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June 11, 1982 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-06-11

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

heir Iwn

irttnioir JEWISH NEWS

Purely Commentary

By Philip
Slomovitz

Retaining Its Traditional Libertarian Role,
Zionism, as the Chief Advocate of Justice
for Israel, Unifies Jewry in Its Idealism

Zionist Libertarianism as a Call to Action by Jewry and All Friends of Israel

A new spirit pervades Jewish ranks in the new era of fulfillment of Prophecy based
on the hopes rooted in "Tzion b'mishpat tipodeh" —"Zion shall be redeemed with justice."
With the realization of what had been a dream also came a new spirit, a newly-
determined vigilant spirit.
Actually, it began with what had been termed political Zionism. It has always also
been spiritual Zionism. In the sense of libertarian obligations as interpreted in Jewish
legacies the two are inseparable.
Perhaps there is more effective vigilance now. How else could half the upper legisla-
tive U.S. body be enrolled in opposition to the sinful proposals to provide destructive arms
to Israel's neighbor whose major claim to fame in the Arab world is that it seeks the
destruction of Israel. Yet, it existed from the very beginning, when Zionism became an
ideal in the striving for the redemption of Eretz Yisrael.
It had always existed — in the thrice daily prayers, about "the return unto Zion with
mercy." The Zionist credo gave substance to hopes and prayers and began to transform
them into realities with what had been formulas framed by Theodor Herzl, Max Nordau
and their associates. Then they became realities with the devotion of the generation
inspired by Louis D. Brandeis and his associates.
* * *
Zionism's triumph in the redemption that is now the state of Israel retains a call to
action. A nation redeemed needs protection in the instance of Israel embattled in an area
dominated by enemies. Therefore the constant need for definition of a movement that
holds the highest rank in libertarian idealism.
Because there are, sadly, the_uninformed who are in need of enlightenment about the
great ideal, it becomes necessary, periodically, to define and to explain.
Jews are not alone in their understanding, appreciation and advocacy of Zionism.
Because so much of antagonism, stemming from its anti-Semitism, comes from
Russia, it is valuable, in a discussion of Zionism, to quote the endorsement of it by one of
Russia's most brilliant minds. In April of 1902 Maxim Gorky commented on Zionism:
"I am told Zionism is a Utopia. I do not know; perhaps. But inasmuch as I see in this
Utopia an unconquerable thirst for freedom, one for which the people will suffer, it is for
me a reality. With all my heart I pray that the Jewish people, like the rest of humanity,
may be given spiritual strength to labor for its dream and to establish it in flesh and
blood."
He was not alone. There is a very exciting and fascinating interpretation of Zionism
by another eminent Christian. Alexander Dumas, playwright and novelist, writing in
1873 in "La Femme de Claude," declared:
"We are in an era in which each race has resolved to reclaim and repossess its soil, its
homeland, its language and its temple. We Jews . . . no longer wish to be a group; we want
to be a people, yea, more than a people, a nation . . . We need once again a fixed, territorial
fatherland. Everyone has his ideal or folly. That which led us and which for centuries we
have recited on our feast days is: Next Year in Jerusalem!"
Such was the interpretation of a Christian defining the idealism of a Jew who was

one of the characters in the Dumas play staged a decade before Theodor Herzl pronounced
the Jewish hope for Jews and for mankind. Therefore it is vital again at this point, as the
Christian support is quoted with gratitude, to turn to Herzl who addressed Jewry and
mankind by declaring:
"The Jews have but one way of saving themselves — a return to their own people in
an emigration to their own land."
"The world will be freer by our liberty, richer by our wealth, greater by our great-
ness."
The first applied to those who were saved, the vastly larger numbers who could have
been rescued; the second quotation applies to the creativity now evident in Israel, whose
rebirth was prophesied by Herzl and emerged into fruition.
***
There is no end to quotations. Every President since Woodrow Wilson, and
Presidents before, were among the multitudes of friends of Zionism.
These friendships are vitally needed now. They are appreciated by a grateful Jewr-
All hopes are that they will exercise their influence in behalf of the Israel tha
constantly threatened with extinction by brutal forces surrounding her.
Primarily, the defense for Israel is vital in Jewish ranks. This is where Zionism
retains a major role and expects the support of the entire Jewish people. It is self-
emancipation as interpreted by Leon Pinsker that became a watchword for Jewry; it
remains so now.
This must be re-emphasized in all Jewish gatherings, and it is uppermost when those
selected for Zionist leadership assemble to continue planning for action in Israel's behalf.
There are many friends for the Zionist cause, and the movement itself retains the
leadership that is so important both for creativity in the redeemed Zion and for defense on
the state's borders as well as internally.
* * *
Public relations in behalf of Israel has become a significant aim exceptionally
performed by the Zionist Organization of America. This is a factor to be applauded when
Zionist officialdom gathers.
Then there is the educational that is so important, and if the Zionist movement were
to weaken it would need reinforcing. Fortunately, ZOA retains its role as a major factor in
Israel's security and is the rallying factor for the Jewish state's solid position among the
nations of the world.
Zionism as the fountain for Jewish credibility on the world's political scene is as vital
now as the idea remains fixed in prayers, as the movement's insatiable productivity
keeps being recorded among mankind's chief acclaimers of the validity of freedom for
humankind.
Whenever Zionists assemble, this is the call to action. Now more than ever there is
realism in the call to action and to sharing in the effort, proclaimed by Louis D. Brandeis
in 1915:
"Loyalty to America demands that each - American Jew become a Zionist."

Zionism and Realism: Israel, Jewry and the United States

By IVAN J. NOVICK

President, Zionist
Organization of America

The critics who perceive
the current policies of the
government of Israel to be
langerous to the Jewish
state's moral and literal
existence must be reminded
Df the realities which have
raced — and continue to face
— Israel, the Zionist move-
ment and the Jewish people.
[n spite of opinions to the
;ontrary, there is no
lichotomy between the
vision of a Jewish state that
would redeem the victims of
Hitler and be a light unto
cations and the Israel that
s respected for its firmness
&f position, in addition to its
nilitary and strategic
)ower.
Israel has been compelled
to defend itself against
numerous military efforts
aimed at destroying the
Jewish state during the past
34 years, and it still faces
threats by terrorists sworn
to its destruction and by
neighboring countries
which maintain a state of
military, economic and
political warfare.
It would not be wise if Is-
rael were influenced by
some critics that would
have the Jewish state uni-
laterally beat its swords
into plowshares. The les-
sons of history and the
reality of our times are the
guideposts upon which Is-
raeli policy is formulated.
There are suggestions
that "Begin's Israel" suffers
a perceptible weakening of

support within the world
Jewish community. Is this
based on fact or wishful
thinking by the Likud's
political opposition? But
more to the point, it should
be understood that it is not
"Begin's Israel" that
American Jews support,
any more than it was Ben-
Gurion's or Golda Meir's. It
is Israel qua Israel that is
supported as a free, inde-
pendent and militarily
powerful Jewish state. A
state strong enough to re-
scue the hostages from
Entebbe; to destroy the nu-
clear reactor in Iraq; to
withstand the continuous
onslaught of its enemies;
and a state whose strength
is a constant reminder to
those who would consider
the Military option against
Israel in the future.
It is a Jewish state with a
parliamentary democracy
which chooses its leaders
freely, and which has twice
voted Prime Minister Begin
into office.
In spite of the consid-
erable effort being made
to separate the "govern-
ment of Israel" from the
"people of Israel" and the
ongoing campaign to
separate the people of Is-
rael from its friends
throughout the world,
American Jews are not
turning away.
Financial support for Is-
rael is a responsible
barometer which measures
Jewish "public opinion." It
is, therefore, significant
that over 150 Jewish lead-

ers from throughout the
United States pledged a
total of more than $5.7 mil-
lion to the 1982 United
Jewish Appeal / Commu-
nity Campaign during the
second UJA leadership mis-
sion in Washington, which
represents an increase of 25
percent over the sum given
by the same donors in 1981.

tively different from the
interest that Jews have in
other areas affecting their
welfare.
Glazer refers to a polit-
ical scenario in which the
United States draws
closer to the Arab states,
redefines the parameters
of its "national Interest"
and shies away from
doing what needs to be
done to insure the survi-
val of Israel. In describ-
ing the difficult position
in which this would place
American Jews, Glazer
maintains "Jewish lead-
ership is more unified
than ever before."
While American Jews are
understandably concerned
with the Palestinian Arab
problem, the polls show that
they oppose a Palestinian
state, whether or not it is led
by the PLO, and will
strongly oppose every ac-
tion which threatens Israel
security and vigorously
support every measure that
will enhance it. This is the
grass roots reaction, the
"gut-feeling" of the majority
of the Jews in America, and
we can all share a sense of
deep satisfaction in the
knowledge that the rank
and file understand the
meaning of Jewish unity
and responsibility.

IVAN NOVICK
When the National
Jewish Community Rela-
tions Advisory Council met
in Houston in January
1982, Raymond Epstein, a
past president of the Coun-
cil of Jewish Federations
and treasurer of NJCRAC,
reportedly said, "There is no
evidence that support for Is-
rael is waning; we have
unanimous agreement on
the major issues."
In an article in Commen-
tary, April 1982, reference
Yet, in spite of this incon-
is made to a significant ob- trovertible evidence, critics
servation by Nathan continue to voice opinions
Glazer, who points out the which create the damaging
need to acknowledge the impression of widespread
special interest Jews have dissension. These critics ex-
in Israel which is qualita- press alarm at what is de-

scribed as "confrontation- in
the name of Zion" but fail to
recognize the incredible
significance of an act of
"conciliation in the name of
Zion," namely the return of
all of the Sinai in exchange
for peace with Egypt.
They not only neglect to
laud this historic and dif-
ficult decision by Israel, but
fail to acknowledge that it
was Israel's military and
strategic power, the power
they point to with alarm,
which enabled it to take this
unprecedented risk for
peace.

In attempt to disparage
the government of Israel,
the assertion has been
made that "Israelis see
themselves as the ar-
chitects of Israel's grand
strategic power." Who
but those who live in Is-
rael should take this re-
sponsibility? Surely Is-
raelis who have fought
and suffered for their na-
tion, whose decision will
determine their fate,
their independence, their
freedom and their very
lives, are entitled to
choose their leaders and
shape the future of their
state.

Will "all of Israel's trou-
ble" vanish if only Prime
Minister Begin were no
longer in office, as some
suggest? The fact is that re-
gardless of who is in office,
basic differences between
the Israeli position and that
of the U.S. Administration
would still exist. We are

witnessing in Washington
the continuation of long-
standing American policies
which have favored the
Arabs. Prudence indicates
that this ominous trend
must be seriously exam-
ined, but scapegoating is
not the answer nor is it the
most constructive contribu-
tion that can be made when
the .Jewish state and
Zionism are under attack.

If there is irritation and,
at times, hostility in Wash-
ington, it should not sur-
prise or demoralize Israel's
friends. Whatever may be
the political attitude of
Washington towards Is-
rael's policies, and not-
withstanding the avalanche
of criticism leveled against
Israel by the media and
others this, in itself, does
not necessarily mean that
Israel's policy is flawed.
Surely we cannot permit
ABC News, Time Magazine,
Anthony Lewis, Carl
Rowan and a host of other
commentators to be the
final judges of Israeli policy
or Jewish morality.

Israel's friends must
psychologically and organ '°
izationally adjust to th
possibility that in the years
ahead it will be increasingly
difficult to maintain favor-
able public support for Is-
rael not because its policies
are wrong, but because of
the overwhelming pro-Arab
forces with their massive
wealth and increased
sophistication will have a
damaging effect.

r

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