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July 01, 1988 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-07-01

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

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30 FRIDAY, JULY 1, 1988

41 10

inm11

Jewish Lobbyists Again
Help Block McClure Bill

JAMES BESSER

Special to The Jewish News

ust when Soviet Jewry
activists thought the
Jackson-Vanik amend-
ment was safe for another leg-
islative season, Sen. James
McCLure last week changed
playing fields with his
amendment designed to set
stringent new requirements
for trade concessions to the
Soviet Union.
But intensive, last-minute
lobbying by Jewish groups
helped turn the tide against
the McClure proposal. When
the votes were counted on
Monday morning, the Idaho
conservative was on the short
end of a 57-24 vote. Still, there
are signs that McClure is not
ready to concede defeat.
The McClure amendment,
originally tacked on to the--
monumental Department of
Defense Authorization bill,
would make full Soviet com-
pliance with the Helsinki ac-
cords on human rights a pre-
condition of improved trade
relations between Washing-
ton and Moscow.
But most Soviet Jewry ac-
tivists worry that the more
stringent — and less realistic
— requirements of McClure's
measure would actually
thwart liberalization in the
Soviet Union. An alliance of
Jewish activists worked
feverishly two weeks ago to
beat back the McClure
amendment when the DOD
bill went to house-senate con-
ference, an effort that was
successful.
But last week, McClure
reintroduced his amendment
as part of a Treasury and
Postal appropriations bill. If
that wasn't a clear enough
signal, he announced his in-
tention to keep adding his
provision to unrelated bills, a
procedure that the loose
Senate rules on amendments
allow.
Late last week, there was
talk of a possible compromise
which would tie Most Favored
Nation status to emigration
alone — a bit of legislative
legerdemain that would have
limited the measure to the old
requirements of
Jackson-Vanik.

j

Arms Scandal

May Quash F-18
Sale To Kuwait

The spreading stain of the
Pentagon arms scandal may
give a boost to opponents of

several pending arms sales to

Middle Eastern nations.
According to Capitol Hill
sources, the proposed sale of
40 F-18 aircraft to Kuwait is
especially threatened by the
scandal; the F-18's builder,
McDonnell Douglas Corpora-
tion, is being investigated in
connection with sales of the
sophisticated airplane to
Switzerland. While there has
been no hint that the propos-
ed Kuwaiti sale was similar-
ly tainted, there are indica-
tions that Congress plans to
take a new, hard look at the
entire process of selling ad-
vanced arms to foreign
governments.

And Kuwait's recent deci-
sion to contribute to the $50
million fun`being funneled to
Palestinian dissidents in
Israel's occupied territories
isn't winning that country
any points on the Hill, where
congressional sentiment
against Middle East arms
sales is already running high.
"There's growing talk that
all of the arms sales con-
nected to the scandals should
be nullified," said one House
source. "And the Kuwaiti sup-
port for the uprising will
make things even tougher for
the administration to make
this deal. At this point, it
looks very likely that the
sales will be sunk."

Dems' Platform
Avoids Plank On
Palestinians

Pro-Israel activists are
heaving a great sigh of relief
as the Democratic platform
negotiations in Denver wind
to a close without any
language urging an indepen-
dent Palestinian state.
Sources close to the process
indicate that the Dukakis
team held fast against pres-
sure by a coalition of Arab
groups and Jesse Jackson
supporters. Madeline
Albright, in particular, was
singled out for effective
leadership at the tough
bargaining sessions; Albright
is Dukakis' chief foreign af-
fairs advisor.
And the Jackson forces,
according to political consul-
tant Mark Siegel, brought up
various pro-Palestinian pro-
posals in "a measured and
genteel way. The draft we
ended up with is very specific
about the importance of the
U.S.-Israeli relationship. And
it's also a clear endorsement
of the Camp David process."
The push for language en-
dorsing an independent

Palestinian state, Siegel said,
was mostly a bargaining chip
that Jackson forces were will-
ing to give up in trade for
other concessions on the
platform.
The Palestinian state issue
might still be brought up as
a minority report from the
Convention floor. But Party
sources insist that this is
unlikely without Rev. Jack-
son's approval — and so far, at
least, Jackson has not put the
Palestinian cause anywhere
near the top of his political
wish list.

Aide's Op-Ed Just
A PR Ploy?

One of the intriguing
mysteries on the diplomatic
circuit these days is the real
origin of the "Bassani Abu
Sharif" document that has
been circulating in
Washington for several
weeks.
In the short article, appar-
ently intended as an op-ed
story for American news-
papers, the top aide to PLO
chief Yassir Arafat argues for
PLO acceptance of UN resolu-
tions 242 and 338, and for
direct talks between the Jeru-
salem government and the
PLO. The document was first
circulated at the Arab sum-
mit in Algiers; since then , it
has been denounced by a vari-
ety of Palestinian leaders.

For more than a week, the
Sharif document caused in-
tense debate among journal-
ists covering the State
Department. Was the type-
written, unsigned manuscript
genuine? Did it reflect altered
thinking at the top levels of
the PLO — or was it a public
relations gambit?
Adding to the mystery was
the tone of the letter. In the
past, PLO documents have
never been known for their
subtlty. This one, in contrast,
bore the mark of Western
public relations expertise.
In part, the Sharif letter
may be the direct result of the
efforts of an American Jewish
peace activist to get the PLO
to change its tune. Jerome
Segal, a Washington expert in
philosophy and public policy
who met with Arafat in Tunis
last year, has been pushing
the PLO to adopt a more
moderate stance — and to find
ways to mollify one of the
group's staunchest opponents,
American Jewry.
"What I told Arafat — and
what I've argued in recent
articles in the Arabic press



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