THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, June 17, 1977 15
Boris Smolar's '
. . . and Me'
(Copyright 977, JTA,
MEET YOUR LEADER: Richard Maass, the newly-
elected president of the American Jewish Committee, is a
third-generation American who gained an enviable reputa-
tion as one of the top American Jewish leaders deeply con-
cerned with human rights for Jews everywhere.
He has been active in the American Jewish Committee
for 30 years. He also served as the first chairman of the
National Conference on Soviet Jewry.
lir Maass was chairman of the AJCommittee board of gover-
nors and of its national executive council — the two policy-
making bodies of the organization. He was chairman of
the AJCommittee foreign affairs committee and of the
community services committee. He visited many commu-
nities overseas to study conditions of Jewish life there;
and he, of course, knows Israel.
Among other positions, he also held the position of
mayor of White Plains, N.Y., where he resides.
VIEWS ON ISRAEL: Maass is very conscious of the fact
that he assumed the AJCommittee presidency at a time
when President Carter indicated that he expects American
Jewry to back him in pressuring Israel to yield to some of
his suggesticins with regard to the Middle East situation.
The stand taken by Maass on this subject is quite clear:
he considers it wrong on the part of President Carter to
attempt a split in American Jewry.
The general position of Maass is that American Jews rec-
ognize that Israel is engaged in a life-and-death struggle,
and that decisions affecting the struggle must be made by
her alone. In his opinion, Israel' ,is entitled to refuse to
negotiate with any group that is committed to her destruc-
tion; also that Israel — and the support of Israel —contin-
ues to be a major expression of Jewish identity for Ameri-
FALSE INTERPRETATIONS: The possibility that
serious political differences between the United States and
Israel may arise in the future is not being ignored in the
AJCommittee, However, Maass considers it as his immedi-
ate task to correct first of all the false interpretations in
the American press of the Israeli elections as a victory for
intransigence and a rejection of efforts for a negotiated
The new president of the AJCommittee points out that
the Likud leader Menahem Begin, who will now be pre-
mier of Israel, has repeatedly called for face-to-face nego-
tiations with Arab leaders, and that immediately upon his
election he called upon leaders of all the neighboring Arab
states to begin peace negotiations either in Geneva or else-
where. He also emphasized the fact that Likud's election
platform declared that "the Likud government will make
peace its chief aspiration and concern, and will spare no
effort to promote it."
The Arabs are now working hard to influence the U.S. to I
impose a peace settlement on Israel along lines which
would certainly lead to an American-Israeli confrontation,
and thus pose serious dilemmas for the American Jewish'
community. Leaders of the •AJComrnittee do not believe
that the U.S. will attempt to impose such a solution. They
are, however, concerned over the widespread reports in
the American press creating the impression among the
American people that the new Israeli government is going
to be intransigent and inflexible. Such an impression can
' lead to an erosion of popular and Congressional support
for aid to Israel. Maass has, therefore, made it his first
order of business to combat the false interpretations of the
results of the Israeli elections.
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`Stalemate May Start War'
NEW YORK (JTA)—Am- ence of most members of
bassador William Barton of the UN that it is illegiti-
Canada, this month's Presi, mate and wrong to hold on
dent of the United Nations to territories and then face
Security Council, warned to that with the realities of the
day that "the inevitable con- situation from the Israeli
sequences of a stalemate" point of view, you've got a
in the Middle East "will be devil's brew that's going to
_ be very difficult to solve
Barton made that state- . . . If you take Begin's
ment in an interview with statement that as far as he
is concerned these terri-
columnist Victor Riesel, tories
ate just part of Israel
broadcast on WEVD radio.
"Unless we make progress then honestly there's going
then, inevitably at some to be trouble," Barton said.
He praised President Car-
point there will be a new
war," the ambassador said. ter's efforts to reconvene
the Geneva conference
He indicated that he was "this year." He said the
disturbed by the outcome of success of the conference
the Israeli elections and par- would depend on resolving
ticularly remarks by Likud the issue of PLO participa-
leader Menahem Begin, Is- tion and the form and direc-
tion of the new Israeli gov-
"When you run into insist- ernment.
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