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October 13, 1995 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-10-13

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

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Reign Of Terror
After The Revolution

Farmington Hills

I

n 1988, an Arab terrorist and
an Israeli spy master sat
down, together, at a restau-
rant in London.
Within several years of that
meeting, the lives of the two
would dramatically change. Bas-
sam Abu-Sharif, a former
spokesman for the Palestine Lib-
eration Organization, and Uzi
Mahnaimi, raised in an Israeli
military family, would decide on
a course of peace. Their story is
the focus of the new Best of En-
emies (Little, Brown and Co.).
Mr. Mahnaimi, now living in
London, writes of how his per-
ception of Arabs began to evolve:
A change was slowly taking
place in me, which was to have
the most profound and far-reach-
ing effects. It wasn't as if I were
in love with the Arabs, or even
friendly with any of them. But
gradually, with time, I was be-
ginning to understand the Arab
point of view on the question of
Palestine. I began to understand
what they wanted, and why they
wanted it. I could even see a cer-
tain amount of justice in their po-
sition. There I was, busily
undermining the Arabs on a dai-
ly basis in the course of my work.
Yet, at the same time, the work
was somehow undermining me.
I was no longer so certain that
every Arab was a demon.
Mr. Abu-Sharif says he began
to develop a new perspective on
peace after surviving a letter-
bomb sent by the Israelis.
(In the hospital bed) The only
bit of me still working properly
was my mind. I thought very
deeply about life — and death.
Sometimes it felt as though my
head would split under the pres-
sure of the myriad thoughts
seething about inside. I thought
in detail of what I would like to
do to the Mossari men who had
sent me this bomb ... I devised ex-
quisite tortures for them, repeat-
ed endlessly. Nothing was too bad
for them. But, as the days passed
and my anger cooled a little, I be-
gan to have a different thought.
I thought that violence was not
the way."
Much of the behind-the-scenes
work by Mr. Abu-Sharif, now a
resident of Amman, Jordan, and
Mr. Mahnaimi served to bring
about the peace accord signed by
PLO leader Yassir Arafat and Is-
rael's Prime Minister Yitzhak
Rabin.

T

he death of Jesus, accord-
ing to one Christian text-
book, "is prepared for in the
accounts of the confronta-
tions he had with Jewish religious
authorities. The trail and con-
demnation of Jesus were the
final steps in a series of con-
frontations that Jesus experi-
enced through his ministry ...
(Jesus) was a 'dangerous man,'
`upsetting the people,' as the Jew-
ish leaders said, and claiming to
be equal to God. Hence, in the fi-
nal confrontation, Jesus was con-
demned for blasphemy. Under
Jewish Law, he deserved death."
But it is exactly this sort of in-
terpretation Philip Cunningham
does not want to see in Christian
school textbooks. He writes, "De-
finitive assertions in this regard,
especially when they tend to per-
petuate the ancient Christian ten-
dency to condemn 'the Jews'
in sweeping fashion, must be
avoided." -
As associate professor of the-
ology and director of the minis
institute at Notre Dame College
in Manchester, N.H., Mr. Cun-
ningham is the author of Edu-
cation for Shalom, (published
by the Liturgical Press in Col-
legeville, Minn.,
Minn. and the Ameri-
can Interfaith
Press,
Philadelphia), an analysis of
Catholic textbooks' portrayal of
Jews and Judaism.
Mr. Cunningham said he
wrote his book with three goals
in mind: to evaluate how well the
books deal with topics "shown to
be problematic in earlier re-
search"; to assess Church state-
ments from 1976-1991; and to
recommend future textbook treat-
ment ofJews and Judaism.
In his book, Mr. Cunningham
discusses anti-Jewish themes in
the New Testament, how Jews
are portrayed in Catholic cate-
chism and the picture modern
textbooks paint ofJews. Consid-
ering the latter, he says that
while those books evince no or-
ganized system of anti-Semitic
curricula, hatred of Jews is
nonetheless evident.
His findings show a number of
anti-Jewish ideas continue to be
advanced, including the notion
that Jews were responsible for
the crucifixion and that the de-
struction of Jerusalem was the
result of the Jewish rejection of
Judaism.
Also on the subject of interfaith
relations is The Stones Will Cry
Out (Greenwood Press), in which

a Christian clergyman discusses
ways the Holocaust has changed
his theology and helped define his
approaches to teaching and social
justice.
Douglas Huneke, senior min-
ister at Westminster Presbyter-
ian Church in Tiburon, Calif.,
made his first trip to Auschwitz
in 1977. He went with the taxi
driver who took him there, a man
who said, "No one should enter
this place alone the first time." /
Standing at a men's barrack, '\1
Pastor Huneke saw, from the cor-
ner of his eye, a passing figure.
Turning to see who was there, he
realized it was his own shadow.
In that encounter, I faced the
most personally demanding ques-
tions of the Shoah. Thirty-three
years earlier, what would I have
seen in the window? On which
side of the glass would I have
stood? What uniform would I
have worn? Given my German-
Dutch ancestry, would I have cast
my lot with the Reich or the Re-
sistance? Would I have worn the
executioner's brown uniform, or
would I have been a beaten, dete-
riorated man in a dingy gray-and-
blue-striped uniform? Had I been
an inmate of Auschwitz, would it
have been because I resisted the
rise of National Socialism or be-
cause I gave aid and comfort to
desperate Jews endangered by the
fury of the Reich?
Included in his book are Pas-
tor Huneke's reflections on ways
to "transform suffering and death
into justice and love," the ways in
which altruistic parents served
as role models to children who be-
came rescuers during the war,
and a worship service to honor
Christians who saved the lives of
Jews in the Holocaust.
Pastor Huneke also is the au-
thor of The Moses of Rovno: The
True Story of a German Christ-
ian Who Rescued Jews and In the
Darkness — Glimpses of Light:A
Study of Nazi Era Rescuers.

B

at Mitzvah: A Jewish
Girl's Coming of Age
(Viking) is Barbara Dia-
mond Goldin's account of
the history of women and Ju-
daism, and of b'nai mitzvah of
women and girls throughout the
world.
Why was the first bat mitzvah
as late as 1922, she asks. 'The an-
swer lies in the way Jewish girls
and women have been viewed in
Judaism — and how women have
been viewed in society as a whole.

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