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Solons Score Carter for Joint Statement

October 5, 1977
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Democratic and Republican supporters of Israel in Congress and two candidates for Mayor in New York City have strongly attacked President Carter for the joint United States-Soviet declaration on the Middle East issued last Saturday.

Both Rep. Edward Koch, who is the Democratic candidate for Mayor in New York City, and New York Secretary of State Mario Cuomo, who is his Liberal Party opponent, wrote letters to Carter accusing the President of pressuring Israel to accept the Palestine Liberation Organization in Mideast negotiations. However, Koch, who was in an official welcoming party today for the President when he arrived in New York to address the United Nations Generally Assembly, delivered his letter personally to Carter.

Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan (D.NY) warned here that the U.S.-Soviet joint declaration “can only contribute to the erosion of Israel’s right to a secure existence” and to “a corrosive enhancement of Soviet influence in the Middle East.” His statement noted that “it is particularly ominous” that the declaration makes no mention of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.

In what he called “a strongly worded letter of protest” to Carter, Rep. William Brodhead (R. Mich.) urged the President not to impose a solution but to work for a settlement negotiated by the parties themselves. He said while seeking a solution for the Palestinian refugee problem, the U.S. must not encourage a Palestinian state on Israel’s borders since this would be a threat to peace. Brodhead also said there should be “some sort of Palestinian representation in the negotiations, but the U.S. must not force, or even appear to suggest, acceptance of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.”


Rep. Benjamin S. Rosenthal (D. NY) a Deputy House Whip and a member of the House International Relations Committee, said the joint statement “marks a further erosion of American support for Israel” and is “a major step towards the imposed settlement that the United States has long promised would never happen.” It also “demonstrates a disturbing pro-Arab bias on the part of the conveners of the Geneva conference, thus destroying their objectivity and prejudicing any possible outcome.”

Rep. Robert F. Drinan (D.Mass.) charged the Carter Administration with violations of its commitments to Israel in the 1975 Sinai agreements. He said the joint statement places on Israel “on unfair and possibly dangerous burden before negotiations have even commenced.”

Rep. Jack F. Kemp (R.NY) said “There is mounting evidence that the Administration is about to make a historic reversal of American policy in the Middle East by recognizing the PLO without any concessions on their part to mitigate their threat to destroy the State of Israel.” Rep. John Cunningham (R.Wash.) said he cannot accept “this immoral and indeed illogical policy” being pursued by the Carter Administration in the Middle East.

Sen. Harrison A. Williams (D. NJ) said the joint statement “could hinder rather than help efforts” to achieve peace and called on the Carter Administration to “clarify the extent to which the statement condones participation by the PLO in the Geneva conference.”

Sen. Clifford Case (R. NJ) said the joint statement does not represent a real change in the Carter Administration policy. “It really amounts to a step-by-step acceptance of the PLO,” Case told the Senate in describing the policy. The Administration, he said, by encouraging the PLO is retarding moderate non-terrorist Arabs such as the West Bank mayors.


Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the American Section of the World Zionist Organization, expressed shock that the U.S. “would repudiate agreements made to Israel and confirmed by Congress. It is quite obvious that the omission of any reference to Resolution 242, which was the basis of the agreements on the Sinai disengagement, must be taken as a signal that the United States is ready to accept the PLO, and must be seen as a step toward a Palestinian state on the West Bank, despite previous American assurances to the contrary.”

Bernice S. Tannenbaum, president of Hadassah, observed that the joint declaration “constitutes through its introduction of such language as the ‘legitimate rights of the Palestinian people’ an indirect alteration” of Resolution 242. “Furthermore, the premature involvement of the USSR as guarantor of Mideast peace preempts U.S. leadership in this effort.”

Richard Maass, president of the American Jewish Committee, declared that the joint statement “appears to confirm recent disconcerting signs, past assurances from Washington to the contrary notwithstanding, that the Carter Administration is laying the groundwork for an imposed settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict” and “gives new hope to the PLO that it can become a party to the negotiations in Geneva without changing its covenant calling for Israel’s destruction.”

The B’nai B’rith criticized the joint declaration and “other recent Administration pronouncements on the Middle East which appear to be a reversal of policy” described to Jewish leaders by Carter last July, and urged the government to “honor its commitment to Israel.” In a letter delivered to the White House this morning, David M. Blumberg, B’nai B’rith president, said these statements by the Administration “seem to point toward the imposed Middle East solution which the U.S. pledged it would never attempt” and to “foreordained PLO participation at Geneva.”

Burton M. Joseph, national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, urged the U.S. today to reconsider its “shameful and dangerous change” of position toward Israel and its encouragement of “a direct reinstruction of Soviet influence in an area that was comparatively well rid of ?”

Similar statements condemning the U.S.-Soviet joint declaration were issued today by the B’nai B’rith Women, the Pioneer Women and the Hapoel Hamizrachi Women’s Organization. In another move in reaction to the joint statement, the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington and its 185 constituent organizations announced a rally for noon Thursday in Lafayette Park, facing the White House, to protest the statement.

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