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August 31, 1990 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-08-31

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

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38

FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, 1990

ews' Concern For
Tibetans Growing

ARTHUR J. MAGDA

Special to The Jewish News

merican Jews' con-
cern for Tibetans, a
people who have been
slaughtered and exiled, is
evolving in a new and more
determined direction. The
new focus has political, re-
ligious and spiritual com-
ponents.
In June, the Central Con-
ference of American Rabbis
(CCAR), the national organ-
ization for the Reform rab-
binate, adopted a resolution
that expressed compassion
for the Tibetans and con-
demnation of the Chinese
government, which has oc-
cupied Tibet since 1959.
The CCAR urged Presi-
dent George Bush to invite
the Dalai Lama, the re-
ligious and governmental
leader-in-exile of the Tibetan
people, to the White House
and encouraged Congress to
invite him to testify. It also
announced it would invite
the Dalai Lama to address a
future convention of the
organization.
On Sept. 6, the National
Jewish Community Rela-
tions Advisory Council
(NJCRAC) will consider
whether to include China's
alleged genocide of Tibetans
on its agenda. NJCRAC is
the umbrella organization
for Jewish community rela-
tions groups around the
nation.
And in October, a group of
eight American Jews will
travel to Dharamsala, India,
to meet with the Dalai Lama
and other Tibetan Bud-
dhists. This will be a sequel
to a much briefer meeting
that occurred last September
in western New Jersey bet-
ween the Dalai Lama and
six Jewish writers and
rabbis. That first formal en-
counter between any Dalai
Lama and the Jewish com-
munity was initiated by the
Tibetan leader, who par-
ticularly wanted to learn
about Jews' ability to sur-
vive in exile. -
Next week's deliberations
by the NJCRAC Executive
Committee were prompted
by Miriam Schey Imerman,
director of the domestic con-
cerns division of the Jewish
Community Council of
Metropolitan Detroit. A
statement drafted last May
by Ms. Imerman charged
that the Chinese have killed
more than one million
Tibetans — one-fifth of
Tibet's population. She also

said the Beijing government
"has ruthlessly suppressed
most Tibetan religious prac-
tices" and "systematically
looted and destroyed more
than 6,000 [Buddhist]
temples and monasteries" in
Tibet.
Only 16 functioning
monasteries remain in
Tibet, Ms. Imerman said.
"Millions of Jews died in
the Holocaust, as the world
said nothing," said Ms.
Imerman's draft. "In their
memory, we dare not keep
silent now. As Jews, we have
a particular obligation to
speak for the people of
Tibet."

Miriam (merman:
Drafted statement.

In part, Ms. Imerman rec-
ommended that Jewish
communal organizations es-
tablish relations with local
Tibetan groups to jointly
protest Chinese actions; en-
courage meetings between
the Dalai Lama and repre-
sentatives of Jewish organ-
izations; disseminate infor-
mation about "Tibet's
agony" to the Jewish and
general communities;
pressure elected officials to
prominently place Tibet on
the agenda of any United
States-China talks; and con-
sider urging legislation
modeled on the Jackson-
Vanik trade bill, which tied
American trade with the
USSR to the Kremlin's
treatment of Soviet Jews.
Participants for the trip to
India to confer with the
Dalai Lama will leave the
United States on Oct. 18 and
return on Nov. 1. They will
include Rabbi Yitz Green-
berg, executive director of
the National Jewish Center
for Learning and Leader-
ship; Blu Greenberg, an au-
thor and lecturer; Dr. Paul
Mendes-Flohr, professor of
modern Jewish thought,
Hebrew University,
Jerusalem and several
others. 0

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