NEW YORK (Dec. 11)
A leading member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee proposed Sunday night that the U.S. refinance Israel’s debt, as it has done for other countries in severe economic straits.
Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the second ranking Democrat on the Committee, said he and Sen. Daniel Inouye (D. Hawaii) would draft a refinancing plan for Israel when the new Senate goes into session next month. Biden spoke at the Annual Metropolitan Dinner of the Zionist Organization of America here.
He noted that the U.S. has been able to refinance the debt service of other economically troubled nations such as Mexico, Nigeria and Argentina. He also chided those who complain that the U.S. provides excessive economic and military aid to Israel. "The U.S. spends over $100 billion a year on NATO and worries about spending $2.7 billion on Israel," he said.
‘THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF GUILT’
Biden, long one of Israel’s staunchest firends in Congress, observed "that the consciousness of guilt" over what America left undone to prevent the Holocaust "does not exist for most of the younger generation. America’s most articulate spokesmen for Israel are gone, replaced by men and women with no institutional memory," he said.
"The security of every Jew in the world is tied to Israel. If Israel dies, Judaism will be in jeopardy," the Senator said, adding, "but I am confident that Israel and Judaism will survive."
The dinner was highlighted by the presentation of the ZOA’s Brandeis Award to Capt. Leo Berger, a shipowner and businessman who was cited for his "outstanding commitment to Judaism, Zionism and the State of Israel."
The award was presented by ZOA president Alleck Resnick. The ZOA announced that over $200,000 was raised at the dinner, presided over by Milton Shapiro, chairman of the American Zionist Fund. It will be used to expand the ZOA’s public affairs program in the U.S. and its cultural and educational institutions in Israel.
Resnick told the dinner guests that the recent denunciation of the Camp David accords by King Hussein of Jordan and the silence by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in defending his peace treaty with Israel "testifies to an instability and inconsistency that must trouble all free peoples who put their faith in negotiated agreements."