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There Is No Unique
In his essay about Palestinians as
"people" (Jan. 19, page 27), John
O'Neil has managed pull off a neat
little trick I call the "semantic slide."
He conflates the homonym "people,"
referring to the plural of person with
c`people," meaning a group that identi-
fies itself as a nation-state or ethnic-
ity. No one, and I think we can include
Mr. Gingrich, would deny that those
who call themselves Palestinian are
But, by any coherent definition of
peoplehood, Palestinians, as such,
do not qualify. They have, of course,
an ethnic identity. It originated,
however, not in Palestine, but on the
Arabian Peninsula. By virtue of lan-
guage, culture, religion and affiliation,
"Palestinians" are Arab.
But Palestinians habitually and
deliberately use equivocation to sug-
gest that there was once an actual
country called Palestine that has been
taken over by a gang of thieves (Jews),
alien to the region, who are now
oppressing the aboriginal inhabitants
by depriving them of their immemo-
rial homeland. Unfortunately, those
ignorant of history are susceptible to
this double-think trap. There is not,
there has never been, a state called
Palestine, nor is there an extant
Nevertheless, Mr. O'Neil has a point
when he insists that there is now a
Palestinian identity that commands,
or demands, attention. This self-
conception (self-deception?) is highly
problematic and not very pleasant.
If one pays heed to the Palestinian
media (which can be easily done by
following Palestinian Media Watch) it
becomes apparent that the passions
that make for Palestinian cohesion are
not those of long-held cherished tra-
dition. Rather, Jew-hatred and geno-
cide are the constant motifs.
It is sad to think that had
Palestinian Arabs put their consider-
able energies into building a nation
instead of trying to destroy that of
the Jews, they would have today, in
fact as opposed to fantasy, a genuine
Palestinian homeland expressive of
unique and positive values
Jews Must Condemn
Regarding Andrew Adler's editorial in
the Atlanta Jewish Times suggesting
that Israel should assassinate President
Obama, I think that the American
Jewish community should condemn
Mr. Adler, and the condemnation needs
to be unequivocal, unanimous and
loud. ("Atlanta Editor Resigns Over
Assassination Scenario," Jan. 26, page 6).
I don't care if you love the president or
hate him; think he's good for Israel or bad
— you can't advocate his assassination.
• The date of the discussion of
the book Season to Taste by Molly
Birnbaum at the West Bloomfield
JCC has been changed to noon
Wednesday, Feb. 15, not Feb. 8, as was
reported last week on page 5. RSVP to
Librarian Francine Menken at (248)
432-5546 or email@example.com .
• The engagement announcement of
Marisa Stober and David Ruby (Jan.
19, page 43) should have listed Dr.
Richard and Judy Stober.
On January 29, 2012,
members of JARC's Social
Action Committee and
volunteers packed candy for
needy kids at the 17th annual
"Heart To Heart" Mitzvah Day.
Whether as a
hare the joy of your simchah with the community in the JN's March
8 Celebrate! issue. We're inviting readers to send in photos from their
weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, brit milah, baby namings and other cer-
emonies from 2011-12 for our annual "Community Portraits" feature. Photos
must be high-resolution jpgs (500k-lmb) and not taken by a professional.
Email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a caption that identi-
fies the people in the photo, their city of residence, the ages of any children pic-
tured and the date and place of the event. Any questions? Call (248) 351-5110.
Nominations Open For
Benard L. Maas Award
The Benard L. Maas Foundation, in
cooperation with the Jewish Federation
of Metropolitan Detroit, is seeking
nominations for the 2012 Benard L.
Maas Prize for Achievement in Jewish
Culture and Continuity.
This year's award will be given in the
area of the performing arts. A monetary
prize of $5,000 and a certificate of achieve-
ment will be given at a public ceremony.
For this year's performing arts award,
the individual may be a working musi-
cian, composer, actor, dancer, come-
dian, storyteller or performance artist.
Candidates must reside in Michigan
and be Jewish or have performed a
body of work that has impacted the
Jewish community or have created a
work inspired by Jewish culture.
The deadline for nominations is
March 30. For complete details or to
apply go to www.jewishdetroit.org/
maas. For additional information con-
tact Judy Loebl at Federation's Alliance
for Jewish Education at (248) 642-4618
or Loebl@jfmd.org .
E-seacj r, f5arrICYc.
248.538.6611 • jarc.org
February 9 • 2012