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July 17, 1981 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-07-17

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2 Friday, July 11, 1981

Purely Commentary

G. Rafael's Documentary:
30-Year Peace Striving
in 'Destination Peace'

Israel's striving for peace, a 30-year record of struggl-
ing to overcome attacks in the United Nations and other
multiple challenges, is a world drama unmatched in inter-
national relations.
A most authoritative account of the experiences during
that era, by a diplomat who played an important role in
that drama provides fascinating reading and notable reve-
lations, many of which will be newsworthy even to the
participants in the significant events that continue to affect
a great area in the world and perhaps all of mankind.
In "Destination Peace: Three Decades
of Israeli Foreign Policy" (Stein and Day),
Gideon Rafael, a pioneer in the Israel
foreign service who represented his gov-
ernment from the slays of David Ben-
Gurion when there were only three mem-
bers of the Foreign Ministry, discusses
events through the years, including the
prime ministership of Menahem Begin.
Rafael relates the events which marked
confrontations and struggles without end.
One of the incidents described by Rafael is a "red line"
drawn up at a top secret meeting in London in April 1976
establishing an unofficial political boundary with King
Hussein of Jordan. Rafael negotiated with Hussein, whose
identity was not disclosed. In "Destination Peace," Rafael
describes his experience:
Late one evening in April 1976 I got a call to
meet urgently that same night an eminent Arab
personality at the house of a mutual friend. My
nocturnal interlocutor was deeply concerned
about the mounting tension in the area. It was in
our mutual interest, he argued persuasively and
withamiable sagacity, to keep the situation under
control and contain the present fighting in the
Lebanon. A few hours after this appeal my wife
and I were on our way to Israel for a previously
planned visit. Upon our arrival in Jerusalem I
reported to the Prime Minister. Rabin ap-
preciated the message.
A few days later I returned to London with his
reassuring answer, which I promptly dispatched
to its destination where it was anxiously awaited.
In conformity with my instructions I also in-
formed privately Prime Minister Callaghan of Is-
rael's response. He praised the wisdom of our
government's position.
The making of a state, the establishment of the na-
tion's functioning departments, are vividly described in
this most interesting historical record. Rafael and his "Des-
tination Peace" is both biographical and nation-building.
It fell to the lot of Gideon Rafael to issue the text of
Israel's Declaration of Independence to foreign govern-
ments on May 14, 1948. Israel's credit, now perhaps insur-
mountable, was not so good at the time. Here is how Rafael
describes having emerged from the dilemma:
At two o'clock in the morning we had completed
our work, but we were soon jolted out of our com-
placency. We sent our driver with the sizeable
bundle of telegrams to the Tel Aviv Central Post
Office. He returned them — undispatched. Had it
closed its night service with the advent of the state
of Israel? Far from it. The telegraph service was
operating perfectly. There was only one snag. The
postal clerk refused to accept the cables without
cash payment.
I telephoned the man who was holding up the
happy news of Israel's birth, and tried to impress
on him that destiny had chosen him to play a
historic role. My wooing was of no avail. He
worked to rule, and the rule-book was still that of
the British administration. Of course, he knew
that the state of Israel had been proclaimed, but
he was less certain about the existence of an in-
stitution which called itself the Foreign Ministry.
I asked him to suggest a way out of the impasse.
He pondered while the time ticked away. Then,
suddenly, he saw the light. He had read in the
papers that there was a man by the name of Seev
Sharef who had been entrusted with the estab-
lishment of the new governmental administra-
tion. If I could provide him with an authorization
from this man, he would send the telegrams and
charge us later.
For heaven's sake, where can I find Sharef at
three o'clock in the morning?" I asked him,
exasperated. "That's your problem," he replied.
Sharett, who had listened intently to this first dip-
lomatic exchange, knew where the all-powerful
dispenser of authorizations could be found in Tel
Aviv, and we went there, woke him up and ex-
plained our predicament. He wrote the redeeming
note, hardly concealing his pride in the nocturnal
recognition of Authority., In no ,tinle at all
If ,


'Jacobo Timerman's Dramatized Role in the Struggle
for Human Rights Demands Courageous Resistance
to Terror ... Rafael's Historic 'Destination Peace'

wires were humming with the procfamation of
Israel's birth.
Policy-making in the Foreign Ministry, the scores of
occurrences in the United Nations, experiences with Dr.
Henry Kissinger, William Rogers and many other Ameri-
can officials, Gunnar Jarring, as well as the association of
the author with all of the Israeli diplomats and statesmen
during the three decades of his services represent a memor-
able account that will become indelible in recounting Is-
rael's history.
Both Menahem Begin and Shimon Peres are among
the personalities described by Rafael. No one is omitted.
Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan share attention with David
Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett.
Rafael's book is not only informational, instructive and
revealing of many incidents. It is anecdotal. He describes
his role of 30 years in Israel's foreign service as an "amus-
ing journey."
In view of the current events in Lebanon, an important
Lebanese personality referred to by Rafael merits atten-
tion. When Rafael was named as a negotiator for peace with
the Arabs, in 1953, and the New York Times announced his
appointment to the new post to prepare specific plans for
settling some of Israel's disputes with the Arabs, his friend
and neighbor at the United Nations, Charles Malik, Leba-
non's ambassador and later its foreign minister, "came up
to me in the delegates lounge, his face beaming. 'My heart-
iest congratulations on your new appointment,' he
exclaimed. 'You are a lucky man to have landed so early in
your career a nice and quiet lifetime job.' "
Recalling this incident in relation to the Camp David
peace decisions with Egypt, Rafael continues at this point:
It (the peace treaty) was delivered a month later
when the representatives of Egypt and Israel ex-
changed the instruments of ratification at a
United States surveillance station in the heart of
the Sinai desert. It was the most unusual cere-
mony I have ever attended. The parking-lot of the
American compound had been transformed into a
parade-ground. A reviewing dais where the
pleni-potentiaries were to solemnize the act was
facing the grandstand from where the invited
notables from Egypt, Israel and the United States
were to witness the event.
At the appointed hour Egyptian and Israeli
military bands drew up, followed by the guards of
honor. They lined up in front of the guests, a
mixed gathering of parliamentarians, army offi-
cers and government officials. For the first time
Egyptian and Israeli soldiers stood shoulder to
shoulder. It was an unprecedented sight, a living
testimony to the absurdity of war. For a whole
generation they had faced each other in battle.
Now they stood together to salute peace.
The diplomats exchanged the documents of
peace. The bands intoned the national anthems.
The flags went up and the silent desert resounded
with cheers. Night fell over the wilderness of
Sinai. When morning dawned the fires of war had
burned out. Egypt and Israel had arrived at des-
tination peace.
For an understanding of the manner in which Israel is
fought at the UN, with an attempt to isolate its representa-
tives, it is necessary to read Rafael's earlier reference to his
friendship with Charles Malik, who in the last few years,
out of office, advocated peace with Israel.
For years my right-
hand neighbor in the
United Nations politi-
cal committee was
Charles Malik, the dis-
tinguished represen- .,_
tative of the Lebanon.
Unabashedly he
would shake hands
with me when he took
his seat and start his
lively banter on the
committee's proceed-
ings and the events of
the -day. The watchful
observers were
amused, but not my
left-hand neighbor, the representative of Iraq. He
ignored m.e completely, but did not hide his scorn
at Charles Malik's frivolities. When compelled to
identify me in the course of his .harangues, he
would refer to me as "Mr. Gideon" and not, as
customary, "the representative of Israel." It must
have been an unbearable torment to him to style
us correctly. The admission of Ireland to the
United Nations finally relieved him of his anguish
and provided us with a compansionship on our
left as sociable as that on our right.
"Destination Peace" is superb history. Gideon Rafael
earns gratitude for the eleborate historic record he has
provided based on his , memorable experiences.



7', C. `,


By Philip

Jacobo Timerman Makes a Point
and the Argentinians
Still Need Means for Defense

Jacobo Timerman captured the limelight and retains
it. He told his story in the powerfully depicted account of his
sufferings in Argentina, his house arrest, his being vic-
timized as a Jew.
The attacks upon him
were generated in some
measure by the resentment
of his fellow Jews in Argen-
tina. They deny that they
are cowed by an anti-
Semitic regime. They main-
tain they were not sile;-t,
when he was kept ur.
house arrest and that they
helped secure his release.
Timerman, whose "Pris-
oner Without a Name, Cell
Without a Number"
(Knopf), reviewed in The
Jewish News on May 15, is
one of the most touching
stories by a persecuted
journalist who fought for
human rights in Argentina, clarified the controversial
issue whether he was tortured as a Jew.
In an overseas interview, recorded in the New York
Times by Golin Campbell, Timerman was quoted from his
home in Israel:
Mr. Timerman expressed impatience with re-
peated reports that he has said he was arrested
because he was a Jew. "I never said I was ar-
rested because I was a Jew," he said. "I make that
cloar--in - -my book. I was arrested because
newspaper was fighting for human rights. But
once I was in jail, I was treated differently be-
cause I was a Jew."
In jail, he said, he was given electric shocks and
some of his captors shouted anti-Semitic epithets
as they beat him. They also questioned hint at
length about his Zionism, he said.
Much too much was made of Timerman's criticisms of
his fellow Jews who must protect their position in their
country where conditions are far from those aspired to by
all peoples of decency.
Willis Barnstone, professor of comparative literature
and Latin American studies at Indiana University,
Bloomington, Ind., had a definitive point or? the con-
troversy in a letter to the New York Times in which he
I was a Fulbright lecturer in Buenos Aires in
1975-1976, during a turbulent period of near civil
war in Argentina. In those days there were two
good sources of information, which I read each
morning: the English-language Buenos Aires
Herald and La Opinion directed by Jacob°.
Timerman, who has become the subject recently
of much controversy.
The dispute concerns the degree of anti-
Semitism in Argentina and how best to combat it.
But those of us who lived in Argentina know that
Timerman's primary, courageous and extraordi-
nary deed was to publish, in a time of intimidating
chaos, a high-quality popular newspaper,
fashioned after Le Monde, giving news freely and
as objectively as possible, while at the same time
editorializing against murders and kidnappings
of left and right, against the traditional fascism of
both extremes.
Although no official censorship existed, one
wrote at the risk of one's life. The paper's call for
moderation resulted in blood threats and the dis-
appearance and death of its journalists.
As for anti-Semitism, that was a minor issue at a
time when thousands were "disappearing" for
other political reasons. But Argentine anti-
Semitism, a sociological anachronism, was and is
there, everywhere, and taken for granted: in
language, in the military, by the church, ev,_.
among intellectuals, and in popular publications.
As a critic he had to be silenced, and his paper
had to be destroyed. Fortunately, his silence is
being heard.
It is apparent that Timerman does not need defense,
but Argentina does. The Argentinian Jewish leadership
will have to accommodate itself to the need of risking gov-
ernment displeasure by an adherence to the demands for
justice in their country. There is no denial of the fact that
thousands, they may run into the tens of thousands, are
missing in Argentina, victims of brutalities. That's a chal-
lenge to humanitarians. Timmerman was a courageous
leader in these ranks of fighters for justice. That credit will
not be denied him.


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