Ford Accused of ‘deception’ on Arms Equipment for Israel

Edward Sanders, deputy national campaign director for Democratic Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, said here today that it was “a deception for the Ford Administration to claim credit now for releasing military equipment that it had denied Israel for many months.”

Sanders, a prominent Los Angeles Jewish leader who resigned as president of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee to join the Carter campaign, was referring to this week’s announcements in Washington and Jerusalem that Ford had approved the sale of certain sophisticated weapons systems that had not been previously sold to Israel.

Sanders said the new arms consist largely of “items long requested but previously blocked by an Administration that blows hot and cold in its support of the Jewish State.” He said “It is gratifying that the delay in sending Israel military hardware long withheld will apparently now be ended. But one cannot help wonder why the President has suddenly decided to release equipment heretofore denied to Israel, three weeks before the elections. I cannot believe this is only a coincidence.”

Sanders accused the Ford Administration of having “adopted the policy of holding up promised assistance to Israel in order to pressure the Rabin government into making concessions to the Arab states.” He said that “after President Ford had blamed Israel for the breakdown of Secretary of State Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy in March, 1975, there was a virtual U.S. arms embargo against Israel for a period of months. The promise of renewed assistance was held out as bait in order to make the Rabin government more amenable to U.S. diplomatic moves in the Middle East.” Sanders said.

Another example, he observed “was the Ford Administration’s efforts to deny any aid to Israel during the so-called ‘transitional quarter’ when the beginning of the U.S. fiscal year was changed from July 1 to Oct. 1.”

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