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June 10, 1988 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-06-10

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

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30

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 1988

a

Dukakis Campaign Supported
By Big-League Bookbinder

process.

JAMES D. BESSER

Washington Correspondent

T

he battle for the cruci-
al Jewish vote in No-
vember continues to
roll along.
On the Democratic side,
Michael Dukakis has added a
big-league player in Jewish
politics to his team. Hyman
Bookbinder, the dean of
Washington Jewish activists,
will soon leave his post as
"emeritus" Washington
-representative for the
American Jewish Committee
and join Dukakis' campaign
staff as an advisor.
"Bookie," an associate of
Hubert Humphrey in the war
on poverty days, brings to the
campaign a solid connection
with the Democratic liberal-
ism that used to be the
political meat-and-potatoes of
most American Jews. A
strong showing among these
voters could be the margin of
victory in an election that
most analysts expect to be
unusually close.
Bookbinder is expected to
try to patch up some of the
divisions between blacks and
Jews that were aggravated
during the now-ending
primary season — divisions
that have rocked the heart of
the Democratic coalition.
Last year, Bookbinder
published a widely reprinted
article in Moment magazine
telling candidates in both
parties how to approach the
Jewish community. Now, he'll
be able to make his pitch
directly to the candidate.

GOP Courts

Jewish Vote

While Dukakis has been
courting Bookbinder, who, in
turn, will be courting Jews,
the Republicans haven't ex-
actly been idle. Last week, a
new group was formed to
boost Jewish support — finan-
cial and electoral — for Vice
President Bush.
The Jewish Coalition for
Bush was formally launched
with a long list of well-heeled
backers. By the time the GOP
convention rolls around this
summer, the group expects to
have a permanent staffer
working at the Bush national
headquarters.
The coalition is primarily
the handiwork of Gordie
Zachs, the Ohio mover and
shaker in Jewish affairs who
has been riding the Bush
bandwagon since the
beginning.
And the National Jewish

Hyman Bookbinder: Meat and
potatoes.

Coalition, home base for a
growing number of conser-
vative GOP Jews, has been
working recently to establish
a strong Jewish presence on
the GOP platform. The coali-
tion has been working infor-
mally through its network of
contacts in the Republican
Party, especially with the key
members of the platform pro-
cess — Rep. Jack Kemp (N.Y.)
and Sen. Bob Kasten (Wisc.).
The coalition also testified at
last month's platform hear-
ings in Washington.
"I think the Jewish vote
will be heavily contested,"
said Chris Gersten, the Coali-
tion's director. "Especially in
New York, New Jersey, Cali-
fornia and Florida. We're con-
vinced Dukakis will be very
aggressive in seeking Jewish
votes and we're actively work-
ing on tactics to counter that
effort."

House Rethinks
Aid To Israel

With almost no fanfare, an
ad-hoc subcommittee of the
House Foreign Affairs Com-
mittee has been meeting
periodically since the beginn-
ing of the year to consider a
major overhaul of the foreign
aid process. Such changes
could have major implications
for the two biggest recipients
of U.S. aid — Israel and
Egypt.
Officially, the informal com-
mittee was created to make
the foreign aid process more
responsive to changing geo-
political realities. But in fact,
according to Capitol Hill in-
siders, a major goal is to
counter what House members
see as their growing exclusion
from the foreign policy

The committee is also work-
ing in the shadow of continu-
ing pressure on the entire
federal budget — pressure
sure to result in a new, hard
look at foreign aid priorities
in the next few years.
At a meeting of the group
last week, there were hints
that the recent thaw in rela-
tions between the United
States and the Soviet Union
may accelerate the movement
to overhaul foreign aid.
But other sources suggest
that there is little chance that
Israel's huge allocation will
be jeopardized soon. Com-
mitments made as part of the
Camp David process will keep
Washington locked in to high
levels of aid for the foresee-
able future.
The ad-hoc group is ex-
pected to make a series of
recommendations by the end
of the year.

Improving
Human Rights

Washington isn't the only
place where American Jewish
activists ply their complex
trade. Warren Eisenberg,
B'nai B'rith's globetrotting
international counsel; is off to
South America to weigh in on
behalf of the rights of Jews in
several countries.
"We are particularly in-
terested in the process of
democratization in Argen-
tina," Eisenberg said before
his departure. "The B'nai
B'rith there is working with
the government to provide
more minority protections.
We are working with them to
support that process."
A continuing problem for
Argentina's 228,000 Jews is
the legal primacy of the
Catholic Church. The presi-
dency, for example, is limited
to Catholics. And anti-
Semitism remains deeply
rooted in Argentine culture.
The outlook of Jews in
Argentina has improved since
democratization started, said
Eisenberg.
"The government is inter-
ested in working on the prob
lem now," he said. "We try to
give them insights into what
works and what doesn't in the
area of civil rights. In
Washington, we encourage
our own government to work
with Argentina to guarantee
minority rights."
Also on Eisenberg's itiner-
ary is Uruguay, a country
with a less-than-sterling
record on human rights. "I'll
be meeting sy:th officials in

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