Mondale Says He Will Work for Mideast Peace if Elected President Says He Will Not Impose Negotiating
Menu JTA Search

Mondale Says He Will Work for Mideast Peace if Elected President Says He Will Not Impose Negotiating

Download PDF for this date

Former Vice President Walter Mondale stressed here today that while he will work for a Middle East peace if elected President, he will never pressure Israel or seek to buy Arab participation through arms sales.

“I will not impose negotiating initiatives that undermine Israel’s right to negotiate her own security,” Mondale said at a press conference with representatives of the Jewish press.

He said that was the problem with President Reagan’s September 1, 1982 Middle East peace initiative which, he noted, while “vague, it carries with it the unmistakable signs of the old Rogers plan,” a reference to the proposals of Secretary of State William Rogers in the Nixan Administration which Israel opposed.


The Democratic Presidential candidate, who told Jewish supporters earlier in the day that he would “scrap” the Reagan plan, said that his Presidential efforts would be based on the Camp David accords, the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty and strategic cooperation with Israel.

“These things have to be worked at just as the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty was, with all the partners equally resolving their differences,” he stressed. “I think that only in that context will it make any sense.”

Mondale said the Reagan Administration has failed in its efforts to get the moderate Arab states to enter negotiations by selling them arms. He noted that when the U.S. sold Saudi Arabia AWACS planes in 1981, that was supposed to bring about Saudi participation in the peace proces. “That didn’t last four days,” Mondale added.


The Reagan plan was designed to encourage King Hussein of Jordan to enter negotiations with Israel, Mondale said. He said that as President, he would tell Hussein: “I hope you sit down and negotiate. I can’t make you and I’m not going to pressure Israel. But if you sit down, I will sit at the table with you and the Premier of Israel, just as we sat down with Begin and Sadat and we’ll try to work out, within the context of Camp David, an agreement that permits peace with Israel and Jordan. I will make clear that I am opposed to a Palestinion state and I will resist it.”

Mondale added that “we need an Arab leader with the courage of Sadat. If we don’t have one, that’s just one of the situations. I think we have to learn to live with it.”

As he did in his speech to Jewish supporters from across the country, Mondale stressed he will take a personal hand in helping the Middle East peace effort.

“I know how the bureaucracy works,” he said. “I know how to assemble a government that will implement my Presidential policy.”

He rejected a suggestion that people like the Rev. Jesse Jackson or Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who was U.S. Ambassador it the United Nations under President Carter, would influence his Middle East policy. Mondale noted that throughout the Democratic primary campaign he made it clear that he did not agree with Jackson’s views on the Middle East and stressed that his views are reflected in the strong stand on support of Israel in the Democratic Party platform. “I intend to run American foreign policy when I get elected President and what I do about the Middle East is going to be my policy,” Mondale declared.

Mondale also rejected the suggestion that he will be another Joe Clark, the Canadian Prime Minister who called for moving Canada’s Embassy to Jerusalem but once elected, backed down under pressure.

“The difference between me and Joe Clark is that he’s Joe Clark and I am Walter Mondale,” the Democratic candidate said, stressing that the U.S. Embassy in Israel will be moved to Jerusalem when he becomes President.

“I’ll bet you that when we open our embassies in Arab capitals we don’t clear it with Jerusalem,” Mondale said. “I don’t see why we have to clear our location of our Embassy in Israel with other countries. I think to do so in fact diminish our sovereign rights of diplomacy.”

On other issues, Mondale said he hopes to talk with Israeli Premier Shimon Peres when he comes to the U.S. to meet with Reagan on October 8. He said that when he meets with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko shortly he will raise the plight of Soviet Jews and other human rights issues.


Mondale said that the Democratic convention in San Francisco last July failed to adopt a resolution condemning anti-Semitism because of a “screw-up” which was compounded by it being “bed lived” by the Democratic National Committee. He said that he demanded that the Committee’s Executive Committee adopt such a resolution, which it did.

Noting his lifetime of opposing anti-Semitism, Mondale said he publicly condemned, during the campaign, anti-Semitic remarks such as Jackson calling New York City “Hymietown” and statements by Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan. He took umbrage at Vice President George Bush’s continued claims that he had not spoken out.

Mondale added that the Republicans have failed to mention that during the debate over the AWACS sale to Saudi Arabia, there was a charge that the choice was between “Reagan and Begin,” making it appear that those who were opposed to the sale were disloyal.

Mondale said that he has always been and continues to be against quotas.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund