NEW YORK (Dec. 10)
Simcha Dinitz, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, said here last night that his country would draw a distinction “between the essential and the marginal, between the vital and the not so vital” when it goes to the Geneva peace conference next week. Addressing some 400 persons attending the American Jewish Congress’ Stephen S. Wise Awards Dinner at the Hotel Pierre, Dinitz said that Israel would be “flexible with the marginal and stubborn in defending the vital.” He characterized the Geneva talks as “an opportunity laden with dangers” but noted that for the first time since 1949 Israel may now have “partners” with whom to talk peace.
Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, AJCongress president, warned against efforts to break “the unity of American Jews in support of Israel’s basic security requirements” and declared that “we will not be frightened by the energy crunch or oil shortage. We will continue to speak up, and to all the branches of the United States government.” Without identifying anyone. Rabbi Hertzberg said that some “self-appointed Jewish spokesmen may be tempted” to pressure American Jews to adopt an “independent’ or “more reasonable” policy on the Middle East. This, he said, will be rejected by the overwhelming majority of American Jews who “will not again be pressured or pushed into urging ‘concessions by Israel now that will have to be paid for in blood by Israel’s defense forces later.”
Dinitz told the audience that Israel “wanted to negotiate more than we have wanted anything else and we will enter these talks with sincerity and with a genuine craving of Israelis and Jews everywhere for a lasting peace. We hope our Arab neighbors are coming to the talks for serious negotiations.” He drew a distinction between the American offer of guarantees of a peace settlement made by Secretary of State Henry A, Kissinger and the proposals of “a certain U.S. Senator,” a reference to J. William Fulbright, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Kissinger favored Arab-Israeli agreement on borders to be followed by Big Power guarantees. “A certain Senator on the other hand proposed an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders that would then be guaranteed by the U.S.,” Dinitz said. “This logic admits that the 1967 borders were not secure; why else would they have to be guaranteed? The Senator would like Israel to base its security and the lives of its people on the likelihood that the U.S. would send troops in the event of an Arab attack. This is a useless guarantee, especially from a Senator who has been opposed to sending U.S. troops anywhere,” Dinitz said.
The awards medallions were presented to Francis L. Kellogg, Assistant Secretary of State and Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Refugee and Migration Affairs; Nathan Cummings, founder and honorary chairman of the Consolidated Food Corporation and benefactor to a number of medical centers and Jewish organizations; and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Kellogg, who was introduced by Sen. Claiborne Pell (D.R.I.), and given his award by Melvin Dubinsky of St. Louis, chairman of the United Israel Appeal, “for distinguished contributions to the movement and resettlement of persecuted and homeless refugees around the world,” asserted; “Either mankind is going to start moving with more determination and more effectiveness toward a world of Justice, universal human rights and true peace, or we are going to founder along that other path at the end of which lies holocaust, obliteration and a lifeless planet.”
Cummings, who received his award for “distinguished achievement and inspiring leadership in strengthening Israel and Jewish communal life in the United States” from Max M. Fisher of Detroit, chairman of the Board of the Jewish Agency, declared that “as a result of Israeli policies that have” provided work and given dignity to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Jordanians, Arab and Jew can live together.” He called for “cooperation and compromise between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East to stimulate “trade and tourism, peace and prosperity” that can make “many more deserts bloom for Arab and Jew alike.”
The award to the JTA for “distinguished service as an essential instrument of news and information to the Jewish community at home and abroad,” was accepted by JTA president William M. Landau from Robert H. Arnow, past president of JTA and president of the Association for Jewish Education. Landau said the JTA had “plans for intensifying our work wherever there is a Jewish community to be linked with the rest of the Jews of the world.” He cited Australia, South America and South Africa as targets for deeper JTA coverage and asserted: “If we Jews are to maintain our continuity, it is urgent that we not be Isolated from one another. It is urgent that Jews in New York or Rio know not only that there are Jews in Melbourne, Rhodesia or Pittsburgh, but, more important, what is happening to them as Jews.”