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November 08, 2002 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-11-08

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

OTHER VIEWS

Don't Let The Terrorists Win

Editor's Note: Zieva Konvisser, recording
secretary of Greater Detroit Chapter
of Hadassah and a vice president at
Congregation Beth Shalom, and her
husband, Marc, a self-employed software
developer, toured the Jewish state while
also taking part in Hadassah's Oct.
13-20 Israel Renaissance Mission.

re you crazy?" our friends
said. Our mothers told us
not to go. One son wished
he could go with us; the
other was concerned. My husband
Marc and I went.
Visiting Israel is a big step in these
days of terrorist bombings, but it is a
vital step in keeping the connection
between Israeli Jews and Jews in the
diaspora strong.
In Israel, we not only were wel-
comed by the tourist industry, which
has just about dried up (we had to
make appointments to shop), but also
by all of the Israelis we met. They
have the awful feeling that they are
bearing the brunt of extremist terror-
ism alone. However, without a strong
Israel homeland, the world would be a
much scarier place for all Jew.
Sitting on the sidelines is not a neu-
tral policy, but allows the terrorists to

ik

Zieva and Marc Konvisser live in

Orchard Lake. Hadassah's Renaissance
Mission II to Israel is scheduled for Dec.
29 through Jan. 5. Call Ann Fucito in
the Missions Department, (212) 303-
8031 or e mail, missions@hadassah.org

-

Visit Israel

win. Over 2,000 years of anti-
Semitism have not ended and we can't
let this latest onslaught defeat us.
Supporting Israel by our money
and, more importantly, by our pres-
ence was the purpose of the Hadassah
Israel Renaissance Mission in which
we were active participants. The
phrase "Next Year in Jerusalem" that
we say each Passover reminds us that
our freedom is deeply tied to the exis-
tence of a thriving.Jewish state.
It was wonderful being in a country
where we were welcomed both as an
American and a Jew. The country has
been badly hurt by the suicide
bombers — we can only compare it to
the Washington, D.C., snipers who
terrified the whole country, yet killed
fewer people than one average
[Palestinian] suicide bomber. The
Washington reign of terror lasted sev-
eral weeks; the suicide bombers have
been terrifying Israeli civilians for
many years and there is no end in
sight.
Most of the Israelis we talked with
had resolved to defy the terrorist by
living a "normal" life. They, as we
found ourselves doing as tourists,
choose to avoid areas or circumstances
that they deem to be dangerous or
risky: public buses, the Arab Quarter,
congested open-air markets.
Our cousins and their children con-
tinue to plan — long and short term
— but, as one of them said, "We
never know. It's such a small country
that you're touched by every incident.

political Isolation Increasing For Jews

Washington, D. C.
f all ose statistics are true about
Jews still being one of the most
liberal voting blocs in the
nation, why are they increasing-
ly estranged from the American left?
Easy: the left, ranging from the anti-
globalism fringes to the Congressional
Black Caucus to some segments of the
mainstream liberal community, has
adopted policies and perspectives that
even many progressive Jews regard as ,
offensive and dangerous.
Good causes have been rendered
marginal by activists looking for easy-
to-grasp heroes and villains. Political
correctness has turned Israel from a
noble experiment into the ultimate

I

James D. Besser is the Detroit Jewish

T.". Y.

11/8-
2002

38

News' Washington correspondent. E-
mail: jbesser@att.net

example of vicious colonialism.
And a political culture that can't. say
"no" to extremists has turned the con-
cept of civil rights on its head. It's no
longer unusual to see activists ped-
dling the Protocols of the Elders of Zion
at anti-war and anti-globalism rallies
— and for organizers, for all their talk
of human rights, to remain silent in
the face of this overt anti-Semitism.
That's producing a kind of political
disenfranchisement for Jewish voters
who remain strongly liberal, but
increasingly lack partners with whom
to pursue those political interests.
The Congressional Black Caucus
(CBC) is in synch with mainstream
Jewish voters on a host of important
domestic issues. But there also is no other
group that is as tolerant of some of the
most anti-Israel and anti-Jewish voices.
Many have been highly critical of

The Israel mission began
But we go on. We live as if it
with a moving moon-lit
doesn't exist. We put up a bar-
Shehechiyanu service at the
rier."
Haas Promenade overlooking
In the words of Hadassah
Jerusalem. It concluded with
College President Nava Ben-
an equally moving moon-lit
Zion, "We are looking to the
Havdalah ceremony on the
future — creating a rainbow."
terrace of the David Citadel
What we have learned and
Hotel overlooking David's
ZI EVA
read about at home were no
KONVISSER Tower and the Old City of
longer just words. Hadassah
projects were internalized and
Community Jerusalem.
We came away from this
brought to life with a deeper
Views
wonderful week renewed,
understanding when we saw
excited and refreshed, wanting
them in person.
to share our experiences, our feelings,
Being in Israel, experiencing living
our thoughts and our pictures. We
with terrorism with the victims,
came away with the desire to tell
reminded us of becoming second-gen-
everyone how safely we traveled even
eration witnesses to the Holocaust in
in previously unsafe places. We came
1995. We saw, heard and felt the hor-
away needing to share the importance
rors as we toured Auschwitz-Birkenau
of American Jews coming to Israel
with survivors. Both experiences we
now. ❑
will never forget!

Zieva Konvisser,
right, presents
dolls made by
Greater Detroit
Chapter of
Hadassah's Doll
Project
volunteers to
Dr. Dan
Englehart,
director of
pediatrics at
Hadassah
Hospital in
Ein Kerem.

When asked about why she
Israel in recent years. That's
lost, he angrily spelled out the
no sin, since many American
reason: "J-E-W-S."
Jews and Israelis openly criti-
Overt expressions of racial
cize Israeli policies.
intolerance are no longer accept-
But many of these lawmak-
able in American life, but if the -
ers go further by giving legiti-
targets are Jews or Jewish influ-
macy to those who criticize
ence,
many who rally under the
the very idea of Israel and
civil rights banner are surpris-
JAMES D.
whose criticism veers off into
ingly tolerant of intolerance.
outright anti-Semitism.
BESSER
Other Black Caucus mem-
When a United Nations
Special
conference on racism was
Comm entary bers have provided a Capitol
Hill platform for Nation of
hijacked by anti-Israel forces
Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
and turned into a lynch mob
When Farrakhan returned from a
of open anti-Semitism, adminis'tration
recent Mideast "peace mission," it was
officials boycotted the conference —
CBC founder Rep. John. Conyers, D-
but leading CBC members, including
Mich., who provided him a forum, as
Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga.,
if he was a legitimate statesman, not a
demanded full U.S. participation.
garden-variety bigot.
When McKinney and Rep. Earl
It's not just the CBC.
Hilliard, D-Ala., lost their reelection
When anti-globalism, anti-
bids, some CBC members complained
International Monetary Fund forces
about excessive Jewish influence in
come to Washington to demonstrate,
American democracy. McKinney's father,
a defeated state legislator, was blunter:
BESSER on page 39

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