Azf Launches Sharp Attack on Us Policy in Mideast

In its sharpest criticism to date of the United States policy in the Middle East, and in what is believed to be the forerunner of a broader attack on the administration’s Mideast policies, the American Zionist Federation said today that Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ speech to the United Nations General Assembly last week “is a demonstration of the erosion in US policy and constitutes a setback to the cause of Mideast peace which will take many weeks, if not months, to repair.” Speaking for the 17-month-old, 700,000-member AZF, its president, Rabbi Israel Miller, declared that it was “difficult to comprehend” why Rogers found it “necessary…to meddle in the specifics of a Mideast peace.”

Rabbi Miller charged that “Had he set out deliberately to torpedo the chances of peace, he could not have done a better job than his performance at the UN on Oct. 4.” Rabbi Miller elaborated; “Regrettably, Mr. Rogers has seemingly been won over to the Arab position on practically all issue in dispute between Israel and the Arab states. His espousal of linking a Suez interim agreement with the long-term solution called for by the Security Council Resolution (242) of 1967, his support of the Sadat demand for an Egyptian military crossing of the canal, and his advocacy of a limited cease-fire are all causes for grave concern.” Rogers spoke of the “possibilities for compromise” on an Egyptian military crossing.

Rogers “has unfortunately done a disservice to the cause of peace,” Rabbi Miller continued, because in his UN speech “he has now encouraged (Egyptian President Anwar) Sadat to stand firm in his impossible demands upon Israel,” Furthermore, he said, “now that all four of the big powers are in support of Egypt’s basic formula for peace, why should Egypt budge one iota from its demands?” Therefore, the AZF leader concluded, “Rogers has now to all intents and purposes virtually removed the US as the only ‘honest broker’ that could conceivably have brought peace to the Mideast, and thereby has moved the conflict one step nearer to another all-out war.”

RESIST ATTEMPTS TO PRESSURE ISRAEL

Rabbi Miller stated that “friends of Israel” and supporters of Resolution 242 “will resist all attempts, by our State Department or others, to pressure Israel into accepting the terms which will lead to spurious cessation of hostilities, one which will only set the stage for another major conflagration.” He declared: “Israel’s interests cannot be bargained away by our Secretary of State, If the President of the US is willing to meet with the Chinese Communist leaders, there is no reason why (Israeli Foreign Minister Abba) Eban’s offer for face-to-face talks under UN sponsorship with the Egyptian Foreign Minister should not be actively supported by Mr. Roger.”

The AZF leader said it was now up to President Nixon “to assume active command of new US policies and strategies which remain the only road to a genuine Mideast peace.” One move Nixon can make, he explained, is to send Israel the additional Phantom jets she has requested instead of using “threats to withhold such aircraft until Israel agrees to ‘see the light.’” Ending his statement, Rabbi Miller warned Nixon that “the Mideast policies of his State Department…at best will lead to a continued stalemate with rising tension, and at worst to another major conflagration which could turn into global warfare.”

NEXT STORY