Kissinger: U.S. is Obligated to Support Israel’s Security; Successful Negotiations Require Israel to
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Kissinger: U.S. is Obligated to Support Israel’s Security; Successful Negotiations Require Israel to

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Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger pledged here last night that the United States would always recognize its obligations to Israel “as the principal supporter” of its security, and would “be understanding of Israel’s special circumstances in the process of negotiations.” He also maintained that “the Middle East today, with all its uncertainties, is at a moment of unprecedented opportunity” to make progress toward peace. But the Secretary also asserted that any “successful negotiation will require Israel to exchange territory in return for political and therefore much less concrete concessions.”

Kissinger made his remarks to an audience of about 1500 members of Congregation Chizuk Amuno, one of Baltimore’s oldest Conservative congregations which presented him with its Distinguished Leadership Award. It was his first appearance, since becoming Secretary of State, before a Jewish body in a synagogue sanctuary and his second before a Jewish organization. The Secretary addressed an American Jewish Congress luncheon in Washington five weeks ago. On May 16 he is scheduled to address an American Jewish Committee meeting in the capital.


Speaking partly from a prepared text and part extemporaneously, Kissinger’s address was punctuated by 14 bursts of applause. The most enthusiastic ovations came when he described Israel as “a reality” that will eventually achieve peace and when he declared that a solution of the Middle East conflict will not be “imposed.”

He said “there should be negotiations between the parties that will eventually have to live in peace with each other.” Kissinger also called for an end of Arab economic warfare against Israel as a step towards military and political peace. He said that “the U.S. is committed to ending restrictions on Israel’s right to trade and on the right of others to trade with Israel.”

Kissinger’s appearance before the congregation and its award to him sharply divided Baltimore’s closely knit Jewish community of about 100,000. The Jewish Times, a weekly serving the community, published two editorials Friday, one favoring and the other opposing Kissinger’s visit.

The official car taking the Secretary and his wife, Nancy, to the synagogue ran a gauntlet of more than 100 students and adults carrying placards attacking Kissinger and his policies. Flyers were passed out by “concerned Jewish citizens” protesting “the granting of any honor or award” to Kissinger. Two demonstrators reportedly were arrested. The Jewish Defense League claimed a role in the demonstrations.

Extraordinary security precautions were evident at the synagogue where secret service men guarded the approaches to the broad synagogue grounds, scrutinized all who entered the huge building and mingled with the guests. Everyone had an invitation in advance. But special tickets were Issued during the dinner before the award was presented to permit guests to enter the sanctuary to hear the Secretary’s address.


Kissinger’s speech was apparently intended as a reply to recent attacks on the Ford Administration’s Middle East policy–some of them emanating from former members of the Administration such as former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger–and as an expression of reassurance to Israel. He observed that “There is no greater example of the power of faith than the creation of Israel.” Israel, he declared, is “a reality and a reality it shall remain.” Its “survivors” who built the nation and now “dream of peace” will “achieve” that too, Kissinger said.

But he went on to say. “The road ahead is almost certainly more difficult than the steps we have taken so far. The negotiations ahead in the Middle East will present difficult obstacles and difficult decisions. We understand the complexity of Israel’s position. Any successful negotiation will require Israel to exchange territory in return for political and therefore much less concrete concessions. Even Israel’s ultimate goals–a peace treaty and recognition from its neighbors–are inherently intangible,” Kissinger stated.

He assured his audience that “We do not underestimate the dilemmas and risks that Israel faces in a negotiation, but they are dwarfed by a continuation of the status quo and we shall always recognize our obligations, as the principal supporter for Israel’s security, to be understanding of Israel’s special circumstances in the process of negotiations.”

Kissinger said that “Some of the Arab countries are now at last speaking openly and wisely of making peace and bringing an end to generations of conflict.” He did not identify the countries.


Calling for an end to “political wrangling,” between Israel and the U.S., Kissinger chided “those who opportunistically question our dedication to the security of Israel” and asked that they “examine” the record of American aid to that country. He noted that Israel now receives about a third of America’s total foreign assistance and that “we have proposed $4.1 billion for the next two years.” In his prepared text, Kissinger said that since its founding, Israel received $6 billion in U.S. aid.

Kissinger shared the dais with Maryland’s two Republican Senators, Charles Mathias and J. Glenn Beall and Maryland’s Governor, Marvin Mandel, a Democrat. President Ford sent a message praising the Secretary of State and “his foreign policy approaches.”


Rabbi Israel Goldman, spiritual leader of Congregation Chizuk Amuno for the past 28 years and a former president of the Rabbinical Assembly of America, apparently took note of the divisions in the local Jewish community over Kissin-

“Jews are heartened by your repeated assurances that America will never abandon Israel,” Goldman said. But he recalled the words of the Hebrew sages to the people, “Rejoice and tremble,” noting that “pledges are one thing” and “practical Administration policy is something else.”

Kissinger, who wore a white yarmulka, addressed the congregation from the pulpit in front of the Ten Commandments tablets and a modernistic Menorah topping the Ark. He was presented with a replica of the Menorah by Leonard Attman, president of the Congregation’s Brotherhood, who suggested that it might help guide him in the future. According to Goldman, Kissinger is the first Secretary of State in America’s history to speak in a synagogue. The congregation is 105 years old.

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