Friday, April 10, 1981
THE .„ DETROIT JEWISH : NEWS
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Bayard _Rustin on the Black
Hebrews: A Tragic Israel
Experience That Beckons Solution
Calling themselves Black Hebrews, claiming the
privilege of being the only legitimate Jews descending from
Abraham, a group of blacks have settled in three areas of
Israel, primarily in Dirnona, and are causing great trouble.
Anxious to avert increased controversies, the Israel
government welcomed a group of American black leaders to
study the problem.
One of the most eminent
Bayard Rustin, having
studied the situation at first
hand, in the atmosphere of
that developing tragedy,
had this comment:
"If a group of Nigerians
had entered the U.S. illeg-
ally, refused to obey our
immigration laws and prac-
ticed polygamy, I don't be-
lieve a single civil rights
leader would question
America's right to deport
them," said Rustin. "I feel
the same way about the
Black Hebrews and Israel. I will not let the question of color
obscure my belief in democracy and abhorrence of dictatoi-s,
and Black Hebrew leader Ben-Ami Carter is a dictator. I
will not engage in a double standard. If the Black Hebrews
do not abide by Israeli laws and intend to replace the pre-
sent order of things, they are a threat to the state."
The entire issue has developed into an unnecessary
and tragic experience. It beckons solution. The Bayard
Rustin role inspires the hope that more black Americans
will assist in solving the problem and in reducing its threat
to more black-Jewish rifts.
Arms for the Argentinians
and Their Lame Apologetics
A new policy seems to be in the -offing in this country.
There will be more arms for Saudi Arabia. The conserva-
tives in Latin America have this nation's blessings. The
Argentinians are next in line to be provided with military
and other aid.
That's a cause for distress. Assurances have been given
to the American Jewish Committee that the government of
Argentina will be strict in its rejection of anti-Semitic
trends. What about the record of the past decade or more?
What has happened to the thousands who have vanished?
Is a new government gesture a guarantee that the actions
will cease and that human rights will be observed?
The inconsistencies stemming from more recent
Argentinian flirtations with the democratic forces in this
country irritated the son of Jacobo Timerman. An impres-
sion had been given in Argentinian propaganda that the
eminent journalist who was incarcerated and tortured for
several years was not that much of a victim of Argentina's
oppressive tactics. It compelled Hector Timerman, who now
lives in New York, to refute claims by Argentina's U.S.
Ambassador Jorge A. Espil. Hector Timerman wrote in the
New York Times:
The ambasiador contends that Argentina has
an independent judiciary, which is not under the
control of the military junta. As proof, he cites the
case of my father, Jacobo Timerman, former
editor of La Opinion of Buenos Aires, one of the
most influential newspapers in Argentina.
According to the ambassador, when the Sup-
reme Court ordered my father's release in 1979,
the "government complied immediately." This is
an outrageous distortion that cannot go unan-
swered. The facts are as follows:
At 2 a.m. on April 15, 1977, 20 armed men in
civilian clothes staged a violent, Gestapo-style as-
sault on our home. My father was kidnapped, tor-
tured and held incommunicado for several weeks.
In October 1977, a military tribunal ordered my
father's release for lack of evidence. The junta
refused. In June 1978, after 14 months of deten-
tion, the Supreme Court ordered my father's re-
lease. The junta refused. Finally, in September
1979, after nearly two and a half years of incarc-
eration, the Supreme Court again ordered my
father's release. This time the military junta
acted, stripping my father of his Argentine citi-
zenship and, on the same day, deporting him.
Even then, the junta refused to obey the order of
the Supreme Court. On the day of his deportation,
the government denied my father his legal right to
appeal the deprivation of his citizenship. Thus, in
spite of the order of the Supreme Court, the junta
saw to it that my father was never a free man in
In addition, while my father was in jail, the mili-
tary junta created a special court to confiscate all
Lame Argentinian Apologetics Fail to Explain the Terror
Record ... An Israeli Stamp for the Leader and Pioneer
Abba Hillel Silver Who Helped Guide Zionism to Triumph
of his property, including his newspaper. Again, it
acted illegally. The Argentina Constitution does
not grant the government the power to create
such special tribunals. Only the Supreme Court is
in very specific cases authorized to expropriate
So it is not the New York Times but rather Am-
bassador Aja Espil who has misled the American
people. This should not come as a great surprise.
It is to be expected from the representative of a
government that still today illegally imprisons,
tortures and murders its citizens.
Argentina's Ambassador to the U.S. Jorge A. Aja Es-
pil, in a letter to the New York Times on Tuesday, main-
tained that there was just treatment for Timerman in his
country's courts. Replying to the charges of Timerman's
son, he stated:
The rulings are testimony to the presence, not
the absence, of an independent judiciary in
Argentina. The last, by the Argentine Supreme •
Court in September 1979, ordered his release from
house arrest, ruling that his detention was uncon-
It took a lot of pressure to secure such unfollowed
"justice" during the years of the persecution and jailing of
the elder Timerman. Those experiences cannot be ignored.
Pledges of future adherence to fair play are welcome, but it
is not easy to forget the past.
The Timerman case -was only one instance of many.
There is a long record of subjugations, of tortures, of disap-
pearing victims of the Argentinian bigotries. They can not
be kept silent if the human rights principles advocated by
this nation are not to be abused in whatever dealings there
may be anticipated with South American countries.
Abba Hillel Silver Stamp:
Meritorious Tribute Perpetuating
Memory of Tribune for Israel
In Israel and in the United States, in official quarters
of the Jewish state and at events in this country, a postage
stamp .served last week as the medium for honoring one of
the most distinguished leaders of world Jewry. The 'new
Israel stamp commemorates an important era in Jewish
history and serves as a recollection of the genius of the man
who spearheaded many of the labors in support of Jewish
statehood, in public arenas, in the United Nations, in delib-
erations with American leaders and legislators.
Abba Hillel Silver's lead-
ership in these tasks was
not merely in his presidency
of the Zionist Organization
of America from 1945 to
1947. It was in his task as
chairman of the Zionist
Emergency Council, as
friend of Senator Robert
Taft who was co-chairman
of the American Christian
Palestine Committee, and
the friendships he estab-
lished with important per-
sonalities like Senator Ar-
thur H. Vandenberg and
scores of Christian liberta-
• * • * • * • • • • • * * • • 6 • rians.
He was unquestionably the most brilliant orator of his
time and his devotion to Zionism truly elevated him among
the most prominent of the builders of Zion and redeemers of
the statement now embodied in the state of Israel.
There is this primarily to be said in memorializing
him: He was fearless. He was undaunted in his demands for
justice for the Jewish people. He was opposed to anti-
Semitism without restraint. Whether it was a Coughlin or
anyone else in that category, he spoke courageously, never
World Jewry surely welcomes the issuance of the new
Abba Hillel Silver stamp. Few expressions of gratitude to
the memory of a great man are as expressive.
Secretary Haig's Mission,
the Saudi Menace, Troubled
Waters Viewed in Lebanon
Secretary of State Alexander Haig tackled more than
one problem on his tour of Middle East countries.
His condemnation of Syrian tactics in Lebanon may be
a reversal of previous U.S. policies, which were critical of
the Christian leadership in the Lebanese war. Recognition
of the Syrian menace and the Russian involvement appear
to be recognizing the threats to the Christians and may add
credence to the Israeli position in its alliance with the
Christian leader, Major Saad Haddad.
Of major significance is the attitude toward Saudi
Arabia and State Department insistence upon providing
arms to the Saudis. The New York Times commented on the
Saudi role editorially on April 7, suggesting that the Saudis
abandon the extremist anti-Israel threats of a Jihad — a
Holy War — against Israel. The editorial commented:
The Saudis contend that their growing economic
and military ties to the United States represent only
an anti-Soviet alignment. But in making their air
force dependent upon American supplies and train-
ing, they are in fact contributing to American influ-
ence in the region and thus to the security of Egypt
and Israel. The sooner they own up to that reality,
and drop even the pretense of a "holy war" against
Israel, the smoother will be their American connec-
tion. It is hard to believe that the Saudis' diplomatic
doubletalk still fools any Palestinians, thus protect-
ing the House of Saud against subversion or revolt.
Indeed, if the Saudi monarchy cannot survive open
accommodation with Israel, it is hardly a safe de-
pository for all that dangerous hardware.
A few honest words from the Saudis would cer-
tainly improve the Reagan Administration's case
for the proposed arms sales. Mr. Haig's explana-
tions so far have been extremely vague. His ex- .
pressed regard for President Carter's "commit-
ments" would be touching if he had not
enthusiastically kicked over so many other dip-
The fact is that he, too, is eager to give the Saudis
almost anything they want .. .
What Congress should also want in return is a
Saudi diplomacy that legitimizes Arab negotiation
The trouble with this type of realism is that appeals to
Saudi Arabia for fair play, for common sense, for coopera-
tion, have failed. The Saudis hate the PLO, but provide
funds for their barbarism. They make concessions in dip-
lomatic dealings with the U.S., oil always the guiding ele-
ment, but they disseminate the Protocols of the Elders of
Zion despite their admitted falsehoods. They do not cooper-
ate in peace efforts.
The Times editorial therefore appears naive. The Is-
raeli concerns are real and justified. They do not end in
Lebanon, they continue on the Saudi border and they can't
eliminate a controversy with the State Department. The
firmness of members of Congress in their opposition to the
arms deals for the Saudis emphasize these concerns.
`Sheinit Matsada Lo Tipol':
Masada Won't Fall a Second
Time — or Submit Ever
Prior to the Six-Day War, when Israel was threatened
with destruction, the slogan was: "Sheinit Matsada Lo
Tipol" — "Masada shall not fall a second time." It is proper
to recall this dedication to survival and assurance of resis-
tance while many millions were watching the great specta-
cle on television.
Historically tested, the costly production is fiction.
Jewish resistance to the Romans was more emphatic even
than that dramatized on the ABC programs. Factually, the
form the Masada spectacle assumed was fictionalized. It
vvas based on a mere five pages in the Josephus story. As
Trude Weiss-Rosmarin pointed out in her recent article,
the Judeans not only resisted, they could carry on the
battle, their way, for a long time. They did.
A basic fact to be remembered is that even after
Masada the Judeans fought against tyranny. They re-
sisted. They survived. The televised story was a great spec-
tacle. The greater one is the truth.
The challenge to the suicidal factor should not be
treated as applicable to the Holocaust for 100 generations
later. In the case of Josephus, a $22 million show lasting
eight hours (including the many commercials) was based
on five pages of disputed history. The Holocaust is the
subject of many months of trials of the mass murderers, the
more than 1,000 volumes published on the tragic subject,
the German official records, the horrors of the numerals on
millions of arms of survivors.
"Masada" could have more realistically portrayed the
spiritual values. The taleisim-wearers were not that insp .
ing in the televisied program. But it is admittedly fictio
and the producers gain unending applause for dramatizing
the available five pages of Josephus into such spectacular
staging. Great acting, beautiful scenery, fiction par excel-
lence = thereby the vast audience was compensated for its