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Jewish Groups Denounce Security Council Vote, U.S. Abstention

July 2, 1980
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The United Notions Security Council was accused of “hypocrisy and political chicanery” in an angry reaction to the resolution it adopted late yesterday condemning Israel for “legislative and administrative measures to after the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.”

In a statement today, Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, president of the American Zionist Federation, also blasted “the failure of the United States to veto this blatantly false and unjust attack on Israel.” According to Sternstein, this “is but a further demonstration of the ominous shift in our nation’s Middle East policy.” The resolution was adopted by a vote of 14-0 with the U.S. abstaining.

“Despite years of abuse of the holy places, flagrant violations of the armistice agreement and on all out effort to erase any traces of Jewish heritage from the Holy City, Jordan’s nineteen-year occupation of East Jerusalem elicited neither condemnations and admonitions from the United Nations, “Sternstein noted. “Yet Israel’s conscientious efforts to restore archaeological sites, retain Jerusalem’s unique character and bring peace to the once divided city evokes criticism and denouncements,” he said.

The AZF president assoiled the UN as “a place where morality and justice are held hostage to the petrodollars and the influence they wield. Once on admirable institution, the United Nations has today sunk deeper into the morass of futility and sanctimony,” he declared.


The Security Council’s resolution was also denounced in a joint statement issued by Rabbis Seymour Cohen of Chicago, Arthur Lelyveld of Cleveland and Haskel Lookstein of New York, co-chairmen of “The Great Pilgrimage to Jerusalem” next November, a project of the AZF. “The most recent attempt in the UN to re-divide Jerusalem and to end Israeli sovereignty shows that powerful forces around the world remain determined to seize the heart of the Jewish people and remove it from the Jewish State,” they said.

“It could happen–unless Jews of American impress upon all concerned, including the Executive and Legislative branches of government, the meaning of Jerusalem to Jews everywhere. This is the purpose of the Great Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, in which more than 1000 American Jews, accompanied by 100 rabbis will ‘go up’ to Jerusalem next November.


Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, said “it is deeply disappointing that the Administration merely abstained from and did not veto the latest UN resolution denouncing Israel. This resolution undercuts the Camp David process, encourages hardline Arab states in their refusal to enter into peace talks with Israel and gives heart to the PLO and its now to destroy Israel by means of terrorist attacks against the civilian population,” the Reform rabbi said.

Howard Squadron, president of the American Jewish Congress, said the U.S. should have vetoed the resolution. “We are deeply distressed over the American action in abstaining on a resolution that seeks to challenge and undermine the Camp David peace process. Its adoption preempts negotiations between the parties and renders them meaningless. The proposals embodied in the resolution would return the city to the condition of divisiveness and strife that characterized the long years preceding its reunification in 1967,” he said.

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’nth today told President Carter that “America’s continuous abstentions in the United Nations on resolutions which threaten Israel’s security and vital interests are lamentable examples of U.S. vacillation in support of a trusted ally.”

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL’s associate notional director, in a telegram to the President, also said “The U.S. abstention undermines America’s own efforts in pursuing the Camp David peace process and strengthens the hand of rejectionist forces. The U.S. action is indefensible in view of public acknowledgements by American government officials that the Security Council vote endangers the Egyptian-Israeli peace talks.”

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