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March 13, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-03-13

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OPINION
Monday, March 13, 1989

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

-br £ idijau flailjj
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

I

Threats

then

and now

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. IC, No. 110

* THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
REGENTS COMMUNICATION
* ITEMI FOR INFORMATION

4 "' /?70
A4 e4,,

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All oti ar
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Prez should apologize

UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT James
Duderstadt owes the Daily an apology
for his letter last week (March 6), in
which he implied that the Daily was
guilty of anti-Semitism. Attempts by
administrators to interfere with the in-
ternal functioning of the Daily are al-
ways objectionable, but such un-
fo,:nded allegations are truly unworthy
of the office Duderstadt holds.
Duderstadt's letter to the editor,
while vaguely worded and relying on
innunendo rather than direct accusa-
tion, strongly implies that the Daily has
published anti-Semitic material. These
are very serious charges which
Duderstadt does not attempt to
substantiate in any way. To his credit,
he notes that there is "of course a
fundamental distinction between
criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism."
Blit he does not state why, when, or
how the Daily might have been guilty
of the latter rather than the former.
To make such serious charges with-
out offering even a shred of evidence is
irresponsible and smacks of cheap po-
litical opportunism. It is worth noting
how different this kind of criticism is
from that which has been directed to-
ward the University administration.
For example, when students demanded
LSA Dean Peter Steiner's resignation

last year, for refusing to retract racist
remarks he had made, they were very
explicit in their accusations. The stu-
dents documented his exact words and
patiently explained why they were in
fact racist, and why the Black commu-
nity was rightly offended by them.
Unfortunately, Duderstadt was not
"deeply concerned" enough about that
incident to write to the Daily about it.
While it is certainly possible that
Duderstadt wrote this letter merely to
express his personal beliefs, it can eas-
ily be interpreted as a veiled threat to
the Daily's editorial independence.
When the President of the University
states that such independence carries
with it "the traditional responsibility of
the press in a free society," and then
implies that this independence has been
abused, such words can not be taken
lightly. This is especially true in view
of former President Fleming's attitudes
toward the Daily in the 1970s, when
the paper was considered "a thorn" for
its support of the anti-war movement
(see Flemming and Duderstadt letters to
the right).
President Duderstadt should apolo-
gize for abusing the powers of his of-
fice to malign the Daily, and for at-
tempting to interfere in its internal af-
fairs.

Subject" The Daily
You have repeatedly asked that we discuss the Daily and wilat might
be done about it. We have devoted a good deal of time to discussion of this
topic among the IDecutive Officers without very conclusive results. Never-
theless, I can tell you the nature of our thinking.
In the first place, one has to recognize that this is botha historic
problem and one that is in no way unique with u;. Not long ago Bob Warner
told me of a new thesis on the presidency of Dr. Ituthven that he thought!I might
find of interest. In reading itl discovered his. battles with the Daily I
have already sent to you the pages that.relate to that subject.
Nor is there anything unique to our campus about the paper. College
newspapers everywhere have always been, and probably always will be, a
thorn. They are inaccurate, biased, often in poor taste, inflammatory and
usually staffed by people who are consdeably more radical than the student
body. In most of these characteristics they find their parallel in commercial
newspapers. Perhaps this is the ieason the Daly1,is so vigorously defended
by the public press anytime any effort is made "to db something about it."
Whenever the possibilities for "doing something about'tte Daily: are
discussed three suggestions usually come to the fore. They are: , .
1. Disassociate the Daily from the University and make it wholly
independent. The trouble with this solution is that it is not readily apparent what
making it independent means. We do not subsidize it now. It operates out of
-a- building constructed with the profits from the newspaper~, the aeinusLanthiI
humor magazine. , It makes enough on advertisingtosurvive.
We could charge the Daily rent for the space it occupies in the building,
but this would probably seem inequitable to both students and faculty in view
of the way the construction was financed. We could withdraw the potential for
subscriptions purchased by departments out of funds available to them, but
there is no reason to believq that this woui change the result. Wisconsin did
both things this past year, and-the paper is worse then ever and surviving
nicely on advertising revenue.
A further danger in pressing theail into totally independent status,
Amnes t Dde ,Udt. Prnid.,t
March 6, 1989
To: The Editor
I am deeply concerned by the recent editorials and news stories in The
Michigan Daily that have been widely regarded as anti-Semitic.
The University of Michigan is proud to have a student newspaper
whose masthead can proclaim a 99-year tradition of independence. With that
independence, however, comes the traditional responsibility of the press in a
free society to report the news accurately and thoroughly. At times many of
us may have disagreed with particular editorial positions, but we have always
respected the Daily's right to express its views.
A university should be a place of enlightened political debate, and
there is of course a fundamental distinction between criticism of Israel and
anti-Semitism. However, recent incidents have made me feel it is important
to state once again that'racism, anti-Semitism, and all other forms of bigotry
have no place at the University of Michigan or anywhere else. Words, as
well as actions, often have unintended effects, and it behooves all of us to be
particularly sensitive to the potential interpretations of expressions of our
views and values.
I was heartened that the outcome of the recent protest of the Daily's
stance was an agreement that the editors would meet with a group of the
concerned students. I hope this meeting will lead to enhanced understanding
and sensitivity. Moreover, I call upon the Daily to play a constructive role in
helping to create a campus environment in which all members of the
University of Michigan community are treated with dignity and respect.

..1 -
whatever that means, is that we may then simply find ourselves with an
underground newspaper which is much worse.
2. Appoint a professional editor to preside over the Daily. If such an
editor were given genuine power we would precipitate a major fight, not only
with the Daily, but probably with the entire press of the State on the grounds
that we were censoring the paper. If he did not have power, it is hard to see
what useful function he could fulfill. Schools which have tried this approach
have no experience we know of which suggests any success. The job'is a
thankless one, and few people of worth are willing to consider it.
3. Replace the present Board of Student Publications with a Board
which will exercise more power. It may be that the nature of the Board ought
to be changed, but it is an illusion to suppose that such a Board will stop
the pre sent difficulties. The same question of cenporship will arise, and
there is simply no basis for thinking that the Beard will exercise effective
control.
It none of these alternatives offer any chance of success, what can we
do? Two possibilities occur to us:
1. Start publishing our own weekly newspaper this fall so that we at
least get accurate information out to the University community on key questions.
Some other schools have tried this, and it appears to meet with at least some
success. It would cost us some money (we will have figures at the Regents'
meeting), but we could do it.and we believe it would bb'a positive step.
2. See whether we could establish for the Daily an ombu4oman concept
like the one reported In the Louisville Courier in a recent issue of TimeHart,
Wright has made Some further inquiries into this and will have more information
on it. The Time excerpt is attached.
. We have arranged to have Hart Wright and Martin Hirschman, the current
editor, meet with theRegents for a discussion of the problems of the, Dailyon..-.
Thursday afternoon right after lunch.. +a

*
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6
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i

R. W. Fleming
President
July 8, 1970
While the people occupying positions of power in
the University change, their values do not. In
response to criticism of the Vietnam was, then
University President Robben Fleming sent the
memo reprinted above to the board of Regents. In
response to allegations of anti-Semitism, President
Duderstadt sent the letter reprinted at right to the
Editor of the Daily. Fleming was open in his desire
to exercise editorial control over the Daily;
Duderstadt is more subtle.
In his memo, President Fleming stated that the
Daily and other student newspapers have been and
always will be thorns in the side of University ad-
ministrators. He then outlines different
possibilities for gaining control of the Daily,
including appointing a professional editor.
In his letter, President Duderstadt states that
freedom of the press carries heavy responsibility
and implies that the Daily has abused this freedom,
all without substantiating his charges.

7
i

Cultural freedom denied.

THE ISRAELI border policeman
scrutinized carefully the traveller's
walkman and tapes. Beethoven',
Mozart, Schubert. "You know," he
said earnestly leaning across the
counter and touching his olive-drab
reservist uniform, "this is not my real
job. I'm a musician. I play the violin."
That chance encounter suggests an
irony of the Israeli state, in which ser-
vants to the arts may also be servants
of a state that suppresses the culture of
its indigenous Palestinian inhabitants.
The border policeman wanted to assert
his non-military identity as a musician,
yet if one of those cassette tapes had
contained Palestinian native songs he
would have been duty-bound to
confiscate it, regardless of his personal
commitment to artistic freedom.
Since art effectively expresses the
desires, dreams, and dissatisfactions of
its creators, who are responsible to
their communities, it is not surprising
that Palestinian art is heavily censored
or suppressed. "You will never paint
again," Israeli soldiers told a Pales-
tinian nationalist painter and broke his
hands to make sure of it. Israelis deny
Palestinians the right to sing national
songs and recite national poetry.
Painters are imprisoned for composi-
tions displaying the colors of the
Palestinian flag. The Israelis closed the
only Palestinian art exhibition in the
West Bank within days of its opening,
and its director, Hisham, was impris-
oned for years although he had a seri-
ous heart condition.
Denying a people's culture also de-
nies their humanity. Most Americans
can not identify George Kirmiz, Ghas-
san Ranafani, or Kamal Boullatta -

II

rA
n , .

James J. Duderstadt

Critics: stop silencing

debate.

Palistinian boy is arrested after being
beaten by Israeli soldiers in Ramallah.
famous and talented Palestinian artists
- because American ideas about cul-
ture are Western-biased. Some people
even argue that Palestinians have no
culture since they lack a symphony or-
chestra. Conversely, the Israeli Phil-
harmonic symbolizes that state's cul-
ture and humanity.
Zubin Mehta will conduct the Israeli
Philharmonic in Hill Auditorium on
Tuesday, March 21st. A candlelight
vigil with Palestinian music will be
held outside Hill from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Rather than attending the concert, at-
tend the vigil to show solidarity with
Palestinians whose culture is denied. If
you decide you must hear the Israeli
Philharmonic, consider attending the
vigil also in order to support both cul-
tures. If you speak for Salman
Rushdie's freedom, you must speak for
that of the Palestinians.

By Randy Schwartz
A year ago this week, I travelled to
Washington, D.C. to march with 5,000
other people in support of the indifada, the
heroic uprising of the Palestinian people. I
met an American Jew there who had lived
in Israel for twelve years until 1982, when
he refused a draft notice to invade
Lebanon. He left, disgusted with the idea
of a "Jewish state" in the Middle East.
At the rally following that march, we
heard several members of Neturei Karta, a
group of orthodox Jews who consider
Zionism a betrayal of the Torah and refuse
to recognize the "state of Israel." Their
placards demanded that "Israel" (they al-
ways place the name in quotes) cease to
exist, that it be replaced with a secular
state called Palestine.
These are some of the images that have
flashed through my mind recently while
listening to the claims being aired on
campus to the effect that criticism of Israel
in the Daily has been "anti-Semitic."
As a Jewish person, I denounce the at-
tempts that are being made to use the
Jewish presence in this community as an-
other way to silence criticism of Israel or
to limit the "acceptable bounds" within
which such criticism will be tolerated.
At the rally on February 21, students
criticized the Daily editorial board for
"anti-Jewish racism" (Daily, 2/22) and
"Jew baiting" (New York Times, 2/22). I
hereby challenge anyone to show - not
merely assert but demonstrate - that any
of the Daily editorials in question are
guilty of anti-Semitism or Jew baiting.
One student let the cat out of the bag
when he stated more recently, "Criticism
of the policies of the state of Israel is le-
gitimate, but to question the existence of
Israel and to say it is racist can be anti-
Jewish" (Daily, 3/9). What is this but an
attetnnt i imnc nrtifricinl hcnintarie on

Daily have cited the Nov. 1 editorial on
Meir Kahane because of its assertion that
Zionism is "from its inception a racist
construct." How is it "anti-Semitic" to
assert this? Zionism is a particular politi-
cal movement and ideology, while
Semites comprise an ethnic group. These
critics are confounding politics with eth-
nicity.
Zionism is indeed racist. To take just
one example, consider the original pro-
posal offered in the late 1800s by Theodor
Herzl (one of the chief founders of the
Zionist movement) for the Ottoman Em-
pire to relinquish control of Palestine: "If
His Majesty the Sultan were to give up
Palestine, we would undertake to regulate
Turkey's finances. For Europe, we would
constitute a bulwark against Asia down
there, we would be the advance post of
civilization against barbarism" (Maxime
Rodinson, Israel: A Colonial-Settler
State?, p.43). Is it "anti-Semitic" to learn
this?

(Ann Arbor News, 2/22). But the thrust of
the Daily's editorial policy has been, not
to support nationalism for the sake of na-
tionalism, but rather to support national- }
ism of oppressed nations. The "white'
power" of the Klan and Nazis and white
Afrikaner nationalism in South Africa are
nationalisms of the oppressor, not nation-
alisms of the oppressed.
Israel throughout its history has tried to'.
deny the very existence of the people and
nation of Palestine. Consider these words-,,
from "liberal" Israeli Prime Minister
Golda Meir, herself a transplant to the
Middle East from Milwaukee, Wisconsin: r
"It was not as though there was a Pales->
tinian people and we came and threw them
out and took their country away from,,
them. They did not exist " (London Sun-
day Times 6/15/69). Tell that to the thou-
sands of Palestinians who fled from Zion-
ist rifles in 1948 and whose houses today
are occupied by Jewish Israeli citizens!
As for Jewish nationalism, millions of

I-

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'As a Jewish person, I denounce the attempts that are being
made to use the Jewish presence in this community as another
way to silence criticism of Israel or to limit the "acceptable
bounds" within which such criticism will be tolerated.'

VfWiJ ToIA "ISR EL
'f . rLs WEST 8

li,1 GoVVOVT { 'X7 JrffMS o.JD
SAN4K PAL J I17JjRlM?

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IT BE CAU5I.:

Others have taken the Daily to task for
its 2/14 editorial on the crash of Pan Am
103, alleging that the paper made "the
outrageous and unsupported assertion that
Israel was responsible for the bombing"
(Detroit Free Press, 3/1). But the editorial
made no such assertion. What it asserted
(and correctly, in my opinion) is that car-
rying out such a bombing would have
been in Israel's interests at this time. The
editorial specifically qualified that at this
point, Israel's involvement in the explo-
sion is "speculation lacking hard proof." It

Jewish people who speak of it deny that
Zionism is a legitimate expression of it.
Other Jews deny the concept of a "Jewish
nation" and say Israel is just an outpost of
Western imperialism. Prof. Endelman et.
al.: you are free to disagree with us on
this, but you should not be free to slander
these beliefs as "anti-Semitic" nor to dis-
miss those Jews with whom you disagree
as "Jews who separate themselves from
their people...turncoats and renegades"
(University Record, 3/6).

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