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September 02, 1988 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-09-02

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

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32

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 1988

consider Catholic-Jewish
relations, South Africa and
the question of Jewish input
on U.N. actions.

Disappointing
Week For Pro
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Warren Eisenberg:
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Washington Correspondent

Cleaning & Lubrication

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Hoover

tent in their day care, and
many people they would like
Uncle Sam to pick up a
greater share."
Silbiger said many of the
old church-staters had realis-
tic concerns that Jews would
be excluded from American
society and are still worried
about that possibility. Jews
who developed political con-
sciousness after that, who by
and large are parents of
young children, want greater
Jewish identification and fun-
ding for services. "They're
more worried about intermar-
riage than anti-Semitism,"
Silbiger said.
The ABC bill, he suggested,
has been the catalyst for in-
tensifying this discussion.

JAMES D. BESSER

n the eve of the an-
nual meeting in
Washington of the In-
ternational Council of B'nai
B'rith, the group's busy direc-
tor, Warren Eisenberg, re-
ported significant progress in
the matter of civil rights
legislation in several South
American nations — a matter
of special concern to the large
Jewish communities in those
countries.
Eisenberg has been heavily
involved in lobbying for a ma-
jor civil rights law in Argen-
tina and noted that the
Jewish community — B'nai
B'rith and others — were
basically the only groups lob-
bying for civil rights
legislation.
"This is ironic, since it will
have far- reaching implica-
tions for all kinds of
minorities," Eisenberg said.
"For instance, even though
Argentina is predominantly
Catholic, this legislation will
offer protection to Protestant
groups."
Through Eisenberg's of-
fices, B'nai B'rith supplied
Argentine legislators with a
variety of supporting docu-
ments — including informa-
tion on U.S. civil rights
legislation.
Eisenberg admitted that it
is still questionable how well
the new law will be enforced
in the volatile political at-
mosphere of that country.
"Argentina is not_ the
United States," he said.
s
"Recently, there have been
positive signs; the govern-
ment has clamped down on
Nazi and other terrorist
groups. It is a very tense
situation there; the majority
want democratic government,
but you have a very stagnant
economy, which makes things
much more difficult."
Eisenberg has also been in-
volved in similar efforts in
Uruguay and Brazil. In
Uruguay, the International
Council's office played a
significant role in a recent
declaration by the Uru-
guayan congress urging the
United Nations to repeal its
"Zionism as racism" resolu-
tion.
And in Brazil, Eisenberg's
office is providing input on a
new constitution that will
hopefully provide guarantees
against religious or racial
discrimination.
The International Council's
meetings this week will also

Church Staters
Haggling Over
Day Care Bill

Despite the congres-
sional recess, the ferment
over child care continues in
Washington.
The Act for Better Child
Care (ABC) bill has been held
in both houses, in part
because religious groups can't
agree on a suitable balance
between the needs of sec-
tarian day care providers — a
majority of all service pro-
viders — and the demands of
strict separationists.
Recently, there are strong
indications in the House that_
the bill may not come to the
floor this session because Rep.
Gus Hawkins (D-Calif.), the
powerful chairman of the
House education and labor
committee, is still troubled by
the inability of religious and
civil liberties groups — in-
cluding several major Jewish
organizations — to work out
a widely acceptable com-
promise on church state
language.
According to Steve Silbiger,
Washington representative of
the American Jewish Con-
gress, the conflict within the
Jewish community is a sign
that the traditional opposi-
tion of Jewish groups to
federal funding for sectarian
services is changing.
"I think there's a lot of
uncertainty in the Jewish
community," Silbiger said.
"When we got into this ABC
thing, the place split apart.
The organized Jewish com-
munity are increasingly in
favor of greater Jewish con-

-\/

Last week was a rugged
one for pro-Israel forces in
Washington. First there were
the hard words by Deputy
Secretary of State John C.
Whitehead about Israel's con-
tinuing policy of deportations,
and the embarrassing action
by U.S. special trade repres ✓a- N
tative Clayton Yeutter plac-
ing Israel on a list of six na-
tions to be investigated for
abuse of workers. Both events
caught the pro-Israel com- N
munity by surprise.
And in a major disappoint-
. ment, President Reagan de-
cided on Monday not to ap-
peal Judge Edmund L Pal.mi-
eri's decision overturning the
closing of the PLO's New York
offices.
Late last week, there were C\
mixed signals as Monday's
deadline for appeal drew near.
On one hand, pro-Israel ac- (
tivists• were convinced that
the new attorney general,
Richard Thornburgh, was
even more committed to en-
forcing the legislation man-
dating the closure than his
predecessor.
But fierce opposition within
the State Department, espe-
cially from department legal
adviser Abraham Sofaer, pre-
vailed during last-minute
debate before the President,
who is at his California
ranch.
Despite pressure from a
group of legislators including
Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.),
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-
Iowa), Sen. William Roth (R.-
Del.), Rep. Dan Burton (R-
ind.) and Rep. Jack Kemp (R-
N.Y.), State Department op-
position apparently carried
the day.

(

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