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July 30, 1982 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-07-30

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2 Friday, July 30, 1982


Purely Commentary

J'ACCUSE ... This Is A Time to Resurrect the Emile Zola Public
Outcry Protesting the Indecencies Which Have Become Common
in Piling Up Factual Distortions Maligning Israel and Jewry

By Philip

Public Opinion and the White House Must Never Submit to the Distortions That Harm Genuine Peace

Emile Zola resorted to it.
Public opinion must embrace it!
The White House, inundated with attacks on Israel and in the process also world
Jewry; the U.S. Congress, flooded with the libels leveled at a people determined never to
sacrifice its freedoms; the media, shamefully submissive to factual distortions; this is the
hour for all to declare that the traditional scapegoat will not be sacrificed to the fakes
which have polluted the thinking and sentiments of the free world.
There must be an end to the permissiveness with which untruths have embraced an
unsuspecting public during a conflict, the aim of which is both to assure Israel's security
and at the same time to restore freedom to its hitherto suffering neighbor, Lebanon.
It is not only the media that are guilty. Outrageous charges were leveled at Israel in
the first days of the Lebanese struggle. The enemies resorted to paid advertising
claiming that tens of thousands of people were murdered, hundreds of thousands made
homeless. They were all untrue, they were shameful exaggerations. But Israel's enemies
keep repeating these charges and the media have not corrected them!
Not the media alone: theologians and legislators became victims of these disgusting
libels, and they have fed them to the President of the United States, to Congress, to the
unsuspecting American people — to a few Jews who haven't evidenced the good sense to
demand adherence to truth.
Therefore the obligation to keep appealing to reason, continually to strive for an
emphasis on facts.
Let the truth be known so that the spreaders of libels should be exposed.

* * *

The Peaceniks in the Jewish Ranks

The Jewish attitude is the primary cause for concern.
Are the marchers in Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, undermining
Jewish unity? Are they harming the Jewish cause?
They are seeds for discord when treated as means of undermining friendly public
relations. The media give them prominence, in the same sense that from the many
occurrences in Lebanon the photographers portray Arafat always embracing a child,
giving him new credibility; or a portrayal as emphasis on alleged brutality; while the
good that has been accomplished, the demonstrative in support . of Israel is usually
ignored. In the instance of Jews demonstrating for peace there is absence of interpreta-
tion of the fact that peace was, is and will always be the aim for Israel and world Jewry. It
is when Jews indiscriminately co-sponsor advertisements filled with lies about
"brutalities" by Israelis that the act becomes not an aim for peace but the lending of
comfort to those who would destroy Israel and undermine Jewish sentiments.
The opposition to the Begin government cooperates in support of the war effort. But
there are the Labor Party supporters in the Diaspora who have blundered. Could it be
party allegiance resorted to in time of crisis? Where else lies the explanation for the
inclusion of names like Marie Syrkin and Arthur Hertzberg in the cravings for peace
which sound more like an anti-Begin bias.

* * *

A Platform for an Eye-Witness in Lebanon

Let it be judged to the credit of Jews who shout for peace. When they misinterpret,
distort, become parties to the hate-spreading, they must be confronted with the query:
were they witnesses to the charged atrocities? A platform must be given to an Israeli
army officer who responded to the question, "The war sowed death and destruction and
claimed the lives of innocent civilians in Lebanon. Was this necessary?", with a reply
which included the following clarifications:
I want to ask those who are so free in their criticism on this score: were
you here? Did you fight here? Did you see what went on here? You know,
there isn't any army anywhere in the world that acts with such care, with
such consideration for human life — there just isn't! In every briefing, every
talk, every exercise — and, later, at every stage of the actual operation, even
in the midst of battle, even when your finest men are falling in battle — all
our officers keep telling the men, and repeating over and over: Don't touch
civilians! They are not our enemies, and we don't want to kill them!
How cautiously we acted! In that killers' camp down there, at Ain
Hilweh, there were terrorist-killers who felt no compunction about holding
their own people hostage and murdering their children in cold blood. Five
times we sent delegations of local dignitaries from Sidon to ask them to
come out, or to give up their arms and none of them would be hurt. But they
refused even to listen. Instead, they shot at the dignitaries and drove them
back, shouting after them, "Victory or death!"
And still, we acted with caution. Still, we refrained from any act that
was liable to harm civilians or their property.
But when you are storming an objective, and you see your comrades
falling around you — some of the finest of our fighting men — what com-
mander would not, in such a situation, call for artillery or air support to
soften up the enemy positions?
The terrorists planned their defense at the expense of the civilian popu-
lation — deliberately, cold-bloodedly, with no thought at all to human life:
their bunkers were situated underneath apartment houses, so that women
and children would "defend" them. Who, then, has the right to tell a com-
manding officer whose men are dying to hold his fire and simply let the
carnage continue?! That would be a rank betrayal of the trust placed in us
by the mothers of these boys!
I want to tell you in total candor and sincerity: we suffered losses in this
war. We sacrificed wonderful young boys. We talk about them day and
night; they are never out of our minds. We talk about their families and
make plans to help them. As soon as I can make myself free, I will go and
visit every family that had a son from my unit who has fallen. I shall be at the
bedside of every one of our wounded. But I want people to know this:
If we had not shelled or bombed certain objectives, in cases where we
had no other choice, this war would have ended with incomparably more
casualties in the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces than the number we
actually incurred. A catastrophe would have befallen us. No commanding
officer can take upon himself so dreadful a responsibility!
Let our critics put themselves, for just a few moments, in our shoes —
and grapple with the harsh dilemma we had to face in the dark hours of
battle: to keep casualties among our soldiers down to a minimum — and, at
the same time, take the utmost care to keep the civilian population from

harm. When one fights a war, some things are unavoidable. One cannot kill
terrorists and destroy their installations without being there. One cannot
win without being ready to sacrifice. And, when the fighting takes place in
built-up and populated areas — because the terrorists have turned the
civilian population into hostages — one cannot fight without the civilian
population getting hurt.
But I can assure all our critics: We have not only gone to great lengths to
maintain a high moral standard in a harsh and difficult war; but, on many
occasions, we did a great deal more than what could have been expected of '-
us in the circumstances. I know that my conscience on this score = as at,
Israeli, as a Jew and as a soldier — is clear.
A soldier in the ranks may deserve more credibility than a shouter for peace in
Farmington, Mich., or Birmingham, Ala.; and while granting a platform to the Begin
critic, wherever he may be, he who battles for justice must have the same privilege. In
the current instance it is also the duty to refute the lies that have become widespread. The
air is being polluted with hatred based on lies, as the exposed advertisement by the
outrageous fake, an unidentified organization calling itself "Concerned Americans for
It is true that a writer even of the most stupid newspaper editorial based on hatred
for Menahem Begin must not be branded an anti-Semite and must be treated as a person
who differs. Nevertheless, there is the evidence that the events in Lebanon, the an-
tagonism for Begin, have become means of spreading the anti-Semitic virus. All the more
reason for exposing the lies. Out of truth will emerge the eventual return to sanity in all
Meanwhile, the libels, the hatreds spread, and the Big Lie has enveloped many
areas, has poisoned many minds.
Therefore the emphasis on a solidarity in Jewish ranks that lends comfort to those
engaged in the struggle to keep Israel alive. Differing views will never be denied. They
must not be the means for spreading the Big Lie which has for its aim the erasing of Israel
from the map that has gained glory from the Jewish state's existence. Therefore the duty
to expose the lies, to demand adherence to facts. Therefore the new J'Accuse!

* * *

A Decisive Time: Assuring Completeness of the Record

It's a great pity that instead of devoting space in recognition of the positive in the
Middle East and to Israel's achievements, instead of dedication to genuine aims for a
cooperative spirit that would elevate the standards of all peoples in the Middle East, it
still is necessary to appeal for knowledge of the facts so that the media should be
knowledgeable and their reports factual; so that neither Jew nor gentile should be misled
by fantasies and fakes.
Since Syria remains a major factor in the battle for justice and for Middle East
realism, let the following serve as a reminder:
Don't forget one thing: There is no Palestinian nation and there is no
Palestinian entity. There is only Syria. You are . an indivisible part of the
Syrian nation, and Palestine is an inseparable part of Syria. Therefore, we
the leaders of Syria are the true representatives of the Palestinian people.
This was told by Syrian President Hafez al-Assad to Yasir Arafat during a heated
discussion in April 1976 at the height of the Lebanese civil war. It was recorded in the
memoirs of Kamal Jumblatt, a Marxist Druze leader assassinated in 1977 by Syrian
With a time for decision approaching, there are increasing misrepresentations
leading to confusions, and those who would contribute to Israel's destruction have an ally
in Arafat. He says he will recognize Israel — it's a clever approach in the process of
collapse — and only the naive, if they are not anti-Israeli anyway, will take it
Arafat and PLO spell terrorism and terrorists must not be dealt with. Arafat and
PLO are not a state and should not be given that credibility. That's what Arafat aspires
for. Caution is needed on that score, and no one is to be misled into granting any
recognition whatever to the PLO and its spokesmen.
Meanwhile, for the record, to assure adherence to the basic facts in the issues which
must be resolved realistically, the following recorded facts provided by the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee must be made known widely, must be emphasized,
should not be ignored:
Although the armed terrorist presence of the PLO was forced upon
Lebanon, serious efforts were made to control that presence through le-
gally binding agreements, all of which were signed by the PLO. None of
those agreements, however, were implemented or respected by the PLO
which systematically undermined the authority of successive Lebanese
governments and created over time its own state within Lebanon.
The Cairo Agreement (1969) — Signed by Yasir Arafat and the head of
the Lebanese Army after PLO terrorist activities became intolerable to the
Lebanese, it provided for: No PLO shelling of Israeli targets from inside
Lebanon, no building or operating of military bases in southern Lebanon
by the PLO and no PLO military training in refugee camps.
Despite repeated efforts by the Lebanese Army to persuade the PLO to
adhere to this agreement, it steadfastly refused. Instead the PLO turned`._ _
southern Lebanon into a springboard for raids into Israel, setting up and
maintaining military bases and training facilities in refugee camps there.
In May 1973, the Lebanese Army decided to move against the bases in
the refugee camps. Terrorists from the Palestine Liberation Army in Syria
crossed the border and intervened on bahalf of the PLO but were repulsed.
The Arab League then promoted a ceasefire which led to the negotiation of
the Malkert Agreement. The PLO signed this new agreement which was
designed to supplement the Cairo Agreement.
The Malkert Agreement (1973) — The PLO would remove heavy
weapons from refugee camps, the PLO would stop all terrorist activities in
Lebanon and the PLO would cease using the - refugee camps for guerrilla
Again the PLO refused to implement this agreement. Its conflict with
the Lebanese Army was now replaced by conflict with the Christian
(Phalange) militia as the PLO increasingly involved itself in the communal
tensions, making a decisive contribution to the total breakdown of central
authority and the civil war of 1975-1976.
(Continued on Page 11)

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