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December 01, 2005 - Image 55

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-12-01

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• •

I Opinion

Editorials are posted and archived on JNOnline.com


Solidifying Against Divestment

he effort to push the idea
of divesting from compa-
nies doing business with
Israel is not really about divest-
ment at all. It is all about the
pushing. And we must push
We can take some comfort and
pride that divestment efforts in
most mainline churches and on
most college campuses are most-
ly going nowhere. At the
University of Michigan, for
example, the Muslim student-led
divestment effort hit a wall last
spring when the Michigan
Student Assembly (MSA) over-
whelmingly rejected their call.
This year, the student activity has
lessened and the group's Web site
is gone. Trying to fill the gap are
some faculty members who have
just postponed releasing the
names of the endorsers of their
pro-divestment letter until
March 1, 2006, four months later
than originally scheduled, and
just six weeks before the end of
the semester. Clearly, they are
having problems, and we can
only wish them more of the


But we must not miss the for-
est for the trees. Theit pushing is
having an impact.
Raising questions about the
legitimacy of Israel, incessantly
comparing it to apartheid-era
South Africa, and repeating the
lie that Israel is the No. 1 violator
of human rights prejudices any
discussion before it even starts.
And that's the idea. Divestment
forces us to a debate on their
terms. Just asking the question
assumes Israel is guilty until
proven innocent, and allows the
actions of Israel's enemies to be
considered irrelevant, if they are
considered at all.
The divestment effort must
be exposed as being not just
anti-Israel and anti-American,
but, because a weakened Israel
would have limited flexibility to
act without putting its security
at risk, as anti-peace. And in
reasoned tones, we should
explain that the effort to make
the only Jewish state into a
pariah nation is often anti-
It is great that pro-Israel stu-
dents are active, organized and

involved in all levels of campus
life and student government, at
least in Ann Arbor. They have
shown us the uselessness of
agonizing, and the importance
of organizing. It's time to move
beyond supporting the students
to weighing in ourselves.
Jewish, pro-Israel and pro-
peace faculty, alumni, and
organizations in Ann Arbor,
Metro Detroit and throughout
the state must speak up loudly
for a strengthened American-
Israel alliance at all levels of
academia, government and
society. We suspect that support
for a pro-Israel letter at the U-
M would far outnumber any-
thing that the anti-Israel forces
could muster.
We must remember that the
battle is not about resolutions
or defeating the latest anti-
Israel effort, but about framing
the issue and winning the
hearts and minds of students
and community members. 0

Bo nes




E-mail your opinion in a letter to the
editor of no more than 250 words
to: letters@thejewishnews.com .


Reality Cke.ck..

Homage To Fieger

ow I've done it.
Thanksgiving has come
and gone and I entirely
forgot to mention what I am
most thankful for.
That, of course, would be Geoff
Fieger, master attorney.
He is a journalist's dream, a
veritable viscount of vituperation
whose every utterance is worth
bracketing in quotation marks.
Those who oppose him are not
only mistaken. They are apes,
vermin, liars and sinners.
When his voice cracks as, over-
come by emotion, he describes
the sheer outrageous treachery of
his legal and political foes, only
someone with a heart of stone
could not guffaw.
This latest escapade with
Michigan Attorney General Mike



December 1 . 2005

Cox was simply delightful. Some
would say it exposed the dirty
underbelly of politics and the
legal profession. I say, lighten up.
Geoffrey is just too hip for the
The cream of the jest was
when he followed it all up by
threatening to sue for defamation
of character, which I had thought
would be impossible.
He was nurtured in political
radicalism as he grew up in Oak
Park and still fashions himself as
a•champion of the underdog. I
am sure that is of great comfort
to him on chilly nights at his
place in the Caribbean.
My first exposure to the fabled
Fieger charm came as a member
of the Detroit News editorial
board when he was making his

business. It's right up
run for governor. He
there among the biggies
knew, of course, that
in the Ten
given the political slant
Commandments. I'm
of the paper, he had
sure that Geoff was
about as much chance
shocked — shocked! —
of winning our
to learn that such things
endorsement as a snow-
were going on in the
ball in Anguilla. Still,
highest levels of govern-
like the trouper he is, he
ment in Lansing.
came in to give it a shot.
Cox's attempt to hnk
"If you guys are so
his outing with an investigation
smart," he said, as he sat down,
of Fieger for violating state elec-
"why don't you make as much
tion laws — a mere peccadillo by
money as I do?"
comparison — was outrageous. I
I thought that was a brilliant
just read that last sentence out
opening line to a bunch of free
loud and could barely keep my
market conservatives, and a
voice from cracking.
point I have pondered ever since
Besides, as one of Fieger's
My only answer is that it beats
attorneys argued, those election
the hell out of me.
laws violate his client's right of
Obviously, the idea of a man
free speech, as guaranteed in the
cheating on his wife is serious

Constitution of our beloved
nation. This is a very subtle argu-
ment and one that
diately be grasped by journalists
who do not make as much
money as Fieger.
It strikes me, however, that
Geoff must be innocent. Can any- •
one really believe that if he had
something vicious to say about a
candidate he detests that he
would hide behind a curtain of
anonymity? That is so uncharac-
teristic of Fieger that it beggars
But I eagerly await develop-
ments. My pen is poised above
my notebook. I can hardly wait
to write it all down.

George Cantor's e-mail address is


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