NEW YORK (Oct. 21)
With only two weeks left until Election Day, President Carter appealed last night to Jewish leaders to raise their voices in support of his reelection. “Your voices,” Carter said, “heard in Miami, in Philadelphia, in Chicago, in Cleveland and Los Angeles and San Francisco, can make the difference and I hope that you will not be reticent in letting your voices and your influence be heard and felt.”
The President made his appeal at a meeting last night with more than 75 prominent Jewish religious and secular leaders from throughout the metropolitan area in the Sheraton Centre here. In a statement on behalf of the Jewish leaders present, Theodore Mann, former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, declared:
“We support President Carter because in all ways that count he has strengthened Israel, and thus strengthened America’s position in the most explosive region of the world.” Mann lauded the Carter Administration for its military and economic support of Israel, for its fight against the Arab boycott, its aid to New York and its progressive domestic policies.
In his remarks to the Jewish leaders, Carter reiterated his commitment to Israel’s security and well-being and vowed, to the applause of the audience, “I am not going to change my policy (toward Israel) after the election, except to renew my efforts defend anyone that claims that, is not doing this nation a good service.”
Continuing, the President declared: “I will never recognize nor negotiate with the PLO until after they recognize Israel’s right to exist and recognize UN Resolution 242 as the basis for the resolution of the differences in the Middle East. I do not favor a PLO state in the West Bank of Israel. I think it would be a dangerous thing and I have told this not only to Prime Minister Begin, not only to President Sadat, but to the leaders of the other Arab nations as well, including Syria, including Lebanon, including Saudi Arabia. They know exactly where I stand.”
Turning to the issue of Jerusalem, Carter said he is aware of the “special sensitivity” of the issue. He said, however, that he believes in an “undivided Jerusalem forever, and I believe in a Jerusalem that has the right, that respects the right of worshippers to go to their own holy places, and I can tell you that no ultimate resolution of the legal status in international law concerning Jerusalem, through negotiations, will be imposed on anyone. It can only be concluded with the agreement of the government of Israel.”
BASIS FOR POLICY TOWARD ISRAEL
The President also said that his policy toward Israel is based on what is best “for the security and strategic interest of the nation that I lead, the United States of America.” He added that he hopes “to bring the Arab nations, all the Arab nations into a recognition that a democratic and free, peaceful and strong Israel is necessary for their own benefit as it is for ours.”
Carter said that “We will continue the quiet diplomatic, military consultations that have been going one, even recently, between our nation and Israel, searching for common ground to ensure that our mutual strategic interest in preserving a strong and secure and peaceful Israel and peace in the Middle East are carried out.”
The President was accompanied to the reception by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D.Mass.). Among the prominent Jews present as individuals, not as representatives of their organizations, were Frank Lautenberg, Naomi Levine, Rabbi Usher Kirshblum, Stanley Lowell, Rabbi Bernard Mandelbaum, Howard Samuels, Edward Sanders, Stephen Shalom, Kalman Sultanik, Herbert Tenzer and Bess Myerson.
During the reception about 40 young men and women demonstrated outside the Sheraton Centre, protesting Carter’s Mideast policy and what they claimed was his pressure on Israel. Some of the demonstrators identified themselves as members of the Jewish Defense League while others said they were students concerned about Israel’s future. A meeting is scheduled for this evening between top advisors to Republican Party candidate Ronald Reagan and prominent Jews from the metropolitan area.