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April 09, 1993 - Image 64

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-04-09

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

WI Was

Dual Surprise
At AIPAC Conference

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Administration sources sug-
gest that Secretary of State
Warren Christopher was sur-
prised by the warm reception
he received from the staunch-
ly pro-Israel audience at last
week's annual policy confer-
ence at the American, Israel
Public Affairs Committee
(AIPAC) in Washington.
In his speech, Mr. Christo-
pher had provided all the re-
assurances craved by the pro-
Israel community.
Some Administration offi-
cials had argued that ap-
pearing before AIPAC —
especially in this sensitive pe-
riod just before a new round
of Mideast peace talks —
would be too risky. But Mr.
Christopher insisted on mak-
ing the trek to the Washing-
ton Sheraton, where he was
pleasantly surprised by the
enthusiastic response.
Another group was less
pleased with the conference.
Israeli officials were alarmed

about the vocal minority at
the gathering which was
highly critical of the peace
talks, the new Israeli gov-
ernment and AIPAC's ap-
parent determination to
defend Israel — no matter
which party is in power in
Jerusalem.
"This indicated that we
have to do more education,"

Israeli officials
were alarmed.

said one Israeli official. '0
"American Jews don't seem
to really understand that this
is a new government in Israel
with very different views of
the peace process, and they
don't fully understand that
peace will have a price. This --
is something we will have to
explain better."

Lobbyist Bill Worries
Religious Groups

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Find It All In
The Jewish News
Classifieds
Call 354-5959

Jewish activists, who often
lead efforts to clean up abus-
es in lobbying and campaign
finance, are worried about
changes in the law that could
alter their influence.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.,
wants a bill that would im-
pose new controls on Wash-
ington's army of lobbyists,
including those who repre-
sent religious groups.
Politically active religious
groups' traditional exemption
from laws regulating lobby-
ists is considered a matter of
basic constitutional rights.
It's not that such groups
have anything to hide. But
new regulations, they worry,
could cost them money and .
time. Worse, they might set
a dangerous precedent for
government interfering in re-
ligious groups' activities.
Some activists want a spe-
cific exemption for religious
groups. Others worry that if
Congress makes the religious
exemption a matter of law in-
stead of a basic constitution-
al guarantee, a future
Congress could revoke it.
Mr. Levin is also wary
about creating a loophole that
non-religious, non-profit
groups could use.to avoid lob-
bying regulations. Instead, he

wants to address the issue
through committee report
language.
Religious activists retort
that relying on report lan-
guage (in which Congress de-
tails its intentions about how
a bill should be implement-
ed) could be risky, especial-
ly with a Supreme Court that
increasingly ignores report
language.

Recruiting
Germans Against
Extremists

In recent years, air corridors
between Washington and
Frankfurt have been clogged
with Jewish activists seeking
better ties with the German
government. The _ exercise
generally achieves mixed re-
sults.
But a recent junket sought
to go beyond the usual round
of meetings with government
officials and carefully select-
ed German citizens. B'nai
B'rith sent Jewish business-
men to talk with counter-
parts about tolerance and
pluralism in the German
workplace.

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