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September 28, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-09-28

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4

OPINION
Wednesday, September 28, 1988

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Misquoted and harassed

Vol. IC No. 15

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials 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.
Israel supporters refuse to accept the current PLO position:
Coveting a Covenant

W HY DO SUPPORTERS of Israel
waste time calling for the retraction of
the National Covenant of the Palestine
Liberation Organization? The answer is
clear: the P.L.O. seeks to negotiate and
the Israeli government rejects peace.
This reality boggles minds acclimated
to the soothing balm of innocent Zion-
ism, and the Covenant provides an old
stone to hurl.
New organizations write charters to
provide a framework for group unity.
Over time, as a group changes to meet
new demands, a charter may no longer
reflect accurately its group's aspirations
or mentality.
The National Covenant of the P.L.O.
is one such document. At its inception
in 1964, the Covenant united the
young and diverse factions of the
P.L.O. and gave it an organizational
identity and relationship to the
Palestinian people. The Covenant talks
about the liberation of Palestine from
Zionism, which it defines as an
aggressive colonial movement. Its main
concern was to unify Palestinian
society on all levels.
The Covenant, ratified in 1968 fol-
lowing the occupation of the West
Bank and Gaza, has long been out-
dated. The Palestinian people are no
longer disorganized and isolated from
the world. Over 100 countries recog-
nize the P.L.O., which has a diplo-
matic network spanning the globe and
observer status in the United Nations.
As the organization matured, it devel-
oped new proposals for peace, varying
from the plan for a secular democratic
state, to some sort of Palestinian-Jor-
danian configuration, to the position of
two neighboring states - a proposal
agreed upon by all factions at the
Palestine National Council in Algiers in
1987 (which saw the P.L.O. united for

the first time since the Lebanon War of
1982).
Yasser Arafat has called for "dialogue
with all Jews, any Jew in Israel, or
elsewhere, who recognizes our national
rights," (In These Times, 8/5-18/87, p.
11). The P.L.O.snow seeks to establish
a state "in every part of the country
which will be liberated from or vacated
by Israel" in the context of all United
Nations resolutions on the Palestinian-
Israeli conflict (emphasis added). Such
a position entails the acceptance of the
state of Israel and its right to secure
borders, and the same for the
Palestinian people.
In the midst of the uprising and in-
creasing Israeli brutality in the territo-
ries, another document has appeared. A
P.L.O. pamphlet at the Algiers summit
of June 7, 1988 described the Pales-
tinian desire for "lasting peace and se-
curity for themselves and the Israelis
because no one can build his own fu-
ture on the ruins of another's. We are
confident that this desire and this real-
ization are shared by all but an in-
significant minority in Israel," and
went on to call for direct negotiations to
attain peace (New York Times, June
23, 1988). Here clearly is an opening
for peace, yet the Israeli government
dismisses P.L.O. overtures and in fact
has outlawed discussions between any
Israeli and representatives of the
P.L.O.
In the meantime, over 400 Palestini-
ans have died in the occupied territo-
ries, including at 13-year old girl shot
in the head with a rubber bullet. If sup-
porters of Israel really want peace and
justice, they should stop dusting off
the Covenant and urge Israel to go to
the negotiating tables. To do otherwise
is to be deliberately obtuse.

By Ali Mazrui
There are people who want the United
States to be a less open society than Is-
rael. Among them is Marc J. Berman,
President of the Union of Students for Is-
rael. The sort of issues I raised in my lec-
ture in the Rackham Amphitheater on
Sept. 22 are debated almost daily on Israeli
campuses, Israeli media and the wider
arena of public discourse in the Jewish
state. I borrowed the very term "Judeo-
Nazism" from the Israeli scholar, Profes-
sor Yeshayahu Leibovitz of the Hebrew
University and editor of the Encyclopedia
Hebraica. And yet people like Mr. Berman
want to stifle debate on this campus about
these issues. Why should the University
of Michigan be a less open and tolerant
campus than the Hebrew University in
Jerusalem or the University of Tel Aviv?
Mr. Berman's second sin is of distorting
what I said. A number of students tape-
recorded my lecture. So Mr. Berman
should have no difficulty listening to it
again. I went to great lengths in the lec-
ture to point out that Israel was an open
society with a democratic system, and that
the fascist element was a minority. But
my lecture was a warning to those who
love Israel that the society was getting
more racist and repressive. Just because
American television no longer carries
nightly reports of Israeli killings in the
occupied territories should not be taken to.
mean that the killings and maimings have
stopped. On the contrary one of the worst
cases of violence has occurred since my
lecture. Killings occurred on Monday,
Sept. 26, 1988 (ABC Newscast with Peter
Jennings, 9/26/88).
Ali Mazrui is a Professor of Political
Science and of Afro-american and African
Studies at the University.

My concern is that there seems to be
less outrage in public opinion in Israel
about these atrocities than there used to be
in British public opinion when the Em-
pire's armed forces went out of hand in
colonial Kenya where I grew up. Israel has
become an imperial power at a time when
the rest of the Western world is disengag-
ing from its imperial past. On the evi-
dence of Israeli performance so far, if I was
given a choice between British imperial-
ism and Israeli occupation I would chose
the British all over again.
The day after my public lecture in
Rackham a student turned up in my regu-
lar class. She introduced herself as Jewish

Berman are quite wrong in the charge that
I am anti-Semitic. I have taught and be-
friended generations of Jewish students in
the United States, some of whom are still
in correspondence with me. They have
been perfectly aware of my position on
Israel. It is an issue which has often fea-
tured in my classes. We have debated and
disagreed in a civilized manner, which is
what a university should be all about -
not just in Tel Aviv but also in Ann Ar-
bor, Michigan.
I am pleased to report that at the end of
the class on Friday, September 23rd, after
the confrontation with the intruder, three

'Why should the University of Michigan be a less open and
tolerant campus than the Hebrew University in Jerusalem or the
University of Tel Aviv?'
-Ali Mazrui, Professor of Political Science

and belonging to a Jewish organization.
She was not a member of my class. She
stood up and read out a statement clearly
intended to intimidate me. She accused me
of being a dangerous presence on this
campus and promised to mobilize Jewish
organizations to have me removed. I de-
scribed her behavior as precisely the kind
that could lead to "fascism." And fascism
was one of the themes of my Rackham
lecture to which she was objecting.
Fortunately the majority of Jewish or-
ganizations in this country are too sensi-
ble and too democratic to go around
intimidating professors who have posi-
tions about Israel different from their own.
That intruder in my class and Mr. Marc

Jewish students came to speak to me. The
disassociated themselves from what the
intruder-had said to me. They reaffirmed
that they had heard nothing from me
which was anti-Semitic. They recognized
the distinction between anti-Semitism and
strong criticism of Israel. I was a critic of
the policies of Israel but not remotely an
ill-wisher of the Jewish people. I had
never lost faith in the ultimate fairness of
my students. Those three who came to re-
assure me at the end of the class helped to
strengthen my confidence. Israelis are
entitled to have free and open universities.
So too are the American people. I hope
Mr. Berman will reconsider his ominous
attitudes.

Wasserman

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Save abortion rights

FOR OVER A MONTH, Shawn Lewis
was denied control of her body. The
court injunction that handed down this
decision as well as an upcoming elec-
toral proposal represent two more in a
long series of threats to women's re-
productive rights.
Lewis is now three months pregnant.
On Aug. 9th, Lewis' estranged hus-
band obtained an injunction from the
Genesee County Circuit Court barring
her from choosing an abortion until he
could appeal to the U.S. Supreme
Court. The case went to the Michigan
Supreme Court which ruled last
Thursday that Shawn Lewis had the
right to choose an abortion - but
allowed the injunction to stand.
Finally on Monday, the U.S.
Supreme Court wisely denied an emer-
gency request by her husband and anti-
abortion activists to extend the injunc-
tion during the appeal. Since the risks
of abortion escalate as the pregnancy
continues, the delay imposed on
Shawn Lewis by her husband and anti-
abortion activists constitutes a threat to
her health and perhaps endangers her
future fertility.
No one has the right to interfere with
Shawn Lewis' right to choose. Unfor-
tunately, Shawn Lewis' rights are not
the only ones in danger. This case has
the potential to restrict the 1973 Roe vs.
Wade decision that legalized abortion in
the United States.
Yet another threat to women's repro-
ductive rights comes from Proposition
A which appears on the November
ballot that, if passed, would cut off
Medicaid funding for abortion. By
putting abortions out of their financial
grasp, this legislation would effectively
discriminate against women in lower

income brackets.
Michigan is one of only 14 states that
still funds abortions through Medicaid.
In the other states, 75 percent of
women who choose abortion but are on
Medicaid find other ways to pay for
their abortions, but the remaining
quarter are forced to carry their preg-
nancies to term. These pregnancies end
up costing the state ten times what it
would have cost to fund their abortions
through Medicaid payments.
Proponents of Proposition A claim
that ending Medicaid-funded abortions
would save tax money. This is untrue.
Pre-natal, delivery, and newborn care
cost more - not to mention the added
burden on the Social Security system
when these women and their children
depend on Medicaid and other social
welfare programs. But even these eco-
nomic arguments are trivial compared
to the very real horror of forced parent-
hood. Freedom of choice means little to
women unable to fund their own
reproductive choices.
Proposition A also fails to provide
for women who have become pregnant
through rape or incest. It fails to pro-
vide for women who contract AIDS
and would be forced to watch their
children be consumed by the disease
while the state supports the financial
burden of their deaths.
Lewis vs. Lewis and Proposition A
are two steps of a gradual process
spearheaded by anti-abortion activists
to erode women's reproductive rights.
These steps are not inevitable. Those
concerned must take action now.
Planned Parenthood is organizing a
"No on A" campaign. To volunteer,
call 973-0710.

Women's
By Mindy Friedman
For the past week I have been following
the comments made in response to Nikita
Buckhoy's and Elizabeth Paige's editorial
regarding the dispersement of douches into
first year women students' "gift packs" or
"goody boxes." Before I begin, I would
just like to express my outrage at the lack
of sensitivity on the part of those MSA
representatives who responded to this edi-
torial. Furthermore, I would like to place
a special emphasis on my distaste for
Richard A. Shanks "letter to the editor." In
this letter, he declared the issue of douches
as offensive to women as unimportant and
unfeminist. Instead, he suggested that we
should abandon further discussion of this
issue in favor of other causes which are
more "real" and pertinent to women's
lives.
Frankly, it never ceases to amaze me
that despite feminism's goal of empower-
ing women to speak for themselves, this
man has not only deemed it appropriate to
appoint himself spokesperson for an entire
Mindy Friedman is a senior in LSA
women's studies and political science.

issues tr
movement of women, but to also promote
the age-old stereotype that women are
irrational and over-emotional (and in this
case have "oversensitized an unimportant
issue"). I guess I was unaware that men
now had the privilege of setting the agenda
as to what is an appropriate "feminist is-
sue" and what is not. In essence, Robert
Shanks has trivialized what is not only an
appropriate but central issue to women's
lives - their bodies.
As both Nikita and Elizabeth noted,
women have been historically oppressed
by a commercial health care market which
promotes the sale of items such as
douches. These products are meant to con-
vince women that their bodies are dirty and
something to be ashamed of. I applaud
them for going to MSA to educate those
rather unenlightened representatives as to
how insulting douches really are. These
were not women who were upset that we
[MSA] did not instantaneously concede to
their demands, but rather gutsy women
who were trying to make their grievances
known. Their editorial was simply a pro-
ductive outlet for their outrage.
MSA's response, in turn, was one of
ignorance and not as Robert Bell put it, "a

ivialized
case of not being able to please everyone
all of the time." As a Resident Advisor, 4
woman ,and as a feminist, I am appalled
at the level of ignorance and insensitivity
being displayed around this issue. Our
goal as members of the university com-
munity should not only be to fight those
forms of sexism (or other types of dis-
crimination for that matter) which are
readily apparent, but also those inadver.
tent, subtle forms of oppression which
penetrate our daily lives here at Michigan.
MSA made a mistake - whether it was
intentional or not is not the issue. How-
ever, rather than offer an apology or better
yet make an effort to educate themselves
about the politics surrounding the ex-
ploitation of women's bodies, they instead
chose 'to harass two women whose inten-
tion was obviously to improve, not belit-
tle the services of their organization.
On a more informal note, as a person
who has made a commitment to change
the quality of women's lives here in the
residence halls, I can honestly say I would
be embarrassed if such an item were in my
"goody box." Thanks, but no thanks folks
- that's not a "gift" I want for myself or
for my residents.

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Imperial flag students, I went to the Diag on
Friday, Sept. 19, to discover

stands tor
repression
To the Daily:
This year's University of
Michigan Festifall was peace-
ful ans uneventful, to my dis-
appointment. No one seemed
to have noticed a particular in-
sulting object which was dis-
played at the Festifall, the Im-
perial Japanese flag. A field of

the various organizations at the
University. When I arrived at
the Asian Studies Department's
table, I was astounded to see
the Imperial Japanese flag on
the table. I tried to explain to
the person at the table the in-
appropriateness of showing the
flag in such a context as Festi-
fall, and I implored him to re-
move it. In response, the per-
son said he understood what I
was saying but he was only

organizations at the Diag had
there been a parallel display of
the Nazi flag, with the infa-
mous swastika, at the German
Club's table.
About an hour later I re-
turned to the Asian Studies
table and the person in charge
had returned. I again explained
the coarseness of the display
and asked that it be removed.
The person in charge had heard
about my previous complaint
from the substitute, but had
obviously taken no actions ei-

the flag. I did not see if she
had actually removed it, since I
had already left the Diag in
disbelief.

I

The entire situation was ab-
solute absurdity. the flag was
brought to Festifall by a col
league of the person in charge,
who thought it was "cool" to
display it. I just could not ra-
tionalize either the insensitiv-
ity shown by the representa-
tives of the Asian Studies De-
partment by displaying the
fla- r the anathu rof the many

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