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January 15, 1988 - Image 40

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

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PURELY COMMENTARY

Israel

Continued from Page 2

caused by rioting as was all of Jewry
and the rest of the world. But the por-
traying of it as if the woman was a
target of Israeli gunmen is much more
than shocking: it is an injustice and an
outrage.
Nationally syndicated columnist
Richard Cohen had an important com-
ment on the events, in which he appeal-
ed, as in the headline over an article he
wrote on Dec. 29: "Keep Its Problems
In Perspective, Please."
Twenty-six people were kill-
ed in the Newark riot of 1967.
Later that month, 43 people
were killed in the Detroit riot. In
both cases, and in other race-
related riots of that period, some
of the dead were victims of the
police — 18 in Detroit alone,
where at least six more were
killed by the National Guard.
There were many instances of
police brutality and insensitivi-
ty. I know. I saw some of it.
In contrast, about 21 people
have died as a result of Arab
rioting in the Gaza Strip and the
West Bank. The figure, while
tragic and inexcusable, hardly
approaches the total for Newark
and Detroit, yet in 1967, few con-
cluded that the United States
had lost all respect for human
life. The nation and the world
were shocked by the riots in U.S.
cities, and communist countries
made much of it for propagan-
da purposes. Still, America re-
mained America.
The figures are provided for
perspective, not to excuse or
condone what has been happen-
ing in Israel and its occupied
territories. Police all over the
world overreact. This is par-
ticularly true when troops are
employed as police — as had
been done with the National
Guard in this country. Men
trained for combat are often in-
ept when it comes to riots. They
have a tendency to panic, to
revert to their most basic train-
ing; to shoot their enemy.
Recent events in the oc-
cupied territories hardly mean
that Israel has lost its soul or
turned into a Middle Eastern
version of South Africa. Indeed,
that the world has been shock-
ed by the pictures coining from
Gaza and the West Bank testifies
to the fact that Israel remains an
open society. Such pictures are
impossible to obtain in South
Africa and some other coun-
tries. The press is censored.
The riots in the United States
were indicative of larger pro-
blems: poverty, discrimination,
the segregation of U.S. society
into two distinct racial camps.
In the same way, the distur-
bances in the occupied ter-
ritories are an indication that
Israel faces a larger problem:
what to do with the territories it
won in the 1967 war. Both Gaza
and the West Bank are
predominately Arab. They are
administered by what amounts
to a handful of Jews. The only

40

FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 1988

way a minority can govern a
resentful majority is by force. In
recent days, Israel has applied
that force.
Israel by itself did not create
the present situation. It was the
Arab states that, in 1948, refus-
ed to accept the United Nations'
plan for the partition of
Palestine into Jewish and Arab
states. It was the Arab states
that made war. It was Jordan
that seized the West Bank and
incorporated it — and banned
Jews from the holy places in
East Jerusalem. It was Egypt
that seized Gaza.
These are undeniable facts. Also to
be remembered is that Gaza is impos-
ed on Israel. Israelis would gladly be rid
of it, Egypt doesn't want it, not a single
Arab state wants it. Yet Israel must suf-
fer from a threat imposed upon her.
Taking into account the threatening
realities, Richard Cohen's appeal for
reason and fairness concluded:
The riots of Gaza and the
West Bank will be contained,
and the overreaction of the
military hardly means that
Israel has turned mean and evil.
The status quo, though, is real-
ly a slide towards tragedy —
more riots, oppression and
deaths.
To the fiercely religious, the
Bible is destiny. To others,
demography plays that role. By
the end of the century, Arabs
might outnumber Jews in
greater Israel. Unless much of
the occupied territories is trad-
ed for peace, the dream of
Zionism may turn into a
demographic nightmare. For
Samson, Gaza was the end. For
Israel, it may be the just the
beginning.

an understanding between the con-
tenders. A divided Israeli leadership
contributed toward stymying the
attempt.
A delay in the proposed so-called
"international" action ensued. Perhaps
there will be sufficiently courageous ac-
tion to renew the attempt at peace. It
is an urgency not be delayed. Unless
there is unified action, the agony may
last too long. It is certain that Israel
will not submit to anything that at-
tempts to force her into suicide. Her an-
tagonists are more seriously affected
and must strive for a humanly-decent
approach. The world's diplomats must
stop playing games by means of
perpetuating Israel as mankind's
scapegoat. Peace for Israel will spell
peace for those who presently are her
enemies. The conscience of the world is
at stake. Therefore, delay in action to
end the current insanities by those who

seek Israel's demise must end. For the
sake of global peace, those who con-
tribute toward encouragement of the in-
anities must respond to demanded
humanism. There can not be too much
delay if peace is truly desired by a
conscience-stricken humanity.
In a revealing report on the situa-
tion, in the New York Times, Thomas
Friedman saw the inflamed episodes in
"the eyes," the way Arabs and Jews look
at each other evidencing hatreds fear,
suspicions — depending on acquired at-
titudes. Friedman also reported on one
incident among the many when Jewish
soldiers expressed compassion and were
compensated with venom resulting in
extended violence. Here is one of the
Friedman-reported occurrences:
Precisely because they do
not see themselves as occupiers,
the soldiers speak of being vic-
timized by the Palestinian teen-

Jabotinsky

Continued from Page 2

Organization, that recrimination was
not uncommon.
The fact is that Jabotinsky con-
ducted a battle in defense of his views
and in the struggle for leadership with
nearly all of the existing Zionist parties.
He was hated in Labor Zionist ranks,
the chief opponents of his created Revi-
sionism. He did not fare much better in
general Zionism.
The proof is provided with reference
to his visits in Detroit. He was here
several times and had a limited follow-
ing. One of his strongest backers was
Jacob Miller, who was the executive
director of the Zionist Organization of
Detroit and the Keren Hayesod —
United Palestine Appeal local office. He
arranged the public rally for him in the
Detroit Opera House then on Monroe
Street. Louis Cohan& presided. It had
a limited attendance. This is not men-
It is an unhappy time for Israel and tioned by Schechtman. But his
the Jewish people. Yet, the calamitous biography has two footnotes with
prognostications must also be reckon- reference to Detroit. They quote Aaron
ed with. Israel is in trouble: that's ad- M. Weisbrot. He was Jabotinsky's chief
mitted. Therefore the mounting duty to advocate in this region. This reviewer
prevent destruction. Therefore, the can recall him as having had very few
obligation to mobilize all human forces adherents. One of the footnotes states:
"In Detroit, general Zionists,
to strive for justice to Israel as well as
peace. Therefore the call for unity, for Hadassah and Mizrachi leaders who
solidarity in achieving the justice that had originally joined Jabotinsky's
must be welcomed as obligatory, the reception committee, walked out after
peace that is a compelling need for the receiving instructions from their
respective New York headquarters." It
affected area and for mankind:
The craving for peace continues, is explained as an "interview with
while hatred blocks the road to it. There Aaron Weisbrot."
The other footnote states: "In
are two parties to its consideration and
those who claim to be "moderates" in Detroit, Hashomer Hatzair picketed the
the Arab ranks must sit with the Masonic Temple where Jabotinsky was
Israelis who will not submit to destruc- delivering his lecture, and the Poale
tion. If there were the slightest hope for Zion and the Nationaler Arbeiter Far-
Jordan's King Hussein to sit at a peace- band instructed their members to
planning table, and with other Arab boycott the lecture." This also is credited
leaders to join him, there would then be to Aaron Weisbrot.
Here is the evidence that there was
a smoother path to an accord.
There is a third part, the "Free no love lost, that the rancor
World" whose representatives meet so predominated. The Detroit's reports to
often in the United Nations constantly Jabotinsky's biographer can not be
to condemn Israel. At the instance of disputed. Yet, there is an exaggeration
the United States, the only nation that in both, except for the fact that party-
refrains from such resort to harm Israel, wise Jabotinsky and his Revisionist
there was an effort for an international followers stood alone — conquering
action. Fear of the Russians who were later politically when Menachem Begin
to share in such efforts, was the primary gained the Israel prime ministership.
Nevertheless, the Schechtman
cause for the failure of that approach to

biography Rebel and Statesman truly
portrays a very great man. His life story
is a most valuable appendix to Jewish
history of the 20th Century. Jabotinsky
emerges here not only as the rebel who
challenged the most eminent of his
time. He also was the prophet of the
redemption. He was the militant man
who had a share in the creation of the
Jewish Legion during World War I and
of encouraging Jewish militancy for
statehood for Jewry in redeemed Israel.
The Aronoff Foundation earns
gratitude for making this biography
available again.

Josef Fraenkel's
Notable Record

Last Week's Commentary, dealing
with "The Jewish Journalist," made
extensive reference to Josef Fraenkel
as a Zionist historian and as the
leading journalistic archivist. It was
written a week before his death. His
memory evokes added acclaim and
recogniton of his contributions to
Jewish historiography, as outlined in
his obituary.
He was undoubtedly one of the
most informed men on Zionism and
Zionist leadership. He wrote exten-
sively on the two subjects.
As an escapee from the Nazi
atrocities he also dealt devotedly with
the Holocaust in his writings.
He was a man of charm, dignity
and constant searching for facts
wherewith to enlighten the Jewish
communities. As one of the most
knowledgeable of the foreign cor-
respondents who wrote for The Detroit
Jewish News he will be remembered
with great respect and admiration.
Dora Fraenkel was a most
dedicated associate of her husband.
She was associated with him in
translations from the Yiddish and
German and was an English scholar
as well. Hopefully, she will assemble
his collected literary works so that
they be retained in Zionist archives.

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