2 Friday, March 2, 1919
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
The Carters in Our Lives:
Billy and the President
There are many Carters in our lives, and their number
has grown. _
Has Georgia created a popularity for the name? Does it
equate with the Kaufmans?
The lesson is in Michigan politics. One Kaufman
gained acclaim for his role as judge of the Juvenile Court
and the name gained fame and admiration. Nathan Kauf-
man demonstrated his judicial temperament on radio and
television; and an admiring constituency not only made
him unbeatable but also gave priority to the Kaufman
name on the ballot and several of his namesakes won judge-
While the Carter name does not necessarily gain popu-
larity on the ballot — only one, the President, gained such
success — the other Carters on the menu present an in-
There is Hodding Carter, the non-family spokesman
for the White House and State Department, some of whose
lengthy letters explaining President Jimmy Carter's view-
points on Israel have been viewed as ultra-apologetic.
Israel has much to criticize in, lots to hope from, the
role of Jimmy Carter. She has another Carter to contend
with. There is a "Messiah Carter" on her soil. In the Negev
development town of Dimona there are several hundred
black Hebrews who claim to be the original and the only
true Israelites. They call the Jews usurpers. The leader of
this group is Ben-Ami Carter. He and his followers have
caused Israel lots of trouble. There are efforts to have these
blacks settle down and cooperate with Israel and some
American blacks have tried to reach an accord with this
group, whose earliest settlers in Dimona came from
Chicago. The eminent American Negro leader Bayard Rus-
tin tried to reason with them. Perhaps time will bring a
solution to this problem and to the activities of "Messiah
There is another by this name: Billy Carter.
Ah, Billy Carter! What a problem he must be to Jimmy
Carter! But they embraced in Atlanta last week. Is it be-
cause Jimmy can't be his brother Billy's keeper?
There is another reaction, another viewpoint. William
Safire stated it in his essay in the New York Times, Feb. 22.
He titled his article "Silence Is Bigotry," and here is a
portion of it:
WASHINGTON — A "reefer" is newspaper
slang for a short notice on the front page referring
the reader to a story inside. Editors use "reefers"
when they do not want to sensationalize a story
with front-page treatment but do not want to bury
The following reefer. appeared on the front
'page of The New York Times last week: "Billy
Carter-Insults Jews: President's brother Billy di-
rected an obicenity at the American Jewish
Carter, His Brotherly Enigma and Embarrassment ...
The Anti-Semitic Angle Unresolved ... Iranian
Jewry in An Unfortunate and Unenviable Position
community while at a reception for visiting Li-
On page 11, the interested reader could dis-
cover — when asked about the reaction of Ameri- -
can Jews to his active interest in the radical Arab
state of Libya — the President's brother snarled
. 9 f
into a microphone: "They can kiss my
Safire wrote about a Billy Carter obscenity and the
NYTimes decision to break a rule of not printing
obscenities and of quoting Billy in the instance of his anti-
Semitism. Then Safire defined the bigotry which the
President should have rejected:
In the past, when Billy Carter complained about
"the Jewish media," a White House spokesman
ever so gently dissociated President Carter from
his brother's remarks insofar as they could "be
interpreted as being anti-Semitic." The
President's only comment has been that he "has
no control" over his brother, and that any attempt
at restraint would be "counter-productive."
In this case, however, the White House made no
attempt to dissociate itself from Billy Carter's
lewd invitation to Jewry. Press Secretary Joseph
L. Powell said he would "not comment" on the
Carter remarks because he was "unaware of
them," a curious reason to give after being made
aware of them.
Then, in Atlanta the other day, President Carter
finally gave his reaction — a warm, fraternal em-
brace for his beloved Billy in front of the news
After his failure to disavow the obscene insult,
that Carter hug was profoundly offensive. Per-
haps, as a Jew I am being sensitive; but I like to
think. that Catholics, WASP's, blacks, women or
hardhats — after having been told to "kiss my
" by the President's brother, would also
take offense when the President's only response
to the internationally rude affront is to clasp his
sibling to his bosom.
Most important is an addendum to the challenge which
reveals a White House "leak." Apparently Robert Strauss,
one of the President's chief advisers, is the source of the
leak. It expresses the President's embarrassnient, an-
noyance, possibly also anger. It is encouraging to know that
the President looks askance at Brother Billy. But when the
President denies that Billy is an anti-Semite he should be
asked whether he judged the record properly. Perhaps the
President could go a step further and make the judgement
all embracing by calling Billy anti-human.
The Jews of Iran and
Their Concerned Brethren
Now Jews everywhere can sit and ruminate. They can
speculate over the status of people who are faced with
domestic problems in the lands of their birth and they can
Perhaps fellow Jews everywhere will be asking:
Remember the pogroms in Russia and the jitters which
afflicted the oppressed lest protests from abroad should be
blamed for their "arrogance" in inviting help from abroad?
Remember the Polish discriminations in some Jewish
quarters, under the assertion "We are Poles first"?
Can you recall Nazi Germany, the isolation of a hand-
ful of Jews who cheered Hitler, the eventual accusatio
against Diaspora Jewry and the free world that all failed
do too much to prevent the Holocaust?
Would you like to multiply it? Let's glance at Iran.
.Couid it be said that the Jews of Iran, the Persia where
they point to 'a 27-century history of Jews who resided there
since Cyrus the Great, were indifferent to the interest that
world Jewry, including Israel, showed in their fate?
Iranian Jewish businessmen and a rabbi, none iden-
tified, had some comments. They said in an interview with
the New York Times that the Jews of Iran will remain a
part of world Jewry but will adhere to loyalties to the ruling
regime. The interviewers found a scapegoat: Israel. Here is
how they were quoted:
"One of the factors that kept the Shah in power
so long was the fact that Israel supported him,"
they said. "For this, the Moslem population in
Iran will reflect badly on the Jews here. It should
"Now we have to survive this wave and get over
it. We had nothing to do with such previous ar-
rangements. Still, the Moslem population will
think false, make us scapegoats, you could say."
The men said the message that they and others
have been trying to get across is that "we must all
be self-sustained and independent from other
world Jewish organizations." They said the revo-
lution had prompted them to refuse all offers of
financial support from Jewish organizations out-
side Iran. When asked how much this would
amount to, they said they had neither sought nor
received any money from outside Iran in years.
Are Israel and world Jewry, both fused in a serious
duty of protecting the life of redeemed Zion, now placed on
Is Israel to be blamed for having provided haven for
some 10,000 of Iran's 80,000 Jews, and was the appeal for
To the credit of the President of the United States it the Jewish children of Iran to be sent to Israel to be judged
should be said that he does not need a definition for as a crime? •
There is an element of separatism in the statement of
bigotry. Perhaps he also is not obligated to explain why he
embraced his brother. Is he his brother's keeper? No, he is the unidentified "spokesmen" for Iran's Jews. They are
Jews, but separate. Turning again to the reported
merely his embracer!
The men said that Iranian Jews would "remain,
a part of the world Jewish community," but that
"mostly in the area of functions, we will have no
relations with other Jewish communities." They
said they would control their own schools, hospi-
tals and welfare system and would • accept no
guidance from outside.
"While we will preserve our Jewish tradition,"
they said, "we will also preserve the country's
cause, which is, happily, our cause."
In the Pirke Avot, the Ethics of the Fathers, there is an
admonition: "Al Tifrosh min ha-klal," "Separate not your-
self from the community." This has been and certainly
remains an accepted responsibility in Jewish ranks, else,
how could the less fortunate in a world of trouble gain the
help of the more affluent and more fortunate fellow Jews in
Nevertheless, who is to blame the Jews of Iran if they
shout "Hallelujah for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini," if
they seek protection for themselves, even if they have to
reject Zionism and abjure Israel? Hasn't this been an e
perience in the past when entire village communities unde
Islam converted, became Muslims, because the alternative
was certain death?
There is a testing by time, there is a call for patience,
there are the warnings never to judge the other fellow
unless you are in his shoes.
At the moment it is not a judging of the Jews of Iran. It
is a dependence on history. It is a hope that barbarism will
not rob Jews of asserting their rights to speaking out for
justice, and if they must be silent in judging their history,
Zionism, Israel, that self-maligning will at least be muted,
that self-hatred for the sake of life itself at least will not be
perpetuated in indelible ink.
Will Iranian Jewry, judged by the assumption of un-
identified "spokesmen," be deprived of celebrating Purim,
the epic story of early Persian Jewry? The festival is ap-
proaching. Will the reading of the Book of Esther on that
occasion be restricted? 0 tempore, o more! Oh, the time,
oh, the lesson! (Cicero)..