NEW YORK (Jun. 14)
Former Secretary of State George Shultz called terrorism “modern barbarism” and urged the world Wednesday to “keep working to know what a terrible thing it is.”
“Every country has the right of self-defense,” Shultz said, “and that is the right to take the offense against terrorists.”
Shultz was speaking to the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith as he accepted the organization’s Marilyn and Leon Klinghoffer Award for Exemplary Action Against International Terrorism.
The mutual affection between Shultz and the Jewish community was evident at the ceremony, which highlighted the opening day of ADL’s 76th annual meeting here.
Both Israeli and American Jewish leaders lavished praise on the former secretary of state, lauding him for his consistent support for Israel, during his time in office, as well as his tough stand on Soviet human rights policies.
“Oy, do we miss you,” said Joel Sprayragen, chairman of ADL’s international division.
That affection seemed undiminished by Shultz’s decision last December to initiate a dialogue between the United States and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
“The American Jewish community has a romance with you,” Ambassador Max Kampelman told Shultz. Kampelman credited Shultz with playing a major role in encouraging the changes now occurring in the Soviet Union.
‘I BELIEVE IN WHAT HE DID’
The Israelis had an equally warm message for Shultz. “There was never any doubt in our minds to Mr. Shultz’s commitment to Israel’s well-being,” said Moshe Arad, Israel’s ambassador to the United States.
“You constantly demonstrated your abhorrence of terrorism.” said Lisa Klinghoffer, who joined her sister, Ilsa, in presenting the award.
The father of the two women, Leon Klinghoffer, was killed by terrorists in the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro. His widow, Marilyn Klinghoffer, who was also aboard the ship, died four months after her husband.
Lisa Klinghoffer said her mother, who met with Shultz shortly after the hijacking, had spoken of the secretary’s concern for the family.
After her remarks, the Klinghoffer daughter was asked if she had any difficulty with Shultz’s decision to talk with the PLO. After remaining silent for nearly a full minute, she finally quietly endorsed Shultz’s move, saying, “I believe in what he did.”
Shultz was the second leader to receive the award. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher received it two years ago for her firm actions against Syria, after that state sponsored an attempted bombing of an El Al jet in London.