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January 12, 1996 - Image 62

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-01-12

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

s.

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• 7 Foot
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• Chrome levelers

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• 1 3/4" Framed Slate



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1

During the abbreviated holiday
recess, Jewish groups tried to
turn up the heat on behalf of the
faltering anti-terrorism bill.
But inceasingly, the signs are
pointing to a legislative dead end
for the measure, which passed
the Senate months ago, but
stumbled in the House, where
conservative legislators have
fought provisions that would al-
low increased
surveillance of
native groups
like the para-
military mili-
tias.
A recent com-
promise that
gutted many of
those provisions
failed to satisfy
conservative op-
ponents. The big
question now in-
volves the role of
their leader,
House Speaker
Newt Gingrich,
Newt Gingrich:
R-Ga.
At a recent Call to get tough.
Mideast peace
lobby day organized by the Na-
tional Jewish Community Rela-
tions Advisory Council
(NJCRAC), Mr. Gingrich offered
a ringing call for a tougher ap-
proach to fighting terror. But the
Speaker has been unwilling or
unable to convince his rebellious
freshman colleagues, who are

backed by pro-gun groups, to get
moving on the anti-terror bill.
`The charitable interpretation
is that he's lost control of his
troops," said an official with a
Jewish group that has been in
the thick of the terrorism debate.
"But there's a real question about
how hard he's tried."
The administration continues
to back the omnibus bill. But the
budget standoff
and the increas-
ing disarray in
government
means that it
has not been a
priority at the
White House.
Meanwhile,
groups on the far
right, like the
Liberty Lobby,
have been using
their newfound
influence on
Capitol Hill to
fight the bill.
"People in
Washington just
haven't gotten
the message,"
said Malcolm Hoenlein, execu-
tive vice-chair of the Conference
of Presidents of Major American
Jewish Organizations. "If they
fail to act on this bill, it will send
a clear message to all the terror-
ist groups that we're not serious.
And then it will be open season
here."

`Religious Equality'
Shows Advances

It's an old story, but it gets
stranger with each retelling: The
religious right and their friends
in Congress continue to bicker
over their "religious equality"
amendments.
After months of internal wran-
gling, two versions of the amend-
ment were dropped into the
hopper in November focusing on
two different goals.
One, sponsored by Rep. Ernest
Jim Istook, R-Okla, specifically
endorses student-led school
prayer. Its introduction was de-
layed beciuse a series of hear-
ings around the country failed to
establish that Christians and
others are being systematically
deprived of their religious rights
because of recent Supreme Court
decisions.
But now, the amendment ap-
parently has a good head of
steam; in December, Mr. Istook
gathered some 101 cosponsors, a

tally Rabbi David Saperstein, di-
rector of the Religious Action
Center of Reform Judaism,
termed "very alarming."
The other version, offered by
Rep. Henry Hyde, R-111., has pro-
voked resistance from some
Christian groups because it fo-
cuses primarily on government
funding of parochial institutions,
not prayer.
The Christian Coalition, which
made the amendment a top pri-
ority in its Contract with the
American Family, is not taking
sides; officials of the group say
they could support either. But
their lack of visible enthusiasm
has raised some eyebrows on
Capitol Hill.
Jewish groups continue to lob-
by ferociously, making the point
that tampering with the Consti-
tution to address problems that
may not exist is a bad idea.
"The battle lines are drawn,"

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