NEW YORK (Dec. 27)
Theodore Mann, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has written to President Carter requesting a meeting with him so that his organization can express its concern over recent developments in the Middle East and offer whatever assistance it can to further the cause of peace. Mann claimed in his letter that “Israel has been wrongly blamed by the United States for the current impasse” in peace treaty negotiations with Egypt.
He sent the letter in the aftermath of the Dec. 19 meeting between representatives of the Presidents Conference and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Assistant Secretary Harold Saunders and Ambassador Alfred Atherton. He told the President that since that meeting, he had sought, through White House aide Edward Sanders, “to meet with you to express the widespread concern in the Jewish community regarding events of the past ten days.”
Mann said that because of the President’s crowded schedule, such a meeting seems unlikely before the end of the year and therefore “the community leaders within the Conference of Presidents have asked me to communicate our concerns to you in the first instance by letter.”
Mann stated that “on the basis of all the facts, several conclusions appear to us to be inescapable.” In that connection, he observed that “Egypt, not Israel has sought to reopen and alter the draft treaty advanced by the United States on November 21….The manner in which the blame was placed on Israel by our country was distressing,” Mann wrote.
“No sovereign state with any sense of its own self-worth could be expected to accept such pressure–pressure which flies in the face of your own wise and significant assurances that our country would never require Israel to agree to conditions that she regards as harmful to her security….”
THE GREATEST DISAPPOINTMENT
According to Mann, “An analysis of the treaty alterations supported by the United States… clearly establishes that these changes diminish the quality, nature and scope of the peace for which Israel is prepared to make a total withdrawal from Sinai. To us, this is the greatest disappointment that after your own eloquent and oft-repeated definition of the kind of peace that must result from these negotiations, the United States should be publicly calling on Israel to accept so much less.”
Mann further charged that “the treaty alterations demanded by Egypt and supported by the United States permit Egypt to retain the option to make war on Israel and make the implementation of the treaty conditional on agreement over the terms of autonomy for the Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank-Gaza territories….” Mann added: “We still hope for an opportunity to meet with you and offer any assistance we can in the effort to bring peace to the Middle East.”