NEW YORK (Oct. 3)
Rabbi Alexander Schindler, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, will accompany Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan on visits to three major American cities this Thursday and Friday to test public reaction to the U.S.-Soviet joint declaration on the Middle East and to brief Jewish community leaders on the meaning of the declaration and its significance.
The trip was announced following an emergency meeting of the Presidents Conference here today at which a variety of ways were discussed to express the Jewish community’s concern over the course the Carter Administration is pursuing in the Middle East. Dayan and Schindler will visit Atlanta and Chicago Thursday and Los Angeles on Friday.
They will meet with Jewish and non-Jewish community and civic leaders and with newspaper editors and other opinion makers to try to assess their response to the U.S.-Soviet declaration. They will also stress the major concerns expressed by the constituent organizations of the Presidents Conference at today’s meeting.
Schindler expects to emphasize four points: The Soviet intrusion as a guarantor of any Mideast settlement which alters the unique role the U.S. has been playing with both the Arab states and Israel over the past few years; the broken promises of the Carter Administration with respect to no changes in Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338; the apparent acceptance of the PLO as a legitimate participant in Middle East peace talks; and procedures outlined in the U.S.-Soviet declaration seen as leading to the creation of a Palestinian state under PLO domination.
CRITICISM OF DECLARATION CONTINUES
Meanwhile, Jewish leaders and organizations continued to criticize the joint declaration. Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, president of the American Jewish Congress, said it marks a “major reversal” of U.S. policy and “brings into question the reliability of our country’s solemn international obligations.” He said “We deeply regret that the U.S. has now appeared to join with the USSR in the disastrous alteration of the terms of the Geneva conference” to confer “legitimate rights” on those who define them to mean “the liquidation of the State of Israel.”
Faye Schenk, chairman of the American Zionist Federation, said “The joint Soviet-American statement represents an about-face in America’s long-standing pledge to Israel’s security and survival and can only be viewed as an obstacle to peace in the Middle East….Trading in other people’s security can only threaten the loss of one’s own.”
Rabbi Saul I. Teplitz, president of the Synagogue Council of America, called on President Carter “to repudiate the destructive implications of this joint statement and to reaffirm America’s traditional commitment to Israel’s security and survival.”