NEW YORK (May. 24)
Shock, horror and revulsion was expressed this weekend by Jewish and non-Jewish leaders throughout the nation at the wanton attack by Arab guerrillas on an Israeli school bus. A United Nations spokesman issued a statement yesterday on behalf of Secretary General U Thant in which Mr. Thant declared that this “deplorable attack” by “Arab irregulars, presumably Palestinian refugees” has provided an “especially ominous warning as to what the future may hold if decisive steps toward ending the Middle East conflict are not soon taken.” Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, sent a letter to Security Council President Jacques Kosciusko-Morizet of France declaring that the tragedy came only two days after the Council, by a vote of 11-0 and four abstentions, adopted a “grossly one-sided resolution” that condemned Israel for its incursion into Lebanon but “ignored” Lebanese terrorism. Mr. Tekoah labelled the bus attack a “grave act of aggression” by a “terror squad.”
The B’nai B’rith, Anti-Defamation League and National Council of Jewish Women issued statements yesterday denouncing the ambush. Rabbi Jay Kaufman, executive vice-president of B’nai B’rith, said “deliberate slaughter of innocents and the twisted mentalities of those who flaunt such actions must surely overwhelm conscience of civilized people everywhere.” Rabbi Kaufman said that the Council resolution “must surely be interpreted by the terrorists as a sanction of their wretched activities. It is a question as to who is to be blamed more, the terrorists or the diplomats who speak for them.” Mrs. Leonard Weiner president of the National Council of Jewish Women said the deliberate choice of the school children by terrorists is “a measure of the kind of barbarism being fostered in the Middle East by supposedly civilized governments.” Declaring that there was a direct connection between the increasing boldness of Arab terrorists and Soviet support to Arab nations, she said American and world opinion must be mobilized “to dissuade the Soviet Union from pursuing its policy of divisiveness in the Middle East.” She also urged President Nixon to speak out against the brutal bus attack and to lead the U.S. in calling for UN condemnation of Lebanon.
The ADL said such Arab attacks “make mandatory major UN investigation into the extent of support given such actions by Arab member nations.” ADL asked the U.S. to introduce a UN resolution for immediate inquiry. The ADL called the attack on the bus a cold blooded act of murder, “in effect precipitated and encouraged by the one-sided attitude of the Security Council” which “always closes its eyes to Arab terrorist aggression that claims the lives of innocent victims.” Arthur J. Goldberg, Democratic Party nominee for New York State governor and former United Nations ambassador, said only the implementation of the UN’s November 1967 resolution can lead to a halt of terrorism. He said the Security Council had repeatedly censured Israel but when the United States tried to get the Council to condemn Arab attacks, the Soviet Union vetoed the resolution. Mr. Goldberg charged that the Council was using a double standard to judge events in Israel.
AMBUSH TERMED ‘UNSPEAKABLE BARBARITY,’ ‘BARBARIC SAVAGERY,’ ‘GHASTLY ATTACK’
Mrs. Max Schenk, national president of Hadassah, sent telegrams to President Nixon, UN Secretary General U Thant and United States UN Ambassador Charles W. Yost decrying the “tragic deaths” and “critical injuries.” Mrs. Schenk said Hadassah was “outraged at the unspeakable barbarity of those who slaughter little children and teachers in the name of liberation.” She said “civilized nations must share our anguish and indignation” over the incident and “devise measures to prevent further shedding of innocent blood.” She asserted that “responsibility for this heinous deed must be placed at the door of Arab governments who aid and abet reckless Arab terrorists.” The Hadassah leader deplored the “apparent condoning” of Arab terrorism by the UN in resolutions such as that passed last week by the Security Council, which she said “can only serve to encourage such unconscionable deeds.”
The New York Times said editorially yesterday that the “heroes of the Palestine liberation” had committed an act of “barbaric savagery” in “cowardly attack” on the school bus. The Times said this “sickening action” by a left wing fringe of the guerrilla movement “can only revolt civilized men everywhere and further discredit the entire Palestinian cause.” The editorial asked how Palestinians and Arab supporters could expect to win sympathy for legitimate rights when “they fail to control– or even condemn–the beasts among them who would murder children under the banner of Palestinian liberation.” The editorial added that “Israel’s instant retaliation against Lebanese villages” also could not be condemned.
The Synagogue Council of America expressed “grief and horror” over the “deliberate and cold-blooded murder. Rabbi Solomon J. Sharfman, SCA president, said in the statement that “if there has ever been any doubt, it surely must be clear now to everyone that the terms ‘liberation movement’ and ‘freedom fighters’ have been used as euphemisms for the acts of cowardly criminals who are engaged in a deliberate program of murder of innocent civilians–children, women and men.” He declared that the “shocking event” underlined the need of well-meaning “but sadly misguided” religious organizations in the United States and abroad to “re-evaluate their uncritical glorification of the Palestinian terrorists.” He said “we call on them to search their consciences whether they have not been giving encouragement, however indirectly, to this gruesome shedding of innocent blood.”
The ambushing of the school bus should be condemned by the entire civilized world, declared Rabbi Harold I. Saperstein, New York Board of Rabbis president. “The United Nations Security Council’s unfair condemnation of Israel last week stimulates this kind of barbarism,” he said and continued: “It is high time the world realized that encouraging Arab nations that are bent on Israel’s destruction will only lead to more unrestrained terrorism and bloodshed of men, women and children. In Washington, the American Jewish Congress today condemned the “ghastly attack” by Arab terrorists. Condemnation was contained in a resolution adopted at the close of the AJCongress’ biennial national convention here. It called on “all nations to go beyond proclamations and refuse to give sanctuary or immunity to terrorists.” It said, “Our outrage and grief can be made manifest effectively and appropriately only by adherence to the processes of reason, persuasion, exhortation and demonstration.”