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Jewish Groups Comment on Debate

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Two major American Jewish organizations commented today on last night’s Ford-Carter debate on U.S. foreign policy and defense. Bertram H. Gold, executive vice-president of the American Jewish Committee, said the AJCommittee “is heartened by the firm position of both candidates in the Presidential debates last night in opposition to the Arab boycott of American businesses that trade with Israel or that deal with companies engaged in such trade.”

But Seymour Graubard, national chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League, said that President Ford’s comment regarding Administration efforts to get strong and effective anti-boycott legislation through the Congress “is not in accord with the facts” because “Administration spokesmen have consistently opposed adoption of effective anti-boycott legislation.”

Speaking for the AJCommittee, Gold said “We are particularly gratified by Gov. Carter’s strong anti-boycott stance and his commitment to effective anti-boycott legislation. We are also encouraged by President Ford’s statement that the Administration believes anti-boycott legislation should be adopted–a stand that seems to signal a welcome change of position on the part of the Administration on this issue.”

Graubard, in his statement, however, listed top Administration leaders who, he said, publicly adopted positions opposed to anti-boycott legislation. Among them were Secretary of Commerce Elliott Richardson, Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations Robert J. McCloskey and Treasury Secretary William E. Simon.

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