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August 14, 1987 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-08-14

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

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FRIDAY, AUG. 14, 1987

BETWEEN CROOKS AND COOLIDGE
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wring the four years
of the Carter Admin-
istration, despite
numerous entreaties, the
State Department refused to
officially characterize the
Palestine Liberation
Organization as a terrorist
organization. And, while the
same Arabists in the State
Department still maintain to-
day that this description ap-
plies only to "elements"
, within the PLO, President
Reagan himself apparently
has no similar compunctions.
Reagan has forthrightly
labelled the PLO "one of the
world's most vicious terrorist
organizations."
But, the obvious is not
always obvious to our so-
called Middle East "experts"
located in that area of
Washington (appropriately)
known as Foggy Bottom.
These are
• the diplomatic
descendents of the same
group who fought against
U.S. support for the creation
of the State of Israel 40 years
ago, and who today vigorous-
ly defend arms sales to Arab
countries who publicly state
that those weapons will be us-
ed against "the common
enemy" — i.e. Israel.
Given this kid gloves policy,
the recent efforts by the U.S.
Congress to legislate the clos-
ing of the PLO's offices in our
country deserve widespread
support. Without even a men-
tion of PLO terrorism
directed toward our ally,
Israel, there are valid reasons
for sending the PLO packing.
The irony of Egypt, Jordan
and Morocco closing down
PLO offices in their own coun-
tries, while we permit them to
do business as usual in
Washington and New York,
should also say something.
The history of PLO crimes
against American citizens
and diplomats over the yew's,
and the PLO's violent opposi-
tion to U.S. interests
throughout the -world is cer-
tainly no secret. Yet, some
well-meaning (and not-so-
well-meaning) critics of the
Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987 —
the legislation introduced
recently in both Houses of
Congress — claim the free
speech guarantees of the first
amendment of our constitu-
tion give protection to the
PLO operations in
Washington and New York.
Actually, nothing in the bill
limits anyone's right to ex-

press views in support of the
PLO. What would be
unlarful would be the taking
of money or direction from the
organization. But it becomes
apparent that the real motive
of most critics is not preserv-
ing the Constitution, but at-
tacking Israel.
There is little question as to
the motivation of the nine
House members who signed a
letter opposing the anti-PLO
legislation recently introduc-
ed by Rep. Jack Kemp. Among
the signers of this letter,
which describes the PLO as a
"government-in-exile," are the
most virulent critics of Israel
in the Congress. Aside from
seven members of the Black
Caucus who are on the letter,

Egypt, Jordan and
Morocco closed
their PLO offices,
while the U.S.
permits the PLO to
operate.

there is Nick Joe Rahall of
West Virginia, (an otherwise
undistinguished six-term
legislator who is the leader of
a relatively tiny anti-Israel
coalition in the House) and
David Bonior of Michigan,
chief deputy majority whip,
with aspirations for continu-
ing up the Democratic leader-
ship ladder.
It is fair to ask whether the
nine are protesting in defense
of the Constitution, or in
defense of the activities of a
terrorist organization which
has deliberately taken the
lives of innocent Americans
and Israelis. Fortunately, the
vast majority of their congres-
sional-colleagues do not agree
with them as there are
already a hundred cosponsors
of the anti-terrorist legisla-
tion in the Congress.
A well-orchestrated cam-
paign against the bill has
begun, in which the usual
coterie of Israel-bashers have
been joined by a small
number of civil libertarians,
including the ACLU. More
thoughtful liberals, however,
recognize the real issue rais-
ed for what it really is — that,
in the words of the bill, "the
PLO and its affiliates are a
terrorist organization and a
threat to the interests of the
United States, its allies and
to international law, and
should not benefit from
operating in the United
States."

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