Friday, December 14, 1984
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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CANDLELIGHTING AT 4:43 P.M.
VOL. LXXXVI, NO. 16
To end apartheid
It's been a while since Jews were arrested for civil disobedience on behalf
of blacks. But on Tuesday, three Jewish officials of the American Jewish
Congress were arrested in front of the Embassy of South Africa in
Washington. Theodore Mann, president of the American Jewish Congress,
Theodore Bikel, senior vice president and Henry Siegman, executive director,
were protesting the apartheid policies of South Africa. They were among the
more than 30 people arrested since late November in front of the embassy.
The situation in South Africa is deplorable. Blacks comprise 67 percent of
its population. Yet for decades and, especially, since the end of the Second
World War, the white-dominated South African government has repressed
this vast black majority. It has stripped blacks of civil rights and civil
liberties. It has denied them due course of law. It has tried to turn them into
non-people with no rights and no spirit.
But the spirit of the blacks of South Africa has not been beaten. Against
the oppression of their government and the brutality of the police, blacks'
battle for equality and for ordinary human rights has persisted.
It is a battle which Jews cannot ignore. In a statement read before the
arrests on Tuesday, leaders of the American Jewish Congress and the Union
of American Hebrew Congregations said, "Jewish tradition and historical
experience require that we speak out against all forms of injustice. The
support of the Jewish people for the struggle against racism stems not only
from our heritage which tells that God created all humanity, but also from the
facts that we ourselves have been the victims of racial hatred and
discrimination over the centuries."
The Reagan Administration's preference for "constructive engagement"
— the current diplomatic euphemism for quiet negotiaions between the U.S.
and South Africa — is not enough. Stronger measures — economic sanctions,
a moratorium on U.S. foreign aid and arms sales — are needed.
Reporters covering the arrest of the three Jewish leaders were quick to
ask their opinions about Israeli dealings with South Africa. Little has been
said, though, about economic contact between South Africa and black African
nations. Recently, for example, South Africa imported $76.5 million in
commodities from Israel. At the same time, it imported $375.3 million in
commodities from 46 black African countries. To single out Israel for
commerce with South Africa indicates an unfortunate double-standard.
USSR evil on record
In an address to the General Assembly of the United Nations during the
discussion on human rights, Israel's ambassador placed on the record the
distressing facts regarding the Russian policy of shutting her doors to those
seeking homes elsewhere out of a desire to secure refuge from oppression.
Binyamin Netanyahu cited the following important figures:
In 1979, 51,000 Jews were granted exit visas from Russia. The figures
dropped to 21,500 in 1980, 9,500 in 1981, 2,700 in 1982, 1,315 in 1983 and
fewer than 900 will have emigrated this year.
Ambassador Netanyahu thus publicized the record for the entire world to
judge. He focussed attention on the Soviet policy of negating established
human rights to permit people seeking refuge to choose where to settle and
establish their homes.
In the aftermath of the election:
Why Jews voted for Mondale
BY THEODORE R. MANN
Special to The Jewish News
We Jews are an interesting
people. On average, we are eco-
nomically in the upper strata of
American society. Yet, in an election
in which 66 percent of white Ameri-
cans voted for Ronald Reagan, 66 per-
cent of Jews voted for Walter Mondale.
No other white ethnic or religious
group did so. Why such a disparity?
The economy has turned around.
If it is not booming, it is at least glow-
ing. Most Americans thought that on
economic issues, Reagan was better
than Mondale. I suspect that most
Jews thought so too. Yet most voted for
Clearly the reason was not Israel,
it was not Soviet Jewry, and certainly
not anti-Semitism — three issues
which should and do impact on Jewish
voting behavior. On Israel, Reagan
was viewed by most Jews as a friend,
every bit as much of a friend as Mon-
dale. Reagan and his Secretary of
State tried as hard as President Carter
did, albeit with less success, to obtain
the release of Soviet Jews and to
ameliorate their condition. Finally,
neither President Reagan nor his Ad-
ministration has been tainted with
anti-Semitism. And while Mr. Mon-
dale has not been either, Jews were
less than happy about his handling of
the anti-Semitic incidents that marred
the primary campaign.
Theodore Mann is national president of
the American Jewish Congress and an
attorney in Philadelphia.
Nor did Jews support the Demo-
cratic nominee simply out of habit. In
the privacy of the voting booth, few
Jewish voters fear that if they forget
the Democratic Party, their right hand
will wither or their tongue will cleave
to the roof of their mouth. That kind of
ethnic loyalty is simply not the factor
it once was.
Reagan has a habit of
confusing religion with
patriotism, and there is a
Jewish perception that the
just does not care very
much for the less-fortunate.
So why did Jews support Mon-
There are two reasons, I think.
One was Reagan's habit of confusing
religion with patriotism, which was
viewed by many in the Jewish com-
munity as a mind-set that can only do
Jews and all other Americans harm.
The Reagan Administration has
pushed for all kinds of legislation that
would breach the barrier between
church and state, and it was feared
that he will batter that wall much
harder in the next four years.
A second, and more general rea-
son for Jewish voter support for Mon-
Continued on Page 20
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