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September 05, 1986 - Image 100

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-09-05

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Friday, September 5, 1986 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS


Pollster Lou Harris Sees Support •
For Israel, As Well As Anti-Semitism.


Special to the Jewish Times


ust because Americans
love Israel doesn't
necessarily mean that
they like Jews.
That insight into how
Americans feel comes from
pollster Lou Harris, who
spends his life probing what
Americans think about all
kinds of things.
And one of the things Har-
ris has consistently found, he
said in an interview, is that
American support for Israel
is very solid. "Support for
Israel is high, despite all the
controversies, just as it's
always been. At present, 78
percent of Americans feel
very warm to Israel. The only
time it's been lower than that
was during the height of the
Lebanon War and then sup-
port only went down to 69
That's the good news. The
other news, he said, is that
anti-Semitism is alive and
well and living in the United
Harris has measured anti-
Semitism in the United
States for years, mostly
recently conducting polls in
the Farm Belt where times
are tough and where, he said,
"farmers are being told their
trouble is being caused by the
bankers, which means by the
Harris found that 24 per-
cent of those living in farm or
rural communities are anti-
Semitic. And while, he said,
"the signs are that it's not
growing, it is there. Anyone
who thinks it's not there is
kidding themselves."
"Outside the Farm Belt,
Harris said, "there are other
signs that I take quite ser-
iously such as the increase in
the stridency used when talk-
ing about Jews."
What those answers he's
been getting add up to, he
said, is "a question the
Jewish community is really
going to have to face. You
have people who are pro-
Israel, like in the Deep South,
because they think Israel is a
bastion of anti-Communism
and a strong military power.
They say, 'Thank God that
Israel is there to bloody the
noses of those syncophants of
the Russians.' But the same
people who say that are also
more than a little anti-
"We need to beware of such
gifts from such Greeks.
Because if it comes down to
it and they have to choose
between their latent anti-
Semitism or their admiration
for Israel, they may very well
go where their emotions are."
Where the emotions of the
country are in general, Har-
ris said, is not where some
would have you believe.
Americans, he said, are not
turning to the Right.

"There is evidence on a
whole host of issues that the
conservative turn of the
country reached its peak in
the mid-70's and was aborted
by Watergate. In fact, we
find the Reagan years are
sort of the end of an era, not
the beginning of one. There
are no signs of a realignment
at all in the country. On the
contrary, while Americans
see Reagan as the 'Teflon
President' who can do no
wrong, more and more people
are disagreeing with his
policies. It's become common
for people to say that they
don't agree with very much
of what Reagan stands for
but isn't he a nice man?"
What Americans are doing
with those mixed emotions,

`Anyone who
thinks it is not
there is kidding
Outside the Farm
Belt there are
other signs . .

Harris said, is invoking "a
`Teflon Vengeance' which is
now being visited upon
George Bush who appears to
be in deep trouble, with
Republican moderates mov-
ing up.
That 'Teflon Vengeance'
also means, said Harris, that
"the Democrats have a good
chance to recapture control of
the Senate this year. There's
no other way voters can take
out their disagreements with
Reagan policy on defense
spending, Nicaragua and
other issues."
One other - way voters
might do that, said Harris,
will come in 1988. "The
presidential election is up for
grabs. If the Democrats
nominate a halfway decent
candidate, they have a very
good shot at winning."
One candidate who does
not have a very good shot at
all, said Harris, is the Rev.
Pat Robertson. That's be-
cause, he said, as the country
has moved away from the
Right, it's moved away from
support of Moral Majority-
brand Evangelical preachers.
"Jerry Falwell used to get
a negative rating of 50 per-
._:ent. Now, it's up to 72 per-
cent. Sixty-two percent of
Americans say they don't
want preachers moving into
politics. We're finding that
the separation of church and
state is something very deep-
ly burned into the American
As for other things Harris
has learned from probing in-
to that psyche, he said that
the so-called rehabilitation of
Richard Nixon is just that:
"Nixon is rated as the best
of our last eight presidents on
foreign policy. He is also

rated as the most dishonest
man ever to sit in the White
House and the one with the
lowest morals. That is as true
today as it ever was. The
American people haven't
changed on Nixon. It's only
parts of the media that seem
to have decided to proclaim
him rehabilitated."
Harris is also critical of
those parts of the media that
have been abusing something
that he invented — exit-
polling. Used primarily by
the television networks,
that's where voters are ask-
ed who they cast their ballot
for so that races can be
predicted before the polls
actually close.
"The networks have con-
vinced themselves that they
get some kind of competitive
advantage by breathlessly
reporting the outcome of a
race 10 minutes before the
other guy. I don't think
viewers really give a damn.
What they want is a good
analysis, to know what hap-
pened and why. This rush to
speed is unnecessary and
doesn't make sense."
And making sense of
things is what Lou Harris is
all about. "I get paid to be in-
formed. to find things out.
It's the best kind of job to
have. I love it."

Young Israeli
Player In U.S.

New York — Israeli bas-
ketball clubs are increasingly
depending on foreign players,
particularly Americans, and
not developing native
players. Few Israeli-born
players seem to reach their
country's top league.
The coaches of one of Is-
rael's best clubs even told a
promising 16-year-old that
they wouldn't help him in his
development and suggested
that he go to the United
States to make his million
dollars. So 7'4" Yosef Ben-
Naiim of Hadera, his parents
and his sister did just that.
Luckily for Yosef, he was re-
ferred to Eddie Krinsky, a
guidance counselor and
former basketball coach at
Westbury (N.Y.) High School,
who has taken Yosef under
his wing.
Ben-Naiim has attended a
basketball camp and a school
for high school players and
soon will head for Kutsher's
v sports Academy in Mon-
ticello, N.Y. Proprieter Mil-
ton Kutsher has granted him
a one-month scholarship at
the academy, which accom-
modates 500 basketball
players from the East Coast.
By autumn, when Yosef will
attend Westbury High, he
will have been exposed to
many of the games's funda-

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