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January 23, 1987 - Image 30

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-01-23

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January 23-31

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he U.S.-Iran arms
scandal has proven
once more that vows in
political marriages are hon-
ored only until opportunism
proves more valuable than
Thus, Israel should not be
surprised that Reagan officials
are attempting to shift some, if
not all, of the blame for the
Iranian arms deal to its politi-
cal ally in the Mideast.
Professional politicians —
and perhaps the public — have
always understood that fidel-
ity in politics is always fragile
and not subject to principle. It
is driven by what may be
gained or lost by being faithful.
During the last few weeks,
as the Reagan Administration
has run for cover while trying
to cover up with a variety of
excuses its ineptitude, if not
yet proven unlawfulness, it
simultaneously has pointed
the finger at Israel. With a
variety of skillful and time-
proven political tactics, it has
leaked accusations from the
"anonymous" sources that it
was Israel which first proposed
initiating an arms-for-hostage
deal with Iran.
The media, which never
makes evaluations on motiva-
tion when it receives informa-
tion not for attribution, jumped
on the story. The headlines ap-
peared on Page One of this na-
tion's newspapers and received
coverage on prime time televi-
sion. The Administration
achieved its goal, if not of ab-
solving itself of responsibility,
of at least implicating Israel
and sharing blame.
Then, with a straight face,
the Administration apologized
to Israel, stating it did not
mean to shift blame nor did it
intend any criticism of its
As M.J. Rosenberg said in an
Op-Ed column in the New York
Times: "It has proved so easy
and so convenient to lay blame
on Israel — to claim that the
Israelis made us do it' — in-
stead of taking responsibility
ourselves. This genie, once let
out of the bottle, doesn't climb
back in that easily."
Even if the accusation is
true, it is unlikely that Con-
gress or the American public
will absolve the Administra-
tion from responsibility if Is-
rael did recommend the so-
called arms-for-hostage trade.
It was the Reagan Adminis-
tration which implemented the
deal and it cannot escape the
burden of the aftermath by
saying some other country
suggested the arrangement.
One can only imagine how
confident Israeli officials will
be the next time they sit across
the table from their U.S. coun-
terparts and are asked for ad-
vice and recommendations on
various foreign policy
strategies. Foreign Minister
Shimon Peres, refusing to be


Appiegate Square • Northwestern Hwy. at Inkster Road


Friday, January.23, 1987


drawn into the controversy,
hinted at the confidential rela-
tionship and the alliance when
he responded: "We were ap-
proached as a friend. We re-
plied as a friend. I'm patient to
wait until the full picture
emerges. I feel our case is
strong enough."
If the accusation is not true,
it is nothing short of reprehen-
sible political behavior — even
by standards in professional
politicians — to attempt to
mitigate one's own responsibil-
ity by falsely implicating Is-
rael in the Iranian scandal.
The question is, what was
gained by the Reagan Ad-
ministration regardless of Is-
rael's role in this matter? The
answer appears to be very lit-
tle, if anything:
• The relationship between
Israel and America has been
weakened. Obviously, Israel's
level of trust must have been
diminished, notwithstanding
public statements to the con-
• The enemies of Israel have
been strengthened. Whenever
the U.S. and Israel have a seri-
ous disagreement, the radicals
in the Mideast are the winners.
• The culpability of the Re-
agan Administration has not
been diminished even if Con-
gress and the public ultimately
accept the charge that Israel
proposed initiating the arms
deal. Scapegoatism has never
been an effective defense for ir-
responsibility and wrongdo-
Thus, the Administration's
political ploys garnered head-
lines, perhaps created some
public opinion that Israel
should share some of the
blame, but hardly absolved it-
self of responsibility. It gener-
ated a lot of heat, but little sub-
stance, and damaged a politi-
cal marriage just as surely as a
private one is injured when one
party has strayed from vows of
fidelity — even if it has only
occurred once.


■ 11111 ■ 1111MIMENNEVENNIMIll

Arabs Worried
About Tax Law

New York (JTA) — Arab
governments are concerned
over the effects of the Tax Re-
form Act of 1986 on invest-
ments by foreign governments
in U.S. enterprises, according
to Boycott Report, a bulletin on
developments and trends af-
fecting the Arab boycott of Is-
rael and Arab influence in the
U.S., published by the Ameri-
can Jewish Congress.
The oil-rich Persian Gulf
state of Kuwait is a case in
point. It may lose its tax-
exempt status on so-called
passive investments in the
United States. Kuwait, a
heavy investor, was exempt
under Section 892 of the old
Internal Revenue Code from
federal taxes on stocks, bonds
or other domestic securities it
owned and interest from depos-
its in American banks.

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