SAN FRANCISCO (Jul. 17)
Mayor Dianne Feinstein called on American Jews today to continue to support the Black community and urged Blacks to show understanding for Jewish issues.
Speaking at a breakfast sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) at the Fairmount Hotel, Feinstein noted that she is Mayor of a city whose largest ethnic community is the Black community and her relationship with it “is positive and mutually supportive.” However, she noted, many Blacks still do not understand “how we feel when the word ‘quota’ is used.” The Mayor noted that, in the past, quotas had been used to deny places to Jews.
She said there was also a misunderstanding among Blacks and non-Jews of what Israel means to American Jews. “Israel means that no Jews will ever walk into gas chambers again.” She said once this is made clear to non-Jews, the reason for Israel’s existence is understood.
On the presidential campaign, Feinstein noted that when she was interviewed by Walter Mondale as his possible Vice Presidential running mate, she was not only the first woman and the first Mayor to be interviewed but also the first Jew. She predicted that a Jew will be elected President in the near future.
Joan Mondale also appeared before the 700 persons attending the AIPAC breakfast. She revealed that all three children of the New York Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, who the former Vice President has chosen as his running mate, have climbed Masada in Israel.
Numerous Senators, Congressmen and other elected officials and would-be elected officials were introduced at the AIPAC meeting. The loudest applause came for Governor James Hunt of North Carolina, who is opposing the re-election bid of Republican Senator Jesse Helms.
Thomas Dine, AIPAC’s executive director, stressed that it has finally been realized in this country that “Israel is important to the United States and the United States is important to Israel.”
Meanwhile, the theme on Black-Jewish cooperation was also sounded by Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey during a tribute to slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Democratic convention last night.
“I am distressed when I see division within our country or within our party, especially when it is between those who have shared common, painful experiences,” Lautenberg declared. “Jews and Blacks, for instance.”
He said that “these two people have historically identified themselves with the goals of the Democratic Party. Their kinship is that they have suffered bigotry, experienced the ghetto, been barred from schools, restricted and red-lined from neighborhoods and know too well the stigma of second class citizenry.”
He said that since Jews and Blacks have “a profound need for one another” they should work together in searching out the real enemy which has been “stripping away the meagerest of gains.”