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December 29, 1989
Dinkins Asks Gays & Jews to Cool It

by Mark Mooney
Mayor-elect Dinkins -- who campaigned on his ability to bring people together -- yesterday made personal appeals to gays and Jews to call off protests at his inauguration.

"They ought not rain on my parade," Dinkins said, adding: "I expect that they won't."

But both protest groups said they will ignore his requests.

"We have no intention of raining on his parade, but we have a right to express our conscience." said Rabbi Avraham Weiss of Riverdale, who wrote a letter to Dinkins protesting the presence of South African Bishop Desmond Tutu.

Weiss wrote that Tutu should "not be permitted to speak" because of Tutu's recent statements comparing Israel's treatment of Palestinians with South Africa's treatment of blacks and suggesting that Jews should forgive the Nazis.

Dinkins called Weiss yesterday in an effort to halt the protest, but Weiss said he still will lead a demonstration at Monday's inauguration.

Weiss, who was arrested last summer while protesting a Catholic convent near the grounds of the Auschwitz concentration camp, said he was "not satisfied" with his conversation with Dinkins.

"This is an even harder Issue than Auschwitz in certain ways," Weiss said. "I'm terribly offended by Tutu's presence."

"Tutu should not be speaking at the inauguration of the healing mayor of New York," he said.

The militant gay group ACT-UP -- Aids Coalition to Unleash Power -- which will be protesting the presence of John Cardinal O'Connor, also dismissed Dinkins' request not to rain on his parade.

"That's glib, but I don't know if it addresses the issue," said ACT-UP spokesman Jay Blotcher "The issue is a lot more crucial than his parade."

ACT-UP recently carried out a mass demonstration at St. Patrick's Cathedral to protest O'Connor's stand on AIDS and contraception.

Blotcher said the group still is deciding how to carry out the demonstration "without offending allies in the making."

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