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October 18, 1985 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-10-18

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

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34 Friday, October 18, 1985

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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The Morass Of Lebanon
Needs Clear Distinctions

BY HAROLD M. SCHULWEIS

Contributing Editor
A Talmudic source ques-
tions the necessity for smear-
ing the doors of the children
of Israel with the blood of the
lamb as recorded in Exodus.
Purportedly it is to inform
the angel of death that Jews
reside in those marked homes
and are to be passed over.
But surely angels are wise
enough to know which homes
belong to the captors and
which to the enslaved? The
Talmud observes, "Once.the
angel of destruction has been
unleashed, it does not distin-
guish between theinnocent •
and the guilty, between foe
and friend."
Violence raises a dust of
confusion. Violence, of the
kind experienced around the
hijacking and hostage-taking
in Lebanon, is attended by a
dangerous ignorance. If we
learned anything from this
chaos, it is to cultivate and
cherish the power to differen-
tiate. It is noteworthy that
from the first benediction of
our wakening daily services
to the blessing at the end of
the Sabbath, praise of the
ability to distinguish between
day and night, light and
darkness, the holy and the
profane are emphasized. At
the Hebrew root of binah
(understanding) lies bain (be-
tween), the art of differentia-
tion, unravelling the twisted,
enmeshed cords of events.
In the wake of the hijack-
ing of Flight 847 anew bit of
wisdom emerges maintaining
that "terrorism is simply
another form of warfare." It
is argued that terrorism is to
be understood as another in-
strument in achieving one's
political aims much as diplo-
macy is said to be another
way of doing, war. Once of-
fered this adoption of terror
into the repertoire of war, a
whole set of immoral equiv-
alences follows. Hijacker and
soldier, terrorist and freedom
fighter, hostages and de-
tainers, Arafat and Sakharov
are all cut out of the same
cloth. With these false sym-
metries, crucial distinctions
are collapsed. Violent acts of
all kinds may be casually sub-
sumed under the rubric of
warfare. Throwing distinc-
tions to the wind, we reap
morally dangerous and false
equations. We are caught up
in the cynical conclusion that
"all's fair in love and war."
Viewed as another form of
warfare, terrorism is legit-
imated. It is as if one were to
proclaim cannibalism as
another form of eating, or
murder as another way of ex-
ercising capital punishment,
or maiming as another mode
of doing surgery.
Distinctions must be drawn.
Terrorism is the, indis-
criminate attack on the inno-
cent h order to achieve
political ends. The target of
terrorism is not military per-

sonnel or military =installa-
tions. The targets are inno-
cent civilians who are de-
liberately intimidated, shocked,
brutalized, demoralized, ter-
rorized. For the sake of civil-
ization, distinctioAs_or this
order must be held and kept
in mind
The effort of some 0
equate the activity of th
Irgun during the Britis
Mandate with the hijackers
of Hezbolleh is dangerously
misleading. The Irgun at-

If we leat'ned
anything from the
chaos of the
hostage-taking in
Lebanon, it is to
cultivate and
cherish the power to
differentiate.

tacked British military and
administrative buildings, not
children's playgrounds. The
Irgun sent warnings to those
occupied booby-trapped
buildings, some of which, as
in the case'of the King David
Hotel, were tragically ig-
nored.
Distinctions must be pre-
served. Terrorism must be
condemned as an abomina-
tion contaminating the ele-
mental order of civilized
behavior. Terrorism must be
condemned whatever its
source, whatever its motive.
Whether the bomb be placed
in an Arab village or a Jewish
market, whether it be tossed
into a mosque, church or
synagogue, whether its' no-
dyes be protest or rev:, ge,
whether it be condo , • by
or the
Falangists, Hez
J.D.L., such ' ' discriminate
attacks on in ocent by-
standers must be unam-
,biguOusly conde s ed and
punished.
Distinctions are necessary
if we are to avoid the panic of
moral anarchy. Frustration
may be understood, but
frustration. is not justifica-
tion. The passion of ven-
geance may be understood,
but its behavior is not to be
condoned. The right to de-
fend one's self and one's peo-
ple against the pursuer is
obligatory, but the slaughter
of innocents on the grounds
that they might be tempted
to join the terrorists is not
pre-emption but premed-
itated murder.
Distinctions must be
drawn: Shiite detainees are
not American hostages. The
Shiites were armed with
weapons and iMplicated in
the back-stabbing attacks
upon Israeli soldiers under
orders to retreat from Leb-



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