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October 18, 2002 - Image 36

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-18

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

This Week

Washington Watch

Cautious And Divided

Jewish organizations split over supporting
Iraq resolution in Congress.

Dissenters included Rep. Barney
Frank, D-Mass., Rep. Jan Shakowsky,
D-Ill., and Rep. Sander Levin, D-
Mich. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.,
ongress overwhelmingly
was the only member of the big New
approved a sweeping resolu-
York Jewish delegation to spurn the
tion last week authorizing
president's request.
President Bush to wage war
Both Jewish Republicans in the
against Iraq, but Jewish community
leaders continue to be more cautious
House — Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia
about the plunge toward war than
and Rep. Ben Gilman of New York —
most lawmakers.
voted for the successful resolution.
But the Senate's Jewish delegation
On Oct. 14, the board of the Jewish
Council for Public Affairs (JCPA)
was evenly divided on the resolution
authorizing military action against
conspicuously declined to endorse the
Iraq. Wisconsin and California each
administration's war policies. Instead,
the umbrella group of 123 local Jewish has two Democratic Jewish senators;
community councils and 13
in both states, the delegations
national organizations voted
split on the war-making reso-
to "support current U.S.
diplomatic efforts to disarm
For Wisconsin, Sen. Russ
Feingold voted no and Sen.
Iraq of weapons of mass
Herb Kohl voted yes. For
destruction, and to only use
force as a last resort."
California, Sen. Barbara
Several participants
Boxer voted no, while Sen.
Dianne Feinstein supported
described an energetic,
the White House.
wide-ranging debate, and
Michigan's Carl Levin
said the vote was less a repu-
Sen. Car 1 Levin
voted against the proposal.
diation of the admirristra-
Lion position than a reflec-
Pennsylvania's Sen. Arlen
Specter, the Senate's only Jewish
tion that most Jewish community
Republican, was on the fence until
groups have simply not developed
just before the vote, but eventually
positions on the Iraq question. .
backed the administration.
Two weeks ago, JCPA tabled a
motion by B'nai B'rith to explicitly
support the administration's demand
for broad war-making authority. This
The split is widening between major
week, the Conference of Presidents of
Jewish groups over a controversial
Major American Jewish Organizations
"faith-based" bill that could come to
also finalized a resolution supporting
the Senate floor this week.
the goals of the Bush administration
The Charity Aid, Recovery and
on Iraq but not endorsing any specific
Empowerment Act of 2002 (CARE)
course of action.
One Conference leader said, "This is is currently stuck in the Senate, where
leaders are scrambling to negotiate an
a consensus organization, so the state-
agreement to limit amendments that
ment represents a lowest common
could bring it to the Senate floor
denominator. But at the end of the
before Congress adjourns for the
day, the president will get the support
he needs from the Jewish community." November elections. The measure
includes assorted tax incentives to
encourage charitable giving — but not
Split On Iraq
"charitable choice" provisions that
were the centerpiece of the administra-
Jewish lawmakers generally supported
tion's original faith-based initiative.
President George W. Bush's demand
Those provisions would have
for sweeping war powers in congres-
removed safeguards to prevent the mis-
sional votes last week,. but there was a
use of government money given to reli-
big difference between the two cham-
gious groups to provide social services.
Several major Jewish groups say the
Jewish House members voted more
measure is still worrisome, and they
than 2-1 in favor of the resolution.


Washington Correspondent



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