Menu JTA Search

Rabbi Stresses Neither Party Has ‘lock’ on Jewish Vote

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

A rabbinical leader predicted here that if President Reagan is re-elected in November, he will press Israel for concessions to implement his 1982 “Reagan Plan” for Middle East peace, which Israel rejected soon after the President announced it. The plan called for negotiations between Israel and Jordan for a federation of Jordan and the West Bank but barred any Palestinian state in the West Bank.

The forecast was made by Rabbi Mordecai Waxman of Great Neck, N.Y. president of the Synagogue Council of America, at a meeting last week of the executive committee of the SCA, which represents the rabbinic and congregational organizations of Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Judaism.

Waxman also said neither the Republican nor the Democratic party had “a lock” on the votes of American Jews, adding that American Jews “will judge the candidates on such domestic issues as social welfare, aid to urban centers and minority rights, and such international problems as nuclear disarmament, Soviet Jews and Israel.” He said that “a very important factor” for Jewish voters “will be how the Democratic party handles the anti-Semitic tone which has surfaced in the primary campaign.”

WARNS AGAINST IGNORING ANTI-SEMITISM

Waxman said that “Jesse Jackson’s rainbow has lee “to a pot of gall rather than a pot of gold.” He said Jackson’s anti-Semitic slurs and “the very strong anti-Semitic and violent statements by (Louis) Farrakhan,” a leader of American Black Muslims and a strong supporter of Jackson, “cannot be ignored by the Democratic candidate.”

The Democratic Party” and its candidate must make it plain that there is no weaseling on the matter and that there is no bargaining on this matter of principle; Waxman said.” The American nation, made up of many diverse religious and ethnic groups, cannot afford to allow anti-Semitism or attacks upon any group to become part of the political process, nor will the Jewish community ignore the matter.”

Waxman praised both parties for their overall record on Israel, but he expressed caution about some of the policies carried out by both the Carter and Reagan Administrations.

“The Reagan Administration has certainly undertaken many positive actions in aiding and supporting Israel,” he said. “However, it clearly pursued policies which placed great burdens upon Israel and were inimical to Israeli interests.”

REAGAN PLAN

He said the Reagan Administration “seems to have a plan of its own for the settlement of Middle Eastern affairs which may well be at variance with the needs of Israeli security. While this ‘Reagan plan’ seems currently to be in abeyance, there is every reason to believe it will be restored to prominance, that Israel will be pressed for concessions should Mr. Reagan be returned to the White House.”

He added that the Democratic Party “has a long tradition of support for Israel but obviously some of the actions and attitudes of the Carter years and the attitudes which have reflected in the memoirs of those years, has left questions in the minds of the Jewish community.”

The rabbinical leader said Walter Mondale’s record on Israel “is well known” but that Mondale is in a position of having to recapture an element which abandoned the Democratic party in the last election and, therefore, a forthright indication of his policies with regard to the Middle East and of the people who would implement them is very necessary.”

He said that while the American Jewish community applauds the “increasing role” of the Black community in the political process “and the role of Jesse Jackson” in contributing to that advance, he said the Jewish community “rejects the notion that there should be any Black-Jewish confrontation or that there is any reason for it. Any element in America which attempts to make political hay out of setting Jews in confrontation with any group deserves contempt and must be forthrightly rejected by all political leaders.”

NEXT STORY