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January 17, 2003 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-01-17

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We prefer letters that relate to articles in the Jewish News. We reserve the right to
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`Pianist' An Epic
Holocaust Film

With a great deal of apprehension, I
attended the new Roman Polanski
film The Pianist ("The Pianist," Jan. 3,
page 53).
The only other film of this magni-
tude was Schindler's List. The violence,
brutality and inhumanity by the Nazis
in both films were sadly similar. I
couldn't help but feel that Polanski
injected some of his own experiences
in the Kracow ghetto, where, coinci-
dently, I was also interred.
Just as in the film, young children
become street-smart out of necessity to
survive. Prominently featured, too,
were scenes of starvation in the ghetto
contrasted with the abundance of food
on the Aryan side.
Among the highlights of this film
are the Jewish ghetto uprising in April
1943 and the Polish Underground
uprising against the Germans in -
August 1944 prior to the Soviet forces
entering Warsaw. Also, it was hearten-
ing to see the humanity shown by
many Polish people trying to help Mr.
Although it brought back night-
mares for me, I hope that many peo-
ple, both Jewish and non-Jewish, will
see this epic film.
Sam Offen
West Bloomfield

Arabs N erit
Rightful Role



Your editorial endorsement of Israel's
Central Election Commission's ban on
the candidacy in the upcoming
Knesset election of Ahmad Tibi and
Azmi Bishara, both current members
of the Knesset and both native-born
Israelis, grossly oversimplifies the issue
put by the ban and is wrong
("Legislators And Loyalty," Jan. 10,
page 29).
While both men strongly disagree
with the majority view in Israel that it
is a "Jewish and democratic state" and
urge a broader definition of what must
constitute a democratic state, this view
should not be censored. What they
argue for is a definition that they
believe gives equal status to the 20
percent minority Arab population
with that of the 80 percent majority
Jewish population.
Gad Barzilai, associate professor of
political science and law and co-direc-
tor of the Law, Politics & Society
Programs at Tel Aviv University and
author of the recently published

University of Michigan Press Book
Communities And Law: Politics and
Cultures of Legal Identities, has spoken
out in support of Bishara's candidacy
saying that he should be allowed to
run even though many Israelis do not
like to hear what he has to say and
noted: "It is a frightening scenario if
one has to be a Zionist to participate
in Israeli politics."
Ildaretz has said of the Jan. 10 deci-
sion of the Israel Supreme Court,
which 11-0 rejected the ban on Tibi
and 7-4 rejected the ban on Bishara: It
was just and wise and that the justices
"addressed both the legal situation and
the needs and realities of the state."
Following the logic of your editorial,
the 1798 Alien and Sedition law in
this country would have received your
endorsement and you would have sup-
ported the banning of John C.
Calhoun from the U.S. Senate in the
mid-19th century as well as Vito
Marcantonio from the U.S. House of
Representatives in 1948.
While Israel formally does not have
a First Amendment in its Basic Laws,
the decision of its Supreme Court
rejecting the Central Election
Commission ban effectively gives it
one and assures the-Arab minority in
Israel effective participation in the
upcoming election for the Knesset.
Avern Cohn

Iraq through an illicit pipeline con-
necting the two countries. Further,
Syria maintains its own WMD pro-
gram and is now taking possession of
some of Saddarn's bio and chemical
weapons to avoid their discovery by
U.N. inspectors.
Needless to say, Syria is headed by a
dictatorial regime that maintains
power through an unoriginal combi-
nation of political repression and gross
human rights violations.
Damascus University cannot be
other than a direct extension of this
illegitimate, terrorist regime. For a
major American academic institution
such as WSU to enter into an agree-
ment no different than it might do
with say, Cambridge University, is to
assist in the legitimization of that
which is wholly illegitimate and
indeed criminal.
Predictable arguments about aca-
demic freedom and the elevation of
academics above politics ring hollow
when they concern a country that per-
mits no such freedom and uses aca-
demic affiliations like WSU's as politi-
cal tools to enhance its international
standing and authoritarian control.
I urge the WSU Board of Governors
to apply all necessary pressure to force
Dr. Reid to rescind this shameful
Steven I. Victor

Pact Shameful

We Can't Be
Silent Again

As an alumnus and supporter of
Wayne State University's Law School
(class of 1950), I find WSU president
Dr. Irvin Reid's recent consummation
of an agreement of scientific coopera-
tion with Damascus University dis-
graceful ("Syrian Connection," Jan.
10, page 12).
Syria is a country that is wholly
complicit in the support and perpetua-
tion of international terrorism. In fact,
no fewer than 10 terrorist organiza-
tions are headquartered in its capital,
including Hamas, the Popular Front
for the Liberation of Palestine and
Hezbollah, an enterprise recently char-
acterized by a senior U.S. State
Department official as being "on the
A-List" of terrorist organizations.
For its troubles, Syria has earned
itself a spot on this country's official
list of state sponsors of terror.
In direct contravention of U.N. res-
olutions, Syria helps finance Saddam
Hussein's development of weapons of
mass destruction (WMD) by illegally
purchasing $1.2 billion of oil from

When of bar mitzvah age, I remember
so well the horror of hearing of my fel-
low Jews and relatives being murdered
in Europe. What was equally disheart-
ening was the helplessness my family
felt at out being unable to do anything
to save our brethren.
As then, today we lovers of Zion are
facing critical times. A new report by
the Zionist Organization of America has
found that during the six months since
President Bush's major Middle East pol-
icy speech, the Palestinian Arabs have
not fulfilled any of the conditions that
the president set forth before the United
States will support creation of a
Palestinian Arab state.
There has been no crackdown of ter-
ror, no end of incitement on television
or radio or in newspapers, no new lead-
ership and no meaningful reforms of
Despite the fact that the Palestinians
have failed to meet the Bush plan,
President Bush and his spokesmen have
claimed the Palestinian Arabs are mak-
ing "progress" and declared the goal of

creating a Palestinian state in 2003.
The European Union, United
Nations, Russia and the United States
have developed a disastrous "road map"
for peace. Given what we know of the
Palestinian Authority, turning it into a
state would only be creating a new ter-
rorist entity.
Though there is little influence we
can have with the U.N., E.U. and
Russia (who, if they didn't have Israel as
a punching bag, would never have any
exercise), we can have a voice in the
United States.
American Jews are the most powerful
and prosperous diaspora community in
Jewish history. This is the difference
between now and 56 years ago.
We cannot lose an opportunity to use
our influence to support a secure Israel.
"If there is a will, there is a way."
Joseph Savin
president, Zionist Organization of
America-Michigan Region
West Bloomfield

Israelis Manage
Amid Danger

I second Laurie Sendler Rappaport's
point of view in your Editor's
Notebook "Israel's Unflappable Will"
(Jan. 10, page 5) and add our experi-
ence living in Nazareth Illit for the last
21 years.
We listen to the news when it hap-
pens to come on Kol ha-Muzika, the
classical music service of the Israel
Broadcasting Corporation or on Reshet
Aleph, which has especially interesting
programming. Reshet Bet, the news
station, is not on our menu. We don't
have a television, either, so we never see
the live action as it happens.
We read the weekly newspaper on
Shabbat, and I look at Hdaretz in
English on the Net every day to glean
insights that go beyond the daily news
reports. Often enough, I hear about
recent events from people around.
This does not mean we don't care,
but that we try to live our lives as nor-
mally as possible, knowing that we have
to be careful. Yes, when I went to visit
family in Ra'anana, I made a point not
to take the bus that went through Wadi
Ara; in the end, I took a shemt (taxi)
along that route and continued up to
my destination from the coastal road. It
was faster my way, in any case, because
the bus that goes through the Wadi is a
Even the "news" that we have to
change our gas masks at the community
center is taken without panic. In fact, if

LETTERS on page 10

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