NEW YORK (Aug. 31)
The selection of American support for Israel as the predominant issue to win Jewish votes in the presidential election campaign was deplored by eight major Jewish organizations in a statement issued here today. Appeals “stating or suggesting that the votes of all or most Jews for parties or candidates will or should be determined by this consideration alone are a disservice to the nation and to Jewish voters,” the statement declared.
Directed at both major political parties, the statement was released as the election campaign gained momentum with candidates laying their heaviest stress on Israel in addressing Jewish voters. It emphasized that Jews vote as individual Americans “on controversial and complex issues that are at stake in any election” and that Jewish interests influence Jewish voters just as other group interests influence members of other groups.
The organizations that signed the statement were the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish War Veterans, National Council of Jewish Women, Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the United Synagogue of America.
JEWS INTERESTED IN MANY ISSUES
They said “It is an error to assume that political endorsements by individuals identified as officers or members of an organization reflect the views of that organization or membership.” The statement noted that US Middle East policy rests on “fundamental national interests of the US” and “has had bi-partisan support throughout Israel’s history as a nation.” The records of both major parties, it continued, “strongly support the expectation that, whatever the outcome of the election, the next administration will continue to pursue that policy.”
Acknowledging that “substantial unanimity exists” among Jews and Jewish organizations on the issue of US military, economic and political support for the security of the State of Israel, the statement noted that American Jews also “have a deep interest in the broad range of domestic and foreign policies involved in the present campaign and, by the intensity of their participation, have demonstrated their concern for the entire spectrum of issues in American political life.”
The statement said some of the issues in which Jews demonstrate a vital interest are world peace, disarmament, economic distress, urban tension and anti-discrimination programs in housing, employment and education.