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September 07, 1984 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-09-07

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Friday, September 7, 1984




The Red Cross
is not a crucifix

A regrettable incident is on the
communal menu. Otherwise highly
idealistic and dedicated to human val-
ues, opposition has been expressed in
some quarters to the wearing of the
Red Cross emblem.
Noreen Petersen, assistant direc-
tor of the office of public affairs of the
Southeastern Michigan Region, calls
the protest to our attention.
Because the major protester
against the wearing of the Red Cross
emblem is a dedicated blood donor, and
because of his sincerity, there surely
will be no objection to linking his name
with the issue that has just arisen.
Here are the facts as stated by Ms.
One of our multi-gallon
blood donors has presented us
with a cause of concern. The
donor, Mr. Samuel D. Haber of
Southfield, tells us that multi-
gallon donors of the Jewish
faith do not wear the small pin
given to them by Red Cross re-
presenting the number of gal-
lons the donor has given.
Mr. Haber also informs us
that when he elects to wear his
gallon donor pin (he's a 12-
gallon donor), he is criticized
by his peers because he is wear-
ing a "cross." The pin is shaped
like a blood drop with the Red
Cross emblem in the center.
Mr. Haber thinks Jewish
blood donors would wear the
gallon pin if it was available
with a Star of David in the cen-
ter. Try as we might, we have
been unable to convince Mr.
Haber that our red cross is not
a religious symbol., It is the
emblem of the American Red
Cross while the red Star of
David is on the emblem of the
Israeli Magen David Adorn
Society, the Israeli Red Cross.
Ms. Petersen is correct in her
analysis and it merits support, urging
Mr. Haber and all concerned to be
realistic in so urgent a matter.
It is the humanity of it that counts
and the Red Cross insignia must not be
judged as a crucifix.
The founder of the Red Cross,
Jean Henri Dunant, was not a cleric or
an ecclesiast. He was a great humanist
who inspired one of the world's most
important movements, and the Red
Cross must be treated as such. (Note
the historical account of the Dunant-
Red Cross creativity in The Jewish
News Purely Commentary, June 8,
The surprise is that a protest like
Mr. Haber's should have been called to
the attention of the Red Cross
authorities and to public notice at so
late a date. The cross irritates the con-
scious Jew because of the tragic ex-
periences that are on record in the per-
secutions of Jews under the influence
of the cross through the centuries.
But the Red Cross must not be
confused with the tragic and should be
treated in the glory of immense

There has also been heard the pro-
test over International Red Cross fail-
ure to embrace and include in its ranks
the Magen David Adorn of Israel.
While cooperating fully with the
MDA, the Israeli counterpart of the
Red Cross, the pressure that often re-
sults in injustice has kept Magen
David Adorn from the international af-
filiation. Not to be forgotten, however,
is that the American Red Cross con-
tinues to battle in support of the
MDA's right to be in the International
Red Cross.
Hopefully, Mr. Haber and his fel-
low loyalists to the Red Cross as mul-
tiple blood donors, as well as the army
of Jewish supporters of the Red Cross,
will recognize the justice of Ms. Peter-
sen's appeal in behalf of her move-
ment. We endorse her urgent appeal as
an expression of realism and justice.

`The shame of Israel'

Meir Kahane's tactics, his irra-
tional call to Arabs to emigrate from
Israel, was described by one member of
that nation's Knesset as "the shame of
Israel." That one percent of Israel's
population appears to have differed by
having given Kahane a mandate to
propagate hatred and to endorse vio-
lence does not diminish the description
of shamefulness.
Kahane is already in this country
on a fundraising mission to enroll sup-
port for his policies and actions. There
is always a supporting element, even
for violence and racism and fascism.
Therefore, the need for the emphatic
declaration that such intolerance is in-
Israel can provide a solution to the
regrettable that enabled a Kahane to

gain a seat in the Knesset. It can mod-
ify the present regulation enabling
one percent of the voting constituents
to gairi parliamentary representation.
A five percent rule would obviate
it. That's of course, an obligation for
Israelis to pursue. The urgency of such
a change becomes obvious if the claim
is true that 500 Arabs voted for
Kahane, even though they are his
target. The explanation is that such a
group of Arabs mobilized with an
opportunity to register a vote for a
candidate who would disgrace Israel
and the Jewish people with his ter-
rorizing policies. Israel will surely
know how to obviate such shameful-
ness in the future, and American Jews,
when approached for financial support
for terrorism in Israel, shoud know
how to react to the impending dis-

Accepting the challenge of politicized clericalism

For a few days after the national
conventions of both political parties, in
the aura of clericalism and the attempt
to fan religious fervor in the political
spheres, there were very many who
wondered: why the silence in Demo-
cratic ranks? Walter F. Mondale pro-
vided the answer. He explained
towards the end of last week that he
could not deal with the issue in a mere
interview, that it needed a thorough
analysis and a proper response to
President Ronald Reagan's statement
that "religion and politics are neces-
sarily related."
The impression gained thus far,
th'at a pre-election, frightened Con-
gress submitted to the trap of adopting
legislation that would lead to the
abandonment of the principle of Sep-
aration of Church and State, has
gained wide acceptance. It would be a
slur on the common sense of the
American people to judge a temporary
silence as yielding to the Reagan
politicized-religion viewpoint. Now we
have on the record Mondale's readi-
ness to challenge, which means reject,
the Reagan proposals.
It would have been better if Mon-
dale were to do the replying at a
church rather than at the convention
of the B'nai B'rith.,But, be that as it
may, the response should be made at
once before it becomes overdue.
The American people must be
made aware of the danger that stems
from a call from U.S. Senator Paul
Laxalt, who is regarded as President
Reagan's closest friend, to 45,000
ministers in 16 states, addressing each
as "Dear Christian Leader."
Senator Laxalt wrote:
"As chairman of Reagan-
Bush '84, the President's
authorized campaign commit-
tee, I am writing to ask you to
play a significant role in what
may very well be the most
pivotal election of this century.
"President Reagan, as you
know, has made an unwaver-
ing commitment to traditional
values which I know you share.
In addition, he has, on several
occasions, articulated his own
spiritual convictions. As lead-


R onald R eagan

ers under God's authority, we
cannot afford to resign our-
selves to idle neutrality . . . Join
us to help assure that those in
your ministry will have a voice
in the upcoming elections — a
voice that will help secure the
re-election of President Re-
agan and Vice President
While it is of the utmost impor-
tance that Mondale do the replying to
Reagan, the rejection of politicized
religion is already on the record from
many sources. The Presidential chal-
lenge is widely accepted. The religious
fanfare in the current political cam-
paign has become the concern of many
in the media and -James Reston thus
met it in the New York Times in his
There are several things
wrong with this. It goes beyond
the right, which both parties
practice, to preach for or
against the moral and social is-
sues of the campaign, and it is
not quite clear who appointed
the Republicans as "leaders
under God's authority."
It is also risky for what
President Reagan calls
"America's party" because it
divides the country, appeals to

Walter Mondale

the convinced and ignores the
unconvinced, who also have a
Senator Laxalt's political
pamphlet proclaims that
"President Reagan has been
faithful in his support of issues
of concern to Christian citi-
No doubt Mr. Reagan's
school-prayer, anti-abortion
and women's rights policies are
"of concern" to many Chris-
tians, but not to all Christians
or even to all Republicans, and
not at all to many voters of
different religions or secular
This is what is beginning to
concern some of the
President's campaign advisers:
that his religious arguments
will lose more votes in the
North than they will pick up
among the fundamentalists in
the South, and encourage vot-
ers of other religious convic-
tions to oppose him in Novem-
After all, Mr. Reagan's
school-prayer, pro-life and
anti-E.R.A. policies are not the
only "issues of concern to

Continued on. Page 12

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