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January 15, 1988 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-01-15

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PURELY COMMENTARY

Realities That Demand Protection of Israel Autonomy

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

I

n a speech on "Conciliation with
America," March 22, 1775 in the
British House of Commons, Ed-
mund Burke (1729-1797) made the
assertion:
"The concessions of the weak are
the concessions of fear."
In his judgment on fear, the Irish
statesman and author provided an ap-
plicability to the ever-saddening
developments in Israel. In our appeal to
reason in a December commentary,
'there was emphasis on avoidance of
panic. Even the U.S. State Department
had yielded to a measure of fear over
current tragic occurrences.
Our immediate concern last month
was over the calamities that stem from
panicking. The appeal was for a recogni-
tion of realities demanded by Israel's
right to function autonomously
regardless of threats. The explained
threats are those of an antagonistic
Arab world that fails to recognize the
Israeli position as of right and not an
sufferance.
The shockingly distressing realism
is that the rioters and demonstrators
use violent cries that "Jews get out,"
that Israel abandon Gaza and the
Judea-Samaria area called West Bank
really is a demand that Jews give up

everything that was created since the
state's rebirth. Sidney Zion, who has
been writing extensively on the Middle
East, in a New York Times Op-ed Page
article Jan. 4 recalled such a demand
that was made to him in an interview
with the then Mayor Sheik Mohamm-
ed Ali Jaabari of Hebron in 1970:
In 1970, Sheik Mohammed
Ali Jaabari, the mayor of
Hebron, had a few of us
American journalists to his
home for tea. Those were the
days when every newspaper-
man who went to the Holy Land
hunted for moderate Arab
leaders who might help broker
a peace between Israel and Jor-
dan and thus end the three-year
occupation of the West Bank
and Gaza. Mayor Jaabari seem-
ed the quintessential moderate:
He not only was close to King
Hussein but despised the
Palestine Liberation Organi-
zation.
I have reconstructed the in-
terview from memory and from
talking with a newsman who
was present.
Sheik Jaabari was asked the
jackpot question first: What do
the Arabs require for peace?
"It is quite simple," he said.
"The Jews will have to restore to

the Arabs all the land taken
from them in the wars:'
I said, "Did you say 'wars'?
Not the 1967 war, but "wars'?"
"All the wars — everything
since the UN partition plan of
1947:'
"That would mean Jaffa, for
example."
"Yes;' Sheik Jaabarai said.
"There were 70,000 Arabs in Jaf-
fa in 1947; there will be 70,000
Arabs in Jaffa now."
"And half the Negev, and
part of Haifa, all of Jerusalem,
Beersheba:'
"The whole of the Negev," he
said. "And, for sure, Jerusalem,
and much of Haifa, and Beer-
sheba. Wherever the Arabs were
then, the Arabs will be now."
I said, "Mr. Mayor, if the
Israelis were to accept this ar-
rangement, would you then
recognize them and make peace
with them?"
He thought for a moment
and said, "I assure you that if
the Jews do this, the Arab
leaders will be very favorable to
them."
"But no guarantees in ad-
vance," I said.
"The Arab leaders will have
to meet, of course. But I know
them. I know how they think. I

tell you they would be very
favorable to the Jews:'
"First, the Israelis must give
back the land and then the Arab
leaders meet, is that it?"
"Yes, though it might be
simultaneously — that is a
detail:'
"Anyway, the Israelis must
make the offer unconditionally?'
"For peace, absolutely?'
I said: "Mr. Mayor, I have
great respect for you. So please
do not take what I must say as
a sign of disrespect:'
"Say anything you like. You
are my guest:'

"My question is, What would
your terms be if you won the
war?"
This is what the youth of that
generation of haters have inherited
from their parents and the media who
seem bent upon every opportunity to
needle Israel. They continue to em-
phasize all available negatives to sen-
sationalize the means wherewith to por-
tray. the Jewish state as a banal and
criminally-governed country.
The death of an Arab woman on
Jan. 3, caused by an Israeli soldier, add-
ed to the weapons for hatred. It was a
tragically unfortunate occurrence.
Israel was as shocked by the accident
Continued on Page 40

Historiography Enriched By Jabotinsky Biography

B

iography has often been judged
as the most vital factor in pre-
serving archival records. An
important life story of the famous
creator of Revisionism in Zionism,
Vladimir Jabotinsky, proves it.
A Detroit-based philanthropic fami-
ly is fulfilling an important need by re-
issuing the two-volume Rebel and
Statesman by Joseph B. Schechtman.
This important Jabotinsky biography
has many vital elements to commend it.
Primarily, it is the story of the man
whose philosophy inspired the Israel
Likud political and social foundation.
Then there is the significant introduc-
tion. It is the only essay Menachem
Begin had written since his retirement
from the Israel prime membership. It is
a Menachem Begin declaration of
respect and admiration for his mentor,
Vladimir Zeev Jabotinsky.
Then there is the biographer.
Joseph B. Schechtman worked side-by-
side with the hero of his biography.
Perhaps no other person was so closely
associated with Jabotinsky in his rela-
tionship with all the contending groups
in Jewish life and primarily in Zionism.
The Menachem Begin essay, the
foreward to the Schechtman biography,
is much more than a tribute to the
leader of the political Zionist party that
called for militancy in achieving the
aims of the Jewish national movement.
It is an excoriation of the critics and an
appeal for gratitude for Jabotinsky's
idealism.
Begin also took occasion to pay

2

FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 1988

honor to the biographer. He
acknowledged Schechtman as one of
Jabotinsky's collaborators "in times of
crisis and achievement, in the hours of
joy and worry."
The linking of the two personalities
is important because the Jabotinsky-
Schechtman ties are vital for an
understanding and appreciation of the
massive material imbedded in this
biography.
The first volume of the Schechtman
biography is devoted to the early years
of the eminent personality depicted af-
fectionately. Here the life of Jabotinsky
also is revealed like a romantic story of
genius emerging on the Jewish horizon.
It is the initial step to Zionist leader-
ship. It is an introduction also to
Jabotinsky's Jewish loyalties and his
acquaintance with Jewish life. The se-
cond volume, The Last Years, is the vital
appendix to Jewish history of this cen-
tury, of the Zionist idealism and the dif-
fering with the most powerful.
Jabotinsky's encounters with
Jewish leaders included an early one
with Supreme Court Justice Louis D.
Brandeis and The Brandeis-Mack group
in American Zionism. Brandeis had
faith in the British and their pledges,
Jabotinsky did not. According to
Schechtman:
"Brandeis replied coldly: 'Sir, I can
only see that we do not speak a common
language.' To this Jabotinsky retorted:
`Your Honor is certainly an excellent
judge, but you don't possess a bit of
political understanding if you cannot

Vladimir Jabotinsky
in Jewish Legion uniform.

see what is taking place under your
very nose.' This exchange of darted
remarks is being reported here on the
authority of the late Mark Schwarz, to
whom Jabotinsky related the
memorable conversation almost im-
mediately after it had taken place. Mr.
A. Remba recorded Schwarz's evidence
in his unpublished study `Jabotinsky
the Defender and Prisoner.' Mr. Robert
Szold, who was present at the Brandeis-
Jabotinsky meeting, did not confirm
this report and only stated that

`Brandeis listened attentively to
Jabotinsky's exposition of the (political)
situation.' However he admitted to this
author that Brandeis 'did not take to
Jabotinsky.' There undoubtedly was a
clash of personalities which left its
mark on all their further relationships,
opened a rift between the two men and
kept them apart almost until the end
of their lives."
This is selected from the scores of in-
cidents of rancor and often recrimina-
tion between Zionist leaders and the
roles played by Jabotinsky. Yet there
were subsequent occasions when
Jabotinsky was in close contact with
Brandeis on Zionist matters, as he was
with the other leaders.
The emphasis is on the ideological
encounters and Jabotinsky could
apologize as well as attack, as he did in
several disputes with Chaim Weizmann
and others.
The entire history of Jewish ex-
perience is covered in the Schechtman
biography with the involvements of
Americans like Brandeis and Judge
Julian W Mack and scores of others. It
was with Labor Zionism that Jabotin-
sky had many disputes and much of the
opposition to his Revisionist views
stemmed from these sources. The
women:s Zionist groups were similarly
aligned with the opposition and it was
a battle so deeply involved ideological-
ly as well as politically, in the struggle
for control of power in the World Zionist

Continued on Page 40

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