Andrew Young today absolved the government of Israel from any influence in his resignation as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations last Aug. 15 and said it was his own decision to quit.
Speaking to reporters at the White House after a meeting with President Carter, Young said that Jewish aides to the President had “encouraged” him not to resign when the news broke that he had met with a Palestine Liberation Organization representative at the UN in contravention of U.S. policy and subsequently misled the State Department about that meeting.
“Some members of the White House who happen to be Jewish encouraged me to stick it out,” Young said “I talked with Stu (Stuart Eizenstat, the President’s chief assistant on domestic affairs) about that. It was my decision to leave. Nobody pressured me to resign. I have no apologies. I would do it again,” Young said. He also said that on the day he decided to resign, “everybody said the Jewish community was forcing me out.”
Young, praising Carter and renewing his pledge to support him in the 1980 elections, minimized differences ‘between Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has acknowledged receiving financial aid from pro-PLO sources, and Bayard Rustin, the civil rights leader who has denounced Jackson’s overtures to the PLO. “I think the reporting has made more of the differences than the basic facts, Young said. He observed that Jackson had told the PLO” You are damned fools to practice violence” that “Jackson also confronted Israel on bombing Lebanon — a counter-productive act by Israel.”
Young’s unannounced meeting with the President followed his statement yesterday to the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subcommittee on Africa that the White House had sought to have Israel make a statement saying it opposed his resignation. He told the subcommittee that the effort fell through because Israeli Premier Menachem Begin was ill and was unable to discuss the matter.
“At the time of my resignation there was an effort underway between the White House and the Israelis, approved by (Israel Foreign Minister Moshe) Dayan which would have put Israel on record as opposed to my resignation,” Young testified to the subcommittee. “Unfortunately, Mr. Begin was ill and we didn’t get approval in time,” he said. There was no immediate confirmation here on Young’s reference to Dayan.
The White House confirmed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that Eizenstat had said “there was some interest in having a statement is sued” and “there were some discussions but it didn’t go beyond that. We were told there would be no statement.” The White House emphasized to the JTA that “there were discussions about a statement but the White House never asked for it.” The source said the purported U.S.-Israeli talks “did not go beyond that. We really never asked for a statement.” The Israeli participant was not identified.
An independent source observed that for the U.S. government to ask for such a statement and for the Israeli government to enter into one would open the way for enemies of Israel to condemn it for interfering in internal affairs of the U.S.
STATEMENT BY ISRAEL EMBASSY
A spokesman for the Israel Ambassador to the U.S., Ephraim Evron, said today that “The government of Israel and the Ambassador of Israel in Washington never asked for Mr. Young’s resignation and were in no way involved in the events that led to it. This was entirely an Administration decision.”
Rep. Stephen Solarz (D. NY), a member of the House subcommittee, told the JTA today that Young’s testimony made it clear that neither Israel nor the American Jewish community had anything to do with his resignation. “He (Young) made it clear Israel had not been putting pressure on him to get out,” Solarz said.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.