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January 07, 1983 - Image 23

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-01-07

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


Friday, January 1, 1983 23

Anti-Semitism in Media Will Continue After Lebanon

(Continued from Page 22)
of hostility. The undis-
guised relish with which
the press embraced sen-
sationalism rather than
the facts shocked
Geraldo Rivera of ABC,
who charged U.S. media
with giving the assassi-
nated president-elect
Bashir Gemayel "a raw
deal." Rivera hinted at
the U.S. press fear of the
PLO when he asserted, "I
think the warlord image
of him was the creation of
people who assumed that
Yasir Arafat and the PLO
would remain in Leba-
non and be a force in that
country . .."
Rivera also noted the
"media's infatuation with
the PLO" and that the
correspondents were "quite
content . . . to sit in the
Commodore Hotel and have
much of their information
spoon-fed to them by the
While Rivera's explana-
tion meets some questions,
it does not grapple with
others. Israel's problems
with the press predate
Lebanon and will remain
after Lebanon has faded
from the front pages. The
media's fear of the PLO does
not fully explain its new

"loathing" of Israel.
That anti-Semitism fes-
ters, although hotly denied,
can hardly be doubted. No
one who has seen Hugh
Sidey of Time, winking and
smirking on the Agronsky
TV program, as he asks el-
liptically, "Is there a more
obnoxious world leader
than Menahem Begin?" will
fail to understand the mes-
sage in Time's columns.
- And when Carl Rowan,
who is easily exercised at
any reflection on blacks,
writes about "rich Jews"
in connection with the
AWACS debate, all pre-
tense of impartiality is
stripped away.
Part of the problem in
Lebanon maybe attributed
to the fact that most corre-
spondents and editors are
babes in the woods where
the complexities of the Mid-
dle East are concerned.
Their attention is skillfully
diverted from one war after
another launched by the
Arabs against Israel and,
instead, focused on "home-
less Arab refugees" who are
kept in perpetual home-
lessness by the Saudis and
by the PLO because of their
value as pawns.
Even Time has had to

admit the skill of
"propaganda-wise Palesti-
nians eager to please."
No writer has been as
frank as Irving Kristol who,
in discussing Secretary
Shultz' Trequent and pa-
tently sincere references" to
the "just claims" and
"legitimate rights" of the
Palestinian refugees, asks:
"Claims and rights to
what? . . . Just why Pales-
tinian refugees have such
a claim — as distinct, say,
from Vietnamese refu-
gees — is not at all obvi-
ous. After all, they are
refugees because they
lost two wars (in 1948 and
1967) which they and the
Arab states provoked."
Press standards for
nomenclature seem incred-
ibly esoteric. No hint of
criticism of the Saudis is
evident in U.S. media. They
are, in fact, invariably de-
scribed as "moderates."
Since they have financed
PLO terrorism for years,
this seems extraordinarily
convoluted for the unin-
itiated. Further, because
they have recycled their
petrodollars for years by
paying for PLO purchases of
Soviet arms in vast quan-
tities, it would seem that

British Jewry a 'House Divided'


British Jewry has little
cause for comfort as it re-
views 1982 and little
ground for rosy hopes about
the year ahead.
The Lebanese war and its
aftermath caused divisions
in the community concern-
ing Israel. This has been ac-
companied by a growing in-
tolerance between different
religious factions. Given the
highly centralized char-
acter of the community,
these divisions appear all
the more pronounced.
The Lebanese war struck
the Jews of Britain more de-
eply than other Diaspora
communities. The first shot
in the war was the one
which severely disabled the
Israeli Ambassador to Brit-
ain, Shlomo Argov, on the
pavement outside the Dor-
chester Hotel, June 3.
Argov, easily the most
forceful Israeli Ambas-
sador to have served in
London, had previously
played an incalculable
role in retaining the
community's confidence
in Israel at a time when
the Jewish state was
being turned into an in-
ternational pariah. To
Anglo-Jewry, as well as
to his country and family,
his tragic plight has been
a severe blow. He left a
gap which will be dif-
ficult to fill.
In the initial days of the
Israeli invasion of Lebanon,
Anglo-Jewry was preoccu-
pied by Argov's protracted
fight for life. Following his
transfer to a Jerusalem
hospital, the Lebanese
fighting began to totally
dominate Anglo-Jewry's at-

tention, as it did the British
radio, television and news-
The massacres in Sabra
and Shatila refugee camps
in Beirut and the storm of
dissent in Israel itself
caused unprecedented
strains among British Jews,
many of whom felt moved to
dissociate themselves from
Israel's action in Lebanon in
letters to national news-
papers. Some of the writers
felt moved not merely to
dissociate themselves from
Israel but to review their
allegiance to Judiasm.
Within the organized
community, there were bit-
ter arguments within
bodies such as the Board of
Deputies of British Jews, a
resurgence of support for
the Israeli Labor opposition,
and the emergence of a
British branch of the Peace
Now movement. Premier
Menahem Begin's highly
vocal supporters for once
had difficulty making
themselves heard.
During the High Holi-
days, the arguments even
spread to synagogue
pulpits. At the prestigi-
ous Golders Green
Synagogue in Northwest
London, Rabbi Jonathan
Sacks said Israeli com-
plicity in the Beirut mas-
sacres was tantamount to
"hilul hashem" (desecra-
tion of God's name).
Bickering also marred
the activities of Britain's
Zionist Federation, which
has long seemed more pre-
occupied with its own inter-
nal disputes than the fun-
damental issues facing
Jewry, let alone Zionist
Despite its claim to repre-

Soviet subversion is in part
financed by the Saudis with
the tacit approval of the
The press, when prodded
by -the State Department,
dutifully rebukes Israel for
using American weapons in
some circumstances; the use
of American dollars by the
Saudis and the PLO for
Soviet weapons is ignored.
The press has adopted a
"double standard" many
times since the June 6 inva-
sion of Lebanon but rarely
More flagrantly than dur-
ing the period subsequent to
the Beirut massacre.
Although the murder-
ers are acknowledged by
all sides as Lebanese
Christians revenging
themselves on Moslems
for previous massacres,
Menahem Begin and the
entire nation of Israel
were unhesitatingly in-
dicted by newsmen and
editorialists swept away
by a rare fervor for the
highest moral standards.
While the TV cameras re-
corded mindlessly the ex-
pulsion of the PLO froin Be-
irut for the "boob tubes" and
the rest of the media fol-
lowed uncritical suit, R.
Emmett Tyrell, Jr., who
writes a syndicated column,
was not awed: "The cameras

women and among the
playgrounds of children."

"There will be no peace
in the Middle East," said
Moyers, "until thE
Arabs stop asking their
young men to die for a .
That may be. But Ameri-
can newsmen and editors =
must ask themselves, "Why
should the integrity of the
U.S. press die — for a lie?'

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sent 50,000 people in Brit-
ain (a figure which has re-
mained curiously constant
over the years), it was un-
able-to elect all its represen-
tatives to the 30th World
Zionist Congress without
arbitration from Jerusalem.

In this gathering gloom,
the open nature of the
monthly debates in the
Board of Deputies were a
welcome and refreshing ex-
ception. It was there that
the community's strong
feelings about Lebanon
were expressed, under the
stimulating chairmanship
of the Board's president, the
Labor MP and lawyer, Gre-
vine Janner.
A different issue which
arose at the board in the
closing days of 1982 was
whether or not the board
should attend next Ap-
ril's 40th anniversary
memorial of the Warsaw
Ghetto uprising in the
Polish capital.
The Association of Polish
Jewish Ex-Servicemen
pleaded with the board
against participation in the
event. Dr. Simon Frisner,
its president, accused the
military regime in Warsaw
of overt anti-Semitic ten-
dencies and said Western
Jewish organizations
should have nothing to do
with it.
However, the majority
agreed with veteran com-
munal politician, Dr. S.
Levenberg, who pointed out
that there was still a tiny
Jewish community in Po-
land and that Western
Jewry must not abandon it.
This is a controversy which
is bound to continue into
1983 right up to the an-
niversary itself.

are not recording reality.
They are recording pretense
and gesture."
He added that the West-
ern media "has become a
tool of PLO propaganda."
Bill Moyers made much
the same point. "I was
struck by how it is possible
for the cameras to magnify a
lie." Few correspondents
pointed out, as Moyers did,
that the PLO made its "last
stand behind the skirts of


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