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March 06, 1981 - Image 64

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-03-06

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64 Friday, March 6, 1981


A Christian Answers Christian Hostility to Israel


National Institute
on the Holocaust

Many Jews have been of-
fended by a recent series of
"Christian" pronounce-
ments which have set re-
cords in insensitivity and
unexamined religious
A team called "the Near
East Panel" travelled last
spring to the Near East to
put Israel on trial, and pro-
duced a statement that
could have been written
without leaving the hostile
offices in New York from
which its presumptuous
members emerged. Re-
sponding; the General
Board of the National
Council of Churches issued
a new position paper on the
Near East which acclaimed
the PLO as "the only or-
ganized voice of the Palesti-
nian people."
As usual with such hos-
tiles, they calmly ignored
the 450,000 "Palestinians"
who are peaceful citizens of
Israel, preferring rather to
defer to the terrorists and
their program to destroy Is-
More serious, perhaps,
since it showed blindness
toward the political and
genocidal tragedies of
the 20th Century, the
team directed no look at
the process of assassina-
tion, intimidation and
other terrorist actions by
which moderate Arab
voices have been stilled

and a tiny, disciplined
band has usurped the
center of the stage.
Neglectful of the lessons
of the Church Struggle and
the Holocaust, they ignored
the implications of the fact
that by 1938 the NSDAP
was the only organized
voice" of the German people
— and by 1940 was able to
launch the genocidal acts
which (like the PLO) its
previous theory and prac-
tice made predictable.
The pressure which -led to
the establishment of the
Near East Panel came from
a "churchman" who has re-
cently been shown up, in
documents made available
through the Public Infor-
mationAct, as a paid agent
of dictator Qaddafi of Libya.
But a body of "Christians"
who never dealt with the
fact that one of their mem-
bers was a fascist Jew-killer
from Romania, until a sit-in
by Jewish students in the
National Council of
Churches offices made their
shame public, will be able to
pass -in silence over this
scandal too.
When I asked the head of
one denomination what he
thought of the embarrass-
ment of Bishop Trifa's
membership on the Na-
tional Council of Churches'
General Board, exposed by
the action of the Jewish stu-
dents, he still did not face
the real issue. He responded
in a flare of anger, "Well,
those Jews didn't do them-
selves any good the way

they went about it!"
has displayed the pro-
An amiable man, nota-
nouncements of "400 Chris-
bly "even-handed" be-
tian leaders" who, using a
tween "Arabs" and Boston address, condemned
"Jews" (and of course American aid to Israel and
appropriately ignorant
acclaimed the PLO.
of both!), this denomina-
A careful look at the list
tional leader is unfortu-
of "400 leaders" whose
nately representative of names were attached to
the sub-surface anti-
the statement shows 90
Semitism of many of the percent of them to be to-
leaders of Christendom.
tally unknown — per-
Having never studied the haps students or ordi-
lessons of the Church nary members of congre-
Struggle and the Holocaust, gations who signed in re-
holding to the unexamined sponse to someone's
theological and cultural passing plea. But that
anti-Semitism of centuries was a minor falsehood in
of false teaching in the the mass of lies which
churches, when push comes they published in attack-
to shove such denomina- ing Israel and , blessing
tional and ecumenical lead- the PLO.
There were some sig-
ers are always on the wrong
side of the issue at hand. natories of genuine status: a
They are wrong on Israel's professor at Andover-
past, present and future. Newton who has been
They are wrong on what notorious for years for his
Christians must do to be lectures against Israel's
worthy of Jewish/Christian existence; a professor at
Harvard well known for his
dialogue and cooperation.
Being American college infatuation with the Third
graduates, they have of World"; Jesse Jackson,
course nothing but con- known among other things
tempt for the crude political for anti-Semitic public ut-
anti-Semites. But like the terances in the Andy Young
educated German chur- case; Dan Berrigan, who
chmen before- 1933, they picked an Arab student as-
have never x-rayed the can- sembly in Washington, D.C.
cerous contempt which is for one of his most vicious
the foundation of their expressions of anti-
"Christian" triumphalism, Semitism; another Jesuit
and arrogance often ex- priest, infamous for 20
pressed in bitter hostility to years for his single theme -
Israel and to the Jews" (an -expressed in a flow of arti-
abstraction they prefer to cles and letters to editors all
use rather than "the Jewish over the country — denying
Israel's right to exist ... and
More recently the press so on.

But why are other Chris-
tians silent, as I am con-'
stantly asked in letters and
telephone calls? The answer
is: they are not! There are at
least as many committed
friends of Israel among
genuine church leaders,
even among so-called "lib-
eral" Protestants, as there
are hostiles. And among
evangelical Protestants the
pro-Israel people outrun the
hostiles by 20 to 1. And they
do speak out.
But few of them are
church bureaucrats: they
are pastors of leading
churches, superintendents
and bishops who are out in
the field doing the work of
the church — not sitting in
the offices at 475 Riverside
Drive, where church -func-
tionaries talk only to each
other and play at Grand

survival are more numer-
ous than many think. But
the popular press doesn't
find their statements sensa-
tional enough to carry. And
many offices of the Chris-
tian churches, ruled- by an
older generation* still im-
pervious to the lessons of
the Church Struggle and
the Holocaust, suppress re-
ports of Christian tes-
timonies and actions which
are pro-Israel and pro-
But there is a nagging
question- left: Why is the
Jewish press equally remiss
in reporting pro-Israel and
pro-Jewish statements and
actions by Christian lead
The popular press is in-
terested only in sensation,
and gladly publishes big
stories that offend and ig-
nores actions of reconcilia-
tion. The church press,
where controlled by anti-
Semites, simply suppresses
statements like the "Notre
Dame Statement" of
January 1981 and the New
Jersey Churchman's
Statement of February

More than that: there
have been in the last 12
months a dozen state-
ments from impressive
groups of Christian lead-
ers, leaders who are
struggling to articulate a
post-Auschwitz Chris-
tianity of integrity and
But what purpose is
credibility, statements
excellent on Israel and served when loyal Jews are
the Holocaust and other left by the Jewish press with
matters fundamental to the impression that there
Christian-Jewish rela- are no Christians speaking
tions and to Jewish sur- up against the anti-
vival. Why are these '.Semites, no Christian
statements not better statements that are pro-
Jewish comparable to the
Christians who love Is- anti-Semitic statements of
rael and stand for Jewish the NCCC and the "400?"

Warning Issued on Possibility of New Un-American Committee


(A Seven Arts Feature)

We stand at a fascinating
nexus of history marking
the departure from the
American scene of David E.
Lilienthal and the likely
rise of new and ominous
power of Sens. Strom
Thurmond (N.C.) and
Jeremiah Denton
Mr. Lilienthal's death re-
calls his heroic response to
redbaiters of the later 1940s
and early 1950s. He died.at
a time when Sen. Thurmond
projects a subcommittee on
security and terrorism for
the Senate Judiciary Com-
mittee with freshman Sen.
Denton proposed as head of
this new unit on un-
American activities under
Judiciary Chairman Thur-
mond's direction.
What Mr. Lilienthal said
in his trying time when
Tennessee Sen. Kenneth D.
McKellar asked him if he
carried in his head a bluep-
rint for Soviet revolution
should be noted carefully by
younger Americans born
after political headhunters

like McKellar and Sen.
Joseph R. McCarthy tried
to destroy the reputations of
honorable people.
McKellar's question to
Mr. Lillienthal was raised
when that distinguished
public servant's nomina-
tion to chair the Atomic
Energy Commission was
being challenged by
some who regarded
themselves as super-
patriots. Said Mr. Lil-

This I do carry in my
head, Senator . . . One of
the tenets of democracy . . .
is a . . . repugnance to any-
one who would steal from a
human being that which is
most precious to him -- his
good name — either by im-
puting things to him by in-
uendo or by insinuation.
And it is especially an un-
happy circumstance that
occasionally that is done in
the name of democracy.
This, I think, can tear our
country apart and destroy it
if we carry it further.. . .
This I deeply believe."

Is_ President Reagan's
brilliant young director of
the U.S. Office of Manage-
ment and Budget — David
Stockman — to be targeted
by Sen. Thurmond as un-
American, now that we
know the Michigan State
Police "Red Squad" placed
Stockman's name in its file
because he was a paid staff
member of Vietnam Sum-
mer, an anti-war group?
It will be largely up to
Mr. Reagan and to other
Heritage older Americans who
Foundation which has know why McCarthyism
lately proposed rebirth of a has found its unsavory
Congressional un- way into post-war dic-
American activities com- tionaries to help stay the
mittee. As this nation, still knives and clubs of new
smarting from the scars of character assassins who
Vietnam and suffering the may now arise to hound
humiliation inflicted by Americans because of
Iran's madmen, appears their opinions.
Note the dictionary defi-
ready to turn to efforts to
internalize a threat — nition: "McCarthyism: the
Communism — which is practice of making accusa-
overwhelmingly external, tions of disloyalty, espe-
how shall the ambiguous cially of pro-Communist ac-
term, "un-American" be in- tivity, often unsupported or
terpreted? Are the scien- based on doubtful evidence;
tists who caution against the attempt to restrict indi-
nuclear genocide subver- vidual dissent or political
criticism by claiming that it
is pro-Communistic or un-
Who then are in the
dangerous circle of the new
un-Americans? And why do
we never hear such terms as
un-French or un-Swedish or
Let a few essential facts
be recalled especially for the
guidance of younger citi-
zens of this nation conceived

in revolution and cherish- was found guilty after full
ing the freedoms secured by investigation or trial.
the Bill of Rights: that in
The anti-Communist
the mid-1940s, some 35 utterances and action of
major "loyalty investiga- the mid-20th Century
tions" were conducted by were often pathological.
Congress; that along the Reasonable men agree
way every registered Demo- with Harry Truman who
crat was charged with re- concluded that the House
sponsibility for "the unim- Committee on Un-
peded growth of the Com- American Activities was
munist conspiracy in the
the most un-American
U.S."; that Dean Acheson, thing in America."
secretary of state, was ac-
We have better ways of
cused in the course of Con-
gressional witch hunting of keeping our nation secure
"being on Stalin's payroll"; than by indulging in Con-
and that not one of the hun- gressional headline hunt-
dreds of Americans branded ing and warfare against in-
by Joe McCarthy as State nocent and often distin-
Department subversives guished men and women.

Special Visitor at Weizmann

World-famous heart surgeon Christian Barnard
of South Africa, right, is shown at a recent Weizmann
Institute of Science seminar with Weizmann
President Prof. Michael Sela. Dr. Barnard said re-
search on immunology at Weizmann Institute was ex-
tremely advanced.

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