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February 19, 1988 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-02-19

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

- 4.4.,

• -


The Heartrending TIragedy: The Arab Self-Infliction


Editor Emeritus


iolence that has resulted in
many deaths causes heartrend-
ing for Israel and world Jewry
much more than for the violators of the
peace. In the instances of sufferings
caused by Israel's defenders who
resorted to resistance that invited
brutality the sadness is as great in our
midst as anywhere else. The feeling of
remorse is greater in our hearts because
our morality and our ethical codes will
not be infringed upon by the violent
who wish death for the state called
There are some undeniables in the
tragic situation. Surrounded by more
than a hundred million Arabs who seek
Israel's destruction, the Jewish State is
not submitting to suicide. Conceding
that there is truth in some of the exag-
gerations about the current occur-
rences, it must be recognized that all
the stories about the accusations of
organized brutalities stem from "it is
reported" or "there are reports" about
the depicted brutalities — without
proof. We concede there are inevitable
instances of reactions. We must insist
that an honest appraisal will prove that
media depictions of excesses have
magnified the guilt that has been call-
ed Israel.
Then there is the Arab case. The
Arab nations have chosen to be silent,
to let the continuing condemnations of
Israel serve as means of placing Israel
on trial, often without defense; of mak-
ing Israel the culprit without aiding in
providing relief for those described as
suffering in "refugee" camps. With the
United Nations always acting disparag-
ingly toward Israel, the Arab nations
have encouraged perpetuating "refugee
camps" as weapons in the battle to
disgrace Israel.
Gaza is exemplary. Not a single
Arab state wishes responsibility for
Gaza. Egypt dumped it into Israel's lap.
It is imposed upon Israel. Not a single
force in Arabism did anything to absorb
those described as "refugees" into the
Gaza economy. It is evident where the
guilt lies.
Very little has been heard in
defense or support of Israel in the pre-

sent crisis, and it is now reasonable to
believe that many of the accusations
and instances of brutalities will be pro-
ven either false or exaggerations.
It would be unjust, however, to
assert that all voices have been silent.
One expose of Arab guilt comes from an
unexpected source. It is in a statement
made in Rome by a visiting dignitary
from Bethlehem, Israel, and it appeared
a few days ago in the Michigan Catholic,
the weekly newspaper of the Detroit
Catholic Archdiocese.
The Michigan Catholic story is
headlined "West Bank Demonstrations
`Destroying' Bethlehem University."
The story is of sufficient importance to
merit a lengthy quotation, as means of
judging the sincerity of the cleric
quoted and as an application to the cur-
rent violence. The Michigan Catholic
The turbulent politics of the
Israeli-occupied West Bank are
"destroying" Catholic-run
Bethlehem University, said the
university's British vice
chancellor, Christian Bro. Anton
De Roeper.
THe Vatican-sponsored
university has been shut down
numerous times by Israeli of-
ficials in its 14-year history
because of student demonstra-
tions, he said. The most recent
shut-down was also the longest
— three months.
Added to this are disrup-
tions caused by disagreements
among Palestinian political fac-
tions from outside the campus
trying to organize the all-
Palestinian, mostly Moslem stu-
dent body, Bro. De Roeper said
in a Rome interview .. .
Arab universities in oc-
cupied territory are political as
well as academic centers, he
"They are places where
large groups of youths come
together for political activities
fostered by groups outside the
university," he added.
"On the whole, (Bethlehem)
University has the respect of the
community and the occupying
power," he added.

"We have a serious academic
record. When the political ele-
ment arises, we try to live
through it:' he added.
This report is an indication of the
existence of another tragedy, that is the
destruction of the non-Jewish academic
community resulting from violence.
Surely, the rioting referred to is not by
the entire Bethlehem University
1,600-student body. It is the result of
destructive efforts stemming "from the
Therefore the conviction that what
is happening is an Arab self-infliction,
that while Israel and its supporting
world Jewish community are being
humiliated, the Arabs are the greatest
The UN and the Arab states are the
guiltiest of all. Instead of negotiating
and striving for peace, they are "the
outsiders" referred to who are in-
stigating the rioting by failures to seek
an accord. The self-infliction of misery
by Arabs upon themselves is the most
depressing element in the tragedy.

About The Moralists:
An Editor's Addendum

While resenting what's happening
in the media, consideration is due the
few who do not submit to the prejudice
against Israel. Some take into con-
sideration the moralists. Charles
Krauthammer, a senior editor of the
New Republic, after refuting the ar-
rogant piece that was written for the
NYTimes op-ed page by Woody Allen,
made an important comment about the
moralists who are "concerned about
Israel's soul!' He commented:
There is great nostalgia for
the Israel of yore, the noble,
vulnerable Israel so suddenly
beloved by its critics. The cover
of the current Economist cap-
tures the mood perfectly. It
quotes the prophet Hosea:
"When Israel was a child, then
I loved him."
Why loved then, not now?
Because, as Italian journalist
Oriana Fallaci once complained
to Ariel Sharon, "You are no
more the nation of the great

dream, the country for which we
cried." Israel as victim, Israel on
the brink of annihilation was so
easy to love. It required only
pity and a handkerchief. It is,
after all, no moral effort to love
a charity case. "My goodness!"
writes Woody Allen. "Are these
the people whose money I used
to steal from those little blue-
and-white cans after collecting
funds for a Jewish homeland?"
They are. What happened to
them? Forty years of continual
attack from every conceivable
quarter: Arab armies, terrorists
and now angry Palestinians
over whom Israel never sought
to rule, but for whom no one,
other than those committed to
destroying Israel, wants
Under these terrible cir-
cumstances, Israel has commit-
ted terrible sins: Sabra and
Shatila being the worst, the
beatings of Palestinians in the
territories being the most

The beatings are a horror
and blot on Israel. They repre-
sent the kind of brutality a
desperate army resorts to and
for which there is no excuse. It
is a relief to learn that Defense
Minister Rabin has issued
orders permitting the use of
violence only to stop rioters in
the act of rioting, and not
IT is perfectly legitimate to
express revulsion at the
beatings. And perfectly
frivoloous to stop there. For a
moral critique to be serious, it
must show concern for princi-
ple, not for parties. Serious
ethics, like justice, is blind.
An amoral Disneyland,
however, it is not. So much con-
cern for Israel's Jewish soul. Do
Arabs, too, not have souls?
When they prick, should our
hearts not bleed? When the
government of Syria killed
20,000 people in the 1982 Muslim
Brotherhood uprising in Hama,

Continued on Page 40

Hollywood Makes An Attempt At Diplomacy


oody Allen is not lacking in
notoriety. He is a good actor,
also gains attention as a
writer and director. He is not begrudg-
ed in what he does and says. When he
attempts at being a diplomat, and a
moralist to boot, that's annoying. He
tried it in a New York Times Op-ed Page
article in which he even tried to be the
judge over Israel. Ari Z. Posner, a
reporter-researcher of the New Republic
editorial staff, gave the following addi-
tional notoriety to Woody Allen:

Being taken seriously has
always been something of a hob-
by for Woodey Allen. I just hope



he doesn't make it a habit. It has
never really bothered me that
Allen varied his oeuvre by toss-
ing off a laugh-free drama from
time to time. After all, with the
next Woody Allen film always a
mere 12 months away, who
could blame him for indulging
his dramatic license?
This past year, though, the
Woodman's gone on a
seriousness offensive. In addi-
tion to disappointing die-hards
with September, he testified
before Congress about the evils
of colorization, and became a
father for the first time Granted,

none of these acts is intrinsical-
ly bad, but taken together they
were beginning to form a wor-
risome pattern.
Now Allen's entered the
public debate about Israel's
brutal actions on the West Bank.
In a recent New York Times op-
ed article, he attempted to de-
nounce Israel's policies, but in-
stead trivilaized his remarks
with nervous humor. "If
anything, I'm an uninformed
coward;' he protests at the
outset, like the self-deprecating
hero of Annie Hall. "I mean,
fellas, are you kidding?" he

huffs, as if in self-parody, on the
subject of the beatings. "My
goodness! Are these the people
whose money I used to steal
from those blue-and-white cans
after collecting funds for a
Jewish homeland?" Few sub-
jects remain beyond the ken of
a clever satirist. The hemor-
rhaging of Israel is probably

Thus the new light on the image of
Woody Allen the Moralist, who attemp-
ted to be judge over Israel. Perhaps he'll
learn that he is not "a Daniel come to

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