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February 26, 1982 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-02-26

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

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

A Response to Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg

By EZEKIEL LEIKIN

(Editor's note: Severe
criticisms of Israel Prime
Minister Menahem Begin
are refuted here by
Ezekiel Leikin, who is
currently a lecturer on
Zionist history for the De-
troit District of the
Zionist Organization of
Detroit.)
Arthur Hertzberg is de-
eply troubled about
Menahem Begin's percep-
tion of Zionism. In an article
in the New York Review of
Books (Feb. 18) the eminent
historian and author
The Zionist Idea" poses
searching questions with
regard to Begin's "defini-
tion" of Israel.
He concludes it is
anathema to "most Ameri-
can Jews," whose commit-
ment to Israel was molded
by the "progressivism" of
Louis Brandeis and Hen-
rietta Szold and the "liberal
dreams" of Weizmann and
Ben-Gurion.

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The "liberalism" of Ar-
thur Hertzberg is affronted
by Begin's "confron-
tationist" posture vis-a-vis
"world opinion" and "within
world Jewry," which
"frightens" the majority of
American Jews," who "can
no longer choose to be si-
lent."
It was almost inevita-
ble that the former head
of the American Jewish
Congress should follow
in the footsteps of Philip
Klutznik, Nahum
Goldmann and a few
others in the Jewish
community in attacking
the policies of the Likud
governments.
Thus, in May 1975, he
warned American Jews "not
to over-react" to the Ad-
ministration's "reassess-
ment" of U.S. Mideast pol-
icy following the collapse of
Kissinger's step-by-step
diplomacy, which most
friends of Israel viewed as a
political bludgeon designed
to bring the then Rabin gov-
ernment "to its senses."
Hertzberg's warning in-
cluded an admonition to
American Jews to refrain
from "hard-line" politics
which may precipitate a
confrontation with the
Soviet Union and the Arabs.
Strangely enough, the
eminent rabbi was equally
emphatic in counseling
American Jews to avoid
"meddling in Israel's inter-
nal affairs." However, that
was in 1975, when a Labor
government much more in
tune with Hertzberg's "pro-

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RABBI HERTZBERG

gressivism" was at the con-
trols in Israel.
Prof. Benjamin Akzin,
writing in Israel's Yediot
Ahronot, perceives "no
basic difference between
the Likud and the
mainstream thinking of
the (Labor) Alignment.
The Likud has refrained
from annexing Judea,
Samaria and Gaza. The
Alignment objects to re-
treating to the pre-1967
lines. Both parties realize
that the final outcome
will be decided by
negotiations, and not by
an Israeli formula, and
that they can merely state
Israeli preferences."
Hertzberg's assertion
that Begin "will not allow
autonomy to apply to the
territory of the West Bank"
is sheer nonsense. It was
Begin who projected the
concept of autonomy in the
first place; thus the infer-
ence that the Prime Minis-
ter, known as a man of great
integrity and high sense of
honor, is trying to "wiggle
out" from his commitment
to the Camp David accords
is totally unwarranted.
Hertzberg offers no evi-
dence to substantiate his
contention that the major-
ity of American Jews are
either "frightened" or
turned off by Begin's
policies. The fact is, media
characterizations not-
withstanding, Begin's popu-
larity in the U.S. seems to
be rising rather than declin-
ing.
The logic of Mr. Begin's
policy-line seems irrefuta-
ble. If Israel is an ally and
friend of the United States,
if it represents a strategic
American asset, U.S.
Mideast policy must reflect
that friendship in word as
well as in deed.
No one is naive enough
to suggest that Israel
should have exclusive
monopoly on U.S. friend-
ship in the area; however,
so long as Israel's volatile
neighbors refuse to

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Western nations where in-
fant mortality is at a
minimum, according to
Prof. Baruch Modan, direc-
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Ministry.
When Israel was estab-
lished in 1948, there were
50 deaths for every 1,000
births. Presently, there are
only 10 deaths per 1,000
births.

Friday, February 26, 1982 13

TM.

I2

negotiate with her "se-
cure and recognized"
borders pursuant to reso-
lutions 242 and 338,
which are the twin legal
pillars of the Camp David
process, the U.S. is duty-
bound to insure Israel's
qualitative edge in the
balance of forces in the
Middle East.
If American Jews, as
Hertzberg postulates, were
drawn to Zionism by the
vision of a "benign" society
that could be "a light unto
the nations," Begin's politi-
cal and military strategy is
designed to insure that the
"light" should not be extin-
guished by the irrational in-
transigence of Israel's Arab
neighbors.

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THIS EVENING
Wednesday Evening
June 16, 1982

HARRY
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