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May 11, 1990 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-05-11

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

INSIDE WASHINGTON

JAMES D. BESSER

Washington Correspondent

Is White House Using
Iraq To Push Israel?

re recent administra-
tion overtures to Iraq
part of a broader
effort to put pressure on the
Israelis to reject a new
Likud-led government?
Rep. Howard Berman (D-
Calif.), who has led the fight
for strict sanctions on the
government of Saddam Hus-
sein, has staked out a posi-
tion that the administration
is doing just that.
"They're losing sight of
the big picture, seemingly
because of their irritation
over the Likud govern-
ment," Berman said in an
interview last week. "I
cannot fathom what the ad-
ministration is doing. If this
is an effort to express irrita-
tion with Israel, it is under-
mining all its concerns on
weapons proliferation and
with the Middle East peace
process by doing so."
And the administration's
steadfast opposition to sanc-
tions designed to slow down
Iraq's quest for an arsenal of
chemical and nuclear
weapons, along with the
missiles to deliver them, can
only add to the deadly arms

Howard Berman:
'Threat needed.'

race in the region, Berman
said.
During his recent Middle
East trip, Sen. Robert Dole
(R-Kan.) met with Hussein
as a representative of the
administration. The meeting
occurred just two weeks
after Hussein had threaten-

ed to unleash chemical
weapons against Israel in
response to any attempt to
pre-empt his growing
arsenal of chemical weapons
and his active quest for a
nuclear capability.
Berman argued that at-
tempts to develop better re-
lations with the Iraqi
government are doomed to
fail.
"The only thing that will
work is the threat that Iraq's
ability to revive itself econ-
omically will be jeopardized
by virtue of Western retalia-
tion for its conduct," Ber-
man said.
Berman remains confident
that his comprehensive
measure to apply a wide
range of sanctions against
Iraq will survive congres-
sional scrutiny — despite in-
tense opposition by the ad-
ministration.
"We're in the process of
trying to get a hearing on
the bill," he said. "Then
there are many avenues
open to us, from a freestan-
ding bill to placing it on the
foreign assistance bill or the
export administration
legislation when it gets to
the House floor. I think
there is a strong bi-partisan
majority here to take action
on the question of Iraq."

Jewish Groups Backing
Bill To Ease AIDS Burden

Almost lost in the blizzard
of legislation in Congress is
an important AIDS measure
that has attracted the atten-
tion of some Jewish groups.
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-
Mass.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch
(R- Utah) have teamed up
with 24 colleagues to pro-
mote the Comprehensive
AIDS Resources Emergency
Act (CARE).
The bill is an attempt to
provide some relief for AIDS
patients and their families
who now are seeing their fi-
nances wiped out by the
astronomical costs of
treating the disease.
The bill would provide
emergency funding for AIDS
treatment. Under current
regulations, the only federal
assistance available is based
on Medicaid formulas, in
which patients and their
families must become im-
poverished before becoming
eligible for aid, or Medicare,
which requires recipients to
be disabled for two years
before becoming eligible for
benefits.
And with AIDS, few pa-
tients survive for two years
after becoming disabled.
"This is a very creative

liabbanit' No Rabbi,
So Senate Backs Off

Last week, the office of
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
announced with con-
siderable fanfare a Capitol
Hill first: a woman rabbi
was scheduled to give the
opening invocation at
Wednesday's session.
But the fanfare quickly
turned into a controversy
that raged through Jewish
political circles.
Hatch, who had met
Rachel Sorotzkin during one
of his trips to Israel, had
been impressed by her title
of "Rabbanit." Unfortimate-
ly, Hatch or someone on his
staff assumed the word to be
synonymous with "Rabbi."

In fact, "Rabbanit" is a
Hebrew word referring to
the wife of a rabbi — which
is exactly what Sorotzkin is.
She is also the mother of 13
children.
Sorotzkin's own resume
described her as the
daughter of a rabbinic fami-
ly, and described her as
"Spiritual Guide to the wo-
men of her congregation."
The plot thickened when
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)
got wind of the plan. As
president pro tempore of
the Senate, Byrd has nomi-
nal control over the office of
the Senate Chaplain, which,
in turn, decides who gets to
give the opening prayer
everyday.
Byrd quickly nixed the
Sorotzkin appearance, citing
Senate rules that require

that clergy who give such
invocations must represent
congregations in the United
States — and regulations re-
quiring ordination.
The offices of Sen. Rudy
Boschwitz (R-Minn.), Sen.
Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.)
and Sen. Daniel Patrick
Moynihan (D- N.Y.) provided
information to a Senate hi-
erarchy thoroughly confused
by Jewish titles and affilia-
tions.
There was also word that
several prominent Orthodox
rabbis in New York heard
about Sorotzkin's lack of or-
dination and registered their
objections with friends in the
Senate.
Making matters even more
complicated, some Jewish
Capitol Hill staffers insisted
that Sorotzkin's prayer had
political overtones that
might embarrass Israel's
supporters in Congress.
"It's terribly unfortunate
that the one thing that's not
political in the entire U.S.
Senate's day was politiciz-
ed," said David Luchins, a
special assistant to Sen.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
(D-N.Y.). "That was one of
the most unfortunate
aspects of all this."
By early this week, Hat-
ch's office was trying to wipe
some of the egg off the sena-
tor's face, and some Jewish
politicos were trying to fig-
ure just how the embarrass-
ing sequence of events came
about.

ADL Sets Up Meeting
Between Bush, Kollek

Artwork by Kevin Kreneck of the Roanoke Times & World-News.

Copyright* 1990. Kevin Kreneck. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate.

way to get money in the form
of federal disaster assistance
to the state and local
governments," said Susan
Banes Harris, director of the
Washington office of the
New York UJA-Federation.
"We feel it is important to
put more money into cost-
effective, community-based
care."

Big-city Federations are
playing a particularly active
role in lobbying for the mea-
sure, along with the Ameri-
can Jewish Committee — in
part because Jewish-
affiliated hospitals tend to
be in large urban areas,
where the burden of the
AIDS epidemic has been the
greatest.

President George Bush,
who has had his share of
trouble over the issue of East
Jerusalem in recent weeks,
got some first-hand informa-
tion last week from a man
who knows the situation in-
side out — Mayor Teddy
Kollek.
The meeting was not ex-
actly a coincidence; it was
arranged by the Anti-
Defamation League, a group
which was concerned about
Bush's comments on Jewish
settlements in East
Jerusalem and decided to do
something about it.
Bush and Kollek have a
longstanding relationship;
ADL officials hoped that this
relationship, along with
Kollek's reputation for per-
suasiveness, might have an
impact in the Oval Office.
In meetings with top State

Department officials, ADL
director Abe Foxman and
the group's Washington di-
rector, Jess Hordes, sug-
gested that Kollek might be
able to shed some light on
the Jerusalem question.
"We're very pleased,"
Hordes said after the
meeting. "Only good can
come of it; who is more vi-
sionary on the subject of
Jerusalem than Teddy
Kollek?"
At the White House
meeting, which was also at-
tended by White House chief
of staff John Sununu and
National Security Adviser
Brent Scowcroft, Kollek
brought up a number of sub-
jects, including the substan-
tial growth of Jerusalem's
Arab population since 1967
and the growing number of
municipal services. ❑

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

33

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