Friday, January 11, 1985
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
THE JEWISH NEWS
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EDITOR: Gary Rosenblatt
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© 1984 by The Detroit Jewish News (US PS 275-520)
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CANDLELIGHTING AT 5:03 P.M.
VOL. LXXXVI, NO. 20
The Rescue • •
We had hoped to publish the "inside" story on "Operation Moses," Israel's
heroic mission to rescue the Jews of Ethiopia, after it was successfully
completed. Unfortunately, as outlined in Gary Rosenblatt's article,
beginning on Page 16, too much publicity caused the airlift to be halted this
past week with thousands of Ethiopian Jews stranded in Sudanese refugee
camps and thousands more languishing in Ethiopia. But Elsa Solender's
cover story, a first-hand account based on her recent visit to. Ethiopia,
describes the remarkable deeds "Operation Moses" has already
In undertaking this dangerous and costly effort, Israel reaffirmed its
very reason for existence — as a safe haven for oppressed Jews anywhere in
New York Times columnist William Safire pointed out this week that
Israel's "selfless adoption of responsibility for its own people deserves, though
it will not get, the admiration of the world . . . Israel's example of conscience
demonstrates that certain affinities can transcend bigotry — that religion
can be a stronger force than racism." Safire noted that "for the first time in
history , thousands of black people are being brought into a country not in
chains but in dignity, not as slaves but as citizens."
and the failure
The tragedy of "Operation Moses" is that it has ended, at least
temporarily, though there is hope it will resume in the coming weeks. Before
that happens, we urge the organized Jewish community to re-think the way
the operation was handled in terms of information and publicity. As
successful as the airlift itself was, that's how poorly the secret was kept. There
is plenty of room for blame, from the highest officials in the Jewish Agency
who discussed the mission too freely and the leaders of the government in
Jerusalem who decided to go public, to the American Jewish newspaper
editors who chose to publish reports of the rescue despite pleas that such
publicity would jeopardize the mission.
It is time for organized communications to be established between
American Jewish organizations and the American Jewish press. Guidelines
and briefings could have prevented the fiasco.
In Israel, all of the newspaper editors agreed to embargo the rescue story
after they were informed by the government in Jerusalem of what was taking
place and why publicity would endanger Jewish lives. Let the same sharing
and trust take place here. Only in that way can we prevent a future tragedy.
Judging Arab rulers
Assassination of a PLO associate of Yasir Arafat drew the boast of the
Black September group that it had committed the act in the process of
rejecting Arafatian control of their movement. It is the same group that
cor.qmitted the massacre of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes and coaches in Munich
On a wider scale, Syria, whence Arafat was ousted a year ago, was linked
with the murder. But in Amman, the Jordanian king followed the usual line
resort'ng to the best available scapegoat: the Israeli Jew.
Will Israel and America
negotiate a defense treaty?
Washington — It's one thing for
the United States to undertake a polit-
ical commitment toward Israel. It's
something else to put that commit-
ment into writing, thereby making it
Political promises can be — and
very often are — forgotten. Signed
treaties or agreements are much more
difficult to discard.
This stems, in part, from the na-
ture of the U.S. leaders in the Execu-
tive and Legislative branches of gov-
ernment. So many of them happen to
be lawyers, trained to value signed
documents. The same is true in Israel.
American and Israeli officials, there-
fore, can not easily walk away from
This has been most dramatically
affirmed since 1975 when the U.S.
promised Israel, in writing, that it
would riot recognize or -negotiate with
the PLO until the PLO first accepted
Israel's right to exist and UN Security
Council Resolutions 242 and 338.
Without that signed pledge, contained
in the Sept. 1, 1975 U.S.-Israel
Memorandum of Agreement which ac-
companied the Sinai II accord, the U.S.
would have diplomatically accepted
the PLO long ago — as have Western
Europe and most of the rest of the
As it is, that U.S. commitment to
Israel, signed by Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger, was open to various
interpretations which some U.S. offi-
cials argued left open the door to "con-
tacts" with the PLO — short of formal
recognition or negotiation.
That led to U.S.-authorized dis-
cussions with the PLO by a private
American academic in New York,
John Mroz, early during the Reagan
Administration in 1981-1982. Disclo-
sure of those exchanges by the New
York Times caused a major stir, in-
cluding some deeply felt irritation in
Jerusalem and among Israel's best
friends on Capitol Hill.
Several U.S. Congressmen, led by
Democratic Representative Larry
Smith of Florida, moved quickly and
decisively earlier this year to tighten
up the U.S. commitment to Israel.
They pushed through legislation
which put into law what earlier had
been part of the signed pledge to Israel.
Their amendment was attached to
the 1985 foreign aid legislation which
passed Congress in October. President
Ronald Reagan was • forced to sign it
into law even though State Depart-
ment officials earlier had opposed the
legislation. The lawmakers, by the
way, went one step further than the
1975 memorandum. They inserted a
third condition which the PLO would
Analysts predict that a
military treaty is on the
horizon to cement the old
have to accept in order to win U.S.
recognition — namely, the PLO would
also have to renounce terrorism.
The fact that. Congress decided to
make this earlier pledge to Israel the
"law of the land" underscored the
deeply-felt appreciation for legal
niceties in Washington. They are very
much part of the tradition — an
American way of thinking. The first
thing lawyers are taught is to "get it in
This philosophy has led an in-
creasing number of Israeli officials
and their supporters in Washington —
both in and out of the U.S. government
— to appreciate the value of a formal
U.S.-Israeli defense pact. Such a
treaty, they feel, would go a long way
towards strengthening Israel's mili-
tary deterrence in the face of continu-
ing threats from Soviet-backed Arab
Today, of course, there is a strong
American political commitment to
maintain Israel's security and well-
being. It is based on moral, strategic
and domestic political considerations.