Major U.S. Jewish Groups Criticize Rogers’ Mideast Policy Statement

The American Zionist Council and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations added their voices today to the mounting chorus of Jewish protest against Secretary of State William P. Rogers statement of American Middle East policy. The Conference, which represents 23 national Jewish organizations and claims to be the spokesman for “the responsible leadership of the organized American Jewish community,” urged the Nixon Administration to reconsider the position enunciated by Mr. Rogers. Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the American Zionist Council, alleged that the Rogers speech was a “retrogression” from the previous U.S. position which called for the outside powers to concern themselves with broad guidelines and not the specifics of a Middle East settlement.

The Conference, through its chairman, Rabbi Herschel Schacter, voiced “grave concern” over Mr. Rogers’ statement which the organization interpreted as being a call for a Middle East agreement “through the Four Power talks rather than through negotiations between the parties directly concerned.” It warned that “appeasement of Russian design’s will lead nowhere except to renewed conflicts.”

Rabbi Miller was especially distressed by Secretary Rogers’ suggestion for future boundaries between Israel and Egypt and status of Jerusalem. He claimed that while the U.S. “pays lip service” to the principle of non-intervention by outside powers, “it is obvious that Israel’s chief bargaining power has now been bargained away by the U.S.” The American Jewish Congress described the Rogers proposals as a “step backward” in the search for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. The AJ Congress complained that Mr. Rogers’ speech “contains no word that would oblige the Arab states to refrain from their unremitting efforts to dismantle and destroy the state of Israel.”

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