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May 07, 1975 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1975-05-07

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G rMA. 14 .aMS 4 Av AI6A

An Israeli perspective
The Mid East debacle

The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Wednesday, May 7, 1975
. News Phone: 764-0552
Cobb: The plot thickens
WITH THE ISSUANCE of the Affirmative Action Com-
mittee's report on the LSA deanship controversy, the
repute of those administrative and faculty personnel
closest to the matter has reached justifiably a new low.
The 46 pave report spins a tale of bureaucratic in-
consistency, incompetence and, apparently, malice,
aforethought so unsettling in its implications as to rival
the pulpiest of drugstore fiction.
The Affirmative Action Committee was charged
with probing the Cobb affair by President Fleming, and
in that capacity it has no real authority to assure en-
forcement of its recommendations. Hopefully, however,
Fleming, Dean Rhodes, Professor Gans of the Zoology
Department, and those other parties in the matter most
clearly impuened by the report, will recognize the spirit
of diligence and impartiality with which the Investiga-
tion was undertaken and see to it that the recommen-
dations are pursued.
The committee identifies a long line of indiscretions
ranging from technical oversights to rather blatant
abuses of procedural guidelines which, taken together,
comprise one of the more sordid chapters in the history
of this or any other University administration.
The committee's indictment is complex and thor-
ough, but it still manages to spotlight a few key devel-
opments as central to the mishandling of the entire af-
f The question of a deanship candidate's eligibilityj
for tenure should have been thoroughly resolved before
that candidate's choice was finalized. The search com-
mittee, in the course of its search, should have seen to it
that the candidate's research and scholarship record
merited granting of tenure before submitting that can-
didate's name to President Fleming or the Regents. As
it turned out, the tenure issue was still up In the air
when Vice President Rhodes made his initial overture to
Dean Cobb, and the eventual denial of tenure was the
result of a harried and streamlined last minute proce-
dure of the Zoology Department Executive Committee,
the Intent and Integrity of which is hardly above sus-
* The eventual two-year contract offered to Jewell
Cobb was a gross departure from accepted routine and
can only be viewed as an attempt to discourage her ac-
We support the Affirmative Action committee's sug-
gestion that the Administration resume good faith nego-
tiations with Jewell Cobb, and, in the event such efforts
fall, appoint a new search committee with an eye toward
implementing those recommendations made by the com-

legitimate right of the Pal-
estinians for self-determindtion.
Yet, this basically sound case
is full of ironies. Until t h e ear-
ly 60's, the gospel was Arab
unity. Arabs from Palestine
were considered part of the
great Arab nation from the At-
lantic Ocean to the Persian
Gulf. In 1961 the Syrian region
revolted and the United Arab
Republic, the first step toward
Arab unity, dissolved. Since
then, Arabs from Palestine are
not just Arabs, and certainly are
not Jordanians, Syrians, I r a-
quis, Egyptians, or any of the
other fifteen Arab states. An
enormous intellectual process
project was erected to explore
the possible origins of Palestin-
ian nationality. At the same
time, Jews who kept their na-
tional aspirations for 2000 years
are denied self-determination.
Zionism, the Jewish national
liberation movement, is declar-
ed an imperialist tool, and ano-
ther effort is devoted to pro-
viding scientific proof that Jud-
aism is a religion. Thus with
more than a modicum of aca-
demic arrogance, the Arabs are
those who are entitled to deter-
mine Jewish consciousness.
Zionism, no." - Tough s h it!
Jewish people alone will deter-
mine whether they are religion
or nation; no one else will de-
cide it for them, not even Pal-
estinian scholars. In any other
context, denying to others the
rights one claims for oneself is
considered chauvinism. When
will radicals start to recognize
Palestinian chauvinism?
To all those who are inter-
ested, the Arabs would provide
movies, figures, and guided
tors which ilistrate the suf-
fering of "millions of Palestin-
ians." While any illustration or

no more than one per cent of
the billions voted to military
preparation for the "liberation
of Palestine" to enable the re-
fugees to lead a decent life.
Such an allocation would hardly
detract from the military pre-
parations, but once the refagees
start leading a more decent life,
who knows, a decent human so-
lution may terminate the con-
flict in the Mideast. Unfortun-
ately, that solution is incongru-
ent with retrieving Arab pride.
In a very real sense, the Arab
refugees are hostages in the per-
petuation of this battle to re-
trieve Arab pride, rather than
the cause of it.
WE HAVE committed a cu-
siderable amount of space to
expose the internal conflicts and
contradictions of the case for
the secular democratic state.
This, of course, does not pro-
vide a positive analysis, yet all
this space was necessary to ele-
vate the level of the debate from
the common trap of ideological
name-calling. The level of de-
bate which is most congruent
with our instinctivs inclinatian
to divide the world into good
guys and bad guys.
It would be equally superficial
to deny all the merits of the
Palestinian cause. Furthermore,
we believe that most of the
Arab students on this campus,
who devotedly adhere ±o the
idea of a secular-democratic
state, sincerely believe that it
is a humanistic solution which
would withstand critical exam-
ination by universalistic stand-
ards. Our belief in the sincer-
ity of many of our opponents
adds a somber dimension to the
way we see this tragic c o n-
frontation. It drives us to a fur-
ther examination of our ana-
the Mideast is between two sets
of universalistic, legitimate val-
ses: on the Jewish side, an at-

By the time history brought
home the fact that a national
home for the Jews was indis-
pensible, it raised the Arabs'
consciousness. to an acceptance
of their appropriate place in the
family of nations. While Zion-
ism was nourished by boh the
"it would be equally
superficial to deny all
the merits of the Pale-
stinian cause. Further-
more, we believe that
most of the Arab stu-
dents on this campus,
who devotedly adhere
to the idea of a secu-
lar-democratic state,
sincerely believe that
it is a humanistic solu-
yearnings for establishment of
a fully pledged national life and
by .the rejection of the Jews
by an inhospitable world, Arab
nationalism was nourished by
memories of the glory of the
past as well as the atred of
foreigners who had arrogantly
dominated the region and hu-
miliated its inhabitants for cen-
turies. Inevitably, therefore, the
Zionist movement could n o t
have accommodated even in
this miniscule fraction of t he
area. It was perceived as ano-
ther colonial national power
aiming at exploitation, rather
than self-liberation. As all na-
tional movements, the Arab n-
tional movement in its first sta-
ges, cannot be expected to be
tolerant of limitations. The dy-
namics of decades of mainly
hostile interactions did not make
things any easier. It did not
bring out the best in sash side.
FROM A geographical, a n d
more importanly, an emotional
distance, an instant socialist so-
lotion has its appeal. Intimate
knowledge of the Peculir real-
ities of the situation leave this
solution wishful at best, or d-
liberately misleading at worst.
The effects of the heavy hand
of the past cannot simpv be
wished away. The hostility of
today's reality cannot be just
vote out. The vision of the se-
cular democratic state is a is-
ion without tactics and, as such,
is not a politically viable plan.
This is why the Black P a n-
thers reject this solution and
call for recognition of two le-
gitimate national liberation
movements. We believe in a
better tomorrow for the Mid-
east: A future of fraternity and
mutual respect between Arabs
and Jews. The first step
towards this goal is the mutual
recognition of two legitimate
national liberation movements.
THIS IS HOW the confronta-
lion is perceived from our per-
stective. Naturally ws cannot
be expected to be free of all
biases. If you sincerely believe
in the viability of a state where
"Jews, Moslems and Christians"
can live together, we call upon
you to come and share with us
your conviction. The achieve-
ments in the United Nations and
other arenas of diplomaic ;us-
tice will not do it. There is the
justice of the polititans a n d
dinlomats and the justice of
human beings. Come and talk to
us like people.
Avi Sogi is president of
the Israeli Student Orgort-

"Jewish people, yes. Zionism, no." Jewish
people alone will determine whether they are
religion or nation; no one else will decide it for
them, not even Palestinian scholars. . . . deny-
ing to others the rights one claims or oneself
is considered chauvinism.
;{L{ ":}' 5":. ; a {t: . ,{{": ":r,? s -}:+ -.: ,i{{ {Sr: -

aspect of this tragedy is rele-
vant and important, there is a
drastic gap between illustration
of a situation and an explana-
tion of its origins. For those im-
mersed in the suffering, the in-
terpretation that the Zionist-ex-
pansionists are responsible is
very plausible indeed. Yet in
site of its compelling face val-
idity, this interpretation is
false. Arab nationalism, which
could not accept the United Na-
tions compromise of participa-
tion in 1947 and led to the 1947-
48 Israeli war of independence,'
created the original problem.
The seige of Israel by Nassar in
1967, which prompted an as-
tonishing Israeli victory, wors-
ened the refugees problem. In
both cases, Arab nationalism
created the violence and A r a b
individuals were the main vic-
tims. The refusal to settle for
peace perpetuates the p-oblera
AS IN every case of historical
analysis, proof depends on
many controversial factors and
facts and demands much more
of an educational effort than the
ad-hoc supporters are normally
ready to make. How about the
case for establishing resoonsibil-
ity for the "squalid conditions of
millions of Palestinians" at pre-
sent? Arab leadership, of all
political persuasions, wianes it
to be this ways It would take

tempt to build a national home
in a country which was sparse-
ly populated. A country which
could easily be developed to
hold a much larger population,
where Moslems, Jews, and
Christians could live together
in a democratic regime which
respects individuals as well as
group aspirations and establish
the only spot under the s u n
where Jews, who aspire to it,
would be able to live a fully
pledged national life. This, in a
nutshell, is Herzl's Zionism.
Had world Jewry been moving
to fulfill this goal within t he
first two decades of ou- cen-
tury, the Mideast today would be
an economically flourishing re-
gion where both Arabs and Jew-
ish states coexist peacefully, in
common pursuit of progress and
fraternity. If . . .
HISTORY never works this
way. The actualization of t h e
Zionist vision could not be real-
ized as long as the communist
vision of the 1920's held the
promise of universalistic solu-
tion on a global scale. As long
as the visions of the prophets
of the Old Testament seemed
to be close at hand, the Jewish
nation contribute thousands of
its best sons and daugners to
an endeavor for a better world
for al. Karl Marx, Trotsky, and
Rosa Luxemburg are only a few
of the best known.

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