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September 25, 1992 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-09-25

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

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Was Jim Baker Anti-
Israel at Princeton?

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eave it to Vanity Fair
to unearth the not par-
ticularly prescient
thesis that James Baker did
in his senior year at
Princeton.
Mr. Baker, late of the
State Department and cur-
rently the head of George
Bush's reelection effort,
made his bid for history by
getting Arabs, Palestinians
and Israelis to sit down at
the same negotiating table.
But Mr. Baker had been
preoccupied with the Middle
East as long ago as 1952,
when he was a senior in col- -
lege.
For his thesis, according to
a Vanity Fair profile of the
president's best friend, Mr.
Baker addressed the ques-
tion of Israel's founding and
"concluded, on balance, that
the United States had erred
in supporting it."
The thesis, a study of the
post-World War II British
Labour Party, argued that
Foreign Minister Ernest
Bevin was justified in press-
ing for a Palestinian state
that would incorporate a
"Jewish National Home,"
but would be dominated by
an Arab minority.
"Ernie Bevin was as con-
cerned as the next fellow
about the suffering of the
Jews," wrote undergrad
Baker, but "in his usual
realistic manner, was look-
ing to the future . . . Bevin
realized that supporting the
two million Zionists would
mean incurring the enmity
of the 60 million Moslems in
the Arab states surrounding
Palestine .. .
"History has already

James Baker:
Undergrad Mideast discontent.

begun to vindicate him,"
stated young Baker, noting
the anti-British, anti-French
and anti-American feelings
brewing in the Middle East
in the early 1950s. "If we
lose Near Eastern oil, air-
bases, and other strategic
concessions, it will be small
consolation, indeed, to know
• that we can count Palestin-
ians among those nations
which are friendly toward
us."
Vanity Fair writer Mar-
jorie Williams comments
that "Baker seems to feel no
innate sympathy toward
Israel . . . and it possible that
this coolness may be to some
degree a function of his in-
sular Wasp background."
But she concedes that
"however coldly Baker may
have continued to view the
power struggles of the Mid-
dle East, it is hard to quarrel
with the results of his efforts
there. The (peace) talks
resumed in August — along
lines largely chosen by
Israel."

Still Human After
All These Years

To mark the 10th anniver-
sary of the massacre in the
Palestinian refugee camps of
Sabra and Shatilla in Leb-
anon (for which Israel bore
partial complicity because
its soldiers let Lebanese
Christian troops enter the
camps during the 1982 war
in Lebanon), the Washington
Post's Style section featured
a lengthy profile of Mounir
Mohammed, a 22-year-old
survivor of the massacre
who lost his mother, a
brother, and four sisters in
the carnage.
Mr. Mohammed, now liv-

ing in a Virginia suburb of
Washington, was described
by Post writer Martha Sher-
rill as having a "deadpan
face and romantic eyes and
uneasy mouth and perfect
manners." More important,
though, is his sense of com-
passion — and his inability
for forgive:
"He thinks Jews
sometimes care more about
peace — and about people
—than some Arabs. He
doesn't think he can forgive
the Israelis or the Lebanese.
But I would never hurt
them, either,' he says.

(

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