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February 28, 2003 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-02-28

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When •

In The Trenches

From the pages of the Jewish News
from this week 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
and 60 years ago.

AJCommittee terrorism expert cites Arab American
groups' sympathies with terrorists.

AJCommittee board members and the
Jewish News.
According to its mission statement,
DMEIT has a twofold strategy:
ehudit Barsky is completely
"to monitor the activities of Islamic
in favor of inter-religious
extremist organizations that pose a
activities involving Jewish
potential threat to the interests of the
and Muslim Americans —
Jewish community and to seek out
as long as the Muslim Americans
moderate Muslim interlocutors in
involved are willing to go on the
order to build a Jewish-Muslim inter-
record against suicide bombings. -
faith coalition."
One of the few female terrorist
The Islamic Supreme Council of
experts in the world, Barsky went on
America is one moderate Muslim
to list a few organizations to avoid:
group that has spoken out against sui-
the American-Arab Anti-
cide bombings, Barsky said. While in
Discrimination Committee, the
Michigan, she met with local leaders
American Muslim Council and the
of the group, which operates a retreat
Council on American-Islamic
near Flint.
A terrorism fight-
"We do not cooperate
, er for 16 years,
with them because of
- Barsky speaks flu-
their stance on terror-
ent Arabic as well
ism," she said, adding
as English, Hebrew,
that spokesmen for sev-
French and
eral Arab-American
Spanish. She earned
groups have gone on
bachelor's and mas-
record as advocating sui-
ter's degrees in
cide bombing, which
Near Eastern stud-
they refer to as "self-
ies and internation-
martyrdom" to sidestep
relations from
the Muslim religious
New York University.
proscription against sui-
She worked with the
"Generally, the
American Jewish
Kathleen Straus, president of League (ADL) and
the New York-based
Committee agrees with
the Michigan Board of
these [Arab-American]
Education, speaks with
Research Institute
organizations on nation- AJCommittee terrorist expert
before coming to the
al issues having to do
Yehudit Barsky. Barsky asked
in 1999.
with religious freedom,"
that her face not be pictured
- On many speaking
she said. "However, we
for security reasons.
engagements, she
will not sign together
said, her hosts assume
with them on an amicus
will be male
brief [a submission to influence a
because of the dearth of women in her
court's decision by a non-party]. We
field. Even leaders of Jewish organiza-
do not want to give them credibility."
tions are frequently surprised when
Barsky, director of the
they meet her.
AJCommittee's Division on Middle
Barsky came to the terrorism beat
East and International Terrorism
from an academic pursuit of knowl-
(DMEIT), had been invited by the
AJCommittee's Detroit Metropolitan
"In college, I was studying the ideolo-
Chapter to a breakfast meeting with
gy of the Israelis, how the different ide-
female leaders from Michigan's Jewish
ologies legitimize the existence of the
community. Her Detroit trip also
state of Israel," she said. "Then I began
included meetings with local








to look at our opponents — what their
opposition to Israel is, and why."
Arab-based organizations based in
the Middle East feel they should have
a foothold in different parts of the
world, Barsky said. "It's a backwards
compliment to us — 'Look at the feel-
ing Jews have for each other, all over
the world.' They admire the cohesive-
ness of the Jewish community and try
to emulate it."

War With Iraq?

Asked her feelings about Iraq, Barsky
gave a war scenario her qualified sup-
port. By speaking with Iraqi scientists
who had defected to the United
States, she learned that "the weapons
we are so concerned about do exist.
Saddam Hussein does have nuclear
capabilities. Within the next six
months, he could assemble a war-
And, based on his past behavior, she
has no doubt the Iraqi leader would
use any weapon at his disposal.
"I feel it's better to head it off at the
pass," Barsky said. "That's not to say I
want a war that goes on and on and
on. They're now talking about a 100-
hour war. We know who he is. Why
take the risk?"
"Yehudit gave a very sobering talk,"
said audience member Judy Cantor of
Bloomfield Township, president of the
Jewish Historical Society of Michigan.
"We're being confronted with calls for
peace that certainly tweak our con-
science, but what she said forces us to
re-evaluate the positions of those who
are calling for no war."
Another audience member, Sheri
Shiff of Birmingham, agreed with
Barsky's view on Arab-Jewish relations.
"If we deal with organizations that
condone terrorism, we don't have
respect for the real Islam — and also,
we don't have respect for ourselves,"
she said.
Shiff, who has worked with Barsky
through the ADL, called her "a real
boon to our Jewish community. She's
right out there in the trenches." ❑

Preparations are under way to
introduce McDonald's in Israel.
Detroit-based Jewish Vocational
Service's new refugee employment
task force targets businesses that
could hire Soviet emigres with spe-
cial technical expertise.


Max I. Dimont, Jewish historian,
will be the Bargman scholar in resi-
dence at Temple Beth El in Detroit.


The United States Agency for
International Development granted
$4.85 million to Hadassah to establish
Sharett Institute of Oncology in Israel.



The Cohn Branch of Detroit-based
United Hebrew Schools will present
its annual Children's Fashion Show.
Josephine Goman, William
Cohen and Dr. Walter Bergman
will be honored as winners of the
Leon A. Cousens award for distin-
guished service to Detroit Jewry,
presented by Workman's Circle.


Mrs. Theodore Bargman, at a recent
meeting of the board of the Jewish
Social Service Bureau, was elected
president of the organization.
Sunsweet Prune Juice and Mott's
Apple Juice are declared Kosher for
Passover after Orthodox Rabbi Dr.
J. B. Ralbag of New York inspected
the plant in Voorheesville, NY.

At Detroit's Cass High School, Dr.
Stephen S. Wise, president of the
American Jewish Congress, will
address a rally protesting Nazi
atrocities in Europe. He will be
honored afterward at a luncheon at
the Hotel Rader.
The women's auxiliary of the B'nai
B'rith of Benton Harbor entertained
more than 200 soldiers at a Valentine
party at the Western Michigan USO
club in Battle Creek.

— Compiled by Holly Teasdle,
archivist, the Rabbi Leo M. Franklin
Archives of Temple Beth El

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