Mayor Edward Koch asserted today at a press conference, in a blistering denunciation of the Carter Administration’s handling of an anti-Israel resolution at the Security Council for which the United States voted, that President Carter was surrounded by “a Gang of Five” advisors. Koch said the five key advisors were pushing President Carter into an anti-Israel position.
He listed the five as Harold Sounders, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs; Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State; National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski; U.S. Ambassador to the UN Donald McHenry, and former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young.
The Mayor, a leading Jewish supporter of Carter’s re-election bid, listed Sounders at the press conference. In an earlier interview with the New York Post, he had listed Vance, Brzezinski, McHenry and Young.
Koch, at the press conference at City Hall, urged the President to quickly reaffirm his authority over the State Department before the “Gang of Five” damaged Israel. The substance of the Post interview and the press statement was to position Koch as a Jewish supporter who did not hold the President solely responsible for the mixup over the anti-Israel Security Council resolution of March 11.
At both the press conference and the interview, the Mayor warned that the U.S. vote had seriously damaged the President’s chances for winning the March 25 New York State Primary and his chances for re-election.
DEMANDS PUBLIC CLARIFICATION
Indicating the doubted whether the President’s surprise disavowal on March 3 of the U.S. vote in favor of the anti-Israel resolution, which referred repeatedly to Jerusalem as part of the “occupied” territories and called for the dismantling of Jewish settlements in those areas, would end the concern of Jewish voters, Koch called on Carter to publicly clarify the issues raised by U.S. support for the resolution, adding that the U.S. vote put the President “in great danger of losing the election.”
The Mayor had a two-hour luncheon with the President last weekend but he refused to discuss what was said. He did say he got the invitation from the President by telephone to the plane on which he was returning from a visit to the People’s Republic of China.
Koch asserted that McHenry and Young were “Third World oriented and viciously anti-Israel.” He said that, as a result of the U.S. vote for the resolution “there’s no question that there has been a great erosion of support in the Jewish community.”
Koch said he still supported Carter’s candidacy and was “hopeful” that the President “will clear the matter up.” He said U.S. policy toward Israel at the UN is “on a slippery slope.” He said the question American Jews wanted answered was: “When the chips are down and every country is submitting to Arab oil blackmail, are we going to be submitting?”
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.