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January 20, 1989 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-01-20

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Malek's Maneuvers

Remember Fred Malek? He's a close friend of George Bush and
was a top official of the Republican National Committee until press
reports during last fall'uresidential campaign did him in. They iden-
tified him as the forme` House aide to Richard Nixon who
participated in a plot to identify Jewish employees of the Bureau
of Labor Statistics on Nixon's orders. When the story broke last fall,
Malek resigned and lost his chance to become Bush's chief of staff.
The reason why this is relevant now is that Malek would like
a post in the Bush administration and feels that he needs Jewish
acquiescence to succeed.
Malek has been meeting with Jewish groups of late, making his
case that he is not and never has been an anti-Semite. In an exclusive
interview this week with James Besser, our Washington correspon-
dent, Malek notes that while he indeed made a mistake giving in
to pressure from Nixon, he was a young staffer at the time. After
all, how many people have the courage to defy a presidential request?
And he acknowledges that his effort to soothe Jewish suspicions is
tied to his quest for a position with the new Administration. "I think
it would be very difficult to have a meaningful role in public ser-
vice," he says, "if any important group in this country questioned
your morals or your ethics, or your attitudes towards them."
Going public with his mea culpa is a positive step for Malek,
and a revealing one. It seems that if a close friend of Bush with
political ambitions has a "Jewish problem;' he makes the rounds
of Jewish groups to smoothe things over and all is forgiven. It work-
ed for John Sununu, the new chief of staff, and it appears to be work-
ing for Malek.
But one is left wondering why George Bush is drawn to politi-
cians with Jewish problems and how often they can continue to go
to the well.

ship was strengthened despite crises over the war in Lebanon, the
Pollard spy case and policy toward the PLO.
Mr. Bush will have his work cut out for him. He lacks his
predecessor's instant likeability and high style, but he is more
curious, more active, more involved. His sheer presence in the Oval
Office will connote a shift in emphasis, if not direction.
Until today, Mr. Bush has been fairly circumspect about the
specific directions of his administration. But his appointments sug-
gest that he will be more pragmatic than some suspected and less
ideologically conservative than others desired. One appointment in
particular — James A. Baker III as Secretary of State — is a case
of pragmatism over ideology, a combination that has worried some
American Jews regarding the new administration's course in the Mid-
dle East.
For most of its eight years, the Reagan administration had an
ideological commitment toward Israel exemplified by Secretary of
State George Shultz and Mr. Reagan himself. No one in the new ad-
ministration is believed to have that kind of gut level empathy with
the Jewish state. Certainly not Bush or Baker. There is concern that
with the opening of U.S. talks with the PLO, Washington will put
increasing pressure on Israel to make sacrifices of land and security.
Mr.. Bush's blueprint for the nation and his stance toward the
Middle East will unfold in the next few weeks and months. In the
meantime, we wish him luck and wisdom. For the sake of the na-
tion and the presidency, we pray that his vision of a kinder, gentler
nation, and world, will become reality.


'15 NEW MO'

The Bush Era

At noon-today, George Herbert Walker Bush will raise his right
hand, recite the oath of the office of the presidence and become the
nation's 41st Chief Executive.
For Mr. Bush, noon will mark the high point of a life that has,
for the most part, been committed to public service. For the nation,
it will mark the end of the Reagan Era,, eight years highlighted by
some contradictory capstones: a charming but often distant presi-
dent who brought renewed pride to the nation while leaving us with
us a huge federal deficit. During his tenure, the U.S.-Israel relation-


Vs. Rejection
I am appalled at the
narrow-mindedness of Rabbi
Simeon J. Maslin and Rabbi
Hirsch towards the inter-
marriage of Jews with non-
Jews as discussed in David
Frazer's article, "Intermar-
riage." Do they believe their
refusal to perform intermar-
riages will prevent them, or
force non-Jews to first
If my wife and I had con-
sulted with Rabbi Maslin or
Rabbi Hirsch about our inter-
marriage, I would have felt re-
jected by the Jewish faith and
would probably not have



subsequently converted.
Stubborness will only
alienate non-Jews. However,
rabbis who do perform inter-
marriages are essentially in-
viting the non-Jewish partner
to join the Jewish faith.
This invitation will not
always lead to conversion, but
the non-Jew will be much
more receptive to the Jewish
faith being practiced and
taught in the home.
Whatever reasons and in-
tentions Rabbi Maslin, Rabbi
Hirsch, and the Committee of
100 have for opposing inter-
marriage, their bullheadish
attitude is doing nothing to
reverse the decline of the
Jewish population.

Hopefully the restatement
on their position is a signal
that their attitudes are
changing, and not the same
position being stated in less
adverse words.

Sean H. Cook


Example Atypical
I would like to comment on
the piece concerning inter-
marriage written by David R.
Frazier (Jan. 6).
Mr. Frazier refers to
"Operation Outreach" in his
article. I believe that what he
really means is the Com-
mission on Reform Jewish

Outreach, jointly sponsored
by the Union of Ameri-
can Hebrew Congregations
(UAHC) and the Central Con-
ference of Reform Rabbis
(CCAR), which was created in
1978. As the UAHC outreach
coordinator for the North
East Lakes Region, I would
like to clarify some of the
points raised by Mr. Frazier.
First, the purpose of
outreach is not, as Mr. Frazier
indicated, to seek "to en-
courage conversion to
Judaism." Outreach program-
ming is designed for inter-
faith couples, the children of
interfaith couples, Jews by
Choice, and the parents of
inter-faith couples. A fun-

damental premise of outreach
is to accept the individual or
couple as they define
themselves spiritually and
religiously and to work with
them, providing a Reform


Continued on Page 10


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