NEW YORK (May. 21)
Serious concern that the Carter Administration is shifting away from America’s traditional commitments to Israel and that the U.S. cannot be counted on to support Israel in the event of a new crisis in the Middle East, were expressed in remarks prepared for delivery at the 80th anniversary national dinner of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations (UCJC) here tonight.
The speakers, William Brock, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Harold M. Jacobs, UCJC president, recipient of the organization’s “Kether Shem Tov” award, referred to the Administration’s decision to sell advanced warplanes to Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well as to Israel, a project ratified by the Senate last week.
Approval of the aircraft package deal “signaled an absolutely clear and inescapable shift in American foreign policy, “Brock declared in his prepared speech. “The fact is the Carter Administration forced the Congress into a confrontation with Israel and in the process, the Congress was forced into an artificial legislative choice, “he said.
“Members of the Senate were denied a full opportunity to demonstrate their concern with any single part of the arms sale on an individual basis. Instead they were forced to vote up or down on an arms package that, if approved would add fuel to a tinderbox area of the world and if defeated would repudiate a basic defense commitment made without precondition to one of our most important strategic allies, “Brock changed.
IMPACT OF PLANES SALE DECISION
According to Brock, the Senate vote “represented an extremely unfortunate step in President Carter’s effort to shift traditional U.S. policy in the Mideast away from the commitment to the survival of Israel by past Republican and Democrat administrations.”
“There can be no question,” Brock continued, “about the impact of that decision to sell highly sophisticated armaments to Israel’s Arab adversaries, when Israel has faced four Middle East wars over the last 30 years. We simply must not forget that Israel is beleaguered and imperiled by enemies on every single one of her borders and threatened by an overwhelming numerical superiority, “Brock said.
Jacobs said there was fear in the American Jewish community that President Carter might not support Israel in the event of another Middle East war. He called the President’s recent statements on the Middle East “contradictory” and “radical political schizophrenia.”
“Twice in the last II years, Israel’s survival depended on the unwavering friendship and support of an American President. God forbid, if another such crisis were to confront us tomorrow, I and many of my colleagues could not confidently predict which side Jimmy Carter would support, “Jacobs said.