August 11, 2004

by Reb Yudel
Hebes Used in White House Hardball

What price access?

Jewish organizations who want to meet with Bush don't exactly have to sign endorsements before entering -- as do attendees at some campaign events -- but this JTA story about the quids and quos the Bush Administration indicates why some Jewish leaders might in the future rather be photographed shaking the hands of a less demanding leader....

A White House booklet called "President George W. Bush: A Friend of the American Jewish Community" has some of the Jews quoted and pictured inside feeling less than friendly.

Several of those quoted represent non-partisan organizations and are concerned the booklet implies an endorsement from them or their group.

Others believe the material crosses the line into overt campaigning for Jewish support by the White House less than four months ahead of the election.

The booklet raised a stir among Jewish officials in Washington this week. Several Jewish leaders said they were not contacted before their names appeared, and that it does not accurately reflect their group's sentiment on the administration's track record.

"I hate to be used," said one Jewish leader quoted in the book, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of angering the White House. "The president selectively chose a statement where we praised him. There have been several comments that have had an opposite point of view expressed."

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