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February 06, 2014 - Image 47

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Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-02-06

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Editorials

There's No Mistaking Al Qaida Is A Real Threat

H

amas, Palestine Islamic Jihad,
Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,
the Palestine Liberation
Organization and the Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine grab head-
lines as terrorist organizations that
endanger Israel. But let there be no
doubt: Al Qaida, the most notorious pro-
prietor of terror, is making deep inroads
into the Jewish state by providing an
online means to acquire weapons and
find jihadi inspiration.
"Over the course of 2012 and 2013,
Al Qaida leader Ayman Zawahiri has
increasingly mentioned Israel as a target
in his communications to followers, as
part of a drive to place the Palestinian
conflict at the center of his global jihadi
narrative," reported Steve Emerson's
Washington-based Investigative Project
on Terrorism on Jan. 28.
Case in point: Israel's secret security
service, Shin Bet, has taken down an
Al Qaida cell thought to be strategiz-
ing at least two mega terrorist attacks
in Israel. News of the Shin Bet arrest

of three Palestinians made weeks ago
came Jan. 22. The suspects interacted
with Al Qaida via Skype and Facebook,
underscoring the ease of cultivating new
terrorist recruits via social media.
Reports say the cell handler, eager to
develop more terrorist units, was based
in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip –
and he reported directly to Zawahiri.
What raises the caliber of the
arrests is President Obama's State of
the Union vow to doggedly pursue Al
Qaida. Let's hope he's serious about
that pursuit given his administration's
up and down attitude toward Al Qaida,
post Osama Bin Laden.
If the Afghan government signs a
pending security arrangement, Obama
said last week, "a small force of
Americans could remain in Afghanistan
with NATO allies." Their task would
be to train and assist Afghan forces
as well as maintain counterterrorism
operations to identify "any remnants of
Al Qaida" and keep them at bay.
Obama acknowledged that while

Al Qaida's core leadership is weaker,
danger lurks "as Al Qaida affiliates and
other extremists take root in different
parts of the world."
That's why he must
respect Al Qaida's
capacity to surface
anywhere.
The attacks Al Qaida
planned in Israel are
chilling, despite the
Obama administration's
curious downplaying
President
of them as "aspira-
Obama
tion." Reports say both
the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the
International Convention Center near
the central bus station in Jerusalem
would've been bombed. Meanwhile,
a suicide truck bomber in Jerusalem
would've targeted emergency respond-
ers there.
Obama cited Al Qaida networks in
Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Mali and Syria.
To that list of hotbeds we add Lebanon
and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Obama promised to keep our military
strong, but, in deference to our war-
weary nation, observed: "We must fight
the battles that need to be fought, not
those that terrorists prefer from us
– large-scale deployments that drain
our strength and may ultimately feed
extremism."
Obama talked not just about staying
vigilant against terrorist networks, but
also about reinforcing America's focus
on drone use, surveillance reform, cyber
attacks, the Guantanamo Bay prison –
"and strong and principled diplomacy."
As revolution, insurrection and brutal
regimes keep the Middle East a tin-
derbox, and as Al Qaida galvanizes its
fundamentalist mission amid the tumult,
Israel must rely, more than ever, on its
ultra-capable security and reconnais-
sance operations – and hope Obama
delivers on his pledge that America will
stand "steadfast" with the Israeli people.
Clearly, it's no longer up in the air
whether Al Qaida will turn its attention
to Israel. _I

Vatican's Pius XII Archives Must Be Opened

V

atican City is sending up vir-
tual smoke to signal its inten-
tion to confront the Roman
Catholic Church's contentious past and
ultimately open the secret archives
relating to the World War II pontificate
of Pope Pius XII.
World Jewry long has questioned
whether the pope did enough to help
Jews during the Holocaust. The Vatican
maintains Pius worked behind the
scenes to save Jews.
According to Jewish Virtual Library:
"For much of the war, he maintained
a public front of indifference and
remained silent while German atrocities
were committed. He refused pleas for
help on the grounds of neutrality, while
making statements condemning injus-
tices in general. Privately, he sheltered

a small number of Jews and spoke to a
few select officials, encouraging them
to help the Jews."
Opening the archives should defini-
tively answer the question that has lin-
gered for nearly 70 years.
Document catalogu-
ing has taken six years.
News reports indicate
A- the thousands of files
could be opened within
18 months, pending
Pope Francis' approval.
In 2009, the Church
declared
Pius "vener-
Pope Francis
able" and on the path
toward sainthood
despite the Italian-born pontiff seeming
to act more out of political expedience
than moral conscience when it came to

wartime Jews.
Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a
longtime friend of Pope Francis, told
The Sunday Times of London that
Francis doesn't believe Pius should be
beatified and canonized until his war-
time role has been assessed. So open-
ing the archives is inevitable.
Underscoring this is the 2010 book
On Heaven and Earth, which Francis,
then Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge
Bergoglio, co-wrote with Skorka. The
then-archbishop wrote:
"Opening the archives of the Shoah
seems reasonable. Let them be opened
up and let everything be cleared up.
Let it be seen if they could have done
something [to help], and until what
point they could have helped. If they
made a mistake in any aspect of this,

we would have to say: 'We have erred.'
We don't have to be scared of this –
the truth has to be the goal."
How refreshing!
Jews learned early on in his first-year
pontificate that Francis, though modest
and priestly, likes to mingle with the
masses. He quickly became beloved. He
encourages understanding and respect,
while condemning any sort of religious
or ethnic prejudice. He should have a
compelling impact on Jewish-Catholic
discourse.
His predecessor, Benedict XVI, expand-
ed the relationship between Catholics
and Jews initiated by John Paul II. But
Benedict lacked the resolve to challenge
the ghost of Pius. Francis, less inhibited
by the papacy, is destined to rise to that
important challenge.

Guest Column

Detroit's Gotta Have Art

o city can thrive or even survive
without its art, which is why I've
been so heartbroken over the
potential sale of artwork at the Detroit
Institute of Arts.
However, while we've all been paying
attention to the DIA, another art phenom-
enon has been taking hold of the city of
Detroit. I first noticed it last year during
a tour of Jewish Detroit when I spoke to
Jimmy Ketai and Dan Mullen, who both
work at Bedrock, a Quicken Loans com-
pany. Something Dan said really stuck

with me. He mentioned that
all the surveys and studies
about how to revitalize the
once-great city of Detroit had
one suggestion in common.
Get the artists on board!
The idea that artists could
actually save Detroit so
intrigued me that I began
to investigate just what was
happening to our once-great
city. What I found out is so
exciting I feel the need to scream it from

the rooftops (or write about it in
the IN).
Enter the Red Bull House of Art
as one prime example. Located
in Detroit's Eastern Market dis-
trict, this cavernous underground
area — once used as a prohibition
hideaway — has been transformed
into raw studio space. Found inside
the newly nicknamed "Creative
Corridor; the gallery allows artists
who work in a variety of media,
from oil painting to fiber to steel sculpture,

Red Bull House of Art

Art on page 48

February 6 • 2014

47

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