Ajcommittee Visit to Washington Finds Shift in Sununu’s Position
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Ajcommittee Visit to Washington Finds Shift in Sununu’s Position

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White House Chief of Staff John Sununu seems to have changed his mind, since coming to Washington a year ago, about the value of repealing the 1975 U.N. resolution equating Zionism with racism.

As governor of New Hampshire, Sununu was the only one of the 50 U.S. governors who refused to sign a petition calling for the resolution’s repeal.

But last Thursday, Sununu, who is of Lebanese descent, told a visiting delegation of six American Jewish Committee leaders that repeal of the resolution is important and high on the agenda of Thomas Pickering, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

One of the six AJCommittee members called it ironic that a delegation of American Jews was now commending Sununu for his stance on the Zionism-racism resolution.

During its visit here, the AJCommittee delegation also met with Vice President Dan Quayle, who was “strong in committing himself to leading that fight,” said Ira Silverman, executive vice president of the AJCommittee.

It was Quayle who in December told a Yeshiva University audience in New York that the administration would push for the resolution’s repeal.

The AJCommittee group also met with Richard Schifter, assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs, and Richard Clarke, assistant secretary of state for politico-military affairs.

Silverman said one impression he had from the meetings was that Israel may have an uphill fight winning the next $3 billion annual aid package from the United States, and it may not be able to secure a requested $400 million in loan guarantees to build housing for Soviet Jews and other immigrants.

“It isn’t clear that the aid picture can move so easily or quickly,” Silverman said.


On Soviet Jewry, the delegation presented the U.S. officials with a document alleging continued anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. Silverman said that Sununu “was quite interested” in the issue.

For his part, Schifter gave the group a sneak preview of the State Department’s annual human rights report, to be issued in late January.

“There were no surprises,” said Silverman. “It’s the same set of criticisms regarding the treatment of the intifada” that was made last year.

While in Washington, the delegation also met with Ryohei Murata, Japan’s ambassador to the United States. Murata told the group that the U.S. branch of Honda “is now going to be trading actively with Israel,” with Japan directly sending spare parts for various vehicles.

He also cited figures showing recent jumps in Japan’s trade with Israel, despite the fact that Japanese countries still widely participate in the Arab boycott against Israel.

The delegation raised the Japanese government’s failure to enact restrictions preventing its companies from complying with the Arab boycott.

Murata “was very sympathetic to our viewpoint,” Silverman added.

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