NEW YORK (Oct. 21)
Republican Presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon told Jewish leaders here today that aside from Berlin and Vietnam, Israel was the major flash point that could lead to a major Middle East confrontation. It was necessary, he said, for the Soviet Union to avoid any miscalculation and to understand that the U.S. would not tolerate any Soviet takeover of the Middle East or destruction of Israel. He described this as preventive diplomacy.
Mr. Nixon, who was introduced by Max M. Fisher, his adviser on urban and community affairs, addressed the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in a private meeting. He said that the Soviet Union must not believe that the United States would remain idle if one of the Soviet “client states” in the Middle East made a move toward Israel, He also expressed opposition to any imposed peace settlement that would be guaranteed by the Major Powers, including the Soviet Union, rather than one arrived at by the Arabs and Israel themselves.
Mr. Nixon addressed the Conference, composed of presidents of 22 major Jewish organizations, at its invitation. A similar meeting is being arranged with the Democratic Presidential candidate, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. Mr. Humphrey addressed a private meeting of the New York Board of Rabbis today and discussed his position on issues of Jewish concern.
Mr. Nixon reiterated his belief that it was in the vital interest of the U.S. and the cause of world peace that Israel possess military superiority to deter Arab aggression. He described the Arab states as seeking vengeance against the Jewish State, while Israel sought only to defend its own independence.
He said that “it was obvious” since the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia that any Russian-guaranteed peace would not work. Asked about the religious-cultural repression of Jews in the Soviet Union, the former Vice President said it was important to document all the facts through diplomacy and other channels so that the concern of Americans for the freedom of Soviet Jews may be adequately communicated on many levels to Soviet Government leaders.
On the issue of the urban crisis, Mr. Nixon voiced appreciation of the role of Jewish voluntary organizations in advancing human rights and in the war on poverty. He said it was time to set up the involvement of private persons as well as the Government in the problems of the cities, and said he hoped to establish machinery for Jewish voluntary organizations – as well as those of other faiths, and civic bodies – to play a more direct role in solving the problem.