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September 30, 1994 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-09-30

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Jewish groups were relieved that diplomacy
prevailed in Haiti.

JAMES D. BESSER WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

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Mark Pelavin:
Clinton is effective when forceful.

R

Like many Jewish activists in
Washington, Mr. Pelavin hoped
that the administration's appar-
ent success in Haiti might rein-
force President Clinton's resolve
to find solutions to other human
rights crises, such as the war in
Bosnia.
"We hope that one of the
lessons the president will take
from this is that he can be much
more effective when he's deter-
mined and forceful," he said.
Haiti also was a priority issue
for B'nai B'rith. "Our people in the
area are relieved because there is
a real concern about invasions in
that part of the world," said War-
ren Eisenberg, director of B'nai
B'rith's Lath American Network.
"At the same time, they under-
stand the dangers of ignoring the
issues of democratization and hu-
man rights. What happens in
Haiti is seen as having an impact
on Jews and other minorities
throughout the region."

ecent dramatic events in
Haiti, and the fact that
American troops came to
that country peaceably in-
stead of by force, came as a big re-
lief to Jewish groups that had
found themselves in something
of a quandary over the possibili-
ty of a U.S.-led invasion of the is-
land nation.
Jewish groups had been in the
forefront of earlier efforts to force
As the Haitian crisis became
the restoration of deposed Hait-
ian president Jean-Bertrand the capital's overwhelming focus
Aristide. But as an American in- last week, Israeli officials in
vasion seemed imminent, most Washington noted with pride —
Jewish organizations kept a low and maybe some trepidation —
profile because of fears that the that their ambassador, Itamar
administration's plans might lead Rabinovich, had been included at
to an open-ended, politically ex- a White House briefing for rep-
plosive military involvement in resentatives of nations that have
the troubled Caribbean nation. joined the Clinton administration
The last-minute agreement in the effort to restore a measure
averting military conflict was of democracy to Haiti. Mr. Rabi-
widely praised by Jewish leaders. novich's presence at the White
Rabbi David Saperstein, di- House triggered a flurry of ru-
rector of the Religious Action mors that the administration was
Center of Reform Judaism, said preparing to announce a break-
it was a "major foreign policy tri- through in the Syrian-Israeli ne-
umph for the administration. gotiations. But the only issue on
We've been deeply committed to the agenda was the situation in
restoring democracy in Haiti and Haiti.
An Israeli official expressed
to alleviating human rights abus-
es there. We're delighted that this satisfaction about Israel's inclu-
agreement was worked out with- sion. "It's the first time Israel has
out placing American soldiers at been part of an international ef-
fort of this kind," he said, "and
risk in an invasion."
`This is the outcome everybody it is a clear indication that with
had hoped for," said Mark Pelavin, the successes of the peace process,
Washington representative for the Israel is taking her rightful place
American Jewish Congress, the in the family of responsible na-
only Jewish group to formally en- tions."
Israeli officials in Washington
dorse the military option. The AJ-
Congress' statement had come were privately expressing satis-
after Rep. Major Owens, D-N.Y., faction that the apparent success
a leading member of the Con- of the diplomacy will provide
gressional Black Caucus, made an greater safety to Israeli police
impassioned pitch championing who will enter Haiti as part of an
intervention to the group's execu- international force to facilitate its
return to democracy. ❑
tive committee.

Jewish groups had
been in a quandary
over the invasion.

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