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June 13, 1975 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-06-13

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2 Friday, June 13, 1975


Purely Commentary

Israel and the Menacing
Threats from Arabism

Impressions of visits in Middle Eastern
countries and talks with responsible Arab
and Israeli leaders by Seymour Topping, as-
sistant managing editor of the New York
Times, was summarized so importantly in-
the Overseas Press Club Bulletin that it mer-
its special consideration.
In the report of Topping's lecture and sub-
sequent discussion written for OPC Bulletin
by Helen Alpert, the following facts are of
vital significance. Quoting the OPC Bulletin:
On Kissinger: "He failed because he un-
derestimated Israel's determination to drive
a hard bargain. In Syria the picture is dis-
couraging — it's a country again full of pas-
sion, rhetoric and resolve to get the Golan
Heights. To understand, an Israeli artillery
piece on the Golan Heights can easily shell
Damascus. The Russians are pouring an en-
ormous amount of equipment into Syria. Yet
the Syrians are hard to train — it takes from
5 to 7 years to develop Syrians to handle
MIG23s. Asad is a relative moderate; he'd
sign a peace treaty. But one year from today
there may be a new government in Damas-
On Palestine: "There can be no Mideast
peace until the Palestine question is settled.
I can't understand the proposals for the
West Bank and Gaza as a solution. The Pa-
lestinians are intelligent, educated, dedi-
cated. They will push west against Israel or
east against Jordan. Also not viable is any
Kissinger agreement without Russian and
American agreement. Russia's mischief in
that area is endless. The great powers must
establish a settlement all can accept."
Larry Stessin noted that he had followed
Topping two weeks after the Times editor
left, interviewing high officials in Jordan,
Lebanon, Syria and Egypt who never talked
about Israel but "Palestine" and they
seemed unanimous that Israel must be de-
From Topping: "Reactions to Israel in
Arab countries are diverse. The Arabs are
hesitant to talk regarding the status of Israel
25 years from now. It is 'murky' beyond the
next two to three decades. Arafat's Israel is
a dream; an umbrella to encompass all
ideas doesn't speak of Israel's existence on
any basis. The Arabs don't realistically be-
lieve they can dismantle Israel now. But in
25 years? Beyond 25 years? You can't force
the acceptance of Israel — it must learn, in
their view, to be a Middle East country. In
short, the Arab countries seem willing to co-
exist until their own strength develops and
Arafat's dream comes true with Israel be-
coming a minority people.
"I have no confidence in a war now; Israel
would win. But on the long term the accre-
tion of wealth, training, armaments will
equal imbalance against Israel. Most talk is
on 25 years from now. There's no possibility
for Israel to survive long-term unless the set-
tlement is guaraniteed by the Russians and
"There's no safe way out. Any way out is
risky. We must continue to arm Israel and
keep it strong. Possibly a good relationship,
will mature. My reporters say the Palestini-
ans are very close to the Jews now that
they're growing together with the sabras
(born in Israel) not the eariler generation of
European-born Jews. 'We can talk to the
sabras,' they say. There's much esteem for
Finally: "Other questions concern the eco-
nomics in the area. There's nothing to gain
from another war now, although there's -Is-
tility on every level. Today the Egypt,' no
longer consider themselves leaders
Arab movement. All want to get the.
problem off their backs and begin tit • 1§p
their own countries. It's just possibl
settlement for 25 years may equal a g-
term settlement."
The "revelations" here are not new. They
are, however, reminders of earlier threats to
Israel and of confrontations with the Arabs.
Presented again are reverberations of
Arab emphasis on Palestine in a determina-
tion not even to utter the name of Israel as a
Jewish state.

Long-Range Speculations to Resolve Agonizing Middle
East Problems . . . Does Arab Ban on Use of Israel's
Name Point to a New Change of Heart?

Then there is the speculation on a time ele-
ment for Israel's destruction. Previous
boasting was that even if it were necessary
to wait a hundred years, Israel was to be de-
stroyed by the Arabs. Now the term set for
annihilation has been reduced to 25 years.
There is consolation in a specific factor:
the Topping experience is now some three
months old. In that span there have been
some changes. Sadat and Assad mention Is-
rael by name, Hussein has done so in the
past, and all of them have spoken of Israel as
a fact — providing that Israel will submit to
So — perhaps Palestine will be treated
historically and Israel, historic for Jewry,
the world and the legacies of the genera-
tions, will be the redeemed factor in human-
There remains the bitter hatred among
Arab potentates and an increasing number
of the young Arabs, including the many
thousands in American universities, who
may be ready to reach an extended cease fire
agreement with Israel but who nevertheless
resort to the 25-year threat because there is
so much Arab money and so many millions
of Arabs on whose backs the Arab rulers can
load the military losses.
Hasn't the last ruler of Saudi Arabia
threatened Israel with an expense of a mil-
lion lives if necessary in order to achieve the
goal of Israel's destruction?
That is why statesmanship must look for
long-range solutions. That is why. the Middle
East demands vision of what may happen in
the future in order to make commitments in
the present. Perhaps this is what motivates
Henry A. Kissinger, this may be the driving
force in the ranks of the growing number of
doves in Israel who are ready to make con-
cessions in the interest of a realistic peace.
With uncertainties arising from the Ford-
Sadat-Rabin conferences, from the specula-
tive threats and the fearful venom that has
been imbedded in the hearts of Israel's
neighbors, the future is sinister. Fortunately
there is an American friendship that sur-
passes whatever hesitancies may develop in
the White House. It is from Jewish ranks
that a new wisdom must emerge to provide
strength and faith for Israel and her kin-
speople. Seldom in history has the challenge
been so imminent and so grave.

Terrorism Menaces Everybody

A N.Y. Times correspondent, describing
the growing menace of terrorism, which also
included the recent murder of two Ameri-
cans in Iran, commenced his cabeled report
from, Teheran, Iran, as follows:

When cakes are served in the pres-
ence of the Shah of Iran, security
men sometimes poke them with rods
to make sure they do not contain
When a visitor arrives at the
United States Embassy here, he
passes two Marine guard check-
points, his briefcase is searched, and
he is discretely screened by closed-
circuit television.
And when a member of the Shah's
family or a United States dignitary
travels in Iran, his itinerary is not
disclosed in advance to deter assasi-
nation or kidnapping attempts.
In this vast and changing nation,
the Shah's regime and its main ally,
the United States, are the targets of
terrorist violence that has seemingly
mounted in recent years.

gangs. Perhaps there is now newer recogni-
tion of a danger that may begin with and
emphasize the Israeli victims but whose suf-
ferers will be the Arabs themselves and
many of the innocents in numerous coun-

Dr. Baron at 80

Prof. Salo Wittmayer Baron is in retire-
ment from Columbia University where for
nearly 40 years, since 1930, he held the pro-
fessorship of Jewish studies. In these roles
he was the teacher of the most eminent Jew-
ish and Christian scholars in this country.
At 80 — he observed his birthday as octogen-
arian last month — he continues his labors
of compiling the most significant history
studies in "A Social and Religious History of
the Jews" of which Coltliinbia University
Press has already published 17 volumes. It is
an endless work and he is tireless. His age
has not been a deterrent. He keeps enriching
Jewish knowledge. He is constantly adding
to the great treasury he has compiled. He is
the master and his image as historian and
researcher keeps growing.
His 80th birthday, which he marked in his
home in Canaan, Conn., is, therefore, an oc-
casion for rejoicing by world Jewry. He is
the incomparable historian and with Hein-
rich Graetz and Simeon llubnov he is part of
a trio of Jewish historians who for a century
and a half have perserved the chronicles of
Jewish life and have restored to knowledgea-
bility many hidden records about Jewry.
His wife Jeannette is a great asset to him
and therefore shares in much of the glory he
has given his people, in the preparation tech-
nically of the•mass of material the great
scholar keeps gathering as a legacy for his
people. Those who have seen them at work in
Jerusalem in 1961, when Dr. Baron was pre-
paring his evidence at the Eichmann trial,
learned to appreciate and to value her serv-

By Philip

ices as a devoted life paftner to the eminent
To he able to join in greeting the great
man on his 80th birthday is in itself a bless-
ing. With the message of cheer to him goes
the hope that his great history will reach the
30th volume, assuring for Salo Wittmayer
Baron a long life of health and happiness.

Sen. Hart's Retirement

U. S. Senator
Philip A. Har
greeted with re-
gret. He has built
a strong friend-
ship in this com-
munity and he
retains it. From
the very begin-
ning of his politi-
cal career he has
evidenced liberal-
ism and practiced
From the time
he began his po-
litical career, as
Michigan's lieutenant-governor, he was close
to the Zionist ranks. He succeeded the late
Judge Frank Picard to the chairmanship of
the Michigan chapter of the American Chris-
tian Palestine Committee and chaired many
important meetings in behalf of the Jewish
libertarian cause and then of the reborn
state of Israel. His concern for Israel's secu-
rity never diminished during his 18 years in
the U. S. Senate.
The esteem the Jewish community had for
him during all those years continue in his
final 18 months in the U. S. Senate and in
whatever other activities he may be engaged
in thereafter.

Mike Wallace and Syrian Jewry: Burden of Proof

Mike Wallace apparently is so determined and anxious to protect and defend his own
views that he reproduced the damaging Damascus portion of his 60 Minutes program on
Sunday and appended to it more accusations: that Israel had actually leveled the ground on
which existed the city of Kuneitra, that the Jews who testified gloriously for Syria were
chosen by him at random from the synagogue and were not the preferred witnesses selected
by the Syrian government, and much more which might be interpreted as an indictment of
the American Jewish Congress and its charges leveled at Wallace with the National News
Wallace's pursuit of the issue, his plan to revisit Syria and to interview the Syrian
president, Hafez al-Assad, are not unwelcome. Every effort to arrive at the truth must be
welcomed. Nevertheless, the burden of proof remains Wallace's, not those who have de-
manded that he correct the blunders in his Damascus program. His earlier defense was
based in part on stories by the columnists Evans and Novak, and the prejudiced views of the
latter were not acceptable. There remains the impression that Wallace was taken in and that
he had rendered a disservice to the cause of justice for oppressed Syrian Jewry.
On May 18 the New York Times Magazine carried an important interview with Assad
by Ted Morgan. The lengthy article concluded with an appendix, "The Jews of Damascus," in
which Morgan noted:

I had been given the address of Joseph Jajati, a Jewish businessman who runs a
men's clothing store called Le Grand Magasin in downtown Damascus, where I went
with an aide from the Ministry of Information.
I asked him was the word "Jew" marked in red on identity cards?
Jajati pulled out his I.D. card and showed me, in blue ink, like the rest of it, the
word MOSSAWI, "follower of Moses." Other Syrians, however, are not required to
mention their religion.
Was it true that Jews can't work for the Government? Jajati broke out in a sly
smile, "Jews don't want to work for the Government," he said. "They like to be their
own bosses. They prefer commerce. They make more money."
"Is it true that Jews can't travel freely inside Syria?" I asked. "Yes, it's true," t
aide said. "They must have permission from their local police station to leave the city,
but the problem is that we're at war; they need to be protected. A Palestinian may
attack them; he might be angry because his parents were killed. For their own good,
they must inform the police where they are going."
I .asked Jajati why he would talk to me only in the presence of a Government offi-
The warning contained in this description cial. "If you come with a Government introduction," he said, "it means you are a re-
of growing dangers is not a new one. It had sponsible journalist and not a provocateur."
been applied to other nations and it has
Jajati struck me as the contemporary version of the court Jew who thrives in a
emerged as a universal menace to all.
hostile environment. How representative he was of the community was another matter.

When Israel was threatened and when ter-
rorists invaded Israel's airport, schoolrooms
and peaceful villages on the borders of Syria,
Jordan and Lebanon, the matter was treated
as if it were a mere Arab-Israel argument.
Perhaps all the new outrages will assure in-
terest needed to curb the terror, whether it
is in Tanzania, Tehran or Kiryat Shmona.
But when proposals for international action
were submitted to the United Nations, they
were shelved with disdain because they in-
tended to pinpoint the blame on the Arab

This and other factual statements refute Wallace and demand corrections via future
A most regrettable incident has been 'created as a result of the protests leveled at Wal-
lace's broadcast from Damascus and his stubborn insistence to defend a position of negation.
Those who panic over emerging issues involving Jews — they have been called the sha-
sha Jews — may re-emerge with a warning to keep silent, not to disturb the media. The
Wallace incident admonishes to the contrary. The moment problems, attacks on Jewry,
threats to the freedoms of kinsmen, are silenced the destiny of freedom-loving people will be
doomed. It is the silent Jew who aids the oppressor and contributes to distortion of truth. The
silent Jew gives comfort to the KGB, Gestapo and El Fatah. For the sake of truth, silence
must never be tolerated.

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