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November 27, 1981 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-11-27

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


owl NEWS

Friday, November 21, 1%1 13

Kenen's 'Israel's Defense Line' an Immense Historic Document,
Autobiographically Reviewing the Struggles of Many Decades

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A leader must not think
that God chose him because
he is a great man. Does a
peg on .the wall, on which
the king hangs his crown,
boast that its beauty at-
tracted the king's attention.

"Israel was our forgotten
ally in our ealy struggle
against Nazism, fascism,
and communism. She con-
tinues to be in the vanguard
of democracy in the Middle
East. President Reagan and
Congress have it in their
power to recognize and se-
cure Israel's right to survi-
val and peace."
While the book was com-
pleted and published prior
to the assassination of
Sadat, it is evident in these
conclusions that Si Kenen
has a prophetic view of
events and an excellent his-
torical sense of judging
peoples, governments,
statesmen and the events
that have emerged.
His book is a remarkable
contribution to the histori-
cal analyses, the basic
events that affect Israel, the
Middle East and U.S. atti-

ganize the Baghdad Pact
"Alliance" — Turkey, Iraq,
Iran and Pakistan — to con-
tain the Soviet Union.
"The Reagan Adminis-
tration is now embarked on
a similar initiative, but it
does not exclude Israel be-
cause it recognizes that Is-
rael is a strategic asset —
the strongest anti-
Communist regime in the
Middle East. It is difficult to
see how Israel's potential
contribution can be ignored
as it was in the early 1950s.
"But will the Saudis ac-
cede to such a bizarre
partnership, even as they
sound the call for a holy
war? And if they do not,
do we still sell them de-
vastating weapons, like
the AWACS, which can
give effect to their calls
for Israel's destruction?
Does Saudi Arabia con-
tinue to dominate U.S.

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"Throughout 1980, the
Carter Administration
tried to reassure Israel's
American friends of U.S.
support. For the first time
in many years, there was
a substantial defection
from the Democratic
party. This was not easy
for many American Jews
who feared that Ronald
Reagan would sponsor
measures favoring the


wealthy and curtailing
benefits for the disadvan-
"Some Jews voted for
John Anderson, who had
expressed support for Israel
when he came to Congress
in 1961 and who had been a
leader in the struggle in
support of Soviet Jewry.
"During the campaign,
all three candidates pledged
support for Israel. Reagan
left no doubts. He de-
nounced the PLO as a ter-
rorist organization. He de-
scribed Israel as an asset.
He disagreed with the Car-
ter Administration's efforts
to characterize Israeli set-
tlements as illegal. And he
was quick to reaffirm his
position after the election.
friends were also
encouraged by the support
of the new Secretary of
State, General Alexander
Haig, and the new U.S. Am-
bassador to the UN, Jeane
"The Reagan Adminis-
tration has identified
with Israel's war against

terrorism and does not
censure her when she
reacts to it. It is deter-
mined to challenge Soviet
expansionism. That is
consistent with Israel's
view that the Soviets are
the major force arming
her foes with sophisti-
cated weapons and
malignant progaganda.
History recalls that the
recrudescence of the
Cold War could mean the
cold shoulder for Israel.
Thus, in 1951, we had to
lobby on the Hill for aid
because the Truman
Administration feared
that the Arab states
would align themselves
with the .Soviets if the
United States extended
aid to Israel.
"And in 1954, the
Eisenhower Administra-
tion sent arms to Iraq, deny-
ing them to Israel because of
the illusion that it could or-

He is especially critical of
"President Carter's conten-
tion that the settlements
were illegal and an obstacle
to peace."
Kenen, as the creator of
the Near East Report,
whose evaluative reporto-
rial and editorial analyses
of the Middle East situation
are major in the political
studies and journalistic ex-
poses of the events that em-
phasized world interest. In a
sense it summarizes his
labors of several decades in
what continues to be a labor
of devotion even in his re-
His book deals with all
factors in the situation.
He covers the Arab-

Israel conflicts, the di-
vision in Congress and
the immense support for
Israel secured in spite of
it, the arms race, the
threats to Israel and the
manipulations that are
up-to-date studies of the
historic events.
Therefore, Kenen's
studies take into account
the Arab lobby and the pro-
gress it has made, the sup-
port it secured, theduties it
imposed on Jewry.
There were threats of
sanctions as during the
Suez War, and the protests
to President Eisenhower to
abandon his anger toward
Israel. The actions of the
then U.S. Senators Lyndon
B. Johnson and William - F.
Knowland are significant
factors in an important
chapter in American-Israel
In a chapter entitled "Is-
rael's Texas Friend," Kenen
acclaims the friendly role of
Johnson, both as U.S. Sena-
tor and as President. He re-
calls Johnson's rejection of
Eisenhower's threat to im-
pose sanctions on Israel. He
outlines the friendly acts
that included providing Is-
rael with defensive arms.
Dealing with "The Mul-
titude of Promises," to
indicate the confusions
and the changing atti-
tudes by Presidents and
government officials,
Kenen comments on
President John F. Ken-
nedy's "neutralist
strategy" and he recalls
an appeal to him by
Golds Meir and the as-
surances he gave her that
Israel would receive
American aid. But there
were discrepancies over
Kennedy's viewpoint on
the refugee issue.
The difficult roads are re-
traced' and in the process
Kenen relates the responses
of American Jewry and the
devoted efforts to assure se-
curity and progress for Is-
Inevitably, the entire text
of "Israel's Defense Line" is
autobiographical because it
is based on the author's per-
sonal experiences. While
reviewing the many de-
velopments, the eminent
author also gives a resume
of Zionist and Israel history,
the manner in which gov-
ernments, especially the
United States, affected the
current status in the Middle
. There is this interesting
conclusion to his experi-
ences in the final years of
his AIPAC leadership and
Near East Report editor-

+4 t i;laty

I.L. (Isaiah — Si) Kenen
has ikscribed his name in
the record of Zionism's and
Israel's defenders in a
lifetime of dedicated labors
that will be remembered for
generations. He can be
called the Father of AIPAC
(American Israel Public Af-
fairs Committee) and as the
guide to the protective
forces who have the policies
and means of reaching the
leaders in American politi-
cal affairs, as well as foreign
dignitaries, with dignity
and skill.
His personal account of
his lifetime of action, incor-
porated in "Israel's Defense
Line: Her Friends and Foes
in Washington" (Prom-
etheus Books) is the history
of an era that was marked
by tensions, bitterness,
enmities and friendships. It
is the story of the non-
Jewish involvements and
the Jewish identifications.
It is an encyclopedia of and
about state-building,
pioneering and the obsta-
cles that needed hurdling.
Because the emphasis is
on the American role in the
rebirth of Israel with em-
phasis on the contributions
of Christians towards the
fulfillment of the Zionist
ideals and the defense of Is-
rael, the introduction to the
Kenen book by Dr. Carl
Hermann Voss is of great
significance. In it, the emi-
nent Christian Zionist lists
the eminent Christians who
shared in the leadership as
friends of Israel, Jewry and
Zionism. This essay was re-
printed in The Jewish News
July 3, 1981.'
The creation of AIPAC
and its developing func-
tions, admittedly as a
lobby, the contacts with
the several administra-
tions in power who were
confronted with the
Zionist appeals, form the
basis for this very impor-
tant accumulation of
facts and personal ex-
Kenen does not hesitate
to be critical when the obs-
tacles that were confronted
came into evidence. He is
especially critical of
President Jimmy Carter's
role and the complications
involving the Camp David
deliberations and the atti-
tudes towards Anwar Sadat
and Menahem Begin.

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