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October 12, 1979 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-10-12

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2 Friday, October 12, 1919


Purely Commentary

Bayard Rustin Sets the Record Straight on the Middle East
and the Conflict Created Among Americans . : . the Russian
Training of- the Terrorists Serves to Inflame Mideast

By Philip

Bayard Rustin Makes His Plea for Decency in Black-Jewish Relations

Bayard Rustin, president of the A. Philip Randolph
Institute, a member of the Black Leadership _Forum, is
among the few noted personalities in American society who
has been able to rise above prejudice and hysteria properly
to evaluate a situation which is being judged as marking a
collapse in black-Jewish relations.
Rustin is a leading factor
in the vitally needed objec-
tivity in dealing with an
issue that should have been
but was not avoided. He is
among the few who recog-
nize that there are dif-
ferences of opinion on some
issues to be respected but
which must not be permit-
ted to create discord.
In a very important arti-
cle, "Black-Jewish
Relations," in the New
Leader, Rustin presented
an historical background of
Jewish attitudes on the
black problems, dating back
not to the decade upon which those who have created
animosities are leaning but an entire century.
This eminent leader earns recognition for fearlessness
in his treatment of the serious problem. He did not hesitate
to refer to the quota system and to affirmative action, in his
New Leader article, in which he stated:
As the '70s approached, blacks and Jews found
themselves in honest disagreement regarding the
nature of affirmative action .. .
For Jews, who had painful memories bf exclu-
sion by quotas, this new emphasis of the civil
rights movement was a source of serious concern.
Yet while Jewish organizations actively opposed
quotas, they also continued to speak out force-
fully — much more forcefully than virtually any
other white group — in favor of school desegrega-
tion, open housing laws, and social and economic
reforms long favored and needed by the black
It shoUld be noted, too, that Jews were not alone
in voicing dissent on quotas. Some blacks charge
that Jewish organizations and intellectuals pre-
cipated the Bakke and Weber cases, but nothing
could be further from the truth .. .
There is no excuse for enmity over an issue which, even

if it cannot lead to unity or unanimity, can at least be
tolerated, as Rustin does in the above.
But there is now the vital issue involving black support
for the PLO, sensationalized in the shuttle search for dip-
lomacy by the American blacks on their recent visits with
the PLO. It is on this score that Rustin, in his New Leader
article, dissociated himself from demagoguery. He states:
But there are fundamental differences between
the two issues. For one thing, the acceptance or
rejection of quotas does not threaten the very
existence of either blacks or Jews. By contrast,
the legitimization of the PLO, a group that has as
its principal objective the destruction of the state
of Israel, could alter the precarious international
balance and set in motion forces capable of even-
tually producing a catastrophe in the Middle
East. In such circumstances, it seems to me that
no one, be they black or Jewish should consider
any type of compromise on the PLO question.
Unfortunately several prominent black leaders
today seem to be attempting to link the question of
the PLO with other underlying black-Jewish dis-
putes. Perhaps their strategy is to win conces-
sions from Jews on the other issues by threaten-
ing to build a constituency for the PLO in the
United States.
Yet even though this approach may initially ap-
pear rather shrewd and potentially beneficial to
the black people, I believe it is tactically disastr-
ous: The arrogant demand for negotiations on
what has to be a non-negotiable item for Israel
will do irreparable damage to the black commu-
nity — first, by causing serious internal divisions;
and second, by further weakening thejiberal co-
alition, whose components — especially labor —
will be alienated by the slightest involvement with
the PLO.
Furthermore, any black relationship with the
PLO, especially if it leads to the formation of a
pro-PLO, pro-Arab black constituency in the
United States, will become a permanent and in-
surmountable obstacle to the improvement of
black-Jewish relations. Blacks who ignore this
are, quite frankly, out of touch with the basic
political realities in America, and have little or no
understanding of the Jewish instinct for survival.
While I fear the result of a collapse of the
black-JeWrish alliance, let me stress that I think
the current debate about blacks and the PLO goes

The Shocking Ruling on Shofar:
The Inexcusable Intolerance

the rights of Conservative and Reform Jews are at stake!
That's when religious intolerance becomes evident, and
there is yet to be evidenced an apology or expression of
regret by the guilty who perpetrated the inexcusable action
in Israel.
It is no wonder that American Jews protested, that
four Detroit Conservative rabbis were among the scores of
their colleagues nationwide who registered their sense of
disgust over what had occurred. Indeed, the advertise-
ments referred to and the attempt at excommunicating
Jews deserved condemnation.

Heads of the leading Conservative lay movement
organizations in the U.S. registered a protest during the
Holy Day period against an intolerable occurrence in
Here is what had happened, an incident already widely
known which deserved recalling.
In advertisements in Israeli newspapers, the
Jerusalem Chief Rabbis Bezalel Zolti and Shalom Mashash
declared that a Jew who hears the blowing of the Shofar,
the ram's horn, in a Conservative synagogue, has not fulfil-
led his Halakhic obligation of hearing the Shofar on Rosh
Hashana and at the end of Yom Kippur. They called on the
public "not to be seduced by the propaganda of this move-
ment, and to refrain from taking part in any of its activi-
Shocked by such a resort to excommunication the
heads of the Conservative movements addressed the follow-
ing protest to President Yitzhak Navon and Prime Minister
Menahem Begin of Israel, Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek
and World Zionist Organization Executive Chairman Leon
We the leaders of the Conservative Movement
are saddened and appalled by the attacks of Rab-
bis Zolti and Mashash, the Chief Rabbis of
Jerusalem, on the Conseivative Movement and
Conservative Jews in Israel. By their distortion of
Jewish law and tradition they seek to introduce
destructive divisiveness into Jewish life. Rabbis
Zolti and Mashash should be aware of the catas-
trophic results of such statements from the past
lessons of Jewish history.
We call upon you in the interest of the unity of
the Jewish people to condemn their action in the
strongest possible terms and to call upon Jews to
approach the New Year in the spirit of love and
harmony and common purpose which befits us
Wouldn't it have been well to keep this experience
hidden in Jewish archives, in the hope that it would not
become the means of adding to anti-Jewish propaganda?
We keep emphasizing the freedoms granted to all faiths in
Israel. This is done in truth! But it can't be defended when

Russia's Diabolical Role
as Trainee of PLO Terrorists

Soviet Russia plays a diabolical role in fomenting strife
in the Middle East. Evidence is piling up that the USSR is
the chief supporter of PLO activities. PLO terrorists are
and have been trained in Russia. The full intept of these
activities was exposed in televised CBC and PBS programs
which gave full details of the Russian-PLO joint role in
international terrorist activities.
Herbert Krosney, producer of the program who is asso-
ciated with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, fully
detailed the contents of his program in an article in New
York Magazine, entitled "The PLO's Moscow Connection."
There are defectors from the PLO who provided de-
tailed accounts which served as background for the Kros-
ney revelations:
Recently, an officer of the PLO defected from
the organization, charging corruption by
higher-ups. After months of negotiations, this de-
fector agreed to be interviewed — provided he
was granted a transcript of our discussion before
it was released.
Besides detailed allegations of extravagant
spending and life-styles on the part of PLO offi-
cials — including Foreign Minister Farouk Kad-
dumi — the defector provided additional informa-
tion on Soviet influence upon the Palestinians.
For example, he claimed that Hajis Mayil, the
PLO's contact with the United Nations forces in
southern Lebanon, "is known to be the Soviets'
special representative ... He too went to the
Soviet Union for training."

far beyond mere considerations of political expe-
diency. Indeed, if blacks were to refrain from
dealing with the PLO merely out of the self-
serving desire to ingratiate themselves with Jews,
my point would have been missed entirely. The
ultimate issue, I believe, is not one of tactical wis-
dom, but of basic morality. For in acting as a
catalyst for building support for the PLO, black
leaders, no matter what their motivations, would
be providing aid and comfort to an organi-
zation committed to racism, terrorism and
As for the immediate question of how the severe
damage done to black-Jewish relations can be
repaired, in my view there is only one answer: We
blacks, who legitimately demand sensitivity and
understanding from Jews on matters concerning
black self-interest, must be willing to develop the
same sort of sensitivity and understanding about
Jewish concerns. The fact that many of us are at
present entertaining the notion of fostering some
type of black-PLO friendship suggests to me that
this necessary sensitivity is desperately lacking
among blacks.
In any case, we ought now to be speaking out
against the PLO — not simply to ease black-
Jewish tensions, but because having won our
basic rights through nonviolence and organized
pressure in a democratic nation, we have an obli-
gation to oppose those forces in the world, like the
PLO, which flaunt the political power of the gun
and openly mock the values and goals we have
fought for.
This is objectivity. It is a challenge to shuttle sen-
Jewish communities throughout the land keep extend-
ing hands of friendship to their black neighbors. There is no
other way of reacting as Americans and as human beings.
Now there is a duty upon the masses of the black people to
say to the shuttlers that they cannot revive the hatreds of
slavery and impose them on society by asking for recogni-
tion of terrorism. Surely the rational in the midst of an
American civilized society composed of many elements,
differing religions, differing skin colorations, must live to-
gether in a spirit of loyalty to the right to differ on the
adjustable and the compulsion to be in accord when human
life and dignity is involved. The Bayard Rustin view must
• dominate over the rabble-rouser when the final judgment is


He also attempted to explain Arafat's role in the
support situation. No one understands Arafat's
ideology, and no one understands him," the defec-
tor said. "He, of course, gets no money from the
Russians — they don't pay anybody. But they help
him attain influence."
"Arafat is an opportunist and would not make
an important move without first consulting the
Soviet ambassador. He meets him once or twice a
week, sometimes once in two weeks, in order to
report his plans and current activities," " says the
PLO defector. "When he comes back to Beirut
from Russia, the truth is that he has fully detailed
new plans, designed by the Russians.
While the defector's bitter observations may
well be exaggerated, taken in a broader context
they seem to contain a good deal of merit. "It's
important to realize that when you say the Soviet
Union supports terrorism," says Dr. Ray S. Cline,
a former deputy director of the Central Intelli-
gence Agency, "you do not mean that they direct
and command each terrorist activity. That would
be impossible and not very useful.
"What they do is supply the infrastructure of --
terror: the money, the guns, the training, the
background information, the communications,
the propaganda that will inspire individual ter-
rorist groups."
This view is strongly supported by General
Shlomo Gazit, head of Israeli military intelligence
from 1974 until early this year. He claimes that the
PLO has actively used its sophisticated training
to provide assistance for other terrorist groups —
including Japan's Red Army, Germany's
Baader-Meinhof gang, or Ireland's IRA.
"That, I think, is the most dangerous aspect,
from the international point of view, of Palesti-
nian terrorism."

The facts are on hand, and Prime Minister Menahem
Begin's warning of the Russian danger in the Middle East
to the United States and to the free world — whatever there
is left of free expression — is apparent. Unfortunately, the
warnings fall on deaf ears.
Whence cometh help — for Israel and the free world?

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