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May 15, 1992 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-15

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

PURELY COMMENTARY

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FRIDAY, MAY 15, 1992

THE FINEST
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SECURITY
SINCE 1968

Serious Racial Tests Posed
For Fellow Citizens

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

G

rave problems always
confront mankind,
and presently many
of them have become serious
tests for this nation. Some
are economic and create the
desire to ensure protection of
life and well being of all
men, women and children.
Often there are religious
confusions, and they have
inspired commendable
ecumenism.
The most serious for us is
the racial issue. The testing
of it became apparent again
at an assembly of some 4,000
students at Michigan State
University, where Louis
Farrakhan, the extremist
black leader, was the
speaker.
Much will continue to be
discussed about the Far-
rakhan policies and pre-
judices. It is the effect of
them that creates a test for
true Americanism. It is im-
portant to know the reac-
tions to Mr. Farrakhan, such
as the 4,000 who cheered
him in East Lansing. Here is
one comment that con-
tributes to the testing. In a
front page report of the Far-
rakhan speech, the Free
Press of Feb. 20, by DeAnne
Molinari, there was an ac-
count of complaints that
result in racism. Appended
was an additional report of "a
public forum on April 16,
sponsored by MSU officials
between black and Jewish
students about accusations
that Farrakhan is anti-
Semitic." The Free Press
story reveals:
He (Farrakhan) touched
several times on his theme
of Jews being responsible
for blacks' problems.
At the forum, black
students voiced anger at
Jewish students,
stereotyping Jews as rich
doctors and lawyers who
conspire against blacks.
"You Jews got it made.
You can't expect us to feel
bad for you " said AS
ONE membe
r Tracy
Washington, 18, a
freshman from Detroit.
"You're up there in the
hills in nice houses, and
we are down here with
drugs and crack cocaine."
It is in respect to the com-
parison alluded to that
sadness must enter into our
concerns. It is useless to
keep branding Jews as being
rich and isolated in the

suburbs. But when it is ac-
companied by critics'
failures to deal, in the inter-
est of our entire nation, with
the drug problem, it is
failure to seek solutions for
the most serious of Ameri-
can problems.
All of us, as fellow citizens,
have the duty to strive for
the highest human ideals.
We must educate our
neighbors and ourselves to
reject hatreds, to create good
will, to battle against the
causes that lead to drug ad-
diction. Perhaps the
followers of Mr. Farrakhan
can teach him as well to
abandon hate-mongering
and to dedicate to coopera-
tion and respect for all
Americans.
It should be in order at this
point to consider the status
of Jesse Jackson and the
black-Jewish relationships.
It was touched on in a New
York Times op-ed column by
A. M. Rosenthal. He titled it
"Jesse Jackson's Message,"
and in it he paid respect to
the black leader who em-
phasized, at an important
session of blacks and Jews,
the need for dedication to the
ideals of friendship between

All of us, as fellow
citizens, have the
duty to strive for
the highest human
ideals.

the two groups. The Jackson
message is important and so
also is the comment on it.
Mr. Rosenthal makes an
appeal to Mr. Jackson to
keep rejecting Mr. Far-
rakhan, and he encourages
the necessary good will in-
herent in "Let's Talk."
Therefore, let's judge it as
supported by Mr. Rosenthal:

Jesse Jackson should
never be ignored or dis-
missed, nor his constituen-
cy. He is a man with direct
access not only to the votes
of millions of Americans
but to their hearts.
But it would also be a
great mistake for Mr.
Jackson to count himself
as the aggrieved party, as
he often has, if American
Jews continue to see him
with suspicion and if they
ask more from him instead
of just saying thank you.
They will.

The
edginess
of
American Jews about Mr.
Jackson is not, as he
sometimes seems to think,
based on paranoia or an
old vendetta that they can-
not put aside.
Mr. Jackson bridles at
the idea that he has to be
checked off, item by item,
to show his good faith. But
it was he who created the
list by act and word, not
his critics.
High on the Jackson list
is a fondness for unplea-
sant company. Name a
man most Americans dis-
like and American Jews
see as their enemies, and
Israel's. Click: we can see
Mr. Jackson with his arm
around him — Castro,
Arafat, Qaddafi, the
Ortegas, Assad.
And Louis Farrakhan —
head of the Nation of
Islam. For American Jews
he embodies everything
they hate, fear and fight,
not abroad somewhere but
right here in the U.S.A. Mr.
Farrakhan insults their
religion, demeans their
past and threatens their
future — and their
children's
Mr. Jackson already has
said he rejects Mr. Far-
rakhan's preachings about
Jews and Judaism. He re-
sents the idea that he has
to prove himself by con-
demnation of the man, his
life and his apostles.
Certainly he should not
do that just to please Jews.
There is a far better
reason. Louis Farrakhan is
a danger to the brother-
hood and coalition Mr.
Jackson preaches is
America's hope.
The lopsided moral judg-
ments Mr. Jackson some-
times makes when Israel is
involved are on the list to —
like the whopper in Los
Angeles equating anti-
Semitism and anti-Arabism
in the Muslim Mideast.
That should be news to
Israelis living in a hostile
sea — and to Arab
statesmen like the Syrian
Foreign Minister.
So there's quite a bit on
the table between Jesse
Jackson and Jews. But in
an important, under-
reported speech, Mr.
Jackson seemed to be say-
ing, let's talk. There's only
one sane response from
any American: Right, let's
start now, agenda open on
the past and the future.

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