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October 09, 1981 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-10-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

6 Friday, October 9, 1981

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Nixon Blames Begin, Jewry

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NEW YORK (JTA) —
Former President Nixon
said Sunday that Israeli
Premier Menahem Begin
and "parts of the American
Jewish community" would
have to take the consequ-
ences if Congress blocks the
AWACS sale to Saudi
Arabia.
Nixon's statment was de-
scribed as his first major

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foreign policy declaration
since the Reagan Administ-
ration took office. " We-
/
know, the Saudis know and
everyone in the Middle East
knows, that if it were not for
the intense opposition by
Begin and parts of the
American Jewish commun-
ity, the AWACS sale would
go through," Nixon said.
"This is a cold fact that op-
ponents of the sale, what-
ever their own particular
reasons, must take into ac-
count. This fact will greatly
affect the consequences if
the sale fails to go through."
He did nto suggest what
the consequences might be.
But Nixon did stress
that "Defeat on AWACS
would be a serious em-
barrassment to Reagan,
both at home and abroad.
Israel's friends should
not be under any illusion
that they help Israel's
cause by embarrassing
and undermining the au-
thority of their inde-
spensable friend in the
White House."
According to Nixon,
"From Israel's own
standpoint, the real bottom
line is not the military
value of the AWACS planes,
but who will have influence
and how much, with Israel's
Arab neighbors: the United
States or some ,ther power
which is not Israel's friend."
The former President
contended that "In the
Saudis, we are dealing not
with adversaries but with
friends, and also with a gov-
ernment whose cooperation
will be absolutely essential
to any lasting peace in the
Middle East. Just as it is not
good politics for Begin to
embarrass Reagan, it is not
good politics for the United
States to embarrass Saudi
Arabia."
He said, "Because Reagan
has laid his own prestige on
the line, and will have paid
a high political price for ap-
proval (of the AWACS sale),
if he wins the Saudis will
owe him one. This is good for .
the United States and good
for Israel. If he loses, on the
other hand, everyone loses:
Reagan is embarrassed and
undermined, the Saudis are
humiliated and Begin will
be in the unenviable posi-
tion of having offended
simultaneously both his
most important supporter
and his richest neighbor."
He suggested that "th-
ose who worry about the
deal" from a military
security point of view
"ought to trust the Presi-
dent, the Secretary of
State and the Defense
Secretary to insure that
these (AWACS) are being
adequately safeguarded
without insisting on
humiliating the Saudis
with a formal declaration
that would impinge on
their sovereignty."
Nixon
characterized
Reagan as "probably the
strongest supporter of Israel
to occupy the White House
since Harry Truman." He
said he supported the
AWACS sale "as a friend of
Israel because I believe
strongly that at this point
approval is in the interest

not only of the United
States but also of Israel it-
self."
Responding to Nixon's
statement, Nathan
Perlmutter, national direc-
tor of the Anti-Defamation
League of Bnai.,Brith, said
that "singling American
Jews out from the broad
spectrum of opposition to
the AWACs sale is at best
mischievous, at worst
mean-spirited. Cyrus Vance
is not Jewish. Stansfield
Turner is not Jewish. Sen.
Mark Hatfield ( R-Ore.)
hardly qualifies as a patron
of Israel. In short, opposi-
tion to the AWACS sale is
shared by American leaders
of every religious faith and
from both political parties

"Jews do not appreciate to
hear themselves chastized,
especially by regarded
friends. But like any
Americans worth their salt,
Jews will continue to ex-
press themselves as Ameri-
cans — else what is freedom
of speech all about?"

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