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July 09, 1982 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-07-09

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

2 Friday, July 9, 1982

Purely Commentary

The Multiplying Anxieties:
The Score Cards Vis-a-vis the
Casualties and the Exaggerations

A new chapter commences for the Middle East and in
Arab-Israel relations. A new approach to a hoped-for peace
may become possible. There may never be single-
mindedness, but with the most menacing threat to Israel's
existence greatly reduced, the opportunity grows for an
invitation to negotiating processes acceptable to all.
A month of warfare offered many lessons stemming
from multiple contrasts. There were many Jews in the
midst of the protesters against the war. There were many
non-Jews who applauded the processing procedures lead-
ing to the defeat of the PLO and the Syrians. The casualties
were heartrending. The civilian losses were deplorable.
When the complete story is related, the exaggerations will
be exposed, the truth will be recorded, guilt will be ascer-
tained and innuendos exposed.
Only the ultimate will count in the long run. Only the
attainment of peace and the acquisitions of long-delayed
amity will be historically commendable.

*

*

*

Because Israel is the victor in the current battles, the
accumulated reasons for initiating a war are forgotten in
many quarters — also among Jews. President Ronald Re-
agan did not overlook them.
Now it becomes necessary to look at the record, to
examine the issues all over again, to study the propaganda
techniques of the enemies of Israel as well as their saber-
rattling and the war-mongering which included the funds
derived by PLO from Saudi Arabia and other Arab sources,
the military supplies from the Soviet Union aimed at as-
sisting those seeking Israel's destruction.
The Jewish defenders of the PLO, like the head of the
Central Conference of American Rabbis who, crediting him
with the claim that he spoke for himself, even wants "un-
conditional" Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. Therefore,
these apologists for the terrorists must be reminded of the
build-up of armies and hate-maneuvered propaganda
aimed at destroying the Jewish state.
Also — it is necessary to take into consideration the
manner in which the machine aimed at Israel's destruction
has been maneuvered while building up the accusatory
that Israel is creating a genocide against Arab refugees. It
is in schools, financed with U.S. dollars provided for the UN
agencies, and in what have been touted as refugee camps,
that armies have been trained to seek a demise for Israel.
This is the manner in which UN installations were
used in Lebanon as armed camps in the anti-Israel prepara-
tions which were disclosed in the New York Times last
week. According to a ranking Israeli official who asked not
to be identified:
"UNRWA allowed schools to be used as ter-
rorist bases" and that in certain refugee camps
administered by the relief agency, shelters and
schools were used as huge arms depots. At the Ein
Khilwan camp near Sidon, for example: "Above
there was a UN flag, below a fortress. This places
all activity of UNRWA in question."
The institution near Sidon, which the army has
been showing to reporters, is called the Siblin
Technical and Teacher Training Institute. It con-
sists of modern, attractive buildings on a well-
manicured campus several miles from the coast.
A plaque shows that it was built in October 1963
and was funded by Sweden. "It is dedicated to the
training of young Palestinian refugees in the
fields of education and industry," the plaque
reads.
Not far from the inscription is a room contain-
ing crates of rockets and boxes of rifle ammuni-
tion.
"Across from the library is a dormitory strewn
with military uniforms apparently left by stu-
dents who fled in haste as the Israeli armored
columns advanced three weeks ago.

* * *

It should be recorded, in the best interests of documen-
tations, that the press in this country in the main per-
formed its duties admirably in news gathering about the
events in Lebanon which may prove historic. The New
York Times, in the collective form of reports from Beirut,
Jerusalem, Washington, Cairo and other centers will be a
necessity for the many books certain to be written about
Israel's task of interrupting the PLO-Syrian threats to her
existence. Use of the term "interrupting" is deliberate,
because it may be impossible presently totally to eradicate
the PLO. This will be possible when the Israeli offer of
autonomy to Arabs in the Judea and Samaria districts are
accepted, the offer fulfilled, the Arab-Israel partnership in
good relationships and neighborliness assured.
There is another aspect to the media angle in the pre-
sent conflict: that of the feature articles and commentaries.
Peter E. Goldman, director of Americans for a Safe Israel,
called attention to the discrepancies in a letter to the
NYTimes in which he pointed out:

`Judging Israel' in All Its Aspects, With an Urgency
That Prejudging Be Eliminated, That Truth Predominate,
That the Documentary Assert the Duty to Assure Arab-Israel Amity

Since the beginning of the Israeli action in
Lebanon on June 5, 22 articles on the subject have
appeared on th Op-Ed page (through June 24).
Two have supported Israel (William Safire and
Norman Podhoretz), three have been pollyannish
and illogical (Flora Lewis), while 17 have opposed
the Israeli action or otherwise attacked Israel or
Israeli policy. These include: Anthony Lewis (7),
Walid Khalidi, Edward Said, Nadav Safran,
James Reston (2), Stanley Hoffmann, Bernard Av-
ishai, Harold Saunders, Edward Tanner, Fouad
Ajami.
These figures should disturb those who value
balance and debate. It is, naturally, impossible to
answer all 20 articles in this letter, but there are
two themes running through most of them:
• Israel, by attacking the PLO in Lebanon has
made the chances for peace more remote, and is to
blame for the bloodshed that has resulted. Thus,
readers are exposed to multiple repetitions of the
classical line that the victim, by not dying peace-
ably but fighting back against the aggressor, is
the responsible party.
It is as if the writers have completely forgotten
that Syria and the PLO are at war with Israel, a
war which began many years ago wit the aim of
wiping Israel off the map. The so-called "moder-
ate"Arab states are also at war with Israel and no
less committed to its destruction. The latest fight-
ing is merely another round of this war, with Is
striking back at the aggressors.
Any other nation would be universally cheered
and urged on to complete victory. But a double
standard is applied to Israel, led by Anthony
Lewis's emotional diatribes, divorced from Mid-
dle East realty. To be consistent, the anti-invasion
columnists should condemn the Normandy inva-
sion which resulted in huge loss of life.
• The second theme pervading these articles is
that the creation of a Palestinian state on the West
Bank (Judea and Samaria) is the key to peace and
harmony in the region. Nonsense!
This facile argument ignores the underlying
reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict: the Arab-
Moslem world will not permit the existence of a
non-Arab, non -Moslem state or autonomous
region in the area from the Mediterranean Sea to
the Persian Gulf.
Not only Jews, but Kurds and Christians in
Lebanon and elsewhere are victims of this doc-
trine. There rarely passes a week without a PLO
leader declaring that a Palestinian mini-state in
the West Bank would be only the first step toward
the destruction of Israel.
Goldman's analyses needed to be indicated, especially
in an expose of the type of essays which elevated Anthony
Lewis to a role of chief defender of the enemies of Israel. It
would be sheer folly to deny that Lewis often deals with
truth, but in the combination of his conclusions and his
derivations of the ugliest in treating Israel he is destruct-
ive, he underlines realities and the totality of his writings
has been half-truth.
With added emphasis on the need to present all sides of
the issue, not to ignore the condemnations of Israel, a plat-
form must be given the NYTimes for one of its important
editorials in which the newspaper advises proper treat-
ment of Israel, and at the same time makes damaging
accusations. Let both facets be treated equally in giving a
platform to the editorial, "Judging Israel," from the
NYTimes of July 1:
Israel is, or should be morally "divverent" from
other nations. So say the critics of its pre-emptive
war against the PLO in Lebanon, in which un-
counted civilians have died. Because Israel was
born of the world's revulsion over Hitler's
genocide, the critics note, they hold it to a higher
code, even in war. Some of these critics are Is-
raelis, struggling to show how morally different
they are from their Arab enemies. Are the critics
right?
Their case is initially compelling because of the
way the war unfolded. The Begin government,
having reneged on its promises of "full au-
tonomy" for Palestinians in the West Bank and
Gaza, lied at the start when it said it wanted only a
25-mile cordon sanitaire. Subsequently, it has
probably lied about, or at least suppressed, the
civilian casualties it has caused.
Throughout it has been less than honest — cer-
tainly unwise — in confusing the PLO with all
Palestinian aspirations. And it has seemed obvi-
ous almost from the start that the slaughter in
Lebanon was clearly disproportionate to any im-
mediate PLO threat.
But even after grating all that, there is an-
other side. Critics of the civilian bloodshed in
Lebanon now fail to remember the much-greater

By Philip
Slomovitz

slaughter of civilians by which the PLO and Syria
took over the country. But remaining indifferent
until the Israeli intervention, the world has
erected a cynical double standard.
That does not excuse Israel from the obligation
to relate ends to means, but it surely explains why
most Israelis now scorn the opinion of mankind. If -
the world wishes to counsel the Israelis, let alone
give them moral lectures on why they must
adhere to a higher standard, then let the judging
be fair:
Why is it wrong for Israel to threaten tens o
thousands in West Beirut to get at a few thousand---
remaining PLO fighters — but not wrong for those
fighters to hide in civilian neighborhoods, using
innocent people as hostages? As The Economist
reported while criticizing Israel's assault on Si-
don: "Civilians trying to escape from the camp
were shot, apparently by the guerrillas . . . Pales-
tinian prisoners the Israelis sent in to plead for
the civilians to be freed are also said to have been
shot."
Why is it wrong for Israel to fight to restore
once-friendly Christian power in Lebanon — but
not wrong for the PLC and Syria, with Arab
League sanction, brutally to have destroyed that
power?
Why was it wrong of Israel to let the PLO grow
strong enough to make all of Lebanon its base —
but not wrong for Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia
to support that buildup on someone else's terri-
tory and at Israel's expense?
Why is it wrong, woefully wrong, for Israel to
ignore the aspirations of Palestinians who lost
their roots to Zionism — but not wrong for other
Arab nations to exploit the dispersed refugees
while refusing for decades to partition the old
Palestine?
Why, in short, should Israel be held to higher
stanc Ards of moral conduct when most Arab
states still deny it even the lowest attributes of
nationhood: safe borders and legitimacy? Why
should Israelis believe that what the PLO was
allowed to do to Lebanon was not also its program
for Israel?
Such brutal warfare requires more justification
than Israel has so far provided. It needs to answer
some hard questions. Even a less-embattled na-
tion would feel obliged to follow so costly a
triumph with a plausible, generous program for
co-existence. Nonetheless, by fair standards, if it
will finally accept the responsibility of its might,
Israel deserves understanding for its plight.
"Lying," becomes treacherous in any discussion,
yet there are exaggerations which assume that aspect in
human and political relations.
The truth will surely emerge out of the morass of a
conflict that is so enormous that it involves survival. Be-
cause there is the urgency of survival, judging Israel is the
obligation to be fair and honorable. The NYTimes con-
cludes in decency and in a call for justice.
This is what it is all about: an obligation to justice.
There must be an approach to a solution of the so-called
Palestinian problem v ■ Thich must end in neighborliness.
Indeed, there may be an approach to decency out of the
horror that has been pinned on Lebanon. Judging Israel
and Lebanon must be with an elimination of falsified pre-
judging. That's the duty of the hour.

An Interesting Sabbath:
Inspiring Travel to Israel

Emergency- appeals to aid Israel's recovery from the
economic pressures resulting from a brutal conflict is not
only anticipated. Israel Bond sales are already in progress.
On the philanthropic scale, a major campaign is cer-
tain to be launched by the United Jewish Appeal, the chief
beneficiary of the Detroit Allied Jewish Campaign. (--
Equally important is the touring industry, and i
Israel. Tourist Sabbath scheduled on a national observance
basis for this weekend should be judged appreciatively.
The Lebanese warfare, like the previous conflicts in
which Israel was engaged, did not disrupt Israel-Diaspora
relations. There was, and there continues to be, a signific-
ant element, in non-Jewish.as well as the Jewish ranks,
deeply interested in Israel.
Now there is an even greater need for such intimacy
with the land and people of Israel. History beckons to the
land at all times, and the importance of the events sur-
rounding Israel fascinates and inspires all who have a
desire to trace events of the past, to link them with the
present, to see for themselves how an embattled nation
flourishes and creates significantly, scientifically, cultur-
ally, socially, for the benefit of mankind.
It's a tribute to a people and to its friends that war is
not predominant: that the aim is for peace and humanism,
that tourists are invited to share in the glory of creativity.

c

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