Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Friends, Admirers Turn out for Alfred Lilienthal 85th Birthday Observance

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Friends, Admirers Turn out for Alfred Lilienthal 85th Birthday Observance

Article excerpt

FRIENDS, ADMIRERS TURN OUT FOR ALFRED LILIENTHAL 85TH BIRTHDAY OBSERVANCE

Some 450 friends, fans, colleagues and relatives from all over the United States turned out in November to observe the 85th birthday of pioneer anti-Zionist writer and lecturer Dr. Alfred Lilienthal. The birthday observance was hosted at the University Club in Washington, DC, by American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), under whose auspices Dr. Lilienthal has set up a scholarship fund to help Palestinian youths from the refugee camps continue educations interrupted during the intifada and West Bank and Gaza closures.

Master of ceremonies for the gala event, which was a repeat of an 80th birthday party held at the University Club for Dr. Lilienthal in 1994, was Dr. Jack Shaheen, author of The TV Arab and numerous articles about the media and the image of Arabs in America. Speakers highlighted periods in Dr. Lilienthal's life, from his youth in New York, his World War II service in Cairo, and his attendance at the founding conference of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1944.

A highlight of the dinner event was a reading by actor friends of the honoree of passages from his as-yet-unproduced play about a young Jewish intellectual of the post-World War II period who seeks to explain to life-long friends from student days why the establishment of Israel on land taken from a Middle Eastern people as compensation for the crimes committed against Jews in Europe is such a grievous mistake, and how badly it will harm American interests throughout the world. Some of the protagonists agree in private, but decline to join his public crusade to undo the partition of Palestine because of the harm it would do to personal careers, friendships, and even family relationships.

Dr. Lilienthal's own larger-than-life adventures are reflected throughout his play. In 1946 he published an article entitled "Israel's Flag Is Not Mine" in the Reader's Digest, which had the largest circulation in the United States and which then did not accept commercial advertising, meaning it could not be silenced or muffled through commercial pressure. …

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