WASHINGTON (Jul. 31)
Rep. Bobbi Fiedler (R. Cal.) said today that the anti-Semitic atmosphere created by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has been a “painful experience” for many adults and children.
“It has hurt a lot of people who feel vulnerable in their own community,” Fiedler said at a Capitol Hill press conference called to support the proposal by Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R. NY) that the Republican Party platform contain a plank condemning anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry.
Fiedler said that the anti-Semitic tone has “created a climate of separatism between people who historically had strong relations with one another. It is something that hurts our society as a whole.”
Fiedler, who is Jewish and represents a district in Los Angeles, added that “there are children who have never been exposed before to anti-Semitism. There are young children who have had long standing relationships with children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds that are beginning to look at one another differently because the leaders of this country accept this as a viable debate.”
She stressed that “its not what happens today in the news headlines or on TV”that is important, “it’s what happens in the hearts and minds of our kids, our family, our society.”
Fiedler said that a new climate of anti-Semitism has been created. She said she saw examples of this on her way to Washington from Dulles International Airport when she saw graffiti along the way — a Nazi swastika — and a slogan “dump Israel.”
ANTI-BIAS RESOLUTION WILL BE INTRODUCED
Sen. Paula Hawkins (R. Fla.), who is co-chairperson of the Republican Platform Committee, said that D’Amato’s resolution would be introduced in its entirety into the platform at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, August 20-23. She said the resolution can be “easily understood” by children as well as adults.
It reads: “In view of recent events and the statements of prominent political personalities the Republican Party takes this opportunity to reaffirm its adherence to pluralistic principles and to totally repudiate and disassociate itself from those who preach all forms of hatred, bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism.”
CHARGES BY D’AMATO
D’Amato said that his resolution is similar to one that the Democratic National Committee was to have adopted the day after the close of the Democratic National Convention, but didn’t. He charged that former Vice President, but didn’t. He charged that former Vice President Walter Mondale, who is the Democratic Candidate for the Presidency, and who D’Amato said totally controlled the convention, “lack(ed) the courage” and “took the political expedient course.” He said Mondale did this because he feared that if the resolution was adopted, it would offend supporters of Jackson and Farrakhan.
D’Amato also charged that Jackson’s apology to the Jews at the Convention and his earlier repudiation of Farrakhan’s statement calling Judaism a “gutter religion” was done with a “wink of the eye” since if the Jackson forces were sincere, they should have been willing to disassociate the party from any future bigoted statements.
But the Senator stressed that the major blame for the Democratic failure to adopt the resolution rested not with Jackson but with Mondale.
D’Amato rejected the suggestion that his resolution was aimed at creating a “backlash” among Jews and Blacks who opposed Jackson. He noted that when former Interior Secretary James Watt made his “joke” about women, Blacks and the handicapped, he immediately called for his resignation. He said when any public official or would-be official makes such a remark, he should be immediately repudiated. “I don’t care if it is said by a Democrat, Republican, conservative or liberal, “D’Amato said.
Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R. Minn.), who was the fourth participant at the press conference, said that he was “pleased” that the Republicans will include the anti-bigotry statement and that it was “unfortunate”that the Democrats had not.