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February 10, 1989 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-10

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

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AJCommittee Taps Rev. Lyons
For Speaking Tour On Mideast

RICHARD PEARL

Staff Writer

A

n understanding of
the dynamics in the
Middle East is what
the Rev. Jim Lyons hopes to
impart to the audiences he
will address during a speak-
ing tour of American cities.
The Rev. Lyons, founder and
director of Detroit's
Ecumenical Institute for
Jewish-Christian Studies, is
one of five prominent Chris-
tian theologians who will
speak on behalf of the
American Jewish Committee.
The five, who also are
leaders in Jewish-Christian
relations, are described by Ira
Silverman, AJCommittee ex-
ecutive vice president, as hav-
ing "extensive experience in
the realities of the Middle
East and a commitment to
the search for authentic peace
there?'
Silverman said the
speakers will discuss how the
complexities of -Middle East
politics are being underrated
by Americans eager to see the
conflict settled and how Israel
is being unfairly depicted as
the major impediment to
peace.
They will address church
audiences, campus and stu-
dent associations, ecumenical
groups and media represen-
tatives, according to
Silverman.
The Rev. Lyons, whose in-
stitute is based at the North
Congregational Church, will
speak in Seattle, Wash.; San
Francisco and Los Angeles,
Calif.; and Washington, D.C.
Speaking in Detroit Feb. 23
and 24 will be Mary C. Boys,
associate professor of theology
and religious education at
Boston College in Chestnut
Hill, Mass.
Other locations on the tour,
which will begin in Miami on-
Feb. 12 and end in Pittsburgh
March 14, include Boston,
Chicago, Dallas, New Jersey
and St. Louis, Mo.
Rabbi A. James Rudin, -
director of the AJCommittee's
interreligious affairs depart-
ment, which is coordinating
the tour, stressed that all five
will speak as individuals.
But, he said, they "are also
Christians for whom the
modern state of Israel — with
its problems and imperfec-
tions — has an important
meaning for them, as Chris-
tians, beyond its significance
as the 'Holy Land.' "
Regarding the tour, the Rev.
Lyons said he hopes to help

Rev. Lyons: Realpolitik.

"people who have not been to
Israel to understand the
dynamics of the situation and
not choose sides. Out of the
hope for peace, many of us
have a tendency to slide over
the difficulties, and there are
real difficulties.
"I am very supportive of
Israel, but I am not against
the others of the area. Many
of the so-called supporters of
the Palestinian movement
have little concern about the
men and women who are
Palestinian, but see them on-
ly as a means of attacking
Israel."
Part of the problem today,
he said, is that "there is an
awful lot of misinformation
around. We have not demand-
ed from the media an
understanding and we have
not gotten an understanding."
Americans, he said, get their
news from brief items on
television.
As things stand today, the
minister said, "If an Arab
kills an Arab, no one cares —
which is inhuman. If an Arab
kills an Israeli, more atten-
tion is paid. And if an Israeli
kills an Arab, all attention is
focused there. But all are
tragic and we have a need to
see it that way?'

Also, he said, "Politicians
speak for their own political
purposes. For example,
Palestine Liberation
Organization chairman
Yassir Arafat is in serious
trouble with the Islamic fun-
damentalists and he needs
things to keep himself in
power. His needs are shaped
by the realpolitik . . . They
(the Palestinians) are not a
unified whole — store owners,
for instance, are told when to
close by one group, then told
by another group not to listen
to the first group."
Rev. Lyons said that "Part
of the trouble with American
foreign policy today is that we
have had the policy over here
for transplant over there —
and it will never work.
"The Palestinian of 1989 is
very different from the
Palestinian of 1929 or of 1941
or 1948," he said. Palestinians
go back a long time, he said,
but "for a wide variety of
reasons the Palestinians feel
they are a people. Now the
problem is how to get the peo-
ple who are living together
(Israelis, Palestinians and
others) talking together?'
The question with Arafat,
he said, is not whether to
trust him, but to know what
he needs to survive his
problems.
"The vast majority of people
in the Mideast don't want to
fight. They are people of good
will. The question is, how do
we break down the barriers to
reach understanding."
The other speakers on the
tour are Dr. William H.
Harter, pastor, Falling Spring
Presbyterian Church,
Chambersburg, Penn.; the
Rev. John T. Pawlikowski,
OSM, professor of social
ethics, Catholic Theological
Union, Chicago, Ill.; and Dr.
Marvin R. Wilson, chairman,
department - of biblical and
theological studies, Gordon
College, Wenham, Mass.

Kashrut Statement
Becomes Court Case

ALAN HITSKY

Associate Editor

R

abbi Jack Goldman
says he is "simply
seeking an apology
and a little respect?' The
Council of Orthodox Rabbis of
Greater Detroit is seeking
legal advice.
The action comes in the
wake of a lawsuit filed in

Oakland County Circuit
Court on Monday in which
Rabbi Goldman is asking the
Council to retract a state-
ment made last September in
its "Voice of the Vaad"
newsletter for Rosh
Hashanah.

The statement said, "The
Council of Orthodox Rabbis of
Greater Detroit was
chartered as the authority for

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