Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Norman Podhorets, editor of Commentary magazine and a principal articulator for the Tory wing of the Democratic Party, stated the problem:
"I don't know whether to praise or damn the Carter administration of this issue at this point," he admitted
"This issue" was human rights, and it brought together an odd batch of more than 500 Democrats - and a few Republicans, too - at the fifth anniversary dinner of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority at the Sheraton Park Hotel Thursday night.
The dinner was called to bestow honors on 36 Soviets citizens - 11 of them now in Soviet prisons - who belong to unofficial groups formed to monitor implementation of the human rights sections of the Helsinki agreement on European security.
A number of recent Soviet emigres, including the stepdaughter of physicist Andrei D. Sakharov, helped make it an emotional evening, not least by providing a cause for which everyone in the Sheraton Parks's gaping ballroom felt sympathy.
The principal American speakers were Sens. Henry (Scoop) Jackson (D-Wash.) and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), two heroes to this crowd, and two outspoken advocates of an activist American human rights policy.
Moynihan seemed to have the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] fun of the evening by personally [WORD ILLEGIBLE] basting members of the high-making delegation of Soviet parliamentarists who left Washington Thursday night after a week-long visit. (While the crowd gathered at the Sheraton Park Thursday night, another crowd gathered at the Soviet embassy on 100 Street to honor that delegation.)
Jackson has long been a champion of and hero to Soviet dissidents and Jews seeking to leave the U.S.S.R. He spoke out Thursday night in defends of his "Jackson Amendment," which presently precludes trade concessions to the Soviet because of their restrictive emigration policies.
Since the Jackson Amendment was enacted, the rate of emigration by Jews from the Soviet Union has fallen off markedly (though it has increased lately). "We can afford to be patient," Jackson declared. He called the amendment "the first statute in this century linking economic policy with respect for international human rights."
The $100-a-plate crowd cheered. Jackson got a standing ovation.