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June 15, 1990 - Image 29

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-06-15

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Washington Correspondent


very spring, the Wash-
ington policy con-
ference of the Ameri-
can Israel Public Affairs
Committee (AIPAC) sets the
tone for pro-Israel activism
for the year.
Last year, the mood was
bleak after Secretary of
State James Baker kicked
off the conference with his
controversial speech urging
Israel to give up its "dreams
of a greater Israel."
This year, the mood was
decidedly more upbeat,
despite months of damaging
headlines and abundant
evidence of the deteriorating
U.S.-Israeli relationship.
"Last year we were deal-
ing with a new administra-
tion, and we were trying to
come to terms with the Pa-
lestinian uprising," said one
AIPAC official after the
Sunday night session.
"There was a lot of ambigu-
ity and uncertainty. This
year, the battle lines are
much clearer. Paradoxically,
the problems of the past few
months have made it more
obvious what we have to do."
The conference was
notable for its cautious ap-

Tom Dine:
"Enduring reality."
proach to projections that
Yitzhak Shamir was on the
verge of forging a narrow
Likud coalition that would
be the most extreme in
Israel's history.
In his "state of AIPAC"
speech, the group's exec-
utive director, Tom Dine, re-

peated a formulation that
may become the underlying
theme for the pro-Israel
community this year.
Referring to continuing
bonds between the two coun-
tries, Dine said that "this
enduring reality does not
depend on one administra-
tion in the United States or
another in Israel. If there
are mistakes along the way,
this does not subtract one
iota from our vital work and
our sacred mission."
Dine returned to this
theme — that the relation-
ship transcends the in-
dividual leaders on both
ends of the alliance —
several times during the
speech, obvious references to
the expected confrontations
between a narrow Likud-led
coalition in Jerusalem and
the Bush administration.

Dine pointed out a long list
of positive actions by the
Bush administration, in-
cluding heightened military
cooperation between the two
countries and the almost
automatic approval of
Israel's $3 billion in foreign
aid, and predicted an early
end to the U.S.-PLO dia-
logue. "The dialogue has
failed," he said, "and the
administration has no choice
but to end it."

Democratic Group
For Jews Is Imminent

The long-promised organ-
ization for Jewish
Democrats appears to be a
few steps closer.
The Jewish Democratic
Study Group, which was

Hyman Bookbinder:
"Resurgence likely."

created to bolster Michael
Dukakis' 1988 presidential
campaign in the Jewish
community, is now inter-
viewing a "short list" of pro-
spective directors, according
to the group's Washington

consultant, longtime Jewish
activist Hyman Bookbinder.
The new group is also filing
incorporation papers.
The development of the
organization, which will be
similar to the GOP's Na-
tional Jewish Coalition, was
delayed by disputes between
those who wanted to launch
the new group immediately
and those arguing for a more
cautious approach.
But Bookbinder suc-
cessfully argued that the
period of uncertainty is just
about over. And, he said,
conditions are good for a
Jewish Democratic res-
"From my point of view,
this period provides addi-
tional justification for what
we're doing," he said. "It's
the Democrats on the Hill
who are taking the lead in
correcting the administra-
tion's mistakes."
Despite Bookbinder's op-
timism, there is no evidence
of widespread Jewish deser-
tions from the Republican
"Look, the administra-
tion's policies have made
many Jews uncomfortable,"

AT C ► M

Surprisingly, Mood Is
Upbeat At AIPAC Confab


said an aide to a Republican
legislator. "But the number
of Jews who list themselves
as Republicans is already
fairly small. Those who are
committed to the party are
committed for the long

Senate To Vote
On Private Clubs

U.S.-Israeli relations may
have monopolized last
week's headlines, but
several Jewish groups were
weighing in before Congress
on a less dramatic issue that
will also have serious
implications for American
The Senate Judiciary
Committee is considering a
resolution that nominees for
the federal bench not belong
to private clubs that discrim-
inate on the basis of race, re-
ligion or gender.
The non-binding resolu-
tion is more than idle con-
gressional chit-chat since
the Judiciary Committee is
pivotal in the confirmation
process for appointees to the
federal bench.

Call: 140 Plus

As usual, AIPAC's famous
"roll call" banquet was an
impressive display of raw po-
litical clout, drawing a
variety of legislators and
administration officials that
seemed to defy the widely
reported deterioration in
U.S.-Israeli relations.
Monday night's banquet
included greetings from
Israeli ambassador Moshe
Arad, whose defense of the
new government in
Jerusalem was greeted with
a restrained response from
the pro-Israel crowd. The
dinner was keynoted by
Sens. George Mitchell
(D-Me.) and Bob Packwood
But as usual, the highlight
of the evening was the roll
call, when AIPAC executive
director Tom Dine reads a
list of officials and political
hopefuls scattered through
the audience.
This year's final tally in-
cluded an astonishing 46
members of the Senate and
70 House members. Senate
majority leader Mitchell
quipped that he wished it

was as easy to get that many
senators together for a vote.
Also represented were
several foreign embassies,
with a strong showing from
the Eastern bloc. Poland,
Yugoslavia and Bulgaria
sent emissaries, and the
Soviet embassy sent Oleg
Derkovsky, the urbane,
sophisticated diplomat who
is the USSR's unofficial- liai-
son to the American Jewish
Also present were:
• Senate candidates from
eight states.
• More than 25 candidates
for House seats.
• Ron Brown, chairman of
the Democratic National
By the end of the evening,
AIPAC officials, who have
gone through a tough few
months, were beaming.
"It's always a shot in the
arm," said one veteran
AIPACer. "You know these
guys have their own agendas
— but the fact that they turn
out even when times are
tough has to mean some-
thing." ❑



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