PHILADELPHIA (Jan. 16)
Lane Kirkland president of the AFL-CIO, said here last night that his organization would do “all in its power to prevent any evasion of support for the only democratic state in the Middle East–Israel–not only for Israel’s sake but our own.” He also denounced “repeated suggestions from high places that America’s interests would be served by abandoning opposition to dealing with the PLO and to the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
Kirkland, who succeeded the late George Meany as head of the country’s largest labor federation three months ago, addressed a dinner of the Philadelphia Jewish Community Relations Council where he accepted the Jules Cohen Memorial Award for “outstanding contributions to man’s struggle for human rights.”
The dinner, held in association with the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC) annual assembly, also honored, Theodore Mann of Philadelphia, outgoing chairman of NJCRAC. The occasion was Kirkland’s first public address since he succeeded Meany.
He called for “a stronger overall American for- eign policy and the defense efforts required to back it up.” He warned that “the Soviet Union has demonstrated that it is prepared to project the global power it has acquired in the last decode. Our response must be of the some character, Kirkland said.
The AFL-CIO leader asserted that “A Palestinian state–a PLO state–would be a direct threat to the economic, political and strategic interests of the U.S. and the entire Western alliance… We have seen what a Palestinian state would look like. It would look like. It would look like the Iron of Ayatollah Khomeini.”
Kirkland maintained that it was “no accident that the Ayatollah’s gunmen received their training from the PLO and that Yasir Arafat has offered material and political support to Khomeini’s campaign to humiliate the U.S. Kirkland also claimed. “A Palestinian state would, like Iron, be a terrorist state that employs assassins, kidnappers and bomb-throwers as a matter of official policy. How can it be in the interests of the U.S. to facilitate the creation of such a state even if Israel did not exist?”
A Palestinian state, he continued, “would also be a pro-Soviet state in the energy heartland of the world. To permit the establishment of such an entity in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the continuing threat to Iran would be a geopolitical disaster for the U.S. Unless suicide has become our foreign policy, the U.S. must not let this happen. Our country should be utterly intransigent in opposing the emplacement of such a knife at the threat of human decency.”