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April 08, 1988 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-04-08

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

EDITORIAL

Austria's Latest Insult

It is time for you to get out
and die where you wish but do not die among us.
It ends with the lines:

With Kurt Waldheim as the freely elected president of Austria,
is it any surprise that the country continues to act immorally when
it comes to its Nazi past?
For years the Austrians have insisted that they were the first
victims of the Nazis, forced into the Anschluss (or, annexation) with
Hitler in 1938. Of course that does not explain why Hitler was given
a huge hero's welcome when he marched into the country or why
there was a tremendous increase in Nazi Party membership follow-
ing the event.
Now the Austrian Parliament has voted to offer further compen-
sation to victims of Nazi rule — a decision that is unsettling for two
reasons. First, if the Austrians were indeed victims of the Nazis as
they have claimed, why should they feel obligated to provide
monetary compensation for those who suffered? Second, if Austria
was indeed responsible for its actions during the Second World War,
how can the government salve the national conscience by offering
the victims onetime payments ranging from $208 to $416 per person?
It is true that no amount of money can compensate for the suf-
fering and loss of the victims. But West Germany has proven that
reparations can begin to heal old wounds and signal national
remorse. Since 1951, West Germany has provided reparations to
Jewish victims in Israel totaling $37 billion, assistance that helped
assure the economic survival of the Jewish state.
Only a country that can acknowledge and come to grips with its
dark past can begin to emerge from the depths. Austria still needs
to learn that token payments do not compensate for dastardly deeds.

Get out of our land
our continent, our sea
our wheat, our salt, our sore
our everything, and get out
of the memory of memories.

In its 52 lines, the poem says "get out" ten times. This, from a
man who has often called for coexistence and dialogue betwen Israelis
and Arabs, has caused a furor in Israel, strengthening the fears of
those who argue that the Palestinians will not be satisfied with a
state in the occupied territories — that they want is to control all
of Israel.
Darwish says now he was misunderstood, that he only meant
for Jews to "get out" of the West Bank and Gaza, but Amos Keinan,
a dovish Israeli writer, noted that Israelis who have been worried
about negotiating with the Arabs "may decide there is nothing to
discuss, except through the barrel of a gun."
It is clear that whether one judges the Palestinians by their ac-
tions, which have been murderous, or by their words, the skepticism
in Israel about making sacrifices is understandable.

ME YOU V ~ 1iTiNC ~
reti Elii411 CR A
SOLUTiON TO TVIE
UNREST ? j
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Taking Words Seriously

Israelis who are skeptical of giving up land for the prospect of
peace suggest that the equation is not symmetrical: relinquishing
land is a tangible act while promising to make peace is merely a
verbal act that can be negated easily with more words.
Can the Palestinians who say they are ready to make peace really
be believed?
That question took on added meaning this past week with the
publication of a poem by a leading Palestinian writer, Mahmoud Dar-
wish, long regarded as a moderate within the Palestine Liberation
Organization.
The poem, addressed to the Jews of Israel, was publisehd in The
Jerusalem Post, and includes the lines:
Live where you wish but do not live among us

C4'011Cb-
I COMMENT

••

-

How Should Jews Respond To The Arab Uprising?

JAMES DAVID BESSER

Washington Correspondent

ashington — It was
not billed as a de-
bate, but by the
time it was all over, Leonard
Fein and Martin Peretz—well
known journalists who have
been in the thick of the con-
troversies over Israel's hand-
ing of the recent disorders—
were locking horns with good-
humored fervor.
The arena was a public
meeting in the Dirksen
Senate Office Building spon-
sored by the New Democratic
Forum.

W

Fein, the founding editor of
Moment magazine who now
works with the Union of
American Hebrew Congrega-
tions—described what he sees
as a shift in the position of the
American Jewish community
on the question of Israel's
response to the recent
disorders.
A month ago, he argued,
the American Jewish com-
munity was "anguished" over
events in the territories; now,
he sees a circling of the
wagons. "I see a community
that increasingly seems to be
consolidating and coalescing
and reverting to its tradi-
tional support, not only for

Israel, but for the policies of
Israel's government," he said.
The causes of this shift, he
said, include the weaknesses
of the Shultz plan, the reduc-
tion in television coverage of
the disorders, "the mobiliza-
tion of hawkish elements" in
the Jewish community, and
the "remarkable success" of
Prime Minister Shamir dur-
ing his recent visit to
Washington "in presenting
himself as someone whose
disagreements with the
American plan were mainly
technical."
Fein added that in the ear-
ly weeks of the uprising, "any
number of us were saying

`don't pay so much attention
to the uprising and Israel's
response; the real issue is the
occupation! Maybe we won
that argument—but the mom-
ent the issue becomes the oc-
cupation, it becomes a much
more delicate issue to deal
with?'
Peretz, publisher of The
New Republic, agreed that
the occupation poses a major
stumbling block to progress
in the Middle East.
"It is a politically unten-
able occupation, and a moral-
ly untenable occupation for
the long-term health of the
Jewish state," Peretz said. "I
am in favor of major terri-

torial concessions. And as an
American who sees Israel as
a strategic-asset in our world
view, I do not want to see
Israel burdened with what
becomes a strategic burden!'
But Peretz cautioned
against pressuring Israel to
accept "psychologically
unsecure borders!' The idea of
security, he suggested, is as
much psychological as it is
military.
A major disagreement be-
tween the two men centered
on the proper role of Ameri-
can Jews in discussions about
Israeli policy.
Fein focused on the agoniz-

Continued on Page 12

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