Carter’s Victory Augurs Well for Strong U.S. Support of Israel Other Issues of Jewish Concern
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Carter’s Victory Augurs Well for Strong U.S. Support of Israel Other Issues of Jewish Concern

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Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter’s victory in yesterday’s Presidential election that culminated his amazing two-year drive from political provincialism to the White House augurs well for strong American support of Israel’s requirements and on other issues of Jewish interest and concern.

From the time the former Georgia Governor inaugurated his campaign at the National Press Club here nearly two years ago, he has espoused economic, military and political support for Israel–support that he enhanced with additional pledges in speeches and statements as the primary and election campaigns gathered momentum.

Specifically, Carter is committed to U.S. aid that “must be responsive to Israel’s needs,” saying “Israel must feel secure in the support that it expects from America in order to take the necessary risks for peace.” Conversely, he has urged that “the U.S. should not create the need for aid to Israel by eroding Israel’s security through uncontrolled arms sales to Israel’s adversaries.”

“As regards Egypt,” he said, advocating direct Arab-Israel negotiations. “I would not favor any sale of military supplies until after Egypt has worked out a permanent settlement recognizing Israel and its right to exist in the Middle East as a peaceful nation.”


Opposing the PLO, which he described as “unrepresentative of the Palestinians and unelected” and “very much the instrument of the Arab states,” Carter is against its participation as “an equal partner” in any resumed Geneva peace conference. “Any movement towards a solution to the Palestinian problem must emanate first from the Palestinians themselves,” he has said. In addition, he has contended that “any emerging Palestinian leadership must recognize Israel’s right to exist permanently and in peace as a Jewish state in the Middle East.”

On the question of Jerusalem’s future, he has been less explicit. Although the Democratic Party’s platform calls for moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Carter has spoken of being inclined towards the transfer but he qualified that by saying he would need to be sure the move would not damage the possibility of a peaceful settlement. He has advocated the right of Moslems to enter their shrines in Jerusalem without passing through Israeli controls.


On Soviet Jewry, Carter has approved, after meeting late in the campaign with Sen. Henry Jackson (D, Wash.), supporting the Jackson Vanik amendment tying U.S. trade benefits to the Soviet with its emigration policies. This is a plank in the Democratic Party’s platform but Carter thought even in September that, as he told Jewish leaders in Atlanta, “diplomatic means which would preserve the honor and independence of Soviet leaders would be the best way of encouraging the Soviet liberalization of its emigration policies.”

Carter has been explicitly opposed to politicization of the United Nations and has vowed to fight moves that would expel Israel from the UN organization or its subsidiaries, foster International activities to combat terrorism, outlaw the Arab boycott, and strike back economically at Arab states that began an oil embargo against the United States.


Carter also has responded to numerous questions on domestic issues posed by Jewish community leaders. The National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, for example, asked him in a comprehensive questionnaire whether he opposes an amendment to the federal Constitution. “to make prayer in schools or other public places permissible.” Carter replied that being a Baptist “my faith is personal” and “the establishment of the Baptist church in this country was to seek the complete separation of church and state.” He concluded: “I do not support efforts to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court decision on school prayer through a constitutional amendment.”

On governmental funds for non-public schools, Carter indicated some form of help, saying he is “firmly committed to search for constitutionally acceptable methods for providing aid to parents whose children attend non-segregated private schools.” He said “I personally disapprove of abortion” and “I do not believe the government should support abortion” but he does “not favor efforts to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court decision” which in effect legalizes it.

Carter came down hard on “quotas” or “proportional representation” and on “gathering or recording of information” about the race, color, or ethnicity of identifiable individuals. “I favor affirmative action programs to repair the effects of 200 years of racial discrimination in America,” he said, “but I do not believe in quotas. The establishment of quotas under any sort of definition is contrary to the abolition of discrimination because of race, sex, or ethnic background.”


Testing time is bound ‘to come soon for Carter, Vice-President Walter Mondale and new Cabinet members responsible for foreign affairs perhaps even long before they take office Jan. 20. Events in Africa, the Middle East, in the United Nations and in the Far East may bring situations where President Ford may ask the new Administration to take part in U.S. discussion of the course for America to take in the international political battles that may erupt in the next few weeks and thereby accustom themselves to the world’s difficulties before the formalities of inauguration take place.

Who will be Carter’s Secretary of State and his assistant on security affairs in the White-House–two posts held simultaneously by Henry A. Kissinger for more than two years–is uncer tain. George Ball. Undersecretary of State during President Johnson’s tenure, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Columbia University professor, are touted as candidates with likelihood of attaining the posts. However, surprises may be in store.

An indicator was the remarks by Stuart Eizenstat, Carter’s director of issues, to the Jewish leaders in Atlanta. He said Ball, who is not favored among many pro-Israelis, is not an advisor on the Middle East but rather on Western Europe and that Ball assumed the role only as of last June 8. Brzezinski’s role also is on East-West relations, Eizenstat said.

The major Carter-Mondale advisor on the Middle East, Eizenstat continued, is Henry Owen, author of the Brookings Institution Report last spring. Owen was credited, in a Carter-Mondale press statement on the meeting, as rating “high marks on his view of Israel.” The Brookings report suggested that the Palestinians have a homeland but that it not necessarily be controlled by the PLO. It also recommended settlement of Israel’s frontier along the pre-Six Day War lines but with some adjustments presumably in Israel’s favor. In other words, the Rogers Plan, on a negotiated basis.

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