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November 20, 1987 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-20

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FRIDAY, NOV. 20, 1987




Continued from Page 1

Hyman Bookbinder and James Abourezk share a light moment before

their debate.
anything from his debates
their Detroit stop was the
with Bookbinder. "I have
first out of 13 debates — four
learned that American Jews
in front of Jewish audiences
by-and-large have failed to
— "where our appearance is
understand how Arab-
a very controversial one."
Americans and Arabs feel.
His agreement to debate
The factual situation has
Abourezk was based on "a
been distorted by the Israel
judgment call," he said, ad-
ding that no doubts remain in
This comment elicited prac-
his mind that his decision
tically the only booing heard
was the correct one. "I have
during the debate. Abourezk
given the lie to the canard
continued, saying "The
that the Jewish lobby has
Palestinians felt totally
closed up debate in this coun-
betrayed by the great Powers,
try," he said.
going back to World War I." In
Bookbinder said his
1948, the Israeli army out-
debating position is based on
numbered Arab forces three-
four points: that Israel's
to-one, he stated. He cited the
legitimacy is justified by its
"tremendous imbalance in
history, achievements, and
power between Israelis and
military victories in wars it
Palestinians, created militari-
was forced to fight; that the
ly by the U.S."
special U.S.-Israel relation-
The Palestinians are fur-
ship has not prevented the
ther handicapped because
U.S. from working with
"they did not and do not know
moderate Arab states; that
how to operate in a European
American - self-interest has
milieu," and do not unders-
been served by its Mideast
tand how to harness Western-
policy; and that the over-
style public relations. "This is
whelming majority of
what they feel, whether you
Americans support a Mideast
agree with it or not."
policy friendly to Israel.
Abourezk decried the "dou-
"My opponent attacks the
ble standard" whereby Israeli
messenger, not the message,"
attacks in Lebanon which kill
he continued, "blaming the
civilians are called defensive
Jewish lobby" for America's
measures, while "acts of arm-
strong ties with Israel.
ed struggle" carried out by
Bookbinder argued that the
Arabs are denounced as ter-
plight of the Palestinians
rorism. Arabs and Arab-
must be blamed on the Arabs
Americans "resent the fact
themselves. "So often in the
that the PLO is defined as a
past, by saying 'no, no, no' to
terrorist organization. Every
Israel, the Arabs said 'no' to
Palestinian believes that he is
the Palestinians . . . If there's
a member of the PLO," he
a Palestinian pain today, don't
asserted. "The most out-
put it on the Jews."
rageous thing is that nobody
"Mr. Bookbinder has fulfill-
understands it. Or those who
ed my prediction," Abourezk
understand, why do they deny
told his listeners, "that it is
the Israeli lobby that con-
Bookbinder, in his rebuttal,
tinues to mislead Americans
argued to applause from the
and Jews. Why should the
audience that "there would
Palestinians be made to pay
be no problem today if Arabs
for somebody else's crime?"
understood Jewish pain from
he asked, contending that the
the beginning?' He cited as
creation of Israel and
Arab insensitivity the
displacement of the Palesti-
repeated comparison of
nians cameabout because of
Israeli actions with those of
the Holocaust.
the Nazis.
He said he had been asked
Abourezk sought to dispel
whether he had learned

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