Friday, October 16, 1981
NE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
The Problem Termed AWACS Beckons for Understanding:
It Is Not a Jewish Issue and Hopefully It Will Be
Recognized as a Menacing Danger to the United States
Shock of Turning Saudi Arms Deal Into Football to Kick Around the Dissenters
An inhuman act judged as a world tragedy, the assassination of a truly great man,
was utilized in some political quarters to capitalize on a most seriously controversial
matter. The instability of the Middle Eastern countries was expected to call attention to
even greater instability in the country which asks for very important weapons from the
United States. Instead, the death of Egypt's President Anwar Sadat began to serve a
rather unholy purpose: to lend credibility to another Islamic country, Saudi Arabia,
which rejects the Sadat peace partnership with Israel and the United States and uses as
one of its mottos the threatening term of Jihad, Holy War, leveled at Israel.
The injustice of it all is that the arms sale is treated as a Jewish issue, a former
President of the United States resorting to typical audacity to make it a Jewish issue and
a Jewish abberration dipped in Israeli lobbyism. Several elements of the vindictiveness
relate to such injections of fault-finding in a major matter affecting the peace of an
important area in the world and perhaps all mankind. The Jewish factor doesn't click too
well in the source of its application, and the failure both to acknowledge Israel's right to
stand firm in her own defense as well as the privilege of free humans to speak their minds
are not to be ignored.
Especially deplorable in the entire matter is that three ex-Presidents of the U.S.
should have joined the fray and to have treated the Jewish-Israeli matter as a football to
be kicked not merely at will but also at leisure.
Therefore, there are facts not to be ignored. Just because Anwar Sadat favored the
sale of AWACS planes to fellow-Moslems who turned against him in his noble peace
programs should have had no impact on the issue. The fact that needs constantly -
renewed emphasis is that it is all a matter of concern to the United States, to the peace
affecting an embattled part of the world.
Hobart Rowen, writing in the Washington Post, in a revealing article under the
heading "AWACS: A Favor We Don't Have to Do," exposed the muddied situation as
The argument that the AWACS sale is not in the best interests of the
United States, it seems to me, is overwhelming and compelling. The case is
so strong that it flushes out desperate, bottom - of - the - barrel arguments
from the pro-sale crowd.
The easiest to dispose of is the plea that we "owe" the Saudis this one
because they created an oil glut in order to help the United States. Colum-
nist Carl T. Rowan writes that oil prices have come down recently because
"the Saudis pumped more oil than was good for them." That's pure baloney,
and you know who says so? My favoriate source on this subject, Saudi Oil
Minister Sheik Yamani, when he talks candidly at home, and abandons the
propaganda line he uses for his lectures in Paris or New York.
In an interview that appeared simultaneously Sept. 8 in the English-
language Arab News and in the Arabic daily, Al-Sharq Al Aswat, Yamani
admitted that the Saudis had not created the current glut in order to bef.:
riend the United States. The glut arose, he said, because demand had fallen
in response to high prices that OPEC had ill-advisedly put into effect in 1979
A detailed quote from Yamani is instructive: "The present situation is
different from the past when, during 1979 and 1980, the oil-price hike from a
little over $12, to $32 or more, caused an enormous rush in investment in
energy resources, with the view of cutting down on oil consumption and
developing energy alternatives to reduce dependence on oil.
"This resulted in a fall in OPEC's shares in the market from over 31
million barrels daily in 1979 to much less than 24 million barrels this year.
Some analysts, however, expect OPEC's share to fall in the early '90s to less
than 15 million barrels daily. This would mean a collapse of the organiza-
tion and a lot of economic hardships for Saudi Arabia, which basically
relies on its oil revenue."
Ed Levy, the Genius Organizer
of Industries, Lover of Zion,
Inspirer of Israel Investments
That's Sheik Yamani talking. He added:
'"The oil prices must be brought down, if we can, or at least remain at the
present level for a long period until we are able to hold back investors from
searching (for) energy alternatives, and until OPEC restores its previous
position." As he should, Yamani is trying to take care of Saudi interests, not
So much for the suggestion that we need to sell AWACS to the Saudis
either to thank them for pumping a lot of oil (they're doing that because
they've got a big budget to support) or for not raising prices (that's because,
as Yamani says, they know that higher prices will accelerate the switch
away from oil). Wall Street oil expert Henry L. Wojtyla, uncannily right so
far, estimates that non-OPEC oil sources are growing at an impressive five
percent a year, presaging about an equivalent decline in the need for OPEC
As Peter Lubin, a foreign policy analyst and associate of the conserva-
tive Center for International Security here, suggested in recent congres-
sional testimony, the Saudis and the rest of OPEC are going to be fighting
with others for a share of the market: the West doesn't have to do favors or
grovel for oil — especially favors as big as the AWACS.
But if the glut is bad business now for the Saudis'and the rest of OPEC,
imagine what viffl happen if and when Iran onceagain begins to produce oil
as it did under the shah —four, five or six million barrels a day. Clearly, that
could result in a major break in oil prices that could have an even more
devastating impact on the Saudi economy than Yamani allows in his candid
Just as the opposition to the AWACS sales proposal desires respect for its viewpoint,
so must the AWACS supporters be respected. It is when they resort to distortions and use
Jews and Israelis as footballs that they must be refuted.
That is why the Rowen arguments are so vital. In his exposure Rowen also wrote:
British Prof. J. B. Kelly, one of the world's leading experts on Saudi
Arabia and the Gulf countries, raises the frightening possibility that the
Saudis, their military strength augmented both symbolically,and in reality
by the AWACS, would "bully"_their neighbors into holding oil production
down, or actually take Persian Gulf territory, as Kelly charges they have
done in the past.
This is not mere fantasy. Kelly documents the history of Saudi invasions
of and territorial demands on the weaker sheikdoms in the Persian Gulf
over the years. Although the Saudis obviously don't like him, Kelly's exper-
tise on the Middle East is highly regarded in the Reagan Administration
and on Capitol Hill. He asks precisely the right question on the proposed
AWACS sale: "What is the U.S. going to get out of it?" Clearly, it's not oil, it's
not bases. It would appear to be nothing at all, except, perversely, a new oil
crisis enforced by Saudi AWACS.
If peace is to be pursued with dignity and as a protection from destructive intrusions,
ifThe Middle East is to be assured ofjust treatment, with an assurance that the Russian
influence will be rejected from that area, the AWACS issue must be treated with due
consideration to protests that contain the warnings necessary for genuine amity among
all peoples involved.
There must be no condoning of anything that approaches the prejudicial. The
Reagan Administration will, hopefully, concede to the appeals for justice and the resort to
reason, especially in the light of the facts that what is involved as much as Israel's
security is the self-respect and the liberties of all others, particularly the U.S. who are
closely involved in the most serious matter to affect our foreign relations. They als
human relations, and these are not to be ignored.
political interests. His daughter, Janet Aronoff, has an
important role as chairman.of the Michigan Chapter of the
America Israel Public Affairs Committee. Mr. Levy leaves
an indelible record of notable services to his people and his
Ed Levy was a genius as an industrial organizer. This
applied to his skills in his own business and particularly his
Mark Beltaire's Journalistic
devotion to Israel and his desire to help the young nation in
Skills Find an Important Echo
its early developments.
As a leader in crushed stone From Cairo to Free Press
products, he evidenced the vision
Mark Beltaire, the one-
so vitally needed in pioneering.
time popular Detroit Free
He found the spot where there was
Press columnist, proved how
massive stone suitable for con-
deeply he became immersed
struction of buildings and
in his profession and how he
wharves. The Ashdod port ac-
honored his role as a news-
quired massiveness thanks to the
paperman on his visit in
stones thus quarried. For this pro-
Cairo, on a Detroit Economic
ject, Mr. Levy enrolled the in-
Club tour, on the day of
volvement of very prominent De-
7 He learned about the tragedy
Names of prominent Detroiters are linked with the
late that afternoon. Time was
crushed stone project. They included Israel Davidson, Leon
not a deterrent. He im-
Komisaruk Kay, Ben Wilk, Irwin Cohn and a number of
mediately wrote an approp-
riate story, phoned it to the
Then there was that unforgettable contribution to the
Detroit Free Press, had it
Israel glass industry.
splashed under an eight-
He was in Ashdod about six or seven years after Israel's
column headline the morning
rebirth as a sovereign nation. He was in the habit of testing
after Sadat's death.
sand and gravel and he fingered a handful of grains of sand.
That was good journalism,
He turned to an engineer and the mayor of Ashdod at the to the credit of the Free Press and to its retired columnist
ti me and said: "You have a fortune here. You can manufac- who has not forgotten his duties.
Other newspapers and newsmen have much to learn
Until then Israel was dependent upon the United from such an example of true devotion to the important
States for glass and always suffered from glass shortages. affiliation with the news media.
Mr. Levy's comment and encouragement led to the estab-
Beltaire will be remembered as the columnist who was
lishment of a glass industry. The result: millions of dollars' enamored with the Jewish National Fund, advocated tree
worth of glass is now shipped annually from Israel to the planting in Israel and was honored by the Detroit JNF at a
special community function. He has merited having an
These were the few of Ed Levy's contributions during additional tree planted in his honor, and another to the
his lifetime. His family carries on his philanthropies and Free Press, for timely and proper reporting.
The Peace in the Balance
From Cairo comes an assurance that the policies of
Anwar Sadat will not be abandoned.
Hosni Mubarak, who was chosen by Sadat to be his
successor, has made it known that he will adhere to the
Camp David procedures, that his aim is the continuation of
the agreements with Israel for an end to warfare.
He was interviewed by telephone by the Israel Hebrew
daily newspaper Maariv, in Cairo and it was cabled in
translation to the New York Times by David K. Shipler. It
reaffirmed the assurances for friendly relations and
perhaps the most significant statement by the Egyptian
President-to-be Mubarak was:
When the paper asked Mr. Mubarak what he
would do if Syria or Jordan, for instance, went to
war with Israel, he replied: "They will not coerce
us. They will not force us into a corner where we
will make war on anyone, except where it affects
our country. We will not be dfawn into a war that
was started just to force us into a corner. Cer-
This is considerably more encouraging than the at-
titude of a Jimmy Carter who dared make the comment
upon his departure for Cairo, to attend the funeral of
Anwar Sadat, that Menahem Begin should stay home thus
not to encourage absenteeism of liberal Arab potentates.
Such is the statesmanship of a former U.S. President who
failed to take into account the exact state of affairs which
biought to the funeral only the Sudanese head of state.
Begin had already arrived in Cairo when Mr. Carter spoke
his peace, and the enmities of the combined Arab states
were a matter of record in the years of the three past
Presidents who went to the Cairo funeral services.
Trust in peace may be more certain with Hosni
- Mubarak than with the three former American heads of
state who are now campaigning for massive arms ship-
ments to Israel's chief enemy.
The peace may be in the balance, yet the new ruler of
Egypt invites trust. Hopefully its acceptance will be a sig-
nal for hope for man for Jew and Arab alike.