THE JEWISH NEWS
Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with the issue July 20, 1951
Member American Association of English-Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association, National Editorial Association.
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17515 1,V. Nine Mile, Suite 865, Southfield, Mich. -18075.
Second-Class Postage Paid at Southfield, Michigan and Additional Mailing Offices. Subscription $10 a year.
CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ
Editor and Publisher
%Ian Ilitsky. News Editor . . . Heidi Press. kssistant News Editor
Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the 16th day of Elul, 5735, the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues: .
Pentateuchal portion, Deut. 26:1-29:8. Prophetical portion, Isiah 60:1-22.
Candle lighting, Friday, Aug. 22, 8:04 p.m.
VOL. LXVII, No. 24
Friday, August 22, 1975
Journalistic Responsibilities to Truth
Truth sprouts forth from the earth.—Psalm Deir Yassin. It was an horrible experience for
8512 Israel and Jewry, and both had condemned it. It
Duty to truth is as much an editor's respon was an occurrence that followed mass murders
sibility as the obligation to provide the readers of Jews in Kfar Etzion, the massacre of doctors
of newspapers with information as well as corn and nurses from Hadassah who traveled in cars
mentaries on the news of the times. Neverthe and ambulances carrying the Red Cross flags.
less, an apparent desire to be even-handed, to Deir Yassin is the only stain on the record of
exercise what is considered justice for all view- decency, honor and humanity which distin-
points, the need to test truth has been both ig- guishes Israel. But in a mixture of falsehoods,
nored and abused. The harm such failures have such letters serve to inflame the minds of the
created compel the frequent protests and the re uninformed and create enmities towards Israel
sentments which become necessities in the in and suspicions of Jews in this country.
It is the inculcation of such suspicions that
terest of truth.
becomes an act of inhumanity on the part of re-
Examples of abuses of realities were in evi
dence in both Detroit newspapers one day last sponsible newspapers and editors, and it is
against such tactics that all people of good will
In one instance, the afternoon newspaper, must react decisively. Therefore the protests are
in a spirit of unjustified anger, wanted to know valid and necessary.
Bnai Brith-sponsored Jewish Heritage classics are enriched with
This painful issue raises anew the question
who dictates foreign policies in the United
a volume of selections from the works of Moses Mendelsohn, providing
States and went so far as to suggest that Israel whether people have a right to criticize both con- a popularized anthology of the famous 18th Century Jewish philoso-
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin may be playing a gressional and presidential actions and to chal- pher.
In the new Viking-published volume, "Moses Mendelsohn: Selec-
role in exerting pressures upon the State De- lenge the wisdom of the State Department. A
fact not to be ignored is the right of people to tions From His Writings," Eva Jospe has incorporated many of the
partment and White House.
most notable views of the scholar who had inspired Gentiles as well as
The very idea expressed in that implication challenge their own government if and when Jews
with his interpretive works. The volume contains as a supple-
was repulsive. In an anti-Semitic journal —
ment an informative introduction by the husband of the editor and
which the Detroit afternoon newspaper is not —
translator of this work, Dr. Alfred Jospe, the former international
the word "Jew" might have been substituted for this provides the right of citizens with opposing director of the Bnai Brith Hillel Foundations.
"Rabin" and the intention would have been ap-
Treating the eminent author of the selected essays and his contri-
parent. But the writer of that insensitive edito- counts it is urgent, in the best interests of good butions to Jewish learning, and the era in which he labored under his
introductory essay title of "Prelude to Jewish Modernity," Dr. Jospe
rial failed to take into account several factors:
provides valuable historical analysis of significant occurrences in Men-
The issue the editorial tackled was the not be violated.
A factor of considerable encouragement in delsohn's life and the manner in which he influenced Jewish thinking
Administration's proposal for extensive military
assistance to Jordan. Hussein had stated at the the emergence of a community's concerns in the
This volume therefore serves the important need of providing the
outset that the additional supplies he applied for
basics in Mendelsohn's thinking for the present generation while add-
were intended for assistance to Syria in a possi- utilization of the Public Forum in the press. The ing evaluative data on events and attitudes which involved the most
ble new war on Israel. Members of Congress saw many abuses of truth, the distortions that come eminent philosophers of the 18th Century with whom Mendelsohn was
through the new scheme and an organized effort from the freedoms provided by the press, have either in friendly contact or in dispute.
in both the House of Representatives and the also inspired a readiness on the part of many
At the same time the selections indicate a thorough study of the
Senate prevented the abuse of justice and the who may hitherto have been indifferent to ex- author, his philosophy, his Jewish devotions, his personal life.
The brevity of the items selected as well as the editor's explana-
danger to peace. Members of both political par- press their views and to refute misrepresenta-
ties joined in opposing the proposal. The ranking tions and misjudgments. Editors are challenged tory note make this a work essentially significant as popular reading.
The scores of selections are certain to gain wide interest as indi-
minority member of the congressional commit- and those who abuse truth repudiated. This is as
in the these sectional titles: Personal Reflections, His People's
tee that was tackling the issue joined in oppos- it should be in a free community, and the con- cated
Defender and Mentor, A Seeker of Truth and Ultimate Questions.
ing the Administration's plan. But the Detroit
Each section is introduced by the editor's annotations, and in each
newspaper saw in the matter an intrigue fense of justice are most heartening.
instance there is authoritative evaluation by Mrs. Jospe which adds to
endangering foreign policy and the prime minis-
an understanding of the approaches by Mendelsohn and his philo-
ter of Israel was named as a possible culprit.
A typical example of the essays included and excerpted from
The end result of such judgment was an in-
Mendelsohn's writings is the following, "On Jesus," from a letter by
sult to the integrity of members of both houses
Pinhas Sapir, who was chairman of the Jewish
of Congress. It was an insult to the Jewish com- Agency and the World Zionist Organization at the Mendelsohn to Jonathan Caspas Lavater, with whom he was involved
historic controversy over Christian-Jewish relations:
munity which is rightfully concerned with the time of his death last week, was symbolically among in an January
security of more than 3 million kinspeople, and the most distinguished Israeli pioneers.
. . . It is an ingrained prejudice or rather a misconception of Your
concerned that one of the last ramparts against
A leader in the movements with which he was fellow Christians to assume that all Jews incessantly blaspheme
any repetition of a Holocaust should be rejected associated all his life — Labor Zionism (Poale Zion), Christianity and its founder. . . .
Histadrut, the Jewish Agency, the associated Zionist
Many of my brethren whom I have the pleasure of knowing per-
Even a mere blunder, as that editorial may causes and the state of Israel, in whose services he sonally have enough wisdom and moderation to use neither blasphemy
had held some of the most important positions, such nor contumely [with reference to Jesus]. And I also know many who
have been, is inexcusable.
as minister of finance — he was among the most dy- will follow me even further and acknowledge the guilelessness and
The morning newspaper, the following namic Jewish personalities of this generation.
moral integrity of Christianity's founder. It must, however, be explic-
morning, again pursued a policy of giving space
He was a power in his party and therefore domi-
to both sides of what an unconcerned reader of nant in his government. Few exercised as much power itly stated that this acknowledgement of ours is based only on the
reports of Christian witnesses (for, I repeat, we have no Jewish
letters to the editor may be giving to the urgency in directing affairs of state and in the selection of sources
on which to rely), and that it is predicated on certain assump-
for truth. Once again a letter the newspaper leaders in the Mapai Labor Party, which still main- tions, namely:
(1) that Jesus never considered himself coequal with the
published contained so many untruths that its
Father; (2) that he never claimed to be a person of the godhead; (3) that
publication was shocking. It ignored basic facts
he therefore never arrogated unto himself the divine prerogative of
The deep interest he showed in Aliya, in encour- being worshiped; and (4) that he never intended to abolish the religion
— the reality of Israel's role as a democracy, the
of his fathers, though there were evidently many instances when he
fact that religious freedom is paramount in Is-
the inspiration he was able to impart to fellow Jews s eemed to suggest the opposite.
rael, the truth that Arabs as well as Jews have everywhere
in behalf of Israel and the country's up-
These assumptions are of the utmost importance. For if they
economic freedoms through the unions in which building and security.
timed out to be invalid, that is, if some of his [Jesus'] ambiguous
both enjoy membership. But, once again, that
Pinhas Sapir's life was filled with remarkable at- I itterances — which indeed do seem to contradict our interpretation —
writer was given a platform to repeat the tainments. He was a source of pride to his party, his h ad to be taken literally
after all, our judgment concerning the moral
charges contained in referring to the tragedy of people, his Jewish kinsmen everywhere.
ntegrity of his intentions would have to be completely reversed. . . .
Mendelsohn Reader: Writings
Compiled by Eva Jospe