WASHINGTON (Sep. 8)
Democratic Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter pledged today to the B’nai B’rith International Convention that if he is elected President he will “promote human rights in our imperfect world” including combatting the Arab economic boycott, international terrorism, support for emigration from the Soviet Union and the United Nations genocide treaty.
In his speech to the 1500 delegates at the Washington Hilton Hotel, the largest convention in B’nai B’rith history, Carter also called “for closer ties with our traditional allies and stronger ties with the State of Israel.” He did not amplify his statement on Israel. Reiterating his strong opposition to international terrorism, Carter said “we should quit being timid and join Israel and other nations in moving to stamp out international terrorism once and for all.”
On the Arab economic boycott, Carter said he found it “unacceptable that we have in effect condoned the efforts of some Arab countries to tell American businesses that in order to trade with one country or company they must observe certain restrictions based on race or religion. These so-called ‘Arab boycotts’ violate our standards of freedom and morality.”
Carter said he has “regret” that the senior officials of the Ford Administration “told Congress that efforts should not be made to address this basic issue of human rights.” The Administration testified that it opposed legislation pending in Congress that would enable American companies to refuse to comply with demands by Arab countries to boycott Israel and Jewish companies.
Carter, saying that the Department of Commerce has “shut its eyes to the boycott” and failed to “carry out a firm policy” against it, declared, “if I become President, all laws concerning these boycotts will be vigorously enforced.”
RAPS ADMINISTRATION ON EMIGRATION ISSUE
Pursuing his theme on human rights, Carter accused the Ford Administration of having failed to make “serious efforts to get the Russians to permit greater numbers of people to emigrate freely to the countries of their choice.” Saying, “we cannot pass over in silence the deprivation of human rights in the Soviet Union,” the Democratic candidate said the list of Soviet prisoners is long and includes both Christians and Jews. He said he would speak only of two of them, Vladimir Bukovsky and Vladimir Slepak, both of whom are Jews.
He described Bukovsky as a young scientist who has been in prison most of the last 13 years for criticism of the Soviet regime. Slepak, a Moscow radio engineer, applied for an exit visa for Israel in April, 1970, he said. The visa was denied and since 1972 Slepak has been denied the right to hold a job, Carter said.
“I ask why such people must be deprived of their basic rights, a year after Helsinki,” Carter said. “And if I become President, the fate of men like Bukovsky and Slepak will be very much on my mind as I negotiate with the Soviet Union,” he said.
Urging the United States to lend “more vigorous support” to the United Nations and other bodies to attract world attention to the denial of freedom, Carter said that the U.S. itself should move toward Senate ratification of important treaties in that area. Among them he included the UN Genocide Convention which has been before the Senate since President Truman first presented it 27 years ago, the convention against racial discrimination and covenants on political and civil rights.
President Ford will address the convention tomorrow morning. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, who was scheduled to address the convention, is out of the country.