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May 12, 1989 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1989-05-12

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OPINION

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The Michigan Daily

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ed and t nichigan
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

Trend growing in linking Palestinians to Nazis:
Stop the political guilt trip

420 Maynard St. ON MAY 2nd, P.L.O. Chair Arafat
Vol. XCIX, No. 1-S Ann Arbor, MI 48109 was formally received by France's
President Mitterand, an event which
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other angered some Jewish communities.
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion One Jewish community leader criti-
of the Daily. cized Mitterand for meeting with
Arafat, particularly on the day for
commemorating the Holocaust.
IS OR OreThat comment enraged Clovis
Maksoud, the Arab League's Am-
TOMORROW THE head of the Fed- Counter-Intelligence Programs in the bassador to the United Nations, who
eral Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sixties and seventies which tried to queried, "What does Arafat have to
William Sessions, will speak at the destroy many groups, including the do with the Nazis? Are Palestinians
Law School commencement cere- Black Panthers, the American Indian now to blame for Nazi crimes?" Ob-
mony and be given an honorary de- Movement, the Student Non-violent viously, Palestinians had nothing to
gree. Given the FBI's history of Coordinating Committee, and the do with Nazi atrocities. But a dis-
violating the First Amendment Southern Christian Leadership Con- turbing trend is developing, in which
rights of political dissentersandmof ference, led by Dr. Martin Luther supporters of Israel outrage history
systematic racism, Sessions should King. and attempt to dehumanize an entire
not have been invited nor should he Last week two local groups, the
be honored. Latin American Solidarity Commit-
The decision by Law School Dean tee (LASC) and the Coalition for
Bollinger to ask Sessions to speak is Peace in Central America, received a.So
particularly reprehensible given that response to their request for files N R5 A /N-
Bollinger has prohibited the FBI kept on them by the FBI. The re- ' AMVJ'f'45/n&,
from recruiting here for one year. sponse indicated that the FBI has and C
The ban on recruitment was imposed continues to maintain files on Di A L5 1t!
after numerous law students pres- LASC and the Coalition, but refuses '-j s R E sSlc
sured the dean to respond to the FBI to release them to the organizations. - fl L (lit CA C
being found guilty in federal court of Such spying is outrageous given N E6 () (At /0/
systematically discriminating against that LASC and the Coalition have le I
Latino agents. never engaged in any activity outside I.'5ICCOlOA470+ J
By inviting Sessions to speak of legitimate dissent from the poli-
Bollinger has caved in to money- cies of the U.S. government. LASCig
giving alumni upset with is engaged in educational and politi- 4, 1 - (f
Bollinger's original decision to up- cal work in support of self-determi- -''-
hold the law school's anti-discrimi- nation for the people of Latin '
nation policy - and basic civil America. The Coalition was formed ,--
rights which the FBI have flouted. in 1985 to campaign for the Central
The activities of the FBI in this America Peace Initiative, which es-
regard are not unusual. Last year the tablished Juigalpa, Nicaragua as Ann
Center for Constitutional Rights Arbor's sister city. The sister-city '
obtained thousands of pages of FBI initiative was approved by more than
documents under the Freedom of In- 60 percent of the voters in Ann Ar-
formation Act which showed that bor's 1986 city elections.
from 1981 to 1985 the FBI spied on If the law school claims to stand
hundreds of groups opposed to U.S. for respect and understanding of the
policy in Central America. The law, the FBI is the antithesis of this - -' --
FBI's activities included taking pho- claim, and therefore William Ses- - _
tographs of participants in non-vio- sions should not be honored with a
lent demonstrations, wire tapping, degree. Nor should he be given the
and infiltration of the groups. Some opportunity to propagandize and le- people by casually linking
field offices went so far as to pro- gitimize the FBI's illegal actions by Palestinians to Nazis.
pose plans for destroying different speaking at the commencement cer- A documentary on the Palestinian
peace groups. emonies. The University is truly uprising called "Days of Rage: the
The FBI's political program today dishonored by inviting Sessions Young Palestinians," was scheduled
is merely an extension of its here. to be aired in New York City. The

Sadly, some scholars are also em- weapons, Israel helps preserve the
barking on this flight from reality. very racist ideologies it claims to
In 1986 Bernard Lewis, a fight.
renowned scholar of Middle East To acknowledge that, he would
history, published a book called have had to grapple withthe racism
Semites and Anti-Semites: An In- in Israeli society - embodied in
quiry into Conflict and Prejudice. Rabbis Kahane and Levinger, Rafi
Lewis's big question is, "Is anti- Eitan, Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak
Zionism or criticism of Israel. . . a Shamir, and a large portion of Is-
form of anti-Semitism?" At first he rael's voting public and youth -
says no, that's an unreasonable who polls show would have voted
claim because the debate is political. for Kahane in the last election, had
But then Lewis lists anti-Jewish he been allowed to run.
statements made by anti-Zionist
Arabs. He even claims that "some Then he would have to explain
Arab countries... have become the how the conflict has fostered racist
main centers of international anti- sentiments, and he would have to
Semitism," a term he uses despite disassociate the Arab-Israeli dispute
its racist tone and lack of supporting from the history of European anti-
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date was first postponed, then can-
celled when WNYC withdrew its
sponsorship. Chloe Aaron, WNYC's
Vice President, said the show was
biased. "It makes no mention of how
the Jews got to Israel, no mention of
the Holocaust, no mention of how
the Palestinians treated the Jews nor
how Arabs treated the Palestinians.
It's a pure propaganda piece that I'd
compare to Leni Riefenstahl's
'Triumph of the Will"' [a Nazi pro-
paganda film]. Here again is a casual
equation of Palestinians with Nazis.

evidence. He concludes that his ex-
amples are "representative of Arab
and Muslim opinion and that a Eu-
ropean-style anti-Semitism is now
widespread in the Arab and Muslim
world."
Lewis attempts to show a conflu-
ence between European anti-
Semitism and Arab anti-Semitism,
without investigating the historical
contexts of his examples. Nor,
speaking of historical contexts, does
he ever acknowledge Israel's consis-
tent support for governments like
Guatemala's, which Israel continued
to support even after a member of its
War College wrote a paper praising
Adolf Hitler and Nazism. By
supplying these and similar govern-
ments (South Africa, Chile) with

Jewish racism. But to do so would
deprive Zionism of its most power-
ful cultural and ideological lever in
Europe and North America, which is
guilt for the destruction of European
Jews. Associating Palestinians with
Nazis is a way to transfer to Pales-
tinians culpability for Nazi crimes in
order to delegitimize the Palestini-
ans' cause and to hide Israel's
shameful treatment of Palestinians.
People who resort to such a tactic

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