WASHINGTON (Mar. 11)
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D. Mass.) demanded yesterday that the Carter Administration “tell the complete story” of its vote in support of the United Nations Security Council’s anti-Israel resolution of March 1 and the subsequent disavowal of the vote by President Carter.
“It is time for the Administration to resolve” whether it was,” simply negligent” or whether the President “actually decided to cost on unprecedented vote against Israel and then reversed the decision in face of mounting criticism,” Kennedy said.
The Massachusetts Democrat, who is seeking his party’s Presidential nomination, addressed 800 delegates to the B’nai B’rith Women’s biennial convention here where he received a standing ovation and rousing applause.
“The only way to repair its damaged credibility,” Kennedy said, “is for the Administration to tell the complete story of this sorry episode by making public all the documents and instructions and minutes of meetings before and after the vote and by permitting every Administration official involved in the event to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” The committee, which will hold a hearing on the matter early next week, had already summoned State Department witnesses to testify.
Kennedy said, “Neither the people of America nor the people of Israel should pay the price of a foreign policy that fails to meet the tests of clarity and consistency and strength. That alone can restore the confidence of our allies and the respect of our adversaries.”
SPECIAL BURDENS OF ISRAEL
The Senator added, “It is not always easy for Americans to understand the special burdens of the people of Israel. We do not have to live in a sea of hostility and fear. But the people of Israel do. We do not have to live surrounded by nations pledged to destroy us. But the people of Israel do. Peace is all that Israel asks.”
Kennedy, who was the first public official to criticize the U.S. vote in the Security Council, called it an “appalling betrayal of Israel.” He said that “After two days of urgent meetings in an atmosphere of crisis” following the protests against the vote, the Administration “released a statement saying the UN vote was all a mistake because the resolution contained references to Jerusalem they thought had been deleted. But the references to Jerusalem were not the only problem. The resolution was not a complex document, nor was it filled with legalistic phrases, its page-and-a-half of text was a stark attack on Israel in almost every line.”
Continuing, Kennedy declared, “So today, Israel and other friends of the U.S. must consider what kind of ally has to say it is ‘sorry’ and the friends of Israel must worry how the Carter Administration will react after the 1980 election is over if they should win a second term. We cannot accept a policy that seeks to impose a settlement that threatens the security of Israel and tries to call it peace.”