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Jackson Advocates Black-Jewish Unity

November 12, 2000

MIAMI (AP) _ The Rev. Jesse Jackson said the United States stands to lose credibility on the world stage if the presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore isn’t settled, especially since Americans would not tolerate a similar situation abroad.

He also defended Gore’s challenge of Florida’s presidential vote.

``We cease to be the shining light on the hill if the integrity of our democracy is in question,″ Jackson told congregants at Temple Israel. ``Unless elections around the world are open and free and fair and credible and transparent, the international community will not certify them, and these nations lose aid and resources.″

His appearance was supposed to be nonpartisan and about voter fairness.

But Jackson defended Gore’s challenge of the results in Florida, where Bush held a 288-vote lead out of 6 million votes cast, according to an unofficial Associated Press survey. Recounts were under way in four jurisdictions.

Whoever wins Florida and its 25 electoral votes is almost certain to become president-elect.

``To surrender to injustice is unpatriotic, ... immoral, even treasonous,″ Jackson said. ``Mr. Gore has no surrender on the principle of a fair count.″

One parishioner, Ivan Lovas, a Vietnam veteran who, as an infant, survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest, said he thought Jackson’s remarks were inappropriate for the synagogue.

``Could you imagine a football game, the championship game, where you have to have a replay on every play just to get it right?″ said Lovas, 57, who said he voted for Bush after years of supporting Democrats. ``Can you imagine going back to the studio just to make sure every inch of the game is measured? A football game would last two months, and nobody would like football. Football would be destroyed.″

Using his own sports analogy, Jackson said: ``Overtime is not a crisis,″ he said. ``It is exciting.″

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EDITOR’S NOTE _ Allen G. Breed is the AP’s Southeast regional writer, based in Raleigh, N.C.