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March 31, 1995 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-03-31

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

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page 5

everything. (Well, almost every-
thing.) This is not the time to
press for a move that is wholly
symbolic and that would, because
of the passions that Jerusalem's
status evokes, further encumber
the peace process. All that is per-
fectly clear to the Israeli govern-
ment, to AIPAC (the
American-Israeli Public Affairs
Committee), and to other re-
sponsible actors.
So who, then, is pressing for
the move? Precisely the folks
you'd expect: Those opposing the
peace process.
The problem is that none of
the more sensible actors is pre-
pared to publicly oppose moving
the embassy. Indeed, there's
rarely been a better example of
how an emotional issue can be
exploited and used to smother
reason. For how can Israel's gov-
ernment publicly object to the
move without subverting its as-
sertion that Jerusalem is Israel's
capital? How could AIPAC, al-
ready buffeted by its hard-core
right-wingers, object? And, for
that matter, faced with what ap-
pears to be a united Jewry, how
could the American government

Most thoughtful
people in the pro-
Israel camp wisely
oppose moving the
U.S. Embassy from
Tel Aviv to

ly made stationing American
troops on the Golan an issue,
there's an effort to change Jew-
ish language, to declare that
"Jerusalem is the eternal and
united capital of Israel and only
Israel," thereby pre-empting
Palestinian claims to Jerusalem.
Let that language become our
slogan — and any Israeli gov-
ernment that tries to negotiate
an agreeable solution to the mul-
tiple claims on Jerusalem is
But the moment you suggest
that Jerusalem's status is nego-
tiable, you're identified as a
squishy peacenik, notwith-
standing the fact that there are
a dozen different, imaginative
proposals about how the
Jerusalem circle can be squared.
And who wants to be thought of
as "soft" on Jerusalem, the one
issue on which there is ostensi-
bly a "rock-solid" consensus in
the Jewish community?
Meantime, we face the imme-
diate danger of having the peace
process hijacked. Professing their
innocence at every step, those
who oppose the process never
speak their opposition.
Instead, they assert positions
that have great emotional ap-
peal, but that, if adopted, would
not accomplish their principal ob-
jective. And the mainstream
leadership is rendered silent, re-
duced to expressing its objections
and reservations in whispers and
in private and off-the-record con-
All this unfolds against the
sobering background of a
Jerusalem that may be undivid-
ed in our rhetoric and in our
hopes, but that is plainly divid-
ed in present fact. Those for
whom a city reunited is more
than a pious wish must go be-
yond their formulaic orthodoxy
and ask, quite bluntly, how to re-
move the barriers and how to cre-
ate conditions on the ground that
will begin to knit the city and its
peoples back together.
Exclusivism, whether an-
nounced by Jew or by Palestin-
ian, may satisfy our emotional
needs, link us to the old-time
songs of longing. But it is not fa-
vorable either to peace or to
Leonard Fein is a writer living in

Recently, Jewish members of
Congress were briefed on the
matter by senior people in the
pro-Israel camp. They were
urged to pass the word that mov-
ing the embassy just now is a
wretched idea. Or more precise-
ly, that it's a great idea whose
time has not come.
Predictably, these members of
Congress expressed their irrita-
tion that they were being asked
to do that which leaders of the
Jewish community were not pre-
pared to do. But they should
know their critics would give
them little protection if — and Boston.
when — they eventually are ac-
cused of inadequate fidelity to
So now there are two moves
afoot: On one side, there's a pro-
posal to have Congress pass a
The normal deadline for
resolution urging that the em-
local news and publicity
bassy be moved only when the fi-
items is noon Thursday, eight
nal negotiations are completed.
days prior to issue date. The
That's a shoddy compromise, but
deadline for birth announce-
better than urging an immediate
ments is 10 a.m. Monday,
move, and it may be the best that
can be expected under the cir-
four days prior to issue date;
out-of-town obituaries, 10
On the other side, the side of
a.m. Tuesday, three days pri-
the noisy opponents of peace, the
or to issue date.
same folks who have successful-












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