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March 07, 2003 - Image 30

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-07

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When • • •

Israel Advocacy

Federation/SAJE event brings Mideast expert,
educators for community forum.

Special to the Jewish News


eople ask me if 2003 is
going to be a good year. I
say it is going to be a
momentous year," David
Makovsky said to the 250 people
gathered for the "Israel: Ready to
Respond" program at the Jewish
Community Center in West
Bloomfield March 1.
"If I was in an airplane, I'd say, 'Put
your tray tables in the upright posi-
tion, and fasten your seat belt. It's
going to be a ride.'"
Makovsky, a senior fellow at the
Washington Institute for Near East
Policy, delivered the keynote address
for a special Seminars for Adult Jewish
Enrichment (SAJE) communitywide
event. His talk, and a lively period of
questions-and-answers, preceded a
series of breakout sessions on various
aspects of advocacy for Israel.
The sessions ranged from the princi-
ples of advocating for Israel led by
Jewish Community Council Executive
Director David Gad-Harf to under-
standing and responding to the more
radical anti-Israel attacks on college
campuses led by Harvard University
law student and native-Detroiter
Owen Alterman.
Rabbi Elazar Meisels of the Dirshu
Institute dealt with the Jewish connec-
tion to the Land of Israel. Michael
Weiss of the Jewish Academy of
Metropolitan Detroit taught about the
Land of Israel in the Midrash.
Organized by the Jewish Federation
of Metropolitan Detroit's Israel and
Overseas Department, and co-spon-
sored by several local organizations,
the event coincided with the opening
of the Federation's month-long Israel
emergency campaign.
Makovsky's talk was wide-ranging,
but the timeliest information con-
cerned the prospects of an American
war with Iraq and its impact on the
region. He has no doubt that Iraq
poses a real threat to the United States
and the entire Middle East. But while

3/ 7


the war, which he sees as a near-cer-
tainty, "could have a positive spillover
effect" for Middle East peace, it is
scurrilous" for anyone to say this war
is somehow about Israel.
"Iraq has weapons of mass destruction
(WMD) and has violated every United
Nations resolution since 1991,"
Makovsky attested. "He's got bio/chem
and WMD and he's used them. He's got
a record. We must juxtapose the risks of
action against the risk of inaction."
Makovsky cited limited Iraqi capa-
bilities, greater political awareness,
increased communication between the
U.S. and Israel, and impressive
American and Israeli technology as rea-


David Makovsky

sons the war will likely be won quickly
and Israel might escape attack. Noting
Israel's Ofek satellite and Arrow mis-
siles, both new since 1991, he thinks
Israel may be able to pre-empt or repel
an attack should it come.
But should Israel be attacked with
non-conventional weapons, he believes
it will retaliate. "A generation after the
Holocaust, I can't see Israel holding back
if they are hit with chemical weapons."
If he thinks anyone should be wor-
ried, it should be Syria, which he calls
"They are on the waiting list of the
axis of evil," according to Makovsky,
who noted the $2 billion Syria takes in
doing illegal deals with and for Iraq, its
support of the terror organization

Hezbollah and the 10 Palestinian rejec-
tionist groups they host.
But the major challenge is the after-
math in Iraq itself. Citing Israel's experi-
ence in Lebanon, where they were initial-
ly greeted as liberators, he said the trick is
to "stay there as long as they are throw-
ing rice and not long enough for them
to start throwing katushyas (rockets)."
"Democratization needs to begin
somewhere" and Iraq has the strengths
of an educated middle class, a wealthy
diaspora and oil and other resources.
But "authoritarian regimes get the
Olympic medal for survival," says
Makovsky "You can't give them incen-
tives to reform because they don't
want to commit suicide."
Makovsky is not optimistic about
progress on the Arab-Israeli conflict
following the war. Though cautioning
that "Israel needs to do something on
the settlement issue," Makovsky sees
the biggest challenge as the usual one,
Arab unwillingness to make peace
with Israel. "If I had to bet, I'd bet the
Arabs can't do it, but we've got to try."
Recalling personal meetings with
Arab leaders, he says, "I told the Arab
states not to just wait for the U.S. 'If
you want an American engagement
than buy a ring, work for it, do some-
thing, don't dive under the tables.'
That is what happened in 1991."
According to Makovsky, the
Palestinians need a leader who wants
and is able to deliver peace. The Arab
nations need to support the effort
openly and cut off funds to the rejec-
tionists; people on both sides need to
regain hope that peace is attainable.
Mel Seidman from Farmington Hills,
an activist with the Labor Zionist
Alliance, came to the program seeking
information. "I'm looking to publicize
what's going on in a positive manner. It's
bad that we don't know the history, we
don't know the background, and we
don't know the political history."
Ben Brown, 15, a student at
Birmingham Groves High School,
thought Jews needed to know more
about all sides of the conflict. "If we corn-
pare the two, we can see the differences.
Dorothy Lopatin of West
Bloomfield, who attended with her
husband Irv, found Makovsky to be
"down to earth and very impressive.
We got to hear about the complexities
of the situation and what goes on
under the surface that we usually
aren't informed of." Li


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

The Children's Medical Center of
Israel, a pediatric hospital in Petach
Tikvah, opens.
A Jewish forum on AIDS will be
held at the Jewish Community
Center in West Bloomfield.

The first Beth Shalom Aleichem-
Schaver prizes were awarded last
month at the Shalom Aleichem
House in Tel Aviv. Detroiters
Morris and Emma Schaver
endowed the awards.

George E. Gullen Jr., president of
Wayne State University in Detroit,
is presented with a certificate of
appreciation from Norman D.
Tilles, national commander of the
Jewish War Veterans of the United
States of America.



Congregation Bnai Moshe in Oak
Park presents a concert featuring
Cantor Jacob Barkin in a repertoire
of Hebrew and Yiddish folk songs.

Abe Shiffman, industrialist and
communal worker, has contributed
$25,000 to a fund to memorialize
the late Henry Myers by establish-
ing a unit in his name at the new
Jewish Community Center in
northwest Detroit.
Judah Goldring, new cantor of
Beth Aaron Synagogue in Detorit,
will present his first public concert
in a Jewish Music Month program
spontored by the men's club.

Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, chairman of
the European Council of the
American Jewish Joint Distribution
Committee, will address the annual
meeting of the Jewish Welfare
Federation at the Jewish
Community Center on Woodward
and Holbrook in Detroit.
— Compiled by Holly Teasdle,
archivist, the Rabbi Leo M Franklin
Archives of Temple Beth El

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