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November 25, 1988 - Image 43

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-11-25

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

Tnr.777.

7 OW 7



TVvo Elections

ALAN HITSKY

Associate Editor

INI ew Orleans — The No-
vember elections in the
United States and Is-
rael were a major topic
for Council of Jewish
Federation delegates.
Tom Dine called the elections "a
moment of change" because of a new
U.S. administration, a new Congress,
a new government in Israel and "a
new campagn by the PLO aimed at
the United States."
Dine, executive director of the
American Israel Public Affairs Com-
mittee, predicted Jim Baker will be
one of the most infleuntial secretaries
of state in recent history. He said-
foreign aid and cooperation with
Israel will remain high, but he also
expects the Bush administration to
propose a major arms sale to Saudi
Arabia.
The election boosted already
strong support for Israel in the House
and Senate, Dine said, and support for
Israel over the Arabs is running at 4:1
in the national polls. But the
American Jewish community must
remain vigilant because of arms pro-
posals and local initiatives supporting
the Arab cause.
Israel Ambassador to the United
States Moshe Arad said the Israeli
election displayed "a popular consen-
sus to continue the search for peace
in the Middle East and a healthy
distrust of the Palestinian leader-
ship?'
The new Israeli government pri-
orities will be to reduce violence in
the territories and strengthen
cooperation between Israel and the
United States.

Voting Like
The Unemployed

Using statistics from exit polls on
Nov. 8 and CBS/New York Times poll
data, Dr. Larry Sternberg of Brandeis
University concluded that American
Jews vote more like the unemployed
and Hispanics than any other white
group in the United States.
Israel, he said, is the bottom-line
interest of American Jews, but both
the Republican and Democratic par-
ties offered strong support for Israel.
"Despite the Jesse Jackson factor,
Jews still voted Democratic because
Jews are more liberal than the rest of
the nation on social issues?' Sternberg
said. His data shows:
• 75 percent of Jews support social
welfare programs.

Shoshana Cardin

Mandell Berman

Max Fisher

• 88 percent support homosexual
rights.
• 81 percent support abortion.
• 90 percent support gun control.
• 70 percent support affirmative
action.
"The Jews are at home in the
Democratic Party?' Sternberg said.
"We have to leave home to vote
Republican. Just as the Democrats
are held hostage by forces on the left,
the Republicans are held hostage by
forces on the right."
On the same panel, Dr. Gilbert
Kahn of the Synagogue Council of
America described the SCA's Jewish
voter registration drive in Chicago,
Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco
and Philadelphia (New York has its
own effort). "Jews vote 20-25 percent
more than the national norm?' Kahn
said, "but overall the numbers are
dropping."
The registration drive was started
after a 1983 study in south Florida
showed declining registration among
permanent residents. In Dade Coun-
ty, 70 percent of eligible Jews were
registered to vote in 1983. In
Broward, the figure was 56 percent,
and in Palm Beach County 36
percent.

75 percent of American Jews do not
believe anti-Semitism is a serious
problem.
"We perceive anti-Semitism is
high, and blame blacks and fun-
damentalist Protestants," he said.
"We believe conservatives and
Republicans are more anti-Semitic
than liberals and Democrats. And we
have a strong disposition to see our
enemies as anti-Semitic?'
Cohen said studies in the last 20
years show that blacks are 41 percent
favorable to Jews and 9 percent un-
favorable. Catholics are 45 percent
favorable and 11 percent unfavorable.
Protestants are 45 percent favorable
and 6 percent unfavorable.
Cohen's perception is that the
more Jews are involved in Jewish
organizations, the more inclined they
are to perceive anti-Semitism.
He said anti-Semitism is defined
loosely by Jews as any antagonism,
when its true definition is an irra-
tional and illogical hatred.
Cohen met with a storm of criti-
cism during the question period
following his talk. Delegates de-
scribed anti-Semitic incidents in
their hometowns.
"How much do these individual
events affect us?" Cohen responded.
"Do you believe there is the possibili-
ty of a Holocaust in America?" The
audience responded yes, but Cohen
said this is not possible because,
unlike Nazi Germany, anti-Semitism
is not institutionalized in the United
States.
"I am not saying there is no anti-
Semitism, but it is not the threat you
are making it out to be," Cohen said.
"Which hurts you more: Jewish

children who do not know Jewish
history or gentiles who do not know
the beauty of the Jewish people?"
The intifada, fundmentalists,
Jesse Jackson and Middle East
developments have made American
Jews nervous, Cohen said. The same
thing happened in 1981 during the
Lebanon war, giving Jews the percep-
tion of increased anti-Semitism.
Ted Comet of the CJF took the
middle ground, saying that anti-
Semitism in the United States did not
increase despite the convictions of
Ivan Boesky and other Jewish finan-
ciers, the linkage of Israel to the
Iran-Contra scandal, and the Jona-
than Pollard spy case.
Comet said anti-Semitism must
be counteracted, that organizations
must listen to their grassroots, but
that a Holocaust was not coming in
the United States.

Unpopular Look
At Anti-Semitism

Jewish perceptions of anti-
Semitism are largely inaccurate, acor-
ding to Queens College political scien-
tist Dr. Steven Cohen.
Contending that Jews and Jewish
organizations spend more money than
necessary to fight anti-Semitism,
Cohen said recent surveys show that

Berman Looks
At The Future

At the CJF General Assembly's
opening plenary, President Mandell
Berman of Detroit compared the
growth of Jewish federations in North
America over the last 20 years to pro-
jections for the next 20.
Berman said the federations ex-
hibited a "new kind of consciousness"
20 years ago after Israel's Six-Day
War and the 1967 riots in the United
States. The federations moved from
solely providing human services to
helping maintain and enhance the
Jewish community. And the Soviet
Jewry movement began.
Twenty years later, Jewish federa-
tions have moved from a $360 million

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

43

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