TORONTO (Aug. 29)
Jerusalem “is, was and will be the eternal capital of the nation of Israel” and the United States should move its Embassy there from Tel Aviv, former U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro told the opening dinner of Canada’s 1986 United Jewish Appeal last week.
“It’s not negotiable,” she told 400 invited Jewish community leaders at the gala black-tie affair at a posh downtown hotel here. “I believe our diplomatic policy must recognize that fact by moving our Embassy to the capital city. Jerusalem must remain undivided. We cannot allow it to be gerrymandered for the sake of politics,” said Ferraro, who was a Congresswoman from Queens until she ran as the Vice Presidential candidate in the 1984 elections.
AN UPSETTING ISSUE
She said that one of the most “upsetting” issues of her campaign for the White House was the separation of church and state. “This may not seem an issue which affects Israel, but it is. Individual belief and the unfettered expression of beliefs were being questioned for the first time in years. I didn’t welcome those issues.”
Ferraro said she “was disturbed that so many people seemed to believe that they were the sole possessors of moral truths. Nineteen-eighty-four saw (Moral Majority leader) Jerry Falwell boast that he would get two appoinments to the Supreme Court. This was the man who said, The idea that religions and politics don’t mix was invented by the devil to keep Christians from running their own country’. We as a nation asked, since when is America just a Christian country?”
Another U.S. Christian fundamentalist, Jimmy Swaggart, has said Jews are “damned” and Judaism is “a false religion,” Ferraro stated. “I find these statements chilling. They’re hateful. They’re anti-Semitic and they’re un-American. They should worry all of us,” she declared. But these factors help shape U.S. attitudes toward Israel and even Canada, Ferraro said, and North Americans cannot let them weaken policy in the Mideast.
OPPOSES U.S. ARMS SALES TO ARABS
This fall, she continued, the U.S. will enter into a debate on President Reagan’s proposal to sell high-technology to Jordan and to Saudi Arabia, which would be “a tragic mistake.” Other sales to “Israel’s enemies” have included fighter planes and handheld Stinger missiles that can fit inside a suitcase and can easily be smuggled from country to country to shoot down alrcraft inside Israel, Ferraro said.
“That’s not a plan for a deal, that’s a plan for disaster,” she warned. “It is absolutely wrong to sell offensive weapons to those who use them against our friends. I say anytime (Jordan’s) King Hussein or (PLO chief) Yasir Arafat are ready to negotiate with Israel, they know the address.” The U.S. “must encourage those talks,” just as former President Jimmy Carter did at Camp David, she added.
“The best insurance against the destruction of Israel is lasting peace in the Middle East, not arms sales to the Arab states and ill-conceived efforts to pressure Israeli leaders.”
She also called on the audience to speak out on behalf of Soviet Jews and specifically, to take up the case of Ida Nudel, a refusenik who was arrested years ago for wanting to immigrate to Israel. Ferraro said people in the West should sound “positive and conciliatory tones” toward the Soviet Union, which might translate into real action for Soviet Jews.