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December 12, 2003 - Image 31

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-12-12

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

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Savings Worith
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ADL national director Abraham
Foxman called the anti-Dean campaign
"hot and heavy" and said it "deals with
dis- and mis-information. We started
getting phone calls from our lay leaders
and the media, so we checked it out."
The ADL memo referred to the
group's initial concerns about Dean's call
for balance in the region, but said that
"since then, ADL has received assurances
from Gov. Dean and his campaign
about his support for a strong U.S.-Israel
relationship and we believe that he has
come to understand why his remarks
were so troubling."
The unsigned anti-Dean e-mail said
that the candidate has "promised that if
he is elected president, the United States
will no longer support Israel the way it
has in the past under both Democratic
and Republican presidents." 'iv
A campaign spokesman promised an
"aggressive response that tells the truth
about Dean's strong support for Israel."
Steven Grossman, a longtime pro-
Israel activist and the Dean campaign
co-chair, said that the e-mail blitz first
surfaced last month and that "it's com-
ing back for a second visit — with a
high degree of intensity."
Grossman attributed the
"people with an ax to grind, who may be
associated with other campaigns," but
declined to name names.
Almost all of the anti-Dean attacks are
based on his comments in September
urging more balance in U.S. Mideast
policy — comments he quickly backed
away from.
But the anti-Dean effort appears to be
producing results.
This week, the Baltimore Sun reported
that a prominent member of the
Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Elijah
Cummings, has held back his expected
endorsement of Dean because of pres-
sure from Jewish constituents alarmed
by the Dean candidacy.
"There's a lot of paranoia out there in
our community today," said a Jewish
Democratic activist. "If Dean's state-
ments on Israel are laid out, the one or
two missteps don't take away from the
fact that it's an overwhelmingly pro-
Israel record. But unfortunately, many
people are inclined to believe these kinds
of scurrilous charges."
This source blamed the e-mail cam-
paign on "right-wing Jews who won't
support any Democrat."
Republican Party officials deny any
knowledge of the strident e-mail cam-
What a difference being a frontrunner
Howard Dean continues to get blasted
for comments he made — and retracted


— calling for a more balanced U.S.
approach to the Middle East.

Kerry Sticks With Baker

But Sen. John Kerry D-Mass., generated
little response recently when he suggest- .
ed he might appoint as special Mideast
envoy a longtime foe of the pro-Israel
community: former Secretary of State
James Baker.
Despite some criticism in the Jewish
press, Kerry isn't backing away from his
recommendation, which he made in a
major address to the Council on Foreign
'Americans would agree that national
security should trump party politics
given the threats we face today," the
campaign said in a statement. "In an
effort to make America safer, John Kerry
is reaching across party lines to restore
the bipartisan foreign policy that made
the nation strong from Kennedy to
Kerry, the statement went on, just
wants "the best, seasoned and thoughtful
foreign policy minds in his administra-
tion, regardless of party affiliation."
A campaign official, speaking on
background, said that "James Baker
would be a reasonable and responsible
possible choice to serve as presidential
envoy to the Middle East peace process,"
citing his involvement in "the Madrid
peace process which paved the way for
But this week, portions of the speech
referring to Baker and former President
Jimmy Carter were excised from reports
on the campaign's Web site.
Supporters of former Vermont Gov.
Howard Dean had a simple explanation
for Kerry's sudden fondness for Baker:
the senator, hopelessly behind in New
Hampshire and not doing so well in
other states, is putting all his eggs in the
Michigan basket— where the Feb 24
primary will be influenced by the state's
big Arab-American population.
Baker, in particular, may be reviled by
a broad spectrum of pro-Israel Jews, but
he is popular in Arab-American and
Muslim circles for his willingness to
pressure Israel during both the Reagan
and Bush I administrations.
But Democratic insiders offer a differ-
ent explanation: the sloppiness that has
plagued the Kerry campaign from the
beginning and is a major factor in his
steady decline.
"This was stupidity, period," said a
top Jewish Democrat this week. "He
was looking for something to set himself
apart from the other Democrats on for-
eign policy, he was trying to look presi-
dential — and he blew it."

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