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May 02, 2003 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-05-02

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

Washington Watch

On The Road Again

Quartet's "road map" has Jewish leaders concerned.

JAMES D. BESSER

Washington Correspondent

T

he Bush administration
this week tried to reassure
anxious Jewish leaders
about one aspect of the
impending "road map" for Palestinian
statehood: who will be in the driver's
seat.
The effort to publish and imple-
ment the plan, created by the
Mideast "Quartet," could go into
overdrive after the decision by the
Palestinian Legislative Council con-
firming the new prime minister,
Mahmoud Abbas, and his cabinet.
But some of those reassurances just
generated new concerns about possi-
ble new U.S.-Israel friction as the
plan unfolds. In an address to 500
delegates at the Anti-Defamation
League's Washington conference on
Monday, Assistant
Secretary of State
William Burns said
that "there is no substi-
tute here for very
strong American lead-
ership. It is going to
have to be a very strong
American-led effort."
Burns
Participation by
other members of the
Quartet — Russia, the European
Union and the United Nations —
can "complement" U.S. leadership,
but not replace it, Burns said. He
added that "the road map is a broad
outline for peace, not a treaty or an
edict."
The same message has gone out
through private channels to pro-Israel
leaders. "The message is, 'You can
trust us,'" said a top Jewish leader.
"They understand many of us will
have a much harder time trusting any
peace process that has major involve-
ment by countries and international
bodies that have been very biased in
their approach to the conflict."
But Abraham Foxman, ADL's
national director, warned that some
aspects of the U.S. role could lead to
new friction along the Washington-
Jerusalem axis.
Burns' comments "allay some con-
cerns about the role of the other
Quartet members," Foxman said.

5/ 2

2003

18

"But they add to another anxiety: is it
healthy for Israel and the U.S. to be
in a position where the U.S. is the
one that has to continually adjudicate
disputes?"
Leaks about the plan in
Washington and in Israel indicate
that Washington will assume the
leadership of an international com-
mittee created to monitor implemen-
tation of the plan.

I sunset provisions. And the Justice
Department has been working on
drafts of a new Domestic Security
Enhancement Act (DSEA), popularly
called "Patriot II."
The legislation, which has not been
introduced in Congress, would
expand further the government's
power to engage in domestic surveil-
lance and decrease judicial review of
anti-terror law enforcement actions.
One reported reason for the delay
in introducing Patriot II: indications
Terror Law
of deep opposition from both ends of
Some activists are hoping the Jewish
• the political spectrum.
community will stand up for civil lib-
Rabbi Yoffie said that Jewish groups
that were quiet during the first
erties more forcefully than it did in
2001 if and when Congress begins
Patriot debate will likely speak up
considering legislation adding to the
this time around. He cited provisions
of the last anti-terror law allowing the
"Patriot Act" — the post-9-11 law-
enforcement package that supporters
indefinite confinement of suspects
"without telling them the charges
say was necessary to prevent new ter-
ror attacks, but critics charge is a
against them or giving them access to
massive attack on civil liberties and
counsel. There hasn't
the Constitution.
been a clear explana-
"We are fundamentally sympathetic
tion from the adminis-
tration about why we
to the administration's security con-
cerns," said Rabbi Eric Yoffie, presi-
need such procedures."
He said there is also
dent of the Union of American
Hebrew Congregations (UAHC).
rising concern among
Reform Jews about the
"We know about terrorism from our
own connections to Israel."
intentions of Attorney
Yoffie
General John Ashcroft.
But the nation may be having sec-
UAHC will take up the
ond thoughts as it absorbs the impact
matter at its national board meeting
of the 2001 law, he said. "I see in my
next month.
own community a deep concern that
David Mallach, director of the
the proper balance between security
community relations committee of
and liberty has not been found, and a
the United Jewish Federation of
concern that the current arrange-
MetroWest, N.J., said, "Massive
ments are not providing the funda-
ambivalence" kept most Jewish
mental rights to which people in this
groups out of the debate over Patriot
country are accustomed and enti-
I. But when the new law comes up
tled," he said.
for congressional review, he expects
The Bush administration is moving
"there will be more of an effort to
quietly on two fronts. Sen. Orrin
articulate. a position. I'm not sure
Hatch, R-Utah, chair of the Senate
what that position will be, but now
Judiciary Committee, recently sug-
there is a lot more concern about
gested repealing the "sunset provi-
infringements on civil liberties."
sion" of the 2001 law, making it per-
An official with a national Jewish
manent. The administration, which
organization said, "There have been a
wanted the sunset provision dropped
lot of questions about the way the
from the original bill, is supporting
Justice Department has used its new
that effort, but some top Republicans
authority, and that has caused grow-
are resisting.
ing resistance on both sides of the
Last week, Rep. James
aisle and in our own community.
Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., chair of the
"And there's a strong sense that
House Judiciary Committee and a
they are overreaching — that they are
staunch conservative, said he would
oppose any effort to repeal the Patriot not limiting their actions based on

the 2001 law to the fight against ter-
rorism." As a result, this activist said,
"even among many who want to sup-
port the administration taking vigor-
ous action against terrorism, there's a
growing level of concern."

Arab Appeal

This week, President George W. Bush
renewed the Republican push to win
over Arab-American and Moslem vot-
ers — a political maneuver that began
in earnest two years ago, but faltered
after Sept. 11 and the administration's
strong anti-terror actions.
On Monday, Bush received a warm
reception from Arab-Americans in
Dearborn, Mich., where he promised
that the future of Iraq will be shaped
by Iraqis. He also met privately with
17 Arab-American leaders.
But there are strong signs that the
GOP outreach effort is faltering. This
week, disgruntled Republicans formed
the Arab-American Republicans
Against Blish (AARAB). "Arab-
Americans gave critical votes and
financial support to George W Bush
in key electoral states in 2000," the
group said in a statement. "Next time
around, community leaders say their
disappointment in the
president's handling of
critical domestic and
foreign policy issues will
lead them in another
direction."
The group's founder,
Khalid Turaani, cited
Turaani
"ethnic profiling, deten-
tion without trial,
Immigration and NIS (Naturalization
Service) dragnets, the closing of our
community institutions and a foreign
policy that seems designed to keep
America at perpetual war with the
Arab world" as reasons for the new
group's creation.
The organization will clash with the
effort by GOP leader Grover Norquist
to tap the growing Moslem and Arab-
American vote. Norquist was instru-
mental in creating the Islamic
Institute; which focuses on conserva-
tive domestic causes.
But Norquist has been under fire
from other conservatives for his ener-
getic outreach to Islamic groups.
The stakes could be big; estimates of
the Muslim vote in this country range
from 500,000 to 6 riaillion.

Political Churches

Conservative Christian groups, under
fire from federal authorities for

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