100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

March 25, 1988 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-03-25

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

itogiaage

Serwice

• AIRPORT • SPECIAL EVENTS • CONCERTS
• NIGHTS OUT • PROMS
"Let Us Take You For A Ride"

1 HOUR FREE

MORRIS AMITAY:
A need to play
hardball to be
successful in Congress.

pro-Israel lobby. "The other day in the
elevator, I heard two members talking
about the welfare reform bill, and one of
them asked snidely: 'But is it good for
Israel?' There's a lot of covert resentment.
From my point of view, AIPAC is heavy-
handed. I resent it when my boss is label-
ed 'anti-Israel: because I know he isn't. But
I suppose it's no different than the way he
is labeled 'anti-American; because he sup-
ports gun control, or 'anti-life' because he
is in favor of abortion rights. The pro-Israel
lobby is probably less heavy-handed than
the groups that support school prayer, for
instance. Still, people in Congress who get
their arms twisted tend to resent it, and
the resentment builds:'
"They all can get overbearing at times,"
said another staffer who works for a
strongly pro-Israel legislator. "I'm referr-
ing to lobbying groups in general, and in-
cluding AIPAC. They all tend to be
shadowy; you never really know what's go-
ing to hurt you. Look at the National Rifle
Association. One of the reasons they're so
effective is that they force everybody on
the Hill to constantly look over their
shoulders."
Although AIPAC officials decline to
discuss these issues on the record, the
group's supporters argue that this is the
way the system works. If Israel is to con-
tinue to enjoy a special relationship with
the United States, they say, the pro-Israel
lobby has no choice but to play the game
as it exists. According to this view, support
for Israel is strong now because AIPAC
has mastered a political game that was
already in place when it came onto the
scene.

A Pragmatic Approach

Supporters of an aggressive, politically
savvy pro- Israel lobby point to Israel itself
as a model for a pragmatic, day-to-day ap-
proach to threats to its existence. Sup-

porters criticize Jewish leaders who worry
about offending non-Jews, who fear fan-
ning the fires of America's latent anti-
Semitism. If American Jews don't have the
toughness to play the political game in the
real world, they imply, the cause of Israel
in Washington will be doomed.
Critics point to the same factors as good
arguments against the way the pro-Israel
lobby is evolving.
Anti-Semitism, they say, is indeed an
ongoing factor in American life—and it's
a factor that makes the Jewish communi-
ty particularly vulnerable to a backlash
caused by heavy-handed lobbying and
legislative bullying. These same critics
tend to view Israel as a poor model for
long-range planning; dealing with the day-
to-day threats to its existence, they argue,
has stamped Israeli politics with an em-
phasis on the short term that can only lead
to long-term problems.
The debate over multi-issue versus
single-issue politics — over the older mode
of consensus lobbying and the newer, more
direct style — will continue for the
foreseeable future. Critics of groups like
AIPAC stress the long-range risks, which
are impossible to quantify; supporters of
the biggest pro-Israel groups reflect the no-
tion that politics is the exercise of short-
term interest, and that the long term is
determined by the accumulated effects of
a lot of short-term fights.
"My reaction to the whole issue of 'ag-
gressiveness' is this," says Morris Amitay,
the former AIPAC executive director who
is regarded by many as the premier Jewish
lobbyist. "The meek may inherit the earth,
but they'll never get anywhere in
Washington. And overkill is always better
than underkill."
Hyman Bookbinder, who advocates a
slower and broader approach, believes that
conditions have changed, but that the per-
sonal give-and-take of politics remains the
same. "Everything has become more auto-
mated and computerized," Bookbinder
says. "But there is still no substitute for
the personal contacts one makes with the
people in Congress. But the contact has to
be not only between the Washington pro-
fessional and Congress, but between the
local communities, the local ADL, the local
community councils, and Congress. It's the
totality of our contacts that guarantees
continuing success."
Ken Wollack, who was AIPAC's first pro-
fessional lobbyist, stresses that AIPAC has
a responsibility to its constituents—Jews
in both the United States and in Israel—
to make the best possible use of the tools
at its disposal. "AIPAC operates no dif-
ferently than any other lobbying group in
this city," he says. "That's our system; if
people 'don't like lobbying, they should
work for a parliamentary system. We have
a system set up to be responsive to its con-
stituency — and in that kind of system lob-
bying is going to be a part of it." ID

With Purchase of 3 Hours
$40 VALUE With Ad

CALL 477-1630

(- w

•t

Po /mut!

See your view improve -
Get a FREE pair of pre-
scription sunglasses with
the purchase of Prescrip-
tion eyewear. Nothing
but a beautiful view. Look
your best, too, in the
newest Fashion Frames.

'choose free pair from wide selection of
designer frames. Single vision only — Up to
+1- 4.00 solid tint, same prescription.
Limited time only.

AIM

I

LONE PINE VISION

CROSSWINDS MALL - 4331 Orchard Lake Rd.
Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri 9:30-5:30, Thur. 9:30-8, Sat. 10-5
— 851-0610 —

Zna



at irn ag eS "°1
IDEAS FOR THE BRIDE...

• WEDDING BOOKS
INVITATIONS
ACCESSORIES
EVERYTHING TO PLAN
"THE PERFECT WEDDING"
—ALSO —
Choose From Catalogs to Create
Your Own Personalized Invitations
CLEVER PARTY &
SHOWER INVITATIONS

LOTS OF
GREAT GIFT IDEAS

• GOLD & SILVER CANDLES
• FINE COLLECTABLES • CARDS

COUNTRY RIDGE
COMMONS

31150 HAGGERTY RD. • 14 MILE
FARMINGTON HILLS

661-9100

r

.

WE ARE NOW
OPEN SUNDAY 12-5

Back to Top

© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan