Position of Presidential Candidates; Answers to JTA Questionnaire
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Position of Presidential Candidates; Answers to JTA Questionnaire

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The Jewish Telegraphic Agency submitted a list of 12 questions to President Carter, Republican Party candidate Ronald Reagan and Independent candidate John Anderson on what policies they would adopt, if elected, on issues of vital concern to American Jewry. Questions dealt with U.S. relations with Israel, domestic economic problems, circumstances of Jews in countries such as the Soviet Union, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Argentina, and federal search for and prosecution of alleged Nazi war criminals living in the United States.

Only Carter and Anderson answered the questionnaire within the Oct. 3 deadline that was set. In the interest of giving Jewish voters sufficient time to acquaint themselves with the candidates’ position, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency is publishing the answers of Carter and Anderson at this time.

The following is the text of the questions and the answers:

It has been perceived that commitments made by a Presidential candidate during the election campaign are not always implemented by his Administration when he is in the White House. With all due respect, therefore, can Americans expect you will as President adhere to your responses regarding the following:

1) Will your Administration impose or allow any power or organization to impose demands on Israel affecting her status as a sovereign, independent Jewish State?

Carter: I regard our commitment to Israel’s security and survival as a guiding principle of our foreign policy; we share with Israel a common heritage, ideals, and a commitment to freedom and democracy. Let me take your questions in order:

Israel should not be asked to do anything which would be damaging to its basic security interests. Israel is a democracy. It can decide what is in its best interests. The United States will remain steadfast in its commitment to Israel’s security. We have often stood alone in the world with Israel. We will continue to stand against any attempt to jeopardize Israel’s status as a sovereign independent Jewish State.

Anderson: I have always defended Israel’s sovereignty and independence. Assuring Israel’s survival would be an objective of the highest priority in my Administration. I have repeatedly spoken out against the idea of an imposed settlement, believing that a settlement must be negotiated directly by Israel and its neighbors.

2) Will your Administration adhere to UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 without changes in them or to them and also to the Camp David accords as the means for resolving the Arab-Israeli situation?

Carter: I regard Resolutions 242 and 338 as the only basis for a just and lasting peace and continue to believe that the Camp David accords represent the only practical hope for a comprehensive settlement. I stand fully committed to the peace process on which Prime Minister Begin, President Sadat and I have embarked.

Anderson: Resolutions 242 and 338 must not be changed. They comprise the only basis for peace which has been accepted by Israel and most Arab states. A lasting settlement must also encompass the principles affirmed in the Camp David accords, including reconciliation; the establishment of secure and recognized borders; fully normalized relations including trade, travel, communications and the exchange of ambassadors; and an end to military threats, political attacks and economic warfare.

3) Will your Administration prevent, whether by vetoes in the United Nations or otherwise any action aimed at establishing a Palestinian state or allowing the PLO to be a participant in negotiations with Israel?

Carter: Our position on the PLO remains unchanged: we will neither negotiate with nor recognize the PLO unless and until it recognizes Israel’s right to exist and accepts Resolutions 242 and 338. It is long past time that there was a stop to all acts of terrorism against Israel. We oppose the creation of an independent Palestinian state. We cost a veto at the UN earlier this year on a resolution on the Palestinian issue that we considered potentially damaging to the peace process.

Anderson: I oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. I believe such a state would be dominated by the PLO and would be a source of instability in the Middle East. I do not believe the United States should recognize or negotiate with the PLO unless that organization unconditionally recognizes Israel’s right to exist in peace and changes its Covenant to that effect; repudiates terrorism; and accepts Resolutions 242 and 338 unchanged. Even then, I would proceed with caution.

4) What is your concept of the status of the city of Jerusalem — East, West, North and South — in relation to Israel?

Carter: My position on Jerusalem is clear: Jerusalem should remain undivided, with free access to the holy places for people of all faiths. We will make certain that the future of Jerusalem can only be determined through agreement with the full concurrence of Israel.

Anderson: Questions 4 and 5 are answered together.

5) Will you end existence of two U.S. consulates in Jerusalem — a situation without equal or precedent under any flog in any city in the world — and maintain one consulate in Jerusalem with its American personnel accredited only to the State of Israel and subject to control of the American Embassy in Israel?

Carter: Although it has two offices, the American Consulate in Jerusalem is a single unit headed by an American Consul General. Until there is agreement on the status of Jerusalem I do not believe there should be a change in the status of the Consulate General. However, it should be clear that U.S. policy toward Israel is enunciated by our Ambassador in Israel under my direction and that of the Secretary of State.

Anderson: Jerusalem must remain undivided. The United States must support the continuation of free and unimpeded access to Jerusalem’s holy places by people of all faiths. At the conclusion of the peace-making process, an Anderson-Lucey Administration would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy there. I believe that the consulate issue should be addressed as part of the negotiations over Jerusalem, and that the issue should be resolved as part of a final settlement.

6) Will your Administration reject any proposal that provides Arabs living in what is known as East Jerusalem be allowed to vote for the West Bank’s Administrative Council under the autonomy plans being negotiated by Egypt, Israel and the United States?

Carter: It has been our view that the question of whether East Jerusalem Arabs who are not Israeli citizens should be able to take part in some way in the elections for the self-governing authority is a matter for resolution in the framework of the autonomy negotiations.

Anderson: The voting status of the Arab residents of East Jerusalem must be decided, in the autonomy negotiations, by the representatives of Israel and Egypt. I do not believe the United States should attempt to dictate the terms of a peace settlement, nor should it pressure the parties involved, nor should it interfere in the negotiations. The United States must return to the role of mediator, and cease being the advocate of one party and the adversary of the other.

7) Will your Administration support, by legislative proposals to the Congress and/or by Administrative actions, Israel’s needs for her security against external aggression, terrorism and sabotage, and diplomatic isolation?

Carter: My Administration has asked Congress for nearly 11 of the 22 billion dollars in bid Israel has received over the past 32 years, and we have acted vigorously on the diplomatic front to defend Israel. I think we have an established record of support for Israel and we will never shrink from that commitment.

Anderson: I have long been a proponent of economic and military aid to Israel. The United States must continue to provide military and economic assistance to Israel at a level sufficient to enable it to maintain its security as its potential adversaries expand their military capabilities, and to maintain its economy white accepting the high costs of withdrawal, relocation and peace. The United States should not create the need for aid through excessive arms sales to Arab states.

8) Will your Administration regard Israel as an important strategic asset of the U.S.?

Carter: I regard Israel as a friend and a partner. I value Israel’s strategic importance. I know that when we need Israel, Israel will stand by us.

Anderson: America’s political, economic and military commitment to Israel is fundamental to our own strategic interests in the Middle East. We should utilize Israel’s strategic and technical experience, its intelligence information and in times of emergency, its facilities. Our commitment to Israel is both strategic and moral.

9) Will your Administration speak out against persecution and/or harassment of Jews in the Soviet Union, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Argentina and other countries where it may exist? Will it continue support of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment regarding Soviet emigration policy?

Carter: My Administration has spoken out forcefully and consistently on the subject of human rights, for Jews and others in the Soviet Union and other places where human rights are violated. Some 50,000 Jews — 300 percent more than the annual average in the previous Administration — left the Soviet Union last year. I am concerned about the serious decline of new exit visas being approved. We will raise this issue in Madrid. We continue to support the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.

Anderson: As early as 1963, I spoke out in the House against Soviet anti-Semitism. I am opposed to government sanctioned oppression of Jews anywhere, and believe that the United States must speak out to assure the rights of beleaguered Jewish communities. This particularly means the right to unimpeded emigration. I was a sponsor of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. I believe it should remain in force. I oppose efforts to modify or weaken it.

10) In seeking to restore America’s economic vitality, how will your Administration seek to lower the country’s inflation rate and her unemployment, particularly among minorities? In the latter connection, do you intend to implement affirmative action programs without resorting to quotas?

Carter: A successful battle against inflation must involve disciplined, long-term measures: there are no “quick fixes” or magical solutions. Defeating inflation involves restraint in the growth of federal spending, voluntary restraint on pay and price increases, an effective national energy policy, and active cooperation between government, labor, and business.

The Economic Revitalization Program which I announced on August 28 sets the path for battling inflation, putting people back to work in permanent jobs, and restoring growth without rekindling inflation. In three years my Administration has added more than 8 million new jobs to the economy — a record. We have been aggressive in implementing affirmative action programs and will continue to be so.

Anderson: The Anderson-Lucey Administration will utilize three strategies to restrain inflation:

We will regain control of the federal budget by rejecting unnecessary new spending programs and consumption oriented tax cuts;

We will scrap the Carter Administration’s ineffectual wage and price guidelines and instead endeavor to reach a brooder national accord on appropriate wage and price increases; and

We will attack the root causes of our economic difficulties — lagging productivity, declining support for research and development, and increasingly absolute industrial capacity.

We must also enlarge the role of private employers in federally sponsored job training efforts to decrease our present over-reliance on public sector employment. Special emphasis will be placed on reducing youth unemployment, particularly minority youth unemployment. I have proposed exempting eligible young people and their employers from social security taxes for the first six months of employment.

11) What means will your Administration outline to revise the viability of our large urban centers and stem the flow of industries from northern industrial states to the sunbelt? Would you impose limits on use of gasoline to cope with the energy crisis?

Carter: When I took office, the government had no national urban policy. Today, the nation’s local officials and urban areas have a federal urban policy they can count on, and an access to the White House that had been denied them by previous Republican Administrations. We have begun to address the problems of poverty and social decay, and most cities and counties are healthier Fiscally and have begun the lengthy process of rebuilding the public facilities in our older urban centers.

Private Investment is being attracted to distressed urban areas. My new Urban Development Action Grant program has moved businesses into the cities and kept them there. The key to keeping our industrial base strong, and industries in place, is a healthy economy and an environment in which industries have incentives to increase investments.

I do not have the authority to impose limits on gasoline use; however, I am pleased the Congress recently approved a standby emergency rationing plan — which we hope we will never have to use — providing for steps that can be taken in case of an energy shortfall. The key to resolving our energy situation, of course, is not the imposition of limits on gasoline use, but to proceed ahead with our national energy conservation program — a program which already is seeing gratifying results.

Anderson: Together with state and local authorities, I will mount an all-out campaign to rebuild America’s cities. I have proposed an Urban Reinvestment Trust Fund to provide financial assistance to cities for the repair, replacement, and upgrading of our deteriorating urban capital stock — housing, roads, bridges, sewers and water systems. We also need to provide substantial tax relief to those investing in depressed areas. I support the enterprise zone concept and believe that we should extend a special 25 percent investment tax credit for the rehabilitation of obsolete or abandoned commercial and industrial structures.

To promote energy conservation, we must seek to price energy supplies to reflect their true economic value. I have proposed a 50 cent a gallon gasoline tax that would reduce consumption by as much as 700,000 barrels a day in the short term and by over 1,000,000 barrels a day as government, business and consumers gradually make more energy-saving decisions. It would also generate over $50 billion a year in net revenues, with the proceeds used to reduce payroll taxes and provide off-setting tax relief to those not currently contributing to social security.

12) Will your Administration ferret out Nazi war criminals living in the United States and deal with them according to our laws and have a thorough study made why these criminals were allowed to enter and live in this country?

Carter: When I first came into office I instructed the Justice Department to pursue to the fullest extent of the law those Nazi war criminals living in the U.S. illegally. We have done exactly that. The Justice Department is currently investigating more than 291 cases and will continue this vigorous policy in my next term.

Anderson: An Anderson-Lucey Administration would energetically pursue Nazi war criminals living in the United States. I do not believe enough has been done to resolve this shameful situation.

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