WASHINGTON (Aug. 28)
In the second meeting this week of politically active Jewish citizens with President Carter at the White House, 20 from the New York City area met with him in another hour-long session today and afterward several expressed complete satisfaction with Carter’s policy toward Israel, including the U.S. abstention last week on the Jerusalem resolution in the United Nations Security Council.
Stanley Lowell, former head of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, speaking apparently on behalf of the Jewish group, said its members would return to New York to organize “a strong campaign” for the Carter-Mondale ticket. The President “has not received credit” for his efforts for “Israel and America in particular” and the campaign for the Carter-Mondale ticket will attract “hundreds of thousands of voters” for the Carter-Mondale ticket, Lowell said.
Lowell said he was “not free to explain” the President’s purpose in directing the U.S. abstention at the Council last week but he left the impression that it was related to the position of “various Arab countries and Egypt” and “how important it was to abstain rather than veto.” Lowell said that “over the long range, what is best for Israel and the United States was abstention.”
Pressed on the Jerusalem issue, Lowell said, “You do not take the most difficult issue and put that up to the top and kick the other side in the face.” He said that the Knesset adopted the Jerusalem law “for reasons incomprehensible.”
Asked specifically if he backed a unified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Lowell replied “Jerusalem must be united under Israeli sovereignty.” He said “we mode that clear to President Carter” and “he was very understanding,” but that “what happens to Jerusalem should be between the parties.” He said the President pledged continued economic and military aid to Israel and support of UN Council Resolution 242.
CALLS ON ISRAEL TO APOLOGIZE TO CARTER
Howard Samuels former New York off-track betting commissioner, said explicitly that Israel should apologize to Carter for criticizing him. “The political sense was to veto the resolution but the President took a very courageous position which is in the long-term interest of Israel by obtaining” Samuels said, “Israel owes him an apology for the position they have taken in attacking him because they have been insensitive to the role of the President in the long-term interest of Israel.”
Samuels said a U.S. veto “would have given (Egyptian President Anwar) Sadat an opportunity to move out of the negotiations” with Israel. He said “America cannot be independent” on the issues because of the energy situation.
Rabbi Usher Kirshblum of Kew Garden Hills, N.Y., said he has backed Carter since 1976. “I have not been disappointed in any way,” he added. “He was not being political,” Kirshblum said of the President in discussing his abstention position. “For the U.S. to have vetoed the resolution would have done a lot of harm and allowed Sadat to beg out of Camp David.”
Kalman Sultanik, a member of the presidium of the Confederation of General Zionists, disagreed with other Jews at the meeting. He said “President Carter was very convincing” but “I am not satisfied regarding Jerusalem. It is not a political question. I do not agree with Lowell about the knesset. The Knesset can do what it wants. It is in a sovereign state.”
Sultanik added “I am not content” with Secretary of State Edmund Muskie’s statement to the Security Council last week. “What counts is, he did not veto the Jerusalem resolution and this is what counts. As friends of the President, it will be very hard to explain the position taken by the United States” at the Council meeting.
ANOTHER MEETING PLANNED
Alfred Moses, the President’s liaison with the Jewish community, declined again to provide a list of those present. He had previously refused to name those who attended the first meeting on Tuesday.
Moses said that the President has invited members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to the White House Sept. 8. In addition, members of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry and the New York Board of Rabbis will meet the President. “The rabbis are going to invite the President to the board’s centennial celebration in May 1981 so they are confident he will still be in the White House,” Moses laughed. Moses said that, except for two persons who could not be present today for personal reasons, all those invited came.