4 Friday, January 24, 1986
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CANDLELIGHTING AT 5:19 P.M.
VOL. LXXXVIII, NO. 22
In San Francisco, Mayor Dianne Feinstein is taking some heat for
her proposal to establish a sister city relationship with Leningrad. She
says that the relationship would establish a "non-threatening atmosphere
in which serious questions" about human rights could be addressed. The
mayor, who visited Moscow and Leningrad last month and helped lead
efforts in support of requests for exit visas for 160 people, acknowledged
that the plight of Soviet Jews has worsened. But she says that "the path
we are on has not worked, so why not try something new?"
Critics of her proposal, including state legislators and Soviet Jewry
advocates, argue that Leningrad is the "worst place" in the Soviet Union
for Jews and for Americans in terms of official harassment. They oppose a
sister city relationship until there is a "significant change" in conditions
for Jews there. One legislator told the mayor that her proposal would
mean an "unequal exchange in which we set aside our commitment to
human rights while Soviet officials achieve a public relations bonanza."
No doubt the mayor has the best of intentions and sees her plan as a
means of improving the plight of Soviet Jews by offering a carrot rather
than a stick. But why reward the Soviets for their callous disregard of
human rights and their pledges to adhere to treaties upholding such
After 500 Years: Contact
Spain, nearly 500 years after expelling its entire Jewish population,
has finally, formally re-established contact with Judaism.
This week, Spain officially recognized the State of Israel, established
diplomatic relations and went about the business of setting up an 16
embassy in Jerusalem.
When Israel was founded in 1948, Spanish strongman Francisco
Franco refused to recognize the new Jewish state, lumping it together
with his other pet abhorrences, Masons and Communists.
Later, when Israel opposed Spanish membership in the United
Nations, the ill will deepened. And in recent years, Spain withheld
recognition because she feared to offend the Arab oil moguls, although
Spain's claim to a special relationship with them never won her preferred
treatment or lower prices, despite the fact that the Arab nations do a
brisk trade with Spain.
What the official act of recognition will mean is not clear. Without
diplomatic relations, Spain and Israel managed to do $118 million worth
of business with each other last year. So the ceremony of exchanging
emissaries seems little more than the steps of a minuet.
Also, there is the nagging feeling that Spain waited until phe had
nothing to lose before ignoring the threat of an Arab oil cutoff and
signing an official accord with Israel.
Well, never mind. It is intrinsically good for countries to have cordial
relations. And one can also hope that the pain of the Inquisition and the
death of an entire Jewish culture will gradually fade, even though the
memory of it should not, and that Jews the world over can begin
communicating freely again with the country that once sought their
elimination from its soil.
Is Bias Having A Field Day
Way Down On the Farm?
BY MICHAEL LIEBERMAN
On Oct. 23, 1984, a farmer
named Arthur Kirk was killed by a ,
Nebraska State Highway SWAT
team. Arthur Kirk, who lived in
Cairo, Neb. owed a bank more than
$300,000, with no hope of being able
to repay these debts.
According to police reports,
when authorities came to serve Kirk
with foreclosure papers, he pulled a
shotgun. The incident led to a day-
long, tension-filled confrontation.
After law enforcement officials sur-
rounded his house, Kirk reportedly
burst out the back door, a helmet on
his head, night camouflage on his
face, and an AR-15 rifle, converted
for automatic fire, in his hand. It
was then that he was shot by mem-
bers of the SWAT team.
In his home, investigators found
20 rifles and a wide variety of anti-
_ Semitic literature. Arthur Kirk had
been convinced that Jews and ban-
kers were conspiring to rob him of
Like Arthur Kirk, many farmers
throughout the Midwest are facing
desperate situations as they attempt
to hold on to farms which may have
been in the families for generations.
Their frustration is often mixed with
confusion and anger. Some extremist
groups have attempted to harness
this anger, channeling it into bigotry
Over the past year, the Anti-
Defamation League has conducted
an aggressive investigation into the
organized extremist groups attempt-
ing to exploit these conditions to win
new adherents. The study concluded
that, unlike Arthur Kirk, the vast
majority of farmers reject scapegoat-
ing and bigotry and the groups
Lieberman is Midwest civil rights director for
the Anti-Defamation League.
which offer them as misleading an-
swers to tough problems.
The ADL's field investigation
has included discussions and face-
tn-face meetings with a large
number of government and law
enforcement officials, farmers, farm
organizations, politicians and inves-
tigative journalists who live and
work in rural communities and are
Investigators found 20
rifles and a wide variety
of anti-Semitic literature.
Kirk was convinced that
Jews and bankers were
conspiring to take his
concerned with this issue on a day-
to-day basis. The research confirmed
that some extremist groups have
specifically targeted farmers with
literature and specially-prepared
materials in a concerted effort to win
new adherents. In the main, they in-
• The Populist Party, a new
political amalgam of the far right,
launched to promote the agenda of
longtime anti-Semite Willis Carto
and his organization, Liberty Lobby
— the most professional anti-Jewish
propaganda organization in America.
ADL closely monitored the creation
and development of this "political
party," a major right-wing extremist
organization attempting to- exploit
the present crisis in rural America.
The Populist Party adopted a
plank on "Revitalizing the. Family
Farm" at its November' 1984 na-
tional convention in Nashville,
Tenn. At the national committee
Continued on Page 34