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November 12, 1982 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-11-12

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, November 12, 1982 1

Post-War Perception of Israel
Concerns Former Envoy to U.S.

By YITZHAK RABI

NEW YORK (JTA) —
Simha Dinitz, who was Is-
rael's Ambassador to Wash-
ington from 1973 to 1978,
believes that Israel's image
in the United States has
eroded in recent months,
following the war in Leba-
non and the massacre of
Palestinians in west Beirut.
Dinitz, who is now the
vice president of the He-
brew University in
Jerusalem and who was
here on a two-week visit on
behalf of the university,
said that Israel's image has-
been tarnished "particu-
larly in the way it is re-
flected in American public
opinion and Congress."
Explaining this, Dinitz
said that Israel's strength in
the U.S. "has been based all
along on a combination of
moral and strategic values.
American public opinion
never perceived Israel
merely as a tool for United
States strategic needs. The
basis for Israeli-American
special relations was the
moral basis, Israel's assets
as a democracy and a free
society. On this level some
question marks have
emerged.
According to Dinitz, Is-
rael's credibility has also
been hurt because a feel-
ing was created in the
American public that Is-
rael's words do not al-
ways match its deeds and
that "she is not always
doing what she says she
is going to do." He
stressed that this new
image of Israel is "a per-
ception not necessarily
based on facts."
Another reason for Is-
rael's diminished image in
the U.S. is the feeling
among some American
legislators and laymen that
"Israel no longer knows the
limitation of power," Dinitz
said. He noted that in his
talks with Congressmen,
Jewish leaders and various
other Americans, "there
was a feeling that Israel
feels more free now to use
power and place less re-
straints on itself in that re-
spect."

Dinitz, who represented
the Labor government dur-
ing his first four years in
Washington and the Likud
government during his last
year, was critical of the
"style" of the government of
Premier Menahem Begin.
Dinitz feels that "There are
too many statements by the
present leaders of the Is-
raeli government which
sound arrogant and convey
the impression that they do
not consider the needs and
sensitivities of others, espe-
cially the American gov-
ernment."
But Dinitz said that in his
view the basic American
support and commitment to
Israel's survival in peace
and security remains firm
and unquestioned. He
warned, however, that
there is a thin line between
an erosion of Israel's image
and an erosion of American

SIMHA DINITZ

military, economic and
political support for Israel.
"If Israel loses its posi-
tion of strength in public
opinion, the result can be
that this would influence
the American policy
makers," he said. "It can
happen easily in such a
free and democratic
country as the United
States. Israel must, there-
fore, make all efforts to
repair its image in the
streets of America to
avoid a change of atti-
tude by the policy mak-
ers. This is a process that
might happen _one day."
Dinitz noted that, con-
trary to previous years, Is-
rael now enjoys more sup-
port in the Administration
that it does in Congress. "Is-
rael, therefore, cannot now
stop any moves by the Ad-
ministration it views as
being against its interests

as it did, for instance, in
1975, when 76 Senators
demanded in a letter to
President Ford to drop his
reassessment policy toward
Israel and avoid any policy
that could harm Israel's
interests." The Ford Ad-
ministration announced its
reassessment policy to pres-
sure Israel to make conces-
sions to Egypt during the
negotiations on the dis-
engagement of forces in
Sinai.
Dinitz contended that
Congress reflects in many
ways American public and
media opinions. "Israel
must realize the importance,
of support for it in the Con-
gress," he said. "It is not
enough that the President
and the Administration -
support Israel. This support
must always be accom-
panied by Congressional
support."

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Franco-Israeli
Relations Eased

PARIS (JTA) — Prime
Minister Pierre Mauroy
will visit Israel next year
and attend the twinning
ceremonies between the
French city of Lille and Is-
rael's Safed.
Mauroy told Safed Mayor
Josef Nahmias, with whom
he met earlier this week,
that he will visit Israel as
soon as possible after the
countrywide forthcoming
municipal elections next
March. Mauroy is mayor of
Lille.
Nahmias said the prime
minister also told him that
the Franco-Israel dialogue
will soon resume and that
the Franco-Israel cultural
commission, whose
scheduled meeting last
June was postponed by the
French government be-
cause of the war in Lebanon
will soon be reconvened.

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Shamir Trip Off

JERUSALAM (JTA) —
Foreign Minister Yitzhak
Shamir's visit to Zaire,
scheduled for this week, was
postponed at the hosts' re-
quest. Israeli officials said
the postponement was
technical and the visit
would take place at the end
of the month.
Meanwhile, it was
learned, Shamir's aides are
putting together a Latin
American tour for him that
will hopefully include
Argentina. The visit is
likely at the end of the year
or the beginning of 1983.

for information call:
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Southfield, Michigan
557-6644

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Shirley (Mrs. Jules) Kraft
President
Doris (Mrs. Joseph) Markel
Vice President & Program Chairperson
Bea (Mrs. Julius) Feigelman
Betty (Mrs. Frank) Silverman
Fundraising Co-chairpersons

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