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January 14, 1983 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-01-14

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, January 14, 1983 23

New York Times Misuses Rabbi Schindler's Criticism of Israel

(Continued from Page 1)
senter." He is a strong
supporter of Israel but
does not agree with some
of the policies of the pre-
sent Israeli government.
His view is that American
Jews support Israel as an
entire nation, and that
this support has always
transcended party and
policy and personality.
He believes that it is high
time for a reconsidera-
tion of matters affecting
the relationship between
the American Jewish
community and Israel.
In Denver, Schindler pre-
sented his views at great
length. Unfortunatly, he
was not sufficiently careful
in choosing the right words
in certain expressions.
Thus, some of his formula-
tions caused excitement
among Jews, including
some "dissenters" who be-
lieve in dissent with regard
to some of the policies of the
Israeli government but
stipulate that the dissent-
ing views be expressed only
within the community, and
not in public statements.
Some of Schindler's
statements opened a Pando-
ra's box when the New York
Times chose to publish some
of his expressions. The
paper did not cover his
speeth from Denver, but
from New York two days
after its delivery. It fea-
tured its report under a
top-of-a-page headline, "Re-
form Leader Cautions Jews
on Israeli Ties."
The points picked out by
the Times were that Schin-
dler said:
• "Many
American
Jews have been plugged
into Israel as if it were a
kidney machine, a scientific
marvel that keeps them
Jewishly alive."
• "For many American
Jews the state of Israel has
become the synagogue and
its Prime Minister their 're-
bbe.'
• American Jews do
themselves "irreparable
harm" when they make Is-
rael their "surrogate syna-
gogue."
• The opinions of many
American Jews on domestic
and international issues are
too often determined by the
standard, "is it good or bad
for Israel?"
The Times also re-
ported that Schindler
said of the Reagan Ad-
ministration that it is "de-
termined to multiply mis-
siles rather than to miti-
gate human misery," and
that he added: "The
weak, the poor, the help-
less cry for relief. Will we
heed them? Or will we
block our ears, so long as
we see President Reagan
smiling benignly and
speaking of support for
Israel?" Critics argued
that this remark was tact-
less and provides ammu-
nition for anti-Semites.
The New York Times
material is being syndi-
cated. The report — as car-
ried by the paper — thus
appeared also in newspap-
ers outside New York. It
caused excitement in many

RABBI SCHINDLER

Jewish circles.
-
Criticism of Schindler
was voiced strongly but not
publicly in line with the
tacit understanding among
Jewish leaders that dissent
in public can only be helpful
to anti-Jewish and anti-
Israel elements.
Schindler, who left on a
private visit to Israel after
delivering his address, sent
a cable from Jerusalem to
the Jewish Week in New
York indicating that the
quotations carried by the
Times were out of context.
He followed this up with an
article on the "Op-Ed" page
of the Times slightly mod-
ifying the part of his Denver
speech that provoked criti-
cism — and totally omitted
the criticized reference to
Reagan.
What did Schindler actu-
ally say in Denver that
evoked so much dissatisfac-
tion?
The full text of his
speech presents quite a
lengthy analysis of the re-
lationship of the Ameri-
can Jewish community to
Israel and of the commu-
nity's self-image. It
should be read before in-
dulging in criticism.
The New York Times re-
port concentrated on the
negative utterances by the
leadei of Reform Judaism.
But Schindler also stressed
that he considers Israel "the
possession, the treasure and
the burden of the Jewish
people." This, he argued,
gives him "the right and the
responsibility to speak out."

Schindler also stressed
other points. He em-
phasized that he does not
suggest "for one moment"
that American Jewry
should involve itself in op-
erational details of Israel's
domestic and foreign
policies. At the same time,
he expressed his belief that
it is the obligation of Ameri-
can Jewry to "make itself
clear about the great issues
which are fundamental
matters which will have
their impact on Israel's fu-
ture and also on the destiny
of the Jewish people."
Dissent, he declared,
"should never be equated
with disloyalty."
He strongly urged Ameri-
can Jewry "to recognize and
affirm its own identity, in-
tegrity and values while
deepening its solidarity
with Israel." Over the years,
he said, the American
Jewish community has
reached a "theoretical con-
sensus on how disagree-
ment with a particular Is-

raeli leader — or govern-
ment or policy — should be
expressed:
"Full and free debate
on any and all issues
within the community,
coupled with the obliga-
tion that we communi-
cate our views to the Is-
raelis through every
channel at our command
— from the Prime Minis-
ter on down. Strictures
were applied only to pub-
lic dissent lest it provide
ammunition to enemies
and dilutes Jewish effec-
tiveness in Washington
by reducing the weight
that a united front gives."
Schindler then asked:
How can the American
Jewish leadership — being
honest with Israeli govern-
ment leaders in personal
conversations — expect
them to believe what
American Jewish leaders
say in private when they
say very different things in
public?
"Inevitably, our private
protestations are over-
whelmed by our public proc-
lamations of unqualified
support," he stated.
American Jewry, he said,
must find new and better
channels through which
"the naked truth" can be
presented to the Israeli gov-
ernment and to its people.
As the largest Jewish com-
munity in the world,
American Jews must find a
way to communicate "more
openly and honestly" with
Israel, he insisted. "We do
not serve Israel's cause
when we censor, or sanitize,
or stifle our opinions," he
argued.
A major issue on which
Schindler was very out-
spoken in his Denver ad-
dress concerned the fu-
ture of Judea and
Samaria. He told the
gathering: "While I
understand and ap-
preciate Israel's histori-
cal claims to Judea and
Samaria, I believe it is
necessary for the sake of
peace and justice that
these claims be moder-
ated."
He then elaborated on
this view. The absorption of
these territories — "either
openly by fiat or covertly by
stages" — will not increase
Israel's security, Schindler
asserted. On the contrary, it
will sow the seeds of endless
conflict, will corrode the
Jewish character of the
state and thereby rupture
Jewish unity.
If Israel retains the West
Bank and its Arabs, it will
sooner or later produce an
Arab majority in Israel, he
argued. This will make Is-
rael, if not an Arab state,
then at best a bi-national
state with the balance of
power shifting precariously
between Moslem and Jew.
And if Israel tries to ex-
tricate itself from this di-
lemma by either repressing
the Arabs, or driving them
out, this too will lead to a
"disfiguring of Israel's es-
sential nature" and alienate

Wisdom without action is
like a tree without fruit.

substantial segments of
world Jewry. America's
support will also be lost, he
predicted.
"There is simply no
genteel, democratic way
to keep a restive popula-
tion exceeding one mil-
lion people in check," he
said. "Only force will re-
strain them. That is the

only way to keep a refrac-
tory population under
permanent rule — with
force and spies and polit-
ical power that comes
from the barrel of a gun.
Is this what we want?"
Schindler asked.
What is the alternative?
He suggested acknowledg-
ing the aspirations of the

Palestinians,
building
bridges to them, and reach-
ing an accommodation with
them. "I speak here of the
Palestinians, and not of the
PLO; of territorial com-
promise, and not of a state,"
he emphasized. He added
that "there is no certainty"
that this alternative will
succeed.

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