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April 27, 1990 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-27

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Was Dole Acting
On His Own?

Or were the Republican leader's
criticisms of Israel representative of the
Administration's frustration with


Washington Correspondent

ewish organizations in
Washington are doing
damage control duty in
the wake of Sen. Robert
Dole's recent statements at-
tacking the "sense of the
Senate" resolution affirming
Jerusalem as the capital of
But beneath the hectic
effort to generate letters and
calls to Israel's friends in
Congress are several deeper
issues that haunt pro-Israel
activists: to what extent was
Dole, the Senate minority
leader, acting as a surrogate
for an administration in-
creasingly frustrated by
Israel's internal political
And, more immediately,
what does Dole plan next in
his assault on some of the
pillars of the U.S.-Israeli re-
Dole dropped his verbal
bombs during a recent trip to
Israel, Syria, Egypt, Iraq
and Jordan. Also present
were Sen. James McClure
(R-Idaho), Sen. Alan Simp-
son (R-Wyo.), Sen. Charles
Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen.
Howard Metzenbaum (D-
During his swing through
the Middle East, Dole en-
countered widespread Arab
outrage over the Senate
measure, a fact that osten-
sibly caused the legislator to
reconsider his position; Dole
had been one of 80 co-
sponsors of the original bill.
There appears little
likelihood that the Senate
might reconsider its resolu-
tion on Jerusalem — espe-
cially in light of the lopsided
vote on March 22 in favor of
the non-binding measure,
which was promoted heavily
by Sen. Daniel Patrick
Moynihan (D-N.Y.).
Even Dole's own party
blasted his statements. At a
dramatic news conference
last week, Dole's positions
were criticized by a group of
leading House Republicans,
including Rep. Newt
Gingrich (R-Ga.), the GOP
House whip. In an acid
exchange last week, Dole
lashed out at his House col-
leagues for using


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"inaccurate information" in
their criticisms. Privately,
Dole's representatives were
warning of a GOP rift over
Middle East policy.
By Friday, it was clear
that Dole would not actually
seek repeal of the resolution
on Jerusalem.
But there are continuing
questions about whether
Dole was acting as an infor-
mal agent of the administra-
tion. In private conversa-
tions, administration offi-
cials make no secret of the
fact that they are interested



Robert Dole:
Statements intentional?

in pressuring the Israelis to
put together a government
capable of accepting Secre-
tary of State James Baker's
Middle East peace plan.
In recent weeks, ad-
ministration officials have
quietly expressed their
frustration over the political
turmoil in Israel, and have
privately conveyed their
warnings to Israel's leaders
against forming another
"national unity" govern-
ment that would be incapa-
ble of taking conclusive ac-
tion on the Baker peace
There is widespread
speculation that Dole's
comments were intended to
drive home that point.
"They may not have told
him what to do," said one of-
ficial with a pro-Israel
organization. "But there is
absolutely no doubt that he
received encouragement
Continued on Page 22


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