WASHINGTON (Mar. 14)
Howard Squadron, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said today that the American Jewish community has the obligation to make of itself a “bloody nuisance” in support of Israel and the Jewish people.
The community has the “burden” to “fight for Israel and the Jewish people” and at the same time to fight to “save Western values and the American dream,” he told some 1500 young Jewish leaders from across the country. Squadron spoke at the opening session of the third annual United Jewish Appeal Young Leadership Conference sponsored by the UJA Young Leadership Cabinet and the Young Women’s Leadership Cabinet.
Edward Robin, chairman of the Young Leadership Cabinet, said the purpose of the conference, which ends Tuesday, is “to develop a public agenda and express it with a national voice.” He said this generation of American Jews has had “every benefit of American society” and has the ability and the obligation to confront the problems facing the Jewish people.
Vicki Agron, of Denver, chairwoman of the Young Women’s Leadership Cabinet, said the aim of the conference was to “motivate Jews from across the country to participate in the architecture of our history.”
PAINTS A GLOOMY PICTURE
Squadron, in his speech, painted a gloomy picture of what will happen after Israel completes its withdrawal from Sinai April 25. He said that since the death of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, the Egyptians have been unable to make any concessions to Israel for fear of attacks from the Arab world that they are doing something for Israel which they do not have to do since they are getting Sinai back.
Squadron, who met with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt when he visited Washington last month, said Egypt will stick to the peace treaty but seems to indicate that there will be no movement in the autonomy talks. He said the Israelis might follow the advice of the late Moshe Dayan and declare autonomy for the West Bank and Gaza Strip unilaterally, giving the residents there the option of accepting limited autonomy or going on with the situation as it is now.
He said that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral autonomy, it would face increased hostility from the Arab world and the Communist world and probably the Europeans. Squadron said that while American Jews are divided on many issues in the U.S., they are united in support of Israel.
During his speech, Squadron attacked Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria both for his meetings in Vienna last week with Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and for an interview published in a French newspaper earlier this year in which Kreisky rejected the concept of a Jewish people.
Squadron said he sent a telegram to Kreisky about Qaddafi’s four-day visit to Austria in which he pointed out that anti-Semites “do not distinguish between Zionist Jews and assimilationist Jews” like the Chancellor. Squadron said he plans to meet tomorrow with Austrian Foreign Minister Willipad Pahr who will be in Washington this week.