- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2000

NEW YORK The owner of one of the nation's oldest black newspapers charged yesterday that the Democratic Party chose Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman for the No. 2 spot on its national ticket so that Jews would pour money into the party's coffers.
"It was the money, stupid," wrote Wilbert Tatum, publisher emeritus of the influential Harlem-based Amsterdam News, in an editorial that claimed "Jews from all over the world, especially in Europe, Africa, Israel and South America, will be sending bundles of money" to the Democrats because of Mr. Lieberman's vice-presidential nomination.
In an interview with The Washington Times, Mr. Tatum said he stands behind the editorial, which drew instant criticism from Jewish organizations.
"It is so hideous, so ugly, so outrageous, so insidious," said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). "The only reason he can conjure up as to why the party didn't put an African-American on the ticket is because the Jews have bought the election."
The editorial, which appeared in the Aug. 10-16 edition, also said: "The plus here for the Jews is that they have learned the American game very well. The white Anglo-Saxon Protestants have taught it to them as they were taught by their British forebears: the lesson 'I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE.' "
Mr. Tatum, whose wife, the former Susan Kohn, is Jewish, and whose daughter, Ellie Tatum, editor of the The Amsterdam News, is also Jewish, said he has a rabbi and often attends synagogue services.
Mr. Tatum dismissed Mr. Foxman as "a joke" and said the ADL has never given blacks credit for electing most of the Jews who hold public office in the urban areas of America.
Mr. Foxman scoffed at Mr. Tatum's remarks. "This man has been using his wife as a shield in the past, but that doesn't make him immune to anti-Semitism," the ADL director told The Times.
Such black leaders as the Rev. Al Sharpton and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan have been openly critical of Mr. Lieberman's nomination. Privately, some Jewish leaders attribute the attacks to black frustration that a black candidate such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson was not chosen for the No. 2 spot.
"It's legitimate disappointment," said one Jewish observer, "There wasn't even anybody on the short list, but to put it in these terms we know why because they bought it that's what makes it so dangerous."
The Amsterdam News editorial came in the wake of a controversy last week when Lee Alcorn, president of the Dallas branch of the NAACP, was suspended and then resigned after making anti-Semitic remarks about the Connecticut senator.
In an attempt to address the division among black leaders over Mr. Lieberman's candidacy, the senator met Tuesday with members of the Democratic National Committee's black caucus in Los Angeles. He muted his support for school vouchers and recanted his earlier criticism of affirmative action, averting a threat by California Rep. Maxine Waters to "sit out" the campaign.
At the Democratic convention in Los Angeles yesterday, black delegates said they would rally behind the Gore-Lieberman ticket.
Pennsylvania delegate Evelyn D. Richardson noted Mr. Lieberman's work in the 1960s registering blacks to vote in Mississippi.
"You're always going to find those who disagree in the political arena," Mrs. Richardson said. "But who do they want, Bush?"
New York delegate Patricia Williams said Mr. Lieberman is popular in her community.
"I'm not concerned because in the Bronx, where I'm from, we don't have any rift about him," Mrs. Williams said. "I have a 10-year-old daughter, and he is a great choice for her."
"I don't really know that much about [Mr. Lieberman]," California delegate Sonia Moseley said. "I understand that the black leadership did endorse him yesterday, and that many of the issues we've been concerned about … got cleared up."
Andrew Cain in Los Angeles contributed to this article.

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