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November 09, 1988 - Image 20

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-09

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OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, November 9, 1988

The Michigan Daily

al

b r £id ran 1aiI
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. IC No. 45 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.
Arrest the homeless?

The

real anti-Semitism

MIAMI POLICE recently proposed a
plan to improve Miami's image for
tourism: arrest the homeless. The City
Commission struck down one provi-
sion, which would allow the arrest of
anyone sleeping in a public area but is
still considering the measures.
The Miami City Commission did not,
however, strike down other con-
tentions which could empower the po-
lice to arrest people for cooking and
building shelters. Since the homeless
are the ones who cook and build shel-
ters, this would order their arrest. Po-
lice would take away their means of
feeding themselves and protecting
themselves from the harsh elements of
a tropical climate.
The police proposed this policy be-
cause Miami has no other way of deal-
ing with the problem of the homeless
- neither the city nor the county pro-
vides any large shelters. The reasoning,
according to public officials, is that the
Miami winters do not imperil the lives
of the homeless with freezing tempera-
tures.
In other words, the city and county
do not care about relieving the home-
less from their horrible living condi-
tions. As long as they prevent them
from dying, they think that they are
doing enough.
The proposal in no way solves the
,rreal problem: the need to improve the

homeless' quality of life. Instead, it
helps the city's thriving, winter; tourist
industry by hiding the homeless, who
tend to tamish the tropical paradise im-
age.
The policy, itself, would tarnish the
image to the homeless who flock to
Miami each winter from the North. It
would also encourage the homeless al-
ready in Miami to move to another city.
Soon, these other cities might adopt
similar policies seeing that it scared
away the homeless in Miami and even-
tually it might become a standard prac-
tice for dealing with the homeless.
Police tried to tone down this policy
of arresting people for this "crime,"
saying that they do not plan on jailing
them because there is not enough jail
space. The police only want to hold
them for a few hours and then deliver
them to another area far away from the
tourists.
It is heartless enough not to provide
them with shelters; it is downright cruel
to remove them from their makeshift
shelters, the only homes they have.
The homeless are not criminals. Mi-
ami city and county officials are the real
criminals. Not helping the homeless is
their crime, and they are trying to cover
it up by hiding the homeless. Until they
provide shelters for the homeless police
should propose a different policy: ar-
rest the officials.

By Alan Wald
The night of November 9-10, 1988, is
the fiftieth anniversary of Kristallnacht
(Chrystal Night) - a day of infamy in
modern German history. Named for the
shattered glass on the streets of German
cities that followed a night of horrendous
violence against Jewish people (nearly a
hundred were murdered), synagogues, and
shops in 1938, this vile pogrom was or-
dered by Nazi leader Josef Goebbels to
"avenge" a German diplomat allegedly as-
sassinated by a Jew.
This event should be studied and re-
membered not just by descendants of the
Jewish victims, but all humanity.
Kristallnacht is generally regarded as the
turning point in the evolving policy of
Nazi anti-Semitic genocide.
In the case of anti-Semitism, one only
has to see the recent film Betrayed to be
reminded that hatred of Jews is almost al-
ways part of the ideology of the White
Supremacist movements which are today
growing in the United States. Moreover, a
recent report of the Anti-Defamation
League of B'nai B'rith states that anti-
Semitic incidents on college campuses are
being reported at a faster rate this academic
year than in the past. Recently Nazi
swastikas were scrawled on New Haven's
Holocaust memorial, and there is presently
a swastika on the inside door of a Univer-
sity of Michigan parking structure eleva-
tor.
Unfortunately, efforts to educate our
own community about this real and dan-
gerous anti-Semitism in the United States
are obscured by fanatical partisans of the
Israeli state, along with naive and confused
others, who cry wolf about spurious "anti-
Semitism." This is a false characterization
that we see increasingly attributed to those
who dare to voice opinions sharply critical
Israeli state policies in the Middle East and
elsewhere. Usually the ploy is to assert
that it is the "way" in which the criticisms
of Israeli state policy are made that reveals
anti-Semitism, not necessarily the act of
criticism itself; but the intentions and ef-
fects are the same.
It is time to declare forthrightly that the
charge that those who are sharply in
opposition to the repression, violence and
racism exhibited by the Israeli state are in
some sense "anti-Semitic" has become too
normal on our campus and in our town.
Such a vicious mode of debate must be
countered before it does more damage than
it already has.
The most sensational incidents have
been those perpetrated by the Union of
Students for Israel, a tragically misguided
organization that has carried on a cam-
paign of harassment and smears against
Professor Ali Mazrui of the Political Sci-
ence Department. Because Mazrui coura-
geously voiced some bitter truths about
Alan Wald is a member of Concerned
Faculty and author of many writings on
the politics of Jewish-American
intellectuals.

Israeli state policies in regard to South
Africa and to the Palestinian people,
members of this organization have pub-
lished a newspaper article, distributed fly-
ers, and made statements in Mazrui's class
declaring him "anti-Semitic."
Regrettably, this mode of discourse has
infected even those who should know bet-
ter. On October 20, 1988, Benjamin Ben-
Baruch, a Phd. student in Sociology at the
University and chair of the Middle East
Committee of the Ann Arbor Chapter of
supposedly liberal New Jewish Agenda,
published a letter in the Ann Arbor News
charging local reporter Tom Rogers, and
by implication campus minister Robert
Hauert, with "anti-Semitic undertones."
The basis for this charge was a statement
by Rogers that "Hauert [who recently re-
turned from the Middle East] refuses to
'talk of Jews as Nazis,' even though com-
parisons can be made."
Of course, anyone who follows political
debate in Israel knows that, precisely due
to the Holocaust experience, Israeli poli-
cies based on "race" are frequently com-
pared by Israeli dissidents to the racial
policies of the Nazis. For example, it was
only two years ago that Ben-Baruch and I
heard Israel Shahak, professor of organic
chemistry at the Hebrew University in
Jerusalem and chair of the Israeli League
for Human and Civil Rights, describe in a
University of Michigan lecture the recent
controversies in Israel over the exclusion-
ary policies of the Kibbutzim based on
"race."
At one point Shahak told how Professor
Asa Kasher responded to the proposal of
the settlement Kiryat Arba to add to its
usual racist-exclusionary membership
clause an additional one to the effect that
Palestinians also be barred from holding
jobs such as removing the kibbutz
garbage. Kasher pointed out the Nazi-like
character of such policies and proposed
that the name Kiryat Arba be changed to
"Town of Nuremburg" ("kiryat" means
"town" in Hebrew) after that German city
where the Nazis passed their anti-Jewish
legislation. The prestigious Hebrew
weekly Koteret Rashit responded by
pointing out that all the kibbutzim are
just as racist.
My own view is that comparisons be-
tween Nazi German policies and Israeli
state policies are far less appropriate than
comparisons between Israel and South
African apartheid. Nevertheless, it is re-
grettable that even those genuinely critical
of Israel, such as Ben-Baruch, feel it nec-
essary to give further legitimacy to the use
of the smear of "anti-Semitism" just be-
cause someone argues his or her case in a
different manner.
But the problem here is even greater
than the obvious fact that slandering harsh
critics of Israeli state policy as "anti-
Semitic" trivializes a serious issue and
therefore does a disservice to those who
bave suffered at the hands of the "real"
anti-Semitism. There is also the irony that
it is the harsh critics of Israeli state pol-
icy, not the apologists for that state, who

are the only ones promoting viewpoints
that can bring about resolutions most fa-
vorable to urgent necessity of Jewish sur-
vival in the Middle East. For political (not
to mention moral!) reasons, such a
resolution has to be consistent with the
defense of the rights of other people who
have undergone horrendous persecution.
The truth is that, in the long run, Jew-
ish survival cannot be based on Israeli
state collaboration in the oppression of
Arab and other people of color (including
Black Jews within its own borders). This
is because we live in the late twentieth
century when it is clear that, despite set-
backs and delays, the people of former
colonies and Third World countries are in
the process of rising up against their own
reactionary rulers.
Not only the misleaders of the Israeli
state (many of whom are not Holocaust
survivors), but the general population
(many of whom have suffered authentic
persecution in Europe as well as in many
other parts of the world) will pay the price
for being on the side of the South African
racists and the Latin American dictators -
not to mention the price for outdoing the
reactionary Assad of Syria and Hussein of
Jordan in the persecution of the Palestini-
ans! The first step toward a policy of har-
monious existence with Arab peoples. and
generally of support to the rights of op-
pressed groups, is immediate withdrawal
of Israeli troops from the occupied territo-
ries.
In my view, the main lesson of the
Holocaust should be the recognition of the
failure of the non-Jews of Germany and
the people of other countries to take action
to halt the domination, disenfranchise-
ment, displacement, and, finally, the de-
struction of the.Jewish population (along
with large numbers of Gypsies, Gays,
Communists, Socialists, trade unionists
and others). The lesson should not be that,
after acquiring the third most powerful
military force in the world, a formerly
persecuted group should assume an arro-
gant national posture, implement policies
denying rights according to "race," and
opportunistically ally with other powerful
states regardless of the policies and prac-
tices of those states.
The worst way to commemorate
Kristallnacht is to advocate Israeli state
alliances with the powers of imperial
domination against other oppressed
groups. This can only increase anti-
Semitism, because those oppressed will
mistakenly confuse "Jews" with the
perpetrators of Israeli state brutality,
occupation, and expansion. Rather, our
perspective should be to forge unity with
the forces of progress to end the oppres-
sion of all.
For Jews in the United States, our own
self-interest in the battle against anti-
Semitism requires that our number one
domestic concern be unity with people of
color in the anti-racist struggle here. In
regard to the Middle East, Jewish survival
necessitates -uncompromising solidarity
with the struggle for Palestinian self-
determination.

0

Media-Botha alliance

JUST A WEEK PRIOR to election day
in the United States, the Weekly Mail
- a critical South African newspaper
-- was closed by government order.
Although U.S. media, especially the
..Associated Press, promotes Prime
.Minister P.W. Botha and the
.Nationalist party as seeking reform, the
reality is that South African elections
are a sham, all news is run through a
rmilitary censor, and the Botha regime
continues to fund insurgent groups
which destabilize the frontline states.
Even in the Star, a newspaper still
publishing in South Africa, the gov-
-rmment did not attempt to explain the
forced closure of the Weekly Mail, nor
has the mainstream U.S. media dis-
tussed the implication of military cen-
sorship on the "facts" it continues to
':return from spokespersons of the
Botha regime.
In the Western press, the elections
were hailed as a serious reform and
perhaps even a move toward the Black
: anchise. The AP returned numerous
pictures of jubilant South African
,lacks celebrating for their chosen
candidate.
a The international corporate media re-
=ported that the Nationalist Party, led by
Botha, wanted to "broaden democracy"
in South Africa by allowing Blacks to
:vote on the same day as whites. How-
-ever, the elections in which Blacks are
allowed to participate were the so-
called tribal elections.
: Participation in these elections are
painted by the Botha regime as Black
'support to continue white minority
-'control. Black South Africans were not
allowed to participate in the national
elections which actually decide policy,
nor have they ever been allowed.
The closing of the Weekly Mail de-
bunks the government's assertions of
m y

democracy, It is impossible to claim
the elections are legitimate when the is-
sues, especially criticism of the regime,
cannot be debated in print.
In a move to silence protest, the
government banned calls for a boycott.
No protest, no democracy.
The real myth is the difference be-
tween the Nationalist and Conservative
parties. U.S. and uncritical South
African press willingly obscure the
likeness of the two ruling parties in or-
der to maintain a false division in the
white ruling class. The mainstream
media depicts Botha's Nationalist party
as favoring reform and the broadening
of democracy while the Conservative
party is termed pro-apartheid and seg-
regationist.
These rhetorical differences represent
the same fascism. Any election be-
tween the two parties is a choice
between two equally harsh oppressors.
The Weekly Mail's exposure of the
Botha regime in interviews with 143
whites working against apartheid and
opposing conscription constitutes an
untenable threat to the working alliance
between South Africa and the rest of
the industrialized world.
The Weekly Mail's coverage dam-
ages the interest of the mainstream me-
dia. Reporting facts which the majority
ignores, such as cutting off the fingers
of the dead for trophies and using their
bodies as pillows, demonstrates the al-
liance between Pretoria and the West
and its media.
The closure of other newspapers in
South Africa - New Nation and South
- and the expulsion of numerous
journalists, including Free Press pho-
tographer David Turnley, expose the
regime's fear of information: critical
and accurate media coverage influences
the world response to apartheid.

a
0
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Letters to the editor .

._ ., .. ..... ... . ... ...1

Integrity
not
objectivity
To the Daily:
I am writing in response to
Brian Berger's article,
"Growing Up, Prince-style"
(Daily, 10/31/88). Let me just
say how impressed I was upon
reading this fine piece of jour-
nalism. At first glance, I
thought the article would be
yet another boring record or
concert review. Imagine my
surprise/elation to discover that
Berger had chosen to share
some of his fascinating
memories and adventures from
adolescence with his undoubt-
edly captivated audience, of
which I now include myself as
a devoted member.
I cannot help but admire
Berger's bold disregard for that
tired tradition of journalistic
integrity which dictates that
reporters should simply report

camp hijinks; I was heartbro-
ken to read of Berger's numer-
ous infatuations with members
of the opposite sex and subse-
quent rejections; and I share in
his triumph as he related how
he "was in awesome shape
and... kicking ass in cross
country as one of the best fifth
men (sic?) in the state." When
Berger so eloquently states, "it
was great, and I did it all," I
felt like I shared in the glory of
it all right along with him.
After a while, in fact, I forgot
that I was reading an article
about Prince, but I did not care.
A lot of my narrow-minded
friend dismissed Berger's article
as merely a worthless piece of
self-aggrandizement. But I dis-
agree, and furthermore, I am
waiting anxiously for the next
installment in the continuing
saga of Berger's life. I hope
that he encounters no criticism
from his readers or the Daily
editorial staff in his quest to
enhance our musical horizons
with his own personal ac-
counts. And even if he does
meet some resistance, I am

Prisoners
fighting
crack
To the Daily:
I am a prisoner here at
S.P.S.M. and I have recently
organized a group of men in-
volved in creative art and writ-
ing, and we all have one thing
in common: we are all ex-co-
caine abusers. We are striving
to make a united effort to dis-
courage young thrill seekers
from submitting to the will of
crack(cheap cocaine) through
our poster expressions, quota-
tions, and communication of
our experiences through corre-
spondence.
It is a fact that every member
of my group is a victim of the
cocaine experience and each one

of us has a tragic story to tell
someone.
We call our group Solid
Contact.
Please publish this letter for
us. Our posters and writing we
send free of charge to anyone
interested and anyone can write
to us at the address below.
We leave you with this
thought:
Crack-cocaine plays a mel-
low tune to wretched ears and
slowly becomes a mournful
taps to dying hearts and with-
ered souls.
-Antoinne E. Evans
November 1
Write to:
138870
P.O. Box E
Jackson, MI 49201

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