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November 18, 1983 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-11-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Boris Smolar's

`Between You
. . and Me'

Emeritus, JTA

(Copyright 1983, JTA, Inc.)

THE PAC ISSUE: With the current early develop-
ments in the campaign for the 1984 elections, the PAC
issue is coming more and more to the forefront. The issue
involves financial contributions to individual candidates
by various groups, including Jewish, to help candidates
cover the cost of their election campaigns.
A majority of American Jews have hardly heard of
PAC, which was approved by Congress 10 years ago. PAC
stands for Political Action Committee. There are 3,479
PACs across the country, according to the Federal Elec-
tions Commission records. They include 31 Jewish PACs.
The PACs contributed in the 1982 Congressional campaign
about $83 million, of which $35 million came from large
corporations interested in gaining influence in Congress.
All the Jewish PACs contributed a total of $1.676 million.
The National Jewish PAC — the largest Jewish PAC of
all — raised last year over $1 million and spent about
$550,000 of this sum on 109 candidates.
THE JEWISH PACs: There is opposition to the PAC
system among many Americans. They claim that the pre-
sent system, as approved by Congress, is a form of legalized
bribery. They argue that it enables corporations, industrial
enterprises, business associations, medical groups, or-
ganized labor, and other interest groups to gain influence
in Congress. The anti-PAC elements prefer that financial
assistance to candidates in federal elections be given by
individuals directly. Basic changes in the PAC system are
favored also by some members of Congress.
Supporters of Jewish PACs reply to this anti-PAC ar-
gument by pointing out that:
• Candidates receiving financial support from Jewish
PACs are known to have been for years friendly to Israel,
and that this is the case also with members of Congress
running for re-election. They are not influenced by the
Jewish PAC contributions to their campaign since they
sympathized with Israel long before PAC was approved by
• Not all legi lators receiving contributions from
Jewish PACs r e always voting pro-Israel.
This was seen best in the. AWACS issue; when many of
them voted to give AWACS to Saudi Arabia despite the
opposition of American Jewish organizations.
• Members of both houses of Congress voting pro-Israel
are motivated in their voting primarily by • the fact that
Israel is the most dependable ally of the United States in
the Middle East.
• The participation of the Jewish PACs in financing
the election of candidates to Congress is very small com-
pared to the tens of millions of dollars given by other PAC
groups, many of which receive their funds from companies
and industries involved in heavy trading with Arab coun-
tries, making no secret of their interest in securing favora-
ble contracts with from the petro-dollar countries.
• Jewish PAC money has no visible effect in Congres-
sional elections, even .though it is assumed that Jewish
PAC money helped to defeat Rep. Paul Findley of Illinois,
the ranking Republican member of the - House Foreign Af-
fairs subcommittee that authorizes aid to Israel, when he
ran for re-election in 1982. Findley was a critic of Israel and
advocated U.S. recognition of the Palestine Liberation Or-
The winner was Richard Durbin, a Democrat who is a
Catholic lawyer, running for the first time as a Congres-
sional candidate in the district that includes Springfield,
where there are about 2,000 Jewish voters. Issues involv-
ing Israel never came up during Durbin's campaign against
Findley. Durbin received more than $100,000 from the 31
Jewish PACs in the country.
JEWISH REACTION: Some members of Congress do
not accept funds from industries they generally oppose.
Others say they will support changes in the law to diminish
the effect of PACs, but that they will accept PAC money
until a meaningful reform is achieved. Two of the candi-
dates for the Democratic Presidential nomination —
former Vice President Walter Mondale and Senator Gary
Hart of Colorado — announced that they will not accept
PAC money.
Jews have always been among the highest in voter
participation and political contributions. While nearly half
of the adult population in the country never votes, about 80
percent of the Jewish voters go to the polls. At a forum held
by the American Jewish Congress on the impact of PACs,
the opinion was expressed that PAC presently provides the
most effective means for pursuing political power, and this
applies to the pursuit of Jewish interests as it does to other
Until PACs are curbed by legislative changes, it was
argued, Jews, too, must participate in the present PAC
process. Such participation is helpful not only to Israel but
also to interests affecting Jewish life in this country.


N * a P*

Not a Cookbook:
Tale of Support
of Civil Rights

"Northern Fried Chic-
ken" by Roni Schotter is not
a cookbook.
Instead, the Philomel
Books-published volume
tells the tale of a shy 16-
year-old girl who champ-
ions the cause of civil rights.
Set in Providence, R.I., in
the early 1960s, the book re-
capitulates the activities of
Betsy Bergman, who tries to
find the courage to act on
her convictions.
Although the book is
fictional, the historical
events around which the
story is set are true. The
author has embellished
her work with the likes of
famous speeches made
during the height of the
civil rights movement's
Ms. Schotter is a writer
and children's book editor.
Her first novel, "A Matter of
Time," was made into an
Emmy Award-winning
"ABC Afterschool Special."


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NEW YORK — Stanley
B. Horowitz, executive di-
rector of the Jewish Com'-
munity Federation of Cleve-
land, Ohio, has been ap-
pointed chief professional
officer of the national Un-
ited Jewish Appeal.

eq,;IFfloristorpoiali(N1 1983



UJA Appointee


Friday, November 18, 1983 19



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