Siegel Accuses the White House of Being Hostile Toward Israel

Mark Siegel, former White House liaison with the American Jewish community, who resigned in protest over the Carter Administration’s Middle East policy, accused the White House of hostility towards Israel. He admonished the Administration for preparing its own Mideast plan which is “the very same, outside, imposed settlement that Jimmy Carter ran against (during the Presidential election) and that the Democratic Party’s platform specifically rejects.”

Siegel made his remarks at the 14th annual American-Israel Dialogue at the Van Leer Institute. The symposium, sponsored by the American Jewish Congress, whose theme is “Israel and American Jewry: The Next 30 Years, ” will conclude Friday. Some 25 leading political scientists, scholars and community leaders from the United States and Israel are participating.

Siegel claimed that the U.S. is no longer trusted by either the Israelis or the Arabs involved in the Mideast conflict and that very few Israelis or American Jews believe in the ability of the U.S. to bring together the parties in the conflict. He said that Carter is becoming more irritated with Israel and is growing increasingly dependent on his National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

URGES MODERATE POSTURE

He urged the Begin government to keep “a moderate, open posture” at the upcoming conference in London of Israel’s and Egypt’s Foreign Ministers in order to avert any attempt by Washington and Cairo to blame Israel as the “ultimate obstacle to peace.” Siegel cited the need for developed and specific proposals from Israel in place of the rejected Egyptian peace proposals.

He added that Premier Menachem Begin should accept anything in Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s proposals which Israel regards as positive. He also urged Israel to give the London conference the “full benefit of doubt” while strategically planning to win over public opinion and goodwill.

Siegel denied that he resigned from his position in the Carter Administration over the sale of warplanes to Saudi Arabia. He noted that the planes sale was no more than the final straw in a series of equally troublesome steps taken by the Administration.

“It began with the declaration of principles with the Russians (last October) which called for the reconvening of the Geneva conference,” Siegel said. “The bitter response on the part of American Jewry…brought him to enlist me.” Continuing, Siegel stated: “One by one Carter broke his promises to Israel, all of which he had included in his campaign platform previously.”

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