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November 20, 1987 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-20

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

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a responsive chord. What
really hit home in a surpris-
ing way was his talk about
America's vision of
democracy, and how smaller
countries look to that. My
sense was that this impressed
the legislators who were
there."
Although every seat was oc-
cupied during Herzog's
speech, most were filled with
congressional aides, leading
one wag to comment that the
president must have been as-
tounded at the youthfulness
of America's legislators.

Pressuring Rumania

The issue of Most Favored
Nation status for Rumania,
presumably settled earlier
this year when both the
House and Senate passed an
amendment to the trade bill
suspending the favorable
trade status for six months,
has come back for another
round in Washington.
From the beginning, the use
of MFN status as a lever to
put pressure on the
Ceausescu government to im-
prove its dismal human
rights record has been the
subject of lively debate among
Jewish activists here—a
debate that cuts to the heart
of the way the Jackson-Vanik
amendment, the cornerstone
of America's human rights
program, should be
implemented.
Now, several conservative
legislators are appealing
directly to President Reagan
to reject the trade bill that in-
cludes provisions for the six
month suspension. What Rep.
Frank Wolf (R-VA), Sen.
William L. Armstrong (R-
Colo.) and Sen. Jesse Helms
(R-NC) want is more drastic
and more permanent action
against the Ceausescu
regime.
Jewish activists have been
divided on the question. Some
Soviet Jewry activists argue
that human rights abuses in
Rumania have actually in-
creased in recent years.
Others, including the Anti-
Defamation League, argue
that the Rumanian regime
isn't as bad as some others in
the communist bloc—and that
MFN status is the only lever
the U.S. has to keep that
somewhat more moderate
position on track.
Earlier in the year, former
Israeli ambassador Meir Ro-
seanne lobbied heavily in
favor of retaining MFN
status, a position tied to the
issue of direct flights from
Rumania to Tel Aviv for

Soviet emigrants. Israel
favors direct flights as a way
of increasing the proportion of
Soviet Jews who settle in
Israel; to the Jerusalem
government, MFN status for
Rumania is a way of keeping
that fragile pipeline open.
"The problem is that Ruma-
nian behavior doesn't exactly
endear them to people here,"
said Warren Eisenberg of the
ADL.
Rep. Wolf and the others
want the United States to de-
mand evidence of expanded
freedom of religion as a
precondition for MFN status.
Supporters of a six-month
suspension, and those who
have argued for no interrup-
tion of the MFN status, argue
that Jackson-Vanik is mean-
ingless if it is used to pursue
unrealistic goals.
"Our feeling is that there
have been some gains from
the Rumanians, in terms of
allowing some of the religious
groups to operate," Eisenberg
said. "But you have to keep
pressing them. No one is
arguing that they have a good
human rights record. But
some people want a totally
pure picture, which you're not
going to get."

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Washington (JTA) — Jewish
organizations are expected to
maintain their traditional
neutral position during the
confirmation process for U.S.
Court of Appeals Judge An-
thony Kennedy, who Presi-
dent Reagan nominated for
the Supreme Court last week.
Washington representatives
for Jewish organizations say
there does not appear to be
any reason to take a stand on
the nomination of the
5 1-year-old Sacramento,
Calif., native, unless
something unexpected is
revealed at Kennedy's Senate
confirmation hearing.
Many Jewish organizations
broke from the practice of not
commenting on Supreme
Court nominations when
Reagan named Judge Robert
Bork of the U.S. Court of Ap-
peals for the District of Col-
umbia to succeed Associate
Justice Lewis Powell, who
resigned from the court.
Bork's extensive written
opinions on privacy and social
issues caused many Jewish
organizations to vehemently
oppose the conservative judge.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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