JERUSALEM (Mar. 19)
Reports that Israel is being pressured by the Nixon Administration to disown the Jackson amendment were denied here today by “authoritative sources. A source close to Premier Golda Meir told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that President Nixon made no such request of Mrs. Meir at their White House meeting March 1.
According to the sources, the subject of Soviet Jewry was raised at that meeting. Nixon said that he understood the Israeli leader’s concern and added that he believed in the value of quiet diplomacy. But he did not speak of Mrs. Meir’s intervention in the debate over the Jackson amendment and it would have been unthinkable for him to have done so, the sources claimed.
The sources were commenting on a report today by the syndicated Washington columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak who said the Nixon Administration was getting tough with the Israeli government over the latter’s support of the measure that would deny most favored nation trade status to the Soviet Union unless obstacles to emigration were lifted.
According to Evans and Novak, the President informed Mrs. Meir that he was not about to risk the U.S.-Soviet detente on the extraneous issue of Jewish emigration from Russia. They said that since then, Presidential emissaries have let the Israeli government know that “Israel, through the powerful lobby of the American Jewish community must share major responsibility if the Jackson amendment passes, “The columnists added: “Then Israel would have to answer to Richard M. Nixon himself.”
Informed sources here said Premier Meir has stressed many times that the Jackson amendment was proposed on the Senator’s own initiative. They said the amendment’s strong support was by no means altogether due to pro-Jewish sentiment. They said that many Congressmen wanted to demonstrate opposition to the administration and the free emigration issue was one that attracted many sympathizers in the U.S. apart from its Jewish ramifications. According to the sources the amendment also has the support of die-hard anti-Soviet elements in Congress.