WASHINGTON (Jun. 21)
Rabbi Alexander Schindler, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said yesterday that “the Jewish community continues to be apprehensive about the Administration’s policy towards the Middle East.”
He warned in a telephone interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “worst of all,” the Administration is raising Arab expectations which may “impede the process toward peace if not plunge all into disaster.” Schindler, in New York, was asked by the JTA for his comments in the wake of Vice President Walter Mondale’s San Francisco speech and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance’s expressions Sunday on ABC’s national television program “Issues and Answers.” Mondale’s address was particularly touted by White House sources as designed to allay fear in the Jewish community on the direction of the Administration’s policy.
“Recent statements by Administration spokesmen have not served to allay our fears,” Schindler said. “They have been a mere recapitulation of what gave rise to these apprehensions in the first place. Our concern is clear. We perceive a slow but sure disengagement from the traditional American Middle East policy which calls for negotiations without preconditions.”
Schindler added that “The dim outlines of an American blueprint for an imposed settlement can be seen. They may not be intended as such a blueprint but they are perceived as such. This perturbs American Jews and worst of all, it raises the expectations of the Arab world, which, frustrated in the slightest degree, may impede the process toward peace if not plunge all into disaster.”
HADASSAH URGES NO U.S. PROPOSALS
In New York, Bernice S. Tannenbaum, national president of Hadassah, called on Carter to “announce clearly and without equivocation that the United States has no peace plan for the Middle East” and to “refrain from the presentation of concepts and proposals which create perceptions of diminished U.S. support for Israel among the Arabs.
Mrs. Tannenbaum issued her statement in a cable to Hadassah headquarters from Jerusalem where she will attend the Zionist General Council meeting opening tomorrow. She said that “The statement about the Middle East made by Vice President Walter Mondale reaffirming previous statements by President Jimmy Carter, is occasioning grave anxiety among American supporters of Israel who want a just and lasting peace.”
Mrs. Tannenbaum said that Hadassah “recognizes President Carter’s earnest wish to bring peace to the Middle East despite Arab intransigence. However, we must stress that his pronouncements of new proposals and concepts for a peace settlement has encouraged the Arabs to believe that the U.S. may impose a peace plan on Israel,” she said.