NEW YORK (Dec. 2)
Mitchell Sharp, president of the Privy Council of Canada and Canada’s former Minister of External Affairs, said last night that despite “signs of weakness” and “defects and shortcomings” of the United Nations “it must be admitted that some forum for the nation states is indispensable.”
Addressing some 800 persons attending the American Jewish Congress’ annual Stephen S.Wise Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Sharp stated that Canada’s policy in the Middle East during his six years as Foreign Minister and under his successor, Allen MacEachen, is based on the view “that only if there is respect for sovereignty of the states in the area is there any hope for peace in the Middle East.”
Sharp, who is also a leader in the Trudeau government, denounced terrorism and declared that “the killing of innocents to draw attention to the virtue of a cause inspired revulsion and loathing rather than sympathy, and had led inevitably to retaliation. What is heroic about the murder of children at school or of people in a pub?” The former was an apparent reference to the massacre by Arab terrorists at Maalot. The latter reference was taken to be aimed at the IRA.
Sharp noted that MacEachen, in a speech, to the General Assembly Nov. 20, said Canada was opposed to any attempt to challenge the right of Israel…to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats and acts of force.”
CANADIAN GOVERNMENT CRITICIZED
His remarks last night came in the wake of criticism by the Canada-Israel Committee, an umbrella organization of the Canadian Jewish Congress, B’nal B’rith and the Canadian Zionist Federation, of Canada’s abstention during the vote in the General Assembly on the pro-Palestinian resolutions 10 days ago.
In a telegram to Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the group praised MacEachen’s statement but noted that “we are gravely disturbed and indeed stocked by our government’s abstention on the vote on the substantive resolution on Palestine” which was “completely contradictory to Canada’s position stated on Nov. 20.” The substantive resolution was the one which recognized the rights of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property and right to self-determination.
The Stephen S. Wise Award was presented to Charles R. Bronfman of Montreal. president of the House of Seagram Ltd., and Edgar M. Bronfman of New York, president of Distillers Corporation Seagram’s Ltd. for their leadership in civic and Jewish affairs. The dinner marked the centennial of the birth of Dr. Wise.
The Bronfmans were praised by Sir Marcus Sieff of London, chairman of Marks and Spencer Ltd. and a leader of British Jewry, and Dr. Nahum Goldmann, WJC president, both of whom noted the Bronfmans were following in the tradition of their father, the late Samuel Bronfman. Dr. Goldmann said the greatest problem for world Jewry today is to ensure that “our generation” will be able to continue a tradition of Jewishness among Jewish youth.
Sir Marcus praised the United States for supporting Israel no matter what Administration was in office. He said that in today’s world of “appeasement,” it was no small matter for a nation to defend its own interests let alone that of an other country. He declared that if Israel had lost the Yom Kippur War, the Mideast would have fallen under Soviet rule, and if Western Europe wanted oil the price would have not been just higher oil payments but also “neutralization” if not “communization” of Western Europe.