Carter Reserves Decision on Moving U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Jimmy Carter refused to go on record last night before a Jewish audience, most of whom were rabbis, on whether he would move the United States Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if he was elected President. Acknowledging that such a move was called for in the Democratic Party’s platform, he said that he would like to reserve his ###when he is in the White House.

Carter’s statement was in response to a question from the New York Board of Rabbis which sponsored the meeting at which more than 300 persons jammed a room of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Synagogue. All the questions had been written beforehand by the NYBR and read to Carter by its executive vice-president, Rabbi Harold Gordon.

In explaining his stand on the embassy, Carter said that if a move to Jerusalem was part of an overall Middle East settlement, he would support it, but if a delay would help negotiations for a settlement, he would not move the embassy. However he repeated his assertion that if he was Premier of Israel he would not withdraw from the Old City of Jerusalem or the Golan Heights.

VIEWS ON RELIGION, ARAB BOYCOTT

Asked about his religious views, Carter said that as a Baptist he believes in separation of church and state and that each person has a right to worship in his own way. He said if he is elected. “I don’t intend to worship with the White House as a public place” but would seek out the nearest Baptist church where “I could worship as quietly…as I can.”

Carter said he believes in affirmative action but not in quotas. He said everyone should have an equal chance at housing, jobs and education but that quotas would mean that one group is helped while another is discriminated against.

Stressing that he believes in equal opportunity for everyone regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, Carter said as President he would act to bar American companies from submitting to a tertiary boycott as part of the Arab economic boycott of Israel. He said the present Administration has failed to act against this practice in which American firms are required by the Arabs not to deal with another American company that trades with Israel.

Asked about American supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia, Carter said he would cut down on the number of weapons the U.S. would sell abroad and would start with countries where the weapons might be used against friends or allies of the United States.

In his opening remarks, Carter repeated much of what he said to a group of 70 Jewish community leaders in Atlanta Monday. (See Bulletin dated Sept. 1.) Rabbi Judah Cahn, president of the NYBR, said the 1000-member rabbinical group does not endorse any candidates but has a tradition of hearing the views of national and local aspirants to office.

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