WASHINGTON (Sep. 7)
President Carter, addressing the closing banquet of B’nai B’rith International’s 30th convention, reaffirmed his Middle East policies and offered assurances of maintaining support for Israel.
“Without security for Israel, there can be no peace,” he said. While he did not discuss U.S. votes at the United Nations Security Council that have drawn anger from organized Jewish communities and Israel, the President assured the approximately 1200 people who attended the banquet last Thursday night that “there will be no so-called ‘reassessment’ of support for Israel in a Carter Administration” and that “whatever differences arise, they will never affect our commitment to a secure Israel.”
Like Republican candidate Ronald Reagan and independent John Anderson who preceded him in addressing the convention, the B’nai B’rith assembly gave the President standing ovations on his arrival and departure. It applauded his approximately 40-minute address at 28 points. Heaviest applause come on his statements regarding the Palestine Liberation Organization and the status of Jerusalem.
On the PLO he reiterated long-standing policy that “unless and until the PLO recognizes Israel’s right to exist and accepts Resolution 242, we will neither recognize nor negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization. As I have repeatedly stated, it is long past time for an end to terrorism.” Carter also said “the United States government and I personally oppose an independent Palestinian state.”
JERUSALEM IN JEWISH HISTORY
About Jerusalem in Jewish history, Carter stated: “From the time King David first unified the nation of Israel and proclaimed the ancient city of Jerusalem its capital, the Jewish people have drawn inspiration from Jerusalem. I sensed the special feeling myself when I stood as President of the United States before the Knesset in Jerusalem. I was there searching for peace in the city of peace. My prayers were answered in the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.
“We are still pursuing with Israel and Egypt the larger peace we all seek. in such a peace, Jerusalem should remain forever undivided, with free access to the holy places. We will make certain that the future of Jerusalem can only be determined through agreement–with the full concurrence of Israel.”
ON THE U.S. ANTI-BOYCOTT LAW
Carter tied the U.S. anti-boycott law to Israel’s security. He said “such a law, which aims at blocking Arab discrimination against American companies doing business with Israel, had been blocked under the Republicans by the Secretaries of State and Treasury. They were afraid it would hurt our diplomatic and trade relations with the Arab world. I decided to go ahead despite those risks because it was the right thing to do. Now, foreigners can no longer tell American business people where they can do business and with whom–and Secretary (of Commerce) Phil Klutznick is making sure we’re going to keep it shot way.”
Saying that “I am proud that since I have been President we have provided about half the American aid Israel has received in the 32 years since her independence,” the President added: “This is not a handout, but I look upon it as an investment in America’s own security.”
MOVING TOWARD PEACE
Discussing the stalled talks on West Bank-Gaza autonomy which Egyptian President Anwar Sodat suspended last May, the President emphasized that “once again we have found a way to move toward peace” as a result of special Ambassador Sol Linowitz’s discussions with Sodat and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin. “The talks will resume,” Carter said. And I will personally join in the search for peace.–if necessary, in a summit meeting, which Prime Minister Begin and I discussed on the phone this morning when he called me. As you know, President Sodat has also agreed publicly with this idea. We are on the right road in working for peace and in helping to keep Israel secure. And we will stay on that road–in closed partnership with our Israeli friends–as long as I am President.”
The President also said that “more than 50,000 Soviet Jews moved last year to freedom in Israel and the United States” but that “in July less than 2,500 were permitted to emigrate–an annual rate of 30,000–and the rate of new approvals was even lower. This makes our cause more urgent, our resolve more certain–and we will continue to communicate that resolve very clearly to the Soviet leaders.”