Mrs. Meir, Dinitz Stress Israel Will Not Give in to Pressure
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Mrs. Meir, Dinitz Stress Israel Will Not Give in to Pressure

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Two leading Israeli diplomats served notice yesterday on Israel’s “friends” in the West that the Jewish State will not allow itself to be pressured into accepting a peace that will endanger its security, asserted that Israel does not need to be preached to about peace and rejected any possibility that Israel would either welcome or permit the United States to send troops to defend her should another Middle East war erupt.

At the same time, both diplomats, Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz and former Israeli Premier Golda Meir, indicated that differences between Israel and the U.S. remain, although stressing that the U.S. remains the best ally of the Jewish State.

Dinitz stated that Israel is committed to peace and therefore pressure on it to make peace is superfluous. At the same time, he stated, if Israel is pressured to accept the peace that is inimical to its future, such pressure will be rejected. “We don’t want illusory settlements,” he declared.

In a similar vein, Mrs. Meir asserted that Israel is prepared to go to the bargaining table with its Arab neighbors “to discuss, negotiate and argue peace.” But, she affirmed, Israel will not accept “a peace which paves the groundwork for an easier destruction of Israel.”

While Dinitz specifically referred to concerns Israel has regarding the United States, Mrs. Meir was more circumspect about identifying which of Israel’s “friends” she had in mind. Nevertheless, it was apparent that her greatest concern was with the U.S. rather than with West Europe which she mentioned specifically.

Both Israeli diplomats spoke at separate sessions here to the 46th General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. Their speeches came two days after Secretary of State Cyrus Vance addressed the Assembly and sought to justify and explain the Administration’s Mideast policy. (See separate story.)


Mrs. Meir, who last addressed the CJF at its General Assembly in Chicago in 1948 shortly after the birth of the State of Israel, received a tumultuous reception when she appeared in the grand ballroom of the Hilton Hotel, during her address and at the conclusion.

As she entered the ballroom she was greeted with shouts of “Golda, Golda, Golda” and then the overflow audience of 2000 people broke into a chorus of “Shalom Aleichem.” Some 500 people who could not be accommodated in the ballroom watched her over closed-circuit television that had been installed in three additional ballrooms.

When she left the hotel, the several hundred crowded into the lobby, spilled out into the street and marched for half a block behind the limousine which was taking her back to the airport for her return to New York.

Dinitz, who addressed the closing banquet of the Assembly in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel, evoked prolonged applause when he announced that the Israeli government had earlier in the evening issued an official invitation to President Anwar Sadat of Egypt to come to Israel to discuss peace. The envoy said that a television reporter had asked him just before the meeting began whether Israel could assure Sadat’s safety in Israel.

“I told the reporter that if Sadat comes to Israel for peace he will be able to walk the streets of Jerusalem alone. He will be the safest man in Israel. He will walk the streets of Jerusalem more safely than in Cairo.”


Dinitz spoke frankly of the concerns Israel continues to harbor about the U.S. while stressing that there is “no greater ally of Israel than the United States.” He underscored that “no one in high office in Washington wishes us ill. No one wants to see Israel turned into a liability instead of an asset. What then is Israel’s cause for concern? Even for the best of our friends we are one issue on the agenda of foreign policy.”

Then, in what appeared to be an allusion to differences between Israel and the U.S. over such thorny issues as the Administration’s views on a Palestinian homeland, “legitimate rights” of the Palestinian people and the role of the Soviet Union in the process to reconvene the Geneva conference, Dinitz declared:

“It is not with America we will have to make peace but with our neighbors. So that all the assurances we get from America does not allay our apprehensions about what our neighbors want.” What does Israel want? Dinitz asked. Basically, he said, Israel is striving to avoid a situation where the U.S. would have to decide either to send troops to defend Israel or “to let Israel go down the drain.”

On this, Dinitz said, “can you imagine anything more damaging to the Jewish standing in this country than for Israel to have to explain to an American mother that her son died defending the Jewish State? We don’t want that. We will defend ourselves by ourselves.” That is why, he added, “we say to our friends we are prepared to compromise but not at the expense of our security, our very existence.”


Broaching the sensitive subject of seeming differences in Israel and in the American Jewish community over tactics to achieve peace, Dinitz asserted that there is fundamental unity on the strategic goal. There may be, he observed, a multiplicity of attitudes among Israeli and American Jews but there is a singularity of purpose. He said differences do not frighten him. A monolithic view would.

Mrs. Meir, in her address, also affirmed that Israel is committed to peace, rejected the view that Jewish settlements are an impediment to peace and scoffed at promises of international guarantees to safeguard Israel. But she saved her scorn and most caustic remarks for those “friends” who she said so easily discard principle for expediency under pressure from Arab oil and advise Israel that both sides in the Middle East conflict must be prepared to take risks.

In an obvious allusion to the Carter Administration, she said, “It is easy to fight enemies but difficult to argue with friends.” She added, “It would never enter my mind to argue with those who want to see a secure Israel, a safe Israel. We are dealing with democracies not anti-Semitic governments, not governments which are hostile to Israel.” But, Mrs. Meir added, she could not accept the concept of taking equal risks.

“What risks are Egypt or Syria or Jordan taking?” she asked. “Israel is not out to occupy them and even the Arabs do not claim that we are. During the 1973 war our armies were within 100 kilometers of Cairo and within 50 kilometers of Damascus. We could have kept going, but we asked ourselves: what do we do there when we get there?”

Referring to suggestions that Israel accept inter- national guarantees, Mrs. Meir said scornfully “this means that there is some doubt about peace. Why international guarantees if there is peace? Can anybody guarantee us that we will not be attacked?” Then to prolonged and loud laughter, she said: “There is also talk of an Israel-U.S. security treaty. God forbid that America will be attacked and we have to defend her.”


More seriously, however, she declared: “But if Israel is attacked, given the feelings in post-Vietnam America, will American soldiers be sent to defend us? We don’t want one drop of blood from anyone but ourselves in the defense of Israel. If the U.S. send soldiers and helps Israel to win, Israel will become a protectorate and lose its sovereignty. This will be so because we cannot say no to people who saved our lives and who in the process lost the lives of their own soldiers.” Israel, she asserted, does not want to attain the status of being a protectorate.

Dealing with the issue of the newly-established Jewish settlements, Mrs. Meir said that this was not a basis for the deadlock in peace talks, but only a new excuse used by the Arabs. “Were the Arabs prepared to talk peace before new settlements were established? Why do fine, decent, peace-loving people, not anti-Semites, not anti-Israel, find it so difficult to understand that the 1967 borders were destroyed by Egypt and Syria with the help of Saudi Arabia? Why was there a war in 1967? There were no settlements then, no occupied territories. Yes, the Arabs saw occupied territories: Tel Aviv, Haifa….”

She concluded by calling upon young Jews to “accept the challenge of going to Israel” and help to create new facets of society and build, strengthen and continue what was begun. She added: “We need Jews badly, one million, two million. Israel will still be a minority (in the Mideast) but it will make a world of difference.”

David de Rothschild, Paris treasurer of the Fonds Social Juif Unifie (FSJU), told the Assembly banquet that although France is no longer a diplomatic ally of Israel, the Jewish State continues to benefit from a “great friendship” at all levels of French society and government. He said that economic-political pressures had resulted in the shifting of French foreign policy away from its former pro-Israel stance. However, he expressed the hope that under the pressure of internal public opinion France may soon return to a moderate and just Mideast policy.

De Rothschild said that until then, France would continue to be a haven for Jewish refugees. He pointed out that in recent times, hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Soviet Union, Poland, Rumania and North Africa had been welcomed into France. He applauded the role of the FSJU and the Joint Distribution Committee play in aiding these Jews in France.

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