2 Friday, August 6, 1982
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS,
The Yellow Badge .. .
Always Worn With Pride
Yellow Badge in the Grasp of Islamic Tyranny and the
Traditional Jewish Response of Retaining Pride . . .
Strength in Jewish Unity Despite Some Maliciousness
groups like the New Jewish Agenda, the Americans for
Progressive Israel - Hashomer Hatzair and all their asso-
ciates, et. al. They have a right to their views, and criticism
of Israel should not be stifled. When, however, there is the
urgency to have Jewish unity to avert calamity for Israel,
criticism must be linked with facts and truths and should
not be polluted with distortions.
The matter of the PLO and the Congressional delega-
tion headed by a long-time defender and collaborator with
the PLO, Congressman Paul McCloskey of California, is an
example to be noted. Shimon Peres, leader of the opposition
to the Menahem Begin government of Israel, was among
the most outspoken who repudiated that PLO ploy and
condemned it. Yet there are members of the Peres party
who have lent their names to advertisements assailing
Israel and blowing up in vast proportions blame for alleged
atrocities and brutalities pinned on Israel.
A typical example of unwise journalism which merits a
harsher term is a front-page article in Detroit's afternoon
newspaper which now bids for morning circulation. The
piece was bylined by a very popular reporter. The headline
over that story: "Some Jews Split Over Israeli War." The
content: a platform for the New Jewish Agenda spokesman
and a reply by a rabbi from the Lubavitch camp. _
All well and good: New Jewish Agenda has a perfect
right to its criticisms, the Lubavitch Rabbi was emphatic in
his very impressive defense of the Begin government and
policies. What about the community at large? Why did the
popular Detroit News reporter who always covers the Arab
attitudes very thoroughly fail to take into account that
during that very week a well-publicized declaration for
Jewish unity was issued by what -i-nay be judged as the
totality of the active Metropolitan Detroit Jewish commu-
This has to be said, and the guilty just alluded to can
-not expect to have their actions condoned. On the contrary,
there is cause for. resentment that they should _inspire
anger over their actions instead of encouraging the amity
so vitally needed in all American communities, and espe-
cially here, where an accord on the friendliest and most
neighborly basis is urgently needed with the Arab commu-
nity that outnumbers the Jewish by two, possibly three to
In its issue of July 26, the Detroit Free Press had a
four-column cartoon showing Khomeini displaying a Yel-
low Badge. The accompanying message from him was:
From now on Jewish children will wear yellow . . ."
Judging by calls to this newspaper from its readers,
there must have been considerable resentment over the
cartoon and its message. The aroused anger became evi-
dent the next day when the Free Press, on its July 27
editorial page, carried this correcton:
The Jack Ohman cartoon in the Tuesday Free
Press, which depicted the Ayatollah Khomeini is-
suing a Nazi-like order to Jews in Iran to wear
yellow armbands, was based on a wire-service
report, broadcast on radio in Detroit, that has
subsequently proved to be in error. That report
said Iran had ordered Jewish children to wear
yellow suits at school.
The State Department's Iran desk says it had
heard of the report, but that the information on
which it was based was unreliable. The Free
Press regrets giving currency to a report that was
based on inaccurate information.
This is an interesting occurrence. Jews were compelled
to wear the Yellow Badge to distinguish them from their
persecutors in the Middle Ages. That badge, intended as
insult, was re-introduced by the Nazis. That's when Israel
Zangwill wrote a famous essay entitled "The Yellow Badge:
Wear It With Pride."
This admonition was echoed in Jewish quarters. It was
not accepted as a mark of shame. It was accepted with
dignity, with the implied admonition to hate-mongerers
that the People Israel lives, that it has survived persecution
in the past and will survive them if they recur.
Cartoonist and editorial annotator could have —
should have — indicated that Khomeini was reviving one of
the most bigoted medieval practices. But an historical
occurrence, no matter how shameful its aim, cannot be
expunged. It only needs the emphasis that in a civilized
environment it must never recur.
As a reminder of an historic experience there really
* * *
was no cause for anger over the Free Press' reminder via a
cartoon of what had happened in the past. History is not
erased and cannot be forgotten. On the contrary, in the How News Is Gathered
retention of Jewish strength, there is power in remember- and the Discrepancies
ing. Therefore, the current slogan, against recurring
The analyses are conducted painfully, and they are
Nazism, the threat of PLOism, every instance of hatred: pursued under compulsion, so that there should not be a
poisoning of the atmosphere with hate-provoking condem-
nations of Israel and the Jewish people.
Of general interest is the description of the manner in
Growth of Anti-Semitism
which news is gathered at the front. A daily column in the
It is war without end — on many fronts.
Now there is the increasing concern over the spread of New York Times, "Israelis in Lebanon," contained this
piece about the reports from Beirut by its correspondent
Thomas L. Friedman:
Synagogues have been vandalized in several countries.
BEIRUT, Lebanon — A famous columnist once
Anti-Semitic demonstrations in Italy caused shame
observed that, if he was asked to invent a jour-
among those who remember that when the Nazis took con-
nalism school, it would be a very simple affair. It
trol of the land as Mussolini collaborators they met with
would consist of a classroom with a large door in
popular resentment and non-cooperation.
front. Every hour a man would come in and say
Now it is Greece where, under Communist domination,
"no comment" and the class would have to write a
Jews are targets of hatred.
story about it.
The anti-Semitic virus is much more in evidence in this
If such a classroom exists in the real world then
country than it has been for some years.
it is the Israeli siege of west Beirut, where those
These are truths not to be ignored. The vigilant are
who know what is happening, like the special
again being called into action.
American envoy, Philip C. Habib, never speak
* * *
with reporters and those who don't know speak
with them all day long. The reporters do not re-
Peace With Compensations, Penalties,
port facts. They sift through a pile of no-
Realism, Accompanying Frustration
comments, misinformation, half-truths and out-
right lies that accumulate every 24 hours.
Out of the muddied situations created by the conflict in
On Sunday, a reporter spent 90 minutes waiting
Lebanon must, surely, if belatedly, emerge a sense of clar-
to speak with a prominent Lebanese politician
ity. It can't be all hatred and suspicion, misunderstanding
supposedly intimately involved in the negotia-
tions. When the reporter was finally ushered into
Proof of the activities of an expensive and vitriolic
the great oracle's office, the first thing he said
anti-Israel Arab-financed lobby may enlighten some of the
was: "I don't know anything. Tell me, what is your
liberals who have given comfort to Israel's enemies. Per-
newspaper saying from Washington?"
haps this is too much to expect.
Being a reporter here is like being in a very dark
There is a constant search for Israeli blunders as cause
tunnel, groping for the light at the end with the aid
for attack on the Jewish state. Some complaints are legiti-
of a single candle. You see a light and chase it,
mate. Perhaps censorship should be eased. That's for Israel
only to find that it is someone else, also holding a
to decide, in its judgment of the bigotries that have accumu-
candle and also looking for the light at the end of
lated in the manner in which Israel's role is being treated.
Casualties are tragedies. They affect Israel as Well.
Especially on the American scene, the time has come
The Lebanese losses are deplorable and where there are for judging the news, for taking into account some of the
exaggerations there should never be silence in exposing the comforters of the enemies of Israel.
aims to undermine Israel's credibility.
George F. Will had something to say about it in a
There remains, in greater evidence than ever, the special column, "Mideast Truth and Falsehood" in News-
exaggerated Jewish protest against Israel at war, a condi- week:
tion that has been interpreted as giving legitimacy to the
Lies are weapons and are today the PLO's most
PLO. This is the most shocking of all the negative fa ctors in
effective weapons. Newspapers that are fastidi-
a conflicted atmosphere.
ous about the truthfulness of -grocery ads print
To which must be added another repetitive element:
anti-Israel ads filled with patent lies about
that of the right to differ and never to interfere with free-
Israeli-caused casualties. The New York Times
dom of expression.
ran a particularly Goebbels-like ad signed by,
This relates to the Jewish Defense League and to
among others, Noam Chomsky, who has collabo-
rated with a French author who claims the
Holocaust never happened.
Lebanon is (in Hardy's words about Leipzig
battlefield) "a miles-wide pant of pain." It has
been since the PLO and Syrians invaded. It is
today because - the PLO is hiding behind the
babies that Arafat is kissing for U.S. television
It is hard to prove but
easy to believe that Israel,
by aiding Lebanese Chris-
tians since 1975, has saved
more civilian lives than
have been lost in the war.
But a television screen
easy to fill. A gaggle of I
nians did it for a year,
while behind the cameras
Teheran went about its
business. Television in war
is bound to suggest more
than has occurred. Fur-
thermore, had there been
television at Antietam on
America's bloodiest day
(Sept. 17, 1862), this would be two nations. Ameri-
cans then lived closer to the jagged edges of life,
but even they might have preferred disunion to
the price of union, had they seen the price, in
color, in their homes in the evening.
If "wired democracies" are not to be disarmed
by revulsion about televised wars, they must take
this truth unperfumed: wars kill people; that is an
immediate purpose of waging war.
Many persons who preen themselves on their
hatred of war do not hate it enough. They cannot:
they know so little about it. They show this when
they judge a military operation like Israel's unjust
simply because it involves injustices. War is not
chess or surgery. It is a leap into a realm of
chance, desperation and improvisation. Confu-
sion, unintended effects, undesired but unavoid-
able collateral effects — all these are expectable.
It is morally immature to denounce a war be-
cause it has the general attributes of war.
Noam Chomsky is not along among those who give
comfort to Israel's enemies. Even Nobel Prize winners who
are expected to exercise good judgment and fairness join
What about Israel Labor Party members and their
supporters in the U.S., some having lent their names to
advertisements which inspire animus? Why would Marie
Syrkin be in such ranks, at a time when the party she
supports in Israel, the Labor Alignment, emerges with
embarrassment from such encouragement to Israel's
In the media there are frequent puzzles, .as in the
attempt by Joseph Kraft to pose as the diplomat. Through
the years the State Department and White House kept
denying there was pressure on Israel. Joseph Kraft comes
to judgment with contentions that Jewry at last is split —
"hallelujah" one hears him proclaim—and he advocates
pressure — he calls for pressure on all, but mainly means
Israel. Protect us from such Jewish friends!
* * *
An End to the Junkets
Which Muddy Human Issues?
Perhaps Congressman Paul McCloskey, who has a re-
cord of fraternization with the PLO, and therefore harm to
Israel, has rendered a service to this country with his
search for sensationalizing. It did not help his PLO cause
but led to the placing on the record of the true role of the
aspirers to Israel's destruction. Now there is a sense of
suspicion of any and all Congressional junkets, and if the
"free trip" policy can be abandoned it will be to the benefit
of this country.
Meanwhile, the PLO has attained what it did not seek.
Instead of winning the credibility it sought, it is now in its
true light among Americans who seek the truth.
George E. Will, in his Newsweek column "Mideast
Truth and Falsehood," again rose above the cringing a
PLO submissiveness with his statement:
In the current crisis, PLO intransigence has
grown proportionally with U.S. involvement, and
now the United States is protecting the PLO. With
words treated as though they are Cheerios, all
alike, the U.S. aim has been described as evacua-
tion, disengagement, peacemaking. The PLO had
the capacity to injure but not destroy Israel, so if
at the cost of military defeat it receives enhanced
political status from the United States, it comes
Israel has almost undone the mischievous work
of the 1974 Rabat conference, which anointed the
PLO the sole legitimate representative of Palesti-
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