First Hurrah is over for Dems: Push on to Gain Support of Jewish Voters Seen in Choice of Mondale
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First Hurrah is over for Dems: Push on to Gain Support of Jewish Voters Seen in Choice of Mondale

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Democratic Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter apparently believes that his selection of Sen. Walter F. Mondale of Minnesota as his Vice-Presidential running mate may lessen doubts about his candidacy among Jewish voters. Mondale, who has an unblemished record of support of Jewish and liberal issues, may also be used to discuss matters of concern to the Jewish community during the campaign which opens on Labor Day.

Evidence for this came last Thursday night when Mondale praised Israel’s rescue of hostages in Uganda in the only mention of the Jewish state in the acceptance speeches by Carter and his running mate. “Israel, always the bulwark of liberty, has set an historic example for freedom-loving peoples around the world by its bold and brave mission in Uganda,” the Minnesotan said to the loud cheers of delegates and others who packed Madison Square Garden for the final session of the Democratic National Convention.


In speeches largely devoted to domestic issues and a promise to return government to the people, both Carter and Mondale spoke of the need to combat terrorism. Observers saw this as a direct bid for the Jewish vote. Stressing the need for a President to maintain peace, Carter added: “But peace is not the mere absence of war. Peace is the unceasing effort to stamp out international terrorism.”

Mondale’s praise of Israel came after he said that the United States rejects “the idea that this nation must sit by passively while terrorists maim and murder innocent men, women and children. In the early years of the 19th century this nation defeated the Barbary pirates and guaranteed freedom of the seas. In the final quarter of the 20th centure we must defeat the new breed of pirates and guarantee freedom of the skies.”

Carter in brief comments on foreign affairs did not single out any nation or region. But he declared, “To our friends and allies I say that what unites us through our common dedication to democracy is more important than that which occasionally divides us on economics or politics.”

In his remarks on domestic concerns. Carter said “We can have an America that encourages and takes pride in our ethnic diversity, our religious diversity, and our cultural diversity, knowing that out of our pluralistic heritage has come the strength and vitality and creativity that makes us great and will keep us great.”

Carter who was not specific throughout his speech did not touch on such issues that especially concern the Jewish community as aid to parochial schools and church-state separation. He also did not specifically mention the Soviet Jewry issue although he did state that “Peace is the unceasing effort to preserve human rights.”


But Just before the concluding convention session began the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry held a rally outside Madison Square Garden at which members of the New York delegation participated. Bronx Borough President Robert Abrams, GNYCSJ chairman, said that whoever is elected President in November should be urged to use his influence to help Jews emigrate from the Soviet Union. He said the issue of Soviet Jewry should not be a partisan matter.

Abrams noted that while the Democratic platform does not specifically mention Soviet Jews “the fact that it speaks of the need for freer emigration from the USSR reflects a commitment to those Jews who are eager to leave the Soviet Union.” Rep. Bella Abzug, a member of the Democratic platform committee, agreed that support for Soviet Jewry was in the platform. Another platform committee member, Daniel P. Moynihan, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, declared that “the Jackson Amendment is in the platform” although he did not specify how.

The speakers at the rally stressed that they wanted the delegates to the convention to be aware of the issue. “I hope the Democratic Party convention delegates will take this message back to their communities and recruit their friends and neighbors to the movement to guarantee freedom of emigration and freedom of beliefs for Soviet Jews and all other oppressed people,” Abzug declared.

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