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March 17, 1989 - Image 20

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-03-17
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leader of the protest against the
Daily, said Jewish students are not
trying to silence the debate, but are
trying to raise awareness that there is
a point when political criticism be-
comes threatening and offensive.
"It's not wrong to take a pro-
Palestinian stance. But to deny the
Jewish people the right to have a
homeland like any other people is
anti-Semitic," said Kurtzberg, "it's
exclusionary."
"No one's denying the Jews the
right to practice their faith," said
LSA senior Tom Aboud, a member
of Palestinian Solidarity Committee.
"The objection is that... Zionism
espouses a state for one people only,
it's exclusionary."
And the debate laced with anger
and frustration continues. But what
are students' responses to this con-
flict?
"This year has gotten virulently
anti-Zionist. You can feel the hatred.
It's very scary," said Keith Hope, co-
chair of a Tagar, a Jewish group on
campus.
Marc Berman, president of Union
of Students for Israel agrees. "There
is a general tension between groups.
It's hard for students to get together
Clockwise,from left: A
group of Jewish
students protest some
of the Daily's editorials,
claiming they are anti-
Jewish; Israeli soldiers
arrest a group of
Palestinians in the Old
City of Jerusalem last
summer; Palestinian
Solidarity Committee
members Tom Aboud
and Tarik Ahmad speak
to a crowd on the Diag
during a rally last
October.

and dialogue," he said, adding that
people take sides and often feel
alienated.
Berman said that a dialogue be-
tween his group and pro-Palestinian
groups last year down broke down
into a shouting match. "Cheap shots
were taken, rules were not followed
or enforced," he said.
But Aboud attributed the tension
between groups to the recent devel-
opment of open discussion. "Debate
has been squelched for so long. Now
there is debate, that's why there's
conflict."
Though tensions run high be-
tween pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian
groups, it is "a positive kind of
tension," said Nuha Khoury, a
member of PSC.
"It has been thought provoking
and stimulated discussion on issues
that have been ignored for a long
time, namely the rights of *the
Palestinian people," she said.
f all the groups on campus
PSC and Tagar have clashed
the most; the constant
friction between them periodically
ignites ugly confrontation.
Aboud said his relationship with
Tagar is one of "extreme bitterness,"
exacerbated by Tagar's wooden
school bus built on the Diag last
November that read "Stop Arab Ter-
rorism."
Though the slogan was soon
changed to read "Stop AllTerror-
ism," the long-standing rift between
the two groups widened.
And just last Tuesday, a pro-
Palestinian shanty on the Diag was
burned and vandalized. The back side
of the shanty, which listed the
names and ages of 200 Palestinian
children killed since the uprising
started, was charred and its roof was
See Campus, Page 13

Nation debates relation b
anti-Semitism and antL-

By Noah Finkel

WEEKEND/ROBIN LOZNAK
The conflict over Israeli policy in the occupied territories sparks new debates on campus:
A struggle for common ground
By Victoria Bauer

Never before at the Uni-
versity has tension been
greater between pro-Israeli
and pro-Palestinian groups, tension
that has been mounting for months
and finally exploded three weeks ago.
On Feb. 21, 200 Jewish students
protested the Michigan Daily for
editorials they believed were anti-
Jewish and overstepped the bounds
of legitimate political criticism of
Israeli policy. But as the students
applauded speakers, a smaller group
of students stood silently in the
background, holding a Palestinian
flag in counterprotest.
The protest was more than the
condemnation of three Daily editori-
als (published on Nov 1, Jan. 23,
and Feb. 14). It marked the ongoing
debate and confusion over the differ-
ence between what is considered le-
gitimate criticism of Israeli policy
Bauer is a Daily news
editor

and anti-Jewish sentiment.
For Jewish and Palestinian
groups alike, it is an emotionally
charged issue, involving politics and
nationalism. Though similar debate
is heard around the nation, it is has
climaxed this year at the University,
where both groups are prominent,
organized, and vocal - at a time
when the media has given more at-
tention to the treatment of the
Palestinians because of the in-
tifadeh, the uprisings in the Israeli-
occupied West Bank and Gaza strip.
But where does one draw the line
between being critical of Israeli
policies without being offensive to
Jewish people? For all involved in
this quagmire, the boundaries,
though clearly defined, are fiercely
debated.
"It is true that there are people
who mistake criticism of Israel as
hostile to the Jewish people," said
Ali Mazuri, a University professor
of political science who was charged
by some Jewish students last fall for
crossing that line during one of his

lectures.
Though Mazrui said it is possible
for anti-Zionism to be used by some
as a guise for anti-Semitism, to
equate the two is "totally unjusti-
fled."
School of Public Health Prof.
Rashid Bashshur agrees. "If you are
critical to any movement, you are
exercising your free speech. If a po-
litical movement has objectives you
don't agree with, it doesn't make
you anti-Semitic."
But Prof. Todd Endelman, director
of the Judaic Studies Program, said
that "the question is not the criti-
cism of Israeli policy. The point is
that (anti-Zionists) are saying there
is no place for Israel. They deny to
Jews the right to havesa homeland.
Everyone but Jews is allowed a
homeland. That's discrimination."
"What other nation in the world
is questioned about its right to ex-
ist?" he asked.
Richard Loebenthal, director of
Detroit's Anti-Defamation League,
agrees that Israel is often held up to

a "double standard" and that anti-
Zionism is often "a catchword for
anti-Semitism."
"Because Israel is the only Jew-
ish nation, legitimate criticism of
Israeli government policies has in
some cases crossed the line into ex-
pression of anti-Jewish sentiments,
including the delegitimization of
Jewish national self determination,"
said Michael Brooks, director of
Hillel at the University.
"The higher expectations and
standards by which Israel has tradi-
tionally been judged - by both
Jews and non-Jews - have made Is-
rael and Jews an easy target," he
said.
Contrary to this view, some
groups believe that charges of anti-
Jewish sentiment are being used to
stifle debate.
Benjamin Ben-Baruch, a
member of New Jewish
Agenda, said he believes
"conservative Jewish groups are

whipping
Semitism"
Israel.

up charges of anti-
to silence discussion over

"(Conservative Jewish groups) are
demanding freedom to work without
opposition. They have demanded
ownership of the issue. Once Jewish
organizations enter into public poli-
tics, they can be attacked by othery
people. That is normal political
competition, not anti-Semitism,":
said Ben-Baruch a graduate student at
the University.
Dina Khoury, a member of the
American Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee at the University, said
that although criticism of Israeli
policies should be expressed sensi-
tively, she sees thecharges of anti-
Jewish sentiment as "an attempt by
Jewish students to minimize the
criticism of Israel."
"If dialogue is stopped, it will be
a great hindrance for understanding
each other," said Khoury, an LSA
sophomore.
But LSA senior Brad Kurtzberg, a

ast year saw "the highest
number of anti-Semitic inci-
dents reported in more
than five years," according to the
1988 audit of anti-Semitic incidents
by the Anti-Defamation League of
B'nai B'rith.
The audit cited 823 episodes of
vandalism and desecration and 458
acts of harassment nationwide last
year. The vandalism figure represents
an almost 19 percent increase over
the number of acts of vandalism in
1987, while the1988harassment
figureswas the second highest in any
ADL survey.
The ADL recognized many fac-
tors for the increase, primarily an
increase in the number and violence
of neo-Nazi Skinhead gangs.
The ADL also noted that a large
number of episodes were linked to
the Palestinian uprising, or in-
tifadeh, on the Israeli-occupied West
Bank and Gaza Strip.
"This year, for the first time, an
external event - namely, the Pales-
tinian uprisingb- was clearly related
to a high number of anti-Semitic at-
tacks in this country," the report
said.
But Richard Lobenthal, Director
of the ADL's regional office in De-
troit, said criticism of the Israeli
government and anti-Zionist propa-
ganda "is a contributor of the climate
of anti-Semitism, but not the sole
Finkel is a Daily news
staffer

gives anti-Semites some-
thing to hang their hats
on.'
- Tom Rawson, New
Jewish Agenda
cause of that climate." Lobenthal
blamed the increase in anti-Semitism
more on the increase in the violence
of hate groups and in use of the word
'JAP,' which he said is an example
of "sexist anti-Semitism."
Yet Lobenthal also labeled many
instances of criticism of Israel and
anti-Zionist propaganda as anti-
Semitic "gutter bigotry."
Lobenthal is joined in his
thoughts by a number of leaders of
national Jewish organizations, many
of whom think an increase in anti-
Semitism is at least partly a result
of the recent uprisings.
David Harris, from the American
Jewish Congress, said he has seen
anti-Semitism in some of the criti-
cisms of Israel. "It's been happening
nationwide for 15 months now in
the media, opinion pieces, and letters
to the editors," he said. Harris said
there has been a focus on Israel since

'When Jews are visible,
that's when anti-Semitism

comes out. The
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fact that
is there

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Tom
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liberal th
organiza
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the inti
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hats on.
"But
tifadeh,
somethi
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any inci
Mich
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much o
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imation
for then
Lerner
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PAGE 8 WEEKEND/ MARCH 17,1989

WEEKEND/ MARCH 17,1989

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