NEW YORK (Oct. 12)
President Ford pledged today to an audience of about 3000 people, mostly Jews, that there will be “no imposed solution and no one-sided concessions” in the Middle East, that his Administration will continue to support a strong Israel and that he would personally continue to raise “again and again” the issue of Soviet Jewry at meetings with Soviet leaders.
Ford spoke outside the Joel Braverman High School of the Yeshiva of Flatbush in the heart of the heavily Jewish-populated Midwood section of Brooklyn. Following his 10-minute address, the President visited the Center for Holocaust Studies at the Yeshiva and conferred with a group of Jewish leaders inside the building. That meeting was closed to the press and there was no briefing given reporters afterwards. (See related story.)
The crowd was polite but not notably enthusiastic and gave the President only moderate applause. Security measures were strict. Barriers surrounded the high school building and heavy concentrations of uniformed police were present in the surrounding streets hours before Ford’s motorcade arrived.
LOUD HECKLING ERUPTS
There were no incidents but loud heckling erupted during the President’s brief address from members of the Jewish Defense League and the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry. JDLers carried signs reading, “Ford Must Go” and others demanding the dismissal of Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and the preservation of Israel’s hold on the occupied territories.
SSSJ members carried signs declaring, “Detente With Honor–Save Soviet Jewry” and “Boycott Ford.” Another group carried signs identifying themselves as “Polish Jews For Carter.” The latter was apparently a reference to Ford’s statement during his foreign policy debate with Democratic Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter last week that Poland and other Eastern European countries were not under Soviet domination.
ISRAEL’S FUTURE BRIGHTER NOW
The President declared that “Israel’s strength enhances the prospects of peace” in the Middle East and claimed that Israel’s future is “brighter” now than before he became President He referred to Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin as “my personal friend” and cited recent remarks by Rabin that Israeli-U.S, relations have never been better. He pledged that his Administration will continue to support and fight for Israel at the United Nations and would oppose any attempt to oust Israel from the world organization.
Ford also pledged that the U.S. would fight international terrorism and referred to Israel’s “heroic” rescue of hostages at Entebbe Airport in Uganda last July 3. He said he was “proud” to have been the first head of state to praise that operation.
Ford reaffirmed his opposition to the Arab boycott, declaring, “I have not and will not tolerate” discrimination on religious grounds brought into American life. He referred to his order to the Department of Commerce to disclose the names of American companies that, in the future, comply with Arab boycott demands. He described that order as “strong executive action against the boycott.”
He said his Administration has been pressing for movement on the issue of the rights of Soviet Jews, noting that he had raised it at his meeting with Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and “I will raise it again and again….It is immoral for any nation to dominate the religious life of its citizens.”