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November 02, 1984 - Image 41

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

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, November 2, 1984

1) MAC Nana

41

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$200,000 Simon has gotten from
his Jewish supporters.
Percy hasn't stopped there. For
months, his office has been send-
ing dozens of press releases to
Jewish newspapers and
neighborhood papers in heavily
Jewish areas. They have such
headlines as "Sen. Percy Opposes
Denial of Israeli Rights at UN,"
"Percy To Offer Amendment For
Israel Security," "Percy Calls For
Increased Economic Aid for Israel
Over Administration Requests."
Percy has campaigned exten-
sively in the Jewish community,
exposing Jews to what Weissberg
admits is his "considerable per-
sonal charm."
That charm was on full display
recently at a Jewish community
center in the heavily Jewish north
side of Chicago. Percy arrived
early for the meeting. He used the
time to personally greet each of
the more than 350 people in the
room. For each, there was a smile,
a hug, and a short greeting, done,
said Percy, "not because I'm cam-
paigning, but just because I want
to visit some old friends."

"Jewish people are
the most intelligent
. . . but they are also
extraordinarily
emotional."

More dramatically, Percy held
a press conference Oct. 22 in
Chicago with Javits and Republi-
can Senator Rudy Boschwitz.
Javits' appearance was poignant
since he is gravely ill and hooked
up to a respirator. But Boschwitz's
appearance was even more sur-
prising than Javits'. He has one of
the most pro-Israel records in the
House and is fighting his own
very tight re-election campaign in
Minnesota, a race in which Bos-
chwitz has attracted considerable
Jewish support from around the
country.
In an impassioned speech,
Javits said he had come "to testify
as a witness to the worth" of
Percy. "Anyone who wishes for Is-
rael's security, peace and well-
being must be for Chuck Percy."
Boschwitz spoke mostly about the
man who might take Percy's place
as head of Foreign Relations —
North Carolina Senator Jesse
Helms. "Chuck Percy," he said, "is
a far more constructive influence
than Helms would be." Percy read
endorsements from such Jews as
former Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger and the former Sephar-
dic Chief Rabbi of Israel. He then
hosted a luncheon for 50 top
Jewish leaders.
Many believe Percy's efforts
will allay much of the Jewish
community's fears of him. All
agree that his ability to persuade
Javits and Boschwitz to come to
Chicago at such a critical time is
testimony to the importance he
places on the Jewish vote in his
campaign.
A third candidate, Michael Go-
land, is running solely because of

the importance he attaches to as-
suring that Jews don't vote for
Percy. Unlikely to garner more
than a handful of votes, Goland is
spending huge amounts of money
on anti-Percy TV ads.
A former member of the Young
Leadership Cabinet of the United
Jewish Appeal, Goland is running
as an independent. He has spent
about $500,000 of his own money
on billboard and commercials that
depict Percy as a political chame-
leon.
Goland denies he is attacking
Percy because of his stands on Is-
rael. "It's a Percy-created smoke
screen that I'm part of some
Jewish-Israel conspiracy or some
Jewish-Conservative conspiracy.
I'm none of that."
Goland, who lost an arm to
polio, claims he is attacking Percy
because of the senator's poor re-
cord on aid to the handicapped.
Paul Simon, fearing a backlash
among voters, has asked Goland
to stop running his commercials.
Goland has refused.
The effect of Goland's campaign
is unknown. What is sure is that
his independent campaign sym-
bolizes the basic truthof the sena-
torial fight in Illinois — that
Jewish voters will probably hold
the key to Percy's political fate.
Jews will probably be the swing
vote in a race in which Paul Simon
is attracting a good share of
Charles Percy's traditional con-
stituencies — liberals, blacks,
labor unions, and downstate vot-
ers. Also, Percy has tepid support
among conservative Republicans.
They feel that Percy hasn't done
much to support the policies of
Ronald Reagan.
Ironically, Percy's fortunes
partly depend on how well Reagan
does in a state traditionally vital
to the hopes of any Presidential
candidate. With less than two
weeks until the election, polls
give Reagan a signffiacnt lead in
Illinois. Percy, who at one point
was dead even with Simon, seems
to be leading his opponent by
seven percentage points.
Political experts credit that
better-than-expected showing to
his gloves-off, peppery campaign
style. This has contrasts favora-
bly with Simon's more intellec-
tual, low-key approach. Experts
in the Jewish community credit
Percy with running a very ag-
gressive campaign. He has con-
ceded nothing, has tapped into his
usual sources of strength among
Jewish business leaders and has
voted for Israel when it counts —
just before an election. Some won-
der whether Simon peaked too
early and has taken too much for
granted.
Percy supporter Rabbi Herman
Schaalman thinks Simon's sup-
porters are in for a surprise. "I
don't think the bulk of the Jewish
community is behind them."
Simon supporter Weissberg dis-
agrees. He expects "an enormous
turnout" of Jewish voters and
doesn't expect Percy to get more
than ten percent of their votes.
That, he says, will make the dif-
ference in the election. "Jews
have learned the lesson of 1978."
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