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Of Honor By Jews
The shameful effect of that endorse-
ment is that it confers our communi-
ty's seal of approval on a man and ide-
ologies that are an anathema to Israel.
It debases our heartache for the
unfathomable anguish and horror in
our tortured homeland.
The Jewish Federation of
Metropoiltan Detroit's impressive
annual report proclaims: "One family.
One community. Standing together."
If this is truly Federation's conviction,
it is incumbent upon those who gov-
ern its affairs that our official spokes-
people affirm that unity of mission
among Jews supporting Israel.
While one can argue that individu-
als have the right to act as private citi-
zens, that distinction is moot when
they are publicly recognized and
sought out as influence brokers of the
community. It is dangerously misguid-
ed to naively believe that one can
actively advance the questionable
agenda of Seeds of Peace while at the
same time passionately represent the
collective will and aspirations of our
At this dire moment in Israel's history
— perhaps the most perilous since her
birth — when the support of
American Jewry is more critical than
ever, it appears that leaders in the
Detroit Jewish community have
careened dangerously off course.
How can prominent Jews lend their
good names, their stature and indeed
the imprimatur of the community
they represent to tribute U.S. Rep.
John Dingell, D-Dearborn, a politi-
cian whose legislative record is inimi-
cal to the very security and well-being
of Israel? ("Friend Or Foe?" Nov. 8,
Congressman Dingell, whose relent-
less anti-Israel votes have earned him
gold status with the Arab lobby, will
be the recipient of the Congressional
Leadership Award at the upcoming
Seeds 'of Peace dinner.
As many will recall, Dingell was one
of only 21 congressmen this spring
who voted against Resolution 392
expressing solidarity with Israel in its
valiant struggle against terrorism.
Dingell also refused to join 235 of his
House colleagues [in a letter] in urging
President Georgre W. Bush to add Al-
Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Tanzim and
Force 17 to the U.S. list of recognized
Your account of the brouhaha, as you
This is the same Seeds of Peace hon-
put it, over the choice of U.S. Rep.
oree who was only one of four con-
John Dingell, D-Dearborn, as one of
gressmen refusing to demand that the . the honorees at the Seeds of Peace gala
U.N. turn over a videotape showing
is distressing ("Friend Or Foe?" Nov.
Hezbollah terrorists kidnapping Israeli
8, page 29).
soldiers on the Lebanese border.
I am a longtime friend of Rep.
Dingell also voted against legislation
Dingell (since before he was first elect-
mandating the transfer of the U.S.
ed to Congress in 1954) and before
embassy to Jerusalem.
that through my late father, familiar
But this should come as no surprise
with the reputation of his late father,
given his Dearborn Arab constituency.
Rep. John Dingell, who served for
What outrages me is that Jewish
many years in Congress.
community officials hosting this affair
For me, both father and son have
have forsaken their constituency —
been staunch supporters of matters of
the Jews of greater Detroit and our
concern to our Jewish community and
suffering brethren in Israel. It is a
could always be counted on when the
betrayal of trust and responsibility
going got rough. The fact that the cur-
when individuals charged to speak for
rent congressman has a somewhat dif-
the Jewish community sell out to an
ferent perspective on how peace can
organization that honors a congress-
best be achieved in the Middle East
man who is at cross-purposes with
than does [community activist] Jerome
S. Kaufman is no reason for the
Now more than ever, with the world
intemperance of his attack. It is simply
assailing Israel and Jewry at large, we
need community spokesmen who are
As to Jewish Community Council of
proud and vocal champions for our
Metropolitan Detroit Executive
people. It is an indefensible conflict of Director David Gad-Harf's comments,
interest to act as spokesman for the
they are plainly out of line. The choice
Jewish community and to capitalize on of Mr. Dingell as one of the honorees
that cache to laud Dingell and his
at the Seeds of Peace affair is consis-
Attacks On Dingell
Were Uncalled For
tent not only with the objectives of
the organization, but also with the
need to hold a very large umbrella
over the multitude of interests that
must participate in the effort to find a
peaceful solution to the Middle East
For myself, I applaud Seeds of Peace
for its efforts generally and commend
them in the work they are doing and
the breadth of their inclusiveness.
As a Jew who believes that Israel's sur-
vival is tantamount to the safety of
Jews everywhere, I am confounded by
the mixed messages conveyed by our
organizations and officials.
We're warned by the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-
Defamation League, the Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan Detroit,
clergy and others that Israel is con-
fronting the gravest threat to her exis-
tence — and that we must fight for
Israel and battle resurgent global anti-
Semitism no matter how ubiquitous
But now, in a troubling about-face,
many of our community's power bro-
kers are hosting a dinner honoring
U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn
("Friend Or Foe?" Nov. 8, page 29). It
is regrettable and downright dangerous
to ingratiate ourselves by conferring
distinction upon a congressman whose
career is marked by a preponderance
of votes unfavorable to Israel.
It sends the wrong message that we
applaud Dingell's disappointing record
vis-a-vis Israel. In turn, Dingell can
exploit this nascent Jewish endorse-
ment to his political advantage and
bolster his pro-Arab initiatives.
At this telling moment in Israel's
history, we must not create schisms
that weaken our resolve. We should
look beneath the polished veneer of
Seeds of Peace to ensure that its
underlying mission and philosophies
are consistent with our affirmation of
a vitally secure Israel.
When Seeds tributes Dingell,
arranges podiums for Palestinian
Authority leader Arafat spokesman
Yasser Rabbo and criticizes the U.S.
boycott of the infamous United
Nations conference at Durbin (which
vilified Israel as a racist, apartheid
nation — has it condemned the Arab
world's resurrection of the Protocols of
the Elders of Zion?), one may suspect
its agenda is somewhat skewed.
If Jewish Community Council of
Metropolitan Detroit Executive
Director David Gad-Harf questioned
the appropriateness of Dingell as an
honoree, why didn't he and other Jews
veto the choice or refuse to sign on as
hosts? Unless the metro-Detroit Jewish
establishment wants to perpetuate and
aggrandize the myth that Dingell is a
friend to Israel, the JCCouncil must
set the record straight that it does not
regard Dingell as a congressman wor-
thy of our esteem.
By whitewashing Dingell's reluc- -
tance to boldly condemn and sanction
Arafat, the Palestinian Authority and
its terrorist affiliates, we are complicit
in a conspiracy that endangers Israel
and Jews everywhere.
I pray my children will grow old in
an era when Israel's security is guaran-
teed and Jews need not apologize to
the world for who we are and what we
Dingell has cast his votes. Now it's
time for us to cast ours. Hineni, Israel!
Is Not Proselytizing
Regarding the article "Chevy Promo"
in the Nov. 8 edition (page 25), the
American Jewish Committee-
Metropolitan Detroit chapter's objec-
tion to GM's marketing of Chevrolet
to evangelical Christians is silly, and a
waste of their energies.
The claim that GM, by advertising
at Christian concerts, is somehow
"selling a product to promote an idea
and a faith" is not reasonable. GM is
simply putting its product in front of
its target customer. The South is
famous for its love of country music,
barbecue, Jesus and pickup trucks. It is
over-sensitive to take GM's advertising
to another faith as a discount of our
GM is not proselytizing Christianity
— attendance at these Christian
events is voluntary — GM is prosely-
tizing Chevrolet. Perhaps, if we are
discussing automotive issues, we could
discuss upper-class Jews' taste for
German vehicles, when there are still
people in our community who are tat-
tooed, inwardly and outwardly, with
the scars of working at gunpoint in
The AJCommittee seems to be say-
ing that it is not appropriate to mix
on page 10