Mondale Warns of ‘orgy of Intolerance’ Led by Fundamentalist Preachers

Democratic Presidential candidate Walter Mondale, in his final campaign appearance before a Jewish group, warned of an “orgy of intolerance” in America led by fundamentalist “preachers against pluralism and those who would cast doubt on the loyalties of Jewish Americans.”

Addressing some 1,000 senior citizens and others at the Shore Front YMHA in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn last Thursday afternoon, Mondale assailed “fundamentalist Christian preachers with television ministries” who, he said, “are (President) Reagan’s allies.”

Continuing, Mondale said, “Anti-Semitism is not dead but continues to be a vicious disease. I’m here today to tell you that no President in American history will do more to sweep anti-Semitism out of this country than I will.”

The former Vice President’s campaign stop in the predominantly Jewish area of Brighton Beach followed his appearance, along with running mate Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, before a huge throng of supporters–estimated at 100,000 people — in New York’s garment district.

At both the garment district rally and the appearance in Brighton Beach, Mondale also sought to rebut Reagan’s contention that the Democratic leadership had failed to condemn anti-Semitism. Reagan, in an appearance last month in a synagogue in Long Island, New York, said the Democratic Party lacked the “moral courage” to adopt a resolution at the Democratic national convention denouncing anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.

“Mr. President, the charge says something about you,” Mondale told the rally in the garment district. “That is false and contemptible and the American people do not like that kind of politics anywhere in this country.”

“I have denounced (Black Muslim leader Louis) Farrakhan many times over and I’ve … stood up to those radical preachers who are so close to this President, who’ve taken over the Republican Party,” he declared.

At the Brighton Beach appearance, Mondale continued on the same theme. “Let me tell it to you straight,” he said of Reagan’s charge. “It angered me. I resent it. I think it’s despicable and I think it’s inexcusable.”

Mondale conceded that the Democratic Party latform should have included a strong resolution on anti-Semitism. But he noted that a separate resolution repudiating “bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism” had been approved by the executive committee of the Democratic national committee three weeks after the convention.

Mondale also recalled the Congressional debate during the Reagan Administration’s successful effort to seel AWACS aircraft and other sophisticated military hardware to Saudi Arabia. “They used the phrase ‘Reagan or Begin,” he said.

“Wittingly or unwittingly people in and around this Administration converted the question of whether this country should give that advanced technology to the Saudi Arabians into the question of whether Jewish Americans were divided in their loyalty to this country,” Mondale declared.

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