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November 01, 1985 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-11-01

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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Continued on next page

45

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the congressman doesn't have
time for a wide-ranging discus-
sion. He only wants to talk
about one or two things. And he
also wants to know why he is
being rewarded. Giving someone
a check because he voted cor-
rectly on a dozen issues is too
fuzzy."
Putting Israel ahead of other
issues has produced some pecul-
iar political bedfellows. In 1984,
for instance, pro-Israel PACs
gave over $14,000 to Republican
Mark Siljander. Siljander's two
congressional campaigns have
also been enthusiastically
backed by Christian fundamen-
talists. Last year, Siljander
endorsed a challenger to fellow
Michigan representative, How-
ard Wolpe, a Democrat and a
Jew, by claiming the United
States needed a "more Christian
Congress."
Jewish PAC money has also
gone to Senators Peter Domenici
(R-N.M.), Robert Packwood (R-
Or.), William Roth (R-Del.) and
Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.), all
with the sort of conservative
voting records that would make
traditionally liberal Jews
blanch.
From this overriding concern
of Jewish PACs with Israel also
comes a determined biparti-
sanship. But while pro-Israel
PACs say that party affiliation
has little influence on who gets
their money, the bulk of it goes
to Democrats. Last year, for
example, Democrats received 77
percent of the contributions
from the three largest pro-Israel
PACs. Of these three PACs, the
Joint Action Committee for
Political Affairs (JACPAC) gave
the smallest share — nine per-
cent — of its campaign funds to
GOP candidates. This meager
sum — barely $11,000 — stems
from JACPAC's refusal to back
candidates who accept money
from radical right political
organizations which, according
to a JACPAC brochure, threaten
"America's tradition of
pluralism."
JACPAC's ban on bankrolling
campaigns that accept right-
wing money makes the organ-
ization somewhat of a maverick
among pro-Israel PACs. But it
also gives many JACPAC's
members a clean conscience.
Said Joan Dine former head of
JAPAC's Washington, D.C.,
chapter and wife of AIPAC di-
rector Tom Dine, "The radical
right has a lack of feeling for
minority rights. JACPAC lets
me keep my integrity."
Since politics is an art, not a
science, it is difficult to gauge a
PAC's effectiveness. Many fac-
tors determine whether someone
will'be elected, how he will vote
if he is and which interest
groups he will allow to bend his
ear in the privacy of his Capitol
Hill office.
But one way to measure
PAC's success is whether it
backs winning candidates. On
that score, Jewish PACs do
quite well. In 1982, for example,
76 percent of the candidates
supported by JACPAC won. In
1984, almost 94 percent of the

Friday, November 1, 1985

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