NEW YORK (Mar. 5)
Political reverberations in the Jewish community continued today over the United States vote in the United Nations Security Council. Theodore Mann, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization, told on emergency meeting of the organization which convene here yesterday afternoon to discuss the situation, not the Conference would be writing to President Carter to complain about the resolution, including its call for dismantling the Jewish settlements on the West Bank, its reference to “Palestinian territories” and its call for sanctions against Israel.
Mann said the U.S. vote for the resolution was “unacceptable to all segments of opinion within American Jewry,” a fact that he said he thought the White House quickly realized Monday when Carter late that night repudiated the U.S. vote. Mann called the incident a demonstration of “quite extraordinary incompetence in an extra-ordinarily delicate situation.”
CARTER SEEKS TO REASSURE JEWISH DELEGATION
Meanwhile, a 30-member delegation from the World Jewish Congress-American Section was in Washington yesterday for previously scheduled briefings with the State Department and the White House. Carter conferred with them in a meeting that was not on their original agenda to try to reassure them that there was no change in U.S. policy toward Israel. Members of the delegation said after the meeting with Carter that he was emphatic in describing the U.S. vote in the Security Council as a mistake.
Robbi Arthur Schneier, chairman of the WJC-American Section and spiritual leader of the Park East Synagogue in New York City, told reporters that the delegation conveyed “our dismay and concern and consternation about the U.S. vote. But I must also stress that the President made it clear. that his orders were to abstain if there should be any reference to Jerusalem or dismantling of existing settlements.” He said he and other delegation members accepted Carter’s explanation and quoted the President as saying a similar mistake would never happen again.
Also in Washington yesterday, Jack Spitzer president of B’nai B’rith, called on Carter to “publicly repudiate” the Security Council resolution. This should be done, he said, because ” the resolution does serious harm to the peace process and because the White House now concedes that some of the resolution’s sections are inconsistent with American policy.”
While welcoming the subsequent explanation from the White House, Spitzer said that if the Administration believes that the call for dismantling Israeli settlements on the West Bank “was neither proper nor practical” and disagrees with all references to Jerusalem, “the United States must now move to formally disassociate itself from the resolution.” Spitzer added that the statement should come from Carter himself, in “unambiguous language.”
MONDALE DEFENDS CARTER
In a related development in Chicago today, Vice President Walter Mondale strongly defended Carter’s repudiation of the Security Council vote, declaring that there was no change in U.S. Middle East policy. “It was just as the President put it, a mistake was made and when a mistake is made the honest thing to do is admit it,” Mondale said at a press conference.
He angrily rejected charges that the outcry from Israel and American Jewish leaders forced the President to reverse himself. “That had nothing to do with it. Our position on the Middle East has not changed,” the Vice President declared.