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Ford, Kissinger Reaffirm U.S. Commitment to Israel in Wake of Brown’s Statement About Israel

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President Ford and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger both re-affirmed yesterday that they considered America’s strong commitment to Israel to be in the best interests of this country. Their assertions came in the wake of the storm raised by the remark of Gen. George S. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that Israel was a military “burden” to the United States.

A White House statement, which did not refer directly to Brown, said: “The President believes the relationship between the United States and Israel is based on strong mutual political, economic and military ties. A strong and secure Israel is strategically important to the global strategy of the United States.”

Kissinger, departing from his prepared text in an address to the 50th anniversary dinner of the Synagogue Council of America here, took direct issue with the Joint Chiefs chairman. “In our joint efforts we consider Israel not as a burden but as strong asset, not as a liability, but as a staunch bastion of democracy,” Kissinger told the predominantly Jewish audience. (See related Kissinger story P.2.)

GOLDWATER AGREES WITH BROWN

In Chicago, meanwhile, Sen. Barry Goldwater (R.Ariz.) deviated from the position taken by most of his Senate colleagues by making a strong statement in support of Brown. Goldwater, who has in the past supported Israel on most issues told the annual fall meeting of the Inland Daily Press Association that he shared Brown’s view that Israel was a military burden.

“I agree with him. We can’t continue to give any country equipment from our inventory and not deplete our own war machine,” Goldwater said. The conservative Republican added. “Israel has gotten everything she ever wanted. In some categories more than she can use.” He said it was “all right” with him “if we give Israel $2 billion” (in equipment) but “then let’s buy $2 billion for ourselves. Unless we regain our military superiority, the only choice can be nuclear war or surrender.” Goldwater told his audience that that was, in effect, what Brown was trying to say.

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