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Administration Rapped for Its Suspension of F-16s Deliveries

July 22, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Two Jewish leaders expressed anger and disappointment today over President Reagan’s decision to continue the suspension of shipments of F-16 warplanes to Israel. Rabbi William Berkowitz, president of the Jewish National Fund, called it “deeply disappointing and one-sided” and urged the Administration to make a “quick reversal.”

Ivan Novick, president of the Zionist Organization of America, released the text of a telegram he sent to the President in which he charged that the decision “improperly punishes” Israel. He urged Reagan to address “the base problem that plagues the peace of the Middle East … the covenant of the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization which calls for the elimination of the Jewish State.”

Berkowitz, too, called on the President to “focus instead on the open declaration of war by (PLO chief Yasir) Arafat and the continuous use of southern Lebanon for Soviet-armed PLO terrorists who with Syrian collusion use it as a base to shell and raid northern Israel.” He said that “As long as the rampages and attacks of the PLO go on, one-sided condemnations of Israel cannot be expected to result in any constructive purpose.”


The steps Novick called on Reagan to take were to “voice public support of the government of Lebanon by encouraging it to act immediately to remove the PLO as a realistic and imperative step to avoid further conflict.” He also urged that “until such time as Saudi Arabia disassociates itself from the PLO, ceases its financial support and other types of moral and material assistance, the United States must refuse to provide it with F-15 enhancements and AWACS.”

Novick further urged the President to state “personally and publicly” that “the PLO must be held responsible for tragic consequences of the loss of human lives” and to “instruct our Ambassador to submit a formal resolution of condemnation to be acted upon by the United Nations.”

Novick said the “properly assumed policy” of the U.S. to refuse to recognize the PLO “is no longer a sufficient answer. Because the PLO is a vehicle of anti-Semitism in the United Nations and in the world, America must not only refuse to recognize, but must now publicly reject, indeed condemn, the PLO as the primary instrument of worldwide anti-Semitism … The United States must act to disassociate itself in a way that the world will understand.”

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