CARDIFF, Wales (Oct. 17)
If Middle East diplomacy resumes next year, Britain will try to make certain that Israel will not be “deserted” in its bid for peace and security. Prime Minister James Callaghan made this pledge here Friday night at a dinner in his own Welsh constituency given by the South Glamorgan Labor Friends of Israel in honor of Israeli Ambassador Gideon Rafael.
Callaghan said he hoped that whoever was the Secretary of State after the U.S. Presidential election would have the “same depth of understanding as Dr. Henry Kissinger.” The dinner, attended largely by local Labor Party officials, was a demonstration not only of Socialist links but of the sympathy of the Welsh people for Israel. Most of the speakers stressed the affinities between the two nations.
Callaghan who also showed that his personal interest in Israel vies with that of his predecessor, Sir. Harold Wilson, the former British Prime Minister, said: “Never did Israel have a more steadfast friend. He strove to unite the interests of Britain with forwarding Israel’s interests and security.”
It was with Callaghan’s strong backing he said. that Wilson would be addressing next month’s Balfour Dinner in Israel. Meanwhile, Britain’s ties with some Arab countries had improved, enabling Britain to discuss questions more openly and frankly with them. But this was not at Israel’s expense, Callaghan added.
In reply to Rafael, who expressed Israeli con- cern at Britain’s economic crisis, the Prime Minister said that whereas Israel faced a visible foe, Britain had the more complex task of fighting an intangible economic challenge. The country had no alternative but to carry on the present struggle against inflation, he declared.
COUP FOR LABOR FRIENDS OF ISRAEL
Callaghan’s appearance here Friday night was a coup for the Labor Friends of Israel organization and, indirectly, for the Israel Embassy. The local Labor Friends group, set up only two years ago, planned the dinner six months ago when Callaghan became Prime Minister.
It coincided with a major celebration last night in honor of Prime Minister and Mrs. Callaghan by the South Wales Labor Party. And Friday, the Labor-ruled South Glamorgan County Council hosted Ambassador and Mrs. Rafael for lunch.
The local Labor Friends include some of Callaghan’s staunchest supporters in his own constituency. One of the most prominent is David Seligman, brother of Max Seligman, the veteran Israeli lawyer, and president of the Israel-British Commonwealth Association.
Max Seligman, who settled in Israel 55 years ago, was one of Friday night’s speakers. To the amazement of the local Labor politicians, he re-vealed that, in 1919, he had been a canvasser in Cardiff for legendary Socialist figures like James Maxton and Philip Snowden.