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April 21, 1989 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-04-21

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

OPINION

CONTENTS

Polite Political Elite
Hurts Jewish Cause

REED D. RUBINSTEIN

p

N

alestine Liberation
Organization leader
Mohammed Milhem
recently told the New York
Times, "The battle with
Israel now will be (fought) in
the United States!' American
Jews are thus combatants in
the Arab's war against Israel.
American Jewish political
leaders, however, are not
organized for this fight.
Our community's public
face is an amalgamation of
federation boards, Reform and
Conservative clergy, service
organizations such as B'nai
B'rith, and community coun-
cils. This is the American
Jewish "political elite."
This elite, however, has
repeatedly failed to meet im-
portant political challenges.
Such failure is attributable to

There was no
politically
meaningful reason
for retracting the
Hillel letter. The
retraction made
the Arab charges
credible.

the inherently disfunctional
way that the Jewish elite
practices politics. As a result
of a shortsighted approach to
political conflict, Jewish
political opportunity has been
lost and Jewish political
power reduced.
Two recent cases — the one
involving B'nai B'rith Hillel,
the other involving Jesse
Jackson — illustrate the irra-
tionality of elite politics and
the costs as well.
B'nai B'rith drafted a
solicitation letter for Hillel
direct mail fundraising. The
solicitation listed campus pro-
blems confronting Jewish col-
lege students. Arab student
groups made the list.
Arab-American "civil
rights" groups obtained a
copy of the solicitation and
opened a political offensive.
As the centerpiece of a public
relations blitz, B'nai B'rith
was labeled "racist." lb buy
peace, B'nai B'rith apologized
and retracted the letter.
B'nai B'rith strategists
found to their consternation
that peace could not be pur-

Reed Rubinstein is a Bloom-
field Hills attorney and was
state coordinator/deputy cam-
paign director for Al Gore
last year.

chased. The Arab attack in-
tensified. They pressed for an
end to Hillel's federal tax ex-
emption. B'nai B'rith re-
sponded by claiming that
Arab failure to drop the mat-
ter after the solicitation was
retracted seemed to indicate
that Arab groups were more
interested in political ad-
vantage than in communal
coexistence.
B'nai B'rith's response was
politically unsophisticated.
First, absent factual inac-
curacy, there was no political-
ly meaningful reason for
solicitation retraction. In fact,
the solicitation letter that
triggered this conflict was fac-
tually accurate — Arab stu-
dent groups have worked for
many years to create an anti-
Israel/anti-Jewish campus
climate which makes life dif-
ficult for Jewish students.
Due to these Arab efforts,
Israel-libel and Jew-bashing
now occur at many colleges
and universities.
For example, on the Univer-
sity of Michigan campus, the
student newspaper ran an
editorial condemning the
rescue and resettlement in
Israel of starving Ethiopian
Jews as part of a "racist" plot
to dispossess Arabs. That
such poison is published is a
testimony to the effectiveness
of the anti-Israel intellectual
climate Arab student groups
have worked for years to
create.
Absent factual inaccuracy,
there was no politically mean-
ingful reason for retraction of
the Hillel solicitation.
Second, by retracting the
letter, B'nai B'rith made
Arab charges credible. Had
B'nai B'rith done nothing, the
accusations would have faded
away and been dismissed by
the public as more rantings
from yet another special in-
terest group. Refusing to
stand by the solicitation,
however, was tantamount to
an admission that the racism
claim was accurate. In one fell
swoop, the B'nai B'rith
legitimized Arab propaganda
and delegitimized Hillel.
Third, B'nai B'rith's meek
response to the Arab attack
cost political opportunity.
Had B'nai B'rith counter-
attacked and affirmed the
solicitation's accuracy, asked
for an investigation into - the
source of Arab "student
group" funding, (widely
believed to come directly from
the Arab states), or attacked
Arab criticism as an infringe-
ment of First Amendment
Continued on Page 10

PATH TO FREEDOM

Halfway To Freedom

20

GARY ROSENBLATT
America's policies are causing
a Soviet emigre logjam in Italy.

LIFE IN ISRAEL

36

`Jiffy Box'

36

DAVID HOLZEL
Cartoonist Ya'akov Kirschen
gives you a chance to muse.

LIGHTSIDE

48

Jewish Blarney

MASHEY BERNSTEIN
A transplanted Irishman gives
the auld sod mixed reviews.

SPORTS

50

Hall OF Famers

.

MIKE ROSENBAUM
Yellen, Mazer and Handler
will be added to the sports hall.

55

ENTERTAINMENT

55

London's Bridge

Entertainer London Lee was named
for the city of his birth.

71

FOCUS

Frozen In Time

ELIZABETH KAPLAN
Robert Ettinger wants to prolong
your life . . . after death.

LIFESTYLES

71

82

Creative Artist

CARLA JEAN SCHWARTZ
Lynne Avadenka has combined home,
life and Jewish themes in her art.

DEPARTMENTS

30
39
40
46
52
66
70

Inside Washington
Community
Synagogues
Education
Travel
Fine Arts
For Seniors

74
77
84
88
92
93
118

On Campus
For Women
Teens
Engagements
Births
Single Life
Obituaries

CANDLELIGHTING

82

April 21, 1989
8:03 p.m.
Sabbath ends April 22 9:09 p.m.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS.

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