American Jewish leaders blasted Andrew Young, the United States Ambassadors to the United Nations, for remarks they termed as favorable toward the Palestine Liberation Organization. President Carter was urged to dissociate his Administration from the views expressed by Young in an interview published in Interdependent, the organ of the United Nations Association of the United States. Some demanded the envoy’s removal and others also criticized the State Department for contending that Young’s observations represent his own views.
Young was quoted as saying that the PLO has tremendous influence” in the Arab countries, that the basic reason for the absence of any U.S. link with the PLO is that Israel is opposed to it and that the PLO’s UN observers are “very skilled politicians and very intelligent, decent human beings” who have acted as a “moderating influence” in the UN.
Theodore Mann, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations declared, “We are deeply disturbed by Ambassador Young’s remarks, which appear to condone the philosophy and tactics of the group of murderers that calls Itself the Palestine Liberation Organization. We cannot believe that Mr. Young remarks represent either the enduring interests or the current policy of this Administration, especially in light of the President’s characterization of the PLO as comparable to Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
Maxwell E. Greenberg, national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, made public a letter to Young in which he charged that the envoy has “apparently” made a decision to support a PLO campaign designed to make the terrorist organization a regular member of the United Nations. He said he was “aghast” that Young; a religious minister and representative of the U.S. government, would call “spokesmen for murderers decent human beings.”
PLAYING WITH ISRAELI LIVES
Washington, Jack J. Spitzer, president of B’nai B’rith declared that the 500,000 members of the Jewish service organization hoped Young was not attempting to “lay the groundwork for U.S. recognition” of the PLO. “But even if he is speaking for himself alone,” Spitzer said, “he should understand that he is playing with the lives of three million Israelis and trifling with the solemn and formal pledge the United States made to Israel . . . not to recognize or negotiate with the PLO without Israel’s consent.”
Julius Berman, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, and Fred Ehrman, chairman of its Israel Commission, assailed the “double standard which Ambassador Young applies on issues of human rights throughout the world.” They urged the Administration to condemn the crimes of the PLO” in the same harsh terms that Ambassador Young applies to the other tyrannical entities throughout the world and to discipline or remove” Young for “the reparable damage that he has already done to America’s prestige.”
Beatrice S. Tannenboum, president of Hadassah, noted that Young, as a civil rights leader, advocated non-violent action and the goal of brotherhood and reconciliations” and asked how he reconciles this with the PLO’s record of international murders.
In telegrams to Carter and Young, Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, president of the American Zionist Federation, stressed that despite State Department dissociation with Young’s viewpoints, the fact remains that as a representative of the United States, the Ambassador has a duty to reflect and promote national policy in all of his public statements!. . . “He charged that Young’s statements have “given new strength and legitimacy to this gang of murderers (PLO), undermining established American policy.”
Richard Maass, president of the American Jewish Committee, welcomed the State Department’s “prompt disavowal” of Young’s statements as “the minimum step the Administration should take. “He called on the Administration to see to it that Mr. Young clearly reaffirms the official position” in a statement at the UN.
ATTEMPTING TO INFLUENCE ADMINISTRATION
In a telegram to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Ivan J. Novick, president of the Zionist Organization of America, asked whether Young’s remarks reflected the views of the Administration and whether Young was “attempting to influence the Administration to change it’s policy and cater to the PLO.” He questioned the “morality of supporting a group because it is powerful, without concern for the justice of the case.”
Toby Willig, president of Emuah Women, said that unless the White House “takes a firm stand against Mr. Young’s statements we will have to assume that it supports these views and that in effect a serious policy change towards the PLO has been undertaken by our country.”
Rabbi Baruch Silverstein, who was re-elected president of the New York Board of Rabbis last week, said in his re-election remarks that the board was “especially distressed” over Young’s remarks, noting they were published shortly before a terrorist attack on Maalot, the same settlement where a while ago these decent PLO human beings slaughered over 20 Israeli school children.”
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.