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January 10, 2003 - Image 29

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-01-10

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Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:


Where, Oh Where Is The Outrage?

etroit Jewry has done much to build and
maintain bridges of understanding with
the local Arab American community, the
second largest in America.
Since the Palestinians launched their second
intifada (uprising) against Israel in September
2000 — causing more than 700 Israeli deaths,
with thousands wounded and millions terrorized
— we've tried hard to instill greater tolerance of
and respect for our Christian and Muslim neigh-
bors of Arab descent here in metro Detroit.
We've broken bread with them, prayed with
them, remembered 9-11 with them and held com-
munal events with them. Jews have visited
mosques and Muslims have visited syna-
gogues. Our children and theirs have got-
ten to know one another. We've served on
interfaith boards together. We've patron-
ized each other's businesses. In some cases, we've
made new friendships.
Many community, both groups and individuals,
have spoken out for peace based on co-existence,
compromise and mutual respect. Many have sup-
ported land-for-peace arrangements with Arab
nations that have been friendly toward Israel.
We've come to terms with the idea of a
Palestinian state when the terror ends and Arab
leaders guarantee Israel's right to exist within safe,
secure borders. We've expressed concern for the
plight of innocent Palestinians forced to live, and
die, under the corrupt reign of Yasser Arafat. We've
taken action against stereotyping Arabs.
But while representatives of the Detroit Jewish
community have strived to lay the groundwork for


Dry Bones

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NEw LeoRt< Rs
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a relationship rooted in a shared belief
in what is right and wrong, not one
local Arab American leader has uncondi-
ATTAC K T061-1 .
tionally condemned the Palestinian ter-
ror against Israeli civilians, or terror

groups like Hezbollah, Hamas or
Islamic Jihad.
Not one has spoken out against the
Palestinian indoctrination against Jews
and Zionists, the glorification of martyr-
dom or the targeted murder of Jews
around the world. Not one has had the
courage to stand up in their mosque or
their community and recognize Israel as

the Jewish state and as a legiti-
uNoRTur.)k1- 61),),
mate nation in the Middle
IN Tqc 21sT
East, while denouncing the
Palestinian schools that teach
C6 trt'-uR „.
children to hate Jews.
It's time for our new friends and
acquaintances of Arab descent to speak
up unequivocally for what is right and
brand terrorism for what it is: a crime
against humanity. It's time they compel

their leaders to renounce radical Islam
and endorse harmony.
They can start with expressions of
outrage at the nearly simultaneous sui-
cide bombings that hit central Tel Aviv
on Sunday, killing at least 22 people and
Jews and Arabs, wherever they live. There's no
wounding more than 100 others.
worth to a one-sided relationship.
It's time the Arab American community recipro-
The silence from the other side's leadership is
cates for all the goodwill the Jewish community
both demeaning and dangerous. ❑
has put forth in hopes of spurring peace between

"nmes squARe











1 `

Legislators And Loyalty

anning two Arab Israeli members of the
Knesset from seeking re-election is a threat
to Israel's cherished democracy without a
doubt. The only worse threat would be to
let them run.
Israel's Basic Law is pretty clear on the point: "A list
of candidates will not take part in the elections to the
Knesset nor shall an individual person be a candidate
for the Knesset if the goals or deeds of the list or the
deeds of the person, explicitly or implicitly,
are one of the following: (1) reject the exis-
tence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and
democratic state; (2) incite to racism; (3)
support. the armed struggle of an enemy state or ter-
rorist organization against the State of Israel."
The disqualified candidates, Ahmad Tibi and Azmi
Bishara, argue that they don't want to destroy Israel.
Instead they would take away its essential Jewish core.
They would like the 3 million Palestinians now in the
West Bank and Gaza to have an unlimited right of
return to what they claim as ancestral homes within
Israel. Once there, of course, they would soon out-
number the non-Arab Israelis and, using their demo-


cratic rights as Israeli citizens, would promptly vote
to replace the Jewish state with an Arab one.
In the meantime, Bishara and Tibi see nothing
wrong with the Palestinian attacks on soldiers and
settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. They say
they don't approve of violence against Israelis inside
the Green Line, like the Sunday suicide bombing that
massacred at least 22 people in Tel Aviv, but the mur-
derous assaults on settlers and soldiers are, in their
view, acts of. "liberation."
It makes you wonder why they want to
live in Israel at all, much less serve in the
nation's parliament. Can you imagine what
Americans would do to a member of Congress who
said Al Qaida's 9-11 attack was wrong, but that its
blowing up American embassies in Africa and a war-
ship in Yemen were justified acts?
Israel doesn't have a written constitution, but you
would think that the people who wanted to be its cit-
izens and its public servants would be willing to
swear they would uphold and defend the state.
Instead, these Arab Knesset members want the state


Until he was elected to the Knesset, Tibi served as a
formal counselor to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat;
now his status has been reduced to "informal adviser"
to the corrupt, murderous terrorist.
If the Israeli Supreme Court upholds the Central
Elections Committee vote to bar Tibi and Bishara,
the nation's 1 million Arab citizens are going to
become even more polarized in their resentment of
the Jewish majority. Many are likely to boycott the
Jan. 28 elections entirely, paradoxically thereby reduc-
ing the vote for Labor, the only party that appears
willing to pursue any parts of the pre intifada (upris,-
ing) peace process. At a time when it should be seek-
ing unity, Israel will be even more destructively polar-
That's a terrible outcome. But it would be even
worse to allow the election of legislators whose goal
is to undermine the nation they should be trying to
serve. Israel needs to make sure that its Arab minor-
ity has full and equal rights in the democracy, but it
has no obligation to elevate those who,. given a
chance, would tear it down. ❑


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