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Jewish Groups Angrily Reject Talk of Jewish Seat in New York

Spokespersons sons for two Jewish organizations today angrily rejected the contention by a local Republican leader that if his party hopes to defeat Democrat Sen. Daniel Moynihan in the 1982 elections it needs “on outstanding Jewish candidate.”

The remark, implying that Jewish voters will vote for a Jew regardless of other factors, was mode by George Clark Jr., Republican Party chairman in Brooklyn, on a television interview Sunday. He suggested that Moynihan’s seat “should be the Jewish seat”, observing that the Jewish vote “has been the deciding vote in every statewide election.”

Reacting to that statement, Henry Siegman, executive director of the American Jewish Congress declared, “There is no such thing as a Jewish seat’ in the United States Senate, whether from New York or any other state, and we deplore the statement by George L. Clark Jr. supporting the idea of such a seat.” Siegman charged that “Mr. Clark unwittingly plays the game of the radical right wing in this country who urge Americans to ‘vote Christian.’ Mr. Clark’s suggestion is reckless and irresponsible. His notion that Jewish citizens of New York will vote against Sen. Moynihan if he is opposed by a Jewish candidate is an insult to the intelligence of the Jewish electorate.”

Natalie Gordon, who chairs the New York Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, observed that “The Jewish citizens of New York State hove always sought the best qualified candidate to represent our state in the U.S. Senate. For our democracy to survive, the religion of the candidate must never be a factor in our elective process.” She called Clark’s remarks “harmful and divisive.”

COREY: JEWS VOTE FOR “QUALITY CANDIDATE’

Gov. Hugh Corey of New York also rapped Clark. He said at a press conference yesterday that Moynihan enjoys the highest esteem of the New York Jewish community. He added, “When you talk about the Jewish vote in our state or anywhere else in this country, it goes to the quality candidate.”

Corey himself raised the issue of a “Jewish feat” in the Senate during the Democratic Party’s state primary campaign last summer when he tacked Bess Meyerson for the Senatorial nomination to oppose Sen. Jacob Javits. Corey raised a political storm by claiming that since Javits’ seat was a “Jewish seat” his successor should be Jewish.

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