Staying The Verbal Attack
Leonard I. Wanetik is a Southfield
The second came at the hands of the
United Nations. We took one field
trip a_week during the ulpan. The
U.N. trip involved a meeting with a
member of the legal staff to the U.N.
delegation. Before that meeting,
b , we
took the standard tour. Immediately
after meeting our guide, we ascended
an escalator. There, in the main cham-
ber outside the General Assembly,
amidst the many presents donated to
the U.N., sat a wall about 20 feet long
and about 12 or 15 feet high dedicat-
ed to "The Palestinians."
The guide tried to rush us past it,
and discussed some of the
but who could ignore it? To
artifacts from that time and
say that it was not only one-
others. Some artifacts were
sided, but also factually incor-
labeled as being from Jordan.
rect was an understatement.
Others came from Iran.
The wall was accompanied by
Others came from other
a pamphlet, published by the
named countries. But guess
U.N., which restated much of
which one was missing. Right.
the malarkey on the wall.
When we spoke with the rep-
LEONARD I. The word "Israel" didn't seem
to be in the Met's vocabulary
resentative from Israel, it
as far as we could see. Instead,
became clear that we have no
some form of "the Levant" was
idea how hostile the United
used. Even in death, even as
Nations is to Israel. The sim-
cold artifacts, even in history, Israel
ple count of votes of Muslim coun-
tries, plus non-aligned countries, plus
And so, I left Manhattan with a
newer countries, means that Israel
much richer Hebrew vocabulary. I left
doesn't have a chance.
with a wonderful treasure house of sto-
Indeed, our speaker's point was that
Israeli diplomats measure success by how ries from my classmates. I left with a
longing for fresh bagels bought on the
much they've minimized Israel's losses
walk to work in a city that, for all its
that day. "Normally," he told us, "the
U.N. would deal with this as a matter of troubles, has a vibrancy and conven-
ience of daily life Detroit totally lacks.
two entities, each of which has rights
And I left with a much clearer
and obligations. But here, Israel is dealt
understanding that we have to wake
with as the oppressor and Palestinians as
up. We are, whether intentionally or
the victims. End of discussion."
by implication, whether frontally or
There is no other refugee group
(and certainly not the Jews thrown out slyly, whether for evil or simply
because people don't care enough,
of Arab countries) with its own office
at the U.N. There is a U.N. body, its
Abraham Joshua Heschel said words
sole purpose is to advance the interests
this effect: "To be a Jew is not only
of Palestinians! Sitting here in Detroit,
to know what is right; it is to do what
we have no idea. None at all.
is right." We are told that Abarbanel
acted that out. When Ferdinand and
Isabella offered to spare him so he
could remain their advisor at court, he
The final lesson came during a visit to
chose to leave.
the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We
As Hillel said, "If I am not for me,
were there on a field trip, studying
who will be? If I am only for myself,
words used in archeology, but which
what am I? And if not now, when?"
also come up in conversation. Words
Let us maintain our world view. But
for "layer," "coins," "coal" and so on.
let us advocate strongly for ourselves,
In the area we visited, we saw a
and be vigilant. Now is the time. fl
beautiful throne room from Babylonia
Omar Khan Sharif, British nationals.
They subsequently participated in vari-
ous activities planned by the ISM. Five
days later, the two carried out a suicide
bombing in a popular pub next to the
American embassy in Tel Aviv that is
frequented by embassy personnel.
Hanif and Sharif entered Israel
under the guise of "peace activists" and
"alternative tourism" — perhaps a ref-
erence to the ISM-precursor
"Alternative Tourist Group." ISM
denies responsibility for the actions of
the British bombers.
On March 27, 2003, ISM was
caught harboring Islamic Jihad terror-
ist Shadi Sukiya. He was arrested by
the IDF in ISM's office, where a hand-
gun was also found, after two foreign
ISM activists, including American
Susan Barclay, helped Sukiya hide. Ms.
Barclay tried to bar IDF soldiers from
entering ISM offices, knowing that
Sukia was there.
In addition, ISM activist Rachel
Corrie protected a house utilized for
arms smuggling for terror groups.
Group members are also reported to
provide information on Israeli troop
movements to armed Palestinian fac-
ISM's Web site also links to several
Web sites devoted to freeing Fatah ter-
rorist Marwan Barghouti. Its Web site
While the International
also has displayed pictures of
Solidarity Movement claims to
Palestinian children throwing
be a humanitarian organiza-
stones at an IDF vehicle.
tion dedicated to the princi-
The ISM Web site instructs
ples of nonviolent resistance, it
its volunteers on how to avoid
has demonstrated no interest
Israeli security checks. For
in peace for Israelis. At a mini-
example, its members are told
mum, ISM has acted as an
to lie about their affiliation
apologist for terrorism and, at
with ISM and their intention
actively abetted mili-
to visit the territories. ISM
also acknowledges its members
ISM ira pro-Palestinian
stay in contact with local
organization, set up by
activists, which includes lead-
Palestinians, funded by
ers of terrorist organizations
Palestinians and opposed to the two-
such as Hamas, Fatah and Islamic
state solution envisioned by the parties
Jihad, which it considers "resistance
truly interested in peace. ❑
was very fortunate in July. I was
able to spend five weeks doing
things I've never given myself
permission to do.
The first week was spent in
Jerusalem, visiting our children, our
family and archeological sites I'd not
seen before. The remaining four were
spent in Manhattan, studying at an
ulpan sponsored by Hebrew University.
At the ulpan, I achieved my objec-
tive of greatly improving my Hebrew
speaking and reading abilities. I
learned a great deal about my class-
mates, as we had to give a five-minute
talk entirely in Hebrew, and people
tended to talk about themselves.
There were such fascinating stories ...
one fellow was a navigator on a cargo
ship, another student was a woman
saved by Kindertransport, another
grew up on a farm in Poughkeepsie...I
learned how terrific it is to live in a city
where you can get about without a car,
can shop at umpteen food stores, can
have kosher Persian, Moroccan,
Mexican, you name it.
I wish that could be my focus today.
However, I learned a great deal more
from June through the end of July,.
and most of it was in an area I didn't
want to learn more about.
The first lesson was via Northwest
Airlines. A food article on chorizos,
which are Spanish sausages, caught my
eye. About one-third of the article was-
n't about chorizos. It was about the
religious implications of chorizos, and
clearly left the impression. that Jews
had the ability to determine what
Catholic Spaniards would eat (ignoring
the fact that Muslim Moors controlled
the Iberian peninsula). It off-handedly
dealt with the expulsion in 1492.
A letter to the CEO of Northwest
drew no response. A letter to the editor
of the NWA Traveler magazine generat-
ed an apology in the "sorry-your-dog-
died" genre. And communications with
an officer of NWA, who stated, "I don't
dispute your interpretation" that the
article left a factually incorrect impres-
sion regarding Jews in Spain (let alone
being insensitive), ended with NWA's
unwillingness to correct, in public, the
impression they left in public.
The NWA Traveler magazine is hard-
ly, say, the Atlantic Monthly. Nor is it
read outside of those who travel
Northwest and choose to read it. But
how many did so and were left with
the impression that it was the Jews
who oppressed the Catholics in Spain,
so expulsion was merely retaking what
was theirs, and was a Good Thing?
One would have rightly expected more
from NWA. But it wasn't delivered.
Hard To Ignore