Page 24


ffeW/34., * 4 Ailig jm 6 I Tr l .: ……. ….., -..!: ‘ . ‘il 4 I ” 117 r ob , THE TEXAS 1 IP server A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. SINCE 1954 Publisher: Ronnie Dugger Editor: Dave Denison Associate Editor: Louis Dubose Editorial Intern: Gregg Watkins Calendar: Kathleen Fitzgerald Washington Correspondent: Richard Ryan Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Betty Brink, Warren Burnett, Jo Clifton, Craig Clifford, John Henry Faulk, Terry FitzPatrick, Gregg Franzwa, Bill Helmer, James Harrington, Amy Johnson, Michael King, Dana Loy, Tom McClellan, Rick Piltz, Gary Pomerantz, John Schwartz, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh Editorial Advisory Board: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Austin; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Presley, Texarkana; Susan Reid, Austin; Geoffrey Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg; Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. Layout and Design: Layne Jackson Typesetter: Becky Willard Contributing Photographers: Vic Hinterlang, Bill Leissner, Alan Pogue. Contributing Artists: Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Carlos Lowry, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau, Gail Woods. Managing Publisher: Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager: Stefan Wanstrom Publishing Consultant: Frances Barton Development Consultant: Hanno T. Beck for a three-week interval between issues in January and July \(25 issues per postage paid at Austin, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to P.O. Box 49019, Austin, Texas 78765 SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year $27, two years $48, three years $69. Fulltime students $15 per year. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zceb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Any current subscriber who finds the price a burden should say so at renewal time: no one need forgo reading the Observer simply because of the cost. Address all correspondence to: The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Israel and Racism William Kelly \(TO, recounts Israel’s founding in 1948 as “a Jewish state” and “a national home for the Jews.” Please recall that Jews had no such homeland to flee to before World War II and had been denied sanctuary elsewhere, including the United States, with the result that six million of their number were exterminated by German forces during the Holocaust. Many survivors lived in Displaced Persons camps after the war, still unwelcome anywhere but in Palestine, where a significant Jewish population had settled after the Balfour Declaration. A United Nations vote sanctioned the partition of Palestine, governed until then under a British mandate, into Jewish and Arab states. The Arab states rejected this partition. Mr. Kelly adds his own hostile commentaries on the founding of Israel, describing it as a Jewish state “exclusively” and one “where others are not welcome.” He charges Israel with the “removal” of non-Jews at the founding of the state “through fear and violence.” Several hundred thousand citizens of Israel of Arab extraction, including the Israeli Consul in Atlanta, Georgia, and several elected members of the Knesset, effectively refute Mr. Kelly’s charges of exclusivity. Only in respect to universal compulsory military service are Israeli Arabs excused from the full responsibilities Israeli Druze, incidentally, choose to perform military the distinct economic advantages and civil rights which the Israeli Arab minority enjoys in comparison with all but the privileged few among their brethren in the nondemocratic Arab nations. Some critics of Israel dispute whether Arab governments in 1948 advised Palestinian Arabs by radio to clear out so invading Arab armies could push the Jews into the sea. Published references by contemporary Arab commentators and other non-Jews who heard these broadcasts have satisfied disinterested historians, but in a recent letter to The New York Times an Arab apologist declared that he would not believe anything but taped transcriptions. Who was taping Arab broadcasts in 1948? No doubt the controversy will continue. For whatever reasons, no one denies that many Palestinian Arabs fled their homes in 1948 and that they now constitute a tragic refugee population. Until 1967, Jordan and Egypt kept most Palestinian Arabs isolated and in squalor in refugee camps in Gaza and on the West Bank of the Jordan. Meanwhile, Israel absorbed one million Jewish refugees from Arab and other Muslim lands who had suffered centuries of humiliation and poverty as a despised, disenfranchised religious minority. If despotic Arab governments would let them leave, Jews now imprisoned in such places as Syria and Iraq would also be welcome in Israel. Israel, an imperfect society like every other, including our own, undoubtedly numbers some racists among its citizens. Rabbi Meir Kahane is probably the most infamous of them. But racism is neither codified in Israel’s laws nor prevalent among its people. Mr. Kelly characterizes Israel not as it is a tiny, embattled democracy which has had to fight five wars against hostile neighbors but only as Jewish fanatics like Kahane, and virulent critics like Mr. Kelly himself, wish to see it. Elsa A. Solender New York, N.Y. Non-Jews in Israel In “Dialogue” \(TO, V. Kelly attempts to justify charges that racism exists in Israel. He incorrectly asserts that it “was founded as a Jewish state” exclusively, where others are not welcome because “it is a state where one’s religion determines full citizenship.” The only distinction Israel makes in its citizenship requirements is found in its Law of Return. This is Israel’s version of affirmative action. Because Jews were denied a homeland for nearly 2,000 years, Jews, upon taking up residence in Israel, become citizens automatically. Non-Jews must undergo a period of naturalization. However, once naturalized, Christians and Muslims, like Jews, become full citizens of Israel and can even serve something Jews could never do in most Arab lands. Rabbi Samuel M. Stahl San Antonio Perceptions of Anti-Semitism I have about given up on the Observer. First you endorse Jesse Jackson, whose antiSemitism seems to me to be beyond serious dispute, then you publish a letter from William V. Kelly that simply should not have been published or should have first been checked by your editors for accuracy. \(If that isn’t the editor’s job then whose is well, should read From Time Immemorial, Continued on page 22 DIALOGUE 2 SEPTEMBER 30, 1988