WASHINGTON (Apr. 24)
American Jewish leaders are trying to get the support of both major parties for a proposal to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Such a move would be tantamount to US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a status the US has refused to acknowledge since the State was formed in 1948. The Jewish efforts, begun in the wake of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s 13th annual conference here last week, are aimed at the Platform Committees of the Democratic and Republican Parties.
The Democratic Platform Committee, headed by Prof. Richard E. Neustadt of Harvard, will start hammering out its planks for the 1972 Presidential elections here on June 22, after receiving recommendations from eight regional hearings. The Democratic nominating convention opens in Miami Beach, Fla. on July 10. The Republican Platform Committee, headed by Rep. John J. Rhodes of Arizona, is scheduled to meet Aug. 14 in San Diego, a week before the convention opening on Aug. 21. It is possible, however, that the Republican Convention will be shifted to Miami Beach.
The Jewish leadership hopes to get both parties to include planks calling on the President to order the transfer of the Embassy. The shift of pressure from the State Department to the two political parties is said to be the result of the State Department’s continued refusal, publicly and privately, to consider the latest proposal for an Embassy shift.
The proposal was made last week by Sen. Robert F. Griffin (R. Mich.) acting Republican Senate Minority Leader. Addressing 300 delegates attending an AIPAC luncheon for Congressmen, Griffin said he endorsed the Embassy transfer to Jerusalem which was proposed last month by Rep. Gerald Ford (R. Mich.), House Republican Minority Leader, at a meeting of the Zionist Organization of America’s Cleveland Region.
MOVE WOULD COME AFTER PEACE
Griffin said the establishment of the US Embassy in Jerusalem would have “a dramatic impact” on other countries which refuse to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and would reaffirm “our belief that Israel would uphold the rights of all religions” in the Holy City.
Questioned afterwards by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a State Department spokesman said the Department had no plans to “uproot” the Embassy from Tel Aviv. Later, AIPAC delegates were told that the Embassy would be moved to Jerusalem only when a Middle East peace settlement is achieved. Much of the impetus of the drive to move the Embassy to Jerusalem is expected to come from AIPAC which is headed by Irving Kane of Cleveland, and Isaiah L, Kenen, executive vice chairman. Kenen was honored at the AIPAC conference dinner for his 30 years of service to the Jewish community.
In a speech on that occasion, Kenen lauded Nixon and Congress for US support of Israel. “Little by little” he said, the issues which divided the US and Israel have been “resolved by events.” He derided “petrol-diplomacy” which he claimed was exercised by “oil lobbyists and missionaries” to block Washington’s support for Israeli independence.
“It is to Congress that we owe so much appreciation,” Kenen said. Congress “reflected the attitude of the American people to strengthen Israel. It created the climate of opinion for the administration to contribute to the improvement in American-Israeli relations and brought about recognition among Americans in general that Israel is carrying out in the Middle East the highest ideals of the American people,” Kenen said.