LONDON (Oct. 25)
The Carter Administration is trying to split the American Jewish community and weaken its support for Israel, according to an Israeli Cabinet minister who has just spent two weeks in the United States. Gideon Patt, Minister of Housing, said Carter’s purpose in holding talks with small groups of American Jews was to prevent a repetition of the community’s recent spontaneous hostile reactions to the joint Soviet-American statement on the Geneva conference.
However, he told the Joint Israel Appeal of Britain, he was impressed by the spirit of the American Jewish leadership. If world Jewry continued to stand by Israel, he was confident the Jewish State could safeguard its future. He believed that in a few years, the global and Middle East situation might change in Israel’s favor, enabling her to live in peace.
Bitterly criticizing the U.S. for bringing the Soviet Union back into the center of Middle East diplomacy, Patt said that Israel was willing and anxious to go to a peace conference, but only if it was armed at facilitating a full peace treaty with her Arab neighbors. Israel would not sit down with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization nor would she be drawn into a conference if the U.S. and other countries told her beforehand that an agreement must entail withdrawal to the pre-1967 boundaries and the consummation of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
Patt, who stopped here for 24 hours, is only the third member of the Begin Cabinet to visit Britain since the Likud took power. Although hitherto unknown in the Anglo-Jewish community, he received an enthusiastic reception from the large gathering of fund-raisers, under the chairmanship of Henry Lewis. It is now confidently expected that Israeli Premier Menachem Begin, too, will be warmly welcomed when he comes next month as a guest of Prime Minister James Callaghan. Patt is due to return here in December for further engagements with the Joint Israel Appeal.