2 Friday, January 1, 1532
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
An Unpleasant Week for Israel, the Sensationalism That
Threatened a Friendship, the Hostage-to-Hostage Drama
That Begins to Find A Solution in Israel-U.S. Amity
Don't Monkey Around With the Camp David Principles, Ye Hostages to Truth
Menahem Begin certainly captured the limelight in the past year. He is that kind of
person. He doesn't let anything stub his toes. He has a one-track mind regarding the state
over whose government he presides: security, freedom, justice, life unhindered. What-
ever he does is therefore implanted with these motivations.
President Ronald Reagan comparably has the same ideals. He is tough on matters
involving his interpretation of America's needs.
Any wonder, therefore, that they should both have been portrayed as being hos-
tages to their ideals?
That did not excuse the irritation that invited rought talk on the part of the Israeli
prime minister. Would that he had not been as described, especially in Israel, as being too
vitriolic. In principle, he could not be indicted. The timing may have been bad. That's how
a resolution on the unquestioned,status of Jerusalem was described. Was he overly
insulting? He should have been more cautious in dealing with the best, the only,
diplomatic friend in the world. But when sanctions are resorted to, the anger becomes
There was only one major threat of sanctions against Israel in the entire history of
the Jewish state. It was by President Dwight D. Eisenhower during the Suez Campaign
in 1956. That's when the then U.S. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas and U.S. Senator
William F. Knowland of California, the leaders of their respective Democratic and
Republican forces in the Senate, told the President in no uncertain terms that sanctions
on Israel would cost him his proposed foreign aid package. They won their appeals.
It may be a bit different now. Yet the situation must be judged on the basis of Israel
commanding a much stronger position with regard to the Middle East situation and the
threats from the Soviet Union. The American position in that area is dependent on
Israel's major role as a deterrent to Soviet influence there. Therefore, Begin is not to be
treated as a hostage.
The Jewish ranks were put to the test and their reactions provided the most interest-
ing observations to what some portrayed as a Hostage-versus-Hostage drama. In Israel
the criticism was severe. It was far from a majority opinion, but it was outspokenly
antagonistic, in the form of a no-confidence proposal and hasty remarks by the Labor
Alignment leaders. This is worth taking into account. Yitzhak Rabin's words were
especially notable. He spoke as if the occurrence vis-a-vis the Golan Heights spelled the
end of the Camp David peace plans. What he said was immediately branded "rubbish."
An important American authority, Dr. Joseph Sisco, repudiated his views. In Cairo,
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak acted in support of the Camp David pact. Hopefully,
these will be lessons for the stupidities that have emanated from Labor Alignment ranks,
Shimon Peres being as guilty as Yitzhak Rabin.
It was on the American scene that a bit of courage was evidenced. Except for a
minority view like Leonard Fine's, the would-be diplomat who resorted to "advice" for
Begin to be "more judicious" (he is the critic who should have applied such advice to
himself), the overwhelming American Jewish sentiment was to recognize the reality of a
situation which could never grant even an inch of Golan Heights ground to Syria. This
near-unanimous Jewish opinion did not hesitate to criticize the Reagan attempt to
impose sanctions on Israel.
That's how the drama was enacted last week. There will be more such performances.
They must all have the happy ending of the cementing of American-Israel friendships.
They could be harmed by anti-Semites and by those who are blind to American needs in
the Middle East and in vital U.S. foreign affairs. The rational will surely predominate.
Then there is the Jewish attitude. Split ranks won't help anyone. The "rubbish" now
to the credit of many will surely be washed down a Mediterranean gutter.
The sensationalism of the past week was not pleasant. When did a conflict that
involved the quest for Justice for the Jew ever have a pleasant tune?
Even the President Must Accept Criticism
It's a pity that disputes must assume a spirit of criticism and that it becomes
necessary to restate what was said editorially. on another occasion: that even the
President is not immune from criticism. William Safire, in his essay "Reagan Suspends
Revived Polish Anti-Semitism
Multiplies the Inhumanities
An era when human beings turned into beasts finds an
echo in the current tragedies of an entire nation. Uncon-
cerned with the plight of their people, there is an element in
Poland that has revived anti-Semitism, blaming the strug-
gle between government and Solidarity upon Zionists.
It doesn't matter that there are less than 6,000 Jews
left in that land out of a population on the eve of World War
II of some 3,500,000. It is immaterial to these insane people
that the surviving group of Jews is of the age exceeding 65,
perhaps 70. Now they say there are some young Jews "in
hiding" — the admission, therefore, that if there is a hand-
ful of younger Jews "in hiding" it is because they find life
intolerable and insecure. Even this claim Cannot be proven.
Whatever was left of young Jews in the last two decades
was in the Communist ranks and they disappeared long ago
There is a tragic lesson in the revived anti-Semitism.
Returning from Poland where she visited Auschwitz and
Treblinka together with the American delegation headed
by Elie Wiesel, Prof. Alice Eckardt reported that peasant
women often greeted them with disdain, proclaiming,
"What, the Jews are back again?"
Is it ever enough that Six Million perished, that the
total including non-Jews exceeded 11 million?
A non-Jew who describes himself as a "post-Auschwitz
Catholic" wrote an indictment of Christian indifference to
Jewish sufferings in a volume entitled "A Christian Re-
sponse," a review of which will appear in a later issue. Elie
Wiesel wrote the foreword to this volume (in a translation
from the French by Ellen S. Fine), and a portion of it applies
to the current situation. He stated:
The murder of six million Jews is at the same
time part of Jewish and Christian history. On all
levels, the questions are disturbing. How does one
Israel" (NYTimes. Dec. 24), had a few things to say in defense of Menahem Begin,
differing with President Ronald Reagan.
Quoting Safire on the suspension by Secretary of State Alexander Haig of the
Strategic Cooperation Agreement between the U.S. and Israel:
Whether the Haig suspension was a calculated rebuke or a provocative
blunder, it was the most stinging slap in the face administered to any U.S.
ally in recent history. The Israelis set great store by a solemnly signed
document; a treaty is the only pressure on them now to return their territo-
rial margin of safety to Egypt. For Mr. Haig to "suspend" the first written
Israeli-American agreement in such cavalier fashion made a mockery of
the negotiations leading up to it.
So Menahem Begin gave Ronald Reagan a piece of his mind and I say
good for him. Yes, the rhetoric was excessive — I don't want Mr. Reagan or
Mr. Begin defining my loyalties as American or Jew — but the scale of the
Reagan insult made the heartfelt blast understandable. An agreement that
one side can ignore at will is no agreement at all. Mr. Regan is the first U.S.
President to use aid to Israel as a leash, snapping the Israeli head back
three times this year because they refuse to submit meekly to nuclear
black-mail or terrorist attacks.
When the White House puts out the line that American Jews are desert.
ing Israel in droves, CBS television swallowed that wishthink whole — to
the point of depicting Senator Charles Mathias, who since his re-election
has joined Richard Nixon in deploring the political power of Jewish Ameri-
cans, as one of the "Israel supporters" newly disappointed in Mr. Begin.
This Administration acts as if it expects Israel to perform only as an
agent of the United States, and no sovereign nation —least of all one whose
survival is constantly at stake — is going to do that. "No blank checks," say
the Reagan men — as they try to buy an ally with rubber checks.
The policy of publicly humiliating our traditional ally has made us no
new friends in the Arab world and has removed the trust needed to encour-
age Israel to take risks for peace. Not only is it a betrayal of all Mr. Regan
promised, it is a policy that is obviously failing.
Now Mr. Haig is hinting that unless the Israelis say they are sorry, we
will not veto UN sanctions — now there's a dandy way to patch things up. I'd
hate to be living next to a PLO base in Lebanon after the UN votes for
sanctions on Israel.
The irony is that the only people the Israelis have left to trust are the
PLO. The most militant of the Palestinians can be counted upon to provide
the provocation for an Israeli military strike into Lebanon, establishing an
independent Christian state and removing the Syrian threat on Israel's
northern border. Then the new U.S. tendency to "suspend" commitments
would apply to all aid, and Israel would have to hunker down further,
forced to think about holding onto its last third of Sinai and hoping for
better luck with the next U.S. President.
Is that what Ronald Reagan wants? That is where his policy of demand-
ing vassalhood from Israel is leading. The way back from that brink is for
the U.S. to honor its commitments; for Israel to declare its continued
willingness to negotiate anything, as it did with Sadat even in Jerusalem;
for the U.S. to veto sanctions and to tell Syria to remove its missiles from
Lebanon lest the Israelis do it for them.
America must never succumb to the temptation of bullying an honora-
bly stiff-necked ally; that is the specialty of the other superpower.
In spite of the near-unanimous condemnation of Israel by the media and politicians,
it is this expression of self-respect by William Safire that will survive the enmities and
conflicts between heads of the two governments. The argument won't be headed by the
resort to a "Happy Hanuka" greeting. It must be reasserted by firm action to strengthen
the friendship between the two nations.
explain that a Hitler or a Himmler were never
excommunicated by the Church? that Pope Pius
XII never judged it necessary or essential to con-
demn Auschwitz or Maidanek? that the killers
came from Christian families and had received a
Christian education? and that many Catholic and
Protestant dignitaries had supported the Nazis.
Certainly, here and there, courageous Christians
faced danger and came to the aid of the Jews; we
shall be eternally grateful to them. But they were
few hi number. They were the exceptions. As a
general rule, the Jewish victims barely found ref-
uge. In Christian Poland, so hostile was the coun-
tryside that those who escaped from the ghettos
often returned to them; they feared the Poles as
much as the Germans. In Lithuania too. In the
Ukraine. In Hungary. And yet in all of these occu-
pied countries, there were resistance movements
that had their heroes and martyrs. Only the Jews
were victims of the Nazi invaders and of their
victims as well.
How is one to understand, to explain, this Chris-
tianity bereft of charity and compassion? As a
Jew, I have always been reluctant to explore the
question. Let us thank Harry James Cargas for
having done so. The things he says about his
Christian brothers and friends will be painful to
them; one hopes they will not turn away. Thanks
to this book, they will learn what others have hid-
den from them for so long: that the love of God is
whole only if expressed through the love of man.
The tragedy has no end! It repeats and repeats!
Are there enough heads hanging in shame over the
new evidence of inhumanities?
Even the speculated figure that from 5,000 to 6,000 old
Jews now survive in Poland is challenged by Eli Eyal, the
head of the information department of the World Zionist
Organization. His contention is that there now are only
3,600 Jews in Poland, half of them very old, the other half
intermarried and therefore on the speedy road of being
absorbed into the predominantly Catholic Polish nation.
Woe is the memory of what was the proud Jewry of
Amphitheater Is Excavated
BET SHEAN — A Roman cuses and sports exhibi-
amphitheater where tions, according to Dr.
gladiators fought man- Yoram Tzafrir of the Heb-
eating beasts the only one rew University Institute of
ever found in Israel — has Archeology.
been uncovered in this city
The dig is situated sev-
in northern Israel.
eral hundred yards from the
Built around 200 CE, the magnificent excavated
amphitheater served for Roman Theater, which was
some 200 years as an arena a center for drama and other
for gladiatorial combat, cir- performing arts.