New York (Jun. 17)
Jewish community leaders today expressed their appreciation and gratitude to President Reagan for his “sympathetic understanding of Israel’s position” and his concern over Israel’s security at his press conference yesterday.
Howard Squadron, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said that the President “underscored the dilemma facing Israel” when he pointed out that nations that sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty may “themselves be violating that treaty” and that “the treaty does not lend itself to verification.” Squadron added that by recognizing “Iraq’s refusal to make peace with Israel or even acknowledge Israel’s existence,” the President gave reason to the Jewish State to “sincerely believe” that their attack upon the Iraqi nuclear reactor was indeed a defensive act.
Maynard Wishner, president of the American Jewish Committee said today that the President’s expression of “Israel’s vulnerability in regard to such countries as Iraq, who refuse to recognize her very existence is the very heart of the Middle East issue” and “is most significant.”
Meanwhile, the President’s decision to suspend the delivery of four F-16s to Israel “give the appearance that Israel has been prejudged without full consideration of the factors that made its actions necessary,” according to a letter sent to Reagan by the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC).
The letter, signed by NJCRAC chairman Bennett Yanowitz dated June 15 and made public today said the NJCRAC executive committee was “deeply distressed and disappointed” by the President’s actions. The letter continued that in light of the fact that the United States “has rightly condemned Iraq as one of the principal purveyors of international terrorism” and that “American intelligence and diplomatic agencies assess Iraq’s nuclear development program as being directed toward the production of nuclear weaponry,” the destruction of the Iraqi reactor was “a necessary act of self-defense not deserving American condemnation.”