WASHINGTON (Sep. 4)
Independent Presidential candidate John Anderson criticized today both President Carter and Republican candidate Ronald Reagan for their views on Israel and the Middle East and he advised the B’nai B’rith International convention that “the heart of the issue is the value the President attaches to Israel.”
Anderson told the 1400 delegates and guests that “solemn promises and commitments” made in an election campaign “will prove empty” when the candidate enters the presidency. “Commitments given this election year must be promises that are kept and you have a right to demand it,” he said to applause from the audience which applauded 21 times during his half-hour speech. The audience also gave him and Mrs. Anderson standing ovations.
While he did not speak on this occasion on his own positions about such substantive issues as the status of Jerusalem, the PLO, or a possible Palestinian state — on which he has made prior statements — Anderson pledged “I intend to bring” to the presidency his views that the U.S. is morally as well as materially committed to Israel. While hitting at Carter more often than at Reagan. Anderson apparently referred to both when he said that “before Jewish audiences, they sidestepped petro-power politics.”
SAYS CARTER HAS LAPSES OF MEMORY
Anderson charged the President with “lapses of memory,” recalling that in 1976 Carter decried the sole of weapons to the Arab states but is providing “mountains of arms” to them now. Warning his listeners “not to be taken in by facile statements,” Anderson cited Carter’s statement of $10 billion in aid to Israel during his Administration. But “you correctly can thank” the U.S. Congress for the aid, Anderson said.
Disparaging Reagan’s strong emphasis on Israel’s strategic value, Anderson said the United States “must not misuse our gallant city.” Observing that “there is a moral bond that buttresses” that strategic purpose of a strong Israel, he said. Let us not make an error that Reagan did on Israel’s strategic role,” He said the U.S. should use Israel’s skills and intelligence and bases and facilities in time of emergency but “no one should think Israeli soldiers” should be employed “like the Soviet Union is doing” with Cuban soldiers.
“Israel is not Cuba,” he said. “Israel has already paid a fearsome toll in blood.” In another job at the Carter Administration, Anderson asked, “Who will deny there is a feeling of uneasiness” among Israel’s friends? “Somehow there must be a reason for this feeling of concern,” he said.