Jewish Leaders Hit Vienna Meeting
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Leaders Hit Vienna Meeting

Download PDF for this date

Jewish leaders have strongly denounced Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky and former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt for meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat in Vienna last weekend. They charged that Kreisky, chairman of the Socialist International, and Brandt, vice president of the Socialist International, gave legitimacy to a terrorist group and thereby undermined the ongoing Middle East peace process.

By bestowing “honor and status” to Arafat, Brandt and Kreisky “elevate terrorism and encourage Arafat in his avowed intention to create a PLO state on the West Bank as a first step to ‘liberating’ Israel itself,” Theodore R. Mann, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, declared. “Why Kreisky and Brandt should believe that this will advance the peace process is beyond comprehension.”

Mann noted that “Israel’s great responsibility in its ongoing search for a comprehensive peace is to prevent the West Bank from becoming a staging ground for Arafat’s terrorists.” He said this is why Israel exercises “its right to establish security settlements on the West Bank.” Mann said the two European leaders “have further blurred the distinction between the legitimate aspirations of Palestinian Arabs who live in peace prosperity and freedom and the declared aspirations of the PLO to destroy Israel.”

Mann added that “it is a sad commentary” when “even the well intentioned leaders of Austria and West Germany” have been unable to learn from history that “when a Hitler or an Arafat threaten to liquidate a whole people, one must never assume that they are whole people, one must be taken at their word.”

This theme was noted by Nathan Perlmutter, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith who declared, “In Austria Hitler’s birthplace, the head of state and a prominent German cozy up to the single greatest enemy of the Jewish people. Yasir Arafat, who has repeatedly vowed the extinction of the Jewish State is welcomed in the same streets where, in our life time, Jews were herded for shipment to death camps.”


Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the World Zionist Organization-American Section, called Kreisky’s “warm greeting” to Arafat “a shock to all civilized people.” She said “it is not only unbelievable but incomprehensible how the leader of any democratic nation could encourage and lend support to a murderer and to attempt to lend legitimacy and respectability to this group of terrorists.”Mrs. Jacobson said Kreisky’s “statement that it was Arafat and the PLO who stopped terrorist activities in Europe could be ludicrous if it was not tragically horrifying.”

Nathan Goldberg, national commander of the Jewish War Veterans, charged, “By officially receiving the head of an organization whose declared aim is the destruction of the State of Israel at the very moment that Middle East peace efforts are being conducted. . . I believe that Kreisky has committed a deliberate act against Israel, an act that could undermine the peace efforts of the United States.”

Mrs. Sarah Shane, president of the American Mizrachi Women, has sent a cable to Kreisky and Brandt, stating “It is to your shame that you lend your support to the PLO which has maintained a continuing campaign of craven terrorism.” The endorsement of PLO policies by Brandt and Kreisky, she said, “is another example of how misguided efforts on the part of some world leaders can fly in the face of justice and morality.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund