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November 01, 1985 - Image 47

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

Friday, November 1, 1985

$ PAC S $

Say "I LOVE YOU" With

MYLAR BALLOONS

for
ANY SPECIAL OCCASION

Russell's wisecrack underlines
one of the innate problems with
PACs, Jewish or otherwise: The
Association in many minds be-
tl,veen campaign financing and
outright corruption. The collec-
tive chorus from pro-Israel
PACs is that they reward
friends, retaliate against
enemies and are, in turn, as-
Sured a certain "access" to those
who are elected. As for "buying"
a vote, National PAC head
Richard Altman said, "Impossi-
ble. Congressmen are thinking,
caring people. They have their
principles. But they are also
political animals and, by nature,
they need to run campaigns
which are very costly. That's
where we come in."
There is nothing sleazy, said
Altman, about PACs. "It's all
highly regulated," he said. "It's
a very clean business. People
tend to forget about this and
remember back to the days of
smoke-filled rooms and crooked
political machines."
A few heads of pro-Israel
PACs are not particularly
enthralled with the notion of
political action committees.
They endorse them because they
are the current modus operandi
of American politics. Said the
head of one PAC, "The oil lobby
was doing it before us. Bechtel
was doing it before us. It's our
duty to do it. And anyway, with
the Arab PACs so few and so
weak, we would be stupid not to
take advantage of them.
Even some people who back
PACs realize that they have
their shortcomings. "PACs do
distort the body politic," admit-
ted one Washington consultant
who nevertheless favors them.
"They give people in, say, Man-
hattan, a voice in who is elected
in Idaho. But that's the way
politics is played these days. We
are dealing with the fate of the
Jewish state and I will do any-
thing — anything — to assure
that. Politics is not a platonic
affair. We are in it for keeps
and sometimes it gets very, very
nasty. It is a reflection of the
political maturity of American
Jews to get involved with PACs,
whether they like them or not."
"Money," Hubert Humphrey
once said, "is the mother's milk
of politics."
"Now, it's the chicken soup,
too," added Morris Amitay, head
of Washington PAC, thinking of
the growth of Jewish PACs.
Only time will tell how tasty
that chicken soup will be after
being stirred by the cruel neces-
sities of politics. But to Amitay,
pro-Israel PACs are a fait ac-
compli and debating their value
is "fruitless."
Jewish "energies," said
Amitay, "would be better ex-
pended on creating more of
them. Supporters of Israel would
actually be remiss if they do not
use all the means available to
them to acquire access and
influence. With Israel facing so
many serious problems and
needing continued American
support, more PACs are better
than less." ❑



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