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August 09, 1983 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1983-08-09

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Page 6 The Michigan Daily Tuesday, August 9, 1983

The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCIII, No. 33-S
93 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by students of
The University of Michigan

Israelifiction: No vision of
peaa Arabs; Jews never mix


Editorials represent a majority opinion of the By Esther Cohen
Daily Editorial Board
JERUSALEM - If a country's
books reflect the minds and souls
S p ea k in g "of its people, then the recenti
i i l Jeruslem Book Fir reveledi
Sking in out modern-dy Isrel.
The fair had the usual
for df t ongueSprofusion of Hebrew-language
titles - books on Biblical flowers,
Biblical interpretations,
readings, pathways - and the
F A GUN-TOTING, mask-wearing man usual smattering of Holocaust
sneaks into a bank and hands the bank teller fiction, war novels, political
a note, one would naturally assume the man is a analysessnd terrorist exposes.
robber. There were rguments sout the
w nHbbarue Lebanese war, Sephardic cook
Similarly, when a Hollywood actor-turned- books, environmental guides.
U.S. President speaks openly about covertly But there's nothing about
overthrowing the government of Nicaragua, Palestinians and Jews living a
sends a massive naval task force to its coasts, daily life together. And, in
and appoints one, Henry Kissinger - a man Jerusalem especially, they very
with loads of experience in clandestine gover- much do.
nment-toppling - as head of a "bipartisan" Nor is Jerusalem alone. Aras
commission on Central America, one naturally Nszsreth, Acre, sifs snd Jaffa
assumes that overthrowing the Nicaraguan as they always have, even before
government is exactly what the Reagan ad- the war of Independence in 1948.
ministration intends to do. What happens between them,
minitraton ntens todo.how they view one another, in
Yet Secretary of State George Shultz claimed fact how they view their own lives
Sunday he saw no possibility that the U.S. under siege is very much the raw
would intervene militarily with its own forces to material for real literature - a
overthrow the government of Nicaragua. literature that is yet to be writ-
Shultz, appearing on the NBC News program One reason the Jerusalem Fair
"Meet the Press," denied that the Reagan ad- is so well-attended is the city it-
ministration was planning to instigate an self. It's one of the greatest inter-
uprising against the Sandinista government, sections in the world: not great in
but he would not deny reports that Washington the way of frenetic New York or
had armed several thousand anti-Sandinista beautiful Paris or oriental Cairo,
but in ways having to do with the
guerrillas. historical pursuit of understan-
Although Shultz's words seemed encouraging, ding, of truth. Moslems,
AlthoughChristians and Jews all have
why should anyone in their right mind believe significant claims on the Old
them? Actions, as someone once correctly ob- City, a cavern-like morass of
served, speak louder than words - and the cobbled streets, generally un-
Reagan administration's actions leave little marked because residents feel
doubt that a military operation in Central that a person who needs to ask
the way can't belong.
America directly involving the U.S. is im- Many others have strong
minent. claims as well, including Ar-
If by some stretch of the imagination, menians, Scottish Presbyterians,
however, what Shultz said is true - that the Greek and Russian Orthodox,
Reagan administration does not intend to direc- Hasidim andbcountless nuns,
priests, rhis, imsms and
tly involve the U.S. militarily in the Central muezzins. It's a place of mosques
American quagmire - the least that can be and minarets, the wailing Wall
said about Washington's recent actions is that and the Via Dolorosa.
President Reagan is trying to provoke a But the main inhabitants are
miliaryrespnsefrom the Sandinistas. Under Palestinians, oth Moslem and,
military response fChristian. They line the streets
the Reagan logic, if that were to occur, the U.S. with merchandise - the same
would have no other choice but to respond with merchandise, with slight
the conveniently located naval task force. modifications, they've been
That darned-old president sure is clever, isn't selling to tourists for generations.
he? A Palestinian man (women still
Soe? Sdon't work in shops) often can
So why Shultz's words may come as a relief to speak five or six languages. He's
some, we sense some sort of Trojan horse - one quick to guess his customer's
that could have devastating effects for both the native land, and he knows a great
people of Nicaragua and those Americans who deal sout the hahits of tourists
- tourists who seem to know so
don't subscribe to the "gunboat diplomacy" little about Palestinian life. No
practiced by President Reagan. surprise, as bookshops in the
A rose is a rose, Messrs. Shultz and Reagan; tourist quarter sell only guides
and military adventurism is still military ad- and maps marked with holy
venturism, regardless of what you call it. places.
Yet even though the

7/ ////4//,


Palestinian section was one of
Jerusalem's major attractions
for fair-goers, the Palestinian
people were not represented at
the fair. For example, an in-.
teresting panel on how the writer
in Israel responds to the difficult
political climate of the day in-
cluded only Israeli Jews, all men.
How much more interesting to
have heard Palestinian writers -
and women from hoth sides -
discussing their perspectives on
the very same problems: How'
each sees the enemy, what they
do, and do not, understand.
The fair committee gave its
prestigious Jerusalem Prize to
writer V.S. Naipaul, a
Trinidadian Indian famous for
pro-colonialist views. Journalist
Yael Lotan, writing in a large
circulation Israeli daily, attacked
Naipaul and his views, saying it
was wrong for Israel to grant ap-
proval to an immoral perspec-
Ironically, Naipaul was the ac-
tual victim of a system he will not
condemn. Immigration police
found this very dark and foreign-
looking man suspicious and car-
ted him off to the police station.
Asked how he earned a living,
Naipaul responded, "I'm an
author." "Try to prove that," said
a guard. Rescued after five hours
by embarrassed fair officials,
Naipaul said only that perhaps
this sort of security is necessary.
At. this year's fair there was
much discussion about the new
best seller, "The Little Drummer
Girl," by master spy writer John
Le Carre, which is set in the Mid-
dIe East. The novel is typical of
stories which do show
Palestinians and Jews together.

They are spying, plotting each
other's downfall. Though many
wondered whether the novel was
anti-Semitic, the book has been
widely read, and the Israeli
publisherbis rushing the tran-
slation because interest is so
Apart from spying, the only
way that Israelis and
Palestinians are portrayed in
novels of daily life is an oc-
casional "Romeo and Juliet"
romance - Israeli woman falls in
love with forbidden Palestinian
(who generally resembles Omar
Sharif), or vice versa. But there's
nothing real, nothing in which the
"other" is not transformed into a
thief, a killer or a love object.
Israel, indeed the entire Middle
East, is a long way from peace or
even from any kind of reasonable
co-existence. Here, the myth of
the evil other has become a
reality, as it has in South Africa
and Northern Ireland. Yet with
extremistgroupscoming to
dominate both sides, it is more
important than ever to iook for
new understandings.
There are scores of books in
which "experts" propose
political solutions. Thereshould
be scores more written by the
'people themselves, people trapped
within their own exclusive
worlds. For it is only the people
who can finally recognize the
existence of each other, and
make peace.
Cohen, the publisher of
Adama Books in New York
City, wrote this article for the
Pacific News Service.




Unsigned editorials appearing on the left
side of this page represent a majority opinion
of the Daily's Editorial Board.


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