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April 01, 1988 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-04-01

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

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New AJCongress President
Makes High-Profile Appearance

JAMES D. BESSER

Washington Correspondent

R

obert K. Lifton, the
new president of the
American Jewish
Congress, made a whirlwind
pass through Washington this
week, signaling what may be
a new emphasis on high-
profile political action for the
liberal Jewish group.
Lifton, a New York bus-
inessman, met with a long
list of political bigwigs, in-
cluding House Speaker Jim
Wright (D-Tex.), chairman of
the House Foreign Affairs
Committee Dante Fascell (D-
Fla.), Senate Majority Leader
Robert Byrd (D-WVa.), and
Maryland's Paul Sarbanes.
The Jewish leader was also
trying to arrange a meeting
with Secretary of State
George Shultz.
Lifton carried to the Hill a
handful of resolutions passed
at the Congress's recent an-
nual meeting — including a
measure supporting the
Shultz Middle East peace in-
itiative, a call for a
withdrawal of U.S. troops
from Honduras and a resolu-
tion that provoked ferocious
controversy at the congress'
meetings in Philadelphia — a
formal condemnation of the"
Jewish-American Princess"
designation.

1990 Census
Causes Concern

Wth all the other problems
in the world, it's a little sur-
prising that some political
groups are worried about the
1990 census.
But according to the Amer-
ican Jewish Committee, the
current controversies swirling
around the procedures for the
upcoming headcount will
have important implications
for all minorities in this coun-
try — including Jews.
"It's a high stakes game,
because the numbers are us-
ed to determine reapportion-
ment, to calculate legislative
grants, and so on," said Judy
Golub, the assistant
Washington representative
for the AJCommittee who is
in the thick of the census
fight.
"Specifically, there are con-
cerns that minorities in the
big cities of five states — Cal-
ifornia, New York, Texas, Il-
linois and Florida — and poor
minorities in particular, may
be seriously undercounted."
And if the government un-
dercounts minorities in the
states with the most Jews, it

could have a direct bearing on
Jewish political clout in the
upcoming decade, although
the Jewish component of the
bill is by no means the most
prominent one.
According to an aide to Rep.
Merwyn Dymelly (D-Calif.),
more than $30 billion of
federal money is allocated
each year on the basis of cen-
sus counts.
What the AJCommittee
wants is for the Census
Bureau to implement pro-
cedures already developed to
correct for these expected in-
accuracies. There have been
strong indications of
resistance within the Com-
merce Department, the Cen-
sus Bureau's parent agency,
based on a simple fact: under-
counting minorities always
works to the advantage of
Republicans.
lb nudge the people at Cen-
sus along, bills have been in-
troduced in both Houses of
Congress requiring the
Bureau to adjust its pro-
cedures. The House bill is be-
ing sponsored by Rep. Dymal-
ly; the Senate version is being
pushed by Sen. Daniel
Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.).

Coincidence Aids
Demonstrators

lb some, it may have look-
ed like shrewd planning. But
Micah Naftalin, the national
director of the Union of Coun-
cils for Soviet Jews, confessed:
it was a fortunate coincidence
that gave the group's
demonstration at the Soviet
Embassy last week its added
punch.
"Actually, we had the dem-
onstration planned a long
time ago," Naftalin said. "We
planned to do it when we
knew Shevardnadze would be
in town. Then the Supreme
Court made its decision — a
lovely coincidence for us."
The Supreme Court deci-
sion overturned a D.C. law
prohibiting demonstrations
within 500 feet of foreign em-
bassies. The measure has
kept the daily vigil for Soviet
Jews — a demonstration that
has been going on for 18 years
— across the street from the
Soviet embassy. It has also
resulted in hundreds of ar-
rests at the South African
embassy.
The State Department and
the D.C. police have opposed
any change in the rule requir-
ing a buffer zone between
demonstrators and embassies
on security grounds.
AT the demonstration last
week, both police and the

demonstrators cautiously
tested the uncertain
guidelines resulting from the
court decision. There were no
arrests and no incidents.
"It was a wonderful oppor-
tunity for us to make several
important points," said a
jubilant Naftalin. "The
Supreme Court ruling have
us a chance to make a power-
ful analogy directly to
Shevardnadze — that here,
the rule of law reigns. People
can appeal the laws, people do
have access to the courts —
even when the State Depart-
ment opposes something."

Tank Deal Riles
Auto Workers

Egypt still wants American
M1A1 tanks — the state-of-
the art main battle tanks
that have been plagued
with mechanical problems
throughout their develop-
ment. Among the tank's pro-
blems — corrected now, accor-
ding to Pentagon officials — is
a problem operating its ad-
vanced turbine engines in
sand.
Last year, it was announc-
ed that the U.S. government
will allow Egypt to co-produce
these advanced weapons.
There has been speculation
since then that Egypt, which
has been working furiously to
develop an arms-export in-
dustry, would sell the tanks to
other countries; at least one
Egyptian official has backed
down from earlier sugges-
tions that some of the tanks,
produced in Egypt, might end
up in Iraq.
Recently, Rep. Larry Smith
(D-Fla.) sent a letter to the
State Department, asking for
a legal opinion about whether
such third country transfers
would be subject to Congres-
sional disapproval; according
to sources here, State Depart-
ment legal advisor Abraham
Sofaer has drafted a letter
indicating that the Arms Ex-
port Control Act would, in
fact, give Congress a chance
to veto the sale of M1A1
tanks produced in Egypt.
A number of staunchly pro-
Israel legislators have hinted
that they will not oppose the
co-production arrangement.
And pro-Israel lobbying
groups, led by the American
Israel Public Affairs Commit-
tee, are taking a somewhat
detached view of the deal.
Interestingly, the most
vocal opposition to the plan
comes from auto workers in
Detroit — who stand to lose a
number of jobs if the deal goes
through.

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