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Moynihan Asserts the U.S. Will Move Its Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

August 13, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Sen. Daniel Moynihan of New York stressed to the Democratic National Convention last night that a Democratic Administration will fulfill the pledge in the party’s platform to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to maintain the security of Israel.

Nothing that there are “those who will not accept” the peace achieved between Israel and Egypt, Moynihan declared: “May we suggest they read the platform of the Democratic Party, for here we speak in perfect confidence for the whole nation. ‘Jerusalem,’ the platform declares, ‘should remain forever undivided…’ Jerusalem is ‘the capital of Israel.’ We will move our embassy there.

“And let those who would come in arms against the wall of Jerusalem understand that we too, are on those walls. We are not about to commit our strength to protecting the rich societies of that region whilst permitting the destruction of free ones.”

As Moynihan was speaking, the delegates in the hall were just learning that Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts had withdrawn his candidacy for the presidency and was now backing President Carter.

The Kennedy announcement, which surprised many of his supporters, come about two-hours after the convention decidedly rejected his efforts to remove a requirement in the rules that delegates vote on the first ballot for the candidate for whom they were elected in the primaries. The 1936-1390 vote made it a certainty that Carter would receive more than the 1666 votes required for renomination tomorrow night.


In Jerusalem today, Israel Premier Menachem Begin sent Moynihan a telegram thanking him for his “warm words” on Jerusalem. But at a press conference in New York today, the head of the National Association of Arab Americans (NAAA) called Moynihan’s remarks a “radical escalation” of what he termed an already “unbalanced” position by the Democratic Party in support of Israel.

James Sams, NAAA president, said that Americans understood that Moynihan’s remarks were campaign rhetoric. But he said these statements are taken seriously abroad and “undermine” the United States position in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Sams said that the some thing was true for the Middle East section of the Democratic Party’s platform which the convention was scheduled to adopt without any opposition today. He said the platform now reads like a “statement of Israeli aspirations and Israeli policy” rather than U.S. policy. He said it will have a damaging effect on U.S. policy in the Arab world and on the U.S. efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement in the Mideast. He noted that the Republican platform was also “unbalanced” in favor of Israel.

Sams said he was particularly concerned about a new rule that the Democratic convention was about to adopt requiring the Presidential candidate to sign a statement of support for the policies outlined in the platform. He said that if Carter signed it he would be going against some of the principles of his own Administration. He was apparently indicating that if Carter signed the policy statement be would be required to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, even though official U.S. policy has been that the status of Jerusalem must be decided through negotiations.

The rule, however, was worked out by the Carter and Kennedy forces earlier this week, principally to ensure that whoever was named the Presidential candidate would support the economic sections of the platform.


But Sams noted that if Carter was to go along with the platform position to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem this would cause many Arab states to carry out their threat to break off relations with the U.S. He said the NAAA calls for a different Mideast platform which would declare that the “United States must remain free and unfettered in its efforts to achieve Middle East peace in order to be true to the American national interest and to the needs of all the American people.”

The NAAA’s proposed plank would also state: “We believe that all the principal parties to the conflict must be full participants in diplomatic negotiations. Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs have legitimate rights and interests which require equal respect and recognition by the world community, including the right of self-determination achieved by Israel and still denied to the Palestinians.”

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