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Azf Leader Urges Major Action to Repulse Effort to Legitimize PLO

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Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, president of the American Zionist Federation, warned last night that an orchestrated effort to legitimize the Palestine Liberation Organization is to be expected in the wake of the PLO’s role in the cessation of hostilities in Lebanon which went into effect last Friday. He urged that “a major effort be made to repulse this insidious effort” and called on the Zionist movement to “spearhead a campaign to tell the American people the truth about the PLO.”

Sternstein made these remarks last night before the AZF executive committee to hear briefings by Deputy Consul General Uri Bar-Ner and Yehuda Hellman, executive director of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who had returned from meetings in Israel. Hellman accompanied Howard Squadron, chairman of the Conference in meetings with Premier Menachem Begin last weekend to discuss relations between Israel and the United States and between Israel and American Jewry.

Following the executive meeting the AZF approved the text of a letter to President Reagan which warned that “to view the PLO as a credible partner in the Middle East represents a most serious danger to American national interests.” The letter expressed deep concern with the “decision to further suspend the delivery of F-16 aircraft contracted to Israel,” noting that “this act has been wrongly construed as a ‘punishment’ of Israel’s efforts to defend its citizens, and could only serve to encourage those committed to Israel’s destruction.” The letter called for the immediate delivery of the contracted F-16 aircraft to Israel.

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