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September 26, 1986 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-09-26

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

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38

Friday, September 26, 1986 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

public forum co-sponsored by
the Jewish Community
Council and the Detroit
Chapter of the AJCongress,
and to local news media,
Pearl emphasized that Jewish
voters have no one particu-
lar issue in this election cy-
cle. But people have to
realize that they have a stake
in the political process."
Pearl believes that single-
issue Jewish PACs — politi-
cal action committees whose
only concern is a candidate's
stance on Israel — are send-
ing the wrong message to
politicians. "The Jewish voter
wants the candidate to be
good on Israel," Pearl said,
"but the Jewish voter also
asks, 'What else are you
going to do for me?' "
A self-described liberal,
Pearl emphasizes involve-
ment in the political process
and coalition-building to
achieve support for Israel and
other items important to the
Jewish community.
"Jews make up less than
three percent of the U.S.
population, but we still need
51 percent of the vote," says
Pearl. "So we have to work
with others. If the only time
we go to our coalition
partners — the black com-
munity, religious groups,
other minorities — is when
we need help on Israel, we
lose our effectiveness."
Common points of interest
with Jews and other groups,
he says, are the separation of
church and state, the aging of
the population, the poor, and
minority rights. "By having
an organized Jewish lobby
working on these broad is-
sues with others, it makes it
easier to go to someone
you've been working with
and say, 'Hey, I need you on
this one.'
"Voting rights was an issue
for us (the AJCongress) be-
cause our black and Hispanic
partners said, 'This is an Is-
rael for us.' The AJCongress
took an early position on
South African sanctions
(entertainer Theodore Bikel
and other AJCongress leaders
were among the first Ameri-
cans arrested for demonstrat-
ing outside the South African
Embassy last December). It
makes it a hell of a lot easier
to ask our black friends to
demonstrate in front of the
Soviet Embassy."
One of Pearl's major tasks
is to convince younger Jews
that politics are important,
and go beyond financial con-
tributions and voting in elec-
tions. To make his point that
Jewish interests go beyond a
candidate's stance on Israel,
Pearl fires off a volley of
statistics:
• The median age in the
United States is 31, but the
median age of the Jewish
community is 48. "We need to
work with the advocates for
the elderly," he says
passionately.
• Separation of church and
state is a major issue in the

Marc Pearl

United States, "and the fed-
eral court system is being
packed by people with a
`majority rule' attitude."
Pearl specifically points to
the appointments of William
Rehnquist, John Scalia and
Daniel Manion, saying Chief
Justice Rehnquist's attitude
is, "If we haven't heard from
Congress, then minority
rights are - out the door." The
AJCongress formally opposed
the appointments of Re-
hnquist and Manion.
• Jews represent three per-
cent of the U.S. population,
but eight percent of the vote.
Blacks represent 12 percent
of the population, but eight
percent of the vote. "Our vote
means something," Pearl
says, "and we are trying to
get young Jews to understand
this, and vote. We have to get
them involved in the entire
political process, and then
they will want to be more
educated on all the issues."
Getting young people in-
volved has been a major task
throughout Marc Pearl's
career. A graduate of De-
troit's Henry Ford High
School, he was president of
his youth group at Temple
Beth El, which fostered his
sense of social action. He
earned a B.A. at Case-
Western Reserve University
in Cleveland, his law degree .
at Emory University in At-
lanta, and a certificate in
Jewish communal service
from Hebrew Union College
in Los Angeles. He has
worked as an attorney, as di-
rector of the college education
department for the Union of
American Hebrew Congrega-
tions in New York, for the
American Jewish Committee
in Los Angeles, and since
1980 as American Jewish
Congress representative in
Washington.
His sense of social justice
and social action dovetails
nicely with the AJCongress
agenda: Israel, peace in the
Middle East and terrorism;
Soviet and oppressed Jewry;
church-state issues such as
school prayer, equal access
and tuition tax credits;
women's rights to abortion,
economic equity and the
Equal Rights Amendment;
civil rights, the balanced
budget amendment, and nu-
clear disarmament.
"Constitutional rights have

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