Israel And China
China's brutal crushing of a peaceful student protest this week
points up, by contrast, the heroic restraint with which Israel has
handled the intifada.
By all the time-dishonored rules of Machiavellian conduct, China
acted exactly as would any totalitarian regime that finds its existence
threatened by a population yearning to be free. It simply moved in
the army and murdered the dissidents. More than a thousand
peacefully demonstrating Chinese citizens were killed by their own
soldiers within the space of a few days.
Israel, on the other hand, has for a year and a half attempted
to contain a violent insurrection by its sworn enemies, draining its
own resources, losing a number of its own soldiers and killing some
500 Palestinians in the process.
For Israel, the Palestinian uprising has been an agony and an
embarrassment. The Arabs have spit and urinated on Israeli soldiers,
who have been confronted on a daily basis with stone and Molotov-
cocktail-throwing women and'children; the Jewish state's image has
been irreparably tarnished in the world community of nations.
Even worse, the intifada has thrown Israel's left- and right-wing
extremes into a self-destructive frenzy that threatens the very core
of the small country's society.
In the face of all these strains, Israel has remained a democracy,
operating on such a high moral plane that its government continues
to edge slowly toward an accommodation with the Palestinians, of-
fering a solution based on a process begun by free elections in the
West Bank and Gaza.
Certainly the Chinese could brook no such behavior. Neither
could the Syrians, who mowed down thousands of their own people
when they sought political emancipation early in the current decade.
Neither did the Soviets in Hungary or Afghanistan.
The description of Israel as the only democracy in the Middle
East is more than an oft-repeated phrase. It is a vital reality, made
all the more impressive this week in contrast to the tragedy in China.
impediment to constructive Jewish-Christian dialogue. And by
criticizing those Christians who believe that God's covenant with
Jews is as valid and as eternal as God's covenant with Christians,
it has widened the already gaping fissures of disagreements within
certain segments of the Christian community.
The call for proselytizing came out of a four-day conference of
15 leaders of the World Evangelical Fellowship, a Protestant organiza-
tion dedicated to weaning Jews from their faith. In their seven-page
statement, the evangelicals say, among other things, that they:
• Are "resolved to uphold the right of Jewish people to a just
and peaceful existence everywhere." The existence to which they refer
must be solely a physical one, since the evangelicals have declared
spiritual warfare on Jews.
• "Deny that the blessings of the New Covenant belong to any
except believers in Jesus Christ." When making this "new" cove-
nant, claim some evangelicals, God purportedly abrogated the "old"
one He had made with the Jews. So much for eternal constancy.
Rabbi James Rudin of the American Jewish Committee said the
evangelicals' statement was "a theological assault upon the integrity
of Jews and Judaism throughout the world." It is also a disservice
to the millions of Christians who have striven to eradicate anti-
Semitism, to reform their own church's centuries-old intolerance
toward Judaism, to construct warm and open theological bridges bet-
ween the Jewish world and the Christian world.
We urge responsible Christian leaders to join in repudiating this
latest call for the conversion of the Jews.
The recent call by certain Christian evangelicals to wage a renew-
ed battle of proselytizing against Jews is an insult. The evangelicals
have insulted not only Jews, but also the many Christians who re-
ject proselytizing as the true way — and the only. way — of their faith.
The call was not entirely unexpected. Few people are naive
enough to believe that all Christians have given up their struggle
to make the world over in their own spiritual image. But in an era
when there has been enormous progress in understanding between
Christians and Jews, the evangelicals' declaration has erected an
I agree whole heartedly
with the Detroit Jewish News
editorial (June 2) commen-
ding the recent PBS program
"Arab and Jew — Wounded
Spirits in the Promised
Land," which, like David
Shipler's book by that name
on which it was based,
distinguishes itself with the
kind of objectivity, even-
handedness and the lack of
glaring biases, something
which is rarely seen in the
media of late.
Indeed, David Shipler and
PBS should be highly corn-
6 FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 1989
mended for their blessed ef-
fort which will no doubt con-
tribute to the understanding
of the multiple complexities
inherent in the Israeli-
Palestinian issue, something
the likes of "Days of Rage,"
another program slated for
September, will not be able to
do as it doesn't portent to be
more than a Palestinian view-
point of the intifada, in other
words only half the truth (at
best) and we all know the
hazards in it.
Yet, forewarning us against
it plus a further precaution
taken by adding an Israeli
panel to rebut the issues at
the film's conclusion may
One Good, One Bad
lessen the damage such a
biased presentation can
U-M Will Study
Regarding the recent letter
about the invocation given at
the Unviersity of Michigan-
Commencement, the use of a
specifically Christian prayer
was not an intentional part of
the ceremony. It has long
been the custom to include a
tion, but we have never ask-
ed to see any text of a propos-
ed presentation in advance.
I am sure Reverend Murray
intended no offense to those of
other religions. Nonetheless,
I agree with your point that
it is inappropriate to invoke
references to any specific
religion in university events.
A new university commit-
tee is meeting to consider a
number of matters related to
university events. I have ask-
ed them to consider how we
can assure that all aspects of
our future ceremonies are in
keeping with our values and
commitments to diversity and
are appropriate to a public
I appreciate your concerns,
and we will make every effort
to assure that university
events and ceremonies will
not include sectarian
James. J. Duderstadt
University of Michigan
Of The Mikvah
I wish to clarify a statement
made in the May 26 Jewish
News in the article about
Rabbi Arm's upcoming retire-
ment. The article states: "At
Rabbi Arm's suggestion, a
mikvah was included in
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