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October 11, 2002 - Image 39

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-11

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J Opinion

Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:

Challenge The Anti-Israel Extremists

he "Second National Student Conference
on the Palestine Solidarity Movement"
Oct. 12-14 at the University of Michigan
will be framed by rallies, leafleting, forums
and more than a little student moxie.
Jewish students are letting the university and
community know that they resent and reject being
called racist, that they understand the current of
anti-Semitism running through the "divest from
Israel" conference and that they refuse to be intimi-
dated. They have decided to take a stand.
It is disturbing that several national "mainstream"
Arab and Muslim organizations have signed on in
support of a conference that goes well beyond the
usual parsed rhetoric to embrace extrem-
ism by accepting all "strategies and tactics
adopted by the Palestinian people in their
struggle for liberation."
For example, a stated goal of the conference is
"the end of the Israeli occupation of ... all Aral?,
lands" — a strategic way of calling for the end of
the State of Israel because the organizers (Students
Allied for Freedom and Equality or SAFE) consider
all of Israel to be on occupied Arab land.
Campuses often have been used as testing and
recruitment centers for larger efforts. If not loudly
challenged, we can expect the divestment campaign
against Israel to move into our community groups,
churches, and city and state government.
- For this reason, we need to put the conference
organizers and their sponsors on the spot — and on
the defensive. They must be held accountable for
their inflated and inflammatory rhetoric. They must


be held accountable for their choice of speakers.
While it is important for the university to
speak out, the condemnation must go beyond
them and beyond the Jewish community. If we
can't get an extremist conference condemned by
others beside ourselves, think of the difficulty we
will have when slicker, more professional propa-
gandists bring it to our neighborhoods.
SAFE's support of all anti-Israel tactics as
"legitimate resistance" needs to be dissected and
explained to the larger community. We must
challenge SAFE to denounce each immoral
instance of incitement, anti-Semitism and mur-
der used by the "resistance." We must challenge
it to denounce suicide bombings and
the religion-based hatred of Hamas
and fellow radical Islamists. We must
challenge it to denounce the use of
Palestinian children as combatants, a clear viola-
tion of the same international law the terrorists
are trying to use to beat Israel into submission.
On the subject of international law, SAFE
must accept that Israel has a right to exist.
Keeping SAFE on the defensive — and it has
plenty to defend — will help blunt its offensive.
There is a natural tendency among groups of
people to try to manage a problem rather than
confront and defeat it. But the anti-Israel forces
are working hard to advance their agenda, and
have all sorts of smooth talk to cover their rough
edges. Bringing attention to extremism may seem
risky. But it is arguably less risky than letting it pass
and hoping it won't take root.
It's important that Detroit Jewry step up and fol-
low the lead of U-M students from Hillel: The

Dry Bones


Related story: page .16

Two-And-A-Half Words Of Praise

hearty tip of our collective kippot to the 120
scientists from around the world who gath-
ered last weekend in Eilat, Israel, for a confer-
ence on cardiovascular research.
It was notable not just because it was the first inter-
national gathering of scientists in Israel since the latest
Palestinian intzfada (uprising) began two years, but also
because the choice of locale was a direct response to the
stupid — and fortunately limited — boycott
of Israel by some European academics.
We applaud the attitude of one attendee,
Dr. Arthur A. Spector of the University of
Iowa, who told the New York Times he was
there "first of all for the outstanding science and,
secondly, for my colleagues here in Israel to know
we haven't forgotten them, we're supporting them."
The boycott was originated by British neuro-
chemist Steven Rose, who said he wanted an effec-
tive way to protest Israel's continuing "occupation"
of the West Bank and Gaza.
Efforts to cut off both scientific cooperation with
Israeli researchers and European Union grants to those
academics reflect the resurgence of European anti-
Semitism rather than any great moral high ground.


After all, if the idea was to protest "occupation,"
wouldn't Rose and his kin be equally vigilant in fight-
ing, say, China's invasion of Tibet or, a little closer to
home, the British "occupation" of Northern Ireland?
Plaudits to the U.S. Congress for its continuing
efforts to make the White House understand the
reality: Jerusalem is Israel's present-day capital as •
well as its eternal one.
Last week, the House passed the State
Depart-ment authorization bill — with lan-
guage first suggested nearly a decade ago —
that requires the department to list Israel as
the country of origin on passports, birth
certificates and other official documents for U.S. citi-
zens born in Jerusalem, and to cite Jerusalem as Israel's
capital wherever it lists countries and their capitals.
Additional language demands again that the president
move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a
provision first enacted more than three years ago.
President George W. Bush, like former President Bill
Clinton before him, has said this is an impermissible
congressional interference with the White House's right
to conduct foreign affairs as it chooses.
Bush will no doubt continue to waive the provision,


Foundation for Jewish Campus Life and other
Jewish and Zionist organizations — determined stu-
dents intently organizing to rally for Israel and
counter the conference.
It's time we take a stand together to protect the
Jewish cause and the Jewish homeland. ❑

at least in part because of his strategic conclusion that
it would be better not to do the right thing when it
might anger some potential Arab states whose support
he seeks for action against Iraq's Saddam Hussein. But
at least Congress is keeping up the symbolic pressure
to pull the White House out of the foolish denial of
reality in which the Arab states operate.
We've said before that Islam is predominantly a
religion of peace, but some readers have taken
exception, noting the frequent calls in the Koran
and the Hadith (second in authority to the Koran)
for war on the infidels, particularly Jews.
We still think that hatred is not the norm, but on
Oct 4. a group of "worshippers" at the al-Agra Mosque
atop the Temple Mount cast doubt on the premise.
The Muslims, emerging from a service at the
mosque, noticed that Jews were saying their Shabbat
prayers at the Western Wall below and promptly start-
ed throwing stones at them. Happily, no one was badly
hurt in this demonstration of current Islamic practice.
It is worth pointing out that, although Israeli
police briefly had to move into the plaza area out-
side the mosque, the stone-throwers were actually
stopped by Palestinian forces. Wouldn't it be nice if
they continued to do their job, not just on the
Temple Mount, but also against the terrorists they
insist on ignoring? ❑




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