NEW YORK (May. 7)
Independent Presidential candidate John Anderson (R.III.) told a gathering of some 100 Jewish leaders here today that if elected President he “would be prepared to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move our embassy to Jerusalem at the conclusion of the peacemaking process.”
Addressing the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Anderson was sharply critical of the Carter Administration’s Mideast policy, declaring that “unlike the incumbent administration I would not fear to label Israel a friend and an ally.” He said he would have an American Mideast policy that would demonstrate through action and deed, an appreciation of Israel’s key strategic and political position and its importance to U.S. interests.
Expressing his opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state, Anderson said: “I support the idea of Palestinian rights embodied in the Camp David accords,” but “I oppose the idea of a Palestinian state between the West Bank and Jordan–a state that can only be a dagger aimed at the heart of Israel and a potential Soviet base in the heartland of the Mideast. Instead, we should look to Jordan as the major potential for solution to the Palestinian question.”
Anderson accused the Carter Mideast policy of being “a record of false starts, false promises and false hopes.” He charged the administration with “off again, on again flirtation with the PLO.” He pledged that as President he “would not deal with the PLO unless it repudiated terrorism, explicitly recognized Israel’s right to exist, and accepted UN Resolution 242. “Even then, he said, “I would proceed with caution.”
ISSUE OF ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS
On the controversial issue of Israeli settlements in the administered territories, Anderson said he opposed the Carter Administration’s approach which terms the settlements “Illegal” and “on obstacle to peace.” To do so, the Illinois Congressman declared, “is to prejudge and to compromise negotiations from the outset–the administration’s statements have created an obstacle to peace.”
As for the future negotiations in the Mideast, Anderson said that the U.S. should draw Saudi Arabia and Jordan into the peace-making process and make clear to them that this should be done in the framework of the Camp David accords. He claimed that “American policies should be conducted with the understanding that a solution to the Palestinian problem will not resolve the energy crisis, the instability of oil producers, the turmoil of the Persian Gulf, the plight of hostages in Iran or the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.”
Anderson’s remarks in support of Israel were received warmly by those present at the meeting. A few of the Jewish leaders pointed out after the meeting that Anderson’s Mideast views as expressed today are consistent with his 20-year record of support of Israel in Congress. Some Jewish leaders told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that they were impressed with his sincerity and detailed knowledge of the situation in the Mideast.