NEW YORK (Aug. 22)
Walter Mondale, the Democratic Party Presidential candidate, told four prominent Jewish leaders that he would “rather lose the election with you (the Jewish community) than win it without you,” according to a report in this week’s Long Island Jewish World. The meeting, described as a private get-together, was held in Mondale’s home in Minnesota.
Mondale reportedly told the Jewish leaders: “I have been around a long time and I have always had an excellent relationship and a strong bond with the Jewish community, one that I have valued very much.” He noted that Jews” bring a philosophical fairness and attitude to politics that I share. I have always had Jewish supporters and I am confident that their attitude is in the best tradition of American politics.”
Attending the meeting were Larry Weinberg, chairman of the board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); Tom Dine, AIPAC’s executive director; Theodore Mann, president of the American Jewish Congress; and Kenneth Bialkin, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and president of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.
Both Mann and Bialkin recalled the subject matter discussed, but neither would indicate Mondale’s responses. “It was a private meeting,” said Bialkin. Mondale reportedly told the Jewish leaders that he knows the Jewish community is uncomfortable with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and that his campiagn has not adequately dealt with the community’s concerns.
MONDALE WILL ADDRESS JEWISH CONCERNS
Mondale is reported to have sought to assure the Jewish community that he is aware of their concerns and that he will address them. The meeting was slated for only 30 minutes but lasted for three hours, and although a host of issues were discussed, most of the discussion was confined to the anti-Semitic outbursts that occurred during the Democratic primary campaign, the Jewish World reported.
Mann said that “Mondale was interested in getting a better feel for what he had heard might be some concerns of the Jewish community, particularly the anti-Semitism issue with (Black Muslim leader Louis) Farrakhan and Jackson. He wanted a firsthand evaluation of the Jewish people from those who are close to the Jewish community.”
The four Jewish leaders, according to Mann, “gave him our personal analysis of how the Jews have reacted in the last six months and our concerns about the extemely vulgar anti-Semitic comments of Farrakhan. We told him of our frustration as Jews of being unable to do anything about it (the anti-Semitic barrage). By a pecular psychological mechanism, Mondale could be hurt by its very existence and I don’t know if anyone gave him any suggestions on how to handle that in the campaign.”
According to Bialkin, the four Jewish leaders reviewed a number of issues, including Jackson’s public pronouncements debasing American Jews; churchstate matters, quotas and preferences, the Middle East, Israel, and foreign policy.
The Democratic Party’s plank calling for “goals and timetables and other verifiable measurements” with respect to affirmative action was another topic of concern that was discussed, Bialkin said. He said that, speaking as president of the ADL, he could say that his organization found that plank “problematic.” Noting the ADL’s opposition to quotas, he said, “We would be seeking answers from the candidate about the plank.”
Bialkin declined to spell out Mondale’s promises, except to say that he was against having a third party force a peace settlement on the parties in the region, the Jewish World reported. In addition, he said, “Israel should not be pushed into making an agreement which it doesn’t reach by negotiations with its neighbors.”