Circuit


The Reagan Library was the setting when more than 500 Jewish Republicans gathered to pay tribute to U.S. and Israeli armed forces.RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, and Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) set a powerful model of the necessity for firm resolve at this time of international crises.

Guests also heard from California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, Jewish Republican statewide candidate for insurance commissioner, and Tony Strickland, statewide candidate for controller.

After touring the library and taking photos on the impressive Air Force One at the musuem, guests enjoyed a kosher cocktail party and dinner.

Larry Greenfield, Republican Jewish Coalition’s California regional director, says what is motivating their membership is the quality of the conversation.”RJC members and guests consistently value an honest appraisal of the international situation and a realistic approach to a dangerous world that the Jewish community respects,” he said. “Support for a beleaguered Israel, concern about a UN that has broken its promises, and moral clarity about Islamo-Fascism all resonate with American Jews today.”

According to Greenfield, under RJC CA Chairman Joel Geiderman, the RJC would continue to focus on supporting Jewish college students and the need for “fair play.” The RJC has been working with other Jewish groups to confront anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism at universities.

“We have begun to mature as a Jewish political community. Those in attendance included current White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton, past and present Federal Reserve Chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke; and former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

“Many thoughtful Jewish Republicans are making a strong contribution rooted in Jewish values, both as, and with senior access to, American policymakers,” Greenfield said.

The Great Statesmen

Van Nuys High School American government students enjoyed an informative Q-and-A with Stanley Sheinbaum and Mike Farrell on June 8. The event, titled “14th Amendment Equal Protection Under the Law,” was the first in a series of discussions produced by California Safe Schools.

The two celebrated statesmen in the social justice community have been recognized for their humanitarian efforts: Sheinbaum for the protection of constitutional rights, education, public justice, human rights and international peace efforts; Farrell for his opposition to the death penalty and children’s rights. Farrell is also well-known for his portrayals of B.J. Hunnicutt on the long-running series “M*A*S*H” and as veterinarian Dr. James Hansen on the NBC drama “Providence.”

“It was inspiring to see the students so well versed in national, international and environmental issues. We look forward to replicating these programs for other students throughout the State and Country,” said Robina Suwol, executive director of California Safe Schools.

Both men were honored at the event with the California Safe Schools Humanitarian Award for their decades of service. The office of Rep. Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys) and Assemblymember Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) joined in the celebration presenting additional awards to each. The event as moderated by David Allgood, Southern California director of the state’s League of Conservation Voters.

Fond of the New Rabbi

Native Angeleno Rabbi Devora Fond became the spiritual leader of Congregation Shaarei Torah in Arcadia in July, following her recent ordination by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism (UJ). Fond received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz in 1991, and a master’s degree in rabbinic studies from the UJ in 2002. She has served in a variety of capacities, including hospital chaplain at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, rabbinic intern at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley and educator and rabbinic intern at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles.

Fond feels called to serve God by helping Jews connect with themselves, others, God and Torah, and through working with people of all faiths to make this world a better place. Fond says she is enthusiastic about having the opportunity to build relationships with the people in her community: to touch other people’s lives and be touched by others. She is committed to reaching out to new members, leading spiritually meaningful and innovative services, and making Judaism come alive through creative programming and thought-provoking teaching.

All About Ethics

Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo nominated Helen Zukin, a lawyer in private practice and an active member of the State Bar of California, to the City of Los Angeles Ethics Commission.

“Helen’s skill as a lawyer and commitment to the highest ethical standards will be tremendous assets to the Ethics Commission,” Delgadillo said. “Her counsel and insight will serve the Commission well as it takes up the challenge of interpreting and implementing changes to our campaign finance laws, as well as maintain its critical role as city watchdog.”

Zukin, who also serves as a temporary judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court system, served on the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation for nearly a decade. She has a long history of community and professional involvement, including membership on the Board of Governors for the Consumer Attorney’s Association of Los Angeles and as a trustee of the Jewish Community Foundation.

A civil litigator, Zukin’s practice has an emphasis on toxic torts, product liability and environmental property damage.

In addition to the city attorney, the mayor, controller, city council president and council president pro-tem each nominate one member to the five-member Ethics Commission. Commissioners serve staggered five-year terms, and are subject to review by the City Council’s Rules and Elections Committee, and to confirmation by the full L.A. City Council.

The commission was established in 1990 as part of a comprehensive package of local government ethics and campaign finance laws.

Farewell to a Friend


Israel had good reason to remember King Hassan II of Morocco as “a friend and a statesman,” and not just because of his tireless efforts to build bridges between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors.

Secret cooperation between the Moroccan and Israeli intelligence services began in 1961 under King Hassan’s father, Mohammed V, who allowed Moroccan Jews to emigrate to Israel. The younger monarch broadened and institutionalized the contacts after Meir Amit, the then-head of the Mossad, Israel’s CIA, clandestinely met Hassan in Marrakech in 1964. Undercover contacts continued, with only two brief interruptions, until Hassan’s death last Friday.

Local and foreign reports this week revealed just how deep the mutually beneficial relationship went. The Mossad provided technical assistance and training for its Moroccan sister organization, as well as information on dissidents plotting to assassinate the young king.

Yossi Melman, co-author of a study of Israeli intelligence, disclosed in Ha’aretz that the Mossad also relayed sensitive material on the subversive intentions of Egypt’s revolutionary leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Morocco’s North African neighbor.

According to Oded Granot, a writer on Arab affairs in Ma’ariv, the Mossad delivered more than 100 light tanks to Morocco in the 1960s to strengthen Hassan in his conflict with Algeria over the Spanish Sahara. These were apparently smuggled into Morocco via a third country.

The first cooling came in 1965, when the Mossad’s hand was revealed in the murder of one of Hassan’s political foes, Mahdi Ben-Barqa. Israel, apparently, helped track him but did not kill him. The two sides distanced themselves from each other, but cooperation soon resumed.

Morocco supplied Israel with valuable intelligence data about joint Arab military planning before the 1967 Six-Day War. Relations soured again after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Morocco infuriated Israelis by sending a token brigade to Syria as a gesture of Arab solidarity.

But three years later, Yitzhak Rabin became the first Israeli prime minister to pay a clandestine visit to Morocco. Rabin, disguised in a Beatles-style wig and rising-executive glasses, explored with the king the prospects for peace with Egypt and Jordan.

After Menachem Begin’s right-wing Likud came to power in 1977, Hassan hosted discreet talks between Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Anwar Sadat’s special envoy, Hassan Tohami. Dayan, who slipped in from France, wore dark glasses instead of his trademark eye patch. The dialogue persuaded the Egyptian president to fly to Jerusalem and paved a way toward the 1979 peace treaty, the first between Israel and an Arab state.

Although Israel and Morocco have still not established full diplomatic relations, the king openly hosted two Labor prime ministers — Rabin and Shimon Peres — in the 1990s (Hassan confided to Peres that he had a Jewish wet nurse, named Simha). Their successor, Ehud Barak, was to have stopped over in Morocco on his way home from Washington last week, but postponed the visit.

Barak was no stranger to the king. As a 37-year-old colonel, he was one of a delegation of Israeli military and intelligence officers who flew to Marrakech in 1979 to congratulate him on his 50th birthday. As Shimon Peres’ Foreign Minister, Barak returned on an official visit in 1996.

Both men were included in a large delegation, headed by President Ezer Weizman, which represented Israel at Hassan’s funeral last Sunday. Foreign Minister David Levy was revisiting Rabat, the city of his birth, for the first time since migrating to Israel as a 17-year-old, 42 years ago.

To President Clinton’s disappointment, Syria’s President Hafez Assad stayed away — apparently because he did not want to be cajoled into what, for him, would have been a premature encounter with Barak.

Israeli leaders did, however, have what they hailed as a historic meeting with another radical Arab leader, President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika of Algeria. “We place great hope in your peace plans,” Bouteflika said during a seven-minute conversation in front of television cameras. “We are willing to help you in your efforts whenever you ask. We support peace.”

Assad apart, Barak is rapidly becoming the Arab world’s flavor of the month. As well as talking to the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians, the ebullient Israeli prime minister clasped hands with Saudi princes, the president of Yemen, representatives of Bahrain, Qatar and other Gulf emirates. Weizman, according to one report, had to be restrained from approaching the Lebanese Hezbollah militia delegation.

But Algeria’s Bouteflika was the prize catch. Algeria, which waged an epic war of independence against French colonialism, remains a potent symbol of the Arab national struggle. Bouteflika himself is a veteran of the FLN liberation movement. “If Bouteflika can talk to Israel,” said Israel Television’s Middle East expert, Ehud Ya’ari, “anyone can.”


Moroccan Jews Mourn Death of King Hassan

The death of Morocco’s King Hassan II made tens of thousands of Israelis mourn for the man they consider “their” king — and homesick for the land their families left.

Young Israelis of Moroccan origin placed the Moroccan flag on top of their cars, while others displayed huge posters in their homes of the late king, who died last Friday of a heart attack at the age of 70.

The Moroccan Jewish community in Israel declared a seven-day period of mourning for the king.

While reaction from Israel’s leadership was perhaps less dramatic, it was just as heartfelt — as a delegation led by Israeli President Ezer Weizman and Prime Minister Ehud Barak joined 30 world leaders, including President Clinton and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, in remembering a man who played a vital role in bridging the gap between the Jewish state and the Arab world.

When it came to the king’s death, the reaction of Israel’s estimated 300,000 Moroccan Jews appeared similar to Morocco’s Arab residents, many of whom consider the king to be a direct descendent of the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

“I know that it may sound ridiculous,” said Haim Shiran, 64, director of Inbal, an ethnic center in Tel Aviv, “but when, on Friday, I saw the Moroccan announcer on television announcing the death of the king, I broke out in tears.”

When King Hassan II took power in 1961 after the death of his father, Mohammed V, he was an unknown quantity with a reputation as a playboy. But ruling with a deft mixture of pro-Western democracy and traditional autocracy, he earned the respect of his people.

Hassan is being succeeded by his son Mohammed, 36. — Gil Sedan, JTA

Death of a Patriarch


Tom Bradley was buried Monday, hailed as Los Angeles’ longtime mayor, statesman, leader and friend. His is a grand biography; a son of Texas sharecroppers and the grandson of slaves, Bradley broke down ethnic and class barriers and forged a new multiracial political base that re-created this capital city of the Pacific Rim.

For the Jewish community, his is the death of a patriarch. By the time his 20-year term as mayor ended in 1993, the vaunted black/Jewish coalition that brought him to City Hall was already falling into disrepair, as both blacks and Jews struggled to mediate the city’s complex ethnic realities. When Bradley this week was extolled as a “Moses who could not bring his children into the Promised Land,” many in our own community knew what was meant.

As I sat with the well-dressed, respectful crowd that sweltered in bright sunlight outside the First AME Church, only the vestiges of that historic coalition remained. When Tom Bradley was hailed as a bridge-builder, no one mentioned the bridge extending from black Leimert Park to Jewish Fairfax and Westwood. Those seeking “closure” will be meeting in our own community to mourn the Tom Bradley we knew.

How shall we mourn him? Together, blacks and Jews came to power, but what have we learned? The obituaries have been kind, stressing, as they should, Bradley’s idealistic beginnings. Our own community’s great founding fathers and mothers — Judge Stephen Reinhardt, Ed Sanders, Richard Giesberg, Roz Wyman, Maury Weiner, Fran Savitch, Valerie Fields, Bruce Corwin — figure prominently in that triumph. Many of them were with Bradley even during his first try at City Council, in 1961, a recall bid against Sam Yorty-appointee Joseph Hollingsworth for the 10th District seat. Those early days and their alliances foreshadowed Bradley’s 1969 mayoral defeat followed by victory in 1973.

Yet, in the mayoral war stories, retold often this week, I learned something new. True, Jewish leaders recognized a winner in Bradley, a man who could forge a more progressive Los Angeles. But I hadn’t known that, in order to get him into power, they had to change not only the minds of bigots in the larger non-Jewish community but those of their fellow Jews as well.

When Bradley lost to Yorty in 1969, it was in part because Jewish voters stayed away. A last-minute mailer from the Yorty forces, circulated on Fairfax Avenue, linked Bradley, a moderate in style and political philosophy, with black militants.

“There was nothing we could do. The community didn’t know him,” says Ed Sanders. In the ensuing four years, Jewish leaders made sure that such scare tactics could never work again. “Bradley went to a lot of bar mitzvahs,” Sanders tells me. “In 1973, he was a stranger no more.”

This explains a lot, including why Jewish voters stayed with Bradley for so long, after every other group was drifting away. In his definitive study, “Politics in Black and White,” Raphael J. Sonenshein shows that, in 1985, Bradley would have beaten favorite son Zev Yaroslavsky in Zev’s his own 5th District. Which is why Zev did not run.

“I would have stayed with Bradley against King David,” says Bruce Corwin, Bradley’s first fire commission president and, today, a strong Yaroslavsky backer. The Jewish community was loyal to Tom Bradley, perhaps ashamed by its first failure of nerve. Once its heart is opened, it does not easily close.

Sadly, I was there for one closing. By the time I came to this paper, Louis Farrakhan’s 1985 Los Angeles appearance had already done its damage. While not the most difficult moment of Bradley’s years — certainly the 1992 Rodney King riots would be — it was a huge debacle for black/Jewish relations. Bradley, a UCLA graduate always as comfortable among Jews as among his own people, was caught between the two. Black church and civic leaders, for whom Farrakhan represented a crisis in leadership, urged the mayor not to condemn the Nation of Islam leader until after he had spoken. Jewish leaders demanded that the mayor come out strongly against anti-Semitism.

“Black leadership didn’t understand how terrified we were,” says Richard Giesberg. “They thought we were white people, with the world on a string.” So began an era of distrust among longtime friends.

Why talk of the Farrakhan incident now? Like the 1969 Yorty-Bradley race, Farrakhan offers lessons from hindsight. Jewish leaders this week were candid in their self-questioning: Despite Farrakhan’s potent and terrifying rhetoric, were they wrong to lean on a friend in this manner? What are the obligations of coalition partners? And, today, with as many as five Jews expected to run for mayor — including Councilwoman Laura Chick, Recreation and Parks Commission President Steven Soboroff and, perhaps, Supervisor Yaroslavsky himself — on what basis will strong coalitions with Latino and Asian communities be forged? Do we understand them even as we ask them to understand us?

The glory of Tom Bradley is the easy part of his legacy. The pain must be dealt with too.

We buried a statesman, this week, a man, a leader and a friend.


Marlene Adler Marks is senior columnist of The Jewish Journal. Her e-mail address is wmnsvoice@aol.com