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December 29, 2005 - Image 39

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-12-29

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Editorials are posted and archved on JNOnline. corn.

Greenberg's View


Israel Devalued, Again

srael has finally been .
allowed to join the interna-
tional federation that runs
the Red Cross. But it came with a
price, and clearly sends the mes-
sage that its membership is sec-
ond-class. .
Israel will not be allowed to -
display the red Magen David
when operating outside its own
borders. Instead, it will be
required to show a red crystal on
its medical personnel and vehi-
cles. So as not to offend the sen-
sitivities of Muslim members, all
of which display the Red
Crescent, Israel must omit the
long-recognized symbol of the
Jewish state.
Actually, the new shape is
more like a diamond. But South
Africa complained that the dia-
mond is too closely associated
with a history of economic
exploitation in its country. So a
crystal it is called. Apparently, all
sensitivities except Israel's must
be accommodated. •
Some Israeli leaders were


understandably pleased at being
allowed into the federation after
six decades of rejection. But at
what price? So that medical
teams, whose only mission is to
save lives and relieve suffering,
must deny their nationality in
order to do so?
Even this was too much for 20
Muslim countries. They voted
against the compromise, while
the other 172 member states sup-
ported it. The vote only came,
however, after the United States
threatened to withhold its contri-
bution to the body unless Israel
was allowed in.
It is possible that other
Western countries may adopt the
crystal as a symbol, too, when
operating in Muslin states. Their
medical units have come under
gunfire while showing the Red
That may well be the saddest
commentary of all. An organiza-
tion that claims the highest
humanitarian motives has made
its accommodation with intoler-

ance and violence. Beyond that, it
has the effect of solidifying the
status of Israel as a country with
no right to a national identity.
Red Cross officials maintain
that their symbol has no reli-
gious connotation but is simply
based on the flag of Switzerland,
where the organization was born.

This is more than a little disin-
genuous, however, since the Swiss
flag's design has its origins with
the Holy Roman Empire.
So while Christian nations can
show the cross and Muslim
nations the crescent, Israel must
Content itself with a symbol that
means nothing.

Of course, there is a stipulation
that if the host country has no
objection, Israel would be
allowed to display a small Magen
David inside the crystal.
Isn't that special? ❑

E-mail letters to the editor of no

more than 150 words to: letters@the-

jewishnews.com .

Reality Check

Loyal Opposition


don't think I ever pulled for
the Lions to lose until the
last.home game of this sea-

My brother and I, operating
under the common-sense theory
that enough is enough, dropped
our season tickets two years ago.
Still, I always had wanted them
to win.
But in the Cincinnati game, I
was hoping that they would get
absolutely splattered as a humili-
ation for the architects of this
unholy mess.
I was also pulling for the exec-
utive suite to be stormed and
heads mounted on a pike, kind
of like the fall of the Bastille. But
the Ford Field jacquerie were not
quite that restive. .
My dad probably held the
record for giving up on the Lions
the fastest in any season. On the
first play of the first exhibition
game, Altie Taylor was thrown
for a two-yard loss. My dad

waved his hand at the TV set and
muttered, "Same old Lions?' After
so many years, you can recognize
the stench immediately.
Still, I know that next year I
will watch again and, despite all
rationality, harbor the hope that
they will be better. They are, after
all, the team of my childhood
and I can't switch allegiances as
easily as I can change sweat-
Even my assortment of e-mail

The Lions last

won a champi-

onship when I

was still in high


was covert about it. No
pals who have
cheering in the pressbox,
moved far away from
you know. And I justified
their hometown, still
it by saying that more -
pull for their old
people would read my
teams. I must report,
stories if the Tigers were
however, that one of
them, who went to
A big contributing fac-
George C antor
Chicago in the early
tor, as well, was that
Colum nist
`60s, switched to the
friends and family would
Bulls because, he
says, "the Pistons were never any start blaming me if the team
went south. "Well, your friend
good when I lived in Detroit?'
Mayo Smith certainly loused up
I wanted to write him that, "I
that ballgame.""Why don't you
suppose the Bulls winning six
tell your pal Norm Cash to stop
championships had nothing to
waving at pitches out of the
do with it, either, you quisling?'
But I didn't. In his conscience, he strike zone?"
They could not be convinced
knows the truth.
that I had absolutely no influence
I have other favorite teams:
over-those things. The only play-
\Vhoever is playing the Yankees.
er who ever really cared about
The Red Sox during the 2004
World Series. Whoever is playing what I wrote was Jim Northrup
and all he wanted to do was •
Ohio State, unless it happens to
rearrange my features if I didn't
be Notre Dame or Miami.
stop writing it. I don't think he
When I covered the Tigers, I
was speaking in jest, either.
was never quite able to put aside
I watched the Lions win their
my desire to have them win. I

last championship when I was
still in high school. At least, I
think I did. The game was
blacked out locally and we tried
to pull in Channel 6 from
Lansing. At times, I thought we
may even have seen the shadow
of. a picture, but I'm still not sure
if that was true or only my imag-
Whatever it was, it has sus-
tained me for the last 48 years.
But I'm at the end of my rope.
Five decades of incompetence
have worn me down. Lem
Barney, Barry Sanders, Billy
Sims, Bubba Baker, Charley
Sanders, Chris Spielman, Lomas
Brown — all of them gone with-
out ever getting a taste.
Maybe next year ... in

George Cantor's e-mail address is


December 29 4 2005


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