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October 23, 1987 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-10-23

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

INSIDE WASHINGTON-1

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AND FLOWERS WILT FAST
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BARBARA KAPLAN

Days
a Week

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if

AIPAC Role In Saudi Deal
Is Still Shrouded In Mystery

arms proposals will soon be in
the offing.

JAMES DAVID BESSER

Washington Correspondent

Lobbying For
Women

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30

FRIDAY, OCT. 23, 1987,

s more information e-
merges about the
promise worked out
by the Administration and
Congress over a new arms
sale to Saudi Arabia, Jewish
activists in Washington are
reacting with mixed feelings.
Several issues have
emerged. First, there is con-
cern that the Jewish groups
involved in the secret discus-
sions that forged the com-
promise did not solicit input
from the broader Jewish
community.
And there are ongoing con-
cerns that the compromise
represents only the first in a
new series of arms sale pro-
posals for Arab nations.
If this is true — a new pro-
posal to arm Jordan is sup-
posedly in the works — the
Administration's new, sophis-
ticated approach to garnering
congressional support may
make subsequent sales far
more difficult to fight.
"There is sporadic resis-
tence to the compromise,"
said one Jewish activist on
the Hill involved in the pro-
Israel cause. "But from what
I understand, it is not really
a big issue right now. Every-
body considers it a reasonably
good deal — even if they are
still a little confused about
just how it came about."
Sources indicate that the
key players in the com-
promise were White House
Chief of Staff Howard Baker
— who was roundly criticized
for mishandling the last
Saudi arms sale proposal late
last spring — and Sen.
Howard Metzenbaum (D-
Ohio), who apparently chip-
ped away at the coalition op-
posing arms for the Saudis.
Primary opponents to the
administration proposal were
Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.)
and Sen. Robert Packwood (R-
Ore.); two days before the com-
promise was announced,
spokesmen for Packwood were
insisting that the Senator
would never accept a corn-
promise on arms for the
Saudis.
According to sources, it was
the combination of Baker and
Metzenbaum that brought
these two critical legislators
into line.
The Israeli government, ac-
cording to several reports,
played no active role in the
discussions, but were merely
"interested observers."
The packagers of the corn-

Caspar Weinberger: Undercut.

promise proposal also had to
overcome opposition by Secre-
tary of Defense Caspar
Weinberger, who objected to
the key provision of the deal
— the elimination of 1600
Maverick anti-tank missiles
from the arms sale package.
But Weinberger's position
was undercut somewhat by
recent revelations that U.S.-
built Stinger missiles shipped
to Afghan rebels had found
their way into Persian Gulf
arsenals; pro-Israel groups
had argued that one of the
dangers of the Mavericks was
their transportability, which
meant that missiles shipped
to Saudi Arabia could easily
end up in the hands of the
Syrians.
A continuing mystery in
the affair is the role of the
American Israel Public Af-
fairs Committee (AIPAC). It is
widely assumed that rIbm
Dine, executive director of the
group, was a key player in the
compromise. But AIPAC
spokesmen give only vague
answers about the role of the
pro-Israel giant.
There is widespread agree-
ment here that the Admini-
stration handled the arms
sale proposal with consumate
skill, something that has
been notably lacking in
earlier proposals. "They did it
with constant consultation
and discussion," according to
one staffer with a foreign
relations committee on the
Hill. "The way they did it,
nobody felt undermined,
everyone came out of it smell-
ing like a rose. It was a big
triumph for Howard Baker?'
Recent signs of Saudi
cooperation with U.S. forces
in the gulf — and the worsen-
ing nature of the crisis there
— suggest that additional

The Womens' League for
Conservative Judaism is
meeting here in Washington
this week, and a primary pur-
pose of the two-day gathering
will be to develop grass-roots
action to create a more
favorable climate for women
candidates.
The group, which repre-
sents more than 200,000
women in the United States
and Canada, is calling for a
new political climate in which
women would be given equal
consideration in the can-
didate selection process.
Currently, many women are
reluctant to enter the
political arena because the
odds are so heavily stacked
against them, according to a
group spokesperson. Neither
political party, this spokesper-
son said, is doing nearly
enough to establish condi-
tions more favorable to
women candidates.
In addition to working on
establishing new grass roots
procedures to draw women in
to the political process, the
Jewish womens' group will
meet with a number of legis-
lators to drive home their con-
cerns about the continuing
problems faced by women in
party politics.

Lobbying Skills
Expand

One of the lesser-known
facts in this town is the way
sophisticated lobbying techni-
ques have become available to
a wider range of special-
interest groups.
And two direct conse-
quences of this trend are now
making themselves felt on
the Hill. First, anti-Israel
groups like the Arab-
American Anti-Defamation
League and its associated
groups are employing the
kinds of slick, well-financed
lobbying procedures that
have been used so successfull-
ly over the years by Israel's
supporters.
And the legislative process
has become more open to far-
out fringe groups, especially
on the Christian Right. In
several cases, groups with
philosophies that most
Jewish leaders consider
threatening have access to
congressional offices, and in
some cases, to officials at the
White House.
The lobbying by pro Arab

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