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Back Ground Report the ‘frustration’ Factor

April 20, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The resignation of Albert Spiegel as President Reagan’s unpaid advisor on Jewish affairs appeared today to be due to “frustration” over not having any input on the Administration’s policy toward Israel, but being asked to support a position already formulated.

This was the assessment of Hyman Bookbinder, Washington representative of the American Jewish Committee, who said it was made both after a talk with Spiegel and observing him in Washington over the last year-and-a-half.

Spiegel, meanwhile, reached by telephone at his Los Angeles home by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency yesterday, said he did not want to discuss at this time publicly his reasons for his resignation. He said the reason for his reluctance was that he believes he still has an “obligation” to “keep the breach from widening” between the Jewish community and the Administration. In fact, he added he would like to close that breach.

A long-time supporter of Reagan, Spiegel said that he still believes the President is a “fine guy who is “sincerely” committed to the security of Israel. But he said certain policies “interfere with the fulfillment” of this commitment.


Bookbinder said that the two-part series in the Wall Street Journal last week in which King Hussein of Jordan was quoted as discussing pressures on Israel promised him by Reagan, was “the last straw” that caused Spiegel’s resignation. He said the series is not the reason for the resignation since he left because of “accumulated” reasons. This was confirmed by Spiegel.

When the Wall Street Journal article appeared in which King Hussein said that Reagan told him he would not get the Jewish vote in 1984 and did not need it for his re-election, the Administration should have called Spiegel up to explain or deny the statement. Bookbinder said.

He said the Administration should not have waited until Spiegel had to ask about it. After Spiegel’s resignation, White House deputy spokesman Larry Speakes said the article “bears no relationship to the President’s thinking, either in public or private.”

Bookbinder said Spiegel felt frustrated when he found he did not have the access to see the President he thought he would, seeing him only three or four times since his appointment. He was not in at the beginning of policy-making when he could give the views of the Jewish community, but only at the end when he was asked for support.

The 67-year-old lawyer and businessman is also chairman of the National Republican Jewish Coalition. Spiegel said yesterday that he will relinquish that post when someone is named to take it over in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Spiegel noted that he always kept a low profile, never seeking publicity. He said he never sought out the press when he went to the White House as an advisor and thought that his departure would go unnoticed, too.

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