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Clinton Praises Federations in Address to CJF Gathering

President Clinton this week called on Jewish federations to bring his national dialogue on race to their communities across America.

In a live satellite address Tuesday to the General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations, Clinton asked American Jews to help bridge racial gaps.

“I ask you to urge your member federations and coalition partners to convene town hall meetings and find other ways of bringing people together across racial lines to address common concerns,” Clinton said in a seven-minute speech broadcast from the White House studio.

Clinton launched his initiative earlier this year in an effort to create a national dialogue on race.

The president also urged delegates to support Bill Lann Lee, his nominee to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. Some Republican Senators are blocking Lee’s nomination because of his support for affirmative action.

Lee, the son of immigrants, “has dedicated his entire life to fighting discrimination in all its forms,” Clinton said.

Clinton, who broke no new policy ground, used the opportunity to heap praise on the Jewish federations.

“Volunteer organizations are the glue that hold our communities together,” he said.

In brief remarks on the crisis with Iraq, Clinton said, “Saddam Hussein cannot be allowed to expel international weapons inspectors because we cannot accept another dictator with weapons of mass destruction.”

“We must never give in to the forces of destruction and terror.”

In a speech that was short on specifics, Clinton thanked the delegates for supporting “our administration’s effort to expand peace and stability in the Middle East and around the world” and pledged to “press forward on all fronts to redeem the promise of the peace process.”

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