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April 22, 1994 - Image 73

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-04-22

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

Muckraking A
Muckraker?

Jewish right-wingers have nev-
er been fond of journalist Robert
I. Friedman, who has written
books critical of Meir Kahane
and Jewish settlers in Israel's
occupied territories and nu-
merous magazine articles crit-
ical of the Jewish establish-
ment's politics.
So it was no surprise when
the pro-Likud, anti-land-for-
peace Americans For a Safe Is-
rael issued a press release
trumpeting a Jerusalem Post
article about Mr. Friedman that
purportedly blew his cover.
"Friedman has justified his
attacks on the Israeli right and
on pro-Israel groups in Ameri-
ca by claiming that he is not
anti-Israel, but merely a Jew-
ish dove who identifies with the
Israeli peace movement," said
Herbert Zeibon, chairman of
AFSI. "This expose by one of his
closest aides reveals that Mr.
Friedman is not Jewish — and
that Mr. Friedman attended the
American University in Beirut,
where his pro-Arab sentiments
were no doubt solidified and re-
inforced."
From his home in New York
City, Mr. Friedman called the
story "outrageous, malicious
and false."
The article was written by an
ex-American, Mitch Pilcer, un-
der the pseudonym of Levy Co-
hen. Mr. Pilcer was Mr. Fried-
man's translator and driver
when he was in Israel last De-
cember and January research-
ing a New Yorker article.
Among the points in the
Jerusalem Post article that Mr.
Friedman refuted:
* His mother is not Jewish.
Both his parents, he stated,
are Jewish. He speculated that
by claiming he is not of mater-
nal Jewish descent, certain Or-
thodox Jews can obtain a rab-
binic dispensation to physically
attack him since, to them, it
may be more permissible to
harm a gentile than a Jew.
* He acquired his alleged pro-
Amb leaning while attending
Beirut's American University.
In the early 1970s, he said,
he attended A.U., as well as the
University of Madras in India.
He also audited classes at
Jerusalem's Hebrew Universi-
ty.
"I am a Jew who writes about
Palestinian and Arab issues,"
he said. "Why shouldn't I know
about their culture and history
and psychology?"
* He "bugged" the telephone
of Thomas Friedman, the New
York Times' former Mideast
correspondent, while research-
ing whether he had once worked
for the CIA.
An "insane," "hallucinogenic"

claim, said Robert I. Friedman,
who is not related to the Times
writer.
From Israel, Mr. Pilcer, the
Jerusalem Post's writer, said
the only part of his article that
might have been erroneous re-
ferred to the writer's mother not
being Jewish. He said he re-
called Mr. Friedman telling him
this while the two were sitting
in a Jerusalem cafe.
Other than that, Mr. Pilcer
said the article was accurate.

Carlton's
Screwball

Was it "blatant and uncon-
scionable bigotry" that made ex-
Phillies pitcher Steve Carlton
say that both "the Elders of
Zion" and "12 Jewish bankers
meeting in Switzerland" "rule"
the world?
That's what David Kahn,
president of the American Jew-
ish Congress, originally said af-
ter reading Mr. Carlton's re-
marks in
Philadelphia
magazine.
Or was it, as TV broadcaster
and ex-Phillies catcher Tim Mc-
Carver told the New York
Times, a certain naivete?
"Lefty reads too many books,"
said Mr. McCarver, a close
friend of Mr. Carlton. "If he's
guilty of anything, it's believing
some of the material he reads.
Does he become confused with
his reading about radical
things? Yes. I've told him that.
Does that translate into him be-
ing anti-Semitic? No."
Alter Mr. Carlton said the ar-
ticle "has almost no truth in it,"
Mr. Kahn of the AJCongress
withdrew his request that Mr.
Carlton's scheduled induction
into baseball's Hall of Fame
July 31 be suspended "unless
and until he issues a full apol-
ogy for his outrageous anti-Se-
mitic statements ..."
And although Eliot Kaplan,
editor ofPhiladelphia, said the
magazine stood "100 percent be-
hind the article," Mr. Kahn stat-
ed the AJCongress "was re-
lieved" that Mr. Carlton had
denied making the remarks...
Just as baseball embodies our
best American tradition, so does
Mr. Carlton's rejection and re-
pudiation of bigotry."
Philadelphia's editor doubt-
ed that Mr. Carlton is "a bigot
per se. He's just an equal op-
portunity screwball," Mr. Ka-
plan said. The magazine also
reported that Mr. Carlton said
"the British MI-5 and 6 intelli-
gence agencies have ruled the
world since 1812" — and that
the coming "revolution" will
start by Russian and U.S. ef-
forts to "fill the air with low-fre-
quency sound waves meant to
control us." ❑

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