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December 26, 2003 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-12-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

LETTERS

We prefer letters that relate to articles in the Jewish News. We reserve the right to
edit or reject letters. Brevity is encouraged. Letter writers generally are limited to
one letter per 4-6 week period, space permitting.
Letters must contain the name, address and tide of the writer, and a daytime
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at 29200 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 110, Southfield, MI 48034;
fax to (248) 304-8885; or e-mail to: rsklar@thejewishnews.com

Double Standard
In Fighting Terror

In recent weeks, the Bush adminis-
tration has approved military action
against terrorists in Afghanistan
which, in several cases, has resulted
in the deaths of innocent children
nearby.
It is regrettable when bystanders
are harmed, but in Afghanistan as in
Israel, terrorists often deliberately
station themselves among civilian
human shields. Both American and
Israeli forces have no choice but to
pursue the terrorists, no matter
where they situate themselves.

Mending Fences

European Jewish relations better,
but the improvement may not last.

PHILIP CARMEL
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Paris

T

ak4i'A

12/26

2003

6

he European Union is
finally beginning to address
the concerns of the conti-
nent's Jewish leaders — if
admitting the existence of a problem
is halfway to solving it.
Coming on the heels of stinging
criticism from Jewish leaders after the
failure of the 15-member bloc to pub-
lish a report on anti-Semitism, last
week's meeting between the president
of the European Commission,
Romano Prodi, and a joint delegation
made up of the European Jewish
Congress and the Council of
European Rabbis, appeared to be a
step forward.
Following the meeting with Prodi,
European Jewish Congress President
Cobi Benatoff told JTA that the
European Union had started to
become "sensitized" toward anti-
Semitism. "Before, they refused to
even acknowledge the existence of the
problem," Benatoff said.
He added that Prodi had promised
to convene a seminar on anti-
Semitism in Brussels early next year
"and we will insist that its session is
held in public." The seminar, likely to
be held in Brussels in February, will
involve religious and community lead-
ers from across Europe as well as E.U.
officials, Benatoff said.
The meeting with Prodi also comes

Let's Bring In
Arthur Miller

as one of the country's greatest play-
wrights and certainly the most talented
living playwright. Miller was honored
three years ago by his alma mater when
it announced that it would build a
multi-million theater and name it in his
honor and for his contributions to the
theater.
Professor Enid Brater at the
University of Michigan is an acknowl-
edged authority on Miller and has
given talks about Miller's life and
works as well as directing guided tours
of some of Miller's mementos dis-
played in a university library reflecting
his school plays.
Leonard Poger
Westland

French President Jacques Chirac and
his Greek counterpart, Costas Simitis,
had blocked the inclusion of a con-
demnation, although Chirac later
denied this.
Since then, relations between the
European Union and European Jewry
have gone from bad to worse, with the
publication of an E.U. poll showing
that more Europeans see Israel as a
threat to world peace than any other
country. Also, the European
Commission temporarily refused to
publish a study that largely blamed
Islamic and pro-Palestinian elements
for the dramatic increase in anti-
Semitic attacks on the
Continent.
The report, compiled by
the Center for Research
and anti-Semitism at
Berlin's Technical
University for the E.U.'s Vienna-based
European Monitoring Center for
Racism and Xenophobia, was with-
held after the E.U. body claimed it
"lacked empirical evidence" to back up
its findings.
Nevertheless, the EJC — together
with the France's CRIF Jewish
umbrella organization — decided to
publish the report over the Web. It
was then released by the European
Union.
Benatoff told a news conference fol-
lowing his meeting with Prodi that the
report's findings merely reported the
deteriorating situation regarding anti-
Semitism in Europe.
"In the last three years, violent
actions against Jews have increased on
the streets of Europe," Benatoff said,
and added that many of those
involved are of Arab, North African
and Islamic origin.
The improved relations between the

European Union and European Jewish
communities have come at a time
when the union has been presided
over by Berlusconi, generally regarded
by Israel as one of the Jewish state's
most committed supporters on the
continent.
Berlusconi has been highly critical
of Islamic fundamentalism and has
strongly backed the U.S.-led military
intervention in Iraq, a policy which
has met widespread opposition in
Europe.
The Italian leader's often-independ-
ent positions have tended to marginal-
ize him in European forums, and his
standing received another heavy blow
at the E.U. summit with his failure to
broker a deal on the E.U. constitu-
tion.
Nevertheless, his strongly pro-Israel
line has won strong praise from Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who
only last week told a delegation of
Italian Jewish leaders that Italy was
"Israel's best friend" at the European
Union.
But with Italy now handing over the
E.U. presidency to Ireland for the next
six months under the body's rotating
system, relations may be less friendly.
Last week, Dublin sponsored a reso-
lution at the United Nations con-
demning anti-Semitism, but its posi-
tion on the Middle East conflict is
unlikely to be as supportive to Israel as
that of Rome.
That was perhaps exemplified this
summer when both Berlusconi and
Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen
visited the region.
While Berlusconi drew Israeli plau-
dits for refusing to meet with Yasser
Arafat, Cowen was boycotted by
Israeli officials for meeting the
Palestinian Authority president. fl

It certainly is ironic that when
Israel takes such action, it faces
worldwide condemnation including
from the U.S. State Department.
For many years, I have enjoyed attend-
Yet, when the United States did the
same thing in Afghanistan, we didn't ing the annual Jewish Book Fair at the
Jewish Community Center to buy
hear the Bush administration apolo-
books and hear the varied and informa-
gizing, or the United Nations pass-
tive speakers.
ing resolutions condemning the
I am now suggesting
suggesting that the book
U.S. or human rights groups
fair
planners
add a new name for next
screaming in protest.
year's fair — Arthur Miller, the celebrat-
Why the double standard?
Morton A. Klein ed playwright who is not only Jewish,
national president but also a University of Michigan grad-
Zionist Organization of America uate and writer of numerous plays
New York reflecting positive Jewish values.
While he hasn't written any plays or
memoirs recently, his reputation stands

after an EJC request to Italian Prime
Minister Silvio Berlusconi that the
E.U.'s heads of state and government
condemn anti-Semitism as part of a
closing statement at last week's E.U.
Council in Brussels that marked the
end of Italy's presidency of the body.
That request was upheld, as the
European Union expressed its deep
concern at the increase in
-
instances of anti-Semitic
intolerance" and con-
demned "all manifestations
of anti-Semitism, including
attacks against religious sites
and individuals."
Although the condemnation from
the heads of state represented only a
few lines in a closing statement
addressing more than 50 separate
items of E.U. policy commitments, its
significance was not lost on the EJC.
According to the EJC's vice presi-
dent, Pierre Besnainou, Jewish leaders
were appreciative that E.U. leaders
were able to relate to the problem of
anti-Semitism "despite the heavy agen-
da devoted mainly to the European
Union constitution." The statement is
also symbolic.

NE WS
ANAL YES

Malaysian's Remarks

At the last E.U. Council in
September, the EJC had blasted the
E.U. heads of state for refusing to
condemn anti-Semitic remarks by
then-Malaysian Prime Minister
Mohammed Mahathir.
Reports at the time suggested that

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