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October 18, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-10-18

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 18, 2002


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

You must make the
assumption that al-
Qaida is in an execution
phase and intends to
strike us both here and
- CIA Director George Tenet, in a speech
given on Thursday justifying his bureau's
counter-terrorism actions, as quoted in
yesterday's Washington Post.

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Wherever we stand, we stand together

n the day I
saw the first
shirt I saw a
Last winter, Jewish
3 students on our cam-
pus surfaced in blue T-
shirts that read,
"Wherever we stand,
we stand with Israel."
The shirts also displayed an Israeli flag.
I am Jewish, and was asked by both Jews
and non-Jews why I not only refused to wear
one, but why I was adamantly opposed to
such an effort of solidarity.
My response, quite simply, is that the
"effort of solidarity" supported on college
campuses by Hillel, the American Israel Pub-
lic Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Ameri-
can Jewish Committee (AJC) and other
Jewish organizations, is counterproductive,
hypocritical and propagandizing.
Am I apathetic? Anti-Zionist? Anti-
No, no and no.
But these shirts exemplify the current
state of Jewish (and Palestinian) thinking in
this country, which is irrational, frustrated,
and reactionary. A campus like ours should
be invigorated by bilateralism, cooperation
and dialogue. Instead it is infected by anger
and stubbornness on both sides of the Israel-
Palestine debate.
The shirt should be a neutral color. It
should display both an Israeli and a Palestin-
ian flag. It should read, "Wherever we stand,
we stand together."
And where do we stand now? We stand
in Ann Arbor, on a liberal campus and in a

shared community. Standing together should
be easy - at least easier than it is in
Jerusalem. But how do we stand? We stand
opposed and irate, with swords drawn and
ears deaf. We should be ashamed.
I believe that our campus has reached this
discouraging nadir because campus leaders
too quickly and easily follow the examples
of their respective political leaders. Yasser
Arafat's stubbornness and hawkish policies
do not excuse or justify the same from pro-
Palestinian leaders here at Michigan. Ariel
Sharon's stubbornness and hawkish policies
do not excuse or justify the same from pro-
Israeli and Zionist student leaders. The men
in control in the Middle East are desperate
politicians, and neither Arafat nor Sharon is a
worthy role model for anyone interested in
peace. Their actions are deplorable; oars do
not have to be.
The divestment conference has come and
gone, and the opposition to it has delivered
its message. Was the conference motivated
by anti-Semitism? I do not know. The argu-
ments I have heard from divestment support-
ers sound inconsistent and poorly developed.
What I do know is that both sides feel they
are being suppressed, discriminated against
and bullied. The New York Times printed a
statement by the AJC this week condemning
the growing number of instances of discrimi-
nation and intimidation toward Jewish stu-
dents on college campuses. You know what?
Arab students in particular, and Palestinian
students specifically, have faced that for
years, and face it still.
The language of cooperation and dialogue
- of acknowledging differences and recog-
nizing similarities - seems like a forgotten

memory. The worst thing that happened at
Camp David was not that the Palestinians
were insulted or that the peace process was
fatally impaired. The worst thing that hap-
pened at Camp David was the culture of dis-
trust and frustration that grew out of it
among the entire Jewish and Palestinian
The few of us left in the peace camp
know that Sharon needs to halt and reverse
his settlement policy, and that both sides
need to elect leadership that is serious about
peace. We know that President Bush (or, if
he fails to do so, a future President) needs to
stop appeasing the American Jewish commu-
nity with his blind support of a dreadful
Israeli regime. We know that Hamas and
Islamic Jihad (or their kin) are not going
away, but that sanctions need to be imposed
if the Palestinian Authority cannot curb the
Intifada for the sake of the peace process.
That's what we know. What we hope for
now and in the future, in our own community
- is a commitment to dialogue and an end
to accusatory propaganda. The divestment
conference was a waste of resources -
resources that would have been better spent
creating a forum for building trust and foster-
ing cooperation. I have heard extremists on
both sides suggest that such efforts are tired
and futile, sprung from Rabin-era idealism
and naivete.
That may be. But if the alternative is fin-
ger pointing, saber rattling and neglect
toward understanding, then I'll stand alone in
my "We stand together" T-shirt.

David Horn can be reached
at hornd@umich.edu.

SAFE needs to dissociate itself from extremists

Palestinians have a long history of picking
the worst of allies. First there was the Grand
Mufti of Jerusalem's attempted alliance with
Hitler. Then there was the Palestinian Libera-
tion Organization's long friendship with the
Soviets. Then Yasser Arafat made the mistake
of siding with Saddam Hussein when he
invaded Kuwait, which instigated the Kuwaiti
government to expel the 300,000 Palestinians
living there. And, if the North Korean Central
News Agency is to be believed, just this
month the Palestinian ambassador to that
country pledged that "The Palestinian people
and leadership will remain faithful to the
bonds of comradely friendship and coopera-
tion with the workers' party and people" of
the Stalinist state. (The quotation is the
"news" agency's paraphrase of him.)
Although the Palestinian leadership's his-
tory of misjudgment and moral turpitude is
well known, what is more distressing is that
many of their same flaws are being mirrored
by the most vocal pro-Palestinian group on
campus, the so-called Students Allied for
Freedom and Equality.
Putting aside their ill-advised divestment
conference, perhaps the strongest evidence is
that on Wednesday Rabbi David Weiss of
Neturei Karta spoke on campus at their behest.
No doubt the student organizers' intention
was to offer an example of a religious Jew who
opposes Zionism, but it is unlikely that they or
most students on this campus know the full
story behind the group he represents.
Founded in the 1930s, Neturei Karta, which
means "Guardians of the City" (that is,
Jerusalem) in Aramaic, is a fringe group of fer-
vently Orthodox Jews who oppose Zionism on
theological grounds. Largely concentrated in
Jerusalem, their membership is miniscule, num-
bering merely in the hundreds (out of a world

Jewish population of 14 million). They believe
that a Jewish state can be founded only after the
coming of the messiah. Viewing Israel's exis-
tence as a heresy, they actively seek its destruc-
tion, and have long supported the PLO.
In fact, their friendship with the PLO dates
back to 1974, when the group's leader, Rabbi
Moshe Hirsch, met with Arafat shortly after
his notorious speech to the United Nations in
which he waved a pistol and said, "The differ-
ence between the revolutionary and the terror-
ist lies in the reason for which each fights.
Whoever stands by a just cause and fights for
liberation from invaders and colonialists can-
not be called terrorist." (Apparently Arafat
believes that blowing up schoolchildren isn't
terrorism if it is for a noble end. One wonders
if the members of SAFE agree, for the organi-
zation quite conspicuously has refused to con-
demn suicide bombings.) Currently, Rabbi
Hirsch is Minister of Jewish Affairs (a purely
honorary position) in the Palestinian National
Authority, which perhaps says more about the
PNA than Neturei Karta.
Another of the group's strange bedfellows
is Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a
man who has talked of "synagogues of Satan"
and has called Judaism a "gutter religion." In
February 2000, Rabbi Weiss appeared at a
press conference to support Farrakhan, Fawn-
ing over the bigot, he said, "All those who say
they are Jews who speak ill of Mr. Farrakhan
are not Jews."
But not only is Neturei Karta's hatred of
Israel hugely out of step with the rest of the
Jewish community, including the fervently
Orthodox, the group is so extreme that it actual-
ly blames the Jews for Holocaust, which it
views as God's punishment for Zionism. In a
March 2000 press conference Rabbi Weiss him-
self said that the Holocaust was divine punish-
ment for Jews' abandonment of the Torah.
Those who attended Rabbi Weiss' talk on

Wednesday had an opportunity to witness the
group's lunacy for themselves. He said that
Zionists are worse than Nazis, and that the Unit-
ed Nations is a work of Satan, and skillfully
avoided answering a question asking him if he
opposed Palestinian suicide bombings.
Needless to say, members of Neturei Karta
are pariahs within the Jewish community.
Treating them as representative of Jewish opin-
ion or religion is like holding up David Kore-
sh's Branch Davidians as typical Christians.
It is ironic that although Muslim students
frequently complain that Americans misun-
derstand and misportray their religion, it was
an utter ignorance of Judaism that was
demonstrated by SAFE's hosting of Rabbi
Weiss. Moreover, they were apparently
unaware of Neturei Karta's fundamental
beliefs, for they embarrassingly failed to
realize that the religious group actually does
support having a Jewish state in all of the
land of Israel, including presumably all of
Jerusalem and the West Bank - just not yet
(since the messiah has not come).
Do pro-Palestinian students really wish to
associate themselves with people who blame
the Holocaust on the Jews and seek the
destruction of Israel? Surely they can
express their message without supporting
extremists, crackpots, and lunatics - unless,
of course, such people accurately reflect the
students' opinions.
If that is the case, if what they truly
believe is that Israel has no right to exist, if
what they ultimately want is a Palestine from
the Jordan to the sea, then they should quit
their pussyfooting and say so. If they reject
extremism and lunacy, however, then they
should heed the advice that has long escaped
the Palestinian leadership: Choose your allies
Shubow is doctoral student in philosophy.


Good journalism starts
with getting the facts right,
ends with admitting mistakes

line "German presidential election proves close"
was plainly wrong. The report concerned an
election for the German parliament, which had
been held the previous day. The German presi-
dency is a representative post and the German
electorate does not directly cast votes to fill this
position. On Oct. 3, the headline "Malaria gene
in mosquitoes found" was equally wrong.

cially counterproductive in the editorial process
of a good newspaper. I do not want to believe
that the hard working staff of The Michigan
Daily thinks it is OK to be wrong and that
nobody cares whether the facts are correct or
not. I understand that the making of The Michi-
gan Daily takes a lot of work and dedication.
However, please make sure that the product is
one we all1 can be nroud of.

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