Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1994, Page 44
Daniel Moynihan Faces Pro-Israel Competition
No senator has worked harder for the pro-Israel vote than Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York. He seemed to be running for prime minister of Israel when he was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations back in the 1970s. He went out of his way publicly to antagonize Arab delegates to the U.N., disregarding the fact that some of their countries were important supporters of American diplomacy and customers for American products, and he was supposed to be representing the United States.
Then he announced he would be running as a Democratic candidate for U.S. senator from New York, which clarified things. His gratuitous rudeness had been uncharacteristic for a man who still declines to defend his outrageous pro-Israel stands to congressional colleagues he respects. Instead he just smiles and walks away.
While eminently reasonable on most matters, Moynihan, who has worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations in Washington and as U.S. ambassador to India, panders tirelessly for Israel in Congress, as readers of the “Congress” column in this magazine are well aware. For that reason, it must come as a particularly unkind cut to learn that he soon will have a rival in the New York Democratic primary election next September who has even better "Jewish' credentials" than his own.
The rival is New York attorney Leon Charney, who has been personal counselor both to Israeli President Ezer Weizman and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and who was a go-between for U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem. Begin in the lead-up to the Camp David agreements. Charney has written a book, Spy for Peace, about his involvement in Israeli-Egyptian negotiations, and he is the host of a Sunday afternoon radio talk show in New York, "The Leon Charney Report."
"Leon has a unique ability to grasp complex issues, bring people together and create a positive solution," according to publishing executive Michael Sloser, who heads Charney's election committee. It won't be too complex, therefore, for both Charney and Moynihan to figure out the Achilles' heel for non-Jews who pander for pro-Israel campaign donations. Although the rank and file of pro-Israel PACs, meaning those founded and run by AIPAC board members, are pledged to support and fund any incumbent senator or representative who has voted the AIPAC line and who needs help, it doesn't really work that way in practice.
The PACs still give the non-Jewish incumbent the help he or she has earned. If a rival is Jewish, however, many individual PAC members give their private donations to that rival, so that while charts like those in the Washington Report show candidates like Moynihan getting the pro-Israel PAC money, a candidate like Charney may in fact be getting far more from pro-Israel Jewish individuals. Such a rival may also be helped by the so-called, "multi-issue" pro-Israel PACs, which supposedly judge a candidate on a variety of issues along with aid to Israel, enabling the PAC to cross the line and vote for a pro-Israel Jewish challenger to a pro-Israel non-Jewish incumbent.