Wrong Political Climate
Palestinians must want peace before it will happen, says WSU speaker.
To illustrate his point about the limits of objectivi-
ty, Bard said the Google Internet search engine leads
to Web sites that promote the theory the Earth is flat.
itchell Bard kept his cool when, at the He said the truth only can be found through logic
and analysis. "Unfortunately," he concluded, "on the
end of his Feb. 19 lecture at Wayne
Arab-Israeli conflict, you can frequently find the
State University in Detroit, an audi-
equivalent of the flat-Earth society."
ence member called him a racist and
Bard focused attention on four dimen-
said he had hoped for a more objective pres-
sions of the conflict:
entation on the Middle East.
• Historical ("Palestinians have never had
"I never said I was going to be objective,"
a state, though they had seven opportunities
said the unabashed Israel advocate. "I said at
to do so and each time they rejected it");
the beginning that I have studied the argu-
• Psychological ("shame, humiliation and
ments and evidence on both sides [of the Arab-
revenge" animate the Arabs' approach to the
Israeli conflict] and I was going to present my
conclusions. Those conclusions overwhelmingly
• Geographic ("George W Bush said there are
support Israel's\-version. I stand by them."
Mitche ll Bard driveways in Crawford, Texas, longer than 9
It was that kind of unapologetic straight-talk
miles," the narrowest point of Israel before 1967);
that was appreciated by most of the 70 persons
• Religious ("while not all Muslims are terrorists,
that attended his talk sponsored by the Hillel of
saying Islam is just a religion of peace is contrary to
Metropolitan Detroit and the Grosberg Religious Center.
the historical record").
Bard, executive director of the American-Israel
"Israelis desperately crave peace," insists Bard. "They
Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), is a foreign policy
want to find a Palestinian leader who can find the
analyst who lectures frequently on U.S.-Middle
courage of [former Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat
Eastern policy and the webmaster for the Jewish
or [former Jordanian King] Hussein to. make peace."
Virtual Library vv-ww.us-israel.org a comprehensive
But even should a Palestinian leader come for-
online encyclopedia of Jewish history and culture.
Bard served as editor of the Near East Report for the ward, Bard warns there will still be problems with
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups who
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
"explicitly say that even an Israeli return to the 1967
He recently co-authored new editions of Myths and
borders isn't enough."
Facts: A guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict and The
Looking back on the failure of the 1993 Oslo
Complete Idiot's Guide to the Middle East Conflict.
Special to the Jewish News
accords to bring peace to Israel and a state to the
Palestinians, Bard said, "I am not one who says 'I
told you so' about Oslo. Oslo was based on a process
that worked," he said, noting that Egypt got the
entire Sinai back over a period of eight years. "Israel
withdrew from a part of the Sinai and tested Sadat.
Sadat kept the peace and Israel withdrew more."
Noting that Israel gave recognition, land and weapons
to the Palestinians in return for Yasser Arafat's signed
pledge to recognize Israel, renounce terrorism and
resolve disputes at the negotiating table, he thought the
plan had potential. "We thought Arafat had made the
psychological leap," Bard said, "but he hadn't."
After reviewing the complex issues that must be
resolved for the conflict to end, Bard told the audi-
ence that peace is possible when the Palestinians rec-
oncile themselves to living in peace with Israel.
"When will there be peace? It will happen when
there is a Palestinian Peace Now, 10,000 strong, car-
rying signs that say, 'Make Peace, Not Terror."'
For Zepure Aghobjian, a Wayne State senior from
Livonia, Bard's talk was illuminating, particularly his
comment about Kuwait deporting 300,000
Palestinians during the 1991 Gulf War without any
Arab or international complaint. But most of all, she
appreciated the time he spent after his talk having
lunch with about 20 students. "He's such a powerful
speaker. Very knowledgeable and very supportive of
Jewish students to help us promote peace on campus."
Bard's work on campuses — he visited about 20 last
year — is very important to him. "The whole campus
crisis has -been mischaracterized," he said in an inter-
view before his talk. "The problem was never anti-
Israel sentiment on the campuses, though it is intense
in a few places. The problem is that Jewish students
don't know the alef bet [basics] of Jewish political histo-
ry. It's something they need to know for themselves so
they don't get confused and get negative feelings." ❑
`Prepare For The Worst'
Burton Leland, D-Detroit; and Reps. Andrew Meisner,
D-Ferndale, Marc Shulman, R-West Bloomfield,
Shelley Goodman Taub, R-Bloomfield Hills, and
Steven Tobocman, D-Detroit, to form the Jewish cau-
Granholm announced a $30.3 million cut from
education. Wayne State University board
legislators in Lansing. "We are going to be cutting to
Richard Bernstein said the Detroit-based
the very bone, and we'll need people to make conces-
already been cut 2.5 percent and will
sions — not only in salaries for people who work for
percent this year. "We're going to
the state — but citizens are going to have to make sac-
have to learn how to work within these parameters,"
rifices, too. It's going to affect everybody, but it really
he said. "Jennifer Granholm is going to care for the
affects social services, and that's the unfortunate part."
weakest first. She's going to basically focus on help-
Jacobs joined Sens. Liz Brater, D-Ann Arbor, and
ing those who are in the weakest place.
"She's not going to cut special education
before she cuts something else, and that's
and Meisner, and
very responsible government to not target
Sens. Jacobs and
the weak and innocent. She's really going
to do what's right."
Susan Herman, Michigan Jewish
Conference director said it's time to start
thinking "out of the box."
of the American
"People are looking at this like a crisis,
but out of a crisis comes something new
and something good," she said. "It may
take a couple of years."
State budget shortfalls main topic of reception.
he light at the end of the tunnel slipped
farther away on Feb. 19, as Michigan gov-
ernor Jennifer Granholm announced the
first round of two budget cuts that will try
to solve a $158 million general fund
Talk of cuts and their effect on social ,
services and education was heard
throughout the west wing of the State
Capitol in Lansing during a legislative
reception hosted by the Michigan
Legislative Jewish Caucus and the
Michigan Jewish Conference, a
statewide Jewish advocacy organization.
"I think it's devastating, but it has to
be done," said Sen. Gilda Jacobs D-
Huntington Woods, one of seven Jewish