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July 15, 1977 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-07-15

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2 Friday, July 15, 1977


Purely Commentary

Rhineland and Munich: Lessons from History for Diplomats
to Be Cautious and for Israel Not to Falter ... Sadat's
Resort to Theology ... The Poisoning of Children's Minds

Rhine and Lesson as Warning
in Formulating Plans for Israel

the Czechs that surrendering
the Sudeten regions to Hitler
would leave Czechoslovakia
hopelessly vulnerable to mili-
Territorial bargaining is not limited to the Middle East
and to the Arab-Israel problem. History provides many les- tary assault was derided, es-
pecially on the Left, as a
sons for diplomats who are confronted with problems like
the current one, especially as they relate to the danger of shortsighted reliance on the
an imposed peace that is now troubling Israel and her false security of territory
and arms; so a similar insist-
by the Israelis with re-
There is an analogy in the Rhineland experience. Yale ence
gard to the occupied terri-
University Political Science Professor Charles Fairbanks tories is treated today with
dealt with it at length in a communication to the New lofty disdain by contempo-
York Times in which he pointed out:
rary descendants of these be-
From Vice President Mondale's speech of July 17 it is lievers in the irrelevance to
clear that the Administration's principal tactic in getting a nation's security of territo-
Israel and its supporters in the United States to accept Is
rial buffers and arms."
rael's withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders is the distinction '
between "recognized borders" and "separate lines of de-
fense." This is a promising direction for thought about a vakia, by spring 1939, had no shield except "the con-
science of the West," and no deliverance.
settlement. But it should not be uncritically accepted with-
There is a way of accommodating to the past : it must be
out considering how similar solutions have worked in the
by declaring that the destructive methods will be intoler-
There is one great example in the 20th Century of such a able, that any attempt to destroy a state and its people
plan: the Treaty of Versailles. After the First World War,
will not be met with submissiveness. Wasn't this the voice
Marshal Foch and other French leaders wished to assure of the Israeli electorate on May 17, 1977?
the security of France by separating the Rhineland from
Germany, by "recognized borders." On the initiative of
Sadat Turns Theologian
the United States and Britain, a solution by "separate
lines of defense" was adopted instead: The Rhineland was
What should the historian anticipate when a statesman
to be occupied by the armies of the United States, Britain, (diplomat?) turns theologian?
Belgium and France until the year 1935, when passions
An interview Egyptian President Anwar Sadat gave to
would have cooled on both sides, somewhat as the Carter- the Beirut magazine Usbu al Arabia must have echoed in
Mondale plan apparently intends. Afterwards, German the White House. Telling his interviewer that he told Presi-
troops were to remain excluded from the Rhineland. The dent Carter there can be no open borders between Arab
world remembers how this scheme did not work out.
states and Israel, Sadat said:
As time went on, France's allies began to feel that the
I told him simply that if we resurrected Jesus Christ
presence of foreign troops on the territory of a sovereign
state was an affront to international normalcy and an in- and Prophet Mohammed together, they would not be able
convenience to their own selfish interests. France was now to persuade Moslem or Christian Arabs to open the bor-
faced with the dilemma of sacrificing the defensive-line so- ders with Israel after 29 years of hatred, four wars, rivers
lution in one way or another or losing the diplomatic and of blood and massacres.
military support of her allies. Moreover, the presence of
Sadat might also have quoted Abraham, the Muslims'
their army on German soil tempted the French to occupy spiritual father, but that would hardly serve to pry open
new territory to punish German treaty violations—as Is- the doors that are now closed to Israel. Yet there are the
rael would be tempted to respond to terrorism—causing an open bridges for Arabs on the Jordanian border, and they
immediate upheaval in Germany and antagonizing the al- can travel freely to and from the two countries that are
lies of France. The United States, losing interest in French literally at war; and the Lebanese can enjoy the Good
security, evacuated its zone as early as 1923. Finally, the Fence privileges on the Israel-Lebanon border. Perhaps
French too agreed under intense British and American there is a way to good will even when theology is a scape-
pressure (including the threat of unilateral British with- goat.
drawal) to evacuate the remaining area five years early.
All the while the humiliation of foreign troops on Ger-
man territory festered in the mind of Germany, poisoning Senatorial Middle Eist Program
relations with France. The denouement came when Hitler on the Eve of Begin's Visit
came to power three years before the Rhineland had been
due to be evacuated, with France now exposed by the dis-
Perhaps it was a necessity, in view of the apparently
integration of the "defensive lines" solution and isolated menacing situation that developed for Israel in the declara-
from allies long exasperated by her insistence on that un- tions by President Carter and the State Department, for
stable solution.
nine U.S. Senators to issue a joint letter of support for the
The historical setting of the Rhineland case obviously President in dealing with Israel and her neighbors. The im-
differs in many ways from the contemporary Middle East. portance -of that letter is in the program it outlined for sug-
But the earlier case does suggest that, when it functions in gested actions. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey at the outset'
an atmosphere already fearful and,antagonistic, a solution hesitated to join the signers of that letter, until he had as-
relying on the distinction between recognized boundaries surances that there would be caution to prevent mis-
and separate defense lines can easily lose international le- treatment of Israel. The other eight who signed that letter
gitimacy. For this reason, and simply because a defense were Majority Leader Robert Bird (W. VA.), Majority
line is so much less firmly rooted and protected by other Whip Alan Cranston (Calif.), Edmund Muskie (Maine),
realities than a state boundary, it can ignite hopes for its Abraham Ribicoff (Conn.), John Sparkman (Ala.), Gay-
premature removal among Arabs and corresponding fears lord Nelson (Wis.), Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) and Edward
among Israelis. This kind of settlement may provide tin- Kennedy (Mass.).
der for future conflicts rather than pacify them.
The importance of their letter is in the four-point pro-
These are not minor matters. Both in regard to the
White House-State Department current attitudes as well as
_ in matters that may be dealt with at the reconvened Gen-
eva meetings the issue may arise. The warnings by Prof.
Fairbanks will need serious consideration.

By Philip

posal which included these approaches to the painful
1. No alteration of our historical commitment to assure
the security of Israel and no uses of our military aid to
place pressure on Israel.
2. A commitment to a comprehensive and genuine
peace, including concrete acts to normalize relations
among the nations of the area.
3. The establishment of mutually accepted and secure
borders, recognized by all.
4. A fair and permanent solution to the,problems of the
Palestinians in a way that will contribute to a lasting

This could be a basis for negotiations, provided there
would be two contending forces to do the negotiating. But
Israel is unable to induce the enemy nations-20 of
them!—to sit at a conference or series of meetings to talk
about a possible peace. The Arabs will not even ta" di-
rectly with Israel about a continuing truce. Will Pre at
Carter, who acknowledges the Middle East and the Arab-
Israel problems among his major concerns, be able to in-
duce direct discussions? If such efforts fail, of what value
are even the sincerest gestures for peace by the Senators
or any one else?
Is this pessimism or realism?

Time a Risky Element When
Children's Minds Are Poisoned

"Time is on our side," Arabs who aim at Israel's de-
struction have boasted, and the optimists in Jewish ranks
often reverse it with more hopes than reason to believe
that time will benefit Israel's hopes for an accord with the
neighboring enemy states.
When the attitudes of children are judged, it is the Arab
boast that gains reality. Perhaps the best proof is avail-
able in the devastated Beirut.
Marvine Howe, reporting from Beirut to the New York
Times, in a lengthy article, described how the children
had learned to play war, how, having survived the fracti-
cide and the bloody conflict, have becoine experts in han-
dling weapons and in expressing opinions on their prefer-
ences and prejudices.
These children echo the attitudes of those who see Israel
as the enemy. Christians and Muslims did the fighting in
the war against the so-called Palestines, Arafat's forces
who had aimed at using Lebanon as a war base against
the Israel they seek to destroy. But the poison spread
against Israel. Here is a quote from the Howe report in
the NY Times:
"The Israelis took the land away from the Palestinian
people and so the Palestinians came to Lebanon, but the
Phalangists don't want them to stay here," said Fatima el-
Bacha, 11 years old, expressing a view shared by most
Moslems of her age group.

How is such enmity to be fought and overcome. Is the
hatred imbedded in children's minds erasable? Is this too
much to expect? At the moment, considering the hatreds
that have entered the minds and hearts of children, Is-
rael's troubles will remain hard to endure. Some time ago
advertisements in British newspapers carrying anti-Israel
messages appeared over the signatures of thousands of
Arab academics. Muslim women from countries antago-
nistic to Israel are among those spreading the propaganda
against Jewry as well as Israel. Now it is the children.
The present time factor, at least, is tainted with hatred
against Israel. That's why the hopes for an immediate
peace are so dim.
Historians, in retrospect, undoubtedly will marvel: In
Lebanon, Christians fought Moslems and devastated cities,
and they may not have been unlike preceding barbarians
who always found a scapegoat in the Jew.

Then There Was Czechoslovakia,
Under the Heel of Munich Terror

Troubled Argentina: Is Jewish
Optimism Much Overrated?

An even more telling example of the lessons to be
learned from history is the tragedy of Czechoslovakia.
Under the heel of the Munich diplomatic (sic!) indecencies
there was the demolition and the perpetuated outrage.
In an impressive article in Newsweek, titled "Israel and
Munich," George F. Will dealt with the agonies of the
past, and related them to the present, as follows:
The idea that Assad is a moderate, an idea enjoying
currency in the U.S. Government, is part of a way of
perceiving Israel, a way that reminds Podhoretz of au-
tumn 1938 on the eve of Munich:
"As Czechoslovakia, a democratic country, was ac-
cused of mistreating the German minority in the Sude-
ten regions, so Israel, also a democratic country, is ac-
cused of mistreating the Arab minority within Israel
itself and also, of course, in the occupied territories.
As the creation of the Czechoslovak state after World
War I was called a mistake by Hitler and Neville
Chamberlain, so the creation of the Jewish state after
World War II is called a crime by contemporary total-
itarians and their appeasers. The insistence by

Argentina has been a trouble spot for Jews for a num-
ber of years. The situation there is so precarious that a
number of years ago Aliya to Israel was flourishinr - -nd
there was a tendency to migrate. The exit mov. It
ended but the fears of a rising anti-Semitic movement
have grown.
Now these anxieties have escalated, with the result
that the American Jewish Committee, which has been
very active in Latin America, is closing its offices there.
This is a serious matter of great concern-.
Many in Argentina have spoken optimistically about
an uncertain future. In fact, those who have warned of im-
pending dangers have been called panic-mongers. Perhaps
the fearful have more reason on their side than the optim-
The situation is too serious to be ignored. World Jewry
is interested in Argentinian Jewry, with hopes that devel-
oping fears are exaggerated. An avoidance of anti-Semi-
tism is a need not for, Jews alone but for all Argentinians
whose status can be protected only when prejudice is elimi-
nated on all levels.


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