WASHINGTON (Feb. 15)
A prominent rabbi suggested to Vice President Dan Quayle Wednesday that the way to move the Middle East process ahead is for the Arab countries to push for the repeal of the 1975 U.N. General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism.
“That would say to the people of Israel it is worth taking a risk for Middle East peace,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center told Quayle.
“Unfortunately, everybody’s program is only ‘how we can lean on Israel.’ “
Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean, were interviewed after their 30-minute meeting with Quayle in his White House office.
While the vice president did not respond to this point, the Bush administration, similar to the Reagan administration, is on record for pressing the General Assembly to repeal the resolution.
Hier said that after he made his suggestion, Quayle said that the problem in the U.S. effort to bring about negotiations between Israel and the Arab countries is that “you can’t believe” what Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat says.
As he did in his speech to the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith last week, Quayle told how Arafat says one thing and then one of his aides says the opposite in the Arabic press.
Hier and Cooper met with Quayle to report on their visit to the Soviet Union for the opening Sunday of the Solomon Mikhoels Cultural Center in Moscow.
Hier said Quayle wanted to hear their assessment of the situation in the Soviet Union, asking the rabbis whether they believed there was a real change in Soviet policy toward Jews or whether Moscow was just trying to get the United States to repeal the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.