ATLANTA (Aug. 31)
Democratic Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter told a group of 70 Jewish community leaders yesterday that any settlement of the Palestinian question must “recognize that the Israelis did not cause the Palestinian problem.”
His assertion drew enthusiastic applause from the Jewish leaders who had attended an all-day briefing by Carter and members of his campaign staff at the Atlanta American Motor Hotel. The former Georgia Governor is scheduled to meet with the New York Board of Rabbis late this afternoon at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue in New York City.
Carter told the Jewish groups leader of whom are expected to campaign for him in their local areas, that his support of Israel was “undeviating, unequivocal.” He said he would support “whatever military and economic aid that is necessary to let Israel defend itself.”
He said a Middle East peace requires the Arab states to recognize Israel’s right to exist and must leave Israel with secure and defensible boundaries. “One of the things that has aggravated the Mideast situation,” Carter said, “is the uncertainty lately about where our nation stands that makes the leaders of Israel and the people of Israel uneasy and that builds up false hopes in those countries that are probing for weaknesses in Israel or weakness in our commitment to Israel.”
During the question and answer period which was not limited to Jewish issues. Carter said he understands the issues that concern Jewish voters because he receives sound information on them from his staff. He noted that many of his staff members are Jews.
Stuart Eizenstat, Carter’s director of issues, told the group that Carter believes in separation of church and state and that as Governor he ended the practice of prayer breakfasts at the Governor’s Mansion. Eizenstat said that Carter was the first Governor in the United States to sign a petition in support of Soviet Jewry.
CADDELL’S ROLE RAISED
Pat Caddell, Carter’s pollster was asked about the polling his firm does for Saudi Arabia. The questioner said that this is one issue raised constantly in his community.
Caddell replied that he has two polling companies, Cambridge Reports and Cambridge Political Reports. He said Cambridge Reports sells information to anyone who asks for it. He affirmed the client has no input in the polls it takes and he will not do any work for Middle East clients seeking information about American Jews. He said the work being done for Saudi Arabia only involves American attitudes toward that country. Caddell added that in his political work he will only do polls for liberal Democrats.