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Reagan Reaffirms Continued Adherence to a Strong Israel

August 8, 1980
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Republican Presidential nominee Ronald Reagan and his chief foreign affairs advisor, Richard Allen, have reaffirmed Reagan’s position and continued adherence to his previous statements in strong support of Israel, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has been informed. Their remarks come in the wake of reports in sections of the American Jewish media under headlines such as, “Is Reagan Pulling The Shodes Down On Israel?” and “Reagan Softens Stand For Israel.” The reports were apparently based on an interview with Reagan that appeared in the Washington Star last month.

The Republican nominee was reported to be retreating from his statements and the Republican Party platform by reportedly setting conditions for U.S. dealing with the Palestine Liberation Organization and in looking at the Jerusalem issue on virtually the some basis as the Carter Administration. Previously, these reports observed, Reagan had spoken of accepting the Israeli concept on Jerusalem, and cold-shouldering the PLO.

However, at an unannounced meeting with prominent Jewish supporters of his campaign last Tuesday at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, Reagan was said to have emphasized that he stands by all the statements he has made about Israel. Knowledgeable sources told the JTA that the supporters were satisfied with Reagan’s comments in their 40-minute meeting with him.


The JTA also was told that Reagan doubtlessly is and will continue to be under pressure from other elements in the Republican Party that lean towards appeasing Arab governments in view of U.S. business interests involved in oil, construction, weaponry and financial agreements in the tens of billions of dollars. As a result, one source said, “nuances” may appear in Reagan’s comments. However, this source also stressed that when matters were raised with Reagan in New York about Israel, he replied that he “stands very strongly on everything” he has said “to date.

In connection with American interests, the American Jewish Congress reported yesterday that Saudi Arabia has already bought more than $25 billion worth of U.S. weapons and military supplies and that American corporations are involved in the construction of a large university complex in Riyadh and similar projects in Jidda and Mecca.

Among those attending the New York City meeting with Reagan, the JTA learned, were Max Fisher, Ted Cummings, Maxwell Roob, Gordon Zacks; Albert Spiegel, George Klein, Rita Houser, John Loeb, Jr., Laurence Tisch, Tom Tisch, Rabbi Herschel Schachter, Sylvia Hassenfeld and Jack Stein.

That same night, an organizational session of some 35 Jewish supporters of Reagan reportedly was held in the Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia at which those present included Spiegel, who is a national vice chairman of the Reagan campaign; Richard Fox, chairman of Reagan’s Pennsylvania organization; and Eddie Rosen, head of the Eastern Pennsylvania campaign unit.


Talking with JTA regarding the media reports, Allen said, “I am a little sick of hearing these stories about Reagan backing off in his support for Israel. I guess if you don’t say something every day about his concern for Israel and the strategic value of Israel to the United States, doubts begin to rise.

“There is no change — none at all, Allen emphasized about Reagan’s statements and Republican platform commitments. “We anticipate no change. Anyone who knows anything about Reagan Knows he is not backing off on tax cuts, a strong defense, or on the Middle East. They are all of one piece.”

Allen stressed, “There are people who will talk but policy statements come only from the Governor, from the press office, and from me. I emphasize that one thing. characteristic of Governor Reagan’s candidacy is his consistency an issues, including Israel, of course, and his unwillingness, his moral version to back off on that support.

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