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October 07, 1988 - Image 30

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-10-07

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AIPAC Helps Secure Revised
$300 Billion Defense Bill


Washington Correspondent


hen Congress
passed a revised
defense authoriza-
tion bill last week in response
to an earlier presidential veto,
pro-Israel lobbyists won an
important, if very quiet
The authorization bill is the
companion to the defense ap-
propriations bill, which ac-
tually appropriates the $300
billion in defense dollars for
the fiscal year which began
last week. The appropriations
bill also includes goodies for
Israel—including a variety of
joint military research and
development projects and
cooperative ventures.
When the bill was vetoed
earlier, Democrats quickly
sought to lay the blame on
the Republicans — and on
their standard bearer, George
Bush. The case was made
that the veto represented the
triumph of politics over na-
tional security — and over the
interests of Israel.
But pro-Israel lobbyists, in-
cluding staffers from the
American Israel Public Af-
fairs Committee (AIPAC)
played a cagey game. After
the veto, AIPAC lobbyists
sought to keep the provisions
of the bill relating to Israel
out of the deadly crossfire. In-
stead, they worked gingerly
behind the scenes to ensure
that the pro-Israel provisions
did not leak out of the gigan-
tic bill.

Charges Leveled
By Dems, GOP

To hear Washington Jewish
activists talk about it, the
dominant issue of the 1988
presidential campaign
revolves around charges of
anti-Semitism and anti-
Zionism in the top echelons of
both parties.
Last week, the charges con-
tinued to fly. Republican ac-
tivists were busy distributing
reams of material on the
three new members of the
Democratic National Com-
mittee who have ties to the
bizarre politics of Louis
Over on the Democratic
side, there were continuing
reports that Frederic Malek,
the Republican national com-
mittee bigwig who resigned
after revelations of about his
work in the Nixon ad-

ministration, is meeting
quietly with Jewish leaders
in an attempt to smooth over
the crisis.
But under the charges and
counter-charges was a grow-
ing uncertainty about
whether the increasingly nas-
ty campaign for Jewish
hearts and minds means will
actually translate into votes.
Allen Lichtman, a political
scientist at American Univer-
sity in Washington who has
developed a reputation for
predicting presidential elec-
tions, is convinced that these
salvos will do little to affect
the final tally of the Jewish
"At this point, there's prob-
ably stronger ammunition on
the part of the Democrats," he
said. "But it's not very credi-
ble, portraying Bush as an
anti-Semite. This just isn't
likely to be a major factor in
the Jewish vote."
In the Jewish community, '
he said, exchanges of accusa-
tions will likely prove less im-
portant than traditional
Jewish voting patterns.

tion to the underlying U.S.
labor policy than with any
hostility to Israel.
But the broader Jewish
community, he suggested,
takes the matter more
seriously. "They see it as an
outrage," he said. "The idea of
putting Israel on a list of na-
tions along with Haiti and
Syria is so totally outrageous
that it's touched off some real
deep feelings."
Hearings on the charges are
scheduled for mid-November.

No Visa
For Arafat Yet

'Dade Bill Hearing
Is Issue For
Jewish Group

Sometimes, the Jewish
grass roots move in directions
that surprise activists in the
peculiar, inward-turned world
of Washington.
Such may be the case in the
controversy generated by the
action of the U.S. Trade
Representative Clayton Yeut-
ter placing Israel on a list of
nations to be investigated for
alleged labor abuses.
According to several con-
gressional offices, the trade
representative flap has been
at the top of the list for
visiting Jewish groups.
"We had a UJA group in
last week," said an aide to one
legislator. "They sort of
caught us unawares by their
strong interest in the issue; to
be honest, it was something
my own boss hadn't really
looked at."
Another aide on the Senate
side reported a strong output
of letters on the issue from
Jewish communities around
the country — an outpouring
apparently unrelated to any
organized effort to generate
Washington activists, this
aide suggested, tend to view
the issue in the context of the
political game. According to
this view, Yeutter's actions
had more to do with his objec-

Rep. Jack Kemp: No to Arafat.

The jockeying over a visa
for Yassir Arafat becomes
more complex every day,
despite the fact that the PLO
leader has not clearly an-
nounced his intention to visit
this country in November to
address the United Nations.
The State Department con-
tinued to refuse to say
whether it would grant a visa
to Yassir Arafat, head of the
Palestine Liberation Organi-
zation, if he decides to address
the United Nations General
Assembly this fall.
"He has not applied for a
visa," State Department
spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley
said. "We don't speculate on
hypothetical cases."
Her comments came after
51 senators sent a letter to
Secretary of State George
Shultz urging him to deny a
visa to Arafat. A similar let-
ter was being circulated in
the House by Rep. Jack Kemp
Among the signers of the
Senate letter, initiated by
Sens. Charles Grassley (R-
Iowa), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.)
and Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.)

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