SAN FRANCISCO (Jun. 7)
Sen. Alan Cranston (D. Calif.) warned here that efforts by the Reagan Administration to pressure or seek concessions from Israel on major policy issues could have fatal consequences for the Jewish State.
“Israel might not survive but we (the U.S.) would,” Cranston told some 100 persons Sunday at a luncheon meeting of the American Jewish Congress’ national governing council, which met here for its three-day annual meeting.
“I say that we should make it unmistakably clear to all the Arab nations that we will not pressure Israel in an effort to try to persuade Israel to make concessions which may be contrary to her interests and perhaps contrary to her survival,” Cranston said.
In attacking the “myth” of what he called a balanced U.S. policy in the Middle East, Cranston said the U.S. should not let Israel doubt its steadfastness and that America’s national interests are equated with Israel’s security. “We must make it plain to the Arabs that we will never sell Israel down the river as a price for their friendship or for their oil,” he asserted.
The Senate deputy minority leader said, “America’s policy of pouring arms indiscriminately to Arabs and Israelis alike, poses tremendous strain on Israel’s economy,” He criticized President Reagan’s assertion that Israel need not be concerned by U.S. arms shipments to the Arab nations because they are intended for use against the Soviet Union. However, Cranston pointed out that the number one enemy of the Arab states is Israel.
Cranston, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 1984 Presidential election, stressed during his 20 minute speech that he had refused to join those who condemned the Israeli raid of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in June, 1981 because he viewed the action as “defensive, not offensive.”
A leader in the Senate in opposition to the AWACS arms package sale to Saudi Arabia last year, Cranston said he is prepared to lead the opposition in any proposal to sell sophisticated weaponry to Jordan. “Such a sale should be made only after Jordan ends its state of war with Israel and joins the Camp David peace process and not before, ” he said.