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November 02, 1984 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-11-02

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


Friday, November 2, 1984




wo weeks ago, the
Republicans were run-
ning a semi-dirty tricks
operation in New York and
California. Telephone canvas-
sers. many of whom were
blacks and Hispanics, and all
of whom represented them-
selves fictitiously as Betty or
Harry Goodman, were calling
people with "Jewish-sound-
ing" names and asking
them, under the aegis of
something called the Na-
tional Jewish Coalition, who
they were going to vote for in
the coming election.
And things didn't stop
there. Not only did the callers
fail to identify themselves up
front as agents of the
Republican Party, they went
on, after receiving answers to
their questions, to urge the
respondents to vote
Two New York weekly
newspaper reporters exposed
the dodge, and the New York
and California boiler room
tactics were changed, but the
National Jewish Coalition
goes on; a significant indica-
tion of the importance that
the GOP attaches to the
Jewish vote. In fact, the
Republican Party wants so
badly to have the Jewish
community on its side that it
is spending $2.5 million on
the Coalition this year.
Not that the Democrats
are complacent about the
Jewish vote. The percentage
of Jews who voted
Democratic fluctuated be-
tween 81 and 90 between 1960
and 1968, then dropped to 65
during the McGovern-Nixon
race in 1972, rose to 75 in the
Carter-Ford contest of 1976,
and dropped to 40 in the
election in 1980.
Threatened in this election
by rumblings about a com-
plete break with the tradi-
tionally Democratic patterns
of the Jewish community, the
party is busily mobilizing its
supporters. For the first time
in recent memory, Democrats
convened a meeting in
Washington with some of the
biggest names in American
liberal Jewry, and called in
presidential candidate Walter
Mondale to give them a pep
talk. Shortly afterwards, the
party gathered Jewish
political workers in key areas
around the country, hoping
to motivate them toward an
eleventh hour drive to elect
the Mondale/Ferraro ticket.
Moreover, the Democrats
attach such importance to
the Jewish vote that their

liaison with the national
Jewish community is the
general counsel to the
Mondale/Ferraro Committee,
Washington attorney David
Ifshin, who works on a policy
level with Walter Mondale's
campaign advisors and has
direct access to the
The Republicans do not
have a corresponding link.
Marshall J. Breger, also a
lawyer, is President Reagan's
liaison with the Jewish com-
munity. He occupies an office
in the White House's Old Ex-
ecutive Office Building and
has a staff of three, but is not
accorded direct access to the
Oval Office. He says he can
talk with senior Administra-
tion staff when he needs to,
and meets every week or ten
days with the Undersecret-
ary of State and the
Secretary of Defense, but
does not operate on a
policymaking level.
For the political campaign,
and possibly beyond, the
Republicans have created the
National Jewish Coalition.
An "umbrella - organization,
it has offices in some 35
states and at the Republican
National and Reagan-Bush
Campaign Committees.
Bruce So11, an attorney from
California, heads the
Republican National Corn-
mittee's office of the coali-
tion, and Benjamin Wald-
man, a college classmate of
Soil's, is executive director of
the Campaign Committee's
Headquarters for the Na-
tional Jewish Coalition is in
the National Association of
Counties Building at 440
First Street, N.W., the street
behind the Hyatt Regency
Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Waldman's office is a cubicle
on the fourth floor, one of
several whose occupants are
assigned to specific ethnic
groups, i.e., blacks,
Hispanics, Italians, Jews,
etc. He shares the space with
an assistant, a computer ter-
minal and piles of assorted
campaign paraphernalia, in-
cluding blue cardboard
placards with "Reagan"
emblazoned on them in
Hebrew and English.
A 26-year-old native of
Clermont, California, which is
in Los Angeles County,
Waldman is a 1979 graduate
of Clermont Mens College,
married, and a Republican
since his college days. He
looks conservative. Gray pin-
stripe suit, neat haircut, that
sort of thing.


Charged with the task of linking their
parties to the Jewish community, a
handful of men fish diligently in the na-
tion's political waters, hoping to hook us
for the right candidate.

Special to The Jewish News


David Ifshin: A year in Kibbutz Gesher was important.

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