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May 21, 1993 - Image 54

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-05-21

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

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Jewish Units Struggle
With Justice Nominee

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54

he Jewish community
is trying to figure out
how to oppose a high-
level nomination for the
Justice Department that
could vex black-Jewish rela-
tions.
The question centers on
Lani Guinier, a black law pro-
fessor at the University of
Pennsylvania chosen last
week by President Clinton to
head the Justice Depart-
ment's civil rights division.
Ms. Guinier, an expert in
voting rights law, has sup-
ported a number of contro-
versial ideas, particularly the
concept of proportionate rep-
resentation.
This would ensure that
blacks serve in the House of
Representatives in propor-
tions equal to the proportion
of African-Americans in the
states which they represent.
While intended to correct
what most observers agree is
an underrepresentation of
blacks on Capitol Hill, it
smacks of quotas to many
Jews, who have thrived un-
der the "one-person one-vote"

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Some observers say pro-
portionate representation
would almost certainly cut
back on Jews' presence in
Congress.
"Any plan that suggests
that a group is entitled to a
certain number of represen-
tatives based on their pro-
portion in the population
raises questions for the Jew-
ish community," said Jerome
Chanes, co-director for na-
tional concerns for the Na-
tional Jewish Community
Relations Advisory Council.
Most Jewish groups hope
to avoid a public showdown
that might worsen black-
Jewish relations.
So far, the American Jew-
ish Congress is the only ma-
jor Jewish group to publicly
raise questions about Ms.
Guinier. Most groups are
gathering more information
on Ms. Guinier's legal writ-
ings and trying to meet. with
her so they can work out dif-
ferences without a public im-
broglio.
The Senate will hold hear-
ings on Ms. Guinier's nomi-
nation next month.

NCSJ Fights Merger

A quiet struggle is brewing
over the future of the Na-
tional Conference on Soviet
Jewry (NCSJ), the umbrella
group that has so effectively
protected the Jews of the for-
mer USSR.
In recent months, talk has
renewed about eliminating
NCSJ or merging it with an-
other organization, probably
the National Jewish Com-
munity Relations Advisory
Council (NJCRAC).
This is not a new idea. But
with most Jews free to leave
the ex-USSR and a cultural
renaissance underway among
those choosing to stay, it may
have new appeal in a Jewish
world where organizational
budgets are getting tighter.
Last week, Larry Rubin,
NJCRAC's executive vice
chair, met with Mark Levin,
NCSJ's executive director.
Mr. Rubin reports that Mr.
Levin NCJS strongly opposed
the idea.
"From our point of view,
the idea is now dead," said
Mr. Rubin. "In my judgment,
the Jewish community's in-

terests would be served by a
closer relationship between
the organizations. But if
NCJS is not interested, we're
not interested in pushing it."
Although some observers
say pressure for a merger will
continue, NCJS president
Richard Wexler said, "The ru-
mors of our demise appear to

Talk has renewed
about eliminating
NCSJ or merging it
with another
group.

be premature. With the emer-
gence of 15 republics and the
chaos we hear about every
day in the former Soviet
Union, NCSJ is cheap insur-
ance for Jews in that part of
the world and for the Jewish
community here."

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