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January 08, 1988 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-01-08

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

INSIDE WASHINGTON

Golden

coiLmEtt

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For Men and Women

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Give today

JAMES D. BESSER

Your donation to the Association for Retarded Citizens will help
improve the life of a child or adult with mental
retardation — and support research into treatment and
prevention of the condition in others.

Washington Correspondent

W

Jewish Association for Retarded Citizens
17288 W. 12 Mile Rd., Southfield, MI 48076
(313) 557-7650
rt,

Help build thearc

Association for Retarded Citizens

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Bill To Aid North African Jews
May Open Up A Hornet's Nest

he recent flap over
Sen. Daniel In-
ouye's sponsorship
of a bill to help North African
Jews in France may open a
hornet's nest of problems for
pro-Israel activists here. The
measure, tucked in-
conspicuously into the
massive $600 billion spend-
ing package hammered out
by Congress during the last
frenzied days before the
holidays, has been roundly at-
tacked in the press, quietly
criticized by Jewish political
leaders.
The controversy threatens
to derail Inouye's bid to
replace Sen. Robert Byrd as
Senate Majority Leader — a
bid looked upon with favor by
Israel's supporters in the
Capitol.
But a more pressing dilem-
ma for Jewish activists is
this: How can they distance
themselves from Inouye's ac-
tions without appearing to
repudiate a man who has
been a solid and reliable
friend to the Jewish
community?
Inouye's troubles began
with an $8 million appropria-
tion to help Ozar Hatorah, a
New York-based organization,
build schools for North
African Jews in France. The
money is slated to come from
the State Department's
refugee aid budget —despite
the fact that the Sephardic
Jews in France are not
classified as refugees by
either France or the United
States. In fact, many of the
Jews in question have lived in
France for a decade or more.
The proposal was vigorous-
ly opposed by the State
Department because it "ear-
marked" funds for a specific
group, rather than allowing
officials at Foggy Bottom to
make the allocation.
A number of early news
reports pointed out that Zev
Wolfson, a New York
developer who is a member of
the Ozar Hatorah board, was
a contributor to Inouye's most
recent reelection campaign.
For Jewish activists, the
Inouye affair is an uncomfor-
table one. News reports have
suggested connections be-
tween Inouye's sponsorship of
the refugee measure and the
pro-Israel lobby. In fact,
sources here suggest that
several major Jewish groups
tried to warn Inouye about
the possible repercussions of

the bill. No major Jewish or
pro-Israel organization sup-
ported the legislation.
Inouye, according to these
reports, refused to reconsider
his position.

There is also concern about
the political fallout. "This
thing looks terrible, even
though we had nothing to do
with it," said a Jewish activist
who works for a Senate com-
mittee. "With all the concern
about 'biting the bullet' on
the budget, this is just not an
appropriate thing for us to be
doing — even if it is a very
good school, and these are
very deserving people."

Others fretted about the ef-
fects the controversy would
have on Inouye's chances to

Sen. Daniel Inouye:
Questionable judgment

replace Sen. Byrd, who is
stepping down after ten years
as leader of Senate
Democrats. Inouye, with his
strong and consistent record
on Middle East legislation,
would make an ideal choice
for the important post, in the
eyes of pro-Israel activists.
Byrd, while not an opponent
of Israel, was somewhat
uneven in his support.

Other candidates for the
post include Sen. J. Bennett
Johnston (La.) and Sen.
George J. Mitchell (Maine).
Both, according to sources
here, have good records on
Israel — but neither has
emerged as a genuine leader.
While many questions have
been raised about Inouye's
judgment on this issue, there
have been few suggestions
that the legislation represent-
ed a payoff for campaign con-
tributions. Inouye is widely
regarded as an effective cam-
paigner and fundraiser, with
a secure Senate seat.

But a number of political
observers are asking the ob-
vious question: what were In-
ouye's motivations? Why did
he push this measure, despite
the risks?
Sen. Inouye has refused to
comment on the affair.

Major Brookings
Report Due

There are rumblings over at
the Brookings Institution
that may have a significant
impact on U.S. Middle East
policy.
A group of 19 distinguished
participants, representing a
wide range of views on the
conflict in that part of the
world, has been meeting for
months in an attempt to ham-
mer out a set of policy recom-
mendations for the next
president.
Included in the group are
Henry Siegman, executive
director of the American
Jewish Congress, Ken
Wollack, former lobbyist for
the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
and former Maryland Senator
Charles Mathias.
According to William
Quandt, a senior fellow at
Brookings and coordinator of
the project, there is no target
date for a final report. "We'll
keep working until we reach
a consensus," he said. "I
wouldn't anticipate that this
will be an easy process."
It's no accident that the
study was planned to cul-
minate during a presidential
election year. "We don't have
much expectation that in the
time left to this administra-
tion, there will be much in
the way of new initiatives in
Arab-Israeli peace," said
Quandt, who served in both
the Nixon and Carter ad-
ministrations as a specialist
on Middle East affairs. "Our
goal is to be useful to
whomever comes next — as-
suming that person wants to
take a fresh look at U.S. policy
in the region."
The Brookings project is be-
ing followed with special in-
terest by Jewish leaders
because of the enormous im-
pact of an earlier report by
the Washington think tank,
issued in 1975. During his
campaign for the presidency,
Jimmy Carter claimed to
have virtually memorized the
document; according to many
observers, the earlier Brook-
ings panel provided the
ideological framework that
eventually led to the Camp
David accords.

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