NEW YORK (Jun. 7)
Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, declared today that criticism of certain Israeli governmental policies by American Jews in no way implies any diminution of their commitment to Israel. “Let no one be mistaken and misread our occasional questioning of this or that Israeli governmental policy as disunity or weakness. We remain committed with our very lives. all of us, to Israel’s survival in security and in peace,” Schindler said.
He spoke at a farewell luncheon tendered by the Presidents Conference to retiring Undersecretary of State Joseph J. Sicso. “Those differences that do exist among American Jews about Israel’s foreign policy are nowhere near as serious as they are portrayed.” Schindler stressed.
He took issue with the labeling of Jews as “doves” or “hawks” with respect to their views on Israeli policies. He said those terms were a throwback to the Vietnam War and “applied to the Middle East, they evoke dangerous and misleading comparisons.”
DISPUTE IS OVER ‘KIND OF PEACE’
Schindler observed. “I for one have never heard a Jewish ‘hawk’ demand that Damascus be levelled or that the harbor of Alexandria be mined. Nor have I heard any ‘dove’ question Israel’s right to be. What divides the ‘doves’ and ‘hawks’ on Israel is not the ultimate goal of peace but the kind of risks that should be taken to achieve that peace.” Schindler said.
“The real issue is not ‘hawk’ versus ‘dove’ but rather what is the ‘quo’ that Israel has the right to expect for its ‘quid?’ The debate of late has focussed on those territories that Israel should or should not surrender. But the essential questions are these: What kind of peace will result from Israel’s concessions? Is there to be a mere mounting of phrases like ‘the non-use of force’ which in the final analysis means nothing at all? Or should that peace include opening of trade, travel and cultural contacts between Israel and her Arab neighbors as the foundation on which a just and lasting peace can be built?” Schindler asked.
He concluded, “When the Arab states answer these questions, Israel and the world will know whether there will be a genuine peace in the Middle East or the kind of ‘peace’ that the Muslims and Christians of Lebanon are enduring as Arab slaughters Arab.”