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November 13, 1981 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-11-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Friday, November 13, 19111 25

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Habib Feels Language of M.E.
Diplomacy Not Just in Words

By DAVID FRIEDMAN

(Copyright 1981, ..1TA. Inc.)

When Philip Habib,
President Reagan's special
envoy for the Middle East,
was asked at a recent Wash-
ington conference on the
Mideast to list the reasons
for his success in calming
the tensions over Lebanon,
most of his answer was
routine.
He spoke of the desire by
all parties in the region to
avoid a war, he praised Re-
agan for giving him a free
hand and he stressed his re-
fusal to talk to reporters
PHILIP HABIB
after each meeting with a
Mideast leader.
brings to the conversation.
But then the 61-year-old
The same words, the same
retired diplomat gave an
phrases, may be interpreted
even more down-to-earth
differently by people from
explanation. Habib said different countries. And
that at one of his meetings
this is true even when both
in Israeli Premier
persons understand the
Menahem Begin's office he
same dictionary meaning
looked at his American col-
for the word, let alone when
leagues and told Begin:"We
there are such differences as
are surrounded by
between British and Ameri-
"WASPs". There is no one
can English.
here who talks with their
apparently
Habib
hands."

When the appreciative
laughter died down,
Habib went on to say that
knowing how to talk with
your hands can be impor-
tant for an American dip-
lomat, not only in
Jerusalem, but also in all
of the Arab capitals.

The Brooklyn-born son of
Lebanese immigrants may
have only been pointing out
that he feels at home in the
Middle East. But more im-
portantly, he was stressing
the importance of a common
language in diplomacy, the
need to understand not only
the words being used but
the meaning behind the
words.
This is more than speak-
ing the same language. Any
American Jew who has spo-
ken with an Israeli, even
those fluent in English,
knows how precise you have
to be, perhaps because He-
brew is such a precise lan-
guage. Israelis are quick to
pounce on what they con-
sider misuse of English
words.
But it is not just the words
themselves. There is also
the body language, includ-
ing speaking with the
hands, and the cultural
background each person

acter.
Rather those who wish to
deal with them, even as ad-
versaries, should begin to
understand first something
about them. Mideast diplo-
macy does need more people
who can talk with their
hands. All that movement
may at least clear some of
the verbal fog away.

CT

have both contributed to
and absorbed from the di-
verse cultures through
which they have passed dur-
ing four millennia.
Host, commentator and
chief consultant for the
series is Abba Eban, former
Israeli foreign minister and
ambassador to the United
Nations. Eban will be joined
by actor Judd Hirsch and
actress Colleen Dewhurst
on the series.

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It is also true of many
journalists who report or
comment on the Mideast.
Either because of lack of
knowledge or for partisan
reasons many take every-
thing at face value without
delving behind the words.
This is one of the reasons
the Arabs frequently come
across better in the press.
The Arabs are more likely
to tell a listener, sometimes
just out of politeness, what
he wants to hear. Israelis
are more blunt and are
known for giving you what
they consider the facts. This
frequently makes the Is-
raelis appear intransigent
which they are not.
This is why there is so
much endless discussion
about the need for Israel to
improve its public relations.
Granted the Israelis some-
times could be more tactful.
But neither the Israelis nor
the Arabs nor Americans
nor anyone else are going to
change their national char-

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Pasternak's funeral in
1960, where mourners were
widely photographed by
KBG informers, the secret
police began hunting for
any remaining scraps of
Pasternak's writings. They
seized a copy of a manu-
script he had left with his
mistress, Olga Ivinskaya
and she and her daughter
were subsequently arrested
and sentenced to terms in
Siberia.

The corruptions of the
country are closely allied to
those of the town, with no
difference but what is made
by another mode of thought
and living.

NEW YORK—Full scale
production is under way on
the first four episodes of
"Civilization and the Jews,"
the $6-million, 11-part
documentary series for na-
tional presentation over the
Public Broadcasting Serv-
ice (PBS) in 1983.
The series of one-hour
programs, produced by
WNET (New York), exam-
ines the roots of civilization
to determine how the Jews

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understands this, and
that is why he appears to
have the trust of both Is-
raelis and Arabs. Unfor-
tunately, the same cannot
be said of many others in
the government, includ-
ing the so-called
Arabists.

New Pasternak Biography

NEW YORK — Boris
Pasternak, the Soviet
author who refused to ac-
cept the Nobel Prize for Lit-
erature in 1958 for fear of
being expelled from his
homeland, is the subject of a
new biography by Guy de
Mallac.
"Boris Pasternak: His
Life and Art" (University of
Oklahoma Press) is the sec-
ond Pasternak biography by
Mallac. His first volume,
published in France in
1963, lacked information
concerning the Soviet poet
and novelist which has be-
come available in the last 20
years.
Mallac reveals'that after

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