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October 03, 2003 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-03

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from page 25

require sensitivity on all sides. "If we go
to the Congressional Black caucus and
plead our case on behalf of Israel, we
have to recognize that the door swings
both ways," he said.
"For example, we have to understand
that for the black community, affirma-
tive action is their 'Israel issue.' You can't
be oblivious to the concerns of other
ethnic groups, and just come in and say,
`Israel, Israel Israel.'"
A prominent Jewish activist was skep-
tical. "Other efforts have failed because
the Jewish members of Congress don't
want to be formed into a caucus," he
said. "If they're talking about organized
caucus-to-caucus efforts, it's going to
have trouble."

Delaying Tactic

What's the delay with House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas? That's the
question pro.-Israel activists and lawmak-
ers are asking as momentum builds for
passage of the Syria Accountability and
Restoration Act.
The long-stalled
legislation would
impose sanctions
on the Damascus
regime unless it
starts getting out
of Lebanon and
ends its support
for terrorism and its weapons of mass
destruction program.
The measure, introduced initially by
Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., now has 272
sponsors in the House and 71 in the
Senate, but Republican leaders have
been conspicuously absent from the line-
up — with the exception of Rep. Eric
Cantor, R-Va., the deputy majority whip
and the only Jewish Republican in the
Recently DeLay, a strong critic of ter-
ror-sponsoring regimes in the Middle
East, reportedly told colleagues he would
actively push the legislation. DeLay's sup-
port is critical because the legislation has
been held up by administration opposi-
tion and by Rep. Henry Hyde, R-III.,
chair of the House International
Relations Committee.
But so far, DeLay hasn't done anything
to break the logjam, p.m-Israel activists
say, despite the fact that the administra-
tion has officially withdrawn its opposi-
tion to the legislation.
"Tom DeLay's support is vital," said a
Washington source. "This thing has
overwhelming support, but it's going to
take some action by the leadership to
break the logjam. So all eyes are on the
majority leader." ❑

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