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October 07, 1983 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-10-07

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

2 Friday, October 1, 1983


Purely Commentary

Nicaragua Again Accused
of Anti-Semitism by ADL

A statement in defense of Nicaragua by Ilana De Bare,
denying ADL charges of anti-Semitism, was referred to in
this column last week and drew a refutation from Rabbi
Morton M. Rosenthal, director of the Latin American Af-
fairs Department of the Anti-Defamation League. The
NYTimes published this statement by Rabbi Rosenthal:

Ilana DeBare's Op-Ed apologia for Sandinista
anti-Semitism (Sept. 13) is self-contradictory. Her
conclusion that anti-Semitism is no problem in
Nicaragua" runs directly counter to her own ad-
mission that Sandinista anger at Israel was "mis-
directed toward Jews" and that the Sandinistas
bombed Managua's synagogue. (Incidentally, the
congregation was inside when the doors were
Her expertise on the Jewish situation in
Nicaragua is undermined by several factual er-
rors. The charges of Sandinista anti-Semitism re-
flect the experiences of not just Isaac Stavisky
and Abraham Gorn, but a majority of the former
Nicaraguan Jewish community. Isaac Stavisky is
not the son of Abraham Gorn. She brands Mr.
Gorn as a Somoza "collaborator," thereby herself
indulging in the Sandinista tactic of convicting
people without a trial.
Her claim that there are 13 Jewish families
living in Nicaragua today is refuted by Jaime
Levy, one of the few Jews still in Nicaragua (his
wife and children are in exile). He cabled the
Anti-Defamation League from Managua on Aug.
3, stating that there are only three men who iden-
tify themselves as Jews in Nicaragua.
Miss DeBare also erred in stating that the
synagogue building was abandoned by the
Jewish community. On the contrary, before the
Jews left Nicaragua they arranged for trusted
caretakers to live in and maintain the building,
which they did, until forced out by the Sandinis-
The Nicaraguan government delayed
answering ADL's inquiry as to the status of the
synagogue for almost two years, finally respond-
ing only after we publicized their actions last
May. The government initially sought to justify
the confiscation by claiming it was a privately
owned structure. Ambassador Antonio Jarquiii
would not even acknowledge to ADL that it was a
After the ADL produced the deed to the build-
ing, at a White House briefing on July 20, the
government then claimed a "mistake" had been
made and now offers to return the building to the
If the Sandinistas seize this opportunity to
remedy the injustices done at their hands,
Nicaragua may once again have enough Jews to
form a quorum for public worship — free of fear.

The ADL Latin American Department has always
been proven accurate in its studies of Jewish conditions in
those lands. There is less cause for doubting Rabbi Rosen-

Nicaraguan Accusations Demand Serious Consideration,
Apologetics Are Justifiably Challenged by the ADL
Settlements Issue Authoritatively Tackled by Rostow

thal's accusations than those of Nicaragua's defenders.
ADL's firm position must lead to a correction of exist-
ing prejudices, even though the Nicaraguan Jewish com-
munity has been reduced to a handful of remaining resi-
dents in a country whose leanings are both pro-Kremlin
and pro-PLO.

Israel's Settlements: View
of an American Authority

Menahem Begin was reportedly asked some months
ago what he wished to leave as a legacy for the generations.
He replied that it was to be an Israel whose borders are in
the record of Bible and Prophecy. It was simple if not de-
fined: that it is to include Judea and Samaria which is
commonly, especially by the media, spoken of as the West
It now appears that set-
tlements established under
the Begin regime cannot,
will not, be abandoned.
Therefore, his legacy may
seem assured.
Nevertheless, there is a
continuing debate on the
subject. One eminent au-
thority, who had much to do
with American policies on
Israel, keeps maintaining
that the rights claimed by
Israel to settlements are
unassailable. Eugene V.
Rostow, who held important
government posts in recent
years, especially in the Johnson Administration, com-
mented in a NYTimes article on the subject:

In a recent news analysis, "The West Bank
and the Emperor's Clothes," Bernard Gwertzman
accurately portrays the mindset of the officials
who condescendingly dismiss President Rea-
gan's statement that Israeli settlements in the
West Bank are "not illegal." But these officials
and not the President are wearing the Emperor's
gossamer suit.
Israel has an unassailable legal right to estab-
lish settlements in the West Bank. The West Bank
is part of the British Mandate in Palestine which
included Israel and Jordan as well as certain
other territories not yet generally recognized as
belonging to either country. While Jewish settle-
ment east of the Jordan River was suspended in
1922, such settlements remained legal in the West
All rights vesting under mandates were pre-
served by Article 80 of the United Nations Char-
ter. And they survived the end of British ad-
ministration in Palestine as a "sacred trust" —
exactly the legal posture for Namibia after South
Africa ceased to be the mandatory power.
Recognizing the legal force of these facts,
those who are seeking to sabotage the President's
position fall back on a provision of the Geneva
Convention of 1949 forbidding occupying powers

By Philip

to transfer their own populations to occupied ter-
ritories. This article of the Convention was a reac-
tion to Nazi policy in Czechoslovakia after the
invasion of 1938.
But Israel is not in the West Bank only as an
occupying power, because the West Bank has
never been widely recognized as Jordanian. Is-
rael's'claims to the territory are at least as good as
those of Jordan, since Jordan held the territory
for 19 years after a war of aggression, whereas
Israel took the area in the course of a war of self-
defense, so far as Jordan was concerned.
As a matter of convenience, Israel applies the
Geneva Convention generally in its administra-
tion of the West Bank, but does not admit it is
legally obliged to do so. Jordan is not the rever-
sioner in the West Bank and therefore the protec-
tive provisions of the Geneva Convention do not
Whether Israel's right to settle the West Bank
should be exercised at a particular time is thus a
matter of prudence, not of law. It is conventional
wisdom that such settlements are an obstacle to
peace. But the absence of such settlements bet-
ween 1948 and 1967 did not encourage Jordan to
make peace.
The thesis, often mechanically repeated by
our government spokesmen, does not do justice to
the principles of the Arab position: that the Bal-
four Declaration, the Mandate, and all that flowed
from them were beyond the powers of the victori-
ous Allies of 1914-1918, the League, and the United
Nations, and that the existence of Israel is itself an
aggression against the Arab nation.
Perhaps the realization that their continuing
refusal to make peace with Israel is bound to have
territorial consequences will help to persuade the
Arabs that 35 years of intransigence is enough.

Eugene V. Rostow has consistently held to this position
on numerous other occasions. He may not have enlisted
much support in his defense of the settlement as a recog-
nized Israeli right to the nation's existence and to the
legacies which have become a major cause for conflict and
drawn condemnation from government officials, including
Presidents Carter and Reagan. He has not even enrolled
support from Israel's Jewish critics.
Nevertheless, settlements have become a fact of life in
Israel. The Labor Alignment, in its opposition and quest for
a return to power in Israel, only half-heartedly lambasts
Begin and his associates for having pursued a policy of
establishing settlements in a disputed area. But the set-
tlements remain a fact.
In the over-all treatment of the Israel-Arab confronta-
tions the issue will eventually be resolved. There is little
reason for disputing the belief that resolution of the prob-
lem in Israel's favor also will be of very great benefit to the
Arabs as well.
Perhaps a peaceful solution of the Lebanese tragedies
will contribute toward pragmatism that will establish an
accord assuring a friendly neighborliness of all the resi-
dents in the West Bank with a recognition that Judea and
Samaria are not such objectionable acceptances of biblical

New Strategy Needed to Enforce Helsinki Rights Agreement

"The fact is that since
Helsinki, Soviet respect for
human rights has grown
worse," the Wall Street
Journal once commented
editorially in objecting to
the possibility of a com-
promise on this issue at the
recently concluded Confer-
ence on Security and Coop-
eration in Europe.
The utter failure of the
Soviet Union to respect its
obligations under the Hel-
sinki Final Act of 1975 has
led many to question
whether the charade should
be continued and whether
the West can ever hope to
secure even a modicum of
respect for human rights
from the Soviets by talk
The conference — the
continuing review of the ob-
servance of the Helsinki
Pact — dragged on in Mad-
rid for two years and 10
months. It produced some

technical improvements in
the language of the accords,
particularly in the human
rights area, but it found no
way to compel or even per-
suade the Soviet Union to
respect its commitments.

The Helsinki Final Act
promised much to a
weary world and gave
new hope to the Jews of
the Soviet Union that
they would be permitted
to emigrate or, if they
chose to remain, to prac-
tice their religion and
preserve their cultural

Eight years later, how-
ever, Jean Poperen, na-
tional secretary of the
French Socialist Party, re-
ported to a conference of
European legislators con-
cerned over the plight of
Soviet Jewry that at the
rate emigration visas were
being issued to Soviet Jews,
it would take 308 years to
process existing exit visa

applications. In the first five
months of this year only 537
exit visas were issued to
Soviet Jews.
In the years since 1975,
the condition of the Soviet
Jews has steadily deterior-
ated in all respects as a re-
sult of an insidious, covert
anti-Semitism practiced. by
the authorities, w•ich in-
cludes the limitation of pro-
fessional and educational
opportunities for Soviet
Jews and a blatant, overt
anti-Semitism combining
elements of the Protocols of
Zion with a vicious anti-
Zionist, anti-Israeli cam-
There is hardly a single
aspect of the Helsinki Ac-
cords which the Soviets
have respected and ob-
served. Yet the 35 signatory
nations have just spent two
years and 10 months in a
tedious, acrimonious and
thorougly unsatisfactory
conference in Madrid to re-

view the observance of the
terms of the accord and to
try to strengthen them.

Max Kempelman, who
headed the American de-
legation to the confer-
ence and led the fight
there for human rights, is
convinced that the time
and energy were well-
spent. He points to the
strengthening of the
human right provisions
of the accords but, as he
admits, the accords do
not include any enforce-
ment provisions. The new
provisions, like the old,
are just so many words
on paper:

The Helsinki process,
however, does provide the
justification for the claim
that the status of human
rights observance in any
signatory country becomes
the business of all other sig-
natories and gives them the
right to criticize and to de-

nand improvement. It also
provides the one forum in
which the complaints of
Soviet Jews and others dep-
rived of their rights may
still be presented, heard and
debated. It is the one forum
today in which the Soviet
Union cannot prevent criti-
cism and condemnation of
its human rights violations.

But there is another
strategy being talked of;
whether it has been
raised in Administration
circles has not been re-
vealed. It is based on the
fact that the Helsinki
Final Act was a two-way
pact in which the West
paid a high price for the
Soviet concessions.

The price the West paid
was the legitimization of
the Soviet Annexation of
the Baltic states and parts
of Poland after World War
II, the recognition of the
Soviet Union's new borders

and agreement on the per-
manent division of Ger-

Frontiers have always
been a matter of great im-
port to the Soviets who are
almost paranoid on the sub-
ject of security. The Soviets
insist on a divided Germany
because they fear that a un-
ited Reich would be too
powerful and dangerous a

What would happen if the
United States, its Western
allies and other free nations
who are signatories to the
Helsinki Pact, were to in-
form Moscow that in view of
the Soviet Union's persis-
tent and contumacious dis-
regard of its obligations
under the Helsinki Pact,
they were renouncing it and
their commitments under
its terms? There might be a
different song out of the

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