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November 25, 1988 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-11-25

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

CJF/GA

The Other Issues

ARTHUR J. MAGIDA

Special to The Jewish News

lthough " Who Is A
Jew" was the pre-
eminent issue at the
General Assembly, other
issues were not totally ig-
nored, certainly not with vir-
tually round-the-clock
seminars on everything from
"Endowments for Cana-
dians" to "What's So Funny
About Jewish Humor?"
Among those issues that at-
tracted wide interest were:

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Soviet Jewry

Shifts in U.S.-Soviet rela-
tions and in the Kremlin's at-
titude toward Soviet Jews will
force the Soviet Jewry move-
ment in America to be "more
subtle and much less adver-
sarial," said Morris Abram.
Abram, past chairman of
the National Conference on
Soviet Jewry, warned that
Americans "should not be
deceived by the relaxation" of
anti-Jewish measures in the
USSR: "The Soviet Union is
a totalitarian state. What is
given can be taken away.
Jews are not safe as Jews in
the Soviet Union."
Sating that the Soviet
Jewry movement "is about
nothing less than the redemp-
tion of one-fifth" of world
Jewry, Abram advised that
"the best way" to redeem
Soviet Jews is to encourage
them to emigrate to Israel,
"where they wil learn the
[Hebrew] language and
observe the [Jewish]
holdiays."
Heinz Eppler, president of
the Jewish Distriution Com-
mittee (JDC), revealed that
the committee's 1989 budget
will include $1 million for
cultural and religious needs
of Soviet Jews. The funds
and/or their purchases will be
distributed to Jews still in the
Soviet Union.

The Bush
Administration

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We'll Help.
Will You?

Steven Roberts, a New York
Times Washington correspon-
dent, said President-elect
George Bush was insensitive
to the Jewish community
when he appointed John
Sununu as his White House
chief of staff.
Sununu, the governor of
New Hampshire, is of
Lebanese descent. He was the
only governor who refused to
endorse a resolution before
the National Governors Con-
ference decrying the United
Nations' "Zionism is racism"
resolution.
"Like the [Dan] Quayle
nomination," said Roberts,
"what does this tell us about

George Bush? Was there a
lack of judgement?"

response" to current in-
itiatives from Palestinians.

The Middle East

Blacks and Jews

Supporters of Israel must
proceed with extreme caution
given the new Palestinian
state, the incoming American
administration and the state
of the U.S. economy, caution-
ed Yosef Olmert of Tel Aviv
University's Dayan Center
for Middle East Studies.
From a public relations
perspective, the declaration of
a Palestinian state by the
Palestine National Council
last week in Algiers leaves
Israel with an uphill battle,
said Prof. Nehemia Levtzion
of Hebrew University in
Jerusalem.
Olmert added that with the
PLO "talking in a language
that the Canadian and
American Public did not hear
before, the old-line arguments
used so well before [by par-
tisans of Israel] will not play
well."
Unilateral moves by Israel
toward peace was firmly re-
jected by Levtzion.
Since the outbreak of the
Palestinian intifada last Dec.
9, the Palestine Liberation
Organization has "been
changing in the face of very
harsh Israeli policy," said
Levtzion. "If Israel did
something unilaterally, there
would be no chance the PLO
would change."
Israel, he said, lacks the
"charismatic leadership" to
produce a "systematic

Despite the black-Jewish
civil rights alliance of the
1960s, said Michael Kotzin,
director of the Community
Relations Council of
Chicago's Jewish United
Fund, many blacks now see
Jews as part of the anti-black
world that threatens black
economics and empowerment.
And, said Kotzin, the
Jewish community "hears
the anti-Semitism coming
from certain segments of the
black community and notices
the silence coming from other
parts of the black communi-
ty."
Rep. Mickey Leland (D-Tex.)
said black-Jewish tensions
can only be resolved by "ad-
dressing the bigotry on both
sides. Have you questioned
yourself about the paranoia
in the Jewish community?"
Jews, advised Leland, can-
not just talk to black leaders.
They must create issues or
programs on which blacks
and Jews can cooperate,
especially in light of the black
middle-class still being "a
struggling middle-class."
Jews must also reconcile
themselves to blacks' love for
Jesse Jackson. And Leland
advised that if American
Jews want continued support
for the Congressional Black
Caucus, they must persuade
Israel to cease all arms sales
to South Africa.

Who Is A Jew?

Continued from Page 44
News that in 1987 she had
discussed with a represen-
tative of Rabbi Schneerson
her perceptions of the dangers
of altering the Law of Return.
The meeting, she said, lasted
several hours and was very
amicable. "At the end, we
realized we had two very dif-
ferent perspectives," she said.
Mendel Kaplan, chairman
of the Jewish Agency's board
of governors, said he will in-
sist that the Israeli govern-
ment consult the Agency if it
intends to formally propose to
the Knesset that the Law of
Return be changed. Under a
1979 Israeli law, the Agency
must be consulted on all
issues that affect its
functioning.
The definition of a Jew, said
Kaplan, is "not a political
football, a bagaining tool for
a coalition. This is an issue
that involves every Jew. It
does not involve Israeli
security!'
"This challenge to the very
legitimacy" of Israel, said
Kaplan, addresses whether

Israel should "be democratic;
or theocratic, tolerant or in-
tolerant, homogeneous or
heterogeneous!'
Alluding to the potential of
the "Who Is A Jew"issue to
divide Jews, Simcha Dinitz,
chairman of the Jewish Agen-
cy Executive and former
Israeli Ambassador to the
United States, said, "Just as
the Arabs did not succeed in
separating the Jews in 1973,
jsut as the State Department
did not succeed in separating
the Jews in 1976, Jews will
not separate the Jews in
1988."
Nor, he said, should the
issue cause American Jews to
desert Israel. American Jews,
he said, "are our soldiers of
peace. You are our soldiers to
build a strong Israeli society,
a quality Israeli society, a de-
cent Israeli society. And
soldiers, my dear friends, do
not walk off the battlefield
when it is smoking."

Alan Hitsky contributed to
this story.

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