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March 27, 1990 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-03-27

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'Page 4 -The Michigan Daily -Tuesday, March 27, 1990
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
ARTS 763 0379 PHOTO 764 0552
NEWS 764 0552 SPORTS 747 3336
OPINION 747 2814 WEEKEND 747 4630
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.


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Commissions should choose their own chairs

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Student Assembly voted to put a
referendum on the ballot for the April 4
and 5 elections which would give two
commissions - the Minority Affairs
Commission and the International
Student Affairs Commission - the
power to elect their own chairs.
Currently, MSA decides all the chairs
for its 12 internal committees and
This is the second time such a refer-
enldum will appear on the ballot. Last
spring, the same type of referendum
received more than 50 percent support,
yet according the MSA constitution,
referendums must pass with 60 per-
This year, before conservative
members of MSA would allow the ref-
erendum to be placed on the ballot,
they amended it so that MAC and ISAC
would be able to elect their own chairs,
but only with final MSA approval. Not
only does the version of the referen-
dum that will appear on the ballot dis-
play the assembly's paranoid fear of
losing its iron grip over committees and
commissions, it is a slap in the face of
two of the hardest-working commis-
sions and an attempt to pacify their de-
Given the groups the commissions
deal with, it is ludicrous for members
of MSA to assume that they are more in
.touch with both minorities and interna-
tional students than those actually
serving on the commissions. MAC and
ISAC differ from the other committees
In that they work for specific student
groups on campus - other committees
deal with broader issues and their
l chairship isn't as crucial. It is funda-
mental to both these groups that they be

able to choose their leaders. With few,
if any, MSA representatives serving on
these commissions, it is hard to believe
that MSA feels more qualified to make
the decision.
In light of the Conservative Coali-
tion's perennial campaign to make
MSA more responsible to the students,
and to better represent students' con-
cerns on campus, this action seems like
a direct defiance of that pledge. Those
members of MSA who voted in favor
of changing the referendum as it was
presented by MAC and ISAC cannot
legitimately claim to be representing
students' concerns. Looking at the
assembly, it is hard to ascertain how a
body nearly devoid of strong minority
representation feels qualified to choose
a minority leader.
MAC and ISAC debated whether or
not to pull the referendum from the
ballot, but in the end decided to keep it
with the understanding that they would
continue to fight for autonomy in up-
coming elections. In order for these
commissions to function effectively
and truly represent the student groups
on campus to which they're geared,
they need to be freed from the imposi-
tion of MSA's current system of main-
taining its committees and commis-
This stunt is the Conservative
Coalition's attempt to keep as much
power as possible within MSA. Were
MAC and ISAC allowed to elect their
own chairs, they would still be ac-
countable and responsible to the
assembly in terms of money appropria-
tions. If MSA continues to impede the
work of these commissions, it will be
the students they serve who will ulti-
mately lose.

Jewish Peace Lobby forms on campus,

By Andrew Levin
As if we needed another remindCr, the
fall of the government of Prime Minister
Yitzhak Shamir two weeks ago and the
trouble Shimon Peres is having assem-
bling a narrow coalition to replace it are
showing us just what a mess the Israeli
political system has become. Once again,
a few parties who follow rigorously
Orthodox religious leaders hold the balance
of power, even though they represent only
a fraction of the electorate.
What is important to remember is that
the flaws in the Israeli system have only
come into view because of a fundamental
shift in the nation's politics since the in-
vasion of Lebanon and the intifada. In the
'80s, an Israel at peace with its most
formidable enemy (Egypt) has had to de-
cide whether it is ready to take the next
step towards undermining Arab opposition
to its existence, namely negotiating a
land-for-peace settlement with the Pales-
Ironically, American Jews have con-
tributed to this stalemate by showing a
unified front in support of Israeli govern-
ment policy. Indeed, the latest Israel-Dias-
pora Institute study found that over half of
all officials of American-Jewish organiza-
tions favor the establishment of a Pales-
tinian state.
So why the thundering silence in the
American Jewish community, and in par-
ticular among its organizations? The prob-
lem is that many American Jews see the
world in black and white, pro- and anti-Is-
rael terms - indeed, they often equate crit-
Levin is a graduate student in Buddhist
Studies and the Jewish Peace Lobby's
Midwest Coordinator.

icism of Israel with antisemitism - and
fear that any criticism of Israel within our
community will erode American support
for the Jewish state.
Such people confuse support for the
state or people of Israel with support for
its current government. They pretend that
we who agree more with Israeli doves are
"telling Israel what to do" while they who
line up with the hawks are merely sup-
porting Israel.
Furthermore, people who say we
mustn't criticize "those in the hot seat" are
saying something very strange about U.S.
foreign policy. We do not hear them say-

towards peace.
In short, loyalty rests not in keeping
quiet about Israel's problems, but in work-
ing diligently to overcome them. Far from
being disloyal, speaking up on such issues
is deeply rooted in our tradition.
The good news is that a new group, the
Jewish Peace Lobby, has sprung out of
nowhere to begin to fill this void by pro-
viding a voice for American Jews who feel; y-
that Israel must truly respect Palestinian
human and national rights if it is to re-
main a Jewish and democratic state. In just
nine months, the Peace Lobby has created
a lobbying network of hundreds of Jews

The American people's support for Israel will only be
solidified if Jews take a leading role in insisting that
the Israeli government honor UN Resolution 242,
respect Palestinian rights, freeze settlement in the
territories, and generally move towards peace.

Land Day

ing one must move to France or the Ivory
Coast before one may criticize the policies
of those countries. There is an obvious
double standard here. American taxpayers
send more money to Israel than to any
other country, but we are admonished not
to be as critical of the Israeli government
as we are of others around the world.
The assumption is that if American
Jews, the bedrock of support for Israel in
this country, start criticizing it, general
support for Israel will erode. Just the op-
posite is true. What isrneeded is the de-
coupling of basic support for Israel from
unthinking support for Israeli government
policy. The American people's support for
Israel will only be solidified if Jews take a
leading role in insisting that the Israeli
government honor UN Resolution 242,
respect Palestinian rights, freeze settle-
ment in the territories, and generally move

from coast to coast, won endorsements
from prominent members of our commu-
nity ranging from Isaac Bashevis Singer to
Adrienne Rich to Nathan Glazer, and
signed up more than 150 rabbis as mem-
Now, in the wake of Peace lobby
founder Jerome Segal's speech to more0
than 200 people here at U-M last month, a
campus chapter of the Jewish Peace Lobby
is forming at a mass meeting at Hillel
tonight at 7:30. The chapter will partici-
pate in the campus debate on the Middle
East and sponsor educational activities.
But more than that, it will give students
an opportunity to play "real world poli-
tics" by lobbying Congress directly and
encouraging Jews in Ann Arbor and in
students' home communities to take a
stand for peace.

Help commemorate the
the Palestinian people's struggle for
self-determination will gather on the
Diag to celebrate Palestinian Land Day.
-Land Day marks the anniversary of
Palestinian resistance to the Israeli gov-
emment's expropriation of 21,000
dunams of Palestinian land in March,
Protests and general strikes erupted
following this action. On March 30th,
Israeli soldiers responded by killing six
unarmed Palestinian protestors and
wounding 49 others. Land Day com-
memorates these uprisings and their
subsequent repression, and celebrates
the Palestinian people's courageous
struggle for freedom, land, and iden-
Resistance to land expropriation has
been the centerpiece of this struggle
since its inception, by Palestinians both
inside and outside the Green Line -
srael's pre-1967 borders. The specific
incident that is commemorated on Land
Day occurred in the Galilee - the
northern region of Israel - and the
Palestinians who were martyred there
were Israeli citizens.
This incident is just one example of
the Israeli government's practice of
expropriating Palestinian land for use
by Jewish settlers - a practice which
is not limited to areas outside of the
Green Line. Since Israel's establish-
ment, at least 385 Palestinian villages
within its pre-1967 borders have been
entirely destroyed, as well as large sec-
tions of 94 other cities and towns, ac-
cording to the Israeli League for Hu-
man and Civil Rights. In Israel today,
more than 90 percent of the land is
4dministered by the Israel Land Au-
thority, in conjunction with the Jewish
National Fund, for the exclusive bene-
it of Jews.
A similar pattern of land expropria-
tion has occurred in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip since they came under Is-



has confiscated more than 50 percent of
the land in the West Bank, and 40 per-
cent of the land of the Gaza Strip.
Though more than 800,000 Palestini-
ans live in the West Bank, 70 percent
of the water there is reserved exclu-
sively for use by the area's 40,000
Jewish settlers. In the Gaza Strip,
2,200 Jewish settlers use 20 times as
much water per capita as the region's
500,000 Palestinians.
Land Day provides an opportunity to
reflect on the significance land holds to
the Palestinian people and the role it
has played in the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. Palestinians live in an agrarian
society. Israeli confiscation of their
land and water denies them resources
which are fundamental to their sur-
vival. The Palestinian people's historic
resistance to Jewish settlement can only
be understood within this context.
This resistance is most clearly em-
bodied today in the Intifada, the upris-
ing of the Palestinians in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip who are demand-
ing an end to Israel's brutal military oc-
cupation of their land, and the creation
of a free and independent Palestinian
state. Throughout the Occupied Terri-
tories, Palestinians will observe Land
Day by holding rallies and demonstra-
tions. Similarly, Palestinians, and
those in solidarity with them through-
out the world, will honor the Intifada in
their own Land Day celebrations.
Land Day serves as a reminder that
peace will only be realized when ex-
clusive claims to the land as well as
discriminatory laws governing its use
are eliminated, while the rights of all of
the people of historic Palestine are rec-
ognized and respected.
Members of the University commu-
nity should express their solidarity with
the Palestinian people, and their hopes
for a just and peaceful resolution of the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict by attending
today's rally sponsored by the Palestine

Coalition doesn't know about meal plans

By James Blickensdorf
Regardless of what certain parties
would have you believe, the Residence
Halls Association is a fully functional,
democratic student government which rep-
resents the10,000 students in the resi-
dence hall system. At each of our weekly
meetings, we act on issues facing residents
and receive direct feedback from the house
council governments.
We have been active on campus and in
the residence halls: we managed the grape
boycott of 1987-1988 (which is still in ef-
fect), funded minority activities, extended
the last-run time of the North Campus
buses from 2 am to 3 am, and we are cur-
rently working to remove veal from dorm
cafeteria menus and eliminate the use of
Styrofoam products in the residence hall
Throughout our twenty-year relation-
ship with the Housing Division, we have
retained our autonomy and their full sup-
port. We have maintained student majori-
Blickensdorf is a Residence Halls Asso-
ciation representative. Both RHA and
Housing Division endorse this viewpoint.

ties on the various housing committees,
such as the Rates Committee - which
sets housing costs for the coming year -
and we have placed delegates on the Hous-
ing Meal Plan Reform Committee.
Recently, we have become very con-
cerned over the meal plan reform policy
endorsed by the Conservative Coalition.
We have explained to Michigan Student
Assembly President Aaron Williams that
proper channels do exist if he, or anyone
else, wishes to "initiate" reform. We have
advised him that his party's platform is
completely unfounded. Despite our rec-
ommendations, Williams and his party'
continue to make promises they cannot
keep - most recently with the "We initi-
ated it, We'll finish it" posters.
The Director of Housing has also made
it clear that Housing will discuss meal
plan reform only with the RHA, the
proper body for such discussions.
The idea that MSA, under the direction
of the CC can "finish" meal plan reform is
a misnomer. The CC has and is continu-
ing to mislead students. They did not

"initiate" it, the RHA did in 1986; and
they cannot finish it, as MSA was not
created to deal with the Housing Division.
Their campaign promise is null and void
- when meal plan reform occurs, it will
be through the joint efforts of the RHA
and Housing, with input from other
Another party, also running in the
MSA elections, has proceeded through the
proper channels and has made a real effort
to educate the students about the facts.
They are circulating the posters:
"Conservative Coalition didn't start it!
Who's doing it? Your Residence Hall As-
sociation." They have contacted the RHA
and are currently sending liaisons to both
the Housing Meal Plan reform committee
and our own weekly meetings.
In light of these facts, the RHA would
like you to carefully consider your vote on
April 4 and 5. Think about what the CC
has "initiated" with empty campaign
promises and what it can "finish," namely,

Forget the Holocaust
To the Daily:
I would like to start by saying that,
yes, the Holocaust in Europe was an ugly
tragedy in history. I think that thebest
way to recover is to forget. I don't mean

mistaken. Other groups have been perse-
cuted, such as 20 million Russians in
Stalin's Gulag, 35 million Chinese in
Mao Ze-dong's regime, the Armenian
slaughter which took 10 million lives,
and the present day Khmer Rouge in
Cambodia. How come people rarely if ever .

Hold separate rally
To the Daily:
In response to the letter, "Nazi march
is simply a display of beliefs" (3/20/90),I
would first like to agree that I do not think
the. Nazi marches should be banned. If they

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