Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May/June 1996, page 126
Compiled by Janet McMahon
Human Rights Position
The Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine will hold its Fifth Annual International Conference on the topic "Negotiating Permanent Status: What Price Peace?" May 9, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the Georgetown University Conference Center, Leavey Bldg., 3800 Reservoir Rd. NW, Washington, DC. For further information and registration contact CPAP, 2435 Virginia Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20037, phone (202) 338-1290, fax (202) 333-7742.
The Arab Bankers Association of North America, in cooperation with Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, will hold a one-day conference on "Islamic Finance and Investment," May 23 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. For information and registration, contact ABANA, Inc., P.O. Box 2249, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163, phone/fax (212) 496-7688. Registration deadline is May 17.
The Fourth Annual North American Muslim Powwow, on the theme "Walk the Talk," will take place June 28-30 at Dar al Islam in Abiquiu, NM. Costs are $75 for individuals, $125 for couples, children aged 3-18 $30, with a maximum charge per family of $175. Pre-registration is encouraged, by mail to Muslim Powwow, P.O. Box 702, Abiquiu, NM 87510 (make checks payable to DAI POWWOW); for additional information contact Dar al Islam, P.O. Box 180, Abiquiu, NM 87510, (505) 685-4515 ext. 21 or 22.
Joseph Churba, retired Air Force intelligence officer and a founder and president of the International Security Council, a conservative pro-Israel think tank, died April 18 at a New York hospital of a heart attack at the age of 62. A 1957 graduate of Brooklyn College with a doctorate in history from Columbia University, he and his boyhood friend Rabbi Meir Kahane founded the July Fourth Movement in the mid-1960s and co-authored a book, The Jewish Stake in Vietnam. He was the Air Force's top Middle East intelligence officer when, in 1976, he publicly criticized comments by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. George S. Brown that Israel was more a burden than a blessing and earlier remarks complaining about Jewish influence in Washington. Churba called the general's comments "dangerously irresponsible" and indicative of a growing "tilt against Israel in the Defense Department." His public statements caused him to lose his special security clearances for signal and satellite intelligence and he left the Air Force that year. He was a presidential campaign adviser to Ronald Reagan in 1980 and an adviser to the Arms Control and Development Agency in 1981 and 1982. The International Security Council, of which he was president at the time of his death, was funded by the South Korean evangelist Rev. Sun Myung Moon, among others.
Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld, a Reform Jewish leader and president of many Jewish and Zionist organizations, died April 15 at an Ohio nursing home at the age of 83, having suffered from a brain tumor for several months. Born in New York, he graduated in 1933 from Columbia College, then attended Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where he was ordained a rabbi in 1939. He moved to New York in 1944 to devote himself full time to the Zionist cause and, in 1946, as executive director of the Committee on Unity for Palestine in the Zionist Organization of America, met, along with two fellow Zionists, with then-President Harry Truman to successfully urge U.S. support for the creation of Israel. (One of the other participants was Truman's World War I army buddy and former haberdashery business partner Eddie Jacobs.) He also campaigned extensively at that time against Jewish anti-Zionists who opposed the creation of the Jewish state. He had previously served as executive vice president of the American-Israel Cultural Foundation, and subsequently was national director of the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundations from 1948-56 and president of the American Jewish Congress, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Synagogue Council of America and the American Jewish League for Israel. Speaking at the funeral of a former Cleveland resident who was one of the Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Munich Olympics, he rejected calls from the militant Jewish Defense League for vengeance. He was the author of numerous articles and monographs, as well as the books Atheism is Dead and The Steadfast Stream: An Introduction to Jewish Social Values. His son Joseph is the executive editor of The New York Times.
Joseph Polakoff, retired USIA officer and former Washington bureau chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, died April 12 of cancer at the age of 87. Following World War II, during which he worked for the Office of War Information in London, Polakoff joined the foreign service and received the USIA Superior Service Award upon his retirement in 1970. He then became Washington bureau chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a position he held until 1982. The director of press relations at B'nai B'rith, Robin Schwartz-Kreger, recalled that his "insistent badgering and refusal to let an issue drop with the State Department spokesperson was legendary among the press corps." Several years ago, Polakoff refused to pose with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at a National Press Club function. The American Jewish Press Association's award for journalistic integrity is named in his honor.
Former ambassador to Morocco and State Department spokesman Robert Anderson died April 5 of congestive heart failure in a Virginia hospital at the age of 74. A 1943 graduate of Yale University, he joined the State Department in 1946 following his World War II ser-vice in Army intelligence. He was ambassador to Benin from 1972 to 1974, then became Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's special assistant for press relations, a position he held from 1974-76. He accompanied the secretary on his frequent "shuttle diplomacy" trips to the Middle East and elsewhere, and was frequently criticized by the press for refusing to elaborate on Kissinger's remarks and only repeating what he was told to. He was U.S. ambassador to Morocco from 1976-78 and to the Dominican Republic from 1982 until his retirement in 1985.