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August 16, 1991 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-08-16

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

EDITORIAL

Pressure On Israel:
The Sequel

A phrase has been appearing in the press
all too often of late. It reads: "Pressure on
Israel mounts."
For weeks and months, the phrase re-
ferred to the Washington peace initiative
in the Mideast and suggested that Israeli
reluctance to give up territory, not Arab
refusal to end the state of war, was the key
to success.

In recent days, the phrase refers to the
Mideast hostage situation. Never mind
that Arab terrorists have kidnapped and
held Western civilians for years. The key to
a solution, we are told, rests with Israel,
and Jerusalem must move the process
along by freeing Arab prisoners as a good-
will gesture.
One must wonder: do only Jews have
memories? Does the rest of the world have
moral amnesia?
First, Israel did release 40 Shi'ite
prisoners of war — not hostages but
prisoners — within the last year as a

gesture of good will. There was no response
from the other side.
Second, Israel is willing to release hun-
dreds of Arab prisoners in return for seven
Israeli soldiers, whether they are alive or
dead. The value that Israelis place on
human life and on a proper burial for its
fallen cannot be overestimated.
Most infuriating, though, is the notion
that the leaders of Syria and Iran receive
praise from Washington for freeing
hostages whose kidnappings they condoned
in the first place.
Why should Arab terrorists, and
governments, abandon hostage-taking as a
political tool if it is so effective — and they
are even thanked in the end for their
"humanitarian" gesture?
Israel has shown a willingness, whether
it be regarding peace talks or hostage
swaps, to meet its enemies more than half
way. It is time for the world, particularly
the Bush administration, to recognize that
simple fact.

Rudderless Democrats

In recent weeks, there has been much
lamenting and gnashing of teeth about the
paucity of candidates for next year's Dem-
ocratic presidential nomination. The word
is that with only former Senator Paul
Tsongas' hat in the ring, the Democrats are
afraid to take on George Bush, the man
who brilliantly waged one hot war (the one
in the Persian Gulf) and formally ended a
cold one (the one between the United
States and the Soviet Union).
The shortage of candidates also sup-
posedly signals that Democrats are suffer-
ing from an intellectual bankruptcy.
Where, ask critics, are their "new ideas?"
Or does the party consist only of tired lib-
erals recycling political pablum from their

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 16, 1991

glory days of the New Deal/Square
Deal/New Frontier/Great Society?
There are some ironies — and a disturb-
ing truth — in these carpings. Chief among
the former is that some critics now kvet-
ching about the lack of candidates were
glowering four years ago that too many
Democrats were after the nomination.
Now, at least momentarily, there is only
one. And this number, too, is faulted.
Another irony is that critics have been
complaining for the last decade that presi-
dential campaigns have started earlier and
earlier. Now, they are displeased that with
only about six months to go until the first
primary, there is still no viable campaign
in sight.
But the truth is that the Democratic Par-
ty appears to be in disarray. Its last three
runs for the presidency were routs, and it
hasn't done much since its last defeat to
convince most voters that it is any more
than comatose. The party appears
leaderless and void of any philosophical
underpinnings, fearful of its present and
desperately searching for a future.
Whether or not one is a Democrat, this is
a situation to be regretted. A presidential
campaign is more than a battle between
two nominees. It is, or should be, a national
debate on where this nation is going, and
how it will get there.
The Democratic Party will field a nomi-
nee. That is a certainty. But just what he or
will stand for in 1992
she — or the party
has yet to be determined. Meanwhile, by
sheer default, the Republicans have been
given a platform to conduct a monologue on
the direction of the nation. And that means
the Democrats are shirking their duty to
contribute to the indispensable quadren-
nial national debate.



F

LETTERS

Criticizing
AFSC Critics

Your recent article so
critical of the American
Friends Service Committee
(AFSC) ("Such Good Friends,"
July 26) relies heavily on the
viewpoints of two critics: Rael
Jean Isaac and H. David
Kirk.
Your readers should have
been informed that Isaac is a
supporter of some of the most
ultra-nationalist elements in
Israeli society. She has helped
build a writing career
through "liberal bashing"
against a broad assortment of
targets, using tactics that are
often straight out of the
1950s.
Kirk, supposedly with more
"mainstream" credentials,
betrays his bias in his letter
entitled "The Quakers and
the PLO" (Aug. 9). He takes
the Quakers to task for argu-
ing that a two-state solution
is not only the moral solution
to the Israeli-Palestinian .
dispute, but that it is also "in
the long-term interests of
both peoples!' Incredibly, he
gives this sinister overtones,
characterizing it as a "conti-
nuing hidden agenda!'
There is nothing either
sinister nor hidden about sup-
port for a two-state solution,
and the AFSC is hardly uni-
que in advocating it. Influen-
tial members of several
Zionist parties, including
Labor, Mapam, Citizen's
Rights, and Shinui, have long
advocated it.
Israel's foremost expert on
the Arab world, and advisor
to several prime ministers,
Yehoshafat Harkabi,
demonstrated in clear terms
why it is in Israel's own best
interest in his book Israel's
Fateful Hour. In fact, he ad-
vocated "two states" before a
"hidden" overflow crowd of
several hundred people at our

own Book Fair.
Even the Likud mayor of
Tel Aviv has come to the
realization that peace can on-
ly be achieved by realizing
the national aspirations of
both peoples.
In short, there is nothing at
all hidden about support for
a two-state solution and
recognition by both the
Israelis and the Palestinians
of the fact that peace can on-
ly be achieved if they mutual-
ly recognize each other's na-
tional aspirations.
What has been hidden and
is now obvious is that Kirk's
criticism of the AFSC, like
that of Isaac, is grounded on
ideological hostility to two
states.
The AFSC has consistently
supported mutual recognition
(which includes the demand
that the Palestinians accept
Israel) rather than the one-
sided, anti-Israel portrayal in
your article by critics grin-
ding their ideological axes.

Kenneth Knoppow

Farmington Hills

Editor's note: Mr. Knoppow is
a member of New Jewish
Agenda.

Shaarey Zedek's
Parenting Center

My commendations to you
for your excellent editorial
concerning the "Parenting
Center." Congregation
Shaarey Zedek has under-
taken to create and develop
this program on behalf of the
entire community.
As chairman of the develop-
ment committee, it is my
pleasure to inform you that
we are planning to complete
the Eugene and Marcia Ap-
plebaum Beth Hayeled
Building and Jewish Paren-
ting Center and be available
to introduce those services in
September 1992.

Dr. Richard M. Brown

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