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January 07, 1977 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-01-07

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2 Friday, January 7, 1977


Purely Commentary

A Personal Tribute to the Great Scholar Solomon Zeitlin,
With Emphasis on the Great Gifts he has Left for Jewish
Scholarship as Teacher and as Noted Historian

By Philip


Solomon Zeitlin's Passion for Unpolluted Facts in Writing Jewish History

Solomon Zeitlin had one great passion: he wanted Jewish history to be treated
factually, truthfully, unhindered by guesswork or fables. He did not hestitate to
challenge any one, regardless of rank or power, when realism was besmirched in
historical writings.
This was only one of the many great qualities of the very great scholar whose

death occurred in Philadelphia on Dec. 28.
He was a mild and modest man. He was devoid of venom. He was compassion-
ate. This in spite of the very nature of the scholar who wanted history to be dealt
with honestly. He was harsh on those who deviated from fact in treating historical
occurrences, yet he was kind and gentlemanly when he confronted them as man to
man. He had no hatreds in his heart, even though those he criticized were un-
kindly to him.
These contrasting factors in the man who was unquestionably the outstand-
ing authority on the Second Commonwealth period in Jewish history was in
evidence during the debates that were rampant over the antiquity of the Dead
Sea Scrolls. The scrolls continue to serve the purposes of Christian and Jewish
scholars who maintain that the documents under dispute date back to pre-
Christian times. Dr. Zeitlin had written extensively to prove that the scrolls
which were found in a case in Israel were of later times, that they could have been
of the Sixth or Seventh Century of the present era and not of the First or Second
Century before the Christian era.
In truth, it takes only one man to be right. It was the philosophy of the famous
philosopher-economist John Stuart Mill, and Dr. Zeitlin proved it to be applicable
to himself when he exposed distortions in studies on Josephus and later was
proven correct in spite of condemnations by scholars in many lands.

Philip A. Hart, Genuine Liberal,
Staunch Supporter of Zionism
Philip A. Hart left a legacy for liberalism and
philo-Semitism for the generation of legislators who
follow him in the U.S. Senate.
He was a genuine liberal and he was never
motiviated by personal gain or glory.
An interesting history in efforts in support of the
Zionist libertarian ideal preceded him. U.S. Senators
Robert Taft, Arthur H. Vandenberg and Robert
Wagner headed the national American Christian
Palestine Committee and supported the Zionist hopes
and aspirations during their senatorial careers.
The Michigan chapter of the American Christian
Palestine Committee first was headed by the late
Judge Frank Picard. He was succeeded in that post
by Senator Hart's chair-
manship of the important
American Christian Pales-
tine Committee, in which
were enrolled many of the
very prominent non-Jews
in Michigan, coinciding
with his being Lieutenant
Governor of Michigan. It
was during that time that
he and the then Governor
of Michigan, G. Mennen
Williams, also a member of
the American Christian
Palestine Committee, were
honored with a Jewish Na-
tional Fund Forest planted
Menashe. The appropriate
tribute to the memory of Senator Hart is the addi-
tional JNF Garden of Trees to be planted in the
Hart-Williams Forest in Israel.
Upon Israel's rebirth Senator Hart always
staunchly labored in behalf of the Jewish state, sup-
porting all legislation aimed to assist Israel economi-
cally and militarily, and he was a familiar figure at all
important Jewish public functions in Detroit. He re-
ceived many honors, all greatly deserved, from Jewish

Very few supported him. One Christian scholar in
England, a Yeshiva University professor, another hand-
ful backed him up. This commentator is in the ranks of
that minority. He bases his conviction that Prof. Zeitlin
was right on the many points, especially in relation to the
Hebrew in the discovered scrolls which was concurrent
(as he proved) in relation to usage of the time under
Another volume in the series Dr. Zeitlin had written
for release by the Jewish Publication Society, on the his-
tory of the Second Commonwealth period in Jewish his-
tory, is to appear soon. The scholarly works, his several
volumes of collected essays that have appeared under the
title "Studies in the Early History of Judaism," his
editorship of the Jewish Quarterly Review, his many
monograms and essays — all collectively speak volumes
in tribute to a very great scholar.
For this commentator the passing of this great man
is a personal loss. Only a few weeks ago Dr. Zeitlin hosted
this writer and his wife at a dinner in Philadelphia. He
was already _very weak, he walked slowly supported by a
cane, but he spoke with great conviction about issues of
merit and seriousness for Jewry and the world. He had
the same charm that distinguished him in his long life.
Zeher tzaddik livrakha — blessed be the memory of this, a
saintly man.

Those who worked with him also enjoyed his
friendship, and they considered it something to
His labors for just causes were always appreciated
and will never be forgotten.

Israel's Enemies on Campuses:
Annihilqtion Still the Motto
Arab students on the campuses contribute to the
skepticism over the new talks about an impending
peace in the Middle East.
How could any rational person possibly accept the
"gestures" for an accord when the PLO in Beirut, the
Habash faction in Lebanon and in Syria and students
on the campuses in the free countries of the world keep
harranguing about an end to Israel?
Many thousands of Arab students in the United
States are a force behind the Arab scenes who propa-
gate Israel's annihilation.
In England there are 5,500 Arab students on the
campuses of universities who reportedly have the
support of an additional force of 21,000 Moslems who
keep chanting anti-Israel slogans. At one of their ral-
lies their signs read "Palestine Not Israel — Revolu-
tion With Victory." Yet there are the gullible who be-
lieve a Sadat-Assad alliance will bring some sort of
accord with Israel.

Only direct talks between Israel and the Arab rul-
ers of the states on her borders can be viewed as a
possibility of some sort of workable armistice. And
there is the added fact that Israel must deal with each
country individually if there is to be realism in peace
The tragedy of the Middle East realities can not be
treated lightly and the forces striving for loopholes
which might lead to "pressures" by the U.S. upon Is-
rael must not find renewed foxholes for a renewed
warfare. Israel's battle for a secure life is one of cau-
tion whether dealing with the Arab rulers or the PLO
or their propaganda armies on the campuses. And the
caution multiples every time there is evidence that
someone, in State Department or elsewhere, plans
pressure upon Israel.

State House Speaker Crim Tours Israel

Bobby Crim, speaker of
the Michigan House of
Representatives studies
the Chagall windows in
the synagogue of the
Hadassah-Hebrew Uni-
versity Medical Center in
Crim was among 15
U.S. legislators who re-
cently toured Israel on a
fact-finding mission. At
the end of his tour of
Hadassah, he commented:
"Hadassah has been im-
portant in the progress of
health care, research and
medical training in Is-
rael, and plays a major
role in the health care pro-
grams in the country."



Testing the PLO: Waskow's Views
Under Scrutiny by Colleagues

Arthur Waskow is slated to be one of the speaker ,:
at the conference engineered by the Quakers aimed at
inducing the administration of Jimmy Carter to press
for the inclusion of the PLO in whatever negotiations
may be conducted to deal with the Middle East issues.
It is therefore important that the Waskow role should
be understood.

Waskow's impressions of a Jewish-PLO dialogue
held in Washington recently were already quoted and
commented upon in these columns. His article on the
NYTimes Op-Ed Page on the subject of that dialogue
inspired a reply from another participant in that
dialogue, Herman Edelsberg of the Bnai Brith Inter-
national Council. In a letter to the NYTimes,
Edelsberg differed with Waskow, exposed the bitter-
ness and animosity of the PLO spokesmen and stated:
Let me cite a few of the PLO statements made at
the meeting that aggravated suspicions. If the PLO
professes to accept Israel as a soverign state — an
obvious precondition to being taken seriously — why
doesn't it say so publicly, we asked. Mr. Issam Sar-
tawi's answer was that recognition was the PLO's
"trump card," which would not be given up without
Israeli concessions at the bargaining table.
We said that the PLO mission came at an awk-
ward time for them because that morning's newspap-
ers carried the report of the Baghdad conference
with its scurrilous attacks on Zionism, and PLO offi-
cials did attend that meeting. Sartawi replied, "Let's
be frank, when it comes to Zionism, we are your
Sartawi talked of a Palestinian state composed of
the West Bank and Gaza— and some "small parts" of
Egypt and Syria. We said there is is genuine concern
that such a state would not be viable and would have
an inherent necessity to strike first against Jordan
and then against Israel.
Sartawi virtually interrupted to blurt out, "Of
course, Jordan, it's ours." Mr. Jiryis added more
gently that 70 percent of Jordan's population is Pales-
tinian. And that is all they said on the issue of whether
theirs would be a peaceful state or a staging area for
After its naked aggression and disasterous de-
feat in Lebanon, the PLO arranged meetings in
Paris, New York and Washington with Jews who
were led to believe that Lebanon had produ-
genuine change in PLO policy. Unfortunat&
evidence suggests only a change in PLO tactics, not in
basic objective. When there is a genuine change, the
PLO should be able to make it known at the right
addresses — the governments involved.
While Jewish participants in a session with the
PLO were criticized for meeting with such avowed
enemies, in spite of their having done so as individuals
and not as official representatives of their organiza-
tions, the Edelsberg- statement proves that the meet-
ing with the PLO had some merit. It revealed the true
intentions of the avowed enemies. It is important that
their views be known and understood.
Meanwhile, we have another demonstration of
untrue liberalism from ranks like the Quakers whose
aims are to give status to a group that is bent upon
destroying Israel. That men like Waskow and General
Matti Peled should be slated as participants in a con-
ference that aims to dignifiy the PLO is at best appal-

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