JERUSALEM (Dec. 2)
Premier Golda Meir said here that Israel will go to the Geneva peace conference in the hope of reaching a genuine peace settlement with its neighbors, “true peace, not a piece of paper.” But she expressed bitter disappointment over the outcome of the latest Arab summit meeting in Algiers where “not one real sign that they wanted peace” emerged from the Arab leaders.
Mrs. Meir, addressing 75 American Jewish leaders at a banquet in the Knesset building marking the close of the second seminar of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, stressed the need for secure, defensible borders for Israel. No international guarantees can substitute for secure borders, she said. The proponents of international guarantees are implicitly thinking of indefensible borders and unreliable peace treaties between Israel and the Arabs, she stated and noted that Pakistan had the most ironclad international guarantees imaginable but they did not save it from invasion.
Mrs. Meir declined to draw a peace map but indicated Israel’s conception of secure borders when she stated that every settlement established in the administered territories was established with government approval and their positions reflected the future boundaries envisioned by Israel. This applies to “the north, the Jordan Valley and south of the Gaza Strip,” she said.
Addressing the same forum Thursday night, Jacob Stein, chairman of the Presidents Conference, assured Israel that American Jewry will support it to the hilt. He said the American government would back those security needs Israel considers vital–as opposed to those definable as convenient rather than vital.
Stein stressed, however, that it was for Israel alone to decide its security needs, “and when Israel has decided, the American Jewish community will support it. For in the final analysis, it would be Israeli men and blood that would have to defend those security interests if they were put to the final test,” Stein said.
He said that a secure Israel–secure by its own definition–was vital to U.S. strategic interests and that, rather than sentiment, was what motivated American support for Israel. However, that support is currently under attack from four sources in the U.S. he said. These were according to Stein, well financed oil lobbies; the NATO countries worried about oil; the relatively new phenomenon of efficient, well-financed Arab propaganda efforts aimed at the Administration and Congress; and the still small but vocal group of isolationists in Congress.
Stein replied to criticism in Israel over the failure of American Jewry to bring its economic power into play against countries that have recently lined up on the Arab side, notably Japan. He said that if the Japanese government goes no further than it has gone, no boycott would be called by American Jewish leaders. A boycott is a dangerous thing because if it failed it exposed the weakness of its initiator, Stein said.