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October 18, 2002 - Image 33

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-18

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expressing support for Bush and
Congress in seeking to make Iraq
destroy its weapons of mass destruc-
tion and stop weapons development
"Iraq must conform to the resolu-
tions adopted by the Security Council
and the other standards which
President Bush has specified," the res-
olution said.
"We support the efforts to enlist the
United Nations and international
cooperation to secure Iraqi compli-
ance, including the use of force as a
last resort."
The Presidents Conference statement
makes no mention of regime change or
unilateral action, two flash points •
among American Jewish groups.
The statement was seen as an
attempt to placate both critics who
said that an explicit warning of mili-
tary action was needed and those who
said that nonviolent tactics needed to
be endorsed as well.
On the local level, Jews are less clear
whether the Jewish community should
speak up.
Take a group of New York Jews at
an Oct. 7 dinner of the Orthodox
Union's Institute of Public Affairs.
Most of those in attendance supported
the war on Iraq and thought Israel can
defend itself if drawn into the fire.
But differing opinions surfaced
when asked whether the U.S. Jewish
community should take an active role
in backing the war.
Jonah Lobell of New York said Jews
should be more outspoken in support-
ing a U.S. war. He feels Israel has had
unprecedented" support from this
administration, and Jews should
return such support and Congress
needs to "appreciate the importance of
this issue to the Jewish community
As for Bush's proposed war on Iraq,
Lobell said it's not only inevitable, but
"critical to American interests," and to
creating an "equilibrium in the world."


Mixed Views

Some across the country expressed
concern that the U.S. is acting as the
world's policemen, which might antag-
onize other nations and the United
"The longer Israel is made to
restrain herself, while Bush tries to
gain support from Arab countries, the
less safe she is," said Ari Saks of New
York, a Columbia University student
visiting the University of Michigan

campus in Ann Arbor.
Others, aware of the U.N.'s reputa-
tion as a hotbed of anti-Israel senti-
ment, dismissed this concern.
"As far as U.N. backing goes, I don't
care," said Elie Elovic of Highland
Park, N.J. "The United Nations is an
organization monopolized by third-
world countries. I have no problem
with unilateral action."
Even some of those who back the
war have larger questions — and, in
some cases, strong opinions — about
where the "war on terrorism" should
turn next. -
"What George•Bush wants to do
and what Congress is now prepared to
back him to do is correct," said
Martin Fox of Kansas City, Kansas.
"But I don't think Iraq is the only
country that needs a regime change.
Saudi Arabia is just as much a threat,
as well as the other Arab countries."
Joe Shani of Beverly Hills, Calif,
believes a war against Iran would not
be needed to change the regime.
"The young people of Iran are ready
now to change the regime," said the
Iranian Jew. "If Iraq falls, Iran will
become democratic, and that, in turn
will change the attitude of Islam in the
entire region."
For some, it comes down to free-
dom. "The United States government
needs to act to protect civilians every-
where — in the U.S., Israel and the
world," said Daniel Aghion of Boston,
a junior at U-M in Ann Arbor.
"The Iraqi government represents
ideas that act to destroy the fabric of
democracy," said Aghion, who was
born in America to Egyptian-born
parents, "and the U.S. needs to defend
its democracy and other nations with
democratic ideals."
Danny Morris of Omaha said Iraq's
leaders think both Israel and America
are "evil" and "run by Jews."
"It's easier for Iraq to hit Israel than
America," he said.
That scares Omaha's Kym Pitlor, 17,
but she added, "I don't think we have
a choice." ❑
— Detroit Jewish News Staff Writer
Shelli Liebman Dorfinan contributed to
this story, also reported by JTA staff
writer Rachel Pomerance in NewYork
and correspondents Sharon Samber in
Washington and Tom Tugela in Los
Angeles. Also contributing were the
Cleveland Jewish News, the Community
.of Louisville, Ky., the Jewish Chronicle
of Pittsburgh, the Jewish Press of
Omaha, the Kansas City Jewish
Chronicle and the New Jersey Jewish
News. The piece was compiled by JTA
sta writer Peter Ephross.

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