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Dukakis Campaign Attacks Letter Tying Bush to Arab Interests

Supporters of Michael Dukakis launched another salvo this weekend in a campaign for Jewish votes marked by both sides’ efforts to link the other’s candidate with assorted pro-Nazi or anti-Israel supporters within his party ranks.

The latest Democratic attacks follow news of a pro-George Bush mailing sent to Arab-Americans over the signature of former U.S. Rep. Paul Findlay (R-III.).

Findlay’s letter charges that the Democratic presidential nominee accepts “enormous financial support” from pro-Israel political action committees, and as a result would be “no more than Israel’s errand boy.”

The letter was included with a mailing from the Arab-American Republican Federation, an organization with no formal ties to the Republican Party.

The Bush campaign, claiming no involvement in the mailing, said the vice president therefore would not disavow it.

But of more concern to the four Democratic legislators and three Jewish Dukakis supporters who spoke at a news conference at Dukakis headquarters here Sunday is the nature of Bush’s relationship with Findlay, as described in the letter.

Findlay was a vigorous opponent of the United States’ ties with Israel before he lost his congressional seat in 1982.

According to the letter, a relationship between Findlay and Bush going back more than 20 years included “private conversations and correspondence on the Arab-Israel dispute, several years ago.”

‘DAMAGE ISRAEL’S LOBBY CAUSES’

The letter states that as vice president and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, “Bush has witnessed firsthand the frequent and substantial damage Israel’s lobby causes to our national interests.”

“You can count on him to assert effectively our own national interest when it diverges from Israel’s,” the letter said.

In a statement calling on Bush to repudiate the letter, Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked, “Who is the real George Bush? On one hand, he vigorously courts Jewish voters on the other, he takes advice and has the support of individuals who oppose the United States-Israel alliance.”

Joining Schumer at the news conference were Reps. Gary Ackerman and James Scheuer, both Democrats from New York, and Rep. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.). All are running next week for re-election to Congress.

Also representing the Dukakis campaign were Hyman Bookbinder, Dukakis’ special adviser on Middle East affairs; Howard Squadron, co-chair of the campaign’s New York State Leadership Council and a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; and Rabbi Morris Schmidman, executive director of the Council of Jewish Organizations of the Borough Park section of Brooklyn.

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