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August 08, 1986 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-08-08

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

tions and right-wing evangelicals who are
pro-Israel yet residually anti-Semitic.
Meanwhile, the Christian right has tar-
geted one pro-Israel liberal after another
for defeat, because of their votes on abor-
tion, civil liberties, social spending, and
war and peace.

C

onsider three key Senate races: New
York, Wisconsin, and Florida. In New
York the incumbent is the prodigious
Alfonse D 'Amato, a freshman Republican
who has been a superb pork-barrel senator
for New York despite a voting record that
parallels Jesse Helm's on most social and
fiscal questions. D'Amato, who received
an estimated four percent of the Jewish
vote in 1980, has also become a magnifi-
cent supporter of ,Israel. Beyond voting
right, he has performed important behind-
the-scenes services, such as blocking Arab
arms sales hidden in secret appropriations.
He went to the length of sponsoring a
House-Senate resolution giving a Congres-
sional Medal of Honor to Achille Laueo
victim Leon Klinghoffer, which had to be
awkwardly withdrawn after D'Amato
learned that the medal was limited to
military personnel.
D'Amato has formed very close alliances
with key Jewish leaders in New York, as
one potential Democratic contender after
another has discovered. Last December
the Democratic Senate Campaign Commit-
tee invited Arthur Levitt Jr. to Wash-
ington for a breakfast meeting. Levitt had
been weighing a Senate race against
D'Amato. Levitt, the son of a famous
Democratic politician, the president of the
American Stock Exchange, a political
moderate, and a Jew (though not par-
ticularly active on Israel), was thought to
be a fairly serious contender. But Levitt
told the surprised senators that he had
gotten a phone call from a prominent
Jewish leader and campaign financier,
advising him not to run against D'Amato.
Levitt had then called two other key
Jewish leaders, Howard Squadron and
Kenneth Bialkin, both prominent New
York lawyers and recent chiefs of the Con-
ference of Presidents of Major Jewish
Organizations, who reiterated the advice.
If Levitt ran, he would run without the
substantial Jewish financial backing that
usually goes to New York Democrats.
Other New York Democrats testing the
waters, such as former representative
Elizabeth Holtzman, who has a strong pro-
Israel record, got similar advice. (Al-
though to some Jews the commitment of
anti-defense Democrats to a strong Israel

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