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May 08, 1981 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-05-08

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Friday, May 8, 1981



Purely Commentary

Rejoice, 0 Israel

Rejoicing in Israel's Thirty-Third Anniversary;
Presidential Repudiation of Lies About Holocaust

and Remember, Never to Falter in Defense of Life and Truth

The fifth day of Iyar, occurring this year on May 9, registers as a festival.
It must be treated as a holiday because it marks the redemption, the rebirth of
Jewish statehood, the miracle day 33 years ago which marked the right of Jews to master
their own destiny and to strive for an end to homelessness and wanderings.
It was viewed as a miracle 33 years ago. It remains one of the great historic events
that marked the end of the Exile, the realization of the determined will of a people
hounded through the ages, massacred, pilloried, emerging as a free nation in its ancient
The 33 years have been years of struggle, the many difficulties being both internal —
the battle for life and economic security — and external, the latter forcing upon Israel the
duty to assure security to pfevent destruction and humiliation.
. The difficulties obstacling Israel's struggles are so immense. The mounting enmities
have compelled a peace-seeking people, a nation crucially dependent on amity with
neighbors, to resort to arms, to create a military image vital to defense of life and the very
existence of the nation that was born in an age of utter destruction, the price of which was
a third of the entire Jewish people.
Protection of what had been regained after milennia of homelessness, of subjection to
persecutions, is not only Israel's. It is the obligation of world Jewry,`Of the justice-loving
peoples of the world, of the human factor in mankind that will not abandon a people in
quest of life.
The rejoicing in Israel occasioning the celebrating of an anniversary will be echoed
in Jewish ranks everywhere.

The Big Hitler Lie and Its
Embrace by Modern Villains

Adolf Hitler was the creator of the definition of the big
lie. The Nazi Fuehrer was frank in his assertion that a lie, if
repeated often enough, becomes acceptable as truth.
This is how Israel's enemies are operating. The lie is
the chief weapon of those who would destroy the Jewish
This is evident in many places, in democratic countries
as well as in the dictatorial.
It was evident in Detroit and in Lansing.
Of all places, in East Lansing, where journalistic as-
pirants should be careful not to give a platform to lies, the
Michigan State University student newspaper, the State
News, gave space to a lengthy article glorifying the PLO,
maintaining that it is a government in exile, presenting the
PLO as a democratic force with legally-elected representa-
Common sense should have revealed the true intention
of such an article, aimed at giving credence to a movement
whose chief aim is the introduction of another Genocide.
This is one example of journalistic blundering.
In a recent issue, the Detroit Free Press gave front-
page space, in its "Q" column, to Grace Halsell, author of
"Journey to Jerusalem." It contained angled questions that
elicited perpetrated answers denigrating Israel, portraying
the Jewish state as barbaric and as a torturer of Arabs.
No one ever heard of this author before, and a jouney-
created authoritativeness. That is why the guilt is as much
the publisher's, Macmillan, as that of the Free Press. Both
should have been cautious in selecting material for publi-
cation, giving a platform to data so replete with untruth
that even a novice among the publishers' book readers and
the daily newspaper's editors should have detected the Big
Who is the woman who described a visit to Jerusalem
and what are her qualifications? How extensive are the
falsehoods offered in her book?
She is exposed in a review of her book in the New York
Times Book Review, April 26, by Sol Stern, free lance
journalist who specializes in studies on the Middle East.
Stern presented a thorough study of the book in question
and some of the lies he exposed include the following:
It is surprising to read Grace Halsell's prologue
and discover that she set out to write yet another
book on the subjet "without understanding
exactly what or where the West Bank is."
Finally discovering where the West Bank is,
Miss Halsell has portrayed it as overrun by Israeli
soldiers and settlers parading around Palestinian
towns with submachine guns, clubs and German
Shepherds, terrorizing the local Arabs for the sole
purpose of driving them out of the country. The
settlers and Israeli soldiers are almost always de-
scribed as "blond-haired and blue-eyed"; the
four- and five-story apartment buildings erected
in the settlement of Kiryat Arba are called "skys-
An Israeli settler couple that the author lived
with are characterized as worshiping "a God of
war." They are contrasted with another Israeli
couple, good Israelis who want to give up all the
territories, who have a "God of peace."
She writes that "Palestinians living in the West
Bank and Gaza have no passport." In fact, virtu-
ally all Palestinian Arabs on the West Bank carry
Jordanian passports, and, had Miss Halsell
looked, she might even have discovered the Jor-
danian government office on the West Bank
where those passports are renewed.
In building up the terrors of the Israeli occupa- -
tion (the issue of terrorism is never raised in



By Philip

There also must be a sharing of responsibilities that go with festivities. Israel's
defense is a moral duty. For American Jews it is a special concern. It demands untiring
concern that the Israel-American amity should gain strength and should never be
permitted to splinter, regardless of the temptations that have made oil a guiding factor
in many international considerations.
There is the duty also of providing the economic encouragement, the assistance in
social services, the cooperation in making the Jewish state the self-dependent unit
among the nations of the world.
There is a partnership to he protected. The Israel kinship with world Jewry must
remain a basic factor in the unity that assures the peoplehood unifying Israel with the
Israel at 33 is under fire. Only orre neighbor extends a hand of friendship, and that
handclasp is viewed with suspicion because the kin-nations of the only amica 1
neighbor strive to undermine what is termed the Israel-Egypt good will.
On the international scene, the enmities against Israel are constantly being oi-ieu
into a menacing threat.
There is danger everywhere and under such conditions Israel nevertheless celeb-
rates with confidence. To make it ever-confident, the partners in the great venture of
national freedom and security require encouragement and assistance. This is what world
Jewry offers Israel, on her 33rd birthday, in the Happy Anniversary greetings that must
assemble from the entire globe.

reference to Palestinians), Miss Halsell writes
that while traveling around the West Bank she
was frightened to take out her camera and snap a
photograph. She explains that an American
woman named Terre Fleener was held in an Is-
raeli jail for two years merely for taking pictures
of Israeli beaches and hotels. The average reader
who doesn't know the rest of the Terre Fleener
story — the part Miss Halsell has left out — must
find this very ominous. In fact, Miss Fleener con-
fessed to having photographed Israeli beaches,
on two separate visits to Israel, at the request of
PLO operatives .. .
After reading just the few hundred words of
copy on the jacket and in the publishers press
release, I began to feel that the people who pro-
duced this book are hardly qualified to check on
the accuracy of their authors. Among several er-
rors on the jacket copy I read that "a former
President of the World Jewish Congress com-
ments on reports of Israeli torture of Palestinian
prisoners" in the book. In fact there is no mention'
of a former President of the World Jewish Con-
gress in "Journey to Jerusalem." The press re-
leaSe informs us that there are "three million
Palestinians throughout the Middle East," this
must rank as just about the biggest whopper of
all. It is also a considerable exaggeration of the
author's own (and inaccurate) contention that
there are 1.5 million Palestinians living in exile.
The challenge is immense when tackling the problem
of the Big Lie. It is difficult to expose the liar.
The Lie, in all its latest dimensions, was exposed and
summarized in an article entitled "Hatred on the Ter-
races," in which Dr. Ian Barnes, a senior lecturer in history
at Kingston Polytechnic, London, writing in the London
Jewish Chronicle, shows how "anti-Semitism in Britain
had spilled over to pop concerts and football terraces."
A danger exists of assuming that the nihilist
terrorism of the right is confined to Europe, to
the warfare between left and right wings in Italy,
between Red Brigade and Black Order, and can-
not occur in Britain. Similarly, electoral successes
of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement, with
its multiplicity of MPs and Senators and two seats
in the European Parliament, plus the penetration
of an intellectual and political elite in France,
might appear impossible in Britain. Such is an
ostrich-type mentality.
Although overt violence and bloodshed have
not occurred here on a European scale, lower
levels of psychological and violence are demon-
strated regularly by British right-wing ex-
tremists. Furthermore, Britain is no different
from Europe in that it harbors self-styled histo-
rians attempting to rewrite history and prove that
two schools of scientific thought exist with re-
spect to the events of the Holocaust.
Many people have read Richard Harwood's
"Did Six Million Really Die?" and "For Those Who
Cannot Speak," by Michael McLaughlin, of the
British Movement. These are just two books sold
by the extreme-right Historical Review Press;
others include Butz's notorious "The Hoax of the
Twentieth Century" and Felderer's "Anne
Frank's Diary — A Hoax." The constant attempts
to present academic-looking books, and the
search for respect and admiration of readers,
demonstrate a revisionist evangelist strategy
which has borne fruit.
In France, Serge Thion, an established leftist
sociologist, has published a defense of Robert
Faurisson, who argues that gas chambers never

existed. And the extreme-left publishing house,
La Vieille Taupe, has re-edited two anti-
Holocaust books by Paul Rassinier. Even Noam
Chomsky supports Faurisson's rights to free
speech, despite the dubious nature of the latter's
It is not surprising that the London Jewish Chronicle,
presenting this essay, should have accompanied it with
reproduction of a cartoon, distributed in Dublin and printed
in Spain, accusing Jews of resorting to Christian blood for
Passover celebrations.
These are the combined bigotries which revive the
hatreds of the Middle Ages and the canards of the ignorant.
They combine into the Big Lie, created by Hitler, embraced
by his followers, once again a major challenge, to people.
with a sense of decency. The Big Lie continues to make the
Jewish public relations tasks very difficult.

President Reagan's Denunciation
of Lie-Spreading About Holocaust

President Ronald Reagan last week played an impor-
tant role, denouncing the lie that the Holocaust was a
On Thursday, April 30, the President spoke at the
White. House, on Yom Hashoa, to 350 people marking the
Holocaust Memorial Day. He showed deep emotion as he
spoke to the gathering that represented the President's
Commission on the Holocaust. In his deeply moving ad-
dress the President said:
I'm horrified today when I know that in here,
that there are actually people now trying to say
that the Holocaust was invented, that it never
happened, that there weren't six million people
whose lives were taken cruelly and needlessly in
that event, that all of this is propaganda. Well, the
old cliche is that a picture is worth a thousand
words. In World War II, not only do we have the
survivors today to tell us first-hand, but in World
War II, I was in the military and assigned to a post
where every week, we obtained from every
branch of the service all over the world the com-
bat film that was taken by every branch. And we
edited this into a secret report for the general
Staff. We had access to and saw that secret report.
And I remember April '45. I remember seeing
the first film that came in when the war was still
on, but our troops had come upon the first camps
and had entered those camps. And you saw, unre-
touched — and no way that it could have been
rehearsed — what they saw — the horror they
saw. I felt the pride when, in one of those camps
there was a nearby town, and the people were
ordered to come and look at what had been going
on, and to see them. And the reaction of horror on
their faces was the greatest proof that they had
not been conscious of • what was happening
near to them.
And that film still, I know, must exist in th,
military, and there it is, living motion pictures, for
anyone to see, and I won't go into the horrible
scenes that we saw. But, it remains with me as
confirmation of our right to rekindle these
memories, because we need always guard against
that king of tyranny and inhumanity, Out spirit is
strengthened by remembering and our hope is in
our strength.
Only the most bigoted, the demented, could possibly
have undertaken to pollute a great tragedy. The intention
of the adherents to the Big Lie is clear: it is to degrade the
Jew even in his suffering. President Reagan has added to
the glory of the American principle of justice and common
decency by joining those who will not permit a lie to defame

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