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June 26, 1992 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-06-26

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A Watershed Election
In Israel's History

Israel's national election on Tuesday is
already being described as a watershed in
the country's political history.
Among the significant changes: after 15
years of Likud leadership, the Labor Party
will lead the government, signaling a will-
ingness to make at least some territorial
concessions for peace; prospects for Arab-
Israeli peace talks will improve with Yit-
zhak Rabin, a more pragmatic and less
ideological politician than Yitzhak
Shamir, having pledged to reach an
agreement establishing self-rule for the
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza
within nine months of taking office; rela-
tions between Washington and Jerusalem
are certain to improve and the $10 billion
loan guarantee may be revived; and the
small parties in Israel will have far less
clout in determining the nature of the new
But while the Bush administration is
clearly pleased with Labor's victory, a
word of caution is in order: Mr. Rabin, a
former military hero, is not about to give
away the store to please Washington or the
Mr. Rabin has made it clear that he
favors holding on to the Golan Heights, all
of Jerusalem and continuing settlements
on the West Bank. (Unlike Likud, though,

he has said he will freeze the building of
"political," rather than security, set-
tlements on the West Bank.)
Labor's victory presents a clear challenge
to the Palestinians and Arab states who
have blamed Israeli "intransigence" for
the slow peace process. Now we will see if
the Arabs are sincere about accepting
Israel's legitimacy and reaching an ac-
commodation with Jerusalem.
Most American Jews will be relieved
with the election results, less on ideological
grounds than for the fact that friction bet-
ween Washington and Jerusalem will be
Regardless of which Israeli party one
favors, it is important to remember that
Israelis chose their government, as they
have chosen . each of their governments,
through the ballot box in open, democratic
elections — a unique process in the Middle
Yitzhak Shamir led Israel for seven of
the last nine years with sincerity and de-
termination in the way he thought best.
Now the people have spoken, and what
they have said is that they want change.
We wish the still-to-be-formed govern-
ment well in its mission to effect that
change, chief of which is to bring peace and
stability to its people and its neighbors.

Hate Crime Ambiguity
In Supreme Court Decision

The Supreme Court decision this week
overturning a Minnesota hate crimes
statute has thrown into confusion the en-
tire body of law developed in recent years
to protect minorities — and even majority
group members —from the spiteful words
and actions of bigots.
At first glance, the bigots appear to have
won, their hateful expressions protected by
the First Amendment. Moreover, because
the court's ruling was delivered in what
some have characterized as an unusually
broad and ambiguous manner, the decision
may threaten existing hate crimes statutes
in other states.
But there is more to this than first
glance. True, the Supreme Court's decision
has given rise to a degree of uncertainty
that may leave Jews and all others who
have survived past bigotry uneasy. But
groups like the Jewish community, who
have historically sided with unpopular but
progressive causes, also should be hearten-
ed by the Supreme Court's backing of
unfettered First Amendment rights.
The Supreme Court's majority opinion,


FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1992

written by Justice Antonin Scalia, sought
to strike down laws that prohibit some ex-
pressions of free speech — as contemptuous
as they may be — while not dealing with
others. The Minnesota law, for example,
outlawed speech that results in "anger or
alarm or resentment in others on the basis
of race, color, creed, religion or gender,"
but made no mention of sexual orientation,
political opinions, physical • and emotional
handicaps, labor union views and other
such bases upon which people discriminate
against others.

Our hope is that what will now transpire
is an attempt to clarify hate crimes law. If,
in fact, that is what takes place then the
Supreme Court decision could result in
stronger statutes. In the meantime, we
agree with the high court that other laws
remain on the books with which to pros-
ecute the purveyors of hate crimes.
Still, we wonder why the Supreme Court
issued a ruling that has so confounded the
legal community. After all, isn't the court
supposed to clarify the law, not confuse it?

Dry Bones

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Taking Issue
With Editorial

As an avid supporter of the

Jimmy Prentis Morris
Building, I share your en-
thusiasm for the renovation
and expansion of this wonder-
ful facility. However, your
June 19 editorial, "A Victory
For Reinvestment," contained
three comments with which I
take issue.
You stated that the level of
creative programs, quality
staff and attentiveness to
members' needs must in-
crease to become a communi-
ty jewel. While the construc-
tion has not commenced as
quickly as many of us would
have wished, the Jewish Com-
munity Center has increased
staff at JPM, broadened the
scope of programming and
responded to community
needs. Hundreds of people
participate daily at JPM and
find much from which to
choose. We look forward to
continuing and supplemen-
ting these endeavors as our
building grows.
The Rosenberg Recreation
Complex at the Maple/Drake
Campus was described as a
monument that is under-
utilized. Members of the
Center who walk, run, play
tennis and table tennis, roller
blade, play basketball,
develop karate skills and in-

vite friends to birthday par-
ties at all hours of the day
would refute such a notion. In
fact, very little court time is
available in season.
Finally, you claim that
"traditional benefactors have

opted to withhold support for
the JPM project." We are close
to reaching our goal of
$3,000,000 to begin construc-
tion of JPM because the com-
munity has responded so
favorably to the Capital Cam- -
paign. To date, more than 125
donors, most of whom live in
the northern suburbs, have C
made financial commitments
of $2,400,000 to this project.
This group includes longtime
community supporters as well c) .
as new sources who believe in
the vitality of the neighbor-
hood. This month, 24 families
from all over the community,
not just Oak Park, Hunting-
ton Woods and Southfield, are
hosting parlor meetings to
generate excitement and
secure the remaining dollars
needed to break ground. (-)
The Jimmy Prentis Morris
Jewish Community Center
has touched the lives of many
families during its first 36
years. The enhanced facility
will provide fond memories
for generations to come!

Linda Lee.
Jewish Community Center

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