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September 19, 1975 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-09-19

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2 Friday, September 19, 1975

,
.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Purely Commentary

Rationalizing in Confronting Problems Affecting
Sinai Accord . . . Diapora Obligation in Selecting
Jewish Agency Leadership . . . Tribute to Dr. Segal

By Philip

Slomovitz

The Agonies Incurred by the Middle East Accord and the Faltering Public Relations Tasks

Two painful factors are affecting the accord that has
been concluded between Israel and Egypt through the ef-
forts of. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, with the
blessings of President Gerald Ford; the matter of monitor-
ing and the assignment of technicians for the buffer zone.
So much has been made of it, so much has been exag-
gerated, that the anger that has erupted against Israelis
and Jews is especially deplorable.
The critics have failed to take into account the existing
security that emerges from the mutual endorsement of the
plan by both the Israeli and Egyptian authorities. If techni-
cians working With representatives of both countries are to
be considered endangered under the proposed plan, then
this nation may as well think of closing all embassies and
consulates where dangers to life and limb of American as
well as other nationals' representatives have been threat-
ened.
The engendered fears were firmly rejected in an analy-
sis of this and similar situations in a column in the New
York Times (Sept. 7) by Tom Wicker, who defined the issue
as follows:

Sometimes experience can be the worst
teacher. People and nations become so obsessed
with certain events that they vow never to let them
happen again — thus freezing themselves into a fu-
ture response that may be totally inappropriate to
changed circumstances. Thus, the World War II
lesson that any aggression anywhere should be
instantly met with force led American leaders into
the Vietnam quagmire, where the lesson had no
real application.
The dangers of such conditioned responses are
being aptly illustrated at the moment in the Middle
East and Portugal. Secretary Kissinger's hard-
won Sinai accord between Israel and Egypt in-
cludes a provision for stationing 200 American ci-
vilians in the region of the Gidi and Mitla passes.
Apparently, neither Israel nor Egypt would have
accepted the accord without such an American
presence, and if Congress does not approve the ar-
rangement it seems likely that the accord will
quickly break down.
In these circumstances, there is a danger that
the "lessons" of Vietnam will be as misleading
now as was the lesson of World War II a decade
ago. Many of those who opposed the Vietnam war
believe the stationing of "technicians" and "ad-
visers" with the South Vietnamese army made
massive American military intervention almost
inevitable. Many of them may now believe that the
American civilian force in the Sinai desert wilt
make it more likely that American military forces
would be drawn into another war.
But it seems far more plausible to argue that
the American civilians, who will be manning ear-
ly-warning stations near the passes, make it much
less likely that there will be another Sinai war. Not

The Jewish Agency Succession
and Party Politics Pressures

Soon after the rebirth of the state of Is=
rael, a rift occurred in Zionist ranks. Several
of the leading personalities in the Zionist Or-
ganization of America — Dr. Israel Gold-
stein, Judge Louis Levinthal, Louis Lipsky,
Ezra Shapiro and a few others — broke
ranks, defected into a movement they called
American League for Israel, and they gave
up a lifetime of association with the major
American Zionist movement in order to em-
phasize their separation from internal Israel
political involvements.
The contention of the defectors was that
Diaspora Jews must limit their interest to
the philanthropic and should not become in-
volved diplomatically or politically.
The rift was not good for the movement,
in spite of the fact that the so-called League
for Israel had no following, was numerically
inconsequential and did not even have an ad-
dress; there was no address for a national
office and it could be contacted only through
a telephone answering service. Its strength
was in the blessings it received from Hadas-
sah with which it had a political alliance in
the World Zionist Organization and at the
World Zionist Congresses, and for a time
there was a common definition that ZOA
had members but few leaders and the
League had no members.
Now there has developed a new condi-
tion affecting the politics of Zionism. For
several years it has become apparent that a

only does the Egyptian-Israeli accord, which the
American presence makes possible, move the
whole Middle East tangle a step nearer peaceful
solution; but the Sinai arrangements, not least the
American presence, make a surprise attack from
either side measurably less likely.
There are at least three significant differ-
ences, in any case, from the situation in Vietnam in
the early sixties. This time, the Americans will be
civilians, though lightly armed, rather than mili-
tary forces attached to a combat army. They will
be stationed in the United Nations buffer zone,
rather than on either side of the opposing lines.
Their mission will be to help prevent further hostil-
ities rather than to help one side overcome the
other; as a matter of fact the Americans in Viet-
nam a decade ago were there precisely to urge on
the South Vietnamee army to a war for which it
had no stomach and no talent.
Some dangers similar to those posed by the
early American presence in Vietnam may arise
later on, if as a condition of further withdrawals
the Israelis insist on a regular security agreement
with the United States, perhaps including the
presence of American troops. For the moment,
however, the advantages of an American civilian
force in the Sinai seem to overshadow whatever
small risks there may be, particularly when mea-
sured against the infinitely greater risks inherent
in another round of warfare.

Then there is the matter of finances. The treatment
given to the expense involved, to the costs to the American
taxpayer of providing assistance to Egypt as well as to Is-
rael, have raised such a hue and cry that the continuing
obligations by this nation to the tasks of assuring the peace
of the Middle East has been overlooked.
Instead of viewing the military and economic aid as a
continuing process by the United States in behalf of Israel
and her neighbors, as an annual foreign aid matter, col-
umnists, commentators and letter-writers in American
newspapers have begun to multiply the gifts on either a
three- or four-year basis, giving the impression that eight or
ten billions of dollars, instead of the three billion, is the
expanse to be involved. Actually, the increase over previous
allotments will be minimal, and the price projected for
peace may prove to be a bargain in the long run.
The confusions and doubts that have arisen regarding
the assignment of American civilian technicians to the
Sinai buffer area received added clarification and rejection
of panic in a New York Times editorial (Sept. 14), which
included the following:

So far the greatest attention and controversy
has focused on the scheduled presence of up to 200
American civilians to man electronic early-warn-
ing stations in the demilitarized zone, for the mu-
tual protection of Israel and Egypt. Overquick
— fears by critics that this
commitment might be-
_

political movement that has applauded the
League-Hadassah combine because it helped
its own status at World Zionist Congresses is
dictating selection of world leadership in the
Jewish Agency for Israel which is the con-
trolling force for Diaspora involvements in
Israel's behalf. The Israel Labor Party Ma-
pai and its allied forces appear to be domi-
nating in the task of naming a successor to
the late Pinhas Sapir for the chairmanship
of the Jewish Agency.
That was the case when the Mapai La-
bor Party leadership had placed Mr. Sapir in
power. Now the same forces seem to be inc-
lined to repeat the performance by shelving
the man who was preferred to Sapir by
many — Aryeh Leon Dulzin, the -present
treasurer of the Jewish Agency. The scales
seem to be tipping in favor of Yosef Almogi.
The machinations vis-a-vis the Jewish
Agency chairmanship refutes the judgments
of the creators of the League for Israel. If the
labor elements can dictate leadership for a
movement that involves Diaspora Jewry,
why could not ZOA leaders exert similar in-
fluence in some quarters involving Diaspora-
Israel relations?

Mr. Almogi is important in Israel's
ranks. He is effective in labor ranks, domest-
ically and internationally. As mayor of
Haifa he helped cement the best relations
with the Arabs. He should continue his serv-
ices as Israel's and Jewry's ambassador to
the workers of the world. In the ranks of the
Jewish Agency Mr. Dulzin has longer and
more valued experience and he should not be

come the opening edge of a Vietnam-type wedge
become increasingly groundless as details of the
arrangement emerge.
The United States is not committing military
"advisers" to assist one fighting force against an-
other; the function of this contingent is to inform
both sides, not to fight for either side. It is a contin-
uation — with much more restricted responsibili-
ties — of the peace-keeping mission long performed
by the United Nations with political and logistical
support from this country. The Americans are no
"trip wire," leading to an automatic further en-
gagement in event of combat; the President has ex-
plicit authority — agreed to by both sides — to
withdraw the contingent should he decide it was in
danger or superfluous in keeping peace.
If the presence of United States citizens on
duty in the Sinai symbolizes a direct American in-
terest in preserving the mutual security arrange-
ments negotiated through United States auspices,
so be it. The United States has such a direct inter-
est — with corresponding specific obligations
which will be fully known and thus preferable to
any vague sense of general responsibility for peace
in the region.

Meanwhile, another issue has arisen. Washington cor-
respondents are resorting to exposes. One of them, writing
for the Detroit News, has already posed the puzzle of a lack
of interest, of a two-to-one pressure of letters against the
obligations in the accord by this country. What these revela-
tions fail to indicate is that the aim for peace in the Middle
East has become an Administration obligation in the tasks
of contributing towards world peace, and therefore those
who favor the proposals seem to be assuming that as an
Administration policy it becomes unnecessary to pressure
White House and Congress on the matter. It has resulted in
an error in public relations and' is regrettable.

Expression of public views on issues affecting so many
must not be viewed as pressures but as obligatory participa-
tion in the affairs of state. The Middle East accord received
the public endorsements of the major Jewish organizations
in this country. Was it to be assumed that such statements
obviated actions by individuals who should also have writ-
ten their Congressmen and Senators, and also to the White
House?
The sad experiences, the agonies of these hours of dis-
tress, revive the concerns that inevitably arise over the sta-
tus of Jewish public relations. Are they adequate? Is Jewish
leadership faltering? Is it sufficient to enjoy the pleasures
of visits with the President, State Department and congres-
sional officials without mobilizing the American Jewish
communities for proper action in time of need? Those con-
ducting public relations are not immune from criticism.
They have faltered. The sooner the public relations pro-
grams are improved and advanced the better for the image
of the American Jew.

penalized because his political alignment is
He was truly a Rabbi — a teacher in Is-
with General Zionism rather than Labor rael — and in that capacity he was a guide to
Zionism.
many.

It is important for Israel and for world
Jewr3 that these things be said at this time.
Ability and the fact that he has already been
rooted in the work of the Jewish Agency
should give priority to Mr. Dulzin for the po-
sition vacated by the death of Mr. Sapir.

Rabbi Segal lived 'up to his title by being a
teacher. The qualities of a teacher can best
be judged by the manner of his relationships
with children. The children of his school
loved him and responded to his kindnesses
and cordialities. That also accounts for the
success he attained in his leadership as a
The American members of the interna- creator of the Hillel Day School.
tional board of the Jewish Agency owe a
duty to their constituents not to yield to la-
In addition to his impressive abilities as
bor pressures in the selection soon to be a teacher he was also a student. He kept
learning and thereby kept rising in stature
made for Jewish Agency leadership.
as a scholar.
Meanwhile, the new experience serves to
. He was deeply interested in the literary
revive interest in an old divisiveness -in Zion-
ist ranks when those who insisted upon stay- qualities and the creativeness of Jewish writ-
ing out of politics but thereby permitted oth- ers and he cherished a great friendship for
ers to dominate in Diaspora leaderships. one of the most brilliant in the literary
When an Israeli need involves the Diaspora, world, the late Maurice Samuel. He encour-
Diaspora Jews should have a say in selection aged him, helped get best-seller status for
of personnel and setting policies. And in the his books and enriched the lecture platform
process divisiveness should be rejected. This here by his invitations to Mr. Samuel to
is no time for splits in the ranks of Israel's bring his messages to Detroit audiences.
supporters and defenders.
He was a true Hoven Tzion, a lover of
Zion. His numerous visits in Israel, his
loyal identification with the Zionist move-
Rabbi Jacob E. Segal----Dedicated
ment and his labors for the Israel Bonds ef-
forts have elevated him to a high role in the
Teacher and Lover of Zion
ranks of Israel's supporters and defenders.
All of Jewry, Israel and the Greater De-
Rabbi Segal has left a record of services
troit communities have lost a distinguished
and dedicated man in the passing of Rabbi that assures a lasting blessing for his mem-
ory.
Jacob E. Segal.

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