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Humphrey Says Administration Has Taken Steps Which in Effect Are Eroding the Israeli-u.s. Bonds

Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D.Minn.) last night urged President Ford and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger “to act more prudently in the execution of American policy toward Israel.” He charged that the Ford Administration has taken steps which in effect are eroding the historical bonds between the U.S. and Israel. Addressing some 1000 persons attending the seventh annual policy conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), at the Shoreham Hotel, Humphrey, reviewing the record of Administration pressures since the Yom Kippur War, declared:

“The Ford Administration simply does not understand that actions which are perceived to weaken the American commitment to Israel will not bring peace to the Middle East. They can only bring confusion and postponement of peace. A final peace is all that Israel seeks–a peace that will end the hatred and a peace that will provide security.”

In his first major address since announcing that he will not seek the Democratic Party nomination for President, Humphrey asserted that “whoever will be President next year should assure all nations that we are ready to have constructive and positive relations with them but we will not do so if the price is ending our special relationship with Israel.”

NO APOLOGY FOR SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP

The Arab world, he stated, “must understand that if it desires better relations with the United States it must accept good relations with Israel. No administration should ever mislead any Arab leader to believe otherwise.” Saying that it is imperative for the U.S. to secure the trust and friendship of the Arab world, Humphrey added that “We must declare without embarrassment and without apology that Israel has earned a special relationship with America.”

The Senator said he opposed “a full-fledged commitment to Egypt” because “that can only increase the risk of war and pose a threat to peace.” Israel, he added, must remain “economically viable and militarily strong” because no Arab nation has recognized Israel, abandoned the boycott and diplomatic pressure on Israel or “accepted Israel’s invitation to come forward and negotiate directly.”

Humphrey said he does not believe the Ford Administration “deliberately seeks to call into question the basic American commitment to Israel at the most difficult time in its history” but that “through inattention, inadvertence and insensitivity, this Administration has taken steps which have the effect of eroding the historical bonds of trust and confidence between the United States and Israel.”

CITES STEPS LEADING TO EROSION

Reviewing the Administration’s record “which causes me such great concern,” Humphrey noted that the “resupply efforts” to Israel during the Yom Kippur War came “only after incredible pressure was exerted by members of Congress on the Administration, using all of their muscle with President Nixon and Secretary Kissinger.”

Other acts cited by the Senator included the reassessment of U.S. policy prior to Israel’s signing of the second interim Sinai agreement with Egypt last September; the “too many occasions” at the UN when the U.S. remained quiet while nations tried to humiliate Israel; and the countenance by the Administration of “an unjust and odious boycott of Israel by powerful corporations and Arab nations.”

Praising the work done by AIPAC, Humphrey scored “columnists and editorial writers” who “warn us about ethnic lobbying” and “careless and even reckless” remarks about the “powerful ‘Jewish lobby.'” He noted that AIPAC has as much right to urge Congress and the Administration to pursue policies it deems correct and essential as various other lobbies in Washington spending millions of dollars on behalf of special interests.

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