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July 28, 1989 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-07-28

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Chinese Uprising

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20 FRIDAY, JULY 28, 1989

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dle of any violence. Pessin,
whose apartment was close to
the square, immediately woke
his wife and moved his son to
a room far from the window.
"It was dangerous," he said.
"I looked outside and saw 30
or 40 trucks. It was a calm
situation by our apartment.
But I wouldn't say it was
festive. People were hopping
on the trucks trying to con-
vince the soldiers not to at-
He then worked on his 6
a.m. broadcast. Reluctantly,
he stayed inside that night.
"I regret it and I don't
regret it. Bullets were flying
all over," he said. "I decided
not to go out that night, but
I spoke with lots of people."
VOA had been under fire by
the Chinese government and
media, and Pessin had been

receiving obscene phone calls.
Each caller spoke English
and offered the same
derogatory comments.
He sent his wife and son out
of the country and moved in-
to a hotel room. Pessin feared
being arrested, so he slept
close to a phone in the hotel
room, which had triple locks.
If police were to get into the
room, he said, he'd have time
to phone a friend so his fami-
ly, VOA and U.S. authorities
would knew his whereabouts.
Just days later, Pessin, then
VOA's only accredited jour-
nalist in China, was summon-
ed to government offices,
where he was told to leave the
"People say I'll be dining
out on this for years," Pessin
said. haven't had any
meals yet." LI

Jews Oppose PBS Show

New York (JTA) — Opposi-
tion is mounting in the
Jewish community to a
Public Broadcasting Service
television documentary on
the Palestinians, with a wide
spectrum of organizations ex-
pressing concern about the
film, which is scheduled to air
Sept. 6.
The documentary, titled
"Days of Rage: The Young
Palestinians," is an examina-
tion of "why the Palestinian
uprising continues and the
young Palestinians behind
it," said producer Jo Franklin-
rlYout, who calls her approach
simple and straightforward.
But criticism of the film in
the Jewish community
ranges from branding it
dishonest advocacy jour-
nalism, to claims that it is
overt and shameless
While major Jewish
organizations seem to concur
on their dissatisfaction with
the documentary, they differ
on what action, if any, should
be taken.
"It's a very sensitive,
delicate issue," said Abraham
Foxman, national chairman
of the Anti-Defamation
League of B'nai B'rith.
"We are concerned about
First Amendment freedom of
speech. At the same time, we
are concerned about accurate
journalism, and we are con-
cerned that this is not an ac-
curate portrayal," Foxman
ADL is taking a cautious
approach to the issue and is
still talking about various
strategies and approaches, ac-
cording Foxman said.
Among the possibilities
discussed is the organization
submitting an alternative

film to PBS, which could be
shown alongside "Days of
Presidents of Major Jewish
Organizations has distributed
information about the
documentary and has held
meetings to discuss the issue
with many of its member and
observer organizations, in-
cluding the United Jewish
Appeal, Hadassah, American
Jewish Congress and
American Jewish Committee.
More direct action against
the documentary, including
calls for its cancellation, is
taking place mainly on the
local level.
"We've developed an ap-
proach which has called for
local communities to com-
municate with local PBS af-
filiates about the airing of
such a one-sided, biased
piece," said Martin Raffel,
coordinator of the National
Jewish Community Relations
Advisory Council's Israel
Task Force.
Raffel said that com-
munities are "reminding PBS
affiliates that they are under
no obligation?'
The Detroit Jewish Com-
munity Council has been in
contact with officials of the
local affiliate, WTVS Ch. 56,
but is awaiting national-level
response to "efforts to
package the program" before
deciding what, if any, action
to take, said David Gad-Harf,
JCCouncil executive director.
"Unfortunately. no matter
how the packaging is done,
whether it's with panel
discussions before or after, no
matter how many disclaimers
a program like this gets, it is
still damaging," Gad-Harf

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