NEW YORK (Oct. 2)
The joint U.S.-Soviet statement was denounced today by several leading Jewish and non-Jewish spokesmen as an abandonment of America’s historic commitment to Israel’s security.
Rabbi Alexander Schindler, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, accused the Carter Administration of reneging on President Carter’s pledge to support a negotiated settlement in the Middle East on the basis of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and requested Secretary of State Cyrus Vance “the opportunity of a clarification from you of the American position.”
Rabbi Joseph P. Sternstein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, condemned the joint statement as a “new Munich.” He called for an immediate national mobilization of the Jewish people in this country and urged the convocation of a leadership assembly in Washington “to dramatize our concern at the lethal direction American foreign policy has taken and its mortal danger to the State of Israel.”
In a telegram sent to Vance, Schindler said, “We are profoundly disturbed” by the joint U.S.-Soviet statement “which on its face represents an abandonment of America’s historic commitment to the security and survival of Israel and imperils our country’s interests by giving a major role to the USSR, not merely at Geneva but in the Middle East itself.
“The statement also appears to be a shocking about-face of the President’s public pledges of support for the principles of a negotiated settlement within the framework of UN Resolutions 242 and 338. The U.S.-Soviet plan calls for an imposed settlement that will inevitably lead to further turmoil in the area. It is not a prescription for peace but rather a formula for reducing Israel…into a vassal state dependent in part for its physical protection and thus its very survival on the Soviet Union….We respectfully request the opportunity of a clarification from you of the American position.
DOES THE WORK OF THE PLO
Sternstein said the joint statement “has done the work of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The statement leaves Israel with nothing to negotiate at Geneva. The phrase, ‘legitimate rights of the Palestinians,’ is a code phrase for a Palestinian state ruled by the PLO. There is now no point in Israel’s going to Geneva since the United States and the Soviet Union have announced their plan to impose their own solution in line with Arab demands, even though President Carter has repeatedly and solemnly stated that the U.S. would not be a party to an imposed solution.”
In television interviews today the joint statement was attacked by AFL-CIO president George Meany and Sen. Henry Jackson (D.Wash.). Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Meany said an imposed settlement will not work since a peace settlement could only come from the parties involved. “I just can’t see an imposed settlement,” he said.
Jackson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” that by agreeing to a joint effort with the Soviet Union, the U.S. had allowed “the fox…back in the chicken coop.” He said the joint statement elevated the Soviets to an influential position that they had not even dreamed of having in the Mideast. “It is a step in the wrong direction,” he said. “It’s going to raise issues of confrontation.”