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March 31, 1978 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1978-03-31

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2 Friday, March 31, 1918


Purely Commentary

Israel and Her Leader and the U. S. Relationship
Presently in Suspense ... When Facts Are So Vital
to the Issue of Security and Arab Vow is Suspect

By Philip

Needed: Dispassionate But Justice-Motivated Approach to M.E. Issues

What a pity that the Israel-Arab conflict should have developed into an exchange of
vituperation, that it should have become necessary to accuse some of the participants in
the dispute as anti-Semites! How truly distressing that the serious human issues should
be dividing the diplomats and that the chief obstruction should be the very threat to
Israel's existence!
When a national magazine like Newsweek resorts to the lowest journalistic standards
in publishing a cartoon so shockingly insulting to Jewry that prominent men are compel-
led to call it anti-Semitic, it is an indication of the deterioration of fairness in the media.
Some commentators, newspapers and magazines have gone to extremes to dig up every
possible suspicion as means of attacking the Israeli prime minister.
Israel's antagonists — and they are legion — have even questioned Israel's right to
criticize the White House and State Department. On that score, Robert B. Goldman, an
active American Jewish Committee leader, expressed the obligation of free men to speak
out on major issues, in a letter to the New York Times, in which he stated:
The first question raised by your March 12 editorial "The Impertinent
Question Mark" is: Why so much heat? We have witnessedthe spokesmen of
other groups in America question President Carter's policies and his com-
mitment to campaign promises: Vernon Jordan on behalf of blacks; farm
leaders; George Meany of the AFL-CIO and others. Yet at no time did you
characterize their public and repeated expressions of doubts about Mr.
Carter's adherence to what he had promised as "insulting."
The American Jewish community's role in relation to Israel's foreign and
defense policies is and must be very different from that of Israel's people and
Parliament. For American Jews do not send their men into battle, nor do
their children go to schools or their fellow-citizens ride buses that become the
scenes of bloody terrorist-caused tragedies. Debate on such policies is prop-
erly the responsibility of the people of Israel with whatever information and
advice they seek or find helpful from their friends abroad.
Such debate in Israel is neither designed nor to be interpreted as a signal to
American Jews to conduct a similar public dialogue. American Jews — or
non-Jews — are free to choose whether to support Israel or to refrain from
involving themselves in the matter. But once they commit themselves to
support and work for this objective, it is indeed their task to stand behind the
basic policies that emerge from Israel's free and democratic decision-making
process, without necessarily endorsing every wrinkle.
For most of the past 30 years and under different Israeli governments,
these Israeli policies have been found not only compatible with but suppor-
tive of United States interests in the Middle East. There is no indication,
except in the minds of some people in the Carter Administration and some
articulate spokesmen and editorialists in America, that this has changed,
and that's what the current debate is all about.
Indeed, the right to differ can not and must not be restricted. It would be a sad day if
anyone, including the President, could not be criticized.
More serious are the deviations in analyses of the Middle East issues and the bitterness
with which Israel is treated. The military arms package that is cause for great concern
over the dangers it represents for Israel is being treated as if it were a war for Congres-
sional control between Menahem Begin and Jimmy Carter. This is deplorable. How can
fair-minded Americans inject such venom in matters involving the positions to be
pursued by members of Congress? Can't the situation be treated on the score of issues
rather than personalities and prejudices? Can't justice be the medium for tackling the
seriousness of the current crisis?
There is a handful of commentators and columnists who do not yield to bias. George F.
Will is an example of that group of writers who have not succumbed to antagonism for
Israel. In a column written prior to the visit in Washington of Menahem Begin, Will
wrote in part:
The administration says the settlements in the occupied territories are an
obstacle to peace, and illegal. But most of the approximately 7,000 settlers are
on the Golan Heights or in the West Bank, and can hardly be called an
obstacle to a peace that neither Syria nor Jordan will negotiate. And one
interpretation of international law is that land from which unsuccessful
aggression is launched can be occupied by the victors until they receive
reasonable assurance that it will not be a source of aggression.
Pending such assurance for Israel, in the form of treaty undertakings by
Egypt and Jordan, it is unreasonable for the Administration to assume, and
unfair for the Administration to imply, that the settlements suggest illegiti-
mate annexation rather than legitimate security concerns. While pressuring
Israel to trust the United States and adopt a more relaxed view of the connec-
tion between terriroty and security, the Carter Administration has decided
to try to sell F-15s to Saudi Arabia; has sharply cut the number of F-15s and

Lord Caradan's Ungracious
Comment on Pro-Israel Catholics

As the British representative at the United Nations,
Lord Hugh Caradan was never known as a strong defender
of Jewish rights. On occasions he cooperated with the U.S.
delegate in opposition to the genocidal tactics of the Arab
spokesmen. At best, he abstained on behalf of his govern-
He showed his true instincts when he criticized an appeal
for Israel by eminent Catholic dignitaries and assailed
them for opposing the "self-government" proposal of Anwar
Sadat. He did not take into consideration the important
concessions that were made by Menahem Begin and his
associates in favor of self-rule for the Arabs who choose to
retain a Palestinian image.
Perhaps Lord Caradan should be reminded that
Catholics are not alone among the dignitaries who stand
fast in defense of just rights for embattled Israel.
On Dec. 14,1977 an interfaith appeal in Israel's defense
was addressed to the President of the United States. Their
full statement and some of the signers of it follows:
Dear Mr. President:-
We, a group of Christians meeting together,

F-16s promised when Israel signed the 1975 Sinai agreement yielding the
Mitla and Gidi passes; and has tied these planes in a "package" with planes
for Israel's adversaries. So this week Begin arrives at the White House
knowing that, more than at any time since 1948, the White House is among
Israel's afflictions, not its assets.
The situation is grave enough without permitting it to deteriorate into suspicions,
rumors, distortions of truth, crushing of fairness. If the American principle of fair play
will predominate the chances for peace will grow.

• • •

The Needling of Begin and Infringement Upon Israelis

Out of what had seemed like a plot to divide American Jewry in its relationship with
Israel (Senator Percy of Illinois spoke of it as a fact after the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee meeting with Menahem Begins, there emerged a renewed campaign against
Israel's prime minister, on a personality basis. Even the N.Y. Times embraced the dislike
for Begin. It was branded as a rumor, but ft was an apparent wily method of inspiring
disrespect for Israel's prime minister as means of discrediti ng the new Israel position and
possibly also. to undermine the American-Israel friendship.
Fortunately, the latter factor continued to receive emphasis, both from President
Carter and the State Department, as well as from leading members of Congress. But a
menacing situation has developed nevertheless.
For some weeks now, news commentators have been echoing a query, on the question of
the Carter proposal for a tripartite arms deal in the Middle East, whether it will be
President Carter or Prime Minister Begin who will have influence over Congress. This is
a tricky way both of discrediting the Israeli objections to the proposed arms deal as well is
of portraying Israelis as operating a menacing, lobby. This lobby charge has served for
some time as a tool against Israel and as a rebuke to American Jewry and it merits
contempt from Jews and condemnation from their non-Jewish friends.
Anti-Semitism had been injected into the issue. National Security Adviser Zbigniew

Brzezinski claimed that Dr. Alexander Schindler had accused him of anti-Semitism and
the Jewish leader disproved it. But during that controversy something was said that
should have been viewed as shocking. The N.Y. Times report on the unfortunate incident,
by Bernard Gwertzman, contained this reference to Brzezinski:
The key question, he (Brzezinski) said, is whether the Arab countries will
be moderate and friendly to the United States and accommodating to Israel
or whether they will be radical, unfriendly to the United States, allied with
the Soviet Union, and hostile to Israel. If it is the latter, he said, "We'll suffer
and the Western system will suffer and ultimately Israel will perish."

This is the first time that a responsible American official has resorted to such a
warning. Either Brzezinski is correct and should he treated as a guardian of Israel, else
he should he seriously repudiated for being so negatively suggestive about Israel's
inability to survive.
Brzezinski has already been branded "the hatchet man for the Administration's Mid-
dle East policy." Note this quotation from an article in the Los Angeles Times by Joseph
Kraft, March 13:

Though I am no Begin fan, it does seem to me that the Carter Administra-
tion has an interest in letting him turn around gently. If public arm-twisting
of Begin paid off, the Carter Administration would then he expected to push
Israel back and back and back on issue after issue for each Arab state in
succession. Confrontation and ouster of the government might mean new
Israeli elections, and a delay of months in the peace negotiations — not to
mention a deepening of the ugly atmosphere that is being cultivated by the
self-appointed hatchetman for the Administration's Middle East policy,
Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Here, too, we have an indication of attempts to undermine the Begin government as
well as the Brzezinski role in the entire issue.
These are issues to be confronted and an Israeli decision to be anticipated. All evidence
is that the Israelis will stand by their leader. On this score there is an element not to be
ignored. N.Y. Times and other newspaper editorials seem to admonish the skeptical that
Israelis are preventing peace at a time when the new Carter program could assure that
100 million Arabs will abandon enmities and will stand by a proposed peace agreement.
It is just this type of assurance that neither Israel not Jewry nor realistic students of the
problem can accept.
While even a handful of Arabs arc operating under the PLO Covenant, which calls for
the utter destruction of Israel, the promises proferred can not be trusted. Furthermore,
the fact that not a single Arab has ever spoken out against the type of terrorism that
horrified humankind on March 11— Sadat spoke out only belatedly — means there is no
trusting an offer that 100 million Arabs will embrace Israel if Israel withdraws into a
borderline she now believes insecure. The Carter, et. al., proposal IS insecure and Israel
must he supported on that score.

wish to communicate our profound concern for
this urgent plight of the state of Israel at this mo-
ment. We urge you to recognize the threat posed to
Israel's survival by any PLO political structure on
the West Bank and in Gaza.
The basic philosophy of the PLO, expressed in
its covenant, never repudiated and consistently
reaffirmed, is the destruction of Israel. Not only
Israel but the government of Jordan and any pos-
sibility of evolution toward stable democracy in
the Middle East would be destroyed by such rec-
ognition of the PLO.
The issue is: Will we continue to assure our sup-
port of Israel, the only authentic social democ-
racy in the Middle East, or will we succumb to
those fcrrces and elements which have been ruled
by and will foster totalitarianism, terror and rep-
ression? As Christians, we are rooted in the values
and traditions which Israel has represented and
will continue to affirm, and we share Israel's con-
viction that those ideals must be realized.
Respectfully yours,

Dr. A. Roy Eckardt, Prof. of Religion, LeHigh

Alice L. Eckardt, Prof. of Religion, LeHigh Uni-
Dr. Eugene J. Fisher, Secretariat for Catholic-
Jewish Relations, U.S. Catholic Conference;
Rev. Edward H. Flannery, Our Lady of Provi-
dence Seminary;
Rev. William H. Harter, Presbyterian Church of
Falling Spring, Chambersburg, Penn.;
and others.
If the Catholics were inhuman, then so also were the
eminent personalities, including representatives of all
faiths, who were equally wrong. It would have been more
complete if it contained the name (Lord) Hugh Caradon.
But the gentleman from the United Kingdom apparently
refuses to concede that a minimal heritage of the Jew in
Eretz Yisrael is as valid as.22 immense states for the Arabs
who encircle Israel and who have threatened the Jewish
state's existence these 30 years.
It was reasonable to believe and to hope that the old
Perfidy of Britain of the 1920s through the 1940s was an
erasable chapter in a story that belittled the traditional
British adherence to the Zionist ideal. But Lord Hugh
Caradan would have it otherwise. Let there be hope that
the true British spirit will repudiate the Caradanian.


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