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October 02, 1987 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-10-02

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

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NEWS

U.S. Jewish Leaders
Angry With Sharansky

lj

Natan Sharansky is far less
popular with professional
leaders of American Jewish
organizations than he is with
the masses, so much so that
the director of one of the most
influential American Jewish
organizations threatened to
"cut off" Sharansky if he does
not become more cooperative.
The official, who asked not
to be identified, reportedly
told Walter Ruby of the Long
Island Jewish World that he
met with Sharansky and told
him in blunt terms of the
anger and frustration of
Jewish organizations on hear-
ing statements by Sharansky
indicating that he has no con-
fidence in the organized cora-
munity.
The official said he told
Sharansky that the Jewish
establishment "will cut him
off' if his attitude toward
them does not improve in the
next six months. The official
said that if Sharansky does
not cooperate, the establish- _
ment will begin to tout so-
meone like Yosef Begun, the
long-time refusenik expected
to leave the USSR next
month, as the spokesman for
Soviet Jewry in place of
Sharansky.
Among the issues of conten-
tion between the establish-
ment and Sharansky are his
repeated calls for 400,000 peo-

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Congressional Letter
Opposes Saudi Arms Sale

Washington (JTA) —
Congressional opposition to
any sale of arms to Saudi
Arabia has been stressed
again in a letter to President
Reagan signed by 62 Sena-
tors, it was reported last
Monday.
"A new, and we believe,
unwarranted Saudi arms re-
quest would force an un-
necessary and unproductive
confrontation between the
Congress and the White
House," the Senators warned
in the letter which was hand-
delivered to the White House.,
Sens. Alan Cranston
(D.Calif.) and Bob Packwood
(R.Ore.), who initiated the let-
ter, said they expected the
Reagan Administration to for-
mally notify Congress of the
sale.
However, the Administra-
tion continued to deny that
any decision has yet been
made."We are continuing to
discuss and consult with Con-
gress on the matter and no
decisions have been made,"

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12

FRIDAY, OCT. 2, 1987

ple to demonstrate in
Washington on the eve of a
Reagan-Gorbachev summit,
his close ties with "activist"
(as in anti-establishment)
Soviet Jewry groups here, and
his assertion that there have
been no improvements for
Soviet Jews at a time when
several prominent dissidents
have been released.
The official told reporter
Ruby that the figure 400,000
is "totally unrealistic, and if
Sharansky keeps calling for
400,000, he is only going to
embarrass the community
and undercut the effec-
tiveness of the demonstration
when, inevitably, far fewer
demonstrators show up."
Sharansky has been firm in
his resolve to remain indepen-
dent of specific Jewish orga-
nizations and says that he is
willing to work with any
group that advances the
cause of freedom for Soviet
Jews. He has resisted align-
ing himself with any par-
ticular group and has turned
down lucrative offers to speak
on behalf of various Jewish
groups.
Community officials who
dealt with Sharansky during
his visit here in early Septem-
ber were respectful of him but
were upset by several of his
comments criticial of the Jew-
ish Agency.

Phyllis Oakley, a State De-
partment spokesperson said.
The letter, signed by 16 Re-
publicans and 46 Democrats,
is similar to one sent to
Reagan recently by Cranston,
Packwood and Sens. Dennis
DeConcini (D.Ariz.), Alfonse
D'Amato (D.NY) and Frank
Lautenberg (D.NJ).
Since 62 Senators have
signed the latest letter, the
Administration is put on
notice that there are enough
votes to defeat any proposed
arms sale. While it would
then take 67 votes to override
a Presidential veto, a spokes-
man for Cranston said the
Senator has been assured by
enough other Senators, who
did not want to sign the let-
ter, that they oppose the sale.
The focus is on the Senate
because the House usually
overwhelmingly rejects any
arms sales to the Saudis. The
decision over whether any
sale will be approved or re-
jected is thus usually decided
in the Senate.

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