Sen. Edward Kennedy appealed Wednesday for an end to...

NEW YORK -- Sen. Edward Kennedy appealed Wednesday for an end to 'polarization politics' pitting Jews against blacks and told a political dinner for a black politician the conduct of black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan must be condemned.

In a major speech delivered to 1,000 people at a $200-a-plate testimonial in Manhattan for Basil Paterson, vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Kennedy said, 'We must resist polarization politics -- wherever it is practiced -- whether it is in the present administration or in the present campaign.'


Paterson is expected to run for mayor of New York.

'...We must not permit polarization politics to set Jewish Americans against black Americans and deflect two great peoples from their historic dream of freedom from bondage and persecution. Both alike have suffered and sacrificed.

In addition to the controversies surfacing in the Democratic primary campaigns, Kennedy strongly criticized 'professional bigots' serving in the Reagan administration.


He also paid an emotional tribute to his brother, the late Robert Kennedy, who represented New York in the Senate and was assassinated 16 years ago this month.

'No one was more open to the future than he was, more ready to brave its dangers, more committed to the quest,' Kennedy said.

'We know that there are those waiting, even eager, to nurture antagonisms and shatter our unity,' said Kennedy. 'In the decisive struggle for the soul of America, we will be conquered only if we are divided.'

Kennedy singled out the remarks of Farrakhan, a political and personal ally of Jesse Jackson's whose remarks have plagued Jackson's Democratic presidential campaign.

Jackson had no comment on Kennedy's remarks.

'We cannot pretend we do not see or hear when Louis Farrakhan predicts race war by 1986, or implies that 'Jewish editors and Jewish writers' distort the news, or threatens the life of a black reporter for doing his job, or refers to Hitler as 'a very great man,' or shakes the hands of Colonel Khadafy.

'Such conduct can never be condoned -- and it must be unequivocally condemned,' Kennedy said.

But he added, 'As a matter of the most basic civil rights, we must clearly state that, whatever the source or the excuse, anti-Semitic stereotypes are as wrong as anti-black stereotypes.


'Nor can we pretend that we do not see or hear when Meir Kahane forms 'Jews against Jackson' or when opposition to official Israeli decisions is equated with the shame of anti-Semitism,' Kennedy added.

The Massachusetts Democrat said he strongly disagreed with Jackson's position on the Middle East.

'But his position on the Middle East is wrong in terms of policy - and it certainly is not proof of prejudice,' Kennedy said.

'How sad it is to have to state the obvious -- that Jews are not anti-black and that blacks are not anti-Semites,' Kennedy said. 'Indeed, for many generations, in many difficult days, they have been the closest of allies in the great struggle for racial justice.'

Kennedy bitterly attacked the Reagan administration and what he called 'the rise of a new hostility toward racial justice, a new indifference toward the minority of our people who are not white, a new paternalism toward the majority who are women.'

He said the administration's policies form a 'pattern of dangerous dealing in group slander, ignorance and stereotypes' and added, 'There is no place in America for a form of spiritual segregation in which a political coalition is so plainly labeled 'for whites only.''


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