Page 4-Wednesday, March 12, 1980-The Michigan Daily
Debunking Prosterman's myths about Israel
After a month's absence from the Daily's
editorial page, H. Scott Prosterman has retur-
ned with another of his one-sided and distorted
articles condemning Israel (Daily, Feb. 29). In
true propagandistic form, Prostetman in his
most recent article ("Myths Abundant About
Israel, PLO and Arafat") once again tries to
come across as an objective observer
dispelling popular myths relating to the Middle
East. But in truth he serves only to perpetuate
even more dangerous myths.
Myth No. 1:, Israel is the cause of the turmoil
and instability in Southern Lebanon.
By singling out Israel, Prosterman totally
overlooks the fact that a bloody civil war
having little to do with Israel ravaged Lebanon
in the mid-1970s; that Yassir Arafat's Palestine
Liberation Organization threatened to wipe out
the Christian inhabitants of Southern Lebanon;
that Israeli military assistance to the southern
Lebanese has probably made the difference in
their survival; that Israel opened its border to
the Lebanese and was the only country to offer
them medical assistance and other forms of
humanitarian aid; that Palestine troops, in
spite of the presence of UN forces, still attack
Lebanese Christians as well as the Israelis acr-
oss the border.
Myth No. 2: Israeli raids into Southern
Lebanon are indiscriminate and directed at the
SINCE AN APRIL 1979 terrorist at-
tack,Israel has aggressively sought out
terrorists instead of retaliation after terrorist
attacks. Because of this policy, Israel has suc-
ceeded in thwarting several terrorist
Unfortunately, innocent civilians have been
killed by Israeli raids, a fact which has been
widely reported by the American press, con-
trary to Prosterman's claim. Like so many
other supporters of Israel, I feel'very grieved
by these deaths, but I do understand Israel's
tough predicament. The PLO purposely locates
its terrorist bases within refugee camps and
population centers to use the civilians as
shields. To place sole blame for the deaths of
these civilians on Israel, as Prosterman does,
is to ignore this important fact and see only one
side of the story. Also, labeling Israel's preem-
ptive raids into southern Lebanon as offensive
and as a violation of American defense con-
tracts is debatable. For a nation to strike out
against terrorists who threaten its citizens is
permissible self-defense and in accordance
with international and American law.
Myth No. 3: Yassir Arafat and the PLO are
moderates whose positions have been
I WOULD BE more than happy to lend
Prosterman my copy of the PLO's covenant,
which calls for armed struggle to eliminate
Israel. This goal is hardly the moderate
position of what Prosterman describes as a
By Jeffrey Colman
"social service organization." The fact that
Arafat's new image precludes his blatantly
calling for the "liquidation of the Zionist
presence in Israel" does not prove that the PLO
leader has abandoned this goal. Other
statements by Arafat indicate that this
ultimate goal has not changed.
Even if Prosterman is right that Arafat has
moderated his views, he totally ignores the fact
that the PLO is not a monolithic organization
that follows the positions of Yassir Arafat. The
PLO is composed of a number of radical
terrorist organizations competing for power,
loosely bound by the common goal of
destroying Israel. Also, his claim that the PLO
has agreed to a "Two State solution" is wrong.
PLO officials have made it all too clear that
they would accept a separate Palestinian state
only as a stepping stone toward their eventual
objective of a Palestinian state including all of
Myth No. 4: Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism
WHILE IT MAY be a mistake to label all an-
ti-Zionists as anti-Semites, it is an even greater
aberration to claim that there is no connection
between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Here
Prosterman's credible source of support is the
head of the PLO: apparently if Yassir Arafat
says that there is a distinction between Zionism
and Judaism then there must be! Prosterman
obviously subscribes to the PLO Covenant's
definition of Judaism as only a religion and not
an independent nationality with any ties to the
land of Israel. He obviously does not under-
stand that Jewish nationalism, i.e., Zionism,
dates back to the Bible and has always been an
integral part of the Jewish history and
By dismissing anti-Semitism as irrelevant to
the Middle East conflict, Prosterman is ob-
viously telling us that he has not seen Arab
newspapers, books, and school lessons filled
with traditional Jew-hatred. He apparently is
not familiar with the persecution of Jews in
Arab lands and the forced migration of 3/4
million Jews from these countries since 1948.
He apparently has not heard or read the
frequent anti-Jewish remarks from Arab and
other delegates at the United Nations.
Myth No. 5: The Palestinians today are in the
same position that the Jews were in after the
HERE PROSTERMAN truly reveals his
ignorance of history. Whatever the merits of
the Palestine movement, there is absolutely no
basis for historical comparison between the
Jewish survivors of Nazism and the
Palestinians. And just because Prosterman
grew up in a Jewish family with many sur-
vivors does not make him any less wrong in
contriving such a comparison.
Whatever the injustices done to the
Palestinians-and I believe strongly that they
need to be addressed-they have never been in*
the same desperate situation as the Jews in
Europe. Let me remind Prosterman that six
million Jews were murdered during the
Holocaust. Those lucky enough to survive had
no nation to which to go until there was a
Jewish state in 1948. But Prosterman is so
preoccupied with comparing the Nazis to the
"excessive and oppressive brutality" of the
Jews in Israel that he loses perspective on
By comparing the Zionists to the Nazis,
Prosterman is committing the sin of rewriting
history. By analogizing the plight of the Jews
with the Palestinians, he belittles both.
The Daily's editorial page provides a needed
forum for constructive debate on such con-
troversial subjects as the Middle East. It is un-
fortunate that H. Scott Prosterman, in taking
advantage of this opportunity, finds some need
to blame Israel for everything wrong in the
Middle East, a theme common to all his ar-
ticles. By perpetuating dangerous myths about
the Jewish state and by supporting his
arguments with mere innuendoes and*
generalizations, Prosterman contributes exac-
tly nothing to a clearer understanding of a
Jeffrey Colman is an LSA senior majoring
in political science and history.
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Vol. XC, No. 126
News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
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HAT THE BRAKES must be
applied to breakneck inflation
during an election year is both
fortunate and unfortunate.
Fortunately, it is politically expedient
for President Carter and the Congress
to solve the problem of runaway
inflation; were Carter to continue his
refusal to face it this year, he would be
baying a one-way ticket back to Plains,
Georgia (a ticket, incidentally, that
costs a lot more now than it did in
Unfortunately, slowing down
inflation means political pain. Where
the 1981 budget is concerned, reducing
expenditures anywhere means some
interest groups in society will suffer, a
suffering that will be re-inflicted on the
President and Congress at the polls in
In the best of both worlds, the budget
would not have to be cut back and
revenues would be increased. It is a
Carter has hit upon, but the proposed
answer has a problem.
Unable to cut planned spending by
much more than $10 billion without
angering too many interest groups,
Carter has shifted the emphasis
toward increasing revenues to achieve
the imperative goal of balancing the
This is an acceptable shift. In fact,
one idea-an oil-import fee-would
both generate $11 billion and perhaps
help curb our oil appetite: gas prices
would rise by another 10 cents per
A second plan, however, that would
raise about $3.3 billion of the $25 billion
needed to offset the anticipated budget
deficit, is too painful to be acceptable:
the idea calls for withholding of
estimated taxes on dividend and
At first, such a withholding tax does
not seem so bad. The taxes must be
paid eventually anyway, so why not
withhold them, some might reason.
The problem lies with that adverb,
Withholding taxes take much-needed
cash from the public at a time when
many need the money immediately to
survive. Further, while the
government is holding the estimated
taxes and earning interest on them, the
Perhaps Carter has hit upon this
withholding tax idea because it seems
politically expedient: it would hurt
only those who have savings and
investments in the first place. As
Carter well knows, it is an ever smaller
population that can save anything
As part of our continuing effort to spotlight
an interesting individual or group at the
University, the Daily recently interviewed
Harvey Klotzblow, president of Hey! Nerds
are people, too! (H!NAP,T!). H!NAP,T! has a
membership of 13, although Klotzblow claims
this number is deceiving, for it represents
only those who have joined the organization.
Q. Harvey, could you explain a little bit
about your organization?
A. Sure. We're a group of concerned
University students who have been classified
as Nerds, Dorks, Eddies, and Weirdos by
students because of the way we talk, look,
dress, and twitch. We feel that we're
discriminated against, and as soon as our
organization gets more exposure, we'll be
able to dispel many of the misconceptions
that haunt us.
Q. What misconceptions?
A. Oh, you know. Like all nerds are
engineers. That's just not true. Some of us are
By Nick Katsarelas
Q. My, my. But you study all the time. Don't
you ever have any fun?
A. Sure. Last night, me and some friends
pulled a Chinese fire drill right in the middle
of South University. Cars were coming, too!
A. Yeah. And once-don't tell anyone-we
toilet-papered a tree in front of a girl's
Q. You did that?
A. Sure. We're regular hooligans! (giggle)
Q. Anything else?
A. Well, this Friday night some friends are
coming over to my place. We're gonna drink
some beer and do some square roots. Wanna
Q. No thanks. Sounds like fun, though. But
hey .. .are you 21?
A. Well. . . no. (giggle)
Q. That's illegal, you know. Just don't get
A. No, I won't. (giggle)
Q. Do you have any favorite actors or
A. Yeah, Steve Martin. Watch
this ... Well, excuuuuuuuuse meeeeee!!
Q. Hey, that's pretty good. Who else ...
A. Well, excuuuuuuuuse meeeeeee!!
Q. Love it. Really. How about hobbies?
A. Oh, sure. I like model rockets. And also, I
like to tell jokes. I've got one for you. How
many pre-meds does it take to screw in a
Q. Aw, sorry, but I've heard this one before.
A. Hey! That's not fair! Pretend you don't
Q. Okay. How many?
A. Seven. One to turn the lightbulb, and six
to hold the ladder. (laughter)
Q. (Pause) I don't think you told that one
A. Here's another one. (drabs and squeezes
the interviewer's hand) Hi. I'm from the
heart association. (giggle)
Q. Why, you're a regular cut-up. By the
way, I've been admiring your watch.
A. Gee, thanks. It's got not only the time, but
the date, barometer reading, temperature,
sea level, and log tables. It even works out p
to 12 places. I built it with my Heath Kit.
Q. Wonderful. Do you have any other eccen-
A. Eccent-. .. what?
Q. Nothing. Women. Have you heard of
A. Sure. I've seen them in my classes.
Q. What's wrong, now?
A. I keep thinking (giggle) about that heart
Q. You know, you're pretty queer.
A. See! There you go! Always down on the
nerd! Well, Mister, I just want you to know
that I am not dull or weird. I think of myself
as pretty creative. Why, just watch this! (He
takes out his calculator, punches in several
numbers, and turns it upside down. It spells
Q. How wonderful. But that's old hat. I
suppose for your next trick you're gonna spell
out "OhhELL" and "ShELLOIL".
A. Wait! Wait. (He proceeds to punch in
more numbers and spells out those words)
Q. Well, Harvey, I think we're about out of
time. Is there anything you wanted to add
before we conclude?
A. Yeah. Forty and 86. (giggle) Oh, wait,
have I told you about my neat Battlesta
Gallactica poster .
Nick Katsarelas often feels uncomfor-
table when a gang of young thugs has
asked for his money. His column appears
on this page every Wednesday.
Q. The portrait of the typical nerd is
produced by the common opinion that many
nerds have not taken advantage of the
valuable cultural and intellectual resources
available here at the 'U,' and that you're just
basically too mechanical, narrow-minded,
Q. Sure. For instance, have you ever read
any Hemingway? Dos Passos?
A. I read Dos Passos in my Spanish class. It
was good, but the translations were time-
A. Dos Passos is the author.
A. Oh. Well, I read, you know. Just last
week I read Mathematics and Your Health.
LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
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