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January 06, 1989 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-01-06

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Washington Correspondent


fficials at B'nai B'rith
headquarters in
Washington were pat-
ting themselves on the back
last week after the group's
unprecedented foray into the
Soviet Union.
After months of behind-the-
scenes work by Dan
Mariaschin, the group's fast-
moving public affairs director,
a delegation of B'nai B'rith
leaders visited Moscow and
met with Soviet officials on a
, wide range of issues.
The most dramatic result
was the - opening of a
38-member B'nai B'rith unit
in Moscow, the first time an
international Jewish organi-
zation has had an official
presence within the Soviet
Union. The group also propos-
ed the establishment of a per-
manent B'nai B'rith office in
the Soviet Union.
The group, which included
B'nai B'rith president
Seymour Reich, Mariaschin,
Thomas Neumann, and repre-
sentatives of several key
B'nai B'rith programs, also
discussed the current U.S.-
Palestine Liberation
Oorganization initiative, the
pressing need for rabbis for
Jews remaining in the Soviet
Union and Pamyat, the ultra-
nationalistic Soviet group im-
plicated in recent outbreaks
of anti-Semitism.
"It was important that we
raised these issues in the way
we did," said Mariaschin. "We
talked directly to the Soviet
ministries concerned with
these questions — which
made it more likely that our
views would be a part of the
mix that eventually results in
new Soviet policies."

Israeli Info
Officer Mending
U.S. Fences

27831 Southfield Rd.


HOURS: MON. thru FRI. 10 to 7 • SAT. 10 to 6•SUN. 10 to 4


42nd B'nai B'rith Chapter
Opens In The Soviet Union

It's been an agonizing year
for the staff of the Israeli em-
bassy in Washington, beginn-
ing with the early rounds of
the intifada and ending with
the U.S. opening to the P.L.O.
But at least in one area,
there has been a significant
change. David Peleg, the em-
bassy's new information
minister, has moved quickly
to restore lines of communica-
tion with Jewish groups
around the country, and
especially with the small
corps of Washington repre-
sentatives of the major
Jewish organizations.

"He came in at a very dif-
ficult time, with the Israeli
elections and the 'Who is a
Jew' issue," said one official
with a -big Jewish organiza-
tion here. "And, frankly, he
came at a time when the em-
bassy was under a lot of
criticism for ignoring the
organized Jewish community
in this country. In three
months, he's mended a lot of
Three months ago, Jewish
representatives were fre-
quently squabbling with the
embassy over requests for in-
formation; today, they are
receiving updates almost on a
daily basis.
Peleg is a 46-year-old career
diplomat who has served as
counselor for information in
London and as a personal
aide to Simcha Dinitz. He has
been in the foreign ministry
for 23 years.
"My most important role is
to coordinate Israeli infor-
mation activities in Wash-
ington," Peleg said. "I am
very concerned about
strengthening the good rela-
tions that exist now between
Israel, the embassy here, and
the Jewish organizations. A
major part of my job is to look
for new avenues of friend-

Activists Meet
With Greek

Jewish representatives fac-
ed off with the Greek am-
bassador last week over its re-
cent refusal to extradite to
Italy a Palestinian suspected
of participating in a 1982 at-
tack on a Rome synagogue.
"It . was not a satisfactory
meeting," said David Harris,
Washington representative of
the American Jewish Com-
mittee. "We made it very
clear we were not satisfied by
the explanations offered by
the ambassador. We urged the
ambassador to convey our
shock and dismay to his
government in Athens, and
he indicated that he would."
But the Jewish activists
who met with Ambassador
George Papoulias were also
mindful of another impen-
ding extradition case: Greece
is considering an American
request to extradite Moham-
med Rashid, who has been ac-
cused of participation in the
1986 bombing of a TWA flight
from Rome to Athens. Four
Americans died in that
Also attending the meeting
were representatives of the

David Harris:
`We were not satisfied.'

Anti-Defamation League of
the B'nai B'rith and the In-
ternational Council of the
B'nai B'rith.
Meanwhile, Rep. Larry
Smith (D-Fla.) was busy last
week preparing a "sense of
the Congress" resolution urg-
ing the Greek government to
honor their extradition
obligations in the Rashid

Job Changes
Bring Same

Things may be quiet on
Capitol Hill during the lull
between administrations, but
action on the job-hunting
front is hot and heavy, both in
government and in Washing-
ton's sprawling non-profit
Chris Gersten, executive
director of the conservative
National Jewish Coalition,
will be leaving his post soon
— hopefully for a job in the in-
coming Bush administration.
Gersten reportedly is inter-
ested in a position in the
State Department. According
to sources in the Bush camp,
there will be no decision on a
position for Gersten until
mid-January, when James
Baker takes the reins at the
State Department.
Another rumored appoint-
ment involves Robert H.
Pelletreau Jr., the U.S. am-
bassador to Tunisia and sole
link between Washington and
the PLO. Pelletreau is at the
top of the list of replacements
for Richard Murphy, assistant
secretary of state for Near
Eastern affairs.
Pro-Israel lobbyists regard
the 26-year foreign service
veteran with mixed feelings;
according to several sources,
he is a hard-working profes-
sional diplomat who has very

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