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April 24, 1987 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-04-24

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Scales of Justice

Attorney General Edwin Meese's attempt during Passover to
bundle off alleged mass murderer Karl Linnas to Panama was,
fortunately, thwarted.
It is outrageous that U.S. authorities looked the other way four
decades ago as thousands of Nazi war criminals poured into the United
States after World War II. It is outrageous that many more were
funneled to a comfortable exile in Latin America.
It is worse, however, that top echelons of the Reagan
Administration have yet to learn the lesson of that period or the
Bitburg fiasco of two years ago, and that the Linnas episode comes as
the United States finally makes a concerted effort to deport the war
criminals in our midst.
Meese's action was an effort to deport Linnas without sending him
back to the Soviet Union where, anti-Communists in this country say,
Linnas faces "tainted" evidence and a death sentence. The
Administration's own Office of Special Investigations in the U.S.
Justice Department stands behind the Soviet documentation. Meese's
Panamanian effort also comes on the heels of a vigorous defense of
Linnas and John Demjanjuk, the alleged' Treblinka death camp guard
now on trial in Israel who is also condemned by key Soviet evidence.
That defense came from Patrick Buchanan, former White House
communications director.Old fashioned U.S. "Commie-bashing" by the
President's men should not outweigh U.S.-corroborated evidence
against Nazis accused of murdering thousands of Jews during World
War II.
Tie these episodes to the stiff punishment for Israeli spy Jonathan
Jay Pollard, and the lighter sentence for the far more damaging
Walker family spy case, and one comes to some disquieting
At worst, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day this Sunday,
we see a vicious. double standard being applied where Jews are
concerned. At best, top-ranking public servants in this country who
have sworn to uphold justice are too hazy on the meaning of the word.

How thought-provoking. After 30 years of terrorism, intimidation
and murder, the PLO is still at square one, proposing to fulfill its own
needs, and perhaps its people's needs, only through "armed struggle."
What good will it do to repeat the long litany of PLO terrorist outrages
when we only have to look across Israel's northern border with
Lebanon to see the wisdom of government from, by, and for the PLO.
The PLO, in no small measure, contributed to the 100,000 civilian
deaths in the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1982. It shares guilt with
Syria in fomenting the strife between Christian and Moslem Lebanese,
and took advantage of the situation to carve out its own fiefdom of
terrorist bases and "refugee camps"— entire neighborhoods of Beirut,
Tyre, Sidon and other Lebanese cities. The PLO's law-by-the-gun is one
cancer the Israeli army eradicated for the Lebanese when it invaded
Lebanon in 1982.
Now, five years later, the threat is renewed. A terrorist squad this
week cut through the border security fence and killed two Israeli
soldiers before they were gunned down. Five Katyusha rockets were
fired at Israel over the weekend, although four exploded on Lebanese
soil. The PLO is again trying to turn back the clock, to pre-1982, to
pre-1967, to pre-1948, possibly to pre-1900.
Actually, the PLO would be satisfied with 1987 Israel if the
Israelis would leave it to them and just go somewhere else. And as an
inducement they are offering a continuation of their "holy war," their
"armed struggle." No suggestions are offered for compromise, no talk of
a peace conference is heard. Instead, the PLO leadership reunites
around the muzzle of a gun, the only law they know.

Live By The Sword

The leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization gathered
this week for the first time in four years. PLO chieftain Yassir Arafat
staged an internal public relations coup by convincing his long-time
foes, hardliners George Habash of the Popular Front for the Liberation
of Palestine and Nayef Hawatmeh of the Marxist Front for the
Liberation of Palestine, to join him on the podium.
We will maintain our armed struggle against Israel not because
we seek war," is the Arafatian logic, "but because we want peace, a
just and comprehensive peace on the basis of the Palestinian right to
self-determination and to an independent state with Jerusalem as its


.0ther Aspects
Of 'The Covenant'

I read with interest the ar-
ticle which dealt with ritual
circumcision ("The Cove-
nant," April 10). You might
be interested to know that
there is as lively a debate
presently going on regarding
the medical aspects of cir-
cumcision as with the
halachic considerations pre-
sented in your article.
In the 1970s the American
Academy of Pediatrics took
the position that there was
no medical • justification for
routine circumcision. No pro-
ven benefit of the procedure
had been identified and there
was concern for the in-


Friday, April 24, 1987

frequent complications of
bleeding, infection and
Recently, Dr. Thomas Wis-
well, a pediatrician at Brooke
Army Medical Center pub-
lished two articles dealing
with the incidence of urinary
tract infections 'in circum-
cised versus uncircumcised
male infants. In the very
large number of infants
studied retrospectively
(220,000 at U.S. Army bases
worldwide), a much lower in-
cidence of-urinary tract infec-
tions was noted in circum-
cised males.
Moreover, in older children
from one to 14 years of age,
Dr. Wiswell has determined
(in soon to be published data)


at least a 2.5 times greater
incidence of urinary tract in-
fections in uncircumcised
compared to circumcised
These findings of Dr. Wis-
well have stimulated a
dialogue which clearly has
the potential of altering the
present position of the medi-
cal community with respect
to routine circumcisions.
For years I have been fas 2
cinated by the fact that brit
milah is delayed until the
eighth day of life. Newborns
normally have a bleeding
tendency which naturally
corrects itself at the end of
the first week. Today this
bleeding tendency is cor-
rected by the administration

of vitamin K to all newborns
soon after birth.
Being aware of the wisdom
of timing brit milah on the
eighth day, I was disap-
pointed at the apparent
realization that this tradi-
tion, which is so vital to
Judaism, could not be jus-
tified medically. I thus find it
quite comforting to see the
evidence mounting that brit
milah is indeed warranted

Dr. Gerald H. Katzman
Chairman, Dept. of Pediatrics
Sinai Hospital of Detroit

Your recent article on brit
• milah (circumcision) was in-
formative and thoughtful.

However, you erred in stating
that "only Reform Jews ac-
cept patrilineal descent."
The Federation of Recon-
structionist Congregations
and Havurot passed a resolu-
tion in . 1968 recognizing the
children of a Jewish father
and non-Jewish mother as
Jews, "if the parents have
committed themselves to rear
their children as Jews," in-
cluding circumcision for boys,
a Jewish education, and a bar
or bat mitzvah. The Recon-
structionist Rabbinical Asso-
ciation endorsed this idea in
An important part of the
1968 Reconstructionist reso-
lution includes informing

Continued on Page 13

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