Kennedy Tells Zionist Assembly That Israel Has Shown the Way to Combat the Scourge of Terrorism
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Kennedy Tells Zionist Assembly That Israel Has Shown the Way to Combat the Scourge of Terrorism

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Sen. Edward Kennedy (D. Mass.) declared here that “more governments, including our own, must learn from the shining example of Israel in combatting the determined terrorism of the PLO.” Addressing 3000 persons at the American Assembly for Zionism and Israel yesterday, Kennedy declared that “we must act to stop the terrorists before they do their evil work again and again,” in referring to the recent assassination attempts against President Reagan and Pope John Paul II.

The solon also called for the United States to “strengthen the security of Israel, our closest friend and surest ally in the region. We cannot and must not jeopardize the security of Israel by supplying offensive arms to its sworn enemies.” Kennedy said the U.S. “must do more to promote peace and stability in the Middle East. Israel and Egypt are a strategic cornerstone in the broader peace we must seek.”

He declared that the U.S. “must never” set aside the “historic achievement” of the Camp David accords “in a futile effort to appease those pledged to an unholy war against the holy land of Israel.” This was an apparent reference to Saudi Arabia which has called for a “jihad” (holy war) against the Jewish State.

Kennedy charged that the Reagan Administration has embarked “on the most extensive rearmament of the enemies of Israel in modern times.” He said he “strongly” opposed the Administration’s decision to sell AWACS and advanced military equipment to the Saudis and affirmed that “I will vote and speak and work against the sale of the AWACS and all the other parts of this dangerous arms sale to Saudi Arabia — and with your help, I am confident we can defeat that deal in the United States Senate.”


President Reagan, in a message to the Assembly, which was read by Max Fisher, chairman of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, called Israel “a major strategic asset, a staunch ally, whose military strength stands as a deterrent to Soviet aggression in the Middle East.”

Reagan’s statement was addressed to Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the World Zionist Organization-American Section, and Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, president of the American Zionist Federation. Mrs. Jacobson and Sternstein were co-chairmen of the Assembly which was held under the sponsorship of 55 major national American Jewish organizations at Lincoln Center.

Reagan, in his statement, said he welcomed the opportunity to “commend the Zionist movement for building a society rooted in the democratic ideals shared by our country and I support, as have my predecessors, the establishment of a modern Jewish state on the site of the ancient Jewish homeland.”

He called Zionism “the expression of your commitment to redeem the land of Israel and to build a state, economy and society that will achieve the cultural revitalization, spiritual revitalization, spiritual renewal and economic self-determination of the Jewish people in a nation dedicated to democracy and liberty for her people.”

Zionism as a national liberation movement was also praised by spokesmen for Catholic, Protestant and Black organizations. Father John Donahue of the Ecumenical Commission of the Catholic Archidiocese of New York, said that the “attachment of Jews to Israel is a true liberation movement, something the Jewish people have had for several thousands of years. Thus, Zionism is not merely a political statement but rather something deeply imbued in the Jewish heritage as exemplified by Jewish liturgy.”

Prof. Franklin Littell of Temple University, Protestant theologian and president of the National Leadership Conference for Israel, spoke of “the shocking attack on the Pope,” which he said “has brought to public attention the curse of terrorism and the threat posed to the civilized world by terrorist action. People are beginning to understand the burden that Israel has had to carry for many years. Now, as in the case of the Holocaust, people are beginning to awaken to the fact that when Jews are assaulted and governments are indifferent, it will not be long before the terrorists strike at other shining targets.”

Bayard Rustin, chairman of the board of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and president of BASIC (Black Americans to Support Israel Committee), called Zionism “the true liberation movement of the Jewish people, which has given inspiration to liberation movements around the world ….”


Also during the Assembly, the Glad Tidings Temple Choir of Vancouver, British Columbia, presented the dramatic and emotional high point of the day’s events. The 50-member choir accompanied by 15 musicians, which scored a concert triumph in Israel recently, “is contributing $1 million to the Jewish National Fund to sponsor the new kibbutz village of Ravid in Galil Canada in Israel,” Mrs. Jacobson reported.

She quoted from its Pastor, Maureen Gaglardi, who, together with Father Jacobs Hurst, accompanied the choir, as saying: “We are Christians from Canada who love Israel. We believe the Bible teaches that God requires us to acknowledge our spiritual debt to Judaism … to do what we can to repay it.”

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