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April 22, 1983 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-04-22

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

6

Friday, April 22, 1983

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

LOANS

Committee Raising Issue of Public Dissent on Israel

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(Continued from Page 1)
on this.
The founders of the
committee claim that they
love Israel and are con-
cerned about her security.
At the same time they also
assert that they are con-
cerned about "some efforts"
in the organized American
Jewish community "to si-

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lence discussion" on the
policies of the Israeli gov-
ernment to which they ob-
ject. This, they say, promp-
ted them to create their
organization which they
consider a "new voice"
within American Jewry.
They argue that there are
dissenters in Israel who
voice opposition openly on
certain policies of their own
government, therefore
there should be no barriers
to voicing dissent as well in
the United States on these
policies.
The new group is headed
by Dr. Seymour Martin Lip-
set, former president of
American Professors for
Peace in the Middle East
and now professor of politi-
cal science and sociology at
Stanford University. He
chairs the executive com-
mittee of the National Bnai
Brith Hillel Foundations
and the faculty advisory
committee of the United

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Jewish Appeal.
The other founding
members of the group in-
clude David Cohen, a
consultant to community
service and public inter-
est organizations; Rabbi
Balfour Brickner of the
Stephen Wise Free Syna-
gogue in New York; and
Rabbi Robert Marx, who
was a civil rights adviser
to President Kennedy.
The new group is actually
breaking through an open
door. The leading national
organizations and the local
Jewish community councils
throughout the country rec-
ognize the diversity of views
in the American Jewish
community on certain con-
troversial policies of Israel's
present government. They
have a consensus on the is-
sue.
Expression to their stand
was given at a closed ple-
nary session of the National
Jewish Community Rela-
tions Advisory Council on
Feb. 15 by Bennett
Yanowitz in an address
marking completion of his
term as chairman of this na-
tional coordinating body.
The essence of Yanowitz's
address — which dealt with
unity, discipline, freedom
and purposefulness within
the Jewish community — is
now the accepted guideline
by all the constituent agen-
cies of the council. The
guideline formulated is,
briefly: "Dissension, yes,
but dissent should be ex-
pressed 'within the tent,'
within the Jewish family, as
an internal Jewish matter,
and not through public
statements. The dissenting
views should be presented
in private by American
Jewish leaders to govern-
ment leaders in Israel for
disputation."
This approach seems to be
considered by the new group
as "an effort to silence dis-
cussion."
The opinion prevailing
among American Jewish
leaders is that expression

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of dissent within the
Jewish community is not
the real issue, as the
founders of the Commit-
tee of Concerned Ameri-
can Jews claim. The issue
is the manner in which
dissent should be ex-
pressed.
While the leaders of the
organized Jewish commu-
nity favor the expression of
dissent "within the tent" as
an internal Jewish affair,
the founders of the new
organization announced
that their major activities
will be "to broaden the in-
formation available to con-
cerned Americans" about
critical issues affecting Is-
rael and the American
Jewish community. They
insist on "open discussions."
In the opinion of Jewish
community faders, this
attitude does not result
from the fact that the dis-
sehters are not heard but
because their views are not
accepted.
But are the different
voices of American Jewry
heard by those who are re-
sponsible for decision-
making in Israel?
Some of the American
Jewish leaders who are dis-
turbed by some of Israel's
policies and who in private
confront Israeli govern-
ment leaders on every level,
including the Prime Minis-
ter, assure that the Israel
government is fully aware
of the various moods in the
ranks of American Jewry
with regard to Israel. They
point out that no other gov-
ernment engages in
dialogue on sensitive, con-
troversial issues with pri-
vate citizens of foreign
lands as does the govern-
ment of Israel.
To the charge by the
founders of the new
group that dissent is
being suppressed in the

JDL Protests New Group

NEW YORK (JTA) —
Rabbi Meir Kahane, foun-
der of the Jewish Defense
League and leader of the
ultra-nationalist Kach
movement in Israel, was
joined Sunday by a group of
JDL members and suppor-
ters in a demonstration out-
side the Stephen Wise Free
Synagogue.
The JDL said some 170
persons participated.
The demonstration was
directed at the synagogue's
spiritual leader, Rabbi Bal-
four Brickner, who is one of
several persons involved
with the recent establish-
ment of "The Committee of
Concerned American
Jews." The JDL said
through a spokesman that
the committee can only lead
Israel down the road "to dis-
aster."
Shmuel Silver, a
spokesman for the JDL,
said the demonstration
was organized to coin-
cide with Israel's annual
day of remembrance to
its soldiers killed in wars.
Silver said that the com-
mittee's actions "will
only lead to a further loss













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U.S., they answer that
these dissenters are
really not seeking the
right to dissent but
means to apply pressure
on Israel's government
on matters affecting Is-
rael's security.
They definitely consider
the West Bank issue as a
national security issue for
Israel, and they feel that
American Jewry must be
very careful in voicing its
views on issues concerning
Israel's security. The found-
ers of the new group argue,
on the other hand, that the
present policy of the Israel
government with regard to
the West Bank places Israel
in great peril, that Ameri-
can Jews have a right to ex-
press their beliefs on crucial
problems affecting Israel's
destiny, and that Israel is
now strong enough and vib-
rant enough to sustain open
debate and discussion.
Leaders of the organized
Jewish community do not
accept thig view. Their opin-
ion is that open discussions
involving challenges of
American Jewry to Israel on
some of its policies can be
used by the Washington
Administration — which is
now developing a reserved
attitude toward Israel — as
a stick with which to beat
Israel.
It can confuse many
members of Congress who
are friendly to Israel. It
would strengthen the posi-
tion of the Arabs vis-a-vis
Israel. It would help the
pro-Arab elements in the
U.S. in their anti-Israel
propaganda efforts.
It would provide the
media — which by nature
exploits division — with op-
portunities to magnify dis-
sent. It would undermine
the climate of support for Is-
rael and the sympathy
toward Israel among many
non-Jewish Americans.

of Jewish life."
The new group, which op-
poses certain policies of the
government of Premier
Menahem Begin, particu-
larly on the West Bank,
claims that it will act as a
"new voice" among Ameri-
can Jewry.

Leaflet Promotes
Understanding

NEW YORK—American
and Israeli Jews must make
organized and consistent ef-
forts to learn more about
each other, discuss issues of
mutual concern, and speak
frankly about their dif-
ferences, according to a
group of American Jewish
communal, academic, and
business leaders.
The group's views are
contained in a booklet,
"Understanding One An-
other," just issued by the
American Jewish Commit-
tee's Institute on American
Jewish-Israeli Relations.
The booklet is based on the
first meeting of the
recently-formed Institute's
American advisory board,
held in December, 1982.

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