DEARBORN, MICH. (Oct. 31)
Mark Siegel, the former deputy assistant to President Carter who resigned over disagreement with the Administration’s Middle East policy, called on American Jews last night to look forward to the “great hope and opportunity” implicit in the Camp David agreements. But, at the some time, he urged them to maintain their alertness and “not to keep silent when our people’s life is at stake.”
Siegel spoke to 600 delegates at the opening night of the 12th national board conference of Women’s American ORT. The conference continues through Thursday.
Chiding the Carter Administration for what he termed past “one-sided” hostility against Israel, Siegel cited examples ranging from the Administration’s “lukewarm” attitude toward Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem last year to the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia this spring which led to his resignation. But he urged American Jews not to “belabor” the past but to concentrate on the present and look toward the future.
“All parties won at Camp David,” Siegel stressed, adding that Carter, Sadat and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin all modified previous positions. He praised Carter for displaying a “willingness to respect private diplomacy” and halting the rhetoric against Israel. He stressed that although the State Department has again resorted to “inflammatory and provocative statements” as evidenced by the recent remarks of Assistant Secretary of State Harold Saunders, “peace efforts have gone too far ahead for the parties involved to turn back.”
Siegel added that the American Jewish community may find itself again confronting the Administration, specifically over the issue of Jerusalem, which he declared “will never again be divided.” He said American Jews must be united in their determination to ensure the survival of Israel.