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May 04, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-05-04

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The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Wednesday, May 4, 1977
News Phone: 764-0552
Support new SI b''ll
J IBERALS breathed a sign of tentative relief last De-
cember when a repressive revision of the federal
criminal code was killed in the Senate Judiciary Com-
mittee.
The bill, known as S-1, bore the harsh, law-and-
order brand of the Nixon Administration.
The need to update the centuries-old crime code
remains, and it is pleasing to discover the latest pro-
posal takes several steps toward genuine reform.
S-1 HAS UNDERGONE a Hyde-to-Jekyll transforma-
tion, supported by Attorney General Griffin Bell, Senator
Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), and House Judiciary Com-
mittee Chairman Peter Rodino (D-N.J.).
The proposed legislation isn't perfect, but is very
attractive.
The bill would eliminate penalties for possession
of less than ten grams (about one-third of an ounce)
of marijuana, a proposal more liberal than Ann Arbor'sj
$5 pot fine. It would establish a commission to*set nar-
row ranges of sentences for specific crimes and allow
defendants to appeal sentences imposed beyond the
appropriate guidelines.
THE BILL-WOULD REPEAL the 37-year-old Smith
Act, which outlawed advocacy of violent overthrow of
the U.S. government and the Logan Act, forbidding
private citizens to negotiate with a foreign govern-
ment.
It would narrow government authority to wiretap
and increase fines for white collar crime to $1 million.
It would allow reporters to ignore certain gag orders
without fear of being cited for contempt of court. It
would make conspiracy to commit murder outside the
U.S. a federal offense and make bribery of corporations
abroad a crime.
As might be expected, there are a few disagree-
able aspects of the new bill. It retains the federal death
penalty for only one crime - hijacking an aircraft -
but that's one crime too many. And while it allows con-
victed criminals to appeal some punishments, it also
permits the government to appeal sentences less severe
than those recommended by the commission.
ANY OF THESE PROVISIONS could be changed as
the bill moves through committees and subcommittees
of the House and Senate. Just a few amendments, added
perhaps to placate conservatives, could cripple the new
bill and make it almost as bad as the old S-1.
With a reform-minded President and hefty Demo-
cratic majorities in Congress, the chance to revise an
antiquated crime code can't be bypassed.

Letters to The Daily

EDITOR'S NOTE:
In the penultimate paper of
the school year, Joshua Peck
wrote an editorial on the plight
of Soviet Jews, citing in partic-
ular the case of two men - re-
cently emmigrated from the
U.S.S.R. - who were in Ann
Arbor last month to discuss
their trials and tribulations.
Several persons replied to the
editorial, but space limitations
prevented us from printing those
letters earlier. So, they will ap-
pear on the Editorial Page to-
day and tomorrow.
oppression
To The Daily:
A short time ago, a review ap-
peared in The Daily covering a
book which declaimed the exist-
ence of the Nazi Holocaust, the
genocide of several millions of
Jews and other nationals, as a
hoax perpetrated against the
world public by none other than
the Jewish "non-victims" them-
selves. This review was written
by Joshua Peck.
An editorial appeared later, in
which the author of this previ-
ous review remarked that his
own thinking followed similiar
lines in regard to the Soviet
oppression of the Jewish popula-
tion within her borders. While
he realized the first claim was
insanity, he nevertheless inform-
ed the American public, most
certainly, the Soviet oppression
of Jews is a hoax.
The facts say Soviet Jews are
oppressed. Their houses of wor-
ship, if still extant, are labelled
as dens of anti-socialism and
counter-revolutionism (or as me-
dieval Russian theologians have
put it, dens of serpents). Jews
are harassed, economically dis-
criminated against and impri-
soned.
For instance, anti-Jewish poli-
cies in the past ordained that
the Jews should wear an identi-
fying marker, viz a yellow hat,
a yellow star or badge. Today
in the Soviet Union, Jewish citi-
zens must carry identity cards
clearly bearing the word "Jew,"
thereby making them easy prey
to discrimination and persecu-
tion in their daily lives, whether
they are practicing Jews or not.
Members of other religious
groups carry no such stigma.
Thus, the Jew is considered of'
a separate nationality, although.
official government policy is
opposed to the existence of the
Jewish State.

The persecution of Jews and
other ethnic minorities in the
Soviet Union is embodied in the
government policy of malign-
ment and mistreatment of peo-
ples seeking to assert their eth-
nic identity.
Mr. Peck spoke to a Jewish
Soviet scientist, who conveyed
rmost Soviet Jews are atheistic,
so why would one want "to re-
vive freedom of worship?" Be-
sides being blantantly untrue,
the statement reeks of oppres-
sion.
Mr. Peck's statement, "Jews
are better off than the general
populace," is both unfounded
and indicative of a deeper ha-
tred. Stereotypes are the staple
of bigotry and the malaise of
genocide. Peck's statements
concerning the economic state
of the Jewish population sound-
ed more like a reiteration of
the class struggle with the Jews
as his targets.
Mr. Peck says: "The organi-
zations that defend Soviet Jewry
from oppression can be com-
pared to a committee to pro-
tect members of the Rockefeller
family from persecution for pos-
session of marijuana."
The equation of the move-
ments of the elitist and exclu-
sive Rockefeller cult with an
oppressed people's struggle for
self-determination may make a
pretty-sounding analogy, but in
substance it's just plain slow-
witted.
It sounds like a case of bigot's
revenge. Being that the Rocke-
feller taint already hangs hea-
vy, why not include Soviet Jew-
ry and American Jews as well
in. the commonly hated putres-
cence. As long, as you're looking
for groups to include, take a
look at the Palestinian cause,
the Women's Liberation move-
ment, the still ongoing black
and chicano civil rights move-
ments. Are "exclusivity and
elitism" inherentxin these, al-
so? According to your defini-
tions, Mr. Peck, any group
struggling to define its own
identity and to fight for free-
dom from persecution would
fit the mold.
Do not the Jewish people have
the same right to stand by
their brethren as do other peo-
ples? Georgians and Ukrainians
in the U.S. are sympathetic to
Soviet Jewry's cause, and the
American Soviet Jewry effort
is sympathetic to the plight of
each of the former. Each group

is working for the liberation of
the Soviet Union, with the ma-
jor thrust being the liberation
Of their own peoples.
While it's true that Jews work-
ed strenuously for general civil
rights during the 60's, must they
turn a deaf ear when these same
freedoms are denied to their
own people? Are you, Joshua
Peck, attempting to invalidate
a community's responsibility
for the welfare of its members?
That Mr. Peck attended he-
brew day school does not lend
qualification to his- statements
as being indicative of their
veracity. That an individual is
Jewish does not make him or
her the unquestionable spokes-
person for the whole of his/her
people. Mr. Peck's statements
cannot be taken as being more
significant than personal bigo-
tries and self-hatreds and/or as
gross ignorance of the facts.
Jacob D. Sandberg
Mitchell Weiss
Peck chided
To The Daily:
In the April 16 issue of The
Daily, Joshua Peck leveled a
series of serious accusations at
the American Soviet Jewry
Movement. We feel an urgency
to respond to Mr. Peck's allega-
tions.
Three weeks ago, on March
27-29, a Symposium on Human
Rights in the U.S.S.R. convened
on this campus. Coordinated by
AKTSIA/Action for Soviet Jew-
ry and Human Rights, lectures
were presented by leading schol-
ars and former Soviet dissidents
and political prisoners, focusing
both on the Soviet Jewish prob-
lem and the Soviet dissident
movement. We ask, simply, did
Mr. Peck attend? Mr. Peck's'
questions and personal opinions
could have, and should have
been voiced at the symposium
where just the issues he raised
were being discussed in a pub-
lic forum.
We furthermore feel it was
irresponsible and disgraceful of
The Michigan Daily Editorial
Staff to have printed his dis-
torted and misinformed article,
and yet to have completely ig-
nored the recent symposium.
Prof. Herbert Paper
Prof. Andrew Ehrenkreutz
Lev Lifshitz
Rabbi Martin Ballonof
Rabbi William D. Rudolph
Rabbi Allan Kensky

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