NEW YORK (Oct. 12)
Jewish leaders supporting President Nixon for re-election said at a press conference here today that “there is no Jewish bloc” of voters, predicted that Nixon would double his Jewish vote this year compared to 1968 and claimed that the President has kept every promise he made to Israel.
A spokesman for the McGovern-Shriver Campaign Committee in Washington told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he agreed that there was “no Jewish bloc vote, no monolithic Jewish vote,” but predicted that Sen. George McGovern would win more Jewish votes than Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey who received about 80 percent of the Jewish vote when he was the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1968.
The press conference, called by Concerned Citizens for the Re-Election of the President, was attended by Max Fisher of Detroit, Samuel Rothberg of Peoria. III., Albert Spiegel of Los Angeles and Mrs. Rita E, Hauser, former US representative in the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Newsmen at the conference were given a list of 93 names who “represent the kind of dramatic support working for the re-election of President Nixon.”
Mrs. Hauser predicted that Jewish votes for Nixon would double from 15-17 percent in 1968 to more than 35 percent this year. She said that according to polls “as of this morning,” Nixon stands to win 40 percent of the Jewish vote in New York State.
Richard Cohen, staff director of the Jewish Affairs unit of the McGovern-Shriver Campaign Committee In Washington, told the JTA that “Jews have always tended to vote for candidates and parties that represented not special privilege but all the people, and I am confident they will in this election too.” He said recent polls have indicated that Jews, who were undecided when the election campaign began, are “now coming back to McGovern” because of the Vietnam issue and the issue of Soviet Jews, “where Nixon has been silent and McGovern has spoken out.”
NO JEWISH BLOC VOTING
Fisher told newsmen that the 1972 elections will be the first time Jews will vote on issues instead of for parties and that for the first time the issues for Jews are “sharply defined.” He noted that while “there is no Jewish bloc, there are large numbers of Jewish volunteers and workers who have found In this election a time when the discussions served a constructive purpose and who were willing to take part in this election.”
Rothberg, chairman of the Israel Bond Organization, said that “President Nixon has kept every commitment that he made to the State of Israel.” Spiegel, who is president of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation-Council and national vice-chairman of Concerned Citizens, said that McGovern was “negative” on Israel. He also claimed that there was “a great deal of concern” over McGovern’s policy on quotas in college admissions and hiring. George Klein, New York City campaign chief of Concerned Citizens, claimed that Nixon has been “most consistent” in opposition to quotas while McGovern was “wishy-washy.”
Cohen disputed those claims. He said that while McGovern has spoken out against quotas as opposed to merit. It was the President’s Department of Health, Education and Welfare that ordered the City University in New York to require all faculty members to state their race, sex and age on questionnaires as part of the Affirmative Action program which had “a chilling effect” on the Jewish community.
On the Middle East, Cohen charged that the President maintained a moratorium on arms for Israel for three years while McGovern was among the Senators leading the fight to get the administration to change its policy. He also noted that the Rogers Plan calling for Israel’s evacuation of the occupied Arab territories has never been repudiated by Nixon. in a speech in Cleveland earlier this week, McGovern repeated his pledge “to retain sufficient American power in the Middle East to ensure that there is no doubt of our commitment to Israel’s security.”
Addressing a private meeting last night of 71 Jews In Silver Spring Md., Fisher listed several reasons why he thought Jews should abandon their traditional Democratic stance and back Nixon. Among them were the economic support extended to Israel during the Nixon administration and the President’s opposition to quotas.
Addressing a predominantly Jewish audience in Baltimore last night, Sen. Abraham Ribicoff (D. Conn.), claimed that only “strong initiatives by the Congress,” and only after Israeli Premier Golda Meir came to Washington last year to meet with Nixon, did the administration end its pressure on Israel “to withdraw from every inch of the occupied territory in advance of any negotiations with the Arab states.”