News for Sociology of Religion--Thu Feb 20 06:57:40 EST 1997

    If you had lived in Spain, Portugal or their American colonies from around 1480 until the early 1800s, your domestic habits—or rumors about them from neighbors and servants—could have led to (New York Times) (*)

  • No headline.
    CHICAGO—At a dinner party last Saturday night, I found myself seated among some of the most loyal of Clinton enthusiasts in this most loyally Democratic of cities. But when I raised the question (New York Times) (*)

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    NEW YORK—Ilyas Malayev's leap from stardom to obscurity makes his an extraordinary tale of the immigrant experience. In Uzbekistan, he was a beloved musician and vaudevillian with (New York Times) (*)

    He is best known abroad for his attacks on the decadent ways of the West and his warnings of the threat which they pose to Asian values. But recently the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir  (*)

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    CASABLANCA, Morocco—When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed the Hebron withdrawal accord it signaled a fundamental split on the Jewish right in Israel. Those who argued that for religious, (New York Times) (*)

  • No headline.
    NEW YORK—First, there was the cybercafe. Now, the kosher cybercafe. IDT Corp., an Internet service provider based in Hackensack, (New York Times) (*)



    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service

    Do you sweep dust toward the center of the room instead of straightout the door? Did you buy a new set of dishes last March? Do yousuffer from such severe headaches that they prevent you fromcooking on certain days of the week? And by the way, do you prefer to cook in olive oil rather thanlard?

    If you had lived in Spain, Portugal or their American coloniesfrom around 1480 until the early 1800s, your domestic habits—orrumors about them from neighbors and servants—could have led toprison, torture or death.

    Dr. David M. Gitlitz, a professor of Hispanic studies at theUniversity of Rhode Island, has been analyzing verbatim testimonyfrom the Inquisition, which held trials to unmask secret Jews.

    Routine housekeeping habits, he learned, did more thanclandestine chanting of Jewish prayers to convict those NewChristians (otherwise known as Marranos or Conversos) who continuedto practice Judaism in secret.

    ``Cleaning and cooking became particularly important,'' he said,``because this was the only way servants—who tended not to becrypto-Jews themselves—could be taught to recognize thedifferences.'' The Inquisition authorities posted pamphlets in townsquares and read them aloud to inform the public how to spot secret Jewish practices.

    Gitlitz presented his findings last month at a conference heldat Congregation Shearith Israel, the Spanish and Portuguesesynagogue on the Upper West Side. The gathering commemorated theexpulsion of the Jews from Portugal 500 years ago. Further materialis in Gitlitz's recent book, ``Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion ofthe Crypto-Jews'' ( Jewish Publication Society, 1996).

    Spanish and Portuguese Jews had a choice between conversion andexpulsion, and many were baptised but continued Jewish customsunderground, even at the risk of being burned at the stake fordoing so. Even today in many Hispanic countries, some familiespreserve certain family traditions, often without realizing thatthey are vestiges of Jewish practices.

    In the 300 years that the Inquisition lasted, the authoritieswere fully aware that many Conversos were hanging onto theirJudaism in secret, and so drastic measures were taken to root themout.

    Even candles came under close scrutiny in the courts. Sincevirtually every household used candles for lighting, how was itpossible to distinguish regular candles from Sabbath candles? A1491 trial in Soria in northern Spain found one woman accused ofmouthing words as she lit them. In another trial, a servant claimedthat on Friday at sundown, certain candles were lighted behindclosed doors. In yet another, a servant reported that thecandleholders in the house were regularly cleaned on Friday.

    Indeed, a household's cleaning routine was meticulouslyscrutinized at the trials. Take the odd practice of sweeping dirttoward the center of the room, rather than out the door. It wasdone, Gitlitz writes, because earlier generations of Spanish Jewshad considered it sacrilegious to sweep dirt past the mezuza, orsacred talisman, on the door post.

    A fresh tablecloth on Friday nights was similarly suspect. Sowas wearing a clean shirt on Friday night or Saturday. A man fromBarbastro in northeastern Spain was even accused of being a secretJew because he put out clean towels on a Friday.

    And woe betide the household that purchased new crockery inMarch or April, just before the Passover season, when Jewish lawrequires the use of a special, or specially cleansed, set of dishesand utensils.

    Testimony from a 1484 trial in Ciudad Real, in central Spain,accused a family of being secret Jews because the servants said thefamily used only ``plates and pots and pitchers that were brandnew'' at this time of year, while eliminating leavened bread fromits diet.

    Eating eggplant and chickpeas was yet another giveaway. ``Thesewere recognized favorites of the Jews,'' Gitlitz said, ``the waycollard greens would be identified with soul food today.''

    As the Inquisitors continued to circulate pamphlets alertingpeople to the most likely ``clues,'' the secret Jews developed allmanner of ploys.

    Culturally acceptable substitutes was one way out. For example,corn tortillas, which have no yeast, became a replacement formatzos in Mexico. A further dodge was to cook one kind of food foroutsiders and another for one's own consumption. But even that wasnot always safe from prying eyes. A maidservant testified in CiudadReal in 1484 that she had seen her mistress cook two stews on aFriday, ``one of fish in case anyone came in and one of meat forthemselves.'' The meat, of course, would have been for a festiveSabbath dinner.

    Then there was the problem of avoiding such forbidden foods aspork, shellfish and rabbit. Some learned to take a mouthful of porkand then spit it out when nobody was looking. Others would make itpublicly known that they couldn't eat pork because it gave themheartburn or other stomach upsets.

    A couple in Granada in 1590 claimed an allergic reaction topork, arguing that eating it brought on asthmatic attacks.``Defenses like these rarely convinced the Inquisition,'' Gitlitzsaid. Sentences would range from house arrest to public mea culpas.Burning at the stake was reserved for repeat and unrepentantoffenders. Torture, primarily an investigative tool, was used inabout a quarter of the cases.

    Still, penalties did not deter the determined. These includedwomen who pretended to be too sick to work on the Sabbath. Amaidservant told the Inquisition in Ciudad Real in 1513 that hermistress, Juana Nunez, would regularly complain of a headache on aSaturday and throw herself down on two pillows. But strangely, shealways seemed to recover by late afternoon.

    No wonder one young man, a secret Jew in Mexico in 1624, was soafraid of this particular ruse that he was reported to have gonedown on his knees to beg his mother to knead dough on a Saturdaywhen cooking was forbidden, just so people wouldn't talk.

    ``Can you imagine the tension even inside the family?'' Gitlitzasked. ``No wonder after several generations most of these familieswere lost to Judaism forever.''

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    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service<

    CHICAGO—At a dinner party last Saturday night, I found myselfseated among some of the most loyal of Clinton enthusiasts in thismost loyally Democratic of cities. But when I raised the questionof Madeleine Albright's sudden discovery of her roots, there wasonly eye-rolling and sarcasm. One prominent Jewish friend of boththe Clintons and the secretary of state didn't hesitate tocharacterize Albright's professed ignorance about her past: ``Shedidn't want to know from Jewish.''

    The question of what Madeleine Albright knew about her past andwhen she knew it is hardly of Watergate significance. Her religion,whatever it is, is irrelevant to her job, for which she isabundantly qualified. But her story isn't going away just yet, inpart because it upsets more than a few American Jews, and in partbecause she seems to be shading the truth. In the classic Clintonadministration manner, so reminiscent of Bill Clinton's shiftingaccounts of his draft history or Al Gore 's varying recollections ofhis misadventures at a Buddhist temple, Albright has with her ownwords turned a fascinating, poignant but potentially short-livedstory into what might be called (though presumably not by her) abig megillah.

    When Michael Dobbs of The Washington Post first reported thatAlbright's parents were Jewish converts to Catholicism and that shehad lost three of her grandparents (among other close relatives) tothe Holocaust, she pronounced these revelations ``obviously a majorsurprise.'' But it turned out that others had written letters totell her of these facts in years past—including the mayor of herfather's hometown and a Jewish first cousin who lived with her andher parents in exile in London during the war. Her paternalgrandparents' deaths are also recorded on a memorial list publishedin Terezin in 1995 of Czech Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

    Now Albright—whose much-admired catch phrase until recentlywas ``I tell it like it is''—is changing her story. In arelentless interview by Lally Weymouth in this week's Newsweek,Albright says that her initial response to The Post's findings wasmisquoted. ``I was not surprised about my Jewish origin,'' shesays. ``What I was surprised about was that my grandparents died inconcentration camps.'' But as recently as in a ``60 Minutes''interview aired on Feb. 9, she told Ed Bradley that both her Jewishorigins and her grandparents' fate had been ``totally'' unknown toher.

    This prevarication, unlike her family history, does reflect onAlbright's credibility as a public servant. But what is moretroubling to many Jews, myself among them, is her lack of curiosityabout her roots from the start, no matter whether she found out thefacts this month or years ago. What smart, serious, sensitivestudent of history, let alone Nazi refugee, makes no effort to findout how her grandparents died? Or turns her back on a cousin withwhom she lived like a sister during her most formative years?

    Such a determined ignorance about one's own family is so out ofcharacter for a woman of Albright's intelligence and quality,Jewish or not, that it has prompted a floating nationalkaffeeklatsch of armchair psychoanalysis. Deborah Lipstadt, aprofessor of Jewish studies at Emory University who has longcharted America's conflicted relationship with the Holocaust,argues that for Albright to question her father's version of herhistory would be tantamount to destroying the hero and role modelwho most shaped her life.

    But whatever the explanation, Albright's story also fascinatesand troubles because it exposes a raw nerve in American Jewishhistory. In the postwar America in which Albright came of age, itwas not, as Ms. Lipstadt puts it, ``convenient to be Jewish'': notif you wanted an unimpeded path to Wellesley or the nicest suburbsor the best jobs. It was the time for heavy-duty assimilation, forname changes and nose jobs and reform synagogues that bordered onthe Episcopalian; even the Holocaust was not talked about tooloudly among American Jews in the 1950s.

    However unintentionally, Madeleine Albright actually lived thedarkest fantasy of the most assimilationist American Jews of thattime. Her family's obliteration of its Jewish past—extreme casethough it may be—wouldn't resonate so loudly if it didn't awakenguilty memories in so many other American homes.

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    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service=@

    NEW YORK—Ilyas Malayev's leap from stardom to obscurity makeshis an extraordinary tale of the immigrant experience.

    In Uzbekistan, he was a beloved musician and vaudevillian withthe tragicomic face of a clown. He once performed in stadiumspacked with tens of thousands of fans, but in Queens, he seems tobe just another aging refugee scraping by on welfare.

    One recent afternoon, however, it was like old times inTashkent. He had gone to a small Uzbek cafe in the Kew Gardenssection of Queens that was redolent of fresh bread, cumin seed anddill, to be interviewed by an Uzbek television reporter for thegovernment-run station back home. From his table, Malayev heldcourt among his countrymen. He kissed ladies' hands, poured teacupsof cognac all around and graciously accepted cigarettes fromadmiring strangers, his gold teeth glinting.

    ``Of course, who does not know Malayev?'' said Pisar Kazakov, atailor at the next table.

    It was three years ago that Malayev immigrated to Queens, alongwith thousands of other Jewish refugees who arrived here after thebreakup of the Soviet Union. He had watched as the world of hisancestors—the Bukharan Jews, who have lived in Central Asia formore than a millennium—was relocating to Tel Aviv and Queens. TheIsraeli government estimates that more than half the 120,000 Jews _both Bukharan and Ashkenazi—in Uzbekistan at the end of the 1980smoved to Israel, while a fifth moved to the United States.

    But Malayev said the real reason he gave up his celebrity andlivelihood was to chase the dream of publishing his poetry inAmerica. Though he had won fame as a salaried entertainer in theSoviet system, he had been unable to get his poetry into print _perhaps because of anti-Semitism, as he believes, or the ossifiedSoviet cultural bureaucracy, as some scholars suggest.

    Only now is his mastery of Central Asia's classical music andpoetry beginning to gain a wider audience here. Last month, theShanachie label released ``At the Bazaar of Love,'' a compact discby the Ilyas Malayev Ensemble. And last month, Indiana UniversityPress published a book, ``The Hundred Thousand Fools of God:Musical Travels in Central Asia (and Queens, New York)'' byTheodore Levin, which includes a knowing, affectionate portrait ofhim.

    This Sunday, Malayev and his group are to perform in LincolnCenter at Alice Tully Hall in a concert produced by the QueensCouncil on the Arts. Dressed in a midnight blue velvet robe edgedwith gold applique, he will play the tar, a lute with a body in theshape of a figure 8, and sing folk melodies and songs from theshash maqam, the classical music of Bukhara. Musicologists say heperforms with the skill and passion of a true virtuoso.

    ``He's one of maybe half a dozen people in the world who hassuch a deep knowledge of the shash maqam,'' said Walter Z. Feldman,a lecturer in Turkish studies at the University of Pennsylvania.``What Malayev knows almost nobody knows.''

    Like thousands of other emigres from Uzbekistan, Mr. Malayev,who is 61, and his wife, Muhabbat Shamayeva, who is 52 and whoherself was a famous popular singer, live in one of the plainred-brick apartment buildings that line Queens Boulevard and 108thStreet in Forest Hills and Rego Park. They will both perform atLincoln Center.

    A row of string instruments—a sitar, a tanbur, a tar and abanjo—hang against an Oriental rug on the living room wall oftheir modest apartment. Malayev plays those four and 11 others.

    Malayev, a short man with a Santa Claus belly, spoke withendearing braggadocio about the throngs of fans who used to laughat his jokes and sway to his music. He proudly explained through atranslator, in Russian, that Sharaf Rashidov, First Secretary ofthe Communist Party of Uzbekistan from 1959 to 1983, was ``mybiggest fan.''

    ``No occasion would be complete without Malayev,'' he said.``When Brezhnev came to visit, my wife and I always sang.''

    Malayev's life has been full of paradoxes: he was a Jewish starin a Soviet system notorious for its anti-Semitism; he is a20th-century Jewish poet who mastered an Islamic poetic traditionthat had its greatest flowering in the 15th century.

    As a refugee in the United States, who was admitted under alegal provision that presumes Jews from the former Soviet Union tobe a persecuted religious minority, he performs at receptions andceremonial events for the Uzbek Embassy. He entertained PresidentIslom Karimov when he visited Washington recently.

    Historically, Bukharan Jews were court musicians to Muslimemirs, said Theodore Levin, the author, who is an assistantprofessor of music at Dartmouth.

    ``That is a role Ilya has fulfilled in this country,'' he said.``He's transplanted himself as the Jewish court musician to theMuslim political establishment. The Uzbekistan Embassy wants tothrow a party, they call Ilyas.''

    Nonetheless, Malayev said he had felt the sting ofdiscrimination in his homeland because he was a member of a tinyminority of Jews in a Muslim society. ``I wrote poetry for yearsand it was never known because the people who had the power topublish it put up iron gates,'' he said.

    His religion may well have been a factor, but Feldman, whoteaches Turkish studies, said it is also possible that the Sovietcultural bureaucracy regarded Malayev's lyrical love poems writtenin the classical style as ``silly, old-fashioned and reactionary.''

    Malayev arrived in the United States convinced that he wouldfinally be published. But while he was well known here within hisethnic enclave (more than 1,300 people attended his 60th birthdayparty), he found no publishing patron.

    ``For a person born in a totalitarian system to come to acapitalistic world and adapt is very difficult,'' he said. ``Ithought I would come here and a Bukharan millionaire would offer topay to publish my poetry. Unfortunately, my expectations blew uplike a soap bubble.

    ``As a chicken becomes fatter, she stops laying eggs. So itseems that the richer people become, the stingier they become.''

    Malayev finally published the book, ``Milk and Sugar,'' himself.The poetry is in Persian and Uzbek. With a loan from the BukharanJewish Center in Queens, which he is still repaying, he had 1,000copies printed.

    ``My purpose in life was to leave something that will beremembered for decades or centuries,'' he said. ``I have done thatin the United States by publishing my book.''

    After hours of talk, Malayev's wife put on some videos of eachof them performing solos with an orchestra in Tashkent. On one, heplayed ``My Favorite Things,'' from ``The Sound of Music,'' on thesitar. Only Julie Andrews's voice was missing.

    Malayev's manager, Svetlana Levitin, leaned over and whispered,``It's the first time in history this song was played on thesitar.''

    Malayev soon disappeared into his bedroom and re-emerged in anelegant suit and tie, ready for his appointment with the Uzbekreporters. He met them and Alexander Ahmedov, consul general ofUzbekistan, at the cafe in Kew Gardens.

    ``People are really interested in the life of this family ofgreat musicians,'' Ahmedov said. ``Everyone knows they're in theUnited States, but no one knows what they're doing. When I was akid, they were on TV every day.''

    While Malayev gave his interview to a respectful Uzbek reporteras another wielded a video camera, Rafael Niktalov, the picture ofan emigre newspaper editor with his gold-rimmed glasses, trenchcoat and neatly trimmed beard, dropped by.

    Niktalov, a musicologist from Samarkand, began publishing hisnewspaper, Most, which means Bridge in Russian, for a mostlyBukharan Jewish audience three years ago. Every issue has includeda story about Malayev.

    ``People ask me: `Rafik, why every time are you writing aboutone person?''' Niktalov said. ```Who is he? Your king? Your God?'

    ``I tell them: `Please, you must know who is Ilyas Malayev. Heis a genius. Ilyas Malayev will make our people famous today andtomorrow. Thanks to him, our people will be known.'''


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    c.1996 South China Morning Post

    He is best known abroad for his attacks on the decadent ways ofthe West and his warnings of the threat which they pose to Asianvalues. But recently the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr MahathirMohamad, has been calling attention to social ills at home with afrankness that has astonished Malaysians.

    His blunt pronouncements, focusing on the sensitive subjects ofrace and religion, prompted one newspaper to say he was ``indeedcourageous'' to raise such matters.

    Dr Mahathir has in the past angered conservative Islamicofficials and traditionalists among Malays with his pragmatic viewson the need for Malaysia to make cultural and religious adjustmentsto achieve its modernisation goals.

    But this time he has directed his critical attention to some ofhis country's most strongly entrenched taboos.

    Dr Mahathir has spent much of his political life urging Malaysto cast off their colonial yoke of inferiority and aspire to thehighest goals, arguing that only the country's economic andeducational disparities had prevented them from realising theirtrue potential.

    But in a speech for the Hari Raya festival, which marks the endof the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, he suggested there might bea ``certain weakness'' within Malays that caused them to be lessresistant to social ills than other races in Malaysia, despiteefforts to inculcate moral values through religious teaching.

    The Prime Minister went on to say that it appeared Muslims inMalaysia, where Islam is the faith of virtually all Malays, gavemore priority to form than to substance in the teachings of theirreligion. This followed an earlier comment in which he faulted thecontent of religious lessons in an indirect criticism of Islamicteachers.

    More remarkably, he suggested that Malays who were Muslims mightbe able to learn something from the non-Muslims in Malaysia. He didnot name the race but was clearly referring to the Chinese, whomake up 30 per cent of the population, compared with about 60 percent Malays and 8 per cent of Indians.

    Dr Mahathir's speech signalled how far Malaysia had progressedsince the racial riots of May 13, 1969, which were attributed tothe economic deprivation of Malays in a nation where the Chinesedominated commercial life and filled the universities.

    More than 180 people were killed in the riots and hundreds ofChinese shops and homes were set on fire.

    The trouble prompted moves to redress the economic andeducational imbalance between the races through the New EconomicPolicy (NEP), an affirmative action programme of university quotas,scholarships and grants, reserved public service posts, andbusiness opportunities for Malays.

    The Chinese were given no opportunity to openly grumble aboutthis discrimination. Constitutional amendments in 1971 made it anoffence to question the new rights and privileges accorded toMalays.

    In time, the Chinese adjusted to the new circumstances - manysent their children abroad for education when the Malay quotasblocked them from entering local universities - and the NEP provedsuccessful in nurturing a new class of confident, affluent Malayswho held down top jobs in both the public and private sectors.

    But the system also protected from honest criticism those Malayswho abused it or did not take full advantage of the opportunitiesprovided.

    Although Chinese continue to overwhelmingly dominate lists oftop scholars, it has been politically incorrect to suggest somemembers of one race might apply themselves more diligently to theirstudies than some members of another race.

    But alarm over the number of young Malays engaging in drugabuse, casual sex and crime, or just spending more time hangingaround shopping malls than studying, has prompted the PrimeMinister to cast aside the old restraints and force his people toface the harsh realities.

    ``What is sad and shameful to us is that more Muslims areaffected by these undesirable ills than non-Muslims,'' Dr Mahathirsaid.

    ``Figures obtained clearly show that the majority of thoseinvolved in social problems are Malays who are all Muslims. We mayblame the prosperity that we are enjoying but the Malays are notthe only ones who are prosperous.''

    The Prime Minister stressed that all races in Malaysia wereexposed to the same temptations.

    ``We may be ashamed to admit that a certain weakness exists inourselves that causes us to be more inclined towards undesirableactivities,'' he said.

    ``But whether we admit it or not, the public knows that weMuslims are more involved in activities that are generallyconsidered bad and are also against the teachings of Islam.''

    Dr Mahathir said the fact that non-Muslims in Malaysia were moresuccessful in ``avoiding base desires'' meant they possessedsomething which Muslims should emulate.

    He added that, while Malay Muslims readily copied from the Westwhat was bad, they did not so easily copy ``the dedication toeducation and work of the non-Muslims in Malaysia''.

    A veteran Malaysian political analyst said that, amongconservative Malays, there would be widespread resentment.

    ``There will especially be resistance to these ideas of hisamong religious officials and teachers, many of whom are veryinfluential in rural areas,'' he added.

    But Dr Mahathir would not be challenged politically, the analystpredicted. ``He's too strong after more than 15 years in power andhaving last year boosted his support in UMNO's [United MalaysNational Organisation] supreme council,'' the analyst said.

    Chinese and Malays say that Dr Mahathir's remarks, when taken inconjunction with his encouragement for members of both races toexchange visits during their respective festivals, would strengthenrelations between the two communities.

    But, with racial and religious strife still a threat to peace inneighbouring Indonesia, the Malaysian authorities remain alert toany signs of local intolerance.

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    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service<

    CASABLANCA, Morocco—When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahusigned the Hebron withdrawal accord it signaled a fundamental spliton the Jewish right in Israel. Those who argued that for religious,nationalist or security reasons Israel must never cede one inch ofthe West Bank were left behind, as a large segment of the Jewishright joined the land-for-peace camp, creating a broad new center.Now the only debate left in Israel is not whether there will be aPalestinian state in the West Bank, but what size will it be: Asize 15 wide, a size 10 narrow, or a size 7 small?

    The answer to that question will depend, in part, on whether thesplit on the Jewish right will be mirrored now by a split on theArab left. Up to now the Arab intellectual left, as well as theunions of Arab doctors, lawyers and writers, have refused toreconcile themselves to Israel, even though their regimes have.

    For the first time a tiny split in the Arab left is opening, butit has a long, long way to go before it becomes a politicallysignificant movement that could really influence the debate inIsrael. This week some important Arab media, such as Al-Mussawarmagazine, the widely watched television show featuring Egypt'sHamdi Qandil and even leftist newspapers like Al-Ahali have beenfilled with this budding debate: Was it proper for Arabintellectuals, led by Egypt's Lutfi al-Kholi and Abdel Moneim Said,to take part in a recent dialogue with centrist Israeliintellectuals in Copenhagen? The Arab intellectual left hadpreviously decreed that only a dialogue with non-Zionist Israeliswas legitimate.

    But those who went to Copenhagen argued that it has not been theboycott of Israel by Arab intellectuals that has brought thePalestinians their first chunks of land from Israel. Rather it wasthe pressure first of the Palestinian uprising and then of theIsraeli peace movement. Therefore if Arab intellectuals really wantto help Palestinians, they will engage directly with the peaceforces in Israel, even the Likud, and try to nurture theland-for-peace lobby there. The Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian authorNaguib Mahfouz told Al-Ahram: ``Accusing those who participated [inCopenhagen) of treason is nonsense. I support the advocates ofpeace on the Arab side getting in touch with the advocates of peacein Israel. This is a patriotic act.'' Added Mohammed Sid Ahmed:``Negating Israel is impossible. What is possible is to changeIsrael.''

    But this is still a minority view. I just participated in aroundtable discussion with 50 Moroccan professors at King Hassan IIUniversity in Casablanca, and I heard attacks on Israel that wereso bitter I finally said to them: ``I feel as if I've entered atime warp and woken up at an Arab League meeting in 1960.'' Forthese Moroccan intellectuals, Hebron didn't exist, Oslo didn'texist, Yasser Arafat was misguided. They spoke from the heart aboutthe ``rape of Arab land'' that the Jewish state represented. QadriHifni, an Egyptian expert on Israel, summed up their mindset inAl-Mussawar, saying: ``The cultural domain is the last bastion ofnormalization. Let us [intellectuals) be careful. If boycottingIsrael would hurt it, let's maintain that strategy.''

    These hard-line Arab intellectuals seem to be seeking notIsraeli withdrawals, but Israeli atonement. They want anideological victory, they want an apology, they want the Jews tostand up and say, ``Sorry, we never should have built a statehere.'' Further complicating the picture is a new element: SomeArab intellectuals today seem to be either intimidated by therising influence of Islamic fundamentalists or fascinated by theirpower, and would like to mobilize it. Mohammed Imara, a leadingEgyptian Islamist, argued that the role of the Arab intellectualwas ``to nourish the memory of our nation about the entirety of itsrights until the balance of power can be corrected.''

    Even those Arab intellectuals ready to engage Israelis today doso on the assumption that Israel will return to the 1967 lines. Butthe real debate in Israel will not be whether to return 100 percentof the West Bank, but whether to return 40 to 50 percent or 80 to90 percent. I'm not sure even the most dovish Arab intellectualsare ready to take sides in that debate. In that sense, Ali Salem, aprominent Egyptian writer, may be right when he said: ``The callfor a dialogue with the peace camp in Israel is justified, but itcame too late.''

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    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service<

    NEW YORK—First, there was the cybercafe. Now, the koshercybercafe.

    IDT Corp., an Internet service provider based in Hackensack,N.J., plans to overhaul its IDT Cafe & Pizza at 19 W. 45th St. inManhattan and turn it into the IDT Megabite Cafe, offering Internetaccess to supplement its already-kosher menu.

    The cafe is scheduled to open in about two weeks and is believedby those who keep track of such things to be the first koshercybercafe anywhere. It joins the growing roster of places mixingcomputers and cuisine. The first one, the Electronic Cafe, openedin Santa Monica, Calif., in 1988; now, there are more than 300around the world, including half a dozen or so in New York City,according to the Cyber Cafe Guide, an on-line guide.

    And more are on the way: Intel and Starbucks are jointlydeveloping plans for a chain of cybercafes, and Apple has licensedits name and products for a similar chain.

    ``We think it's great, because the more there are, the more itlegitimizes the industry,'' said Evan Galbraith, president andco-owner of Cyber Cafe Inc., which runs cybercafes on LafayetteStreet and Broadway (as well as one in Abu Dhbai). ``This is a veryyoung industry. I mean, we've been around for two years, and we'rethe oldest ones here.''

    At the IDT Megabite Cafe, there will be one computer at eachdining table (for a total of about a dozen), and two additionalcomputers to check electronic mail messages. But unlike mostcybercafes, which typically charge $12 an hour, the IDT MegabiteCafe will offer free computer access.

    The makeover, which will cost about $135,000, will also includea new interior decor and new menu items like a kosher sushi bar.

    ``As part of the community of kosher people, this is exciting,''said Howard Jonas, chairman of the IDT Corp., which bought the cafethree months ago with the aim of turning it into a cybercafe. ``Wewant it to be a place where people will be comfortable.''

    Jonas said he expects a more diverse crowd to complement thecafe's traditional lunchtime clientele of Orthodox Jews who work inthe diamond district. To that end, the cafe will open its doors anextra two hours on most nights to accommodate the nocturnaltendencies of the new-media crowd.

    The exception, of course, is on Friday night, when the cafecloses one hour before sundown in observance of the Jewish Sabbath.

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