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November 18, 1988 - Image 92

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-11-18

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

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1988

Editorial Freedom Or Anarchy?
`Daily' Draws Student Backlash

SUSAN LUDMER-GLIEBE

Special to The Jewish News

I

n the past month, the
Michigan Daily has been
making headlines, not
just writing them. The in-
dependent, student-run Uni-
versity of Michigan news-
paper has been the focus
of considerable campus
controversy.
"People are just disgusted,"
says Todd Endelman, a pro-

fessor of history. Across the
campus, students and faculty
have felt a growing alienation
from the paper. A number of
students, like Marc Selinger,
editor of the Michigan Review,
another student-run publica-
tion, have voiced concern
about what they consider to
be the Daily's abrogation of
professional and ethical stan-
dards. "Reporters should
report the news, not make it,"
explains Selinger, referring to

Kahane ban token

On October 19, the
Israeli Supreme Court
banned Meir Kahane's
Kach Party from par-
ticipating in today's
Knesset elections on the
grounds that his party is
racist towards Arabs.
While a propoganda
triumph for Israeli public
relations, the decision
bears little relevance to the
conduct of Israeli politics
and policies.
As journalist Robert
Friedman points out, "the
Israeli right is angry with
Kahane because he says
what they think: that the
Jewish state should annex
the occupied territories
and expel all of Israel's
unruly Arabs" (The Na-
tion, Oct. 31, 1988). The
censure of Kahane is a
cynical maneuver on the
part of Israel, because
Zionism — the official
ideology of the state — is
from its inception a racist
construct, as the United
Nations • affirmed in
Resolution 3379 which
defined Zionism as "a form
of racism and racial
discrimination!'
rIb be fully appreciated,
Zionism must be examined
in the context of its crea-
tion — as a political
ideology whose theorists
drew from 19th-century
European colonial ideology
and its concurrent no-
tions of "pure-race'
societies. The original
premise of Zionism is that
Jews and non-Jews are in-
capable of living together
harmoniously since non-
Jews are inherently
anti-Semites.
A corollary to that
premise is that Jews must
live apart from non-Jews in
order to preserve their
"Jewishness," i.e., Jews
must not assimilate.

Vladimir Jabotinsky, the
founder of Revisionist
Zionism, illustrates those
points when he says, "A
preservation of national in-
tegrity is impossible except
by a preservation of racial
purity, and for that pur-
pose we [Jews] are in need
of a territory of our own!'
(Jabotinsky, "A Letter on
Autonomy," Israel Among
the Nations).
The racist aspects of
Zionism are unabated in
the present day, as both
Labor and Likud govern-
ments confiscate Palesti-
nian land and expel the in-
digenous population. The
Labor Party's Defense
Minister Yitzhak Rabin's
current anti-uprising
policy of "might,force, and
beatings" is a logical step
towards the concept of
"transfer," a strangely an-
tiseptic term that means
the mass displacement of
Palestinians from all of
Palestine. Meir Kahane ad-
vocates the transfer policy,
as does the majority of the
Likud party. The idea,
however, is gaining
popularity across the
political spectrum in Israel
as the uprising and its ex-
pression of Palestinian na-
tionalism threatens
Israel's control of the West
Bank and Gaza.
Seen in context, Kahane
is the logical culmination
of Theodor Herzl (the
father of Zionism) and
Jabotinsky, not an aber-
rant strain of Zionism. The
Israeli state's censure of
Kahane is a hypocritical
and cynical gesture devis-
ed to placate "liberal"
Zionists whose sen-
sibilities are offended by
his pure racism and ensure
more votes for the
mainstream parties.
The Michigan Daily editorial
of Nov. 1.

recent incidents at the paper
that have blurred the line be-
tween the two.
Others, like Barbara
Ransby, spokeswoman for the
United Coalition Against
Racism, have complained
about the Daily's coverage of
racial issues. Some students
have even picketed the paper.
Students aren't the only
ones upset with the paper.
Last month, U-M Regent
Phillip Power, who owns
several suburban Detroit
newspapers and who was
editor at the Daily when he
attended the University, com-
plained that the paper was
confusing confrontation and
activism with journalism.
Many Jewish students and
staff have been following the
Daily with increasing concern
and alarm. "This isn't a pro-
blem that just came up," says
Lorne Zalesin, 21, a political
science major who also sits on
the governing board of
Michigan's B'nai B'rith Hillel
Foundation. "It's just surfac-
ing now."
Zalesin feels that since last
January there's been a
noticeable change in the Dai-
ly's coverage of news, issues
and op-ed articles relating to
Israel. But for many, the most
obvious and disconcerting
change has been showing up
in the editorial section of the
paper. "The Daily is constant-
ly condemning Israel," says
Selinger.
"The general perception on
the part of many students and
faculty who read the Daily is
that its editorial page has
been taken over this year by
a small group of students
with an anti-Israel ax to
grind," says Michael Brooks,
director of Hillel. "Because of
the peculiar structure of the
paper this is not difficult for
a dedicated group to do!'
Brooks says.
For many Jews on campus,
the straw that broke the
camel's back was the Nov. 1
editorial about the decision of
Israel's Supreme Court to for-
bid Meir Kahane's Kach Par-
ty from participating in
Israel's elections. The
editorial equated Zionism
with racism.
"The story is a total
repudiation of Jewish na-
tionalism," says Endelman.
"It's one thing to criticize the
politics of the current govern-
ment; it's another to deny the
legitimacy of the state (of
Israel)."
Endelman perceives the
editorial dualistically. "It's a
combination of a fashionable

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