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November 13, 1987 - Image 58

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-13

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BOOKBINDER: still waiting to hear that Israel
deserves a state in the Mideast.

ABOUREZK: convinced the Mideast equation in the
U.S. is pro-Israel biased.

Two Americans, an Arab and a Jew,

debate U.S policy in the Mideast


Note: Following is an excerpt from a new book,
"Through Different Eyes," a kind of debate in
print by two Americans, an Arab and a Jew, on
US. Mideast policy. James Abourezk, a former
US Senator from South Dakota, is founder and
chairman of the American Arab Anti-Discrim-
ination Committee. Hyman Bookbinder, Wash-
ington representative of the American Jewish
Committee for two decades, is now special
representative of the organization. This live
debate was moderated by New York Times cor-
respondent David Shipler, winner of a Pulitzer
Prize last year for his book, "Arab and Jew."

MR. SHIPLER: 'IWo Americans, both very
well versed in the problems of the Middle
East, look at the same shade of gray — one
sees black, the other sees white. It raises
questions about the purpose, the utility, of
lb begin, we might try a mind-bending

Authors James Abourezk and Hyman
Bookbinder will appear at the Jewish
Book Fair at the Jewish Community
Center, 3 p.m. on Sunday.

ER_ iney NION/ iq 1Qc17

exercise, and ask each of you to criticize
your own position; to answer the question,
what wrongs have Arabs done to Israelis
and what wrongs have Israelis done to
Arabs? What criticisms do you have of
your own argument and your own side of
this question?
Let's begin with Mr. Abourezk.
MR. ABOUREZK: When you say Arabs,
I assume you mean the Arab nations. Are
there a number of sins committed by Syria
and by Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and so
I don't speak for those governments. I
think they are perfectly capable of speak-
ing for themselves and defending their own
position. I suspect each of them has com-
mitted a great many wrongs and sins. And
you can justify some of them, perhaps, by
saying, well, these are Third World coun-
tries coming out of colonialism, and that's
what they're trained to do. That's a total-
ly separate argument; it has nothing to do
with this issue.

If I were to talk about wrongs commit-
ted by the Palestinian people themselves,
they're guilty of being vulnerable and
politically weak in a world where, in spite
of the United Nations, might makes a
great deal of right. And I think that's
So far as the Palestine revolution, the
P.L.O. and its various factions, I would
rather see the P.L.O. undertake a struggle
of non-violent resistance than the armed
struggle that they have undertaken. But
I'm not going to sit in the comfort of my
Washington home and my Washington of-
fice and tell people who've grown up in
refugee camps, "You can't go pick up a gun
and go try to reclaim your land." That
would be very difficult for me to do, even
though I disagree with what they're doing.
I'm not going to preach to them.
MR. SHIPLER: Well, take the role of
analyst, then. You're trying to untangle
this problem. You say that violence is not
preferable, in your view.

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