2 Friday, July 16, 1982
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
There Is a Plus to the Unity Required in the Current
Problems Affecting the Middle East . . . A Serious Future
Must Be Dealt With in Relation to the Arab Problems
A Time for Decisions — and Also for Patience
Redemption called for protection, and the rebirth of Jewish statehood carried with it
an entire people's obligation to stand firm as a defender of the sovereignty of a young
state by constantly battling for the right to be master of its own destiny.
Israel emerged strong, able to win wars. That did not obviate dangers. Therefore the
newest of the several operations which required the invasion of a neigboring state where
the chief army of the Jewish state was building up forces and resources aimed at Israel's
In the process, there were casualties, sufferings resulting from warfare, which
creates deplorable situations.
Perhaps it was to be expected that accusations resulting from such a situation should
assume an anti-Semitic aspect. The exaggerations are even more deplorable than the
casualties, because instead of recognizaing the urgency of a sad situation and of assisting
the Israeli conquerors in providing the aid being given primarily by Israeli and Jewish
groups, the emphasis was on extending prejudices.
Corrections are already being made. The spreading lies are being refuted. They come
from many quarters. Charlotte Jacobson, who heads the American Section of the World
Zionist Organization, upon her return from a tour of the Lebanese areas affected by the
war, presented facts demolishing the libelous reports which, unfortunately, gained
notoriety via the media. A similar, very effective statement based on his experiences and
findings while in Lebanon was presented, by way of the New York Times, by Cal Thomas,
vice president for communications, the Moral Majority, Lynchburg, Va.:
I have just returned from a week in Israel and Lebanon that started out to
be a . vacation but because of rapidly developing events turned into a fact-
finding trip at the request of the Israeli government. I am concerned about
some of the reaction to Israel's military operation in the region.
I visited the Beaufort Castle north of Metulla, which the PLO had used to
shell Israeli civilians in northern Israel. I also drove up the coastal highway
in the company of an Israeli lieutenant colonel and visited the cities of Tyre
In Sidon, I saw hundreds of cases of ammunition, weapons and mortar
shells in the basements of churches and hospitals and in underground gar-
ages of apartment buildings. These were deliberately placed in areas of high
civilian concentration by the PLO and their Communist suppliers (boxes
were clearly marked with the names of the "peace-loving" nations that
provided them — the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, People's Republic of
The PLO knew there would be civilian casualties and consequent pres-
sure on Israel should the Israelis launch an attack against them.
The reports of widespread destruelion and indiscriminate bombing are
false. There is a narrow strip of destruction along the highway which, with
the possible exception of Beirut, is confined to areas of PLO concentration
and/or ammunition storage areas. Elsewhere, life goes on as best as possible,
given the conditions of the past decade.
At least the Israelis warned citizens they were coming in, which is more
than the PLO did for innocent Israelis it has murdered over - the years.
Israel has conducted an apparently successful cancer operation in an
attempt to eradicate the PLO disease, which has infected the world with
terrorism. Instead of criticizing the surgeon, we ought to be supporting Israel
in the operation. Because of what Israel has done, we have a better chance of
restoring peace and stability to the Middle East than we have had in years.
Those who have been silent or refused to twist arms to end the terrorism
spawned by the Sovet-backed PLO should have the decency to do the same,
now that Israel has justifiably sought to bring an end to the matter. For such
persons to speak against Israel now is to risk being labled a hypocrite.
Because the author represents the Moral Majority should not be cause for prejudicial
treatment of this statement. Facts are facts, and fiction should not be respected. What has
happened in the recent weeks is that the media gave too much credence to fiction. The
advertisements by anti-Israel forces in which truth was distorted, claims of barbarism
leveled at Israelis and unnecessary panic created, keep being circulated as a basis for
Unfortunately, such judgments have influenced an element in Jewish ranks.
Demonstrations have been mobilized demanding Israel withdraw her troops im-
mediately from Lebanon.
Especially the youth, the Israelis who have joined in such propaganda in this country
as well as on their home ground, must be asked whether they would not abandon the
accomplishments in Lebanon by the Israeli forces and permit the PLO to return to their
original settings on the border of the Jewish state.
The agonies cannot be ignored, but the effort, in which Israel now takes the lead to
create a wholesome atmosphere for the Lebanese, must be pursued.
There can be no ignoring, however, of the prospects for future agonies. The PLO's
ousting from the immediacy of Israel is not ending that menace. They are transferring
elsewhere. Egypt invites them, Syria may tolerate them, Jordan's King Hussein utters
lip service in any direction that propagates harm to Israel. What about the future?
Consideration of the menacing situation is not in the spirit of Nahum Goldmann and
Philip Klutznick. It is in the demanded realism, and the pragmatic spells danger until
proper solutions will be arrived at.
This means, at the outset, pursuance a proper approaches towards autonomy for
Arabs on the Jordanian border. That which is touted as the Palestinian issue cannot be
ignored. Perhaps it will be claimed authoritatively that it is not being ignored. In that
event, there must be greater pressure in that direction.
What is happenings is something so challenging — let it be called threatening, if
wished — that it staggers the imagination of the loyalists in Zionist ranks and in
concerned Jewish communities.
Here is a matter chiefly exemplary:
A prominent Israeli, who was an official in the Israel Prime Minister's office from
1969 to 1980, and who holds an important position in Tel Aviv University, believes
Arafat should be dealt with diplomatically as Anwar Sadat was. Joseph Alpher, who is
presently executive editor at Tel Aviv University's Center for Strategic Studies, proposes
that the PLO leader be treated with diplomatic grace. He expresses his views in the
current issue of Foreign Affairs in an essay entitled "Why Begin Should Invite Arafat to
Jerusalem." He introduces his proposal with this direct statement:
Why, then, should Israel unilaterally recognize the PLO? For a number of
sound tactical reasons which, taken together, only enhance Israel's strategy
of ensuring its own security within safe borders. Categorizing these reasons
somewhat arbitrarily for the sake of simplicity, the first may be termed
image-building — enhancing Israel's image in its own eyes, and in the eyes of
the world. The second may be defined under the catch-all heading of
Realpolitik. And the third may be understood as a broader political effort to
improve Israel's tactical position vis-a-vis the Arab world and the West.
Would this have been written if there had not been the present Lebanese conflict, or
at the end of such a conflict? This is an important question to be posed, since the proposal
was composed prior to the current military activities and the essay was in print when the
current issue of Foreign Affairs reached its readers.
It is important therefore to quote Joseph Alpher's conclusions:
An Israeli leadership which sincerely believes it can forever prevent the
United States from moving toward contact with the PLO or from forcing a
Palestine solution upon Israel, will be loath to adopt the tactic proposed
here. Moreover, the Israeli public as a whole, and Prime Minister Begin's
political supporters in particular, have long been conditioned to an attitu
of resolute rejection regarding the PLO; this is a difficult stumbling block f
any leader to overcome. But perhaps the main rationale for such a leader-
ship's position is the feeling that by agreeing to meet the PLO head-on,
whether conditionally or unconditionally, Israel would somehow be display-
ing weakness, and would thus be exposing its flanks to an international
movement to force concessions upon it — a fear, in effect, that the world
would exploit a momentary lapse on Israel's part and some dubious
phraseology on the PLO's part, in order to "ram the PLO down Israel's
At the heart of this fear is the Israeli perception that recognition of the
PLO is a major concession on Israel's part — and concessions, in certain
contexts, are indeed signs of weakness. That is why it is important for Israel
to present — to itself and to the world at large — its change of position
regarding the PLO not as a strategic retreat, but rather as a new, stronger
tactic. Not as a move "toward" the PLO, but as a dynamic initiative intended
to upset Arab equilibrium and recover points for Israel. Not as a humiliating
reversal of policy, but as a keen recognition that the facts of life have over-
taken ideology, politics and international resolutions together, and that only
quick, far-reaching action will pull success out of stalemate .
So it could be with Israel and an innitiative regarding the PLO: unqual-
ified Israeli recognition of the PLO could, if executed properly and pre-
negotiated with the United States and the Arabs for all it is worth, serve as a
major means for Israel to realize its strategic aims in the Middle East.
Pro-Arab, anti-Israeli, even anti-Semitic ranks could facilitate every conceivable
proposal advanced towards solving the Middle East issues. But, in spite of the proposition
advanced in Foreign Affairs there is the compulsion always to return to a basic fact: every
peace proposal continues to be one-sided. Jews propose it, friends of Israel advance it,
Arabs and their associates ignore it.
Indeed, where are the Arabs who are willing to go along toward a plan for peace?
There is still the threat to destroy Israel, to deny the Jewish state its sovereignty, to
foment trouble, to undermine the good that was tilled into the soil of the embattled
This will not absolve Israelis from dealing seriously with what is called the Palesti-
nian problem. The road towards such efforts will remain strewn with obstacles for a long
time. This is apprarent.
And it is this apparency which creates the need for Jewish unity in Israel's defense.
The cementing of such loyalty to the need to protect Israel, especially in the present very
tense period in history, is something so heartening that there is cause for gratitude for
the sincerity of purpose evidenced in Jewish ranks.
The Documentations Calling for Israel's Destruction and
Failure to Credit Israel and Jewry for Humanitarian Aims
Two special aspects of the current crisis demand consideration and serve to express
condemnation for injustices to Israel.
One is the documentation, captured by the Israelis in the process of pursuing hte
PLO into their fortified hospice in Beirut. They indicate the extent of the long-time
planning for the annihilation of the Jewish state. They should serve as an admonition to
the Peace Now and New Jewish Agenda movements of the danger which Israel was
compelled to deal with.
The other, as already indicated in these columns, is the failure to credit Israel with
serious aims to aid the Lebanese sufferers from the war, and the role played in these tasks
by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. These two letters published in
the NYTimes speak for themselves:
In its July 1 ad on the Op-Ed page ("Who's Listening to the People of
Lebanon?") the Mobil Corp. tries to couch appeasement of Arab oil interests
in humanitarian terms. It won't wash. The implied attack on Israel is hypoc-
Where was Mobil when over 100,000 civilians were killed in Lebanon in
the 1970s because of the Syrian and PLO takeover of Lebanon? Where was
Mobil when Syrian forces murdered 10,000-15,000 civilians in the city of
Hamma in January? Where was Mobil when the PLO murdered innocents
around the world for years?
Why does Mobil only now cry out for the people of Lebanon? The ad cites
a figure of 35,000 killed or wounded in the conflict; it neglects to mention that
the source for that figure was none other than Yasir Arafat's brother
(news story June 27).
Indeed, there has been tragic loss of life on all sides, but, according
Israeli sources, nowhere near the numbers cited in the ad. Most importantly,
those deaths could have been avoided had the Western world long ago stood
up to the PLO terrorists.
Kenneth J. Bialkin
National Chairman, Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith
* * *
We note with astonishment the omission of the American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee (JDC) — the overseas relief arm of the American
Jewish community — and the Interfaith Hunger Appeal from the list of
voluntary'agencies active in Lebanon, which appeared in the Mobil ad July
1. The Interfaith Hunger Appeal is sponsored by Catholic Relief Services, the
Church World Service (Protestant) and the JDC.
Nathan T. Freedman
Director, Public Information, Joint Distribution Committee