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November 11, 1988 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-11-11

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

EDITORIAL

Electoral Reforms,
Here And In Israel

Now that elections have been held in Israel and America, what
lessons can we learn from the bitter, exhaustive campaigns held in
these two democracies?
Last week's election in Israel underscored the serious need for
electoral reform there. Israel's complex system of proportional
representation is ideal for choosing, but disastrous for governing. The
system encourages small parties to flourish and gives them a
disproportionate amount of power. The current situation is a perfect
example of the hazards of the Israeli system: The two major par-
ties, Labor and Likud, are courting the religious bloc, which won
relatively few seats (18) but can determine who will wield power.
Experts differ on how the next government will be formed.
There is fear building within American Jewry already that Likud
will opt to form a coalition with the religious parties, who will in
turn extract heavy demands and turn the Knesset into a form of
Iran's Khomeinism. We suggest that such concern is premature,
especially since Israel is a strong democracy.
Prime Minister Shamir may decide not to cater to the religious
parties after all, but rather to invite Labor as a junior partner in
a unity government. Besides enhancing the government's stability
and status, a Labor-Likud coalition might also make possible the
kind of electoral reform that would take the balance of power away
from the small parties by requiring parties to win at least five per-
cent of the popular vote before gaining a Knesset seat. Currently
only one percent is needed. Such reform is desperately needed.
Here at home, the nastiest election in recent memory has brought
us a president who at times questioned the patriotism of his oppo-
nent and at other times promised to give us a "kinder, gentler
America." Which George Bush have we elected?
Our concern is that this man has surrounded himself with

shrewd, loyal (to him) and hard-nosed political operatives who will
call the shots in the White House. We have just gone through eight
years with a likeable president who explained to us why a series
of deeply upsetting events — from the Iran-contra scandal to corrup-
tion among high officials — was not his fault personally.
It is up to the public to be more demanding and less tolerant
of artificial campaign packaging. And before the memory of the
endless campaign fades, let us explore ways to shorten the election
process and keep it focused on issues and positions rather than sound-
bites and "spin doctors."
Let us hope that George Bush can rise to the occasion and truly
lead us toward a "kinder, gentler America" — and that the electorate
can become involved and concerned enough to ensure that we are
never subjected again to the likes of Campaign '88.

C

•4 1

15 ;
.

YEP.,,
ONE WOM4N,
ITIREE KIDS,
AND ANY HOPE
FOR tiODERATION!

LETTERS"

Yemen's Jews
Need Our Help
A recent Jerusalem Post
story reported that up to
6,000 Jews are trapped in
North Yemen and face the
danger of extermination due
to the arrival of 2,000 ter-
rorists from Lebanon. David
Shucker, chairman of the
Israel-based Public Council
for Yemenite Jewry, reported
that the terrorists rape
Jewish women, kidnap their
children and rob their houses.
He also reported that many of
the Jews were forced to con-
vert to Islam and "if we re-
main silent there will be a
Holocaust just like there was
in Europa"

I urge all who are willing to
assist our fellow Jews in their
hour of need to contact their
senators and representatives
to demand the United States
government do everything
possible to assist these
desperate people. The time is
now — tomorrow may be too
late. Further information can
be obtained from me at the
address below. Please send a

6

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 1988

self-addressed, stamped
envelope.

William J. Wolf
American Council to Save
Yemenite Jewry
6516 North 7th Street
Suite 1D
Phoenix, Ariz. 85014

Demjanjuk THAI
Was Unjust
Recent reports indicate that
Treblinka survivor Richard
Glazar was pressured by the
Israeli investigator not to
testify in the Demjanjuk trial
in Israel. For me, this was the
last in a long series of alarm
bells about injustice.
The first rang when Dem-
janjuk was extradited, and
Prime Minister Shimon Peres
said on CBS News, "He's a
Nazi; he's a killer." Could
Israel hold a fair trial?
Friends said, "Trust Israeli
justice."
Trial reports followed, clear-
ly disturbing: a courtroom at-
mosphere like a Soviet "show
trial"; one-sided rulings;
above all, acceptance of Soviet
supplied (and likely,
fabricated) eivdence, the I.D.

which the defense was
not allowed to test fully; final-
ly, the "guilty" vertict amid
courtroom cries for "Death,
death, death." Was this
revenge, or injustice? Where
there are so many memories
traumatized by the Holo-
caust, how could there be an
objective trial? -
A man's life is at stake, so
I can no longer protest only in
private. I waited for some Jew
to protest, knowing this peo-
ple's prophetic tradition
would not allow love for Israel
to condone injustice. Phoenix
attorney Bill Wolf and others
have spoken out, citing glar-
ing legal inconsistencies. I ad-
mire their courage and in-
tegrity. I hope that others will
join in this effort to see that
justice is done for John Dem-
janjuk and others as well.
From this trial we learn
that accused ex-Nazis will
receive justice only if they are
granted U.S. due process pro-
cedures, including presump-
tion of innocence, right to
counsel, and a jury trial. No
more deportations! Speaking
only for myself, I make no

brief for real war criminals —
only that justice prevail. I
pray that the Appeals Court
will overturn the lower
court's "guilty" verdict,
releasing John Demjanjuk.

Sister Ann Gillen
Chicago

Sister Ann Gillen has worked to
help oppressed Jews and Chris-
tians in the USSR and Eastern
Europe for the past 16 years.

Jews Should Not
Back USSR Events
We very much appreciated
Elizabeth Kaplan's Oct. 28 ar-
ticle on the Moscow Circus
performance scheduled for
Nov. 15, and your forthright
editorial comments. At the
Friends of the Soviet Jewry
Education and Information
Center office, we have receiv-
ed many concerned inquiries.
In response, we would like to
state what we believe should
be the united consensus in
our community.
1. We believe it is not ap-
propriate for Jews, and those
who support our cause to at-
tend USSR cultural exchange

programs, which are a signifi-
cant source of hard foreign
currency for the Soviet
government which continues
to oppress our people.
2. We believe it is ap-
propriate, in united communi-
ty effort, through the Soviet
Jewry Committee of the
Jewish Community Council,
to organize peaceful, informa-
tional picketing of USSR
cultural events, and that as
this precedent has already
been set, not to do so would
constitute a signal to the
Soviet government and would
be an abandonment of
principles.
3. We believe it is inap-
propriate for our community
Continued on Page 10

Let Us Know

Letters must be concise,
typewritten and double-
spaced. Correspondence
must include the signa-
ture, home address and
daytime phone number of
the writer.

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