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August 15, 1986 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-08-15

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

THE JEWISH NEWS

Kiss & Tell

In an exclusive
interview,
Vice President
George Bush, just
back from a 10-day
visit to the Mideast,
talks about peace
politics and the
Presidency

1•■■••■

GARY ROSENBLATT

Editor

ashington — Vice
President George
Bush coined a new
slogan of sorts for
his Presidential
campaign last
Thursday, the day after his victory in
the Michigan primary election exit
polls as well as Jordan and Egypt. "Go
to the Middle East and do well in
Michigan," ha said during a 45-minute
interview at the White House with
Seven Jewish journalists.
Obviously pleased with his
Michigan showing, Bush said he was
"very encouraged — we won big
there."
For the most part, the interview
with the Vice President (the first he
has ever had with the Jewish press),
like his just completed visit to the
Middle East, was more symbolic than
substantive.
One came away from the session
focusing on style and nuances, just as
reporters who covered his trip to Is-
rael, Jordan and Egypt noted an em-
phasis on scenic, telegenic events.
Both the interview and the trip
were, at best, a sincere effort to estab-
lish and strengthen ties with an inf-
luential constituency. At worst, they
were little more than photo oppor-
tunities. The reality, no doubt, is that
they combined a bit of both.
As each editor was photographed
shaking hands with the Vice President
upon entering his office, I was re-
minded of the fact that Bush brought
with him to Israel a film crew, paid for
by his political action committee at a
cost of about $10,000, to record him
kissing the Western Wall and visiting
Yad Vashem for political use back
home.
Although he said, during our
45-minute interview, that he is hope-
ful that American Jews, like other
Americans, "feel good" about him as a
leader, he and his staff surely are
aware that many American Jews
think of George Bush as a man far
removed from their concerns. He is the
product of a New England prep school
upbringing and a business career as a
Texas oilman before becoming United
Nations Ambassador, Republican Na-
tional Chairman and Director of the
Central Intelligence Agency. (A small
example of Bush's distance from
things Jewish: at one point during our
interview, he referred to a meeting he
had in Israel with Prime Minister
Peres "on a kibbitz," mispronouncing
the. word "kibbutz.")
The Vice President echoes most of
the policies of Ronald Reagan, includ-
ing those on the Middle East, but
many Jews sense that when it comes to
Israel, Reagan has an instinctive em-
pathy for the Jewish state and its
struggle, and that Bush does not. His
public record in support of Israel is
solid. "He says all of the right things,"
noted one Washington observer, "but

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