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March 16, 1984 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-03-16

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

14

Friday, March 16, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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LECTURES
• Building a Structure Within Chaos by Rabbi Boruch Levin
• Putting on the Chains of Freedom by Rabbi E. Goldberg

WORKSHOPS
• A guide to the laws, customs, and traditions of Passover
Led by Rabbi Avraham Jacobovitz

• "It is in the merit of the righteous women that our
Talmud Sota 11 B
forefathers were redeemed from Egypt':
Led by Mrs. Riva Weisfish

• Hagada Insights

Led by Rabbi Boruch Levin

REFRESHMENTS

Don't Miss This Unique Opportunity...

Boris Smolar's

`Between You
. . . and Me'

Editor-in-Chief
Emeritus, JTA

(Copyright 1984, JTA, Inc.)

THE JACKSON AFFAIR: Leaders of American
Jewish organizations are inclined to accept the apology by
black leader Jesse Jackson, one of the Democratic Party
presidential hopefuls, for his slurs on Jews. However, they
will be watching whether he will avoid, in his campaign
speeches, any utterance offensive to Jews and whether he
will inject his attitude favoring the Palestine Liberation
Organization in any of his speeches.
At the same time, Jewish organizations intend to hold
black-Jewish conferences for the purpose of strengthening
cooperation between the two communities — a cooperation
that goes back for decades but has been marred during
recent years by differences and misunderstandings.
The black population in this country is indifferent to
the Arab-Israeli conflict. Its leadership is interested
primarily in issues concerning the life of blacks in the U.S.
— mostly social and economic issues, which are also of
concern to the Jewish population. The shared concern has
been demonstrated recently by the active Jewish support of
black leaders who ran for the office of mayor in Chicago, Los
Angeles and Philadelphia. They would not have been vic-
torious in the elections without the substantial number of
Jewish votes cast for them at the polls. It is no secret that
each of the mayors expressed to Jackson dissatisfaction
with his anti-Jewish remarks. So did the leaders of the
Urban League and black members of Congress.
Jackson's utterances — calling Jews "Hymies" and
New York City "Hy.mietown" — are insulting and reveal
his attitude toward Jews. But they do not constitute any
political danger presently. He has no chance of being
elected President, not even of being selected by the Demo-
cratic Party national convention as its standard bearer.
And he is well aware of it.
His purpose in campaigning as a presidential aspirant
is three-fold: to stimulate a larger registration of blacks
eligible for voting; to trade the black votes for concessions
from the candidate who will run as the Democratic
presidential nominee; and to pave the way for himself to
run for the presidency in the 1988 elections, when the
number of black voters will be larger.
BLACK-JEWISH ISSUES: Jewish communities in a
number of cities have been reaching out to black political
leaders as a vehicle for strengthening black-Jewish rela-
tions long before Jackson announced his candidacy. The
role Jews played in major cities in helping to elect black
mayors is the best evidence of the opportunities for the two
communities to work together despite strains that have
developed.
The main issue on which Jewish and black leaders
differ sharply is the "quota" issue, proportional representa-
tion in hiring, upgrading and admission of blacks in the
private and public sectors of employment and in educa-
tional institutions. Black leaders insist on legislation based
on using quotas as goals for equal opportunity for employ-
ment in private business as well in the federal, state and
municipal systems. The Jewish organizations believe that
individual merit and qualifications are the touchstones of
equality of opportunity.
- The Jewish groups recognize that the blacks are the
largest minority group whose history in America has been
marred — in law and in practice — by discrimination,
deprivation and segregation solely because of race. But
they oppose quotas as inconsistent with principles of equal-
ity. They are for "affirmative action" by both the govern-
ment and the private sector in overcoming unequal oppor-
tunity.
The Jewish position is that past discriminations and
injustices are not the only relevant criteria for determining
merit and qualifications. To Jewish leaders, such factors as
poverty, inadequate schooling, discrimination in the indi-
vidual's experience — as well as personal characteristics,
such as motivation, determination, perseverence and re-
sourcefulness — are also relevant factors that should be
taken into account.
Jewish organizations are also sensitive to the intro-
duction of quotas because they still remember the depriva-
tion Jews suffered in Czarist Russia under quota systems,
as well as in Poland and Romania under anti-Semitic re-
gimes which practiced quotas for Jews. The quotas now
practiced by the Soviet government with regard to Jews in
universities and in other fields are the latest reason for
Jewish opposition to any quota system.
On the other hand, while acknowledging that on cer-
tain issues the Jewish community does not see eye-to-eye
with the black community, Jewish leaders point out that
there are other issues of common concern to the black and
Jewish population about which they share the same views
and can work as a coalition. These include action on racial
and ethnic violence, poverty, housing, public education, aid
to the elderly, health care and other social services.

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