WASHINGTON (Jun. 28)
Declaring that he hoped to put to rest “the occasional doubts about where I stand ” on the issue of Israel and the Middle East, Maine’s Democratic Sen, Edmund S. Muskie told an audience in Denver, Colo, over the weekend that he deeply “felt Israel’s urgent, moral claim on our (American) support, not merely the support of our words, but the support of our deeds.” Referring to his visit to Israel and the Mideast Iast January, Muskie said he had “learned again a stark and simple truth–that the security of Israel is closely related to the security of the United States.”
Excerpts from Sen. Muskie’s remarks were released today by his office here. According to Dick Stewart, a Muskie aide, the Senator who recent polls say is the-front runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1972, addressed a private group of about 300 Jews at the home of Marvin Davis, a wealthy Denver Jew who is raising funds for the Muskie campaign. The Maine Senator who was the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate in 1968, said “It is no longer enough–and it never was enough–to rely on the diplomacy of mere reaction to Russian power politics in the Middle East, What may seem details of diplomacy to us may be matters of survival for Israel. Both our policy and our strength must romaine constant–so Israel can become as certain of our support as she is of her own resolution.”
Muskie said the U.S. “must back Israel’s demand for defensible borders” and must give Israel the right to determine her own fate. “The great powers should help–but they cannot decide. A lasting peace will result only from negotiations by the parties directly involved. And the United States must do nothing to undermine Israel’s bargaining position,” Muskie said. Furthermore, he added, “Though We hope as much as Israel for a permanent peace, we must also assure Israel of enough power to deter renewed war. The right aim is to stop the arms face in the Middle East. But arms control on one side and arms increase on the other will only tighten the tensions and encourage bloodshed and violence. That would threaten our own security–and that is another reason why we must secure the strength of Israel,” Muskie said.