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September 17, 1982 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-09-17

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

46 Friday, September 17, 1982

Jewish Leaders Protest
Pope's Meeting With Arafat

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NEW YORK (JTA) —
Jewish leaders protested
vehemently this week that
the Pope met with PLO
chief Yasir Arafat. They
pointed out that such a
meeting could only serve to
legitimize Arafat and his
organization.
In a cable to the Vatican,
Julius Berman, chairman of
the Conference of
Presidents of Major Ameri-
can Jewish Organizations,
said "we are profoundly dis-
tressed" that the Pope
would grant an audience to
Arafat. Branding the PLO

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leader and the PLO "the
slaughterer of hundreds of
Israeli children, mothers
and old people," Berman,
addressing the Pope di-
rectly, stated:
"We are particularly dis-
mayed. that you, who have
spoken so eloquently of the
world's craving for peace,
should dignify this cold
blooded murderer by meet-
ing with him."
Berman declared that
Arafat "does not deserve
to be received by the
leader of the Roman
Catholic Church . . . If
you grant Arafat an
interview the world will
interpret it in only one
way: that you regard his
views as worthy of dis-
cussion, his leadership of
the Palestinian Arabs
legitimate, his preten-
tions to statesmanship
valid, his terrorist acts
forgiven.
"Such a step, we strongly
believe, would be a crushing
blow to the cause of world
peace to which you have de-
voted yourself. For these
reasons we urge you not to
receive Yasir Arafat." .
Rabbi Walter
Wurzburger, president of
the Synagogue Council of
America, the umbrella
organization for Reform, Or-
thodox and Conservative
congregational groups, sent
a letter of protest to Ar-
chbishop John Roach,
president of the United
States Catholic Bishops. He
wrote:
"We are appalled that by
the very act of receiving the
chairman of the PLO, the
Pontiff will confer the man-
tle of legitimacy upon a ter-
rorist organization which
has ruthlessly massacred
civilians including women
and children in Lebanon, Is-
rael and in many parts of
the world."
Kenneth Bialkin, na-
tional chairman of the
Anti-Defamation League
of Bnai Brith, said: "For
Arafat, the encounter
with the Pope is a gift of
recognition that murder,
practiced often and in-
discriminately, is not
without its reward. We
call upon the Pope to re-
consider this gratuitous
affront to all who abhor
terrorism."
The American Jewish
Committee's "deep distress"
over the Pope meeting
Arafat was expressed in a
cable from AJCommittee
president Maynard Wish-
ner to Archbishop Agostino
Casaroli of the Vatican
Secretariat of State. "It is
incomprehensible that the
Holy Father who was nearly
murdered by a terrorist
fanatic trained by the PLO
in Beirut would reward the
terrorists by giving them
implied sanction through
the privilege of an audience
in Vatican City," he said.
Wishner recalled that the
Pope himself "decried ter-
rorists in his Feb. 18 ad-
dress to the Christian
Democratic World Union,
saying 'Terrorism is the an-
(Continued on Page 47)

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