford; he is amazed that the American press should
Does anyone doubt who started the Yom Kippur War?
suddenly have begun to think of itself as having been too But, in its unevenhanded war, the Americana records on
friendly to Israel.
Oct. 6, 1973: "War breaks out in the Middle East, as Israel
2. The American politician is under scrutiny. Why have forces fight- Syrian and Egyptian troops." Doesn't that sug-
so many members of Congress suddenly become the advo- gest that Israelis really started the fighting? -
cates of "evenhandedness" that may prove a weapon of de-
spair for the Jewish state?
Out of curiosity I checked back to the 1974 Americana
3. Israelis,.usually cock-sure of kinships, are wondering chronology and found a similar formulation. It reads: "A
whether American Jewry and the Jews of England will con- major war breaks out in the Middle East as Israeli forces
tinue to challenge the offenders who seek Israel's dissolu- fight Syrian forces along the Golan Heights and Egyptian
forces along the Suez Canal."
tion?

4. To overcome the well-oiled and well-financed Arab
propaganda machines, are the Jews of the Diaspora able to
formulate a strong enough public relations program to over-
come massive propaganda so dastardly that it approaches
destructiveness?

Most vital of all concerns is the question that especially
agonizes Israelis:
"Is there need for a return to the basic principles of
Zionism — that of elevating the ideal above the material —
the creation of a new force to awaken public opinion?"
Once again the question bluntly asked is whether
"shtadlanut" — action by the few interceders rather than
mass action that usually brings results — is not a cause for
new concern in a troubled era for Israel and for Jewry?
In summation, the average Israeli does not hesitate to
say: War appears inevitable, we shall surely win it, and an-
other one, too, if it means our security and survival. And
what then? We hope for no war, we strive for security that
will not deny us the dignity of justified sovereignty, we la-
bor for a day of amity with neighbors, we must have inter-
.national cooperation. For all these, the first element of
strength and security is the fellow Jew. If we don't lose him,
we are never licked.

Now, we all know that the UN is enjoined by the Soviet
veto from adopting any resolution indicting Arab aggres-
sion against Israel. But who is responsible for the Ameri-
cana's crude distortions in its mishandling of Middle East-
ern affairs? One is left to wonder if the Americana is
similarly inaccurate and u_nfair in its handling of other ma-
jor issues." -

One day it is Mike Wallace, the next it is Encyclopedia
Americana, then there are the commentators and the vi-
triolic Evans-Novak machine. They all create problems that
need action, that demand vigilance. They all call for super-
human energy and strong manpower to face the issues.
They are not minor matters. They may start with anti-Is-
raelism, wind up in anti-Semitism, cause anger, instill
hatreds. Too few are tackling the issues. Those who do are
the strong in a weak society. There is cause for appreciation
of I. L. Kenen in much he had sone in truth-expressing in
his people's behalf. His expose of the Encyclopedia Ameri-
cana is an especially commendable act of research for which
he has earned gratitude from all who seek peace.

a

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