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February 12, 1988 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-02-12

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Soviet Jewry Organizations
Tread Carefully In INF Debate



Washington Correspondent


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Re lig ious News Service


landmark battle is
underway between
Congress and the
White House over ratification
of the recently signed
Intermediate-range Nuclear
Force (INF) accord.
And Soviet Jewry groups
are working hard behind the
scenes to guarantee that the
human rights component of
the recent U.S.-Soviet summit
is not overlooked in the
Both the National Con-
ference on Soviet Jewry
(NCSJ) and the Union of
Councils for Soviet Jews are
treading very carefully as the
battle shifts into high gear.
"It's called walking a
tightrope," said Mark Levin,
NCSJ's man in Washington.
"We see the INF hearings as
an important forum. But it's
important that we use it in a
positive way; we don't want to
be seen as putting up
obstacles to the ratification of
the treaty."
The NCSJ and the Union of
Councils are working to sup-
port language attached to the
ratification measure that
would keep the Soviet Jewry
question prominent, both dur-
ing the debate and in subse-
quent negotiations with the
"I've been working with
some of the staffs," said Micah
Naftalin, national director of
the Union of Councils, "and
especially with senators who
are members of the Helsinki
Commission. They are con-
sidering an amendment to
the resolution of ratification
that would have the effect of
being a 'sense of the Senate'
message to the Soviets that
human rights remains a
critical part of the negotia-
Such ratification language,
Naftalin suggested, could
help derail the move among
ultra-conservatives to kill the
INF treaty entirely. "This
would be an opportunity for
people who otherwise might
support a 'killer amendment'
to the treaty itself. There's
been concern that someone
like Jesse Helms might offer
a human rights killer amend-
ment that could force
renegotiation. We have no
part in that."
"This is a very popular trea-
ty, even with all the human
rights reservations," said a
Jewish senate aide. "The
Soviet Jewry movement could

Anti-Semitic books by Japanese author Masami Uno describe a
worldwide Jewish conspiracy trying to envelope Japan.

really get clobbered by pro-
ceeding recklessly."


There were fireworks in the
American Jewish Commit-
tee's Washington offices last
week, where a day-long "con-
sultation" with represen-
tatives of the Japanese em-
bassy wrestled with the
perplexing issue of anti-
Semitism in that country.
According to coordinator
David Harris, the meeting
represented "the first effort to
understand the dimensions of
the issue and build bridges of
understanding. At the mo-
ment the world Jewish com-
munity is terribly unprepared
to deal with this problem."
The most dramatic testi-
mony was presented by David
Goodman of the University of
Illinois, a specialist in
Japanese literature. Good-
man argued that the recent
popularity of anti-Semitic
books in Japan — including
the infamous "Protocols of
the Elders of Zion" — is tied
to growing tensions in that
country over its dealings with
the West. "And in my view,"
Goodman said, "these views
present a very real danger to
cordial U.S.-Japanese rela-
Participants discussed the
books of Masami Uno, who de-
scribes a worldwide Jewish
conspiracy that is now trying
to envelope Japan. They also
viewed a Japanese television
program that used gross
stereotypes to describe the
purported role of Jews in the
Japanese economy.
So far, Goodman told the
group, the enormous

popularity of anti-Semitic
literature has not translated
into overt bigotry or violence
in Japan — not a surprising
finding, since the Jewish
population in that country is
almost nonexistent.
He also suggested that the
current wave of anti-
Semitism was more tied to
U.S.-Japan relations than to
Japan's uneasy relations with
The consuls from the Japa-
nese embassy who attended
the AJC meetings were ap-
parently not impressed by the
gravity of the problem. "Their
reaction was no different from
other Japanese officials,"
David Harris said later.
"They said that this is just a
blip on the screen, an aberra-
tion, and in no way suggests
deep rooted anti-semitic feel-
ings among the Japanese!"
David Goodman disagreed
with the Japanese officials.
"Anti-Semitism provides us a
window to understand the
Japanese system better," the
scholar said. "I think this
trend represents some very
serious underlying problems
in Japanese society!'

PLO Office
Muddle Goes On

The political and diplomatic
muddle over the closing of the
PLO's New York office just
gets harder and harder to
In the latest chapter, State
Department officials
delivered a letter to Attorney
General Edwin Meese,
repeating the arguments of
the department's legal ad-
visor Abraham Sofaer that
closing the PLO's office would
be a breach of international

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