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Jewish Vote, Israel’s Use of Power Discussed at Aipac Policy Conference

A leading American political analyst predicted Monday that the Jewish vote will play an important role in just three states this November: California, New Jersey and New York.

Bob Beckel, who managed the Mondale-Ferraro presidential campaign in 1984, explained that Jews do not constitute the swing vote since they are predisposed to vote Democratic.

Beckel spoke during a breakfast session of the 29th annual policy conference of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He was joined at the session by Republican strategist Edward Rollins, who was national director of the Reagan-Bush 1984 re-election campaign.

Beckel said the key to the 1988 presidential race, is the voting pattern of white-collar workers, aged 30 to 45, who vote on the basis of a candidate’s personal strength.

He also predicted that the Rev. Jesse Jackson will not be “on a ticket” on Election Day. But he said there will be a black candidate in subsequent presidential campaigns.

Rollins said that Vice President George Bush’s position among Jewish voters should “pretty much stay in tune with whatever the George Shultz policy is today.”

He suggested that Bush align himself with the secretary of state and thereby benefit from Shultz’s popularity among Jewish voters.

Rollins also charged that Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, the likely Democratic nominee, “does not have strong policy positions” on foreign policy.

ETHICAL USE OF POWER

At another session Monday, Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg received a standing ovation after declaring that Israel has used its power ethically, despite world criticism of its handling of the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Noting that Jews were “powerless” for the 1,800 years that ended with the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel, Greenberg said Israel’s newly found power “should be welcomed.”

He warned that while power corrupts, so does “absolute powerlessness,” which meant that for centuries, “we had no say in how we died.” He said the compromise today is that “to be a Jew is to exercise power ethically.”

Jews traditionally held the attitude that “Christians beat up on Jews; Jews don’t beat up on Christians,” Greenberg said.

In addition, Jews were not supposed to hunt, drink or “wifebeat.” He said, however, that Jews lost that “purity” when they gained political power.

He said that through politics, Jews should “award friends” and “punish enemies.”

In discussing how Israel should behave, Greenberg said its army uses its power morally by killing “as few civilians as possible.” In addition, it has a “corrective mechanism” for punishing unethical behavior by soldiers.

He also said the Israeli electorate exercised moral self-restraint by providing Kach party leader Meir Kahane with 1 percent of the vote in the last election, considering 10 percent of the population has family members who died at the hands of Arab soldiers.

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