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September 13, 1985 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-09-13

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

28 Friday, September 13:1985

Li. A OE'riiorr JEWISH NiWs

COMMENT

On Capitol Hill, Israel's
Friends Not Always True

BY MORRIS AMITAY

Special to The Jewish News

Washing= — Because of its
high degree of political activism,
the American Jewish commu-
nity has gained the respect of
Congressional candidates of both
major parties. As the costs of
federal election campaigns in-
crease, American Jews, whose
generosity to campaigns is un-
matched by any other group, are
being systematically solicited.
While this attention can be con-
sidered a compliment. —
certainly the right o every
office-seeker — what rankels
those who follow the Congress
on a day-to-day basis is that too
often kind words are accepted, as
a substitute for actual deeds by
incumbent Representatives and
Senators. Unlike challengers,.
incumbents are provided with
ample opportunities to demon-
strate their support. for Israel's
security in very tangible ways:
It is the rare politician today
who does not proclaim himself
or herself "a friend of Israel"
and in favor of Israel's "right*
exist." There is certainly little
downside politically in doing So,'
particularly if these statements
are made in front of a iTeWish
audience or individuals. But be
fore committing stipiOrt= , On the
basis of generalities, it is pru-
dent to examine an individual:
Representativer. Senathis pub-:
lic record of yOtescl OnionhIp.
of bills and regolutiong, -letters
to the White House and State.
and Defense: Departments, and
public statements preferably
to non-Jewish audiences. An
endorSenient by a ;fellOWJewish
Representative or Senator 'is not:
• enough. Frequently, this well-
Meaning assistance for a col-
league is not backed UP by ac-

Rep. Kemp:
Buckins Administration

tual fact but based on personal
friendship.
-It is also important to distin-
guish between the easy and
tough issues. Floor statements
in support of Soviet Jewry or a
vote forrn the Free Trade Zone be-
tween Israel and the United
States , (which' passed the House
416-6) are' !easy ones. Voting
against cuts In foreign aid and
against , arms. sales to Arab
countries' the harder ones.
The latter action is particularly
significant if you are a Republi-
can bucking a Republican Ad-
ministration. For example, Re-
publican' , Son. Bob Packwood
and Rep: Jack, Kemp took the
lead in opposing the sale of
AWACS !I 'aircraft to Saudi
Arabia:in 1981. Similarly, when
Sen.' Alan , :Crinston, as Demo-
cratic Majority Whip in the. Se-

,

'

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