LONDON (Jan. 21)
George Brown, deputy leader of the British Labor Party, denied on television yesterday that he had created a row at a dinner party given in his honor at the home of Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban in Jerusalem this week. But several British newspapers have demanded that the former Foreign Secretary retire from politics and an Israeli newspaper has accused him of personally insulting Premier Golda Meir.
Mr. Brown, appearing on the BBC’s “Twenty-Four Hours” program said reports of his dinner party invectives were “ridiculous.” He conceded that there had been some “tough talk” at the gathering the night before he ended his recent five-day visit to Israel. But he explained it by saying that he and the Israelis present were “deep and close personal friends” and that in the “family atmosphere” of the party, “one does have a latitude for expression which you will never use in public.” Brown denied that he had told one Israeli guest to “wipe that silly grin off your face” or that he had told British Ambassador John Barnes to “shut up” and then admonished him for not supporting “everything I say.”
The Israeli newspaper Maariv claimed that Mr. Brown “walked out” of the Eban party after telling Premier Meir, “You are only a Russian Jewess who came to Israel via the United States.” Mr. Brown said, “Some of the stories I have seen reported are just too ridiculous to be worthy of a denial.” The Evening Sun said editorially today that “The latest escapade in the Brown circus deserves to be billed politically as positively his final appearance.” The Daily Mail said “It is time Mr. Brown made a dignified exit from the world stage before we forget the man he was.” But the London Guardian said “Brown is a good man whose remarks may have been taken out of context. It will be a pity if the trivia of his journey are allowed to obscure the good he can do.” Mr. Brown visited several Arab capitals before he arrived in Israel. He said his Mideast tour had encouraged his hope that a peaceful settlement could be achieved.