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February 02, 1990 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-02-02

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

EDITORIAL

Russia's New
Anti-Semitism

T

here is a sad and tragic irony brewing regarding Soviet Jewry. A new
record for Jewish emigration from the USSR was set last year — 71,196
Jews left for the West. This year's prospects for emigration look equally
good, if not better. But many are fleeing not for the positive reasons of wanting
to settle in Israel, or even in the United States. They are exiting because they
are being made to feel increasingly uncomfortable in the Union of Soviet So-
cialist Republics. Though government-sanctioned anti-Semitism has loosened,
the liberalizing measures of glasnost seem to have unleashed the native anti-
Semitism of the Soviet peoples.
"Self-pity is the life juice of Russian patriotism," noted the cover story in
last Sunday's New York Times Magazine. "In their self-pity, nationalists look
for culprits and they usually find the scapegoats of history: Jews."
In recent months, there have been 50 desecrations of Jewish cemeteries and
1,000 anti-Jewish rallies, and vitriolic hate leaflets in the thousands have been
distributed everywhere. Russia's New Right, often demanding a return to the
non-Communist days of the czars, is on the march everywhere. It poses a threat
not just to Mikhail Gorbachev, whose relaxing of the Kremlin's authority has
allowed the right to flourish as never before. But it also threatens the
psychological and, maybe, the physical safety of the nation's Jews.
Anti-Jewish pogroms have not occurred — yet. But if the violence against
Armenians in Azerbaijan is an index, pogroms against minorities are not
unimaginable.
Gorbachev has achieved wonders in the five years since he became head of
the Communist Party. But it is essential that he not be unnerved by what has
been occurring among certain member nations of the USSR, or in the New
Right. To date, he has not spoken out against anti-Semitism. This is something
he must do to make his prize project, glasnost, authentic and valid. And here in
America, we must not assume that Soviet Jews are safe because emigration has
increased.
Americans, citizens and statesmen, must not succumb to a false confidence
that, with Gorbachev at the helm and with Jews leaving in record numbers, the
Jews of Russia are now safe. The sense of urgency regarding Jewish emigration
is very real; no one knows how long the gates will remain open.
We must continue to pressure the Kremlin to allow even more Jews to leave
the country, and to leave now.

Christian Aid

A

group of Christians have taken a leading role in recent years in.
building support for Israel in the United States. The National Christian
Leadership Conference for Israel, with hundreds of followers in many
denominations, has lobbied their fellow Christians and spurred travel to Israel.
The group has boosted Christian travel to Israel, even at times of terrorist
threats and worked hard to bridge tensions both in the Middle East and the
United States.
The NCLCI executive board meeting in Southfield last weekend presented
an opportunity for Jews and Christians to reassess our efforts on behalf of
Israel. It is a time for coalition building and a time to give support to those who
support us.

Forty Years

N

ext Wednesday will mark the 40th anniversary of Rabbi Menachem
Mendel Schneerson's assuming the leadership of the Lubavitch
Chasidim.
Rabbi Schneerson, known simply as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, is now in his
late 80s and is no stranger to controversy. Most recently he was criticized for his
active role in Israel's last national election and his support of passage of the
Who Is A Jew amendment. But Rabbi Schneerson has never hesitated to ex-
press his views, and Jews around the world are indebted to him, and his
Chasidim, for their tireless efforts to promote the observance of mitzvot.

6

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 1990

LETTERS

Hadassah Story
Is Out Of Context

While selectively quoting
Estelle Gilson's Moment
magazine piece about
Hadassah ("Media Monitor"
Jan. 19), Arthur Magida ob-
viously pulled those phrases
which, out of context, support
a conclusion he wanted to
prove.
Moment devoted nine pages
to this Hadassah cover story.
Anyone reading all of it, with
its extraordinary pictures,
would see a portrait of a con-
temporary Jewish women's
movement successfully adap-
ting to changes demanded by
today's volunteer world.
If the author finds problems
with the changing role of
women in society, if he
believes it is in trouble, it is
irresponsible journalism to
cloak that belief in a headline
implying that Hadassah is in
trouble. That was not the
thrust of the Moment article
at all. Moment couldn't say it
because it isn't true.

Arline Gould,
President,
Greater Detroit Chapter
of Hadassah

Funds Must Be
Closely Monitored

The anticipated immigra-
tion of Russian Jews to Israel
has begun and Israeli officials
have asked American Jews to
share in the cost of absorbing
the newcomers. It would be a
terrible tragedy, for Israel and
the immigrants, if our efforts
to absorb them fail. If we lose
this opportunity, we may
never get another.
Because the present effort
is so crucial to our future, I
am pleading with American
Jewish fund-raisers to
carefully monitor how the
money they raise is being

spent. Simply turning the
funds over to the Jewish
Agency or the Israeli govern-
ment is a recipe for disaster.
Too often in the past, money
given in this manner had a
way of getting lost in our
bureaucracy.
American Jewish fund-
raisers owe it to American
Jews, to Israelis and most of
all, to the Russian o/im, to en-
sure that the money raised is
used for the purpose it was
intended.

Dr. Robert Rockaway
Herzlia Pituah, Israel

Agenda Answers
Its Critics

The letter by Zionist
Organization of America
members Ezekiel Leikin and
Louis Panush (Jan. 19) de-
nouncing the activities of the
Greater Detroit Jewish Coali-
tion for Peace in the Middle
East and particularly New
Jewish Agenda (NJA) is a sad
commentary not on those
organizations, but on the
writers' own views of the
place of dissent in the Jewish
communty regarding Israel.
While we understand the
reason for their concern that
the world see the Jewish com-
munity as united behind
Israel, we do not feel that re-
maining silent in the face of
destructive policies of the pre-
sent government is in the best
interest of the Jewish com-
munity or of Israel.
The Jan. 19 letter states
that the American Jewish
Committee has "seen fit to
publish" a fact sheet that lists
15 activities that would
justify Agenda activists'
"communal repudiation and
ostracism," no less, by the
Jewish community. For the
record, this "fact sheet" was

Continued on Page 12

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