2 Friday, March 28, 1980
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Passover Has a Message of Cheer, and Also
of Caution, Never to Yield to Fear, Always
to Pursue Vigilance for Justice and Liberty
By Pr .‘.•
Passover Admonition: Freedom Without Fear, With Vigilance for Justice
Passover is a privilege for the celebrants. It is an emphasis on the roots whence
freedoms stemmed. It admonishes lovers of freedom never to yield to fears. It reminds the
rational and clear-thinking that it is not limited to the few who acquire might but is for
all, for every human being in all stages of life.
It is on the score of fearlessness that freedom has its most urgent challenges. When
there is a submission to threats, freedom vanishes. When there is vigilance and defiance
of obstacles to the elementary right to speak out for just rights, freedom is assured.
Take the United Nations as an example. It was constructed for peace, and the amity
aspired to was not intended for a few dictators but for all mankind. Yet, in that very
august assembly, there is a clique so domineering that it stands in the way of human
dignity. The moment a signal is given, in that area of representatives of the Communist,
Arab and Third World blocs, for whatever they choose, there is no hope for the minority.
Some oppose this ruling dictatorship. Some abstain. In the latter two classes it has often
been a matter of oil. The need for the energy-providing flow has become more vital than
anything approaching the human factor in international relations. That is why Israel
often stands alone as a member of that august body.
Because Israel stands alone, there have been many repetitive threats to the very
existence of the Jewish state. That's why the recurring panicking over matters that
should be fought to a finish and never permitted to erupt menacingly.
The outrageous UN resolution which elicited an apology from President Carter is
exemplary. Silence at that point would have been devastating and submission to panic
would be disastrous.
The lessons of the past cannot be ignored. Since Israel's rebirth, almost as a peren-
nial experience at the UN, occasionally at the State Department, there was an attack on
Israel that caused dismay, often accompanied by fear.
A typical example is a quotation from this column, in the issue of April 16, 1971:
George Bush, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, spoke
encouragingly, several days after he had succeeded Charles Yost to the
important international post, about the Middle East's conditions and the
American attitude. Like President Nixon he emphasized that this country is
not exerting pressures upon Israel for complete withdrawal from con-
quered territories. State Department officials similarly appeased Israel and
her friends on that score. Even in the light of his policies that are contin-
ually interpreted as harsh, even Secretary of State William P. Rogers has
denied that there is pressure.
But a retired U.S. official now proves that there are pressures and that
there is something unholy about American policy. Charles Yost, who had
not revealed his true attitude until after he had left the UN post, showed his
true colors, and if his attitude was and remains American policy, then
woe unto the U.S. claim that our aim is for free covenants freely arrived at. If
men assigned to diplomatic posts will keep declaring themselves with
tongue in cheek, then there is little hope for peace anywhere, whether it is in
the Middle East, in Southeast Asia, or even on the home front.
The entire tenor of Yost's "Guest Privilege" article in Life magazine is in
the form of emphasis that Arabs seek peace and Israel resists, and he
becomes a prophet on the basis of his analyses that "There is likely to be
another (war) in a year or two." It is his "privilege" — and it is a justified one
— to judge "territorial acquisitions" in his specific way. There are many
Israelis who say it more emphatically than he does — David Ben-Gurion
among them — that there should be vast concessions by Israel. But a
pragmatist challenges the privileged: how are these concessions to be at-
tained? By Israel's negotiating with the United States and or with Russia, or
with the United Arab Republic? After all, there is such a thing as realism
even among statesmen-diplomats, unless they become spokesmen for
power-seekers in a game of power-politics — the Yost view is all too
clearly the effect of a Big Four attitude which the proper reading of current
history rejects, since three of the four — France, Russia and Great Britain —
are definitely unfriendly to Israel. Is the fourth, our own government, now
to be added to the three to make it a unanimous anti-Israel viewpoint, if
George Bush will prove to be a pursuer of a Charles Yost policy?
Charles Yost apparently believes that rational people will fall for such
tripe as the evidence is clear" that the UAR would assure freedom of the
seas to Israel. Remember 1957 and the Eisenhower pledge? And on the
question of Sharm el-Sheikh Yost speaks of the "Consent of the UN Security
Council, on which of course the U.S. has a veto." What a sense of humor! Ha
the U.S. exercised its veto power when the USSR was brutal towark.
every move made by Israel? And does Yost really believe there is justice in a
Security Council that is loaded with Israel's enemies?
If there is fair play left in the ranks of diplomacy the last statement by
Sadat should help resolve the entire issue. He made it plain that an agree-
ment on the Suez Canal re-opening must provide freedom of movement by
Egyptian troops and their placement on both sides of the canal. This, if
granted, would mean a reversion to the dangers that faced Israel prior to
June 4, 1967 — it would mean free passage for Israel's enemies into Israeli
territory and an invitation to destroy the Jewish state. Anyone who im-
agines that Israel might adopt such a suicidal attitude or that Israel's
friends would subscribe to it is acting insanely.
Yost is charitable when he says: "One cannot but deeply sympathize
with the agonizing dilemmas of those responsible for the present and future
security of Israel. Its essential vulnerability is indisputable . . . " And there
is a but: a choice has to be made, he says, and his emphasis on a "choice" is
predicated on the view that Israel should not keep saying they can't trust
the Arabs. Aren't the Arabs adhering to the view that Israel must abandon
not only the areas held prior to June 4, 1967, but also territories acquired in
a war that was instituted by the Arabs in 1948: Aren't many of them saying
they would expel Jews who arrived in Eretz Israel after 1918? Where is the
logic and where is the justice — and who are they who say they are offering
guarantees to Israel? Is there any contender other than Israel who can
protect Israel? Therefore, who else is to negotiate except Israel with those
who aimed at her destruction?
President Nixon is the man to speak now. If those representing him at
the UN and in the State Department speak through both sides of the mouth,
tongue in cheek, mouthing appeasements while adhering to a policy that
would spell Israel's destruction, then he more than any other person must
state exactly what must be made known immediately: what is U.S. policy
and who formulates it?
An experience of nine years ago merely echos many of early years and a considerable
number in the following years. The admonition in the 1971 occurrence applies to the
situation today and may call for similar warnings in the months ahead — always
demanding avoidance of fears.
U.S. Credibility, National Honor and Justice
Passover is the ideal time to test the diversions from libertarian principles and the
agonies caused Israel and her friends by the latest developments vis-a-vis American-
"Lame Duck" Secretary of State Cyrus Vance continues to accept responsibility for
what had occurred with the diabolical United Nations Security Council vote on March 1.
It was more than a blunder. Having harmed the credibility of the United States on a
world-wide basis, the issue cannot be shelved and must be viewed with grave concern.
The secretary, who had not been considered a lame duck three years ago, attempted a
Soviet inclusion in the Middle East talks at Geneva. That's when he had angered not only
Israel, but also Egypt, and Sadat's historic trip to Jerusalem is partly ascribable to that*
U.S. move toward a "solution" which could have caused great calamity.
Then, too, President Carter was judged as having concurred in an illogical task
which was forced into abandonment. Now? The guilt is apparent, and even if it had been
reviewed in some measure the "chronology" of it merits special consideration. It is given
interesting analysis in the March 24 issue of New York magazine:
• For nearly a week prior to the Security Council vote on a
Jordanian-Moroccan resolution that declared Israeli settlements in "Pales-
tinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including
Jerusalem," illegal, the American delegation at the UN had been assuring
Israel that it would abstain.
• As late as the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 29, the eve of the vote, Assis-
tant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Harold H.
Saunders had, in effect, repeated these assurances to Israeli Ambassador
Ephraim Evron, although President Carter had authorized Secretary
Vance at a White House breakfast earlier that day to vote for the resolution.
This decision had substantially altered American policy toward Israel in
the dispute over settlements, recognizing for the first time, significantly,
that occupied territories were "Palestinian."
• Since the vote, senior State Department officials have claimed that
the United States had supported the resolution because Israel had failed to
"lobby" against it. The Ithraeli response is that if, indeed, they had not
lobbied until the last day — Ambassador Evron had learned only on Satur-
day morning, a few hours before the vote, how the United States proposed
to act — it was because they had been misled all along as to American
• Having resolved late on Monday, March 3 — after the huge political
fire storm had broken out — to disavow the American vote, the President
kept top State Department policy advisers in the dark about the decision.
This prevented these officials from arguing against the reversal on the
ground that, in the long run, the United States could have ridden out the
storm, while a public recantation would — as it did — painfully undermine
the credibility of American leadership. The reversal, in fact, did nothing to
allay Israeli fury against Carter.
According to Anthony Holden, writing in the London Observer from Washington,
Carter was infuriated with Vance and had asked him to resign. This has not been
confirmed. It does, however, add to the confusion that does little credit to the U.S., and the
loss of credibility is cause for resentment over the blunders that should not have been
permitted by this government.
The London Observer commented editorially on "Carter's Dangerous Gaffe," declar-
What Mr. Carter decides about the Middle East is of special importance to
his European allies, whose dependence on Arab oil is even greater than
America's. His action will accelerate the trend for a new European initia-
tive to seek an Arab-Israeli settlement based on self-setermination for the
While Mr. Carter's retraction weakens his standing with the Arab coun-
tries, the vote itself has angered the Israelis, who were already in a bitter
mood, indignant that their courageous contribution to peace in withdraw-
ing from a large part of Sinai was not adequately recognized. They suspect
the West Europeans of preparing to throw her to the PLO wolves for the
sake of Arab oil.
These comments are the resulte of a spreading pro-PLO tendency in European ranks,
all yielding to the pressures from the oil magnates. Because there is such a threatening
danger from so many quarters, the policies of this government become vital to Israel's
security, and her friends must, therefore, become fully aware of what is transpiring and
must speak courageously in their defensive roles in Israel's behalf.
The new "crusade" to revive the East Jerusalem issue and to give credence to a U.S.
position that Israel must abandon that portion of the Holy City together with other
administered territory is not only appalling: it is morally outrageous. Former U,S,
Ambassador to the UN Arthur Goldberg described the indecency of this new move anr -
condemnation merits widest attention.
Regrettably, there was an error in the Goldberg item in this column last week.
The section should have read:
The facts are that I never described Jerusalem as occupied territory. ,
Ambassador Yost did, in his speech of July 1, 1969, under instructions from
President Nixon, and his statement represented a departure from the policy
I, President Johnson and the Department of State pursued with respect to
Jerusalem during the period of my tenure.
Hodding Carter's briefing tended and was obviously designed to create
in the minds of reporters, who are now querying me, the impression that the
concept of Jerusalme as occupied territory was inaugurated by me and
then continued by Ambassador Yost. This is entirely inaccurate.
Isn't it a great pity that instead of discussing the Passover theme in its sense of
freedom and justice there must now be consideration of the injustice attached to it by the
indolent in our midst?
Again, therefore, the necessity to be vigilant. It's something never to be abandoned.
Therefore the Passover lesson remains intact: freedom will not be abandoned and justice
remains the aim of all people of good will, good sense and common decency.