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February 18, 1994 - Image 53

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-02-18

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

During his speech, Mr. Far-
rakhan's supporters responded
with fervor to their leader's
carefully crafted expressions of
The combination of overt
prejudice and a tent revival at-
mosphere thoroughly cowed the
press, which treated Mr. Far-
rakhan with timid deference.
"It was a very intimidating
setting," said one Jewish ac-
tivist who attended the pro-
ceedings. "You had to be gutsy
to ask a challenging question in
that environment."
The "soft" questions asked of
Mr. Farrakhan upset his fa-
vorite target: Abraham Fox-
man, national director of the
Anti-Defamation League, who
said he was "troubled by what
I heard about the media per-
mitting itself to be herded....
That's not a normal news con-
ference atmosphere. I would
have liked to see the press say,
'No, we're not going to play with
your bat and ball.'"

Helms Wins On
School Prayer

Jewish groups were sand-
bagged late last week by the
Senate's master tactician: Jesse
Helms, R-N.C. And a long list
of senators who normally take
a tough line on church-state is-
sues were apparently taken in
by their conservative colleagues
The issue involved the ad-
ministration's Goals 2000 bill,
which sets educational goals for
the nation's besieged school sys-
tems and provides nearly $500
million for innovative educa-
tional programs.
Jewish activists, according to
some accounts, were so dis-
tracted by the expected fight
over an amendment allowing
government vouchers to be used
for private and religious schools
that they didn't see the school
prayer amendment coming.
Sen. Helms' trick was in the
wording: His amendment cuts
off federal funds to school dis-
tricts that prohibit "constitu-
tionally protected" school
That key phrase convinced
many legislators who normally
oppose school prayer bills that
they could earn points with con-
servative voters by voting for an
amendment that would have
little practical impact. Among
these were Sen. Edward
Kennedy, D-Ma., and three
Jewish senators: Sen. Frank
Lautenberg, D-N.J., Sen. Joe
Lieberman, D-Ct., and Sen.
Herb Kohl, D-Wisc.
Late last week, the Senate
approved the measure, 75-22.
But just what constitutes
"constitutionally protected"

isic a Ota

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