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September 22, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-09-22

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, September 22, 1988

The Michigan Daily

4

Allies: Israel

and South Africa

Dr. Ali Mazrui is a Professor of Political
Science in the Center for Afroamerican
Studies. He spoke with Opinion Page staff
writer Rashid Taher. Mazrui will give a
lecture - "Israel and South Africa:
Strange Bedfellows or Natural Allies?" -
tohight at 7 p.m. in Rackam Amphithe-
aier.
Daily: The ANC call for a "people's
war" against the South African govern-
ment and the PLO calls for the
Dialogue
"destruction of the Zionist entity." Both
the PLO and the ANC have been labeled
terrorist organizations since they call for
the downfall of the sovereign governments
of Israel and South Africa in any manner
possible, including strikes against civil-
ians. Why should these groups be dealt
with?
Mazrui: [T]he term terrorism is usually
used to denounce people who are fighting
for a cause that one does not agree with;
its not really the methods. The idea of
civilians diing is such a common feature
of 20th C. conflict.
Every time the Israelis bomb Lebanon
they kill a lot of civilians and I'm sure the
Israeli government does not lose a lot of

sleep over that, so all the talk of protect-
ing civilians is really a camouflage to dis-
guise whose side one is on, disguise it in
a moral sound.
D: Am I to understand then that you are
justifying the use of attacks on civilian
populations in order to bring about
changes....
M: No... you should really attempt to re-
duce killings, but that civilians die seems
to me to be in the logic of every major
power operating in the world today. When
you prepare for a nuclear war, are you
aiming for armies? No, you are aiming for
destroying millions of civilians. I think
the so called "terrorist" tactics used by
liberation movements, in terms of scale,
are much more limited in destroying
civilians.
D: Don't you feel that [the ANC and the
PLO] would be a security threat to both
the sovereignty of South Africa and to the
sovereignty of Israel, if they were granted
statehood or independence from their re-
spective "occupiers?"
M: In the case of South Africa, the nature
,of the society will just have to change... it
is internally a racist society, and that the
struggle is to democratize it. So to that
extent the nature of the struggle in South
Africa is different than the nature of the
struggle in the Middle East.
But chances are that the Jews will insist
on a separate homeland and that is the sort
of logic which makes Zionism a sister to
the doctrine in South Africa called
"separate development" meaning creating
homelands for Blacks so that whites can

live separately and their insistence on a
separate white homeland is very similar to
the insistence of a separate Jewish home-
land. The big difference is that right now
the Israelis are opposed to a homeland for
the other side but would still would prefer
to have a separate homeland for the Jews.
D: In South Africa there is wide spread
revolt due to a "terror campaign" waged by
the ANC, strongly reminiscent of the ef-
forts by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and
his killers to destroy the forces of Arab
moderation in prewar Palestine. And like-
wise, the countries of the Middle East are
strife ridden - monarches and dictators
suppress any forms of opposition which
criticizes the present or future state of af-
fairs. Can't you see both Israel and South
Africa as typical of their respective envi-
ronments rather than anomalies as they are
frequently labeled?
M: What is distinctive about the apartheid
situation is that it is the most institution-
alized form of racism.... Right now we are
on the verge of abolishing institutional-
ized racism; we should deal with that.
Zionism has only certain things in
common with apartheid. Zionism is a
form of macro-apartheid in the sense that
Zionist don't refuse to use the same door
to the post office with an Arab but they
are reluctant to share the same country
with an Arab. So apartheid in South
Africa also has these two versions: it has
versions locally where you have segregated
schools and you have an ideology which
believes in segregated homelands. Zionism
does believe in segregated homelands
though it doesn't believe as yet in segre-
gated schools. One of the worries I have is
that with the increased repression in the
occupied territories, what saves Zionism
from being identical with apartheid will
become less and less effective in prevent-
ing it from becoming overt racism.
D: Many Israeli officials claim that Is-
rael's relations with South Africa were
rumors and that Israel scrupulously abides
by the UN embargo on arms sales to
South Africa. The Jerusalem Post asserted
that the Histadrut, a labor union in Israel,
"has consistently refused to have any deal-
ings with the South Africa regime." How
can there be such a "natural alliance" if Is-
rael is openly opposed to it?
M: I will refer to statements by Israeli
officials about programs of disengagement

from trading with South Africa which is
tied to time so you cannot disengage un-
less you are previously already engaged.
Secondly, there is certainly considerable,
at least secondary evidence of consulta-
tions between Israel and South Africa on
nuclear collaboration. [There is] the
possibility that they actually collaborated
on a venture that resulted in an explosive
device a few years ago which was detected
in the south Atlantic.... A third area of
military collaboration is almost certainly
collaboration on counter insurgency, that
is how to deal with guerrilla movements.
The Israelis are perceived by South
Africans as having been very successful in
containing the Palestinians and the White
South Africa are very interested in those
strategies so that they could contain there
own Black liberation fighters.
D: Why is Israel criticized for dealing
with South Africa?
M: Continuing dealings with South
Africa in sensitive areas of action includ-
ing military are not designed to delay the
process of terminating apartheid. On the
contrary, they help to stabilize it, to make
it last a bit'longer therefore all those who
want to see the end of apartheid should le-
gitimately be concerned about the policies
of the state of Israel.
D: The ideology of Zionism calls for a
national homeland for the Jewish people.
Is the ideology of apartheid deep rooted
with that of Zionism or are they distinct
and Israel's relations with South Africa are
merely economical?
M: The Jews are not a race in the usual
sense of the term 'race' but both Zionism
and the ideology of apartheid do have a
doctrine of ethnic exclusivity of excluding
other people. So the idea of creating a
Jewish state was based on principles of
ethnic exclusivity which are unfortunately
dangerously similar to the principles
which underlie the ideology of Afrikanars
in South Africa.
So while it is true that the internal ar-
rangements within Israel are such that the
society is more democratic than the
republic of South Africa internally. That
may only be because the racial exclusivity
in Israel has succeeded enough to assure a
Jewish majority and therefore you can
have some of the liberties that operate in
the Western World. The ethnic exclusivity

of the Afrikanars in South Africa has
failed to achieve a White majority within
South Africa. But on the evidence of what
Israel does to the people in the occupied
territories, I think the potential for
repressing other groups is clearly compa-
rable between the two people.
D: What do you propose as feasible solu-
tions? You cannot expect either Israel or
South Africa to grant voting rights to the
respective indigenous populations - the
integrity of the respective states would be
destroyed.
M: In the case of Israel, there is a right
wing school of thought that wants to an-
nex the occupied territories and in some
ways it might be long term demographic,
suicide for them to do it. The bulk of the
Israeli Jewish population is reluctant to
commit that kind of demographic sui-
cide.... There does not look like if there is
much of an alternative to a two state
solution and that their aught to be a state
for the Palestinians.
But the solutions in the two regions are.
not identical. In the case of South Africa
the Whites just have to accept that theA
majority of the population within South
Africa is not White. They aught to get.
into discussion about a more democratic
political order in the society that would
give the majority the say that they deserve
in running the affairs of the country and
the share they deserve in the wealth of the
country.
D: Would you like to add any thing else?
M: Well, its a concern in that you re-
member that I mentioned earlier that I re-
garded. institutionalized racism as some-
thing that is diing out in the world and the
South Africa is one of the last bastions. I
have been worried about whether Israel is
allowing itself to become the next bearer
of that dubious torch, accepting the torch
of racism just as it is ending in South
Africa that it allows its self to become the
custodian of the racist torch in its treat-
ment of Palestinians. So it is a concern
partly because there are a lot of well
meaning people in Israel and in the Jewish
population at large who really believe they
are against racism and have been among
the major victims of racism. It would be a
pity if they created geo political conditions
in which the former oppressed become in-
creasingly the new oppressors.

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. I C No. 11 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor MI 48109
Unsigned editoria> represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Selective omission,

Empowering tenants

THE 500 INCOMING graduate stu-
dents who attended their official con-
vocation September 7 listened to six
speakers welcome them to the rarified
air of high academia. They were ad-
dressed by the president of the Univer-
sity. They were addressed by the vice
president for research. They heard
from the dean of their graduate school.
But they did not hear from the
president of their student government.
,He was not invited this year.
And they were not addressed by the
Minority Organization of Rackham
(MOR). They were not invited either.
It is traditional for both the president
of Rackham Student Government
(RSG) and a representative from MOR
to address new graduate students at the
convocation. It has also become tradi-
tional, during the last few years, that
RSG and MOR present critical out-
looks on graduate life at the University
and bring up political issues. And this
is-where their omission from the list of
invited speakers becomes significant.
Mark Greer, president of RSG, said
he is convinced this year's non-invita-
tion of RSG and MOR is "an issue of
censorship and an instance of the Uni-
versity's crackdown on diversity and
dissent" within its ranks. The evidence
seems to support Greer's contention.
Greer was told by Susan Lipschultz,
associate dean of Rackham, that RSG

speak for 5 minutes each. Also, this
year's convocation was no shorter than
those of previous years.
A fellow graduate student was al-
lowed address the incoming class. This
was Jane Fountain, a Ph.D. candidate
in human genetics, who served as
"mistress of ceremonies."Fountain told
the Daily that she believes her own
invitation to speak came as a result of
friendly connections with several Uni-
versity deans whom she met recently at
a reception for Rackham fellows.
So, in essence, a graduate student
hand-selected by the University re-
placed an elected representative of the
graduate student government as the in-
vited speaker to the convocation. This
is deplorable.
What would RSG and MOR have
told their peers had they been allowed
to speak? Greer said he hadnplanned to
discuss the issues of weapons research
on campus, the increasingly conserva-
tive nature of research within the social
sciences, and the current labor crisis
between the Graduate Employees Or-
ganization and the University.
Such a message would have pro-
vided a needed counterbalance to the
positive, upbeat propaganda that came
out of the mouths of the adminstrators
who dominated the convocation. The
censureship of RSG and MOR is
clearly in the spirit of the new guide-

By Jeri Schneider
The Ann Arbor Tenants Union (AATU)
receives 10 to 25 calls a day from tenants,
many of them students, who are having
problems with their landlords. Common
complaints are not getting security de-
posits back, invasions of privacy, not
getting repairs done and eviction threats.
For most people these problems go be-
yond unnecessary hassles -- they threaten
the very security which people seek in
their homes. The reasons for these prob-
lems are various, including the power
structure in which rental housing operates
and lack of availability of information for
tenants.
We live in a country where housing is a
commodity, not a basic human right.
Landlords see housing as investment op-
portunity rather than shelter for people.
One result of this is raising rents while
letting a building deteriorate, then getting
federal grants to make improvements. An-
other manifestation of this is attitude is
that many landlords think that ownership
allows them access to all parts of a build-
ing, regardless of the fact that they have
leased possession to the tenants.
Tenants do have rights in housing laws.
Schneider is senior in LSA.

However, the chief enforcers of these laws
do not always do their jobs and many ten-
ants are unaware of their rights. The City
Housing Department is mandated to en-
force the Housing Code, which sets min-
imum health and safety standards for rental
housing. Several problems keep them
from doing this, one being that the code
itself sets up lenient guidelines for forcing
landlords to maintain dwellings. Another
is that even if landlords are cited for viola-
tions and eventually fined, the court im-
poses small fines such as $25 rather than
the maximum $500.
Yet another problem is the relationship
enjoyed by landlords with City inspectors.
Landlords make frequent contact with these
employees and relate with them on a first-
name basis, while tenants rarely get a
chance to even talk to them, except when
they're complaining. This relationship
tends to set up a structure in which land-
lords are able to manipulate the opinions
of inspectors; the result is a housing de-
partment which fails to protect tenants and
essentially fails to perform its primary
duty.
Landlords who have been in the busi-
ness for a long time are well aware just
how far they can stretch the laws, while
tenants who are transient and renting for
the first time often do not know their

rights or even where to learn them.
The AATU has been active for 20 years,
educating and organizing tenants to exer-
cise and expand their rights and pressuring
landlords and the city to maintain decent
and affordable housing. Hard-won victories
include a tenant's right to withhold rent if
their home is not maintained by the land-
lord, the right to a weatherized and secure
home and the right to a legitimate and
non-deceptive lease. Tenants have gained
much but there's still need for improve-
ment. Tenants make up close to two-thirds
of Ann Arbor's population -- this is an
awesome group in terms of power if we
organize around common goals.
The AATU is currently seeking volun-
teers and work-study people to join these
efforts through phone counseling, putting
together a newsletter, reforming laws, or-
ganizing tenants, etc. Anyone who has
ever rented a home knows how scary it can
be to be uninformed -- the AATU is out to
demystify the laws and empower tenants
to act directly. If you are interested in im-
proving housing conditions and learning
more about Ann Arbor's housing system,
please come to a mass meeting this
Thursday evening, 7:30, in the MSA
chambers (third floor, Michigan Union);
or call 763-6876 for more information.

Letters to the editor

MSA fights
sexism
To the Daily:
In reponse to the editorial by
Nikita Buckhoy and Elizabeth
Paige, "MSA insensitive to

insinuating that because they
are involved in women's issues
Mike should bow to their
wishes the second they speak
out. He listened to their com-
ments, he learned that many
other women felt the same, and
the douches were removed.
Almost every man at MSA

chy. I think many women at
MSA find direct confrontation
and hierarchy difficult. As a
woman, I know how well
society trains women to be
passive, happy;and pleasing.
So, what are we doing about
it? First, we are putting
women in leadership positions.

women's concerns inside and
outside of MSA. Women on
MSA need to recognize that
their presence and input is vi-
tal; women need to support
other women in the office. Be-
yond this, MSA is sponsoring
a Women's Symposium in
October.

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